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|Sri Lanka 'bombing mastermind' named as Moulvi Zahran Hashim
Sri Lankan intelligence has named the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attacks as Moulvi Zahran Hashim, an extremist local cleric who incited his followers to violence with fiery sermons on his social media channels. The revelation comes after senior government officials accused the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) a little-known group promoting Islamist terrorist ideology, as the perpetrators of the horrific suicide bombings which have now killed 310 people, including eight British citizens. India’s CNN News 18 channel first reported the possible involvement of Hashim in the massacre, claiming that Indian intelligence sources had indicated to the Sri Lankans that he was planning to attack the Indian High Commission in Colombo in early April. An initial probe into deadly suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka that killed more than 300 people shows it was "retaliation for Christchurch," the country's deputy defence minister said Tuesday. "The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament. Read more | Sri Lanka attacks Over the last two years, Hashim gained thousands of followers and attracted the attention of jihad experts for his incendiary preaching on a pro-Islamic State Sri Lankan Facebook account, known as ‘Al-Ghuraba’ media, and on YouTube. Robert Postings, a writer and researcher on the Islamic State, said on his Twitter account that he had first encountered Hashim in late 2017 when the “self-styled” preachers was disseminating pro-Isil propaganda on Facebook. YouTube videos of the Islamist who is now the face of one of the worst terrorist atrocities since 9/11 shows him railing against all non-believers, including Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, and declaring that only Muslims are fit to rule. The backdrop to his sermons included images of the burning Twin Towers. Three days after the attack, there have been no claims of reponsibility by Islamic State, the NTJ, or any other group for the series of six devastating bombings across three hotels and three churches on Sunday. There have also been conflicting reports about the fate of Hashim, with claims circulating that he was one of the suicide bombers who carried out the attack and counter-claims that he may be on the run in the neighbouring Maldives islands. Although known primarily as a luxury honeymoon destination, the Maldives also supplied hundreds of radicalised fighters to Isil’s failed attempts to set up an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. Hashim himself was known among the Muslim community as a divisive figure who was said to have dropped out of his seminary in India either because of ideological differences or over money worries. He is believed to have clashed with fellow clerics and encouraged his followers to attack rival mosques. Hilmy Ahamed, the vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, told The Telegraph he had been trying to warn officials about Hashim’s extremism for three years after it emerged that he was radicalisng young pupils in his Koran classes. "We were very concerned that this guy was preaching hate on social media and uploading a lot of videos,” he said. Mr Ahamed said Hashim continued to shuttle between India and Sri Lanka, travelling by fishing boat to avoid detection. Hashim's group began as an offshoot of the Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaath, which has repeatedly fractured due to internal disputes. People attend burial ritual of the victims of multiple terror attacks during a funeral ceremony in Negomboo Credit: Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The group could not have carried out the attack without external help, added Mr Ahamed. One working theory among regional security experts is that returning fighters could have provided training and logistics to the marginal NTJ which, although a cheerleader of global jihad, had only been known previously for defacing Buddhist statues in Sri Lanka. In January, police in Puttalam, some 100 miles north of Colombo, raided a coconut plantation, where they discovered 100kg of C4 explosives, 100 detonators, 75kg of ammonium nitrate and potassium chlorate and six 20 litre cans of nitric acid. Reports at the time did not name the group involved but said the site may be linked to a newly emerging militant group that was tied to the vandalising of Buddhist statues. Suspects were arrested but later released on bail. Three months later, Sri Lankan security agencies received a tip-off from Indian and US intelligence agencies that the NTJ may be preparing to carry out terrorist acts against churches, but the crucial information was not passed to country’s prime minister. Since the attacks, the Sri Lankan government has apologised for failing to act on the intelligence brief.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 10:38 AM
|Self-styled citizen border patrol abandons New Mexico camp: police
SUNLAND PARK, N.M./TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) - An armed group that has been stopping migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border honored a request to leave their camp in New Mexico on Tuesday and appeared to be heading home, the local police chief said. The group's leader Larry Hopkins appeared in court in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Monday to face firearms charges following his arrest on Saturday by the FBI. Sunland Park, New Mexico, Police Chief Javier Guerra said the group left their campsite outside the town following a request by the Union Pacific Railroad, which said they had trespassed on its land.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 6:28 PM
|The Latest: Buttigieg: It's clear Trump deserves impeachment
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on a series of town halls with five 2020 Democratic presidential candidates (all times local):
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 7:15 AM
|San Diego Church-Goers Tackle a Woman Brandishing a Handgun and a Baby
Police say she threatened to blow up the church during Easter service
POSTED APRIL 22, 2019 4:05 AM
|Samsung cancels Galaxy Fold events in China amid malfunctioning screen claims
Just days after reports surfaced about malfunctioning Galaxy Fold smartphones, Samsung delays roll out of the foldable-screen device in China.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 9:11 AM
|Turkish police hold ruling party member, five others after opposition chief attack
Turkish police on Monday were holding six people, including a member of the ruling AKP party, after a mob attack on opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu that sparked widespread criticism. Kilicdaroglu, 70, of the Republican People's Party (CHP) was assaulted on Sunday in a crowd as he attended a funeral in Ankara for a soldier killed fighting Kurdish militants in the southeast. The attack came days after the opposition CHP won Ankara and Istanbul from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP in March 31 local elections, seen as a major setback for the ruling party after a decade-and-a-half in power.
