US Firm’s Teargas Used at Tahrir Square

November 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Egypt’s military junta fired CS gas cartridges made by Combined Systems Inc of Pennsylvania, say demonstrators

By Jack Shenker in Cairo and Luke Harding

The teargas used by interior ministry troops in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is supplied by a US company. Demonstrators say cartridges retrieved from the scene are branded with the name and address of Combined Systems Inc (CSI).

The firm is located in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. It specialises in supplying what it calls “crowd control devices” to armies and “homeland security agencies” around the world. It also manufactures lethal military equipment.

Protesters say the CS gas seems more powerful than that used by Egyptian police during the country’s last popular uprising in February. “It’s stronger, it burns your face, it makes you feel like your whole body is seizing up,” one witness said. He added: “It doesn’t seem to be combated by Coke or vinegar.”

Experts told the Guardian the gas was likely to be standard CS gas, but the effects could be exacerbated by physical exertion.

As well as the effects of the teargas, protesters have suffered grave injuries to their heads and faces from rubber bullets. There are also reports of live ammunition being used. Dozens of people have been taken to makeshift hospitals after inhaling the choking gas fired by the Central Security Forces.

The export of teargas to foreign law enforcement agencies is not prohibited. CSI has also sold teargas to the Israeli police, where it has been deployed against Palestinian demonstrators, as well as, reportedly, to the regime of Tunisia’s ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Nevertheless, the revelation that people are being gassed and hurt by US-manufactured projectiles is embarrassing for the Obama administration.

“We have seen the illegitimate and indiscriminate use of teargas,” Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Cairo, said, of Egypt’s most recent street protests, as well as the original revolution in February. “There are a few cartridges from Italy but the vast majority are from the USA.”

She said teargas did not constitute direct military aid, since it was sold to the interior ministry rather than the army. But she added: “Ideally governments should be verifying who they are selling teargas to.”

Morayef said the gas was having a devastating effect on its victims, with everyone left choking, and hundreds forced to seek medical treatment. Protesters have also retrieved 12mm rubber bullet cartridges made in Italy. “One person I know ended up coughing up blood,” she said. Human Rights Watch intended to examine the canisters to discover exactly what kind of gas was being used, she added.

Alastair Hay, professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said police in Cairo were almost certainly using conventional CS gas. “It’s a standard riot control agent which has been around for a very long time,” he said.

Hay said its effects were extremely unpleasant. “It’s an eye and respiratory tract irritant, largely. It will also cause skin irritation.”

The chemical compound used in CS gas – 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile – was “perfectly legitimate”, with many commercial companies involved in selling it, and domestic governments willing to make use of it in riot situations, he added.

US army trials showed CS gas had a far more serious effect on people taking part in physical activity than those sitting passively, sometimes leaving its victims needing intensive care afterwards. The way to get rid of it was “constant irrigation” to wash away the affected areas, Hay said.

There was no immediate comment from CSI.

The company’s website says it was founded in 1981. It adds: “Combined Systems Inc (CSI) is a US-based firm that supports military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world. CSI is a premier engineering, manufacturing and supply company of tactical munitions and crowd control devices globally to armed forces, law enforcement, corrections and homeland security agencies.

“[…] In addition to its military products, CSI markets its innovative line of less lethal munitions, tactical munitions and crowd-control products to domestic law enforcement agencies under its law enforcement brand name, CTS. CSI also supports its wide base of international military and law enforcement customers with its line of non-lethal munitions.”

guardian.co.uk

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IPod

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

diff 11-6-11iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc. The product line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the compact iPod Nano, and the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle. iPod Classic models store media on an internal hard drive, while all other models use flash memory to enable their smaller size (the discontinued Mini used a Microdrive miniature hard drive). As with many other digital music players, iPods can also serve as external data storage devices. Storage capacity varies by model, ranging from 2 GB for the iPod Shuffle to 160 GB for the iPod Classic. The iPod line was announced by Apple on October 23, 2001, and released on November 10, 2001. All of the models have been redesigned multiple times since their introduction. The most recent iPod redesigns were introduced on September 1, 2010.

Apple’s iTunes software can be used to transfer music to the devices from computers using certain versions of Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems. For users who choose not to use iTunes or whose computers cannot run iTunes, several open source alternatives are available for the iPod. iTunes and its alternatives may also transfer photos, videos, games, contact information, e-mail settings, Web bookmarks, and calendars to iPod models supporting those features.

