2011 YEAR IN REVIEW - Oddetorium

Updated Celebrities, News And Events


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Saturday, 3 December 2011



The top search term of 2011 wasn't a person or a news event. It was a technological marvel.

1. iPhone

No other product or brand has developed a greater cult following than the iPhone. In 2011, Apple made joining that cult a lot easier. After four years, the obsession has become the year's most searched term on Yahoo!. Apple lowered prices, signed up more carriers, and made the iPhone a world phone. Although fanboys were disappointed there would be no iPhone 5 this year, the 4S upgrade was enough to spur record sales -- again. If technology leaps and bounding sales weren't enough, the iPhone got some credit in helping bring down regimes. It also symbolized the vision of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died the day after the new phone was announced.
Most Valuable Company
In August, Apple's popularity and increased sales made the company the most valuable in the world, as it surpassed Exxon's $331 billion market cap at $337 billion. Its glory was short-lived, as Apple sank back to second place after a rare third-quarter earnings disappointment. Even so, Apple generated the kind of fervor Exxon never had (unless you count the fury over the Exxon Valdez spill). For months, bloggers, industry experts, and consumers speculated that the next iPhone upgrade would be significant. Rumors flew over what the iPhone 5 would look like and offer, including a better camera, a bigger screen, and even mobile payment system technology. But in the end, the newest iPhone didn't get a number change but an additional letter, becoming the iPhone 4S. Apple hasn't revealed what the S stands for, but many have guessed Siri, speed, storage, or Steve Jobs. The iPhone 4S set a company record, receiving more than a million preorders in 24 hours. Besides a host of new features, the iPhone 4S is available in an unlocked version, as well. Chinese mobile carrier China Mobile said it reached 10 million iPhones on its network without being a registered carrier. The most talked-about 4S feature is Siri, a personal assistant that talks back to you. Using voice-recognition technology that adapts to your natural speech, Siri can respond to questions (searching the Web when it doesn't know the answer), create location-based reminders, and even have a conversation with you when you're bored, which has spun off a "Siri says the darnedest things" meme with websites, blogs, and articles.
The iPhone 4S arrived during a time of transition and mourning for Apple. Jobs had resignedjust over a month before the launch of the iPhone 4S, and he passed away the day after the announcement. Tim Cook made his debut as CEO with the upgrade announcement andconducted the press conference without much of a glitch. Attendees noted, however, that without Jobs, the atmosphere wasn't as electric as it had been in the past. The iPhone's global reach was clear when people tweeted condolences from as far as Asia and the Middle East. Fans made memorial sites at Apple Stores worldwide. It was noted that iPhones helped protestors in the Middle East record events to send to other countries and media outlets. The videos helped fuel discontent and to rally a world to their side. Apple's decision to sell unlocked iPhones meant that international consumers would no longer need to turn to third-party auction sites to buy one.
Apple showed that it knew how to do business even without Jobs at the helm. The phone's faster processing and download speeds were draining the battery too quickly. Apple acknowledged the problem soon after the launch and promised to release a software update. Before users could even download the newest iOS update, though, rumors were again in full swing about what the iPhone 5 would be like. It's said to have been the last project for Jobs, and significantly different than the current models. The big question is whether Apple's huge cult following can continue without Jobs behind the design and engineering. With the iPhone 5 rumored to arrive in early summer or fall 2012, fans and Apple investors are eagerly awaiting the release, hoping that the company will survive and even thrive without its visionary. 
2. Casey Anthony

