Last Call: Boston Bombing Aftermath
Five More Explosive Devices Found in Boston, Counterterrorism Officials Say/WSJ: In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon explosions, counterterrorism officials have found what they believe to be five additional, undetonated explosive devices around the Boston area. The devices -- which are in addition to the two that exploded near the finish line of the marathon -- were discovered over the course of a frantic inspection of suspicious packages. Each had been rendered inoperative or was in the process of being rendered inoperative.
Security beefed up worldwide after Boston blasts/AP: "Police in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Washington and other cities worldwide stepped up security Monday following explosions at the Boston Marathon."
Two US nuke plants tighten security after blasts/AP: "Nuclear power plants in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have increased security after two bombs exploded in Boston on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens. The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the Seabrook Station in Seabrook, New Hampshire, heightened checks of vehicles, materials and individuals entering the plants. Pilgrim, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Boston, was already shut down for refueling when the explosions occurred. Seabrook is about 45 miles (72.4 kilometers) north of Boston in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Eliot Brenner, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said federal officials have not ordered changes in security at other US nuclear reactors in the wake of the Boston explosions.
Technology Aiding in Boston Response/WSJ: "Technology services are becoming a digital helping hand to people affected by the Boston explosions. In response to the explosions at the Boston Marathon, Google's philanthropic arm activated "Person Finder," a digital message board and registry for people affected by natural disasters or other crises. As of 6 p.m. ET Monday, the Person Finder website said it was tracking about 1,800 records of people looking for someone they can't track down, or of people looking to pass on information they have about affected people in the Boston area. Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Google Person Finder has been activated in disasters, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 earthquake and nuclear accident in Japan. As is now commonplace in the wake of major events or crises, Twitter and Facebook have become digital timelines of eyewitness accounts, photos and video from the scenes of the Boston explosions. Topsy, a service that analyzes Twitter posts, showed a spike of more than 1.5 million tweets mentioning the term "Boston" just after 4:30 p.m. ET, about an hour and a half after the explosions happened and news of the incidents had gone viral. … Boston.com, affiliated with the New York Times's Boston Globe newspaper, also has created online spreadsheets to connect people who need a place to stay in the Boston area with people who are willing to accommodate those who need it. Boston-area authorities have limited road travel in the area, and some out-of-towners have reported they can't access their hotels. A spokeswoman for the New York Times didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
'Terror' word debated in Boston blasts/Politico: "In the wake of Monday's explosions following the Boston Marathon, politicians were parsing their words carefully on whether to call the event "terrorism." President Barack Obama did not refer to the blasts in Boston as a terrorist attack in his speech to the nation, though a senior White House official and other lawmakers did characterize the incident as such."
Wireless woes in Boston/Politico: "The aftermath of the deadly explosions that ripped through the Boston Marathon on Monday overwhelmed wireless networks, which struggled to complete calls and process messages. Contrary to initial reports from The Associated Press and elsewhere, law enforcement did not shut down the system to prevent another detonation by wireless device. The AP later retracted that claim. Still, congestion proved debilitating for many wireless users trying to contact loved ones. At one point, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency offered a plea over Twitter: "If you are trying to reach friends or family and can't get through via phone, try [texting] instead (less bandwidth)." An FCC spokeswoman said the agency is working with the Department of Homeland Security and top wireless carriers to address the difficulties. Some of the nation's largest wireless carriers acknowledged disruptions."
North Korea issues new military threats on founder's birthday/Reuters: "North Korea made new threats of military action on Monday as the reclusive nation celebrated the anniversary of its founder's birth, stoking tension on the peninsula with a new "ultimatum" to South Korea in the stand-off over its nuclear program. The latest statement from Pyongyang followed threats of nuclear attacks on the United States, South Korea and Japan, after new U.N. sanctions were imposed in response to the North's latest nuclear test in February. "Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now," North Korea's state news agency KCNA said on Monday, noting actions would "start immediately." The statement was issued by KCNA after signs that Pyongyang may be presenting a less warlike stance on the "Day of the Sun," the date the North's founder Kim Il-Sung was born."
Big U.S. corporate takeovers drive "Merger Monday/Reuters: "The more than $52 billion worth of deals announced on Monday morning made it the busiest "merger Monday" this year, as two large U.S. corporate takeovers underscored increasing CEO interest in pursuing transformational transactions to boost growth and cut costs. Dish Network Corp, the No. 2 U.S. satellite television provider, made a $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel Corp, challenging the proposed acquisition of Sprint by Japan's SoftBank Corp, while Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc struck a $13.6 billion deal to buy Life Technologies Corp. Meanwhile, U.S. investment firm Royalty Pharma sweetened its bid for Irish drugmaker Elan Corp Plc to as much as $7.3 billion, formalizing its initial approach.The day's slew of announced transactions brought the value of global mergers and acquisitions so far this year to $650.2 billion, up 14.5 percent from $568.1 billion during the same period in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data."
