Sri Lanka suicide bomber 'studied in the UK', defence minister announces as death toll rises to 359
One of the bombers in the Sri Lankan Easter Sunday attacks studied in the UK and Australia, the country’s deputy defence minister revealed on Wednesday. “We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and then later on did his postgraduate in Australia, before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka,” said Ruwan Wijewardene, without naming the suspect. He said one of the bombers was a woman. He told a press conference in the capital, Colombo, that most of the suicide bombers were “well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class,” adding that they were “financially quite independent.” Some held law degrees,” he added. Mr Wijewardene’s comments came as the police confirmed that the death toll for Sunday’s massacre had risen to 359. The attacks were claimed on Tuesday by the Islamic State militant group, which did not give any evidence to support its claim. If true, it would make it one of the worst attacks linked to the group outside Iraq and Syria. The deputy defence minister said that 60 people “have been arrested on possible links to the attacks” and 32 of those are still in custody. All are Sri Lankan. Among those assisting police, reported India’s First Post, is Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the Sri Lankan business community, whose two sons Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim, 33, and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, 31 allegedly bombed the breakfast buffets at the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels. Indian intelligence sources told the website that a third son Ijas Ahmed Ibrahim, 30, was also reportedly asked about the attack. Police are understood to be investigating possible links to overseas jihadist networks and training camps that had been hidden on a remote compound near Wanathawilluwa, on the island’s west coast. The compound, believed to be linked to the chief suspects in the Easter Sunday bombings, the National Thawheed Jamaath group, was raided by police in January. Police outside the home of Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the Sri Lankan business community Credit: Sam Tarling Officers found 100kg of military grade explosives and arrested four suspects, all of whom were released on bail. One Sri Lankan minister alleged on Monday that political pressure had been applied to free them. Outside the Ibrahim family home in Colombo, neighbours told The Telegraph that Imsath was the business brains and Ilham was more aloof and awkward. "Imsath was the best of the sons. He runs the business and he drives good cars and wears Western brands,” said one neighbour. "Ilham was not so bright and not well educated." At a copper factory owned by Imsath in the Colombo suburb of Wellampitiya, workers said they had not seen him for a week. Sri Lankan staff and supervisors at Colossus Ltd had been arrested for questioning leaving only abandoned Bangladeshi migrant workers. A Bangladeshi worker walks through a copper reclamation factory owned by Insaf Ibrahim, a suspected bomber, along with his brother Ilham Credit: Sam Tarling Police had repeatedly visited, but the factory was open and not cordoned off. "We are very scared and only want to get back home, but we have no money," said one worker. Since the attacks, the Sri Lankan authorities have admitted they failed to act on precise intelligence from India that extremists were plotting to bomb churches. On Tuesday, Maithripala Sirisena, the Sri Lankan President, said warnings had not been shared with him and promised "stern action". He used a late night televised address late to pledge he would completely restructure the police and security forces in coming weeks. Read more | Sri Lanka attacks "The security officials who got the intelligence report from a foreign nation did not share it with me. I have decided to take stern action against these officials,” he said. In an alarming claim, Lakshman Kiriella, the leader of the parliament, alleged that senior officials had deliberately withheld intelligence about possible attacks. "Some top intelligence officials hid the intelligence information purposefully. Information was there, but the top brass security officials did not take appropriate actions," he told fellow MPs. "Somebody is controlling these top intelligence officials," he said. "The Security Council is doing politics. We need to investigate this." Separately, Sarath Fonseka, former army chief and minister of regional development, asserted that the attacks "must have been planned for at least 7-8 years." Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency and launched a desperate hunt to avert more attacks. Security officials from the UK, UAE and US have arrived to assist. Alaina Teplitz, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka, warned that the danger was not yet over. "We had no prior knowledge of these attacks," Ambassador Alaina Teplitz, Washington's ambassador to Colombo, told reporters in Colombo. "We believe there are ongoing terrorist plots. Terrorists can strike without warning. Typical venues are large gatherings, public spaces. A high-level intelligence official in Sri Lanka told CNN that the NTJ was planning a second wave of attacks across Sri Lanka.
A U.S. Alliance with North Korea?
It’s not just the economy stupid.Sure, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promised his people prosperity and sanctions are impeding his country’s economic growth.But pundits who claim that Kim mainly wants sanctions relief are missing a larger point. And so is President Donald Trump when he holds out a vague vision of a brighter economic future for the North Korean people. Kim will not be bribed by a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Yet Trump, while asking Kim to “go bigger” and surrender not just his nuclear weapons but all his weapons of mass destruction first, is not even thinking of putting nearly enough sanctions relief on the negotiating table—never mind what Kim really wants.To Kim, like his forebears, sanctions are the embodiment of U.S. enmity. As Kim made clear again in speeches on April 12, he seeks an end to that enmity and he needs to hear directly from Washington—not through Seoul—that America is willing to take steps to reconcile before he resumes talks.Kim’s vision of reconciliation is far-reaching. North Koreans have long been telling their American interlocutors they want an alliance like the one the United States has with South Korea—even including a “nuclear umbrella.”
