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Sri Lanka Update: Families of the victims still struggling over the incident.

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Source: Reuters

In Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, a lane that used to be alive with the sound of children playing is silent.

An entire family, including three children, died in an explosion at St Anthony’s Church on Easter Sunday, one of a series of coordinated attacks by suicide bombers that killed more than 250 people.
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The youngest of the child victims was only 11 months old.

Bevon, 9, and Clavon, 6, also died in the April 21 blast.

An eight-year old cousin, Joshua, is struggling to come to terms with the loss.

“I love my cousins. I’m sure they’ll be back soon and then we can cycle and play in the street,” he said.

Men, women and children of all ages were among those killed in the blasts across the country, claimed by Islamic State, that targeted churches and hotels.

Most of the victims were Sri Lankan, from all walks of life: a top chef, a teenage basketball player, an auto-rickshaw driver, a carpenter.

They left behind treasured possessions those that loved them cannot bear to move, as well as the empty spaces where they lived, worked and played.

ABANDONED SEWING

Priyantha Jayakody had skipped morning mass at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo that day because of an injured foot, but he listened to the sermon through an open window in his first-floor apartment overlooking the church.

After the explosion, he grabbed his crutches and hopped down the stairs. As he reached the street he could see people running out of the church. His wife Kritika, and their 17-year-old-son, who were both at the service, were nowhere to be seen.

She was killed and his son is battling for his life in intensive care. Since that day, Kritika’s sewing machine has sat in the family’s living room, a spool of thread loaded, awaiting her return.

“She would always take care of me, my son and our house. She had just bought cloth and was making new curtains,” said Priyantha, wiping away tears.

“My life changed in seconds.”

Chandima Yasawardheena lost her husband and their two teenage daughters in the Negombo blast, the deadliest of the eight bombings, in which more than 100 people perished.

Weeks after the attack, the school bag of her younger daughter, Wishmi, 14, lies on her bedspread. Moving anything would mean coming to terms with the fact she isn’t coming back.

“I don’t feel like my daughters have left me. I don’t want to accept it,” Chandima said, her face bandaged from a shrapnel wound.

Shantha Mayadunne, an acclaimed chef who hosted a television cooking show, was killed with her daughter minutes after the latter uploaded a selfie of them having breakfast in the Shangri-La hotel.

“She used to bring everything, including utensils and vegetables, from her house for the show,” said her producer, Sirimalee, gesturing to her workspace on the set.

“We still can’t believe she won’t be back in this studio, which was her kitchen.”

EMPTY CLASSROOMS

In Batticaloa, on Sri Lanka’s east coast, 14 children were among the 29 killed in a blast at the Zion Church.

Jackson, a promising basketball player who was captain of his school team, died on the spot.

“He was my only child. I coached him to play basketball and we enjoyed playing together. Now my whole future generation is gone. Nothing is left,” said his father, Arasaratnam Verl, as he looked at Jackson’s jerseys and basketball.

“I wish I had gone to the church with him that day,” he said.

Schools across Sri Lanka have begun to reopen but in Batticaloa, one student, nine-year-old Kevin Kuventhirarasa, will never return. He was killed while at Sunday school at the Zion Church.

“He was very active, generous and helpful,” said his teacher Vijithakumary Suthagar, in the empty classroom where she used to teach him. “I don’t know how I will explain his absence to his classmates.”


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24 Hours Across Africa

Hong kong crisis: Police threaten to use live bullet

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After recent protesters livid escalation on the Hong Kong police, the authorities has  threatened to fire live bullets if “rioters” did not stop using lethal weapons.

The police statement followed fresh clashes outside a university in the center of Hong Kong where protesters were hunkered down behind makeshift shields and hurled petrol bombs at police in a standoff blocking a vital tunnel link.

Police says, one of her officer had been treated in hospital after being hit in the leg by an arrow and another had his visor struck by a metal ball, although he was not hurt.

The violence in the Asian financial hub has posed the gravest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. Xi has said he is confident Hong Kong’s government can resolve the crisis.

Police have used live rounds in a few isolated incidents in the past.

Demonstrators, angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the former British colony which has had autonomous status since returning to Chinese rule in 1997, have said they are responding to excessive use of force by police.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nissan to recall over 40,000 cars due to malfunction of brake fluid leak

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Japanese automaker gaint Nissan says,  it’s recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a braking system defect that could cause them to catch fire.

Users and Owners are advised to park affected vehicles outside and away from structures if the anti-lock brake system warning light comes on for more than 10 seconds.

The Japanese automaker says a pump seal may become worn down and cause brake fluid to leak. “If the warning is ignored … the brake fluid leak may potentially create an electrical short in the actuator circuit, which in rare instances, may lead to a fire,” the company says in documents sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall affects four different models in the U.S.: the Nissan Murano SUV, model years 2015 to 2018; Maxima sedans, model years 2016 to 2018; and the Infiniti QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, model years 2017 to 2019.

Nissan says in a statement emailed to NPR that it is working on a fix and that owners of affected vehicles will be notified beginning in early December 2019. “Once the remedy is available, owners will receive a final notification letter asking them to bring their vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealer or INFINITI retailer to have the remedy work completed at no cost for parts or labor,” the company says.

This isn’t the first time Nissan has had problems with brake fluid leaks. Last year, for example, Nissan recalled more than 215,000 vehicles. The automaker says vehicles in the 2018 recall that haven’t been repaired are included in the current recall.

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