By Robert A. Vella
Sri Lanka update
Sri Lankan officials have accused an Islamist extremist group, the National Thowheed Jamaath, for the Easter day bombings which killed nearly 300 people and wounded hundreds more. They also identified Mohamed Zaharan as the group’s leader. Indian intelligence agencies aided in this assessment. 21 suspects have been arrested so far during which 3 police officers were killed.
Most of the victims were Sri Lankan, but more than a dozen were from Britain, India, Japan, Turkey, and the U.S.
Religious discord between the majority Buddhists and the minority Hindus, Muslims, and Christians erupted in a bloody 26 year-long civil war which finally ended in 2009 when the government defeated the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (a.k.a. “Tamil Tigers”) who had tried to establish an independent Hindu homeland in the north Since then, Sri Lanka has been relatively peaceful. However, the underlying animosity between the Buddhist majority and the religious minorities has resurfaced in recent years over incidents intended to interfere with religious practices and particularly those of Muslims and Christians.
Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy won Sunday’s runoff election in Ukraine, ousting incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in a landslide.
Poroshenko said on social media he thought Zelenskiy’s win would spark celebrations in the Kremlin.
“They believe that with a new inexperienced Ukrainian president, Ukraine could be quickly returned to Russia’s orbit of influence,” he wrote.
Trump targets Iran
The Trump administration announced Monday that all countries that continue to import Iranian oil will be subject to US sanctions.
In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump “has decided not to reissue” waivers regarding sanctions against countries importing Iranian oil when the waivers expire “in early May.” The exact deadline is May 2.
“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” the statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders read.
New York City climate bill to hit Trump Tower
The council on Thursday passed the Climate Mobilization Act, a package of environmental bills that has been called the city’s version of the Green New Deal. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the legislation, marking one of the largest climate initiatives passed by any city in the world.
The legislation includes no explicit mention of Mr. Trump nor his buildings. The Trump Organization did not return requests for comment from CBS News.
The core of the legislation is a requirement for buildings of more than 25,000 square feet to follow new rules for cutting carbon emissions. That includes skyscrapers around Manhattan bearing the president’s name, including Trump Tower, which has his penthouse and the headquarters of the Trump Organization.