Thursday morning news: April 25, 2019

Sri Lankan president fires top officials in wake of bombings » Sri Lanka’s president is firing the country’s defense secretary and national police chief in the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday bombings. That after officials failed to act on intelligence reports warning of possible attacks.

And state minister for defense Ruwan Wijewardene said Wednesday that more of the wounded have succumbed to their injuries.

WIJEWARDENE: The death toll has risen up to 359, of which 39 are foreign nationals. 

The capital of Colombo remained rattled by reports that the ordeal is not yet over. The government has continued to conduct controlled detonations of suspicious items. And a U.S. ambassador said that Washington believes “the terrorist plotting is ongoing.”

Meantime, new details are emerging about the suicide bombers—eight men, one woman. All were Sri Lankan.

Wijewardene said some studied in the UK and had college degrees.

WIJEWARDENE: Most of them are well educated and come from maybe middle or upper-middle class.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings. Sri Lanka has blamed breakaway members of two obscure local Islamic militant groups. Officials cannot yet confirm an ISIS connection, but do believe the bombers had support from international terrorists.  

FBI agents and U.S. military officials are assisting with the investigation.

Kim Jong Un meets with Putin in Russia » North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in Russia today, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time.

The talks are taking place in Vladivostok, a Russia city on the Pacific. Officials in Moscow say the talks will focus on the standoff over the North’s nuclear program and that Russia will seek to—quote—“consolidate the positive trends” stemming from U.S. President Donald Trump’s meetings with Kim.

Some experts say Kim could try to bolster his country’s ties with Russia and China as he’s expressed frustration that the U.S. has not offered more concessions in nuclear talks.

White House: no cooperation with House subpoenas » President Trump says his White House will be “fighting all the subpoenas” issued by House Democrats as they continue to dig into his administration.

He said Wednesday that after cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe for two years, it’s time to move on.

TRUMP: I say it’s enough. Get back to infrastructure. Get back to cutting taxes. Get back to lowering drug prices. 

One subpoena the administration is expected to challenge has gone out to Don McGahn, the former White House counsel who cooperated with Mueller.

Also this week, Treasury Department has asked for an extension to the House Ways and Means Committee’s Tuesday deadline to turn over six years of President Trump’s tax returns.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he would have a final decision by May 6th. He said he’s consulting with the Justice Department—his words—“due to the serious constitutional questions raised by this request and the serious consequences that a resolution of those questions could have for taxpayer privacy.”

Border apprehensions/caravan » U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it’s still seeing an unprecedented surge of migrants at the southern border. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Border officials reported this week that less than seven months into the fiscal year, agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector have apprehended more than 164,000 migrants. That’s more than the total number of apprehensions during the entire 2018 fiscal year.

CBP says Border Patrol agents in that sector detain more than 1,100 people per day.

Meantime, another migrant caravan, about 10,000 strong is traveling north through Mexico City. Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero called it “caravana madre,” which translates to the mother of all caravans. She said she expects the diverse group to reach 20,000 members. It reportedly includes Central Americans as well as migrants from Africa, Haiti, and Cuba.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Boy Scouts facing more legal trouble over sexual abuse claims » The Boy Scouts of America could soon face more legal trouble over alleged sexual abuse.

Several states are moving to adjust their statute-of-limitations laws so that more victims of past abuse can sue for damages. That has lawyers like Minnesota-based Jeff Anderson aggressively courting clients who may have suffered abuse during their time in the scouts.

ANDERSON: We express great gratitude because every time a survivor speaks his or her truth and identifies that offender or the system that protected that offender shows they’re not protected. 

The Boy Scouts began compiling ineligible files in the 1920s. They list adult volunteers thought to pose a risk of child molestation.

Anderson released a court deposition in New York this week. It stated that an expert hired by the Boy Scouts said she tallied nearly 8,000 individuals in the “ineligible files” as of January, and more than 12,000 victims.

Abuse case settlements have already strained the Boy Scouts’ finances. The group says it’s exploring “all available options,” including Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

(Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un talk during a meeting, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Vladivostok, Russia. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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