Two bombs "exploded in the packed streets near the finish line" of the
Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people and injuring more than 80, according to Jimmy Golen of the AP. The two explosions "took place almost simultaneously" about 100 yards apart, "tearing limbs off numerous people, knocking
spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows
and sending smoke rising over the street." Two other explosive devices were found near the end of the course, a senior U.S. intelligence official said. President Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice." Authorities said there was no "immediate claim of responsibility" and no word "on the motive or who may have launched the attack" (AP, 4/15).
SECURITY REVIEW: In London, Gareth A. Davies wrote organizers of the Virgin London Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, "were quick to react" to the news, and "were immediately in consultation with the Metropolitan Police." Met Police Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry said: “We will be reviewing our security arrangements in partnership with London Marathon” (TELEGRAPH, 4/15). Also in London, O'Neill & O'Connor wrote that the Met and the security service "are confident that, in the wake of the operation to protect last year’s Olympic Games in London, they will be able to quickly adapt existing security plans to deal with any renewed terror threat" (LONDON TIMES, 4/15).
LONDON A TARGET: The London INDEPENDENT reported the city "has long been considered a top target for international terrorists" and the government said that the threat level is "substantial." A police spokesperson said that "the security presence may be increased." And a security official said there are"no credible or specific threats" against the London Marathon (INDEPENDENT, 4/15). In London, Francesca Infante wrote that London Marathon CEO Nick Bitel said the race will go on as planned. Bitel: "We will not be cancelling the event" (DAILY MAIL, 4/15).
The winners of next month’s French Open will receive a record €1.5M ($2M) each, "while early-round losers will get the biggest raise as the clay-court tennis major responds to player demands for more equal distribution of prize money," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. The Paris tournament "will pay the singles champions 20 percent more than last year, while first-round losers will get 17 percent more." The "biggest increase has been given to losers in the second, third and fourth rounds," who will all be paid 25% more. French Tennis Federation Dir General and Tournament Dir Gilbert Ysern said, "A better distribution of winnings guides our thinking on pay." Last year, the French Open "was the first of the four majors to change its distribution of prize money as it increased pay for the early rounds of the main draws as well as the qualifying tournament" (BLOOMBERG, 4/15). REUTERS' Julien Pretot reported organizers added that "the move was part of plans to boost the total prize money by a further" €10M ($13M) to €32M ($41.9M) by '16. In comparison, U.S. Open prize money will reach $33.6M this year and rise to $50M by '17, while Wimbledon prize money was more than £16M ($24.61M) in '12. This year's Australian Open prize money was A$30M ($31.31M) (REUTERS, 4/15). LE FIGARO reported the French Open winners, men's and women's, will pocket €1.5M each, against € 1.25M last year. Proportionally, "the most significant increase will benefit players who lose in the second, third and fourth rounds with a 25% increase" (LE FIGARO, 4/15).
A series of explosions in Bahrain "has raised security fears ahead of the kingdom’s premier international sporting event" -- this weekend's F1 Grand Prix motor race, according to Simeon Kerr of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The interior ministry said on Monday that "it would boost security after 'terrorists' ignited a gas canister in a car in the central commercial district of the capital late on Sunday." The blast outside the Bahrain Financial Harbour "was accompanied by three other explosions on the outskirts of the capital Manama, with the February 14 youth movement claiming responsibility for the attacks and pledging 'more operations'" (FT, 4/15). The BBC reported the explosion "occurred only a few hours after a press conference given" by Bahrain Information Affairs Minister Samira Rajab. She had described the situation in Bahrain as "very reassuring." She blamed foreign media for "blowing the security situation out of proportion." Rajab said, "There has been no major escalation of violence on the ground recently as the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix is drawing nearer." However, there "have been daily protests and one hundred have reportedly been arrested in connection with the race" (BBC, 4/15).
ECCLESTONE GIVES THUMBS UP: The BBC also reported F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said there is "no reason" why this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix should not go ahead. Ecclestone said, "There's no reason why [the race] shouldn't be [a success]." Asked about the demonstrations, he said: "What's happened? They're demonstrating now? I didn't know that. There's nobody demonstrating." The Bahrain authorities have promised "appropriate security measures" for the grand prix. Protestors said that "they see an opportunity to use the race to highlight what they say are injustices still being committed against them" (BBC, 4/15).
The Australian golf tour "is set to add an additional big-money tournament to its schedule later this year." Talks "are nearing completion for Victoria to also host prestigious biennial World Cup of Golf tournament, in which players represent their country." Prize money for the World Cup could potentially dwarf the A$2M ($2.06M) purse "on offer at the other Australian tournament, the Perth International" (AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, 4/15). ... ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 organizers have appointed Ticketek as the ticketing provider for the Int'l Cricket Council's flagship tournament, to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand in February and March '15. The ICC Cricket World Cup will be the biggest sporting event in the world in '15 (ICC). ... Fans of Borussia Dortmund are already forming a line for tickets to see the Champions League semifinal game against Real Madrid on April 24. The group of more than 100 people began camping Sunday at 5:30pm to be in position when the tickets go on sale Tuesday at 8:30am (AS, 4/15).