Sri Lanka's president has asked for the resignations of the defense secretary and national police chief, a dramatic internal shake-up after security forces shrugged off intelligence reports warning of possible attacks before Easter bombings that killed over 350 people, the president's office said Wednesday. It wasn't immediately clear who would be replacing them, but President Maithripala Sirisena said during a televised speech Tuesday that he planned to change the head of the defense forces within 24 hours. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which struck Christians worshipping in three churches and people at three luxury hotels.
Ukraine leapt into the unknown Monday after comedian Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president on promises of change but with just a vague blueprint of what he might do as leader. Zelensky, whose previous political experience was playing the president on a TV show, crushed incumbent Petro Poroshenko in a stinging rebuke to the establishment fuelled by voters' anger over war with separatists and social injustice. Ukrainians looked to the future with hope and anxiety after the performer took 73 percent of the vote on Sunday, according to nearly complete official results.
Saudi Arabia will coordinate with other crude producers to ensure that adequate supplies are available and the market “does not go out of balance,” Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said, after the U.S. ended waivers for buyers of Iranian oil. The Saudis are closely monitoring oil-market developments after the U.S. announcement regarding export sanctions on Iran, Al-Falih said in a statement. In the next few weeks, the Kingdom will be consulting closely with other producing countries and key oil consuming nations to ensure a well-balanced and stable oil market, for the benefits of producers and consumers as well as the stability of the world economy.
Iran's parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to "terrorist actions" by U.S. forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington's blacklisting of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards. President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on U.S. forces. Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism.
Washington is expected to become the first state to legalize an environmentally-friendly burial alternative that turns bodies into soil within weeks. A bill allowing “natural organic reduction," sometimes called "human composting," has passed the legislature and is headed to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee's desk. Inslee, who has staked his 2020 presidential campaign on climate change, is reviewing the bill.
Two teenage neo-Nazis, linked to a group that called Prince Harry a "race traitor" for marrying Mehgan Markle, are facing jail after admitting terror charges. Polish national, Michal Szewczuk, 19, admitted two counts of encouraging terrorism and five of possessing documents that could be useful to a terrorist, when he appeared at the Old Bailey. The charges relate to a neo-Nazi group called the Sonnenkrieg Division, which posted extreme racist material on the GAB social media platform.
Major Chinese automaker Geely has launched a sub-brand it's calling Geometry. The electric Geometry A is the first production model, and Geely says it's got the Tesla Model 3 in its sights. Tesla might be struggling with bringing the long-promised $35,000 version of the Model 3 to market, but Chinese automaker Geely is suffering from no such problems with the Geometry A, the first production car from what is set to be a wider EV sub-brand.
Now two Google employees, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, are alleging that Google is retaliating against them and other employee activists. “Google has a culture of retaliation, which too often works to silence women, people of color, and gender minorities,” reads a letter from Whittaker, Stapleton and 10 other employees that was published internally on Monday and seen by the Guardian. Stapleton, a nearly 12-year veteran at Google, wrote that two months after the walkout, she was demoted, had a previously approved project cancelled, and was “told to go on medical leave, even though I'm not sick”.
NASA's Mars rovers have provided breathtaking images from the surface of Mars for many years, but listening to Mars is a whole other story. The InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in late 2018, is designed to listen closely to the inner workings of the planet, and it may have just nailed a huge milestone. In a new blog post, NASA reveals what appears to be a recording of audio from the first Marsquake observed by the lander.
The Gomez family gathered Tuesday to say a final farewell to five loved ones — a son, a daughter-in-law and three young grandsons — brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo's St. Joseph's Shrine. "All family, all generation, is lost," said Joseph Gomez, the family patriarch, as tears welled in his eyes. Dozens of family members and neighbors were gathered in his simple home, where the sound of hymns sung by mourners gently wafted in the background and candles flickered beside three coffins.
Turkish police on Monday were holding six people, including a member of the ruling AKP party, after a mob attack on opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu that sparked widespread criticism. Kilicdaroglu, 70, of the Republican People's Party (CHP) was assaulted on Sunday in a crowd as he attended a funeral in Ankara for a soldier killed fighting Kurdish militants in the southeast. The attack came days after the opposition CHP won Ankara and Istanbul from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP in March 31 local elections, seen as a major setback for the ruling party after a decade-and-a-half in power.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's new student-loan forgiveness plan includes specific policies that would help black and Latino students, two groups that tend to carry disproportionately high levels of educational debt. Her proposal, which is estimated to cost $1.25 trillion over a decade, creates a minimum $50 billion fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and minority-serving institutions to help close gaps in per-student spending. It would also prohibit public colleges from considering citizenship status or criminal history in admission decisions.
