Weekly Global Newscast | April 22 - April 28, 2019
Sri Lanka Bombing; Muslims Fear Backlash
A series of bombing hit Sri Lanka’s churches and five star hotels on Easter Sunday killing nearly 300 people and injuring approximately 500. ISIL has claimed the responsibility for the attacks operating with two local Islamist groups.
‘Hilmy Ahamed, vice-president of the influential Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said the community was braced for a backlash, with emotions running high. Hundreds of people are being buried there is going to be an emotional outburst and some of it could be justifiable. We have asked the government to ensure security is maintained. This (attack) has not been carried out by the Muslim community but by some fringe elements’. Associated Press reported for Al Jazeera.
US to End Waiver on Sanctions Against Importers of Iranian Oil
The US government told five countries that they will no longer be exempt from US sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran after their waivers end on May 2. Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India are the biggest importers of Iranian Oil.
‘Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “the US decision to end sanctions waivers on Iran oil imports will not serve regional peace and stability, yet will harm Iranian people. Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbors”.’ Reported Al Jazeera.
Middle East & North Africa
Libyan Capital of Tripoli Hit by Airstrikes
The Libyan National Army has launched airstrikes on Tripoli in a bid to seize the capital. The rebel army, headed by strongman Khalifa Haftar, has been galvanized by victories in the country’s eastern and southern parts. The airstrikes killed four people and wounded 20 others in Tripoli, Libya’s internationally recognized unity government said on Sunday.
‘The Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said the Presidential Council’s government has evidence that foreign aircraft have been involved in the attack on Tripoli, saying there is an investigation underway in coordination with the UN. In a press conference in Tunisia with his Tunisian counterpart, Bashagha said the accuracy of the airstrikes on Tripoli points to warplanes owned by only two Arab countries. Bashagha also criticized France for its support for Khalifa Haftar, urging it to stand with the democratic norms it believes in. “The war in Tripoli now was not started by our government but we found ourselves in a position where we must defend democracy and civil state.” He said that the forces of “warlord Khalifa Haftar” has revived the terrorist groups, adding that “no party can brag about fighting terrorism to us, we know all about it and we did it numerous times.” “Haftar is from the school of Gaddafi regime and has the same mentality. He is the only one who doesn’t want to end Libya’s crises.” He explained. Bashagha said there is silence by the international community toward the airstrikes on Tripoli, adding that any upcoming dialogue would be with eastern tribes not with Haftar and there will be a new roadmap after Haftar’s forces are defeated’. Abdulkader Assad reported for Libya Observer.
Sub Saharan Africa
Joint Civilian-Military Council to Lead the Sudan’s Political Transition
Protests started in Sudan in December last year calling for the removal of Sudan’s President of three decades; Omar al Bashir. As Bashir resigned earlier this month, Sudan’s powerful generals and opposition leaders have agreed in principle to the formation of joint civilian-military council to lead the country’s political transition.
‘A spokesman for the Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, Mohammad Naji al-Assam, outlined on Twitter the continuing point of disagreement. “We in the Forces of Freedom and Change think the majority of the council should be formed by the civilians or that it should be a civilian council with a limited military representation. But our brothers in the military think it should be a military council with a limited civilian representation. We reached an initial deal that it should be a mixed council between the civilians and the military, and we started a discussion on the percentage of the civilians and the military”.’ Peter Beaumont and Zeinab Mohammed Salih reported for The Guardian.
Socialists Take Lead in the Spanish Elections
In the country’s third general election in under four years, Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) won 123 seats, the conservative People’s party (PP) 66, the centre-right Citizens party 57, the anti-austerity Unidas Podemos and its allies 42, and Vox 24.
‘A victory for Sanchez will be reassuring to mainstream parties going into European Parliament elections later this month worried about their flagging appeal. His journey to securing a likely second term offers clues into how to weather insurgents and grab the initiative’. Ben Sills and Charles Penty reported for Al Jazeera.
Shooting at California Synagogue
A shooting at a synagogue in California on Saturday, left one woman dead and three injured. In a supposed incident of hate crime, the shooter in Saturday’s attack in Poway, near San Diego, was named as a white 19-year-old man, John Earnest.
‘Adam Hertzman, spokesman for the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, a city where 11 Jewish worshippers were murdered in another mass shooting at the hands of an alleged white nationalist six months ago, told CNN on Sunday: “The level of anti-semitism in the US has been increasing, as has hate against many groups.”
In Poway, California, friends of victims of the shooting who were at the synagogue when the attack happened on Saturday, spoke out against hate. Oren Lee, a congregant, told the Guardian what he thought about extremists like the gunman: “People get depressed and they start not knowing what to live for…so they start feeding into some ideology that picks them up. Unfortunately, it tends to be a very hateful one, no matter what side of the aisle the person might be on. It’s a hateful thing that they start picking up. And then that’s what tears the person up — they don’t have something that they’re actually living for. That’s why they did this. Just a meaningless thing”.’