On July 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony reported her granddaughter, 2-year-old Caylee, missing. The toddler lived with her grandparents and her mom, Cindy's wild-child 22-year-old daughter, Casey, in an unassuming four-bedroom home in Orlando, Florida. Cindy told police that she hadn't seen her granddaughter in a month and that Casey hadn't been around much, either. The Casey Anthony of that time was an unemployed mom who had never finished high school, never attended college, and never held a steady job, but she claimed to have done all three. She lived off her parents (her father, a former police officer, told the FBI she stole money from them) and had Caylee at age 20 but didn't know who the father was. Casey suffered from seizures in 2007, but no definite medical cause was found; her mother suggested the seizures were a possible explanation for Casey's bizarre behavior after Caylee's disappearance. In July 2008, she was accused of stealing money from a friend, Amy Huizenga, and was found guilty of check fraud. Casey's troubling background began to emerge as U.S. media coverage of Caylee's disappearance intensified. Her car smelled like death, her family reported to the 911 operator. Casey claimed that "Zanny the nanny" had been taking care of her daughter, but the sitter turned out to be a figment of her imagination. She lied to the police about working at Universal Studios, confessing the truth only after she led authorities to her "office" to show them around. But beyond her jarring web of lies, who was Casey Anthony? People dug into details online, searching for Casey's party pictures, MySpace page, diary entries, and more, but Casey herself wasn't talking -- and she hadn't proved particularly credible. Investigators learned of Casey's messy relationship with her mother partially through her grandmother, who wondered "if [Casey] hated her mom more than she loved Caylee." Casey's love life was jumbled, too. She's never publicly named Caylee's father, and theories abound about who and where the guy is. (Cindy Anthony told People magazine that Caylee's dad was "killed in a terrible car accident.") For the first year or two of the baby's life, however, Casey's then boyfriend Jesse Grund claimed to play the daddy role. The extremes of Casey's deceit aside, what was it about this case that stoked the public's interest to such an obsessive degree? The disturbing reality is that kids go missing -- and are sometimes even killed -- every day, often by parents. Among industrialized countries, the United States ranks highest in child homicides. And, sadly, children killed by their mothers make up 3 out of 10 murders.
Part of the media frenzy could be attributed to TV journalist and firebrand Nancy Grace, who built her name on the missing and the murdered. The former prosecutor claimed to take a "victims' rights" stance on cases she covered, but throughout 2011, Grace acted like she was leading a Casey Anthony witch hunt. She was adamant in her belief that Casey killed Caylee, and she appealed to viewers' emotions instead of focusing on the evidence, which was spotty. With Grace's ongoing verbal assaults against Caylee's mom, the public interest shifted from the child to Casey: her looks, her penchant for partying (she entered a "hot body" contest while Caylee was missing), and her snowballing cover-ups. Compounded in the public eye, these factors seemed to point to a motive. In the media, Caylee's death was presented as having happened simply because she was in her mother's way, an obstacle to Casey's carefree life. The tabloids denounced it as a tragic example of a mother's ultimate betrayal, calling Casey "the most hated woman in America." In July, a latex mask of Casey's mug -- dubbed "the most frightening mask on the planet" -- sold for $1 million on eBay. For many, Anthony became the living, breathing antithesis of everything expected of mothers in general (our culture demands that moms be doting, even sacrificial). Casey Anthony, flying in the face of this convention, transformed into a ghastly embodiment of the monstrous mom.
The Casey Anthony circus encompassed many themes that intrigue Americans, especially women: missing kids, unsolved mysteries, forensics, family dysfunction, and mother-daughter relationships. It was a juicy, real-life tragedy more dramatic than the craziest episode of "CSI" or "Law & Order: SVU." Perhaps that's why, when it came to Casey Anthony, we just couldn't get enough. 

3. Kim Kardashian

Some countries have royal weddings. Americans deal in reality.
The one-woman empire called Kim Kardashian married New Jersey Nets power forward Kris Humphries, and a few searches referred to the collective union as "Kris Hump." A celebrity's romantic past is never forgotten, which is why some people checked out the "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star's first union with music producer Damon Thomas and her later romance with R&B singer Ray J. Still, the hitch seemingly went without a hitch, replete with diamonds ($15 million), flowers ($2 million), celebrity guests (nearly 400), cake (10 tiers and 6 feet high), cameras (E! aired the "Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event"), and a People magazine cover. All in all, much of the extravagance (reportedly $10 to $30 million) was actually subsidized by vendors cashing in on the publicity -- and, later, notoriety. A record 72 days later, the bride filed for divorce. People trained their online searches on "Kim Kardashian marriage problems," "how much did Kim Kardashian's wedding cost," and "how much is Kim Kardashian worth." Quickie celebrity weddings aren't unusual -- after all, Britney Spears undid her vows in 55 hours. Then again, that price tag didn't reflect an over-the-top celebration you'd expect of, well, the 1%. Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian brood, claimed her daughter and soon-to-be-ex son-in-law didn't make a dime from the wedding, and that payouts from the People cover (anywhere from less than $1 million to $2.5 million) and TV special ($15 million) went right back to the bill. Not that the bride's family couldn't have paid for the wedding, given their $65 million family earningssalary is $12 million, about six times the groom's basketball paycheck.  from the reality show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," fashion and perfume lines, and marketing deals. The bride's 
 salary is $12 million, about six times the groom's basketball paycheck.