President Donald Trump said he won't nominate Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board after opposition from his own Republican party appeared to sink the former pizza company executive's hopes for Senate confirmation. “My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board,” the president said in a tweet on Monday. My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.
PIJIJIAPAN, Mexico – Central American migrants hoping to reach the U.S. are finding a much tougher trek than those in previous caravans, meeting unwelcoming townsfolk and a surprise raid by Mexican police and immigration agents who detained hundreds in Mexico's south. While their compatriots were been taken into custody Monday, hundreds of other migrants scrambled away into the brush along the highway in Chiapas state to elude authorities. Many had already learned they would not be received in towns with the same hospitality that greeted previous caravans, and now they know they won't be safe walking along the rural highway either.
INDIANAPOLIS - It's been more than two years since the Delphi murders, when the bodies of Indiana teens Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, were discovered near a wooded creek. The deaths of Abby and Libby horrified people in Indiana and around the world. The emotional toll on the Delphi community has been overwhelming.
PG&E Corp can pay employees up to $350 million in bonuses this year to spur them to help meet the bankrupt California power provider's safety goals to prevent wildfires, a judge said on Tuesday. PG&E's management has said the company needs to implement the bonus plan to carry out tasks such as clearing trees and branches around power lines to avert contact that triggers wildfires. While the maximum cost of the plan is $350 million, PG&E has said it expects the likely cost will be around $235 million.
On Tuesday, the Islamic State (also known as IS or ISIS) confirmed what the world already suspected when it claimed responsibility for Sunday's devastating blasts across Sri Lanka, which killed over 300 and injured over 500. A communique, released shortly after an initial report of responsibility by ISIS news agency 'Amaq, was heavy in detail, identifying seven attackers and which locations each of them struck across churches, hotels, and housing in Sri Lanka's Batticaloa, Colombo, Dematagoda, and Negombo areas. 'Amaq released a video minutes afterward of the attackers pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi together, led by suspected attack “mastermind” Moulvi Zahran Hashim. The attacks—and ISIS' response—provide a troubling demonstration of how ISIS' global network is adapting to its losses in Iraq and Syria, how its media machine thrives amid those setbacks, and how the group is willing to adjust its own playbook to justify an attack.
Japan on Tuesday dropped the push to apply "maximum pressure" on North Korea from its official foreign policy, an apparent softening of Tokyo's position as major powers engage with Pyongyang. In last year's "Diplomatic Bluebook", published when tensions on the Korean peninsula were soaring, Japan said it was coordinating efforts with its allies to "maximise pressure on North Korea by all available means." But this language was dropped from this year's edition, drawn up after diplomats had "taken comprehensively into account the latest developments surrounding North Korea", according to chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.
Walgreens has decided to raise its minimum age for tobacco sales several weeks after a top federal official chastised the drugstore chain for violating laws restricting access to cigarettes and other tobacco products. Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said Tuesday that it will require customers to be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco in any of its more than 9,500 stores nationwide. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in March that Walgreens was a top violator of tobacco sales laws among pharmacies that sell those products.
President Donald Trump's decision Monday to end six-month waivers from U.S. sanctions for five countries that have continued buying Iranian oil — the latest turn of the screw in his Administration's “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran — was met with predictable outrage from Tehran. In response to the sanctions, Greece, Italy and, Taiwan had stopped buying Iranian oil, but China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey have continued to import Iranian oil. The economic pressure has reduced Iranian oil exports from more than 2.5 million barrels a day to less than 1 million, discouraged foreign investment, and sent the value of Iran's currency plummeting and inflation soaring.
NASA's robotic probe InSight has detected and measured what scientists believe to be a "marsquake," marking the first time a likely seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California reported on Tuesday. The breakthrough came five months after InSight, the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its two-year seismological mission on the red planet. The faint rumble characterized by JPL scientists as a likely marsquake was recorded on April 6, the lander's 128th Martian day, or sol.
Cardi B, charged with multiple counts of assault and reckless endangerment in connection with a brawl in a Queens strip club last summer, appeared in court in New York on Friday and rejected a plea deal that would have kept her out of jail. The Queens District Attorney's Office said the platinum-selling and Grammy-winning rapper rejected a deal that would have allowed her to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count and be released under certain conditions instead of serving time in jail. It was not clear why she rejected the deal.
A New York college student filed a lawsuit against Apple for $1 billion, claiming the company's alleged use of facial recognition software in its stores falsely linked him to a series of Apple store thefts. Ousmane Bah, 18, claims that he received a summons from a court in Boston saying that he stole $1,200 worth of Apple products in 2018, according to papers filed on Monday in Manhattan federal court. On the day of one of the thefts in Boston, Bah was attending his senior prom in Manhattan, according to the court documents.