POSTED APRIL 22, 2019 12:52 PM
|North Korea's Kim Jong Un Will Meet With Putin in Russia
North Korea confirmed Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un will soon visit Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin in a summit that comes at a crucial moment for tenuous diplomacy meant to rid the North of its nuclear arsenal.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 5:23 AM
|How 11 People Are Trying to Stop Fake News in the World’s Largest Election
One of the operations most vital to Facebook Inc. at this moment is a world away from its Menlo Park, California, headquarters, and in more ways than one. This is Boom Live, one of seven tiny fact-checking firms at the heart of Facebook’s efforts to rebuild some of its credibility during India’s elections. Based on the early tallies, more than 60 percent of India’s 900 million eligible voters are expected to cast ballots between now and May 19, as the center-left Congress Party tries to seize power from the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party.
POSTED APRIL 22, 2019 3:20 AM
|Tiger attacks zookeeper in front of visitors: 'He is a wild animal and was acting on instinct'
A beautiful spring morning at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas turned tragic when a male Sumatran tiger attacked a keeper, inflicting wounds that sent her to a hospital.Although keepers are never supposed to be in the same space as the tigers, they found themselves together in the outdoor habitat that morning for reasons under investigation."There's some sort of error that occurred here," said Brendan Wiley, the zoo's director, told a news conference. He confirmed that several visitors to the zoo had witnessed the attack.The employee is the zoo's primary tiger keeper and had worked there for years, according to Mr Wiley, who noted that part of her job is to clean and maintain the enclosure. He said that the keeper was in stable condition and that the zoo was reviewing its safety protocols.The zookeeper, whom Mr Wiley declined to name, citing her family's need for privacy, suffered "lacerations and punctures" to the back of the head, neck, back and arm. She was awake and alert when she was transported to a hospital.The attack occurred about 9:15 am and the zoo's safety protocols immediately went into effect, Mr Wiley said. A radio call alerted the staff that there was an emergency, and the zoo called 911. Nearby staff members responded to the scene to secure the tigers, and an official made the decision to temporarily close the zoo. A firearms response team also was dispatched to the tiger exhibit, but zookeepers had successfully lured the tiger away by the time it arrived."Some of our staff witnessed some things that you hope you go through a career without witnessing," Mr Wiley said.The zoo has two adult Sumatran tigers: Jingga, a female, and Sanjiv, who was brought to the zoo in August 2017. Shanna Simpson, animal care supervisor, told the Topeka Capital-Journal then that Sanjiv "is the sweetest cat I have ever met."In October, Jingga gave birth to four cubs - three males and one female.The Topeka Zoo allowed Jingga and her cubs back into their enclosures Saturday afternoon, but Sanjiv would remain in holding overnight, Mr Wiley said.City spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said in an email that "nothing will happen to the tiger; he is a wild animal and was acting on instinct."Sanjiv is too valuable to conservation efforts to euthanise. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, and only about 400 remain in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are native to Indonesia, where deforestation, human encroachment and poaching have whittled their numbers to the brink of extinction.Some zoos participate in Sumatran tiger conservation programs designed to save the species, but these efforts are not always successful. In February, a male tiger brought to the London Zoo to mate attacked and killed its prospective female partner.The Washington Post
POSTED APRIL 22, 2019 4:13 AM
|Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliated
Staff who organized mass protests say in internal letter their roles were changed after November 2018 demonstration Workers protest against Google on 1 November 2019 in Mountain View, California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP They helped to organize an unprecedented global protest that saw tens of thousands of Google employees walk off the job in November 2018. Now two Google employees, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, are alleging that Google is retaliating against them and other employee activists. “Google has a culture of retaliation, which too often works to silence women, people of color, and gender minorities,” reads a letter from Whittaker, Stapleton and 10 other employees that was published internally on Monday and seen by the Guardian. “Retaliation isn’t always obvious. It’s often confusing