Newsletter: Today: Grief and Disbelief in Sri Lanka

Almost 300 people were killed in six near-simultaneous and coordinated explosions at three churches and three hotels.

Sri Lanka is mourning the victims killed in a string of attacks, while the government there is drawing skepticism as it blames an obscure Islamic extremist group.


Grief and Disbelief in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government has blamed a little-known domestic extremist group called National Thowheeth Jamaath for a coordinated series of Easter attacks that killed at least 321 people and wounded hundreds. If the group is found responsible, the bombings would be among the first instances of Islamist terrorism in a predominantly Buddhist country with sizable minorities of Muslims, Christians and Hindus — and a history of communal violence. But many Sri Lankans are skeptical of the government’s claim that the group was behind the bombings. (A Sri Lankan defense official said Tuesday that the bombings were carried out in retaliation for shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.) The attacks have highlighted the dysfunction plaguing Sri Lanka’s bitterly divided coalition government, with the prime minister blaming the president and law enforcement agencies for failing to act on warnings of a terrorist plot.


A Matter of Workplace Discrimination

The Supreme Court has set the stage for a landmark civil rights decision next year — in the thick of the presidential campaign — on whether gay, lesbian and transgender employees are protected nationwide from being fired or not hired under the federal law that bars sex discrimination in the workplace. In much of the nation, a growing consensus thinks that such discrimination is unjustified and should be illegal. But the outcome of the three cases the justices will hear will hinge on whether one of the court’s conservatives sides with liberals.

More From Washington

-- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed back on Democrats calling for the impeachment of President Trump, even though she said the president “engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior, which does not bring honor to the office he holds.”


-- Trump and his business organization have sued Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee, trying to block a subpoena that seeks years of the president’s financial records. Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler subpoenaed former White House Counsel Don McGahn for testimony after the special counsel’s report that said McGahn refused Trump’s request to curb or cut off the Russia investigation.

-- Trump has shelved his plan to put Herman Cain on the Federal Reserve amid opposition from his own party, with Democrats swiftly urging Republicans to also block the president’s pick of fellow supporter Stephen Moore for the U.S. central bank.

-- The Trump administration said it would not extend exemptions to its ban on imports of Iranian oil, exposing five countries, including several U.S. allies, to potential sanctions as early as next month.

‘They’re Going to Make You Pay for It’

Allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers in the California National Guard are more widespread than the complaints made at a Fresno air base that led to a dramatic leadership shake-up of the organization this month, The Times has found. Interviews with current and former Guard members and an examination of internal documents show that complaints go well beyond Fresno and extend to the Army side as well. They allege a pattern of retaliation against whistleblowers and others who accuse their superiors of misconduct and a failure of the Guard’s justice system to protect them.

HBCUs Struggle to Survive

Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, were largely founded after the Civil War to give African Americans the opportunity for higher education. The schools saw booming enrollment for decades. But in recent years, many have struggled to survive. Case in point: The all-women’s Bennett College in North Carolina, where years of financial woes have led recently to a federal court battle over its accreditation, is fighting to stay afloat. As readers told us, an HBCU can be an experience like no other.

The $338-Million Housing Question


In November 2016, Los Angeles voters approved $1.2 billion in bonds to help pay for housing homeless people, with the goal of 10,000 new units in a decade. Now, with a little more than half those units secured, the city has already committed two-thirds of the money made available through Proposition HHH. So how will officials make up the difference?

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On this date in 1948, a Times photographer captured the scene of a homeless family of seven that had been evicted “when their landlord decided to tear down the house and in its place set up another structure.” They erected a tent near Elysian Park, with hopes of building a home on the site. When the Health Department ordered them to leave, The Times reported on their plight. A follow-up article said the family had received several offers of help.

April 23, 1948: Helen Groves prepares a meal on an open cookstove while one child plays and others struggle uphill with water.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


-- Los Angeles County officials say they are investigating a call made by a man claiming to be a Sheriff’s Department official who threatened to arrest the county’s chief attorney.

-- The state’s major monopoly utilities have asked regulators to approve higher profits for their shareholders amid a growing risk of destructive fires. The biggest request came from Southern California Edison, where the average household customers could see an annual bill increase of more than $170.


-- Will Gov. Gavin Newsom end oil drilling in California? Many environmentalists are betting yes.

-- Charlie, the oldest living southern sea otter at any zoo or aquarium, has died at age 22 at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.


-- The first visitors to Disneyland’s highly anticipated new Star Wars attraction will each be given a four-hour window to take in the $1-billion expansion, but how that deadline will be enforced is still unclear.

-- Philanthropist and documentarian Abigail Disney, who is grandniece of Walt Disney and granddaughter of co-founder Roy O. Disney, says Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger’s $65.6-million pay package is “insane.”

-- Nearly a year after its Cannes Film Festival premiere, the L.A. slacker detective yarn “Under the Silver Lake” has finally hit theaters with its wild blend of conspiracies and confusion.

-- “Game of Thrones” redux: All about “Jenny’s Song” and Florence + the Machine’s cover.


-- In Louisiana, Isle de Jean Charles is sinking. But as the government embarks on the nation’s first experiment to move an entire community out of harm’s way and build a new settlement in hopes of restoring its cultural traditions and old way of life, many islanders are not ready to leave.

-- A powerful earthquake hit the central Philippines on Tuesday, a day after a 6.1 quake rattled the country’s north and killed at least 11 people.

-- To rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after its fire, the French can look east to Dresden’s Frauenkirche.


-- Elon Musk claims a million Teslas will drive themselves in a year. Not surprisingly, safety advocates have concerns.

-- Looking for new glasses? These companies are focused on disrupting the eyewear market.


-- Former Lakers coach Luke Walton has been accused of sexual assault by former Spectrum SportsNet host Kelli Tennant in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

-- With the NFL draft less than a week away, reporters who cover their teams on a daily basis took a crack at predicting how the first round will unfold in The Times’ annual beat writers’ mock draft.


-- Care about balance of power? Root for Trump’s legal team in the financial records fight.

-- Impeachment isn’t a criminal proceeding, it’s a political one.


-- The militia group United Constitutional Patriots has detained migrants at the border. Then one of its alleged members got arrested. (CNN)

-- “Are podcasts killing music or just wasting our time?” (Washington Post)


What do NASA engineers, synthetic biologists and Silicon Valley venture capitalists do in the desert while others head to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival? They throw a party to talk about colonizing space. Betaspace promised to be the place where “Burning Man and the Consumer Electronics Show collide.” As the latest Column One feature explores, it was also a place where you could munch on “bright blue cyanobacteria-dusted popcorn” and say hello to a Spock impersonator.

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