Sri Lanka names Easter suicide bombers

Soldiers arrive for deployment outside St. Sebastian Church, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Negombo, Sri Lanka, May 1, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 May 2019

Sri Lanka names Easter suicide bombers

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s police Wednesday named nine people who staged Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed 253 people, and said the attackers’ assets will be confiscated in line with anti-terror laws.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera confirmed that two of the luxury hotels were bombed by two brothers from a wealthy Colombo family involved in spice exports.
The group of Islamists had used one bomber at each of the locations hit on Easter Sunday, except at Shangri-La hotel where there were two suicide explosions.
One of the Shangri-La bombers was Zahran Hashim, the leader of the local jihadist group responsible for the audacious attacks that were claimed by the Daesh group.
Hashim headed the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) which has since been banned. He attacked the Shangri-La in the company of fellow Islamist Ilham Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim.
Ilham’s elder brother Inshaf Ahmed was the man who bombed the nearby Cinnamon Grand hotel.
The third hotel to be targeted, the Kingsbury, was bombed by a man identified as Mohamed Azzam Mubarak Mohamed. His wife was now in police custody, Gunasekera said.
The St. Anthony’s Church was targeted by a local resident named Ahmed Muaz. His brother has been arrested. The St. Sebastian bomber was Mohamed Hasthun, a resident from the island’s east where Hashim was based.
The Christian Zion church in the eastern district of Batticaloa was hit by a local resident, Mohamed Nasser Mohamed Asad.
Another man who failed to set a bomb off at a de luxe hotel, but blasted his explosives at a guest house near the capital. He was identified as Abdul Latheef who had studied both in Britain and Australia.
Shortly after the hotel bomb attacks, Fathima Ilham, the wife of the younger of the two brothers, blasted explosives strapped to herself, killing her two children and three police officers who rushed to the family home in Colombo.
“We are going to use prevention of terrorist financing laws to confiscate their property,” Gunasekera said.


Elizabeth Warren decries Trump as ‘corruption in the flesh’

Updated 19 min 20 sec ago

Elizabeth Warren decries Trump as ‘corruption in the flesh’

  • Warren, a Massachusetts senator, has emerged as a leading Democratic presidential contender
NEW YORK: Facing thousands of cheering supporters in the nation’s largest city, Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren on Monday decried President Donald Trump as “corruption in the flesh” and outlined her plans to root out corruption in the White House, Congress and courts.
“Corruption has put our planet at risk. Corruption has broken our economy. And corruption is breaking our democracy,” said Warren, a Massachusetts senator who has emerged as a leading presidential contender.
While aggressive, the message was a familiar one. Warren has embraced corruption as a central campaign theme from the beginning of her 2020 presidential bid. But rarely has Warren addressed such a crowd with such a symbolic backdrop.
The crowd — which exceeded 20,000 people, according to the Warren campaign — filled almost the entirety of the 10-acre (4-hectare) Washington Square Park, wrapping around a massive fountain and clogging the pathways that connect the street chess games to the classrooms of New York University to the giant marble arch the downtown park is best known for.
It was a younger audience, racially diverse and packed with women. One of the biggest applause lines of the night: “We’re not here tonight because of famous arches or famous men. In fact, we’re not here because of men at all.”
The event was set close to the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire, which killed more than 140 workers in 1911.
She framed those deaths as the direct result of corruption. Many women died because factory owners neglected safety features to save money, with the implicit support of local elected officials who declined to intervene.
Warren charged that the same thing is happening today.
“Giant corporations have bought off our government,” she said.
Specifically, her anti-corruption plan would “end lobbying as we know it” by instituting a lifetime ban on members of Congress and White House Cabinet secretaries from ever becoming lobbyists. At the same time, corporate lobbyists would be blocked from working for the federal government.
Both practices are common today.
She also would prohibit federal judges from avoiding misconduct investigations by leaving their posts, prevent courts from sealing settlements in public health and safety cases and ban class-action waivers for all cases involving employment, consumer protection, antitrust and civil rights.
And taking direct aim at issues involving the Trump administration, Warren would require candidates for public office to post their tax returns online. Presidents, Cabinet secretaries and members of Congress would also be prohibited from owning businesses on the side.
Trump, of course, has refused to release his tax returns years after promising to do so, and the Trump organization continues to do business around the world.
“Donald Trump is corruption in the flesh,” Warren said. “He is sworn to serve the people of the United States, but he serves only himself and his partners in corruption.” Warren noted, however, that Trump is only a symptom of the corruption that has infected the US political and economic systems.
Warren has long argued that the nation’s modern government only works for “the wealthy and the well-connected” like big energy, health care and insurance companies that employ lobbyists to advance their priorities over the best interests of ordinary citizens.
She wrote that popular policies championed by the Democratic Party’s progressive wing — and many in its crowded field of presidential hopefuls — like universal child care, an overhaul of the federal criminal justice system, gun reform and plans to promote affordable housing have been “stymied because giant corporations and billionaires who don’t want to pay taxes or follow any rules use their money and influence to stand in the way.”
Warren’s campaign noted that she already proposed a series of anti-corruption measures in Congress last year, but it says the proposal released Monday goes farther.
Warren has emerged as a central player in the broader fight for the direction of the Democratic Party in the age of Trump.
Like her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, Warren is demanding transformational change that Trump and his allies deride as socialism. Warren and Sanders are up against Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, a favorite of the party’s establishment wing.
Warren didn’t identify any of her Democratic opponents by name.
She noted, however, that “too many politicians in both parties have convinced themselves that playing the money-for-influence game is the only way to get things done.”
Warren doesn’t participate in high-dollar fundraising events as a 2020 candidate, though she did before launching her presidential campaign.
On Monday, looking out at the swelling crowd, Warren noted that she typically takes selfies with everyone who wants one at her events.
“Tonight is a little something different,” Warren said.