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Targeting Al-Shabab Leadership, U.S. Launches Airstrikes In Somalia

by Eyder Peralta
Sep 2, 2014

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Eyder Peralta

The United States conducted airstrikes in Somalia late Monday, targeting the leadership of the al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John F. Kirby tells The New York Times that the U.S. is "still assessing the results of the operation." Kirby would not reveal further details.

Local officials, however, tell Bloomberg that the airstrikes came near a meeting of top al-Shabab officials, including its spiritual leader. Bloomberg reports:

"Ahmed Abdi Godane was among a number of 'high-ranking' al-Shabab officials who were meeting at Dhaytubako, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, when the drones struck late yesterday, Lower Shabelle Governor Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur said in a phone interview today.

"'We believe that a large number of senior al-Shabab officials have been hurt in the attack, but I cannot specifically confirm if Godane was killed,' Mohamed Nur said. 'He was among those meeting during the attack.'"

CNN, which first broke the story, reports that the strike happened in the port city of Barawe, which is an al-Shabab stronghold. Mohamed Nur told the network that al-Shabab leaders were meeting to strategize on how to repel "a joint offensive by Somali and African Union troops aimed at dislodging [al-Shabab] from their nearby strongholds."

CBS News has a bit of background on previous U.S. action in Somalia:

"A U.S. missile strike in January killed a high-ranking intelligence officer for al-Shabab, and last October a vehicle carrying senior members of the group was hit in a U.S. strike that killed al-Shabab's top explosives expert.

"The latest U.S. action comes after Somalia's government forces regained control of a high-security prison in the capital that was attacked on Sunday by seven heavily armed suspected Islamic militants who attempted to free other extremists held there. The Pentagon statement did not indicate whether the U.S. action was related to the prison attack.

"Somali officials said all the seven attackers, three government soldiers and two civilians were killed. Mogadishu's Godka Jilacow prison is an interrogation center for Somalia's intelligence agency, and many suspected militants are believed to be held in underground cells there."

As for background on al-Shabab, here's a brief primer that was written after the militant group took responsibility for an attack on a Kenyan mall that left dozens dead.

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Prime Group, which conducted the poll of financial professionals, found that 83 percent of U.S. respondents associated Arthur Andersen with the word "ethical." (Courtesy of Prime Group)

What's In A Name? Former Arthur Anderson Employees Spell It Out

Sep 2, 2014 (Morning Edition)

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Arthur Andersen is back. Or at least the old accounting firm's name will be, for the first time since its association with accounting scandals at Enron more than a decade ago.

The firm was criminally convicted — a decision that was later overturned, although that came too late to save the company.

As of Monday, a company called WTAS, is adopting the Andersen name and in doing so, hopes clients will have forgotten the bad associations.

'That Was The End'

Mark Vorsatz recalls his day at Andersen on March 14, 2002. That day the firm was indicted — a single count of obstruction of justice that ended its 90-year reign as one of the world's most respected accounting firms.

"As soon as the indictment came out, that was the end of the firm," he says.

Vorsatz, along with most of the company's 85,000 employees, scattered. Vorsatz became managing director of a new firm called WTAS, which employed many Andersen alumni. Meanwhile, the Andersen name became indelibly linked with Enron.

But before all that — and before other scandals at WorldCom, Waste Management and Sunbeam tarnished the name — Vorsatz says Arthur Andersen stood for something very different.

"Quality was the cornerstone of the firm," he says. "Andersen had a reputation for establishing the standards in the industry."

And the company's polling suggests it's time to bring back the old name.

Greg Schneiders is CEO of the Prime Group, which conducted the poll of financial professionals.

"I was surprised, because the last impression any of us had of Arthur Andersen, was Enron," Schneiders says.

Among the things that surprised Schneiders and Vorsatz? That 83 percent of U.S. respondents associated Arthur Andersen with the word "ethical." The company still had an overwhelmingly positive reputation, it seemed, Schneiders says better, even, than WTAS.

"Our advice to WTAS is, this is kind of a no-brainer," Schneiders says. "I mean, you're getting a lot more positive out of it than negative. Frankly, the fact that it's a little counter-intuitive and provocative may work to your advantage."

A Narrower Focus

Vorsatz says the firm will go by ANDERSENTAX from now on, and it will draw lessons from both the rise and the fall of the old Andersen. He's hoping to restore the old firm's reputation for ethics and integrity. And, he says, his firm's focus will continue to be narrower than the old Andersen.

"We don't want to be an audit firm," he says. "We tried that and it didn't work. For most of us, we lost our unfunded retirement plans, we lost most of our capital."

Vorsatz says the strict focus on corporate tax work will help the firm avoid potential conflicts of interest with other lines of business.

"I've been associated with or around Arthur Andersen or ex-Arthur Andersen people in fact my entire business career," says Jeff Dinsmore, whose real estate firm is a WTAS client.

In fact, Dinsmore himself started his career 35 years ago at Andersen, and comforted friends who lost their jobs and retirement savings with its demise.

And so, when Mark Vorsatz — an old friend going back decades — told him of the name change, Dinsmore had one thing to say: "That's pretty cool."

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The End Of Enron And Arthur Anderson
  • Oct. 22, 2001: The SEC opens an inquiry into the possible conflicts of interest related to dealings between Enron and its subsidiary partnerships.
  • Oct. 31, 2001: The SEC upgrades inquiry to a formal investigation.
  • Dec. 2, 2001: Enron files for bankruptcy.
  • June 12, 2002: Arthur Anderson LLP is found guilty of obstruction of justice, and becomes the first accounting firm to be convicted of a felony.
  • May 31, 2005: The Supreme Court overturns Anderson's conviction.

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Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Prime Group, which conducted the poll of financial professionals, found that 83 percent of U.S. respondents associated Arthur Andersen with the word "ethical." (Courtesy of Prime Group)

The Last Word In Business

Sep 2, 2014 (Morning Edition)

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Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The End Of Enron And Arthur Anderson
  • Oct. 22, 2001: The SEC opens an inquiry into the possible conflicts of interest related to dealings between Enron and its subsidiary partnerships.
  • Oct. 31, 2001: The SEC upgrades inquiry to a formal investigation.
  • Dec. 2, 2001: Enron files for bankruptcy.
  • June 12, 2002: Arthur Anderson LLP is found guilty of obstruction of justice, and becomes the first accounting firm to be convicted of a felony.
  • May 31, 2005: The Supreme Court overturns Anderson's conviction.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

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