That kind of financial planning might've helped ease reports of slipping credibility: A poll released two days before her wedding ranked Kim among the 10 least trustworthy personalities. That didn't sway her 10,000,000th Twitter follower (yup, that's seven zeroes), who joined on September 26. As for her professional future, Kardashian -- famous for being herself -- had been working not as herself but as a co-star in Tyler Perry's comedy, "The Marriage Counselor," due out in 2012. Perry's box-office record might save her from a better fate than her music video or her wedding. The first, according to Marie Claire, was "sunk without a trace ... quickly buried by execs," until "Jam (Turn It Up)" inevitably turned up online and sparked claims that the song had been meant for charity and presumably not for public consumption. Then again, the missteps let fans do what the Kardashians do best: tell the painful truth with affection. On the star's Celebuzz blog, englishrose commented on March 2: "Kim! I admire you tons and your [sic] like my role model! Always supporting you hundred per cent of the way. But I don't wanna say this but I'm speaking what I feel honestly, this song doesn't do you any justice I don't think, I totally get this must have been extremley nerv racking! [sic] But I'm not feeling you in this song!!!
I think your [sic] better than this!! Loads of love from England!! xxxxxxx."
As for the quickie divorce, paris33 posted November 2: 
"hi kim. first of all i'm a major fan of urs. i think what a lot of fans love about u is that ur genuine and u dnt show off ur money viciously. HOWEVER watching the wedding fairy tale episodes i saw a very materialistic side 2 u... also kim i was ur number one fan HOWEVER u have majorly lied to ur fans right now, as i know for a fact E! gave u an amazing deal in order to record ur wedding!!! it is a fact. also u didnt give hello magazine ur wedding photos for free did you ?? therefore there was a profit made. i do Not in any way believe ur dole purpose of the wedding was money but please dont lie to ur fans who do not do anything but support u. i wish u all the luck. but lies arnt going to gain our support back xxx."

4. Katy Perry

Hollywood has too many stories of promising child actors who sank into a haze of addiction and anonymity.
Lindsay Lohan hasn't had the luxury of neglect. An inexhaustible celebrity-news cycle and her own self-promotion have kept her in the public eye. While attention hasn't lessened, patience may have: Last year, a spate of headlines focused on her downfall, and continual online searches landed the star on the Obsessions list. This year, courtroom dramas, parental dysfunction, and that elusive comeback landed Lohan in the Top 10 Searches. This year started off promisingly, as Lohan wrapped up a 90-day rehab treatment at Rancho Mirage. She packed in three truisms in one New Year's tweet: "Today is the first day of the rest of my life 'The future depends on what we do in the present.' -Mahatma Gandhi...One step at a time...." About a month later, Los Angeles prosecutors filed a felony grand theft charge against her for swiping a $2,500 necklace from L.A. boutique Kamofie & Company. Her defense -- that it was a loan -- seemed less important than the "skin-tight, Kimberly Ovitz-designed 'Glavis Albino' minidress" she wore to court. (Then again, the uproar gave her a platform from which to describe the front-page attention to her clothes as "absurd.") The $35,000 that the jewelry store received for selling the surveillance tape cast doubt on the case, but Lohan was sentenced to house arrest.
How much patience could Lohan followers have with her comeback? One go-to example is Robert Downey Jr., the poster child for recovering talent. He dominated the '80s and '90s, a leader among a coterie of actors that included the late River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, and Brad Pitt, before being out of commission for five years. Downey, who has always had a way with words, used frightening ones to describe his addiction to a judge, back in 1999: "It's like I have a shotgun in my mouth, and I've got my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal." The plea didn't sway the judge, who ordered him to serve prison time. He returned, relapsed, was championed by Mel Gibson, and is now back to ruling the box office.
Lohan's curriculum vitae doesn't quite compare to Downey's pre-arrest output, and 2011 marks five years since her first DUI arrest (following her parents' divorce). There have been signs of a comeback: self-parody, talk of proving herself, a standing ovation on "The Tonight Show," talk of accountability, an artsy ad, court settlements, and an overseas modeling gig.
In an it-could-go-either-way decision, the 25-year-old signed up for a Playboy photo shoot and interview for the magazine's January/February 2012 issue. Her mother assured the fans that it "went well" before her daughter's rep had a chance to gush that it was "fantastic." But the year has had too many rumors of rejections (no "Superman" villain role) or wobbly deals (John Gotti biopic), a rehab assault lawsuit, self-comparisons to Marilyn Monroe, her community-service absenteeism, her frequent-flier status at the Los Angeles courthouse. Her parents didn't help, either, from her troubled father's public frets about the condition of his daughter's teeth (proof that she was smoking meth or crack, he worried) to her mother's memoir, which dished about her daughter's substance abuse. Unlike Britney Spears, whose father seemed responsible enough to take conservatorship, Lohan doesn't appear to have that kind of familial recourse. In a year that focused a lot on motherhood extremes -- tiger moms, stage moms (like Kim Kardashian's mother, Kris Jenner), and the infamous Casey Anthony -- Lohan exemplifies how a brilliant, promising child can spin out of control. Lohan's plenty old enough to take care of herself, but in many ways she's still that Disney child star who needs the wise adult and maybe a magical car to yank her back onto the right path. 