Joe Biden’s Big 2020 Advantage: He Has the Obama Email List
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastAs Joe Biden gets ready to launch his third run for the presidency, he brings with him one of the most valuable pieces of infrastructure in all of politics: the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign email list. On Tuesday, Biden’s American Possibilities PAC sent an email to supporters asking them to sign up to be the first to know what Biden had in store in the coming days. A number of recipients told The Daily Beast they hadn’t registered for updates from the PAC but had put their email addresses on the Obama list. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Biden confirmed to The Daily Beast that American Possibilities had the list at its disposal. That Biden would utilize the list is hardly a surprise. It is one of the largest in politics and had reportedly helped raise more than $500 million for the Obama-Biden campaign in 2012. As part of that ticket, the former VP has a claim to it, giving him access to a base of potential grassroots supporters at a time when other Democrats in the race—including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)—were building large networks of their own. This would be a particular help to Biden, who has never been a prodigious money-raiser and recently said that he “will not be part of a Super PAC.” It also fit into a tactic he has deployed in the lead-up to his formal campaign announcement. More than any other Democrat in the race or thinking of entering it, Biden has aligned himself with the Obama years. He has referred to himself as an “Obama-Biden Democrat,” leaned on his two-terms as the top sidekick for the nation’s first African-American president, and used that record to gloss over prior decades of legislative history that are not quite as palatable in the modern Democratic party. Operatives say it’s logical, since most voters recognize him best as Obama’s veep, and also strategically sound. “It is a lane to compete for,” said Ben LaBolt, the Obama-Biden campaign press secretary in 2012. “[T]alking about expanding upon strengthening health care, making the economy work for families regardless of their income level, returning to a government of dignity and normalcy, restoring alliances abroad, that would be an attractive message for a lot of voters.”But LaBolt and others say there’s no guarantee that Biden’s ties to Obama assure that he’ll win over that “lane” of voters nostalgic for the last administration. Harris, for starters, was an early Obama supporter. And Buttigieg has elicited comparisons to Obama for his campaigning style and was touted by the former president as a future leader of the party—a designation that, according to an Obama aide, came after the mayor partnered with the Obama administration on the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and campaigns for infrastructure investment. Those two candidates have also attracted a number of Obama bundlers—a front on which Biden should compete as well. The ex-vice president has amassed a network of deep-pocketed supporters throughout his decades in public service and he is already leaning on them to assist with his campaign. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who is involved in an upcoming fundraiser for Biden in Philadelphia, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that the interest in attending was so overwhelming that he fielded a call from someone complaining that they couldn’t get in. “I’ve been raising money since 1977,” Rendell said. “And I’ve never had anybody complain about not getting an invitation to a fundraiser. That shows you the depth of enthusiasm, the depth of relationships that the vice president has built over the years.” And on Wednesday afternoon, Biden himself jumped on a conference call with donors during which he implored them to help him post a major fundraising total during the first 24 hours of his campaign launch. One participant in the call said Biden wasn’t pretending he could surpass the hauls pulled in by Sanders and O’Rourke, but that they “needed to be respectable.” Biden’s access to the 2012 list could help with that effort, providing him inroads to the constellation of Obama voters and small dollar donors that his competitors lack. But digital strategists have questions about how effective the list will ultimately prove to be. Though there were reportedly 13 million names on it in 2009, no one is quite sure how many remain. A source close to Biden sought to downplay the perception that it would be a massive difference-maker, since a significant number of the contacts are likely faulty or dated. And many of the people who signed on in the first place likely did so because of their affinity to Obama. “[Having the list] is certainly helpful,” said Jen Palmieri, Obama’s former communications director. “I don’t know if it is a golden ticket.” Though the Biden presidential campaign hasn’t formally launched, the expectation is it will acquire the list from American Possibilities by some sort of transfer or swap arrangement (an exchange of email lists). The cost, if any, will be minimal, though operating a list of that xxxx can be pricey. According to FEC filings, American Possibilities didn’t pay for the list, meaning that it was likely transferred without cost. But it has paid significant sums—some related to the list—for email services, digital consulting and internet advertisements to the firm Blue State Digital, which worked on both Obama-Biden campaigns. One thing is certain,Team Biden will know the true value of the campaign-me-down soon. The first test of the mega-list should come within the first 24 hours of his campaign launch, which is expected to take place on Thursday morning.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here
AP EXCLUSIVE: At Walmart, using AI to watch the store
LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Inside one of Walmart's busiest Neighborhood Market grocery stores, high resolution cameras suspended from the ceiling point to a table of bananas. They can tell how ripe the bananas are from their color.
