3 killed, over 130 injured in blasts at Boston Marathon

The two blasts occurred within seconds at a sidewalk along the route of the Boston Marathon, where thousands of people had lined up to cheer on the marathoners

At least three persons were killed and over 130 sustained injuries when two powerful explosions rocked the US city of Boston during the annual Boston Marathon.
The two blasts occurred within seconds at a sidewalk along the route of the Boston Marathon, where thousands of people had lined up to cheer on the marathoners.
The Boston Globe quoted law enforcement sources as saying that the dead included an eight-year-old boy. The injured are being treated at several local hospitals. The authorities also found a device at two other locations in the city, but they did not explode. 
FBI special agent in-charge Richard DesLauriers told reporters here that the investigation into the blasts is an “ongoing and criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation”.
After the incident, security across major US cities was beefed up and president Obama, describing the act as ‘senseless’, affirmed that the perpetrators “will feel the full weight of justice”.
Nearly 27,000 people were participating in the marathon which is held annually on the Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April, a state holiday in Massachusetts.
The blasts occurred as thousands of spectators lined the sidewalks to cheer on the runners. Several runners collapsed on the ground due to the impact of the blasts which tore through the windows of buildings nearby.
President Obama said those responsible are yet to be identified, and cautioned that “people should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts”.
“But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this and we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice,” Obama said.
Obama did not say whether the blasts were a terror attack.
Shortly after the blasts, a fire broke out at a local library, raising suspicion of a possible third blast.
However, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis later said that based on preliminary investigation, it came out that the incident at the library “may not have been an explosion (but) a fire”.
The police also did not specify whether the two blasts were an act of terror. They said they do not have any suspect in custody and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken over the investigation.
“We’re not being definitive, but you can draw your own conclusions,” Boston Police Chief Edward Davis told reporters at an initial press conference when asked if the explosions were a terrorist attack.
The FBI said its Boston division remains on the scene of the bombings.
“A multi-agency response, including state and federal law enforcement agencies, has been activated and is investigating the cause of the explosions along the Boston Marathon route and elsewhere. The FBI’s Boston division stands with the Boston Police Department and remains on-scene. The situation remains fluid and it remains too early to establish the cause and motivation,” the bureau said.
The area close to the finish line of the marathon is home to several of Boston’s restaurants, bars and popular tourist destinations.
After the incident, president Obama called up Boston mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, offering federal assistance in responding to the explosions.
Wall Street had its worst day this year after news of the Boston blasts filtered through in the last hour of trade. The S&P 500 posted its worst day in more than four months, down 2.8% to 1,552. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.8%, or 266 points, to 14,599. The Nasdaq Composite shed 2.4% to 3,216.


Looting Legitimately

Will SEBI-RBI Protect this Investor?

I n direct contrast to SEBI’s enthusiasm in the attempted-fraud, is the case of ML Sharma, a victim of gross mis-selling by his own bank. Mr Sharma’s manager at IndusInd Bank (Delhi) persuaded the 79-year old to invest Rs4 lakh in the product of a mutual fund house, DWS, which he was told was the Bank’s ‘Development of Wealth Scheme’—a fixed deposit. Mr Sharma was persuaded to break a fixed deposit, by waiving charges and transfer the money to this scheme. The manager went to his house to complete the formalities and helpfully offered to fill in the form details himself. Mr Sharma was delighted at the ‘service’ and fell for it. After all, most people trust their bankers implicitly. As our columnist Vivek Sharma has written, the DWS Hybrid Fixed Term Fund Series 10 Growth is a fixed term debt plan with no redemption for five years and only a market exit where liquidity is poor to non-existent.
Mr Sharma realised that he was cheated when he received his first statement. He complained to the Bank, which ignored him. He approached the banking ombudsman, who summarily dismissed the complaint because Mr Sharma had signed the investment document.

Now, here are a few important issues. Mis-selling of insurance and mutual fund products by bank managers is rampant and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is fully in the know of this practice. But this is a mutual fund, so SEBI’s standards ought to apply. Back in 2008, SEBI issued rules said that stockbrokers “owe their clients a duty to provide suitable investment advice in the best interest of the clients.” Independent financial advisors also have to ensure that people get the right advice, even if they don’t get to earn commissions. Only bank relationship managers continue to indulge in brazen mis-selling and con people into buying mutual funds, unit-linked insurance products and hybrid-derivative products on the promise of higher returns. SEBI, RBI and the insurance regulator have done nothing to prevent such cheating. People, like Mr Sharma, are hapless victims. Mr Sharma says, “I am a very old man with an ailing wife” and as a retiree from the private sector he lives on interest from savings. At the age of 79, he does not need a locked-in mutual fund scheme with uncertain returns. He is completely bewildered and shattered. His only mistake was to trust his banker, only to be cheated.

This targeted mis-selling to their own customers, that too hapless senior citizens, is far worse than breaking all the rules to help launder black money through the banking system. When the ombudsman dismisses such complaints without going into details, it is signalling to the banking industry that it is alright to pick the pockets of their own customers through deceit. More damagingly, it is telling people never to trust their bankers.


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