Chatter: Boston's marathon terror




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Crossing the finish line, into terror. Investigators are hunting for clues as to what – and who – caused the two explosions at the Boston Marathon yesterday that left three people dead and at least 140 injured.

While President Barack Obama was careful not to call the blasts an act of terrorism, the FBI has taken over the investigation as a "potential terrorist inquiry." Early this morning officers searched an apartment in a northern Boston suburb, where they were seen removing several bags and other items for closer examination.

We'll know more when the FBI gives a press conference later this morning. We already have enough details to sense the scale of the horror: the limbs lost. The Newtown parents watching another tragedy unfold. The 8-year-old boy killed just after he'd watched his dad complete the race. No one has yet claimed responsibility for these things, but when they do, Obama promised, they will feel "the full weight of justice."


Another Iranian earthquake. Seismologists are reporting a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Iran, less than a week after the 6.3-magnitude quake that killed 37 people and injured more than 850 near the southwest city of Bushehr.

Today's tremor occurred near the border with Pakistan and was felt all over the Middle East, even as far away as the Indian capital, Delhi. The damage, when it's counted, is expected to be great.

Chopper down near North Korea. A US Marine helicopter has crashed near South Korea's border with the North, for reasons that remain unclear. The cargo aircraft was taking part in joint military drills with South Korean forces when it made what US officials described as a "hard landing" around 55 miles north of Seoul.

All 21 people on board survived, though five remain in hospital. The military says it's investigating and will release more information when it has it. Meanwhile the joint exercises – the same that have drawn so much of North Korea's ire – as far as we know, continue.

Like we say, things are less than pacific in the Pacific. And China says all these war games are only making things worse. In a white paper published today, the Chinese Defense Ministry claims that efforts by "some countries" to boost their military presence in the Asia Pacific is obstructing regional peace and stability. Psst: they're talking about you, America.

The so-called "pivot to Asia," which has seen the US send in extra troops, ships and planes to show how it looks after its allies, has "frequently made the situation tenser," according to China. Beijing has long suspected that the US policy was not about friendship, but keeping the growing Chinese military in check. China's forces, naturally, would "never seek hegemony," the Defense Ministry said; though they will defend China's sovereignty and territory "resolutely."


You (don't) autocomplete me. A court in Japan has ordered Google to switch off its autocomplete function after a man successfully ordered that the search engine's automatically generated suggestions were harming his chances of getting a job. Why? Because he happens to share his name with a criminal, whose less than illustrious resumé comes up even before you've hit "Search."

Google maintains that it's not invasion of privacy if the thing doing the invading is a non-thinking searchbot, and has ignored previous court orders to de-link the defamatory terms. As for this latest request, the gatekeeper to the internet says it's "studying the ruling."