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Tens of thousands of runners, cheered by a multitude of spectators, set off through the streets of Boston Monday to reclaim the world's oldest marathon from the fear left by last year's deadly twin bombing. More than 3,500 police, double the size of the force last year, and multiple government security agencies are keeping watch to prevent any replay of the ghastly carnage that devastated the race on April 15, 2013 when two explosive devices tore through the crowds at the finish line. This year we come back more and better than ever," said Amby Burfoot, the 1968 winner who is running again at age 67 after being kept from finishing the 2013 race because of the attack. "The people of Boston -- they will be there twice as many, twice as loud," he said.
By Alexander Dziadosz BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria announced a presidential election for June 3 on Monday, preparing the ground for Bashar al-Assad to defy widespread opposition and extend his grip on power, days after he said the civil war was turning in his favor. Western and Gulf Arab countries that back Assad's opponents have called plans for an election a "parody of democracy" and said it would wreck efforts to negotiate a peace settlement. United Nations-backed talks in Geneva collapsed in February with both sides far from agreement - not least over the question of whether Assad should go. Monzer Akbik of the Western-backed National Coalition opposition group, told Reuters the election was a sign Assad was unwilling to seek a political solution to the conflict.