By Robert A. Vella
I’m sorry to report some bad news on this holiday, but this is the world we live in.
COLOMBO, April 21 (Reuters) – Over 200 people were killed and at least 450 injured in bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the first major attack on the Indian Ocean island since the end of a civil war 10 years ago.
Seven people were arrested and three police officers were killed during a security forces raid on a house in the Sri Lankan capital several hours after the rash of attacks, some of which officials said were suicide bombs.
Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 70 percent are Buddhist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census.
In its 2018 report on Sri Lanka’s human rights, the U.S. State Department noted that some Christian groups and churches reported they had been pressured to end worship meetings after authorities classified them as “unauthorized gatherings.”
The report also said Buddhist monks regularly tried to close down Christian and Muslim places of worship, citing unidentified sources.
NEW YORK — There’s at least one area of agreement among conservative, centrist and liberal leaders in the United Methodist Church: America’s largest mainline Protestant denomination is on a path toward likely breakup over differences on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT pastors.
The differences have simmered for years, and came to a head in February at a conference in St. Louis where delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan, which strengthens bans on LGBT-inclusive practices. A majority of U.S.-based delegates opposed that plan and favored LGBT-friendly options, but they were outvoted by U.S. conservatives teamed with most of the delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines.
Many believe the vote will prompt an exodus from the church by liberal congregations that are already expressing their dissatisfaction over the move.
Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, New Mexico, was arrested for allegedly being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and the FBI said.
The arrest comes after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, demanded that members of a militia group, some of whom are armed, stop detaining migrants at the New Mexico-Mexico border.
Balderas said in a statement that Hopkins is “a member of the armed group of individuals reportedly detaining migrants near Sunland Park, New Mexico.”
“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” Balderas said. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department team that pulled over thousands of motorists on the 5 Freeway in search of drugs “had a constitutionally troubling impact on Latino drivers,” the county inspector general’s office concluded in a widely anticipated report.
In a rebuke of the Sheriff’s Department released Friday, the county Office of Inspector General said that not only were Latinos targeted at a much higher rate, but that the effectiveness of the sheriff’s special team – which was created to stop the flow of drugs in the Santa Clarita Valley area – was unclear.
Moreover, the report said, the effect on Latinos has “the potential to negatively impact the public’s trust” in the Sheriff’s Department.
A Louisiana man has been arrested and booked on charges including committing a hate crime after he allegedly accelerated his truck toward an interracial couple in a suburban New Orleans parking lot, according to the local sheriff’s office.
James Descant, who is white, is accused of driving his vehicle toward a black man and a white woman in a convenience store’s parking lot around 9 p.m. Tuesday in Metairie, said Capt. Jason Rivarde of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The vehicle hit the woman, causing injuries to her hip, wrist and foot.
Descant allegedly attacked the couple because he was upset about their interracial relationship, Rivarde told CNN. The couple — a black man and a white woman — told police they had interacted with Descant at a local motel within a week of the incident.
London Metropolitan Police told Reuters in a statement that 750 protesters had been arrested Saturday amid the demonstrations, while just 28 had so far been charged with criminal offenses.
The arrest total is up from Friday’s rally, when 682 protesters were arrested. The “Extinction Rebellion,” which hosted this weekend’s protests, has urged British citizens to commit civil disobedience to force Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to take stronger action to reduce the U.K.’s carbon emissions.
For decades, Democrats and Republicans have hailed America’s business elite, especially in Silicon Valley, as the country’s salvation. The government might be gridlocked, the electorate angry and divided, but America’s innovators seemed to promise a relatively pain-free way out of the mess. Their companies produced an endless series of products that kept the U.S. economy churning and its gross domestic product climbing. Their philanthropic efforts were aimed at fixing some of the country’s most vexing problems. Government’s role was to stay out of the way.
Now that consensus is shattering. For the first time in decades, capitalism’s future is a subject of debate among presidential hopefuls and a source of growing angst for America’s business elite. In places such as Silicon Valley, the slopes of Davos, Switzerland, and the halls of Harvard Business School, there is a sense that the kind of capitalism that once made America an economic envy is responsible for the growing inequality and anger that is tearing the country apart.