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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 21, 2019 12:00pm-12:31pm BST

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and another one day with sunshine and another one day with temperatures reaching the low to mid 20s celsius. it all changes as we had to choose and wednesday temperatures begin to all as atlanta glows move in. this is bbc news, i'm martine croxall. the headlines at 12. 160 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured after a wave of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka i see this as a serious situation aimed at destabilising the country and the economy. christian worshippers in three churches were targetted as they celebrated easter. find out who is responsible behind this act. and also to punish them, mercilessly, because only animals can of behave like that. there were blasts at four hotels — the uk's high commissioner says some britons are believed to have been caught up in the attacks
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160 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in a series of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka. it's now being reported that there have been eight separate explosions across the country. three churches were targeted in the country's biggest city, columbo, in negombo and the eastern city of battacloa. the hotels attacked were also in colombo — they include the five—star shangri—la, cinnamon grand and kingsbury hotels. people were attending easter mass in the churches when the explosions went off. sri lanka's prime minister has condemned what he called a "cowardly attack," and a nationwide curfew has been imposed.
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the government says nine foreign nationals are among the dead. britain's high commissioner to sri lanka, james dauris, says they believe that some british citizens were caught in the blasts but are unable to say how many people may have been affected. the sri lankan prime minister, ranil wickremesinghe, has been speaking about the attacks. translation: i see this as a series situation aimed at destabilising the country and the economy. i strongly condemn this attack on religious institutions and hotels in the capital. the archbishop of colombo, cardinal ranjith, has condemned the attacks — comparing the perpetrators to animals. this morning, easter sunday, in two of my churches, saint anthony's church and saint sebastian's church, two bombs exploded, killing nearly 150 people.
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from the initial statistics that have come to me. so it is a very, very sad day for all of us. i wish to therefore express my deepest sorrow and sympathy to all those innocent families that have lost someone and also to those who have been injured and rendered destitute. i would like to call upon all to pray that all those who are injured may be healed soon and that all these families who have lost someone may be consoled. i condemn to the utmost of my capacity this act that has caused so much of death and suffering to the people. i would also like to ask the government to hold a very impartial, strong inquiry and find out who is responsible behind this act. and also to punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that.
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the bbc‘s azzam ameen is in colombo, and we can speak to him now. they might, just talk us through the timeline of these explosions. around 845 local time, that is when we heard about the first attack that took place in anthony's church in colombo, one of the major churches. i went there about half an hour after that attack, it was utterly devastating, that were dead bodies all over. around 30 people were dead inside the church. after only two, three hours, they were allowed to ta ke three hours, they were allowed to take those bodies out because of suspected another explosive device inside. from that, we have heard of
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around eight attacks today, the last onejust one hour ago in around eight attacks today, the last one just one hour ago in another suburb area. police have arrested four people and that have been, we had no has been a conversation with the suspects, so the police have gone there on each tip and have arrested a few people. that is the first artists that have taken place during this whole day of attacks that have been taking place around sri lanka. apart from that, 160 people have been officially confirmed dead but local tv is reporting that the death toll has risen to 190. of course, there are others who are injured and needing treatment. what is the security situation like across the country?
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police impose cuts year after the last attack. there was an earlier plan to impose it overnight but with the latest attack, police have decided to immediately impose coffee all over the country. there has been all over the country. there has been a lot of panic and rumours spread about more attacks so they have also decided to ban facebook and whatsapp, to restrict the spreading of misinformation. they say it was needed because there has been a lot of panic created, with a lot of fake news are being shared. with all that, the curfew has been imposed as a people cannot travel on roads and have been asked to remain in houses. i was just moving out from the city, i saw thousands of police officers on the road is now guarding the main estate buildings, worship places,
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very important places, is special because they are expecting, in case of more attacks. how calm has sri la nka of more attacks. how calm has sri lanka been in recent times? of course, there were many years when it was beset by violence through the civil war. i think it it was beset by violence through the civilwar. i think it was it was beset by violence through the civil war. i think it was the tenth anniversary since the tamil tigers got into 409. since then, colombo has not witnessed... sri lanka has been used to this kind of violence before. this is the first kind of major attacks that has taken place in ten years, which has taken place in colombo. people are panicking, worried about who is behind these attacks. there are rumours of international terrorist groups behind it. there are a lot of unverified claims. racial tensions area unverified claims. racial tensions are a little bit higher because groups are blaming each otherfor these attacks. people are really worried, we were peacefulfor ten
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yea rs worried, we were peacefulfor ten years and now suddenly these kind of unexpected attacks, on a peaceful sunday, people wear in enjoying the local holiday, the traditional new year. suddenly, this has happened and everyone is shocked. they are waiting for verified information because there is a lot of unverified information going around. i was travelling around, i was in the church in the most recent attack and people are really panicked and very suspicious of everything. the government has decided to, there are a lot of such operation is under way. many places, you're not allowed to ta ke way. many places, you're not allowed to take part is with you only buses and trains. all this in order to ensure the security situation. thank you forjoining us. earlier i spoke to asela waidyalankara, he lives in colombo and can see the smoke from one of the blasts from his house.