7. “American Idol”

When Simon Cowell left "American Idol" in 2010 -- after what was widely considered to be the show's worst season ever, generating relatively low record sales for winner Lee DeWyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox -- many punters assumed the show was doomed. Cowell himself may have counted on the show failing without him, when he proclaimed that his new venture with old "Idol" crony Paula Abdul, "The X Factor," would garner "Idol"-esque ratings of 20 million or more. (Turns out he was about 9 million off.) Too many changes kept the Fox reality singing competition from being the same show we knew and loved: two new judges, Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, replacing Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi; an in-house mentor and music producer, Jimmy Iovine; a new record-label affiliation (Iovine's Universal Records); a new time slot; lightning-round semifinals eliminations; even a lower age limit. This was "American Idol"?
Somehow, "Idol" didn't just survive; it thrived. The show's rebound in 2011 may have been boosted by the return of executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who had helmed the show during its glory years before leaving in 2008. Everyone involved experienced a career resurgence. J.Lo, whose career had been in semi-freefall after she was dropped from Sony Music, became a superstar again with top 10 hits and a new title: People's Most Beautiful Woman. Tyler became America's unlikely new sweetheart, with a hot-selling autobiography; a solo single featuring Nicole Scherzinger; and his expletive-riddled one-liners about little devils, paint chips, and unspeakable acts with waterfowl becoming national catchphrases.
But still, the real stars of Season 10 weren't the judges or producers; they were the contestants. The top 10 were a diverse and talented bunch, and five of them -- winner Scotty McCreery, runner-up Lauren Alaina, third-place dark horse Haley Reinhart, fourth-place rocker James Durbin, and pop diva Pia Toscano -- landed record deals.  McCreery's debut album in October broke all sorts of country-music sales records, proving that "Idol" was far from a fading franchise and could still produce bona fide stars. Alaina also fared well, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard chart. Durbin's first album came out the same day as his predecessor Chris Daughtry's third, and Reinhart placated impatient fans with an adorable "Baby It's Cold Outside" Christmas duet with her memorable "Moanin'" duet partner, Casey Abrams. Of course, Season 10 was far from perfect. Many viewers griped that the judges were toothless pushovers, telling the contestants they were need  "beautiful" and "in it to win it" when what they really needed was candid, constructive criticism. The season was packed with unjust eliminations -Abrams, Durbin, and powerhouse Toscano, in ninth place -- that had viewers crying foul, tossing accusations of vote tampering and complaining that voters were biased against female contestants.
But no "Idol" season is complete without juicy scandals and shockers. In every way, Season 10 delivered in spades. 

