Times Square car bomb suspect appears in NY court



NEW YORK // Appearing relaxed and obedient, the man accused of plotting a car bombing in Times Square made his first appearance in a Manhattan courtroom where he was told by a magistrate judge that he had the right to remain silent. Authorities say Faisal Shahzad's willingness to talk kept him out of court for two weeks, speeding up the progress of an investigation into his May 1 plot to set off a homemade car bomb on a spring Saturday evening amid hundreds of people enjoying the tourist haven.

Authorities said shortly after Mr Shahzad's May 3 arrest that he had admitted driving the SUV bomb into Times Square and told authorities he had received terror training during a recent five-month trip to Pakistan. His co-operation did not eliminate the need to bring him to court yesterday to face five charges, including attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and attempted acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, each of which carry potential penalties of life in prison.

The hearing lasted only 10 minutes. Mr Shahzad, 30, a Pakistan-born US citizen, confirmed with a "yes" that his financial affidavit was accurate, permitting him to be appointed an assistant public defender, Julia Gatto, who declined to comment afterward. Mr Shahzad, wearing a grey sweat suit and with his hair a bit longer than in photos splashed around the world, was treated like any other prisoner, except for the extra court officers on hand. The courtroom was closed just before his appearance for a security sweep.

There was also no sign that Mr Shahzad had secured any special benefits from his co-operation, though he was wearing a sweat suit rather than a prison uniform. When the hearing ended, he stood up and handcuffs were put on his wrists behind his back. He walked out without looking at spectators, including mostly prosecutors, investigators and reporters. Magistrate Judge James C Francis read him his rights, including his right to remain silent, and warned him that anything he might say could be used against him. He was detained without bail in the attack in which the bomb never exploded and no one was hurt.

The ex-budget analyst from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was pulled two days after the attempted attack from a Dubai-bound plane at John F Kennedy International Airport. In addition to the most serious charges, Mr Shahzad was also charged with using a destructive device in an attempted violent crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison; transporting and receiving explosives, punishable by up to 10 years; and attempting to damage and destroy property with fire and explosives, punishable by five to 20 years.

Since his arrest, Mr Shahzad "has provided valuable intelligence from which further investigative action has been taken," the US attorney's office in Manhattan said in a statement yesterday. Federal authorities raided locations in three states last week and picked up three men on immigration violations. The men are suspected of providing money to Shahzad to help build the homemade bomb of fireworks, propane and battery-operated alarm clocks.

Officials in Pakistan have taken several people into custody, including two men arrested last week on suspicion of helping finance the failed plot. CIA Director Leon Panetta and retired Gen James Jones, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, were in Pakistan meeting with officials there on the failed Times Square bombing and the terrorist safe havens where the suspect is believed to have received training.

In light of the attack, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said "we believe that it is time to redouble our efforts with our allies in Pakistan to close this safe haven and create an environment where we and the Pakistani people can lead safe and productive lives." One US official said the trip is not confined to the Times Square bombing issues, but noted that the emphasis is on co-operation between the US and Pakistan and what both countries need to do to keep pressure on the extremists in that region. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the meetings.

Mr Shahzad appeared in court on the same day a New York defence attorney wrote a letter to a chief federal court judge demanding he be produced. Ron Kuby accused authorities of violating Mr Shahzad's rights by "squeezing him for information" in secret. Authorities have not publicly addressed a possible motive for Mr Shahzad. But in e-mails provided by a Connecticut doctor, Mr Shahzad complained that Muslims were under siege around the globe and that Muslim countries were doing little to respond.

"Everyone knows how the Muslim country bows down to pressure from the West," he wrote on February 25, 2006. "Everyone knows the kind of humiliation we are faced with around the globe." The e-mails, first reported by The New York Times, were provided to the Associated Press by Dr Saud Anwar, a founder of the Pakistani American Association of Connecticut, who said he was given them by a friend who received them.

* AP

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Pupils in Abu Dhabi are learning the importance of being active, eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle now and throughout adulthood, thanks to a newly launched programme 'Healthy Lifestyle'.

As part of the Healthy Lifestyle programme, specially trained coaches from City Football Schools, along with Healthpoint physicians have visited schools throughout Abu Dhabi to give fun and interactive lessons on working out regularly, making the right food choices, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated, just like their favourite footballers.

Organised by Manchester City FC and Healthpoint, Manchester City FC’s regional healthcare partner and part of Mubadala’s healthcare network, the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ programme will visit 15 schools, meeting around 1,000 youngsters over the next five months.

Designed to give pupils all the information they need to improve their diet and fitness habits at home, at school and as they grow up, coaches from City Football Schools will work alongside teachers to lead the youngsters through a series of fun, creative and educational classes as well as activities, including playing football and other games.

Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber, head of public health at Healthpoint, said: “The programme has different aspects - diet, exercise, sleep and mental well-being. By having a focus on each of those and delivering information in a way that children can absorb easily it can help to address childhood obesity."

FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Brief scores:

Toss: Sindhis, elected to field first

Kerala Knights 103-7 (10 ov)

Parnell 59 not out; Tambe 5-15

Sindhis 104-1 (7.4 ov)

Watson 50 not out, Devcich 49

Key developments

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