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we were watching the news and heard a loud explosion, very closeby. i climbed to my rooftop to see what was happening and i could see white smoke about 1 kilometre away from where i am. immediately afterwards, there were some helicopters that flew by and then we could hear ambulances and fire trucks coming. a little bit later, we heard another helicopter doing a flyby as well. what was the target of this seventh explosion? what we heard from local news sources it was a small hotel very close by to the zoo. that seems to be the area of the seventh explosion. how are you getting your information? how easy is it, because i understand social media platforms have been closed down?
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currently, it's only been mainstream news. there is currently a curfew in operation. there was a subsequent news bullletin that told us that the curfew was immediately in effect, indefinitely. social media—wise, facebook, instagram, whatsapp are not accessible to sri lankans at the moment. however, twitter is still available so that it is one social media platform still available in sri lanka. when you look outside, given this curfew, how quiet is the city? it is eerily quiet, there is no vehicle traffic at the moment. everyone is at standstill, there is a very uneasy feeling. obviously, in the past, some time ago, there was violence in sri lanka but life has changed for the better in that respect in recent years, hasn't it?
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absolutely. next month would be ten years without any major violence, suicide bombings or terrorist attacks. the government seem to think there were two real targets here, churches, of course, christians at easter. but also foreign nationals because the reports are that nine foreign nationals are amongst amongst the casualties. what is the view, generally speaking, in sri lanka towards visitors? it's a much visited country. we are very warm, welcoming, generous people. tourism has been on the uptake for the last five, six years. i think last year, we welcomed about 2.5 million tourists into sri lanka. basically, this is the height of the tourism season.
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sri lankan new year was last week. businesses are closed down, it's a very easy—going atmosphere. sri lankans are generally open to foreigners and welcoming to them. it has boosted our tourism industry. no group has yet admitted carrying out the attacks. a government minister, visiting the scene in colombo, said the country did not want to return to violence. we are shocked, the government which brought prosperity, peace, back to this country. if anybody can think by bringing back terrorism, by bringing back the violence, blasts and gunfire to this country, that they achieve their targets, they are misleading us. joining me now is charu lata hogg — associate fellow for the chatham house south asia programme
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what strikes you in particular about these eight explosions which we are reporting on? i think the most striking it is that it does not fall into any part in. the sites targeted are into any part in. the sites targeted a re clearly into any part in. the sites targeted are clearly religious sites, christian sites. and tourism. it's not something that can be placed within a pattern of targets, which have been targeted in the past. for instance, in the context of islamic radical insurgency, which is a lazy and reductionist way of looking out there is violence, saying that it is pa rt there is violence, saying that it is part of radical islam. i think that is hugely problematic because over the past five years, we have noticed that muslims had been targeted as a minority in sri lanka and oh
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christians. so who would have the motivation to attacked both these sites? we know there was a long period of violence in sri lanka but it has been quite calm for the last ten years, relatively, compared with the past. where then are the fault lines, bearing in mind that we need to be very careful about speculation. i think the calm is misleading because for ten years, you have had relative calm but if you have had relative calm but if you have had relative calm but if you have also had a very motorised north and east of the country. it is a country where tamils and other minorities have not realised their rights. there is no equal representation, no equality in terms of access to services and employment. the war has ended but the
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conflict and the rationale and reasons for the conflict have not gone away so it is a very troubled society and it is a very troubled political context as well. in the past, how often by foreigners targeted? it past, how often by foreigners targeted ? it appears past, how often by foreigners targeted? it appears that the government is convinced that because of the targeting of these luxury hotels, foreigners were intended to be caught up in theirs. to my knowledge, foreigners have not been targeted in sri lanka. lots of western journalists have been caught up western journalists have been caught up in the attacks. deliberate targeting of the site at the time, there are so many significant pointers here. one is on may 18, 2019, next month, the sri lankan conflict would be ten years anniversary. last month, also, the former defence minister of sri lanka had civil cases filed against him in the united states in terms of