8. Jennifer Aniston

America's sweetheart Jennifer Aniston is enjoying her little cloud of search popularity floating at the top.  We love everything about her.  We want to know about her hair, her clothes, her apartment, her love life, her plans -- everything.  To us, she is anything but uninteresting, and we'll jump to her defense in the blink of a pretty blue eye. This year Jen kept us busy living vicariously through her glamorous life.  She found love, bought a lush new apartment in the Big Apple, released a new perfume, got a tattoo, made three movies and a viral video, and enjoyed the spotlight of red carpets and awards ceremonies.  And, of course, she changed her hair at least twice.
In February, fans were riveted when she cut off a few inches of her long, layered hair. And when she darkened it for her role in "Horrible Bosses," people started whispering about whether she was showing a bad-girl side.  The obsession with Jen's lovely locks is so great that when she wears two bobby pins it becomes breaking news.  While Jen as a whole ranks No. 7 in overall searches, her hair styles sit comfortably this year at No. 3 among celebrity hair style searches. Of course, the biggest buzz this year has been over her new, happy love life.  She's been dating screenwriter Justin Theroux ("Tropic Thunder," "Iron Man 2") since May, and the pair have been seen snuggling together in every tabloid this side of the grocery aisle.  Rumors started circulating in late summer about a possible pregnancy after she seemed extra voluptuous to some at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards. She quashed the rumors, stating that she had gained a little weight while quitting smoking. Some were still not satisfied, and lifted an eyebrow when they noticed the star was not finishing her drinks fast enough at certain galas. The actress impressed critics in 2011 when she diverged from the usual casting for her saucy role in "Horrible Bosses" as a sex-crazed, deranged dentist tormenting her assistant, played by Charlie Day.  In July, after back-to-back movie filming ("Just Go With It," "Horrible Bosses," and "Wanderlust"), the star announced that she is planning to take a bit of time off from acting to regroup and focus on other projects. So, who exactly helped promote her to the No. 7 search spot? As it turns out, she is just universally lovable.  The gender search divide is split 40/60 between women and men, respectively, and she is searched for fairly widely by people of all ages, though her highest percentage is 23 among her peers in the 35 to 44 age range. Jen's popularity keeps ticking along like the steady heartbeat of our love of Hollywood.  Sometimes it flies off the charts and sometimes it slows down a bit, but it's always there.  It's somewhat surprising that after a "decade of hotness," this is her first year breaking into our Top 10. 

9. Japan Earthquake

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan and lasted about five minutes. The temblor, registered as the largest to hit Japan and as the fourth largest in the world since 1900, unleashed ocean waves that reached all the way to the United States. The Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami registered a death toll exceeding 15,000, and it's uncertain what effects that radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors will have in the coming years. All this made the quake and tsunami among the most monitored online events of 2011. Natural disasters trigger Web searches on the degree of devastation. People looked up individual Japanese cities, towns, and landmarks: Fukushima emerged early as a place of concern. Videos just hinted at the calamity of water and fire that swept away entire towns. The 2004 Indian Ocean quake had been an appalling lesson in a tsunami's catastrophic power. For hours after Japan's earthquakes, searchers monitored the tsunami warnings issued throughout the Pacific. Many sought maps of the region to pinpoint not only the epicenter but also the waves that went out at 500 mph. Residents in coastal regions prepared for the real possibility of a tsunami coming to their shores. Japan's disaster also triggered general preparedness concerns at home. The quake also spurred research into past disasters in Haiti, Sumatra, Alaska, and Chile. As people discovered, much as the Chilean earthquake slightly shifted Earth's axis, the Tohoku quake shortened the day by 1.8 microseconds. Online focus shifted quickly to recovery, relief, and the ongoing potential nuclear disaster. Concerns about its effect on the world at large trended high, as did questions about other power plants around the world. Japan's own history with radiation exposure from World War II atomic bombs as well as other nuclear plant disasters resonated online. As the Fukushima crisis wore on for weeks, people sought answers to questions like "what does radiation do to the body," "thyroid," "how to protect yourself from radiation," "iodine tablets radiation," "Germany reactors," "Japan nuclear leak wind patterns," "Geiger counters," "California nuclear power plants on a map." Concern about the food chain persisted, and USA.gov set up a special page addressing such concerns.
The impulse to give was immediate. In addition to prayers, which also became a Twitter trending term, questions on how to help through rescue efforts and donations emerged on day one. The Chronicle of Philanthropy noted that donations lagged far behind those for Katrina and Haiti in the first seven days, although the unfolding storyline of nuclear disaster likely distracted people's attention. Also, unlike Haiti, Japan has a relatively strong independent infrastructure. Tellingly, concerns about the world economy pushed financial queries up after the quake, as market watchers tried to measure how the disaster would affect an already unstable global marketplace. The disaster did bring belated recognition for one selfless act: Searches for Hurricane Katrina surfaced, as news got around on how much Japan had been a leading donor to that U.S. disaster.
Inevitably, such calamities trigger a search for meaning -- in superstitions as well as science -- as people try to grapple with why such disasters occur.  In addition to lookups for "Nostradamus predictions" and "apocalypse," people looked into the supermoon phenomenon: On March 19, the moon made its closest sweep past Earth in 18 years. An astrologer had predicted on March 1 that lunar proximity would trigger storms, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami occurred two weeks before that supermoon. 

10. Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden didn't just top the list of the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists. The al-Qaida leader was already on the agency's Most Wanted Fugitive list when the attacks came on September 11, 2001, spurring the creation of a separate list.
His entry is notable for two things: one is minor; the other, confounding. His name is spelled "Usama," a not-so-straightforward consequence of transliteration vs. romanization that has made people wonder online, "Usama or Osama?" The second is that his suspected crimes, listed under "Caution," are the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed more than 200. Several other plots, including the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the White House, and the Pentagon, may be inferred from the single line, "Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world." As the head of the FBI's chief fugitive publicity unit said in 2001, "To be charged with a crime, this means we have found evidence to confirm our suspicions, and a prosecutor has said we will pursue this case in court."
Except there will be no trial. On May 1, 2011 -- four months shy of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 -- a Navy SEAL team penetrated bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killed him in a firefight. More details of that mission would surface in "SEAL Target Geronimo" by former SEAL commander Chuck Pfarrer, in which he wrote that the death of "Bert" -- the Sesame Street nickname for bin Laden; "Ernie" was his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri -- took 90 seconds. But on Monday, May 2, the day when most Americans woke up to the news of his death, all that was known -- and perhaps all that mattered at the moment -- was that the perpetrator of 9/11 was dead. Searches, some disbelieving, surged about the circumstances ("when was Osama killed," "when did bin Laden die," "is Osama really dead," "Obama speech bin Laden," "Navy SEALs kill bin Laden"). Others wanted proof of death ("pictures of Osama bin Laden dead body, "pictures of Osama bin Laden dead," "pictures of dead bin Laden," "pictures of Osama dead," "Osama dead body"). A few checked the FBI's Most Wanted List for a status update -- and sure enough, the red banner "Deceased" was there below his photograph. With news covering the military raid, the only question people really had left was regarding the "bin Laden mansion." The 38,000-square-foot, three-story house known locally as Waziristan Haveli wasn't palatial by American standards. It was worth about 20 million rupees, or $250,000, a "middling area" by Pakistani real estate standards. The compound was cluttered, its pantry shelves and refrigerator stocked with some Western brands like Nestle, Pepsi, and Coke. There was no Internet, no landline -- but, as the New York Times pointed out, it was "hardly the spartan cave in the mountains." The settings might not surprise his first wife, Najwa Ghanem, who, according to the book "The Looming Tower," had married bin Laden when he was a "rich Saudi teenager," but then had to live "life on the run, deprived, often in squalor." Speaking of his wife, of lesser interest was the "Osama bin Laden family," especially his wives, children, and the niece who had posed for GQ six years earlier and disowned any connection. Bin Laden, from a big family with 53 siblings and stepsiblings, was known to have at least six wives and 20 children. One of his sons, Khaled, died in the raid; another, 20-year-old Hamza, escaped.
The only thing left, besides the clamor over proof of death, would be his deep-sea burial. The USS Carl Vinson took his corpse -- washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and placed in a weighted bag -- and "eased" him into the North Arabian Sea after performing Islamic rites. If there would be a shrine, it would not be on any soil.


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