Eyewitness: Explosions “100 times louder than thunder”

By Esme E. Deprez, Drew Armstrong & Annie Linskey

Powerful explosions killed two and injured 23 near the finish of the Boston Marathon, police said.

The first blast near Copley Square caused a huge puff of white smoke and was followed by a smaller one. Police at the corner of Boylston Street and Clarendon Street said there were many casualties.

“There were two bombs that exploded near the finish line in today’s Boston Marathon,” according to statement on the race’s website. “We are working with law enforcement to understand what exactly has happened.”

President Barack Obama was notified of the attack and directed federal authorities to provide whatever assistance is needed, according to a White House statement.

The Boston Globe reported on its Twitter feed that police found other explosives, and a third blast was heard after the area was secured.

Phil Kirkpatrick, a 59-year-old from Nashville with blood on his jeans and shoes, said he was watching his girlfriend race when the explosions went off.

“I was standing just there and something blew up on the street,” he said. “There was a large explosion and a white flash. It blew us all back onto each other. It was so loud, I still can’t hear out of my right ear. I was crawling on the sidewalk, and my cell phone blew out of my hand. There were some really hurt people.”

He was taken a medical tent, and saw a man with his foot blown off.

Makeshift Bandages

Dan O’Gara was working at Marathon Sports, a running store on Boylston Street, next door to where an explosion went off and said three injured people were brought into the store with cuts on their arms and legs. Employees bandaged them with shirts.

“I took a peek out the window and I could see at least four or five people on the ground bleeding,” O’Gara said.

Walter Antos, of Boulder, Colorado, said the explosion about a block away was “100 times louder than thunder.”

Runners were directed off the course and not able to finish, he said.

After the blasts, athletes walking away from the race course began running again.

An online broadcast showed dozens of U.S. military personnel had been patrolling the route.

The marathon, first run in 1897, is considered the most prestigious in the U.S. It attracts about 20,000 runners each year, most of whom have met a qualifying standard in another race. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the women’s race; Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the men’s.

To contact the reporters on this story: Esme E. Deprez in New York at edeprez@bloomberg.net; Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net; Annie Linskey in Boston at alinskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

Courtesy: Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-15/two-explosions-reported-near-finish-line-at-boston-marathon.html

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Skyfall: Dead falcon sparks spying fears on Pakistan-India border

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JAIPUR: Indian security forces have found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera which has sparked alarm near the country’s highly militarised border with Pakistan, an official said Monday.

The carcass was discovered near the ancient fort city of Jaisalmer in the far west of the desert state of Rajasthan where the Indian armed forces regularly conduct drills and war games.

“It was fitted with some device and an antenna,” a senior Border Security Force officer stationed in the state told AFP by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Suspicions were initially that the bird might have been used for military spying, but the camera did not appear very sophisticated and it might instead have been the work of Pakistani hunters, the official said.

“However, the possibility of it being an espionage attempt from Pakistan cannot be ruled out at this stage,” he said, adding that an investigation was being carried out.

In 2010, Indian police detained a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an alleged spying mission.

Continue reading Skyfall: Dead falcon sparks spying fears on Pakistan-India border

Will the Japan trade deal revive globalization?

Japan Trade Deal May Revive Globalization

By the Editors

The U.S. and Japan agreed to terms last week allowing Japan to join talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another step toward creating the world’s most important free-trade initiative. The emerging pact has far- reaching implications for domestic policy in Japan and elsewhere, and could offer a new approach to global as well as regional trade liberalization.

Japan’s participation would widen the TPP to 12 members, accounting for 40 percent of global gross domestic product. The Japanese economy is bigger than all the other non-U.S. members combined. By taking part, Japan is making a commitment to long- overdue domestic economic change. Supply-side reform is one of the “three arrows” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised will revive Japan’s stagnant economy (the others are monetary stimulus and fiscal expansion). In the long term, it’s the one that matters most — and it’s the one that the TPP can provide.

Abe deserves much credit for pressing this part of his program so determinedly. Special interests, especially farming, have supported protectionism in Japan for years. (Rice farmers are shielded by tariffs approaching 800 percent.) The TPP will mobilize Japan’s manufacturing exporters, which will gain directly from the deal, as a countervailing political force.

Farmer Resistance

According to the government’s estimate, annual farm and marine production might decline by 3 trillion yen ($30.3 billion) under the TPP, though other sectors would expand more than twice as much, raising aggregate GDP by 3.2 trillion yen. That’s probably an underestimate, because the benefits would build over time. One independent study puts Japan’s potential gain at more than $100 billion a year (2 percent of GDP) by 2025. ….

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