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torture charges. that is also significant. since last year, we have had purity, beauty, sporadic attacks against muslims. that is also significant. —— periodic, sporadic attacks against muslims. what might you expect authorities to do in response over the weekend?” think the real risk for civil society is to have civil and political rights being clamped down on it. probably the scene that the government has banned social media, not allowing free exchange of information. of course, security concerns must be addressed but i think given the countries past history, that is a real danger of a free expression of grief that is definite and important part of the repetitive process in terms of the conflict is not allowed to take place in the aftermath of these
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attacks. that is a call for calm yet there is a because you are in place, there is a because you are in place, the two really contradict each other in ways, don't they? i think that happens in any society, sri lanka has backed up a very draconian and anti—terror legislation which is currently in place and can be invoked at any point. as i said before, the call to come in a situation where there are no clear a nswe i’s ca n situation where there are no clear answers can become very problematic and can be inflammatory as well. thank you forjoining us. speaking during his easter sunday mass at the vatican, pope francis expressed his sympathy for the victims of the blasts. translation: dear brothers and sisters, i heard with sadness the news of the horrendous attacks which on this very day, easter sunday, have brought mourning and pain to some churches and other
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places in sri lanka. i would like to express my heartfelt closeness to the christian community attacked while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such a cruel act of violence. i entrust to the lord all who so tragically died, and i pray for the wounded, and all those who suffer because of this traumatic event. 0ur correspondent, james reynolds, is in the vatican. james, tell us more about this reference to sri lanka and to the pope's why the message today? —— wider message. the pope offered to
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those players to the victims of the sri lankan attack after his ethernet address, he devoted a lot of time to that sri lanka thought. —— the address. it is worth mentioning that the pope visited sri lanka, a very early to be made during his papacy. it isa early to be made during his papacy. it is a country he knows, he possible if you see understand the christian community there, he met many members on that particular trip. he devoted that prior to it. also, ina trip. he devoted that prior to it. also, in a message which would have been written several days ago, talked about a list of the world conflicts which he was worried about. in the middle east, africa, latin america, and also eastern ukraine, he also mentioned refugees and many of those conflicts. tell us about the shape of the day because it isa about the shape of the day because it is a very formal occasion presided over by a very informal pope. yes, you sort the two sides of
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this papacy. 0ne, pope. yes, you sort the two sides of this papacy. one, the very formulaic, very ritualistic side of the papacy in which the service is conducted in latin as you can follow word by word what has meant to happen. i think for a lot of catholics, that is very reassuring, it means that this pope is following in the footsteps of previous popes, a sense of continuity. then, you have the pope who seems to prefer informality. you so much in the way he greeted pilgrims afterwards, in the way he toured his popemobile around the square, i got within about two — four metres to him. the woman behind me burst into tears as he went by. you got a sense of the kind of papacy that is, the former lakeside and the more informal site pursued by pope francis. of course, it is all a break from the real problems which have affected the church in recent months and years. in particular, the child abuse crisis which continues to go on.
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(pres)the foreign office have put out some advice, they say if you are worried about british friends orfamily in sri lanka caught up in the incidents, please call the foreign office switchboard number: 020 70081500. sport — and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre, here's 0lly. amir khan lost his world title fight against terence crawford in new york earlier this morning but there was a controversial end to the bout at madison square garden. khan was being outclassed by the wbo welterweight champion and was knocked down in the first round. but he was then caught by an accidental low—blow in the sixth round.
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rules stipulate that khan was allowed 5 minutes to recover, but he was in so much pain that he couldn't continue/l because more than 4 rounds had been boxed the result was decided on the judges scorecards, crawford had won every round and remains unbeaten retaining his belt. khan took exception to the accusation from the other corner that he quit unecessarily because he had no chance of winning the contest i've never quit anything, i'd rather be knocked out than quit a fight. it's just not in me to quit. obviously, i was hit by a low shot, i couldn't recoverfrom it, that's the reason the fight was called off. i tried to continue but it was getting we chose to not fight and called it off. so what now for khan?
