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Athletics world shocked by Boston Marathon attack

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Distance running greats Haile Gebrselassie and Paula Radcliffe were among those stunned by the twin blasts that left at least two dead and dozens injured at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

“Horrified to hear news of bomb explosion near Boston marathon finish,” Britain’s Radcliffe said on Twitter before the extent of the damage was known.

“Situation looks awful, thoughts with everyone,” the fastest women’s marathoner in history added later. “There are some very sick people out there, who would do something like this?”

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Ethiopia’s Gebrselassie deplored what marathon organizers said was a bomb attack, although law enforcement officials did not immediately confirm the cause of the explosions.

“Running brings people together, but what just happened in Boston is terrible,” he said on Twitter. “My thoughts are with everybody in Boston.”

Race organizers said on Facebook that “two bombs” exploded near the finish line, without providing a source for the information.

“We are working with law enforcement to understand what exactly has happened,” the Boston Athletic Association said.

Elite race winners Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya had already donned the traditional olive wreaths awarded the victors of the venerable race and departed when the explosions sent terrified runners, spectators and event workers fleeing.

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Police did not immediately say whether the explosions were part of a terrorist attack, but marathon organizers said it was a twin bombing and media outlets reported that other unexploded devices had been found nearby.

“Very sad news about Boston, thinking of everyone whos been affected by it,” Tweeted British Paralympic athlete David Weir, a six-time winner of the wheelchair division of the London Marathon and a multiple gold medallist at the Paralympic Games.

Joel Laine, head of the Paris Marathon which passed off peacefully earlier this month, told AFP he feared the explosions would have a chilling effect on the runners scheduled to compete in the London Marathon on Sunday.

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“There will be without doubt a climate of suspicion for a good while surrounding these type of events. I am thinking notably of the London Marathon,” Laine said. “I am thinking of the anxiety this will instill in the competitors and their families.”

London Marathon organisers said they would review their security arrangements, but chief executive Nick Bitel said the race would go on.

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“Our immediate thoughts are with the people there and their families. It is a very sad day for athletics and for our friends and colleagues in marathon running,” Bitel said, later telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “We will not be cancelling, what we are doing, we are reviewing.”

The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world, first organized by the Boston Athletic Association in 1897 in the wake of the first modern-day marathon competition at the 1896 Olympics.

Nowadays the event is one of six World Marathon Majors, attracting elite racers from around the world as well as thousands of recreational runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators.

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Traditionally held on the third Monday of April, Massachusetts’ Patriots’ Day state holiday, the race features a demanding course highlighted by “Heartbreak Hill” — a relatively modest rise that nevertheless challenges contestants because of its position late in the 26.2 mile race.

US sports agencies were quick to offer sympathy to all affected.

“The Boston Marathon is one of this country’s great events and the BAA is one of this sport’s finest organizations,” USA Track & Field chief executive Max Siegel said.

“Runners across the country are coming together with all Americans and the people of Boston to support one another during this difficult day.”

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The shock wasn’t limited to the athletics world.

“Prayers goes out to those involved/hurt in Boston Marathon,” NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted. “WTF is wrong with people man. Just sad”.


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Julian Assange in UK court outburst over distance from lawyers

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday briefly disrupted his extradition hearing in Britain to complain about being forced to sit away from his lawyers.

The 48-year-old Australian stood up and launched an impromptu courtroom address from inside the glass-panelled dock of the court during the third day of the hearing, being held in southeast London.

"I can't speak to my lawyers with any proper confidentiality," he complained, noting microphones near the dock could pick up conversations.

"I can't ask, I can't instruct them," added Assange, wearing a grey blazer and a sweater over a collared shirt and seated between two guards.

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Google pledges new $10 billion investment in US in 2020

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Google said Wednesday it would invest more than $10 billion in US offices and data centers in 2020, including its new campus planned for New York City and projects in 10 other states.

The pledge comes on top of some $22 billion invested by the US tech giant unit over the past two years.

"These investments will create thousands of jobs -- including roles within Google, construction jobs in data centers and renewable energy facilities, and opportunities in local businesses in surrounding towns and communities," said a blog post by Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google parent Alphabet.

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Devin Nunes’ income called into question as watchdog asks for investigation of his finances

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According to a report from the Fresno Bee,the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center is requesting a federal investigation into whether U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) is receiving legal services in violation of House ethics rules.

Over the past year, the conservative Republicans has launched a handful of lawsuits against critics -- including the McClatchy newspaper chain and a person on Twitter purporting to be one of his cows.

According to the Bee, "The complaint says Nunes appears to be in 'blatant violation of House rules,' because he would have trouble paying for all these lawsuits solely from his congressional salary of $174,000 per year. The group argues he’d only be able to pay if he received legal services for free, at a discounted rate, or based on a contingency fee, meaning the lawyer would get compensated from Nunes’ winnings if he prevails in his lawsuits."

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