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Community News (V13-I25)

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

United Stationers Appoints Khan as Next CFO

DEERFIELD, IL–United Stationers Inc. said Tuesday that Fareed Khan will become its chief financial officer on July 18.

The office and business products distributor said its board elected Khan, 45, to replace Victoria Reich. Reich said in November that she planned to leave the company by the end of 2011. She cited personal reasons for her departure.

Khan has worked at USG Corp., a producer of building materials, for the last 12 years, and was most recently in charge of its finance and strategy.

Other senior level management positions held by Mr. Khan at USG included a variety of strategy, business development, marketing, supply chain management, and general management roles. Before joining USG in 1999, Mr. Khan was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he served global clients on a variety of projects including acquisition analysis, supply chain optimization, and organization redesign.

Mr. Khan received his bachelor of science degree in engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and earned a MBA from the University of Chicago.

Abdullah-Muhammad wins state gold in Murfreesboro

MURFEESBORO,TN–Cleveland High freshman Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad soared to a state title in the girls long jump competition Thursday at the Middle Tennessee State University track.
Flying a distance of 18-feet, 9-inches on her third attempt, the three-sport Lady Raider standout left the competition in the dust by at least 8 1/2 inches.

Abdullah-Muhammad went past the 18-foot mark five times in her half dozen passes. After a 17-06.25 on her first pass, the 5-foot-10 ninth-grader leapt 18-01.75, 18-09, 18-02.25, 18-00.75 and 18-06.

Dr. Saleem Bajwa to receive rights award

BOSTON, MA–The National Conference for Community and Justice of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, Inc., founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, will present its annual Human Relations Award  to Dr. Saleem Bajwa, president of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts.

Dr. Bajwa, a physician board certified in internal and pulmonary medicine, practice in Holyoke, and is affiliated with the Holyoke Medical Center.

He is a founding member of the Islamic Society.

For the past 18 years, he has been the executive director of the Islamic Council of New England, an umbrella organization of Islamic centers and societies of New England, actively hosting inter-faith programs to build alliances and learn from one another.

In addition, for more than a decade, Bajwa has served on the Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts.

Mayfield School District Names Student of the Month

CLEVELAND, OH–Fakhra Saleem, Mayfield City School District’s most recent Student of the Month, is enrolled in the Cleveland Clinic Internship Program at the Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Consortium.

Superintendent Dr. Phillip Price said Saleem was identified at one of the most responsible members of the surgical processing department at the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus.
Price said she is 100 percent accurate when pulling surgical kits to be delivered in preparation for surgeries. She also volunteered to learn decontamination – a task not typically required of CEVEC interns.

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Shobi Khan named COO of General Growth

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

ScreenShot150CHICAGO,IL–Shopping mall owner General Growth Properties Inc. said Thursday that it has named Shobi Khan its chief operating officer.

Khan, 45, previously was U.S. chief investment officer at real estate investment advisor Bentall Kennedy. He is slated to join General Growth on June 13.

He will receive a base salary of $750,000, a signing bonus of $550,000 and will be eligible for a discretionary bonus next year of up to $500,000, the company said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Khan also will be eligible to receive 400,000 non-qualified General Growth stock options.

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AdMob’s Founder Omar Hamoui

November 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

omar-hamoui Google Inc.’s announcement that it will buy AdMob Inc. for $750 million brought a media spotlight on Accel Partners, an investor in both AdMob and Playfish Inc., which said today it will sell to Electronic Arts Inc. for at least $275 million. Several blogs, including this one, hailed Accel Partners for its impressive and quick investment returns at a time when deals like these are hard to come by.

But AdMob’s founder and CEO, Omar Hamoui, really deserves the attention for building a company that in three years became the largest player of mobile Web ads and ultimately, a coveted jewel for the largest Internet company.

Jim Goetz, a partner at Sequoia Capital and the first investor in AdMob, was quick to praise Hamoui, telling VentureWire that the entrepreneur “has a very keen perception of mobile and a very unconventional approach. All the things you hear today, since the iPhone, about the independent developer – Omar identified that community years ago.