Gold Plunges as Fears Over Inflation Fade/WSJ: "Gold posted its biggest one-day percentage drop in 30 years Monday as new signs of a global economic slowdown emerged and fears diminished that central banks' easy-money policies would stoke inflation. Gold futures for April delivery fell $140.40, or 9.4%, Monday to a two-year low at $1,360.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. That extended their bear-market descent of more than 20% from their 2011 all-time high. Since Thursday, gold prices have declined by more than $203 an ounce, a record skid since the futures began trading in the U.S. in 1974."
Ergen Serves Up Sprint on a Dish/WSJ – "Charlie Ergen has tossed the chessboard of telecom-sector consolidation in the air. Dish Network, where Mr. Ergen is chairman, launched an unsolicited $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel on Monday, topping Softbank's plan to buy 70% of Sprint for $20.1 billion. On the face of it, Dish's offer of $4.76 in cash and about $2.24 in stock per Sprint share looks a better deal for Sprint shareholders. It represents a 13% premium to Sprint's closing price Friday. Dish forecasts synergies and growth opportunities worth $37 billion in net present value, including an estimated $11 billion in cost savings. Dish can also give Sprint something some in the wireless business consider more precious than money: swaths of spectrum. Softbank brings none. In addition, Dish has already made a separate offer of $3.30 a share for Clearwire, which owns yet more spectrum. Sprint owns 51% of Clearwire and wants to buy the remainder for $2.97 a share. Dish's proposal for Sprint includes buying Clearwire for $2.97 a share; Dish has also been buying Clearwire's debt. But just because Dish-Sprint would have the spectrum doesn't mean it would necessarily have the wherewithal to invest in its network. For Dish, which has a market value of $16.7 billion, buying the larger Sprint would require taking on considerable debt. Dish says the combined company will have $43.8 billion in net debt after buying Clearwire, equivalent to 4.7 times pro forma earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization."
Dish's $25.5 billion Sprint bid may force others to act/Reuters: "…BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said Dish's move could trigger other deals. "Everything should be on the table when you have a major movement like this when a major player in one part of the business is buying a major player in another part of the business as a combined entity," said Piecyk. "If you are a competitor and you don't make a move, it's a lost opportunity," Piecyk said, referring to other telecommunications and video companies that offer some - but not all - of what a combined Dish and Sprint would offer. Other analysts agreed that the combination of Dish and Sprint could change the wireless market. "The idea that Dish can take this huge spectrum holding and pretty quickly put it to use as a mobile services product really adds a new competitor element to the landscape," said Bill Menezes, principal research analyst at Gartner."
U.S. Uses Wartime Law to Push Cases Into Overtime/WSJ: "The Justice Department is testing a novel argument to extend the clock in bringing cases of financial wrongdoing: We're at war. Federal law typically gives prosecutors five years to bring charges after an alleged crime. But the Justice Department is under pressure from some in Congress to bring more cases, and handicapped by a shortage of resources it is turning to obscure laws dating to the World War II era and to the savings-and-loan crisis to buy itself more time. Prosecutors in Manhattan sued banking giant Wells Fargo & Co. in December for allegedly defrauding the Federal Housing Administration out of hundreds of millions of dollars by writing bogus loans and then concealing them from government guarantors. The statute of limitations had run out on much of the alleged wrongdoing. But the government said the usual time constraints don't apply because a 1948 law called the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act gives prosecutors unlimited time to go after alleged fraud during times of war. And the U.S., they argued, is currently at war—in Afghanistan."
Micky's Mea Culpa: Carnival CEO to Refund US Taxpayers/CNBC – Simon Hobbs – "Billionaire Micky Arison is offering to refund U.S. taxpayers the cost of the Navy and Coast Guard's assistance with two of Carnival's highest-profile marine incidents. In a statement, Carnival said it's in the process of voluntarily submitting payment to the Treasury reimbursing the federal government for costs related to the drifting of the Triumph in February of this year and the Pacific Ocean stranding of the Splendor in 2010. These costs have previously been estimated at $780,000 and $3.4 million, respectively. Carnival points out that no agencies have requested remuneration. But the move comes after a direct appeal from the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Sen. Jay Rockefeller accused Arison of "bloodsucking off the American people" for not covering the costs of rushing to the aid of Carnival's 90 marine mishaps in the last five years."