and drawn out, consisting of icy conversations, gaslighting, project cancellations, transition rejections, or demotions. Behavior that tells someone the problem isn’t that they stood up to the company, it’s that they’re not good enough and don’t belong.” Stapleton, a nearly 12-year veteran at Google, wrote that two months after the walkout, she was demoted, had a previously approved project cancelled, and was “told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick”. “Only after I hired a lawyer and had her contact Google did management conduct an investigation and walked back my demotion, at least on paper,” she wrote. “While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.” Whittaker, who co-founded the AI Now Institute, wrote that after Google decided to scrap its AI ethics council, she was told that her “role would be changed dramatically”. “I’m told that to remain at the company, I will have to abandon my work on AI ethics and the AI Now Institute,” she wrote. Neither Whittaker nor Stapleton responded immediately to a request for comment. The letter was first reported by Wired. A Google spokeswoman said that the company has already investigated these cases and determined there was no retaliation. “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace, and investigate all allegations,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganized, to keep pace with evolving business needs. There has been no retaliation here.” Google employees have been at the forefront of a wave of tech worker activism that has swept the industry over the past year. Employee-organized protests have taken aim both at the company’s business decisions – such as its work for a Department of Defense drone project or plans to build a censored search engine for China – and its treatment of employees and contractors. The November walkout was sparked by a New York Times report that revealed that a former executive, Andy Rubin, had received a $90m severance package despite being forced out over an allegation that he had forced a female employee to perform oral sex. The report unleashed a flood of anger and frustration among Google employees who had faced harassment or discrimination. In Monday’s letter, the organizers say that they “collected over 350 stories” during the walkout, and discovered a “sad pattern”: “People who stand up and report discrimination, abuse, and unethical conduct are punished, sidelined, and pushed out. Perpetrators often go unimpeded, or are even rewarded.” The organizers are planning to host a Retaliation Town Hall for workers on Friday. They have reserved conference rooms and plan to live stream the discussion internally.
Have you experienced retaliation for workplace activism in the tech industry? Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
POSTED APRIL 22, 2019 6:25 PM
NYT > Home Page
|Editorial Observer: Meet the Press? Don’t Bother
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, nominally the White House press secretary, has abandoned the custom of briefing the news media.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 11:36 PM
|Trump Is Wasting Our Immigration Crisis
The system needs to be fixed, but “the wall” is only part of the solution.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 10:48 PM
|Do Australians Have a Case of ‘Jacinda Envy’?
Two similar countries, two very different attitudes toward women in leadership.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 11:00 PM
|The Best Way to Rejuvenate Rural America? Invest in Cities
There is already clear evidence that the economic prosperity of urban areas benefits small towns.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 11:00 PM
|When License-Plate Surveillance Goes Horribly Wrong
The pitfalls of automated policing, where one piece of bad information can lead to a guns-drawn confrontation.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 7:14 PM
|The Surprising Place Mueller Found Resistance to Trump
The strongest pushback against the president came from his own branch of government.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 10:00 AM
|I Used to Work for Google. I Am a Conscientious Objector.
American companies continue to build surveillance tools that are used to violate human rights. Workers who refuse to comply deserve protections.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 11:27 PM
|The Conversation: The President in Plain Sight Is Bad Enough
Now what should the Democrats do about it?
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 2:51 PM
|My Fellow Hasidic Jews Are Making a Terrible Mistake About Vaccinations
We should stop dismissing scientific evidence and endangering the lives of our children.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 3:00 PM
|Are Christians Privileged or Persecuted?
How Western liberalism’s peculiar relationship to its Christian heritage leaves non-Western Christians exposed.
POSTED APRIL 23, 2019 1:50 PM