Boeing says suffering $1 bn hit from 737 MAX crisis
Aviation giant Boeing has suffered a $1 billion hit to its bottom line amid the crisis over its 737 MAX aircraft, grounded worldwide after two deadly crashes, the company said Wednesday. In its first quarterly earnings report since entering crisis mode, Boeing also withdrew its 2019 profit forecast due to continued uncertainty about when the grounded jets will return to the skies. Boeing has been under scrutiny since the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet, which along with an October Lion Air crash, claimed 346 lives.
Royal baby name odds: what will Meghan and Harry call their first child?
Last year was one of the most eventful for the Royal family, with the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank, and the birth of Prince Louis. And while 2019 won't be as jam-packed for the Windsors, there's a whole new reason to celebrate on the horizon - the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first child this spring. As royal watchers in the UK and abroad wait for the latest arrival, speculation is mounting as to what he or she could be called - and whether the Queen will allow the child to become a Prince or Princess. Latest predictions on what the Royal baby will be called The duke and duchess may decide to go with a traditional name like Alice, Grace or Victoria for a girl or James, Edward or Arthur for a boy. However, the pair are forward-thinking royals and may decide to surprise everyone when naming their first child. Canadian-born Autumn Phillips, and husband Peter Phillips, opted for a non-traditional name for their daughter Savannah - the Queen's first great-grandchild - in 2010. Princess Charlotte stands next to Savannah Phillips and Prince George at Trooping The Colour 2018 Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage The Duchess may also seek inspiration from her friends. Her confidante and stylist Jessica Mulroney has twin boys Brian and John, and a daughter Isabel Veronica, who is known as Ivy - who were pageboys and bridesmaid at the royal wedding. In the US, the most popular name for a baby girl is Emma and Liam for a baby boy. In the UK, the most popular name for a girl born in 2017 was Olivia, and for a boy Oliver. Harry and Meghan's child, who will be seventh in line to the throne, is extremely unlikely ever to be king or queen, meaning the couple have more freedom with their choices. In comparison, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to give their children traditional names, picking George for their firstborn, who is likely to one day be king. One option - considered a favourite for a girl - is Diana, in honour of Harry's mother. William and Kate paid tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales in 2015 by choosing it as one of Charlotte's middle names. Prince Harry was just 12 when the Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Meghan's mother, to whom she is close, is called Doria, and the ex-Suits star may want to pay tribute to her as well. Royal christenings through the years, in pictures What are the Royal baby name odds? These odds from William Hill were last updated on April 25, 2019. Girls names Diana 4/1 Victoria 7/1 Alice 12/1 Grace 12/1 Isabella/Isobella 12/1 Elizabeth 14/1 Alexandra 20/1 Harriett 20/1 Rose 20/1 April 25/1 Boys names Arthur 16/1 James 16/1 Edward 25/1 Albert 33/1 Alexander 33/1 Christopher 33/1 Daniel 33/1 Henry 33/1 Phillip 33/1 Joseph 40/1 Royal baby | Meghan and Harry expecting their first child What title will the Royal baby have (and why the baby won't necessarily be a Prince or Princess) The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby will not be a prince or a princess unless the Queen steps in. King George V - Harry's great-great-grandfather - limited titles within the royal family in 1917. If the child is a boy, he could instead become Earl of Dumbarton - one of the subsidiary titles the prince received from the Queen on the morning of his wedding. The eldest son and heir apparent of a duke can use one of his father's lesser grade peerage titles by courtesy, according to Debrett's. A daughter could be Lady (first name) Mountbatten-Windsor, and any subsequent sons Lord (first name) Mountbatten-Windsor. The 1st Earl of Dumbarton, George Douglas, was a Scottish nobleman and soldier. He was badly injured in a duel with the duc de Normandie in 1669 and papers reported him dead due to the severity of his injuries. History behind the favourite baby names The nation has put its money on the baby being called Diana (presumably after Prince Harry and William's mother). While Diana Spencer was the only member of the royal family with that name, the moniker has regal connotations. In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of hunting and chastity, and daughter of Jupiter, king of the gods. Victoria, the second-favourite name, has a more clear royal history. The most iconic royal who springs to mind is, of course, Queen Victoria - although (as fans of the ITV show will know), this was not her real name. She was born Alexandrina Victoria, but changed her name when she became queen. If the baby is a boy, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may call him Arthur - a name with a similarly impressive heritage. The most recent royal Arthur was Queen Victoria's son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. Before him, there was Henry VIII's younger brother, Arthur, who tragically died at the age of just 15. The most famous Arthur, of course, is the one we aren't sure existed: romantic hero King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Edward and James have been popular names for kings in the past, but Philip is more of a rogue contender. The first royal Philip was James VII's brother-in-law Prince Philippe I, Duke of Orleans. Since then, there has not been another royal Philip - until Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Naming their child Philip may be a way for the Duke of Sussex to pay tribute to his grandfather. A look back at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby photos Keep up to date with the Royal family by signing up to our weekly newsletter, Your Royal Appointment.
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