Suicide Bombings in Sri Lanka: ‘A river of blood’
Soldiers shut down roads across Sri Lanka, social media platforms were blocked and a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed after a series of coordinated bombings ripped across the country on Easter Sunday at Roman Catholic churches and at high-end hotels frequented by foreigners.
Nearly 300 people were killed and hundreds more injured. At least 27 of the dead were foreigners, including American, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese nationals, according to officials and news reports.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility. But 10 days earlier, a top police official had warned government security officials of possible suicide attacks at churches by National Thowheeth Jama’at, a group that aims to spread Islamic terrorist ideology. The police have arrested 24 people in connection with the bombings.
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the messaging services Viber and WhatsApp were inaccessible. A government official said the platforms were blocked to prevent the spread of misinformation about the attacks and hate speech that could inspire more violence.
Context: Christians were a primary target in the bombings, and their faith has been increasingly under attack by militants and politicians across South and Southeast Asia.
Scrutiny for Boeing’s Dreamliner
Workers at a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina have complained of defective manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure not to report violations.
There is no evidence that the problems have led to major safety incidents. But faulty parts have been installed in planes. Tools and metal shavings have been left inside jets, often near electrical systems. Aircraft have taken test flights with debris in an engine and a tail, risking failure.
A Times investigation found a culture at the 10-year-old plant that often valued production speed over quality, echoing broader concerns about Boeing in the wake of two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max.
How we know: Reporters reviewed hundreds of pages of internal emails, corporate documents and federal records, and interviewed more than a dozen current and former employees.
Response: “Boeing South Carolina teammates are producing the highest levels of quality in our history,” Kevin McAllister, Boeing’s head of commercial airplanes, said in a statement.
U.S. divided by Mueller report
Parallel interpretations of the report by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, have played out since its release on Thursday, as Democrats and allies of President Trump battle for control over the narrative of the report’s conclusions. Here’s the report, in searchable form.
On Sunday morning talk shows, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and other Trump aides claimed vindication for the president.
Democrats have focused on the culture of deceit in the White House, the Trump campaign’s welcoming of help from Russian actors, and Mr. Trump’s failed efforts to have aides fire Mr. Mueller.
A comedian ousts the Ukrainian president
Volodymyr Zelensky, best known for playing the role of an accidental president on television, easily won the real-life election for president in Ukraine on Sunday, according to exit polling.
Zelensky, a 41-year-old comic actor who has never held public office, won more than 70 percent of the vote, a decisive victory over the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who conceded.
Calls for change: Many voters said they had supported Mr. Zelensky because they wanted to punish Mr. Poroshenko for deflating the hopes raised by Ukraine’s 2014 revolution and for doing little to combat corruption.
If you have eight minutes, this is worth it
The bottom line in the world’s biggest election
More than half of India’s 1.3 billion people depend in some way on farming. And many of them are suffering. The government has focused on maintaining low consumer prices, and booming harvests last year sent food prices tumbling further.
Now, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party seeks another five years in power, hundreds of millions of farmers will have the chance to express their frustration at the ballot box.
Here’s what else is happening
Iran: The country’s supreme leader has replaced the top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, state media reported Sunday, two weeks after the Trump administration designated the elite force of the Iranian military as a foreign terrorist organization.
Notre-Dame fire: Disaster planning at the cathedral underestimated risks, and even a flawless response would have a built-in delay of about 20 minutes, from the moment the alarm sounded until firefighters could climb to the attic to begin battling a fire.
“Yellow Vest” protests: As billionaires’ donations to rebuild the cathedral renewed anger over inequality, the protests — now in their 23rd week — drew 7,000 in Paris.
England: Less than 1 percent of the country’s population — including aristocrats, royals and wealthy investors — owns about half of the land, according to a forthcoming book. Many are members of families that have held the property for generations, or even centuries.
Snapshot: Above, a hobbyhorse competition in Helsinki, Finland, last month. The country’s subculture of girls who ride stick horses long flourished under the radar, but it’s out in public now as a national export and a celebration of girlhood.
Tech: Silicon Valley came to schools in Kansas. It didn’t go well. With an education approach focused on online learning, students complained of new headaches and anxiety and said they missed talking to teachers and students in class. Some have staged a rebellion.
Royal baby fever: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are already bucking traditions when it comes to their future child. We looked at 100 years of photos that feature royal baby traditions. One photo features then-Princess Elizabeth’s christening cake, which weighed 150 pounds.
What we’re reading: This article in The Daily Beast. “I am a huge fan of Monty Python and had no idea about its origins,” says Chris Mele, an editor on our Express desk, which handles fast-moving stories. “This was a fun read that made me appreciate this zany group all the more.”
Now, a break from the news
Look: The design school known as Bauhaus is 100 years old this month. Check out our visual exploration of its legacy.
Watch: HBO’s new costume drama “Gentleman Jack” premieres tonight. We spoke to the show’s creator about the remarkable real-life 19th-century Englishwoman the show follows.
Listen: We asked a few of our favorite artists to tell us about the piano music that matters to them. Hopefully it will help you fall in love with the most powerful and protean of instruments.
Smarter Living: Professional rejection hurts. Brain scans show that the physiological response to verbal or visual rejection looks fairly similar to the processing of physical pain. But research shows that blaming rejection on the relationship between the rejected and the rejecter, instead of on either individual, encourages people to keep on trying, and even get better. So consider whether your values were a mismatch for your interviewer, or if your skills didn’t quite suit the job.
And, since the best businesses are always looking for ways to improve, here are a few ways to take your business to the next level.
And now for the Back Story on …
The finite Earth
Today is Earth Day. Around the world, at least a billion people are expected to participate in trash cleanups, tree planting or other environmental activities.
The day has been celebrated since 1970 as pollution became more evident — and as space exploration made clear that our planet is finite.
One powerful factor was “Earthrise,” a photograph taken by the NASA astronaut William Anders in December 1968, as the Apollo 8 spacecraft turned at just the right angle. He realized that only color film would do the image justice, and scrambled to load his Hasselblad camera before the moment passed.
Photography, along with spacewalks and scientific experiments, is part of astronauts’ job description.
Today, astronauts are equipped with state-of-the-art gear and receive technical training. American astronauts learn about photography and video from instructors like Paul Reichert of NASA’s Flight Operations Directorate. NASA collects their work.
Friday’s Back Story about Notre-Dame Cathedral referred incorrectly to Roman Catholic reverence for Mary. She is honored by the faithful as the mother of God, but not worshiped. Thanks to all the readers who pointed out the error.
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Kenneth R. Rosen for the break from the news. Matthew Sedacca, who works on our Lens blog, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on the Mueller report.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle and a clue: Easter egg coating (3 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• No professional journalists have yet gone to space. Kenneth Chang, a science reporter for The New York Times who has experienced zero gravity on special airplane flights, says he “would love to fill out that expense form.”