“He kept a maniacal focus on the independent developer,” Goetz continued. “He ignored the carriers, he ignored the ‘walled garden.’ When he started, there was no economy around mobile. It was the inception of this market. He’s a special entrepreneur, and he built an extraordinary business in a short time.” (It’s worth noting that Sequoia has added a picture of Hamoui on its sparsely decorated home page as a tribute to him.)

Hamoui, 32, dropped out of the Wharton School to start up AdMob in January 2006 in an effort to find the best platform for bringing Internet advertising to cellphones. As the story goes, Hamoui originally built a mobile service in 2005 called Fotochatter designed to let people easily share their online photos with friends who can view and comment on them through their mobile phones. But he found it difficult to market the mobile service online, so he set out to start another company to help advertisers do just that.

Hamoui’s first hire was Russell Buckley, now AdMob’s head of European operations, who originally reviewed Fotochatter on his blog MobHappy years ago. That blog is how the pair connected. Earlier this year in May, Buckley reminisced about that chance encounter in a blog post and added: “Over 80 Billion ads and 3 years later, we’ve come [a long] way since then, have over 100 employees and a valuation at least in the hundreds of million dollar range.”

Buckley then posted a short series that shared “some of the lessons [Hamoui] learned” while building AdMob. While we wait to hear back from Hamoui about the Google deal (he commented on his blog here), we found it useful to direct our entrepreneur readers to Buckley’s blog posts which tap into the mind of Hamoui, who offers his thoughts on company launches, deals and negotiations, sales and marketing, competitive threats and communication.

As an example, and in light of the Google acquisition, here are Hamoui’s short pieces of wisdom about deals and negotations, as written by Buckley who adds his comments:

Understand what you really have to lose (which is usually not much)

If you are a person with a laptop and an idea, don’t worry about messing up the 100m dollar business you think you will someday be.

Russell adds: It’s hard to emphasise how important this is. In reality, most people have very little real downside to having a go and even if the idea doesn’t work out (and most don’t let’s remember) you’ll still learn a ton, which will add considerably to your value in business.

I’d also add, on a related note, that far too many entrepreneurs get paranoid about protecting their idea to the point of paralysis. The value of most ideas is in the execution, not in what the concept actually is. To make it reality, you need to share it – actually, with as many people as possible, counter-intuitive though this might seem. And in my view, forget about NDAs and the like. They’re pretty useless all round as far as I’m concerned, but for one man and a laptop, a total waste of time and effort, which at best just create speed breakers for your idea.

Leave something on the table

If your partner feels as good as you walking away from the table, you are much more likely to have a successful relationship.

Russell adds: This is so important. Many self-proclaimed “great deal makers” focus too much on getting the best for themselves and wonder why the relationship falls apart or never achieves its potential.

Wait until the rubber hits the road to evaluate a deal

Don’t get too excited until the results actualize. Most deals are not as good as they look on paper.

Russell adds: Oh yes. If I had a penny….etc

It’s also worth remembering that many of the best deals come from existing relationships with partners or customers. This isn’t as sexy as hunting down the big mammoth stomping around in the jungle, but effective account management is a skill you ignore at your peril and every company could improve this aspect of their operation.

The Google offer no doubt looked good on paper. Hamoui will be staying on with AdMob and Google for now, but you can bet once he’s ready to move on to start another company, venture capitalists will be lining up to invest.

If you want to hear more from Hamoui, below is a one-year-old, half-hour interview by Robert Scoble who around the two-minute mark gets Hamoui to talk about his negotiations with venture investors, including Sequoia Capital, which invested in the company in 2006. Hamoui said he was introduced to Sequoia after he didn’t like a term sheet from another venture firm. On a Thursday night, he flew out to meet Sequoia, even though he had until Friday to decide whether to accept the other firm’s offer. Within 24 hours, Sequoia offered Hamoui a competing term sheet and he signed it two minutes before the other offer’s deadline. Sequoia’s partners deserve credit for seeing something in Hamoui, who was the only employee of the company.

“I had to do the pitch [to Sequoia] like four or five times,” he tells Scoble, “because it has to be a unanimous decision. Every partner has to see it, and every partner has to vote yes otherwise they won’t do it….The overall market opportunity is extremely substantial. And they tend to be market investors, so they’re whole theory is that if the market is spectacular, even a sub-optimal product with a sub-optimal team will do fantastically well. Not that, hopefully, we are either.”

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