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Phuket Gazette World News: Bombs devastate Boston Marathon, killing 3

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Phuket Gazette World News: Bombs devastate Boston Marathon, killing 3 | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Bombs kill three people, wound dozens at Boston Marathon
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Two bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday, killing three people and injuring dozens, with some victims suffering amputations in what a White House official said would be handled as an “act of terror”.

It was the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and President Barack Obama promised to hunt down whoever was responsible for the attack on a day when tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets to watch the world-famous race.

No one has been arrested and the White House official said it would have to be determined whether the attack came from a foreign or a domestic source.

Video showed that many runners were heading for the finish when a fireball and smoke rose from behind cheering spectators and a row of flags representing the countries of the participants.

The cheers turned to screams and panic.

“I saw people who looked like they had their legs blown off. There was a lot of blood over their legs. Then people were being pushed in wheelchairs,” said Joe Anderson, 33, a fisherman from Pembroke, Massachusetts, who had just run the race holding a large U.S. flag.

A Rhode Island state trooper told The New York Times body parts littered the scene.

“These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” Roupen Bastajian said. “So many of them. There are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting. It’s like a war zone.”

Ambulances, fire trucks and dozens of police vehicles converged at the scene, and spectators could be seen crying and consoling each other.

The dead included an 8-year-old boy, the Boston Globe reported, citing two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation.

A 2-year-old was being treated with a head injury at Boston Children’s Hospital, the hospital said in a statement.

“It sounded like a sonic boom. I haven’t stopped shaking yet,” said Melissa Stanley, who watched her daughter cross the finish line four minutes before the explosions.

The blasts put police on alert in major cities across the United States, including Washington, D.C. and New York City, sites of the September 11 attacks.

Four Boston area-hospitals contacted by Reuters reported a total of at least 74 hurt. The Boston Globe reported more than 100 people were injured.

“These were powerful devices that resulted in serious injury,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told reporters.

About an hour after the 2:50 pm EDT (1:50am today, Phuket time) blasts in Boston’s Copley Square marred the usually joyous end to the marathon, and a fire erupted at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library three miles away, but no one was injured, police said. Authorities were uncertain whether the fire was related, Davis said.

In Washington, Obama told reporters, “Make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this.”

He said “any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, Homeland Security Department and other agencies were all investigating, authorities said.

Act of terror

Without knowing who perpetrated the attack, the White House said it was handling the incident as “an act of terror.”

“Any event with multiple explosive devices – as this appears to be – is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror,” a White House official said.

The two explosions were about 50 to 100 yards apart as runners crossed the finish line with a timer showing 4 hours and 9 minutes, some 9 minutes faster than the average finish time, as reported by Runner’s World magazine.

Spectators typically line the 26.2 mile race course, with the heaviest crowds near the finish line.

Mike Mitchell of Vancouver, Canada, a runner who had finished the race, said he was looking back at the finish line and saw a “massive explosion.”

Smoke rose 50 feet in the air, Mitchell said. People began running and screaming after hearing the noise, Mitchell said.

“Everybody freaked out,” Mitchell said.

The Boston Marathon has been held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April, since 1897. The event, which starts in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and ends in Boston’s Copley Square, attracts an estimated half-million spectators and some 20,000 participants every year.

Earlier on Monday, Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa and Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo won the men’s and women’s events, continuing African runners’ dominance in the sport.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled Monday night’s concert and the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins canceled their home game against the Ottawa Senators. The Boston Red Sox had completed their Major League Baseball game at Fenway Park before the explosions.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Environment

Second death in China from virus concerns officials with the CNY holidays looming

The Thaiger

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Second death in China from virus concerns officials with the CNY holidays looming | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Five patients remain in serious condition in Wuhan - New York Times

“At least 41 people have now been diagnosed as being infected this latest flu-like strain.”

Medical officials in China’s Wuhan city have announced that another man had died after being infected by the new coronavirus strain. Thailand and Japan have now reported new cases of a the Chinese Coronavirus that has already killed two and infected at least 40 in China. There are growing concerns about the spread of the virus beyond Chinese ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays. Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 25 this year but many Chinese, and people of Chinese ethnicity, travel before and after this date, including trips over seas.

The Chinese man, reported to be aged 69, was admitted to a Wuhan hospital on December 31 with “abnormal renal function”. The man died from pneumonia linked to the new strain of the coronavirus outbreak in the central China province.

Chinese scientists identified the illness as a new strain of coronavirus, which is in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Symptoms of coronaviruses can range from fever and coughing to kidney failure, and in some cases lead to death.

At least 41 people have now been diagnosed as being infected this latest flu-like strain, earlier called the “Wuhan Flu”, and now referred to as Chinese Coronavirus.

Five patients still remain in a serious condition. Chinese medical officials state that no cases of human-to-human transmission of the new viral strain have been confirmed so far.

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Crime

2 more alleged call centre scam suspects arrested in Japan

Greeley Pulitzer

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2 more alleged call centre scam suspects arrested in Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Japanese suspects arrested during a raid in Chon Buri in late March 2019

Two men arrested in Japan yesterday stand accused of operating a large-scale call centre scam based in Thailand, bringing the total number of arrests in the case to 28. Japanese police believe 36 year old Kengo Yasutake and 34 year old Shimpei Hirata operated a luxury home in Pattaya, where a team of Japanese men would call people across Japan and tell them their subscription fees for a website were overdue.

Police say the gang has tricked more than 200 people and collected a total of more than 55 million baht. Fifteen Japanese men have already been arrested by Thai police last March at another luxury house location, also in Chon Buri province, and Japanese investigators arrested more in May 2019 as they attempted to leave Thailand for Japan.

Investigators say the group had a well-organised division of labour conducting the scam, with individual members making phone calls, cashing swindled electronic gift cards and as managing the scam web site.

They were arrested on suspicion of scamming a woman and two others living in the city of Fukui, central Japan, alleging in an email that they had failed to pay website subscription fees, and coercing them into purchasing electronic gift cards worth a total 780,000 yen, or about 215,000 baht.

SOURCE: Japan Times
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Well-Being

First ‘China coronavirus’ case confirmed in Japan

Greeley Pulitzer

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First ‘China coronavirus’ case confirmed in Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The first case of the 'Wuhan Flu' identified in Japan - The Economist

As Thailand’s airports continue screening passengers arriving from China, Japan has confirmed its first case of the new China coronavirus that has killed one and attracted a travel alert from the US State Department. The patient, a man from Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo, had recently visited the Chinese city of Wuhan, where an outbreak of a pneumonia strain is believed to be caused by the new coronavirus.

The US State Department issued a warning on Wednesday about travel to the Wuhan region in China, citing an alert by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which urges citizens travelling in the region to avoid contact with animals, animal markets or animal products, among other precautions.

Health authorities in Thailand announced on Wednesday they are stepping up screening of passengers arriving by air ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, when 800,000 Chinese tourists are expected to head for the Kingdom.

Though there has been no known human-to-human transmission, the World Health Organisation says the new virus could spread and is warning hospitals worldwide. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, aka. SARS. Some of the virus types cause less serious disease, while some, like the one that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), are far more severe.

The Japanese patient returned from Wuhan and was hospitalised with a fever. He was released yesterday after the symptoms subsided.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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