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0ur reporter ade adedoyin was at the fight. i've never seen khan dominated like this evening. in this fight, he couldn't get a foothold. he has got a decision to make as to what he does next. he has been at of the elite level throughout his career, amateur and pro. but tonight, he was just one step behind. he says he still has a lot to offer the sport a lot to offer the sport but does he want to be a contender or does it we want to be it we want to be a possible opponent? that's the danger here. he says he wants to take some time away, spend time with his family. his trainer told me that he would support a mere whatever he decides today.
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i asked him if he thinks he should quit, he said that is not his decision. both say that he has something to offer the sport but tonight was a very bad night for amir khan. it's now over to liverpool in the premier league title race. they are playing catch up again. you manchester city are top of the table by a point after beating tottenham yesterday. liverpool kick off at 4pm at strugglers cardiff. manchester united have the chance to move into the top four, if they win at everton — and arsenal will move up to third are if they beat crystal palace. celtic play at hibs today in the scottish premiership, but even if they win, the title will have to wait at least another week, after rangers beat hearts yesteday. chelsea women play the first leg of their champions league semi—final this afternoon in france. lyon have been european champions for the past three seasons chelsea have never been beyond the semi—finals in europe and were also knocked out in the last four of the womens' fa cup by manchester city last weekend. they are out of the title race so europe is their last chance of any silverware this season and they know that they couldn't have a tougher tie. to win the champions league, you have got to play
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the best and beat the best. at some point you have to face them. we have a semifinal. the fantastic thing about football is, after the heartache of sunday, there's always the next game to get you raiding and ready to go. what a spectacular moment for us to try and do it and play lyon. the world snooker championship continues in sheffield, we're just about midway through the morning session. the four—time championjohn higgins is on one of the tables — the scotsman is 2—1 up against mark davis. ding jun hui is on the other table, 8—4 up aghainst anthony mcgill. coverage continues on the bbc sport website. that's all the sport for now.
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you can find more on all those stories on the bbc sport website. into an holding serve, you can follow that on the website. all have another update for you after one. a helicopter is being brought in to help fight a large fire which is continuing to burn on ilkley moor in west yorkshire. more than 70 firefighters are still at the scene, just south of the town of ilkley, and police have been deployed to keep people away from the area. police say several arrests have been made in connction with the fire. let's talk to our reporter, 0livia richwald, who's at ilkley moor for us now. how are they getting on the time to bring it under control? as you can see behind me, the fire is still
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very much happening up there on the mover, it is black and smouldering with a lot of smoke. there is about 70 of those trying to deal with it. it is not as dramatic as it looked last night when at the flames could be seen behind the town. it is at the town. everywhere you go, you go, you can still see the firefighting operation going on behind me. on the ground that they are using beaters and have brought in the special moorland fire vehicles to deal with that. helicopters have been coming around every five minutes and dropping bucketloads of water onto the fire. this fire is reaching a critical part of its development now. the fire service is that it is a chance it could reignite as the early afternoon heat hit the ground that has just been dampened down. the pictures were very dramatic last night, a lot of pictures being posted on social media. we have
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spoken to at least one person who was asked to back at his house. he was asked to back at his house. he was asked to back at his house. he was asked to back it for a few hours, but the wind change and he was allowed to go back to his house overnight. the firefighting operation is still going on and we are expecting to go on throughout the day. police say they've now arrested more than 830 people protesting in london over climate change. the protest organised by group extinction rebellion is now in its seventh day. hundreds of extra officers have been drafted in to monitor protestors on waterloo bridge, parliament square, and the main demonstration site in oxford circus — which has now been cleared. now it's time for a look at the weather with stav. it has been a chilly start with mist and fog but it had cleared away and when al look at it day. hazy sunshine across western scotland into northern ireland, a little bit
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of rainfor into northern ireland, a little bit of rain for the ultrahigh bodies. elsewhere, widespread sunshine, a little bit: at the close, but in mine temperatures around 23, 20 4 degrees. this rain will gradually clear a way back into the atlantic tonight. as we head onto easter monday, a chilly start with early mist and fog. it clears and it has widespread sunshine across the board, another 11 with temperatures reaching the low to mid 20s degrees. it all changes on tuesday, temperatures begin to fall, bringing increasing showers and temperatures returning nearer to normal.
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hello, this is bbc news with martine croxall. the headlines. 160 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured after a wave of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka.
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christian worshippers in three churches were targetted


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