Daily wrap: ISIS claims Lanka blasts; SC issues contempt notice to Rahul

More than 300 hundred were killed and hundreds more hospitalised with injuries from eight blasts that rocked churches and hotels in and just outside of Sri Lanka's capital on Easter Sunday. Photo: PTI

ISIS claims Lanka Easter blasts as toll rises to 321

Sri Lanka’s worst terror attack targeting churches and luxury hotels that killed 321 people on Easter Sunday (April 21) was claimed by the Islamic State even as a senior minister informed Parliament on Tuesday (April 23) that initial probe suggested local Islamist extremists carried out the devastating blasts in retaliation for the shootings in New Zealand mosques. Forty suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested so far in connection with the attacks that shocked Sri Lankans who observed a day of national mourning on Tuesday (April 23). At least 45 children were among the more than 320 people killed in suicide bomb attack.

Meanwhile, Muslim brothers carried out two of the hotel suicide blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, part of a wave of bombings that killed more than 320 people, police sources said on Tuesday (April 23). The sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader were among suicide bombers who hit three churches and three luxury hotels, investigators told AFP. An attack on a fourth hotel failed and helped lead police to the Islamist group now blamed for the assault, they added. The brothers, whose names have not been revealed, were in their late twenties and operated their own “family cell”, an investigation officer said. The pair were key members of the Islamist National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) group which the government has blamed for the attacks, the official added.

World Book Day: Kalachuvadu makes its mark on Tamil literature

With a population of around 8 crore, Tamil Nadu has a literacy rate of 80.09%, but only a meagre percentage display an interest in buying books. However, book fairs conducted in the state bring the Tamil publication industry some hope. The Chennai Book Fair, conducted by Book and Publishers’ Association of South India (BAPASI) and held annually for the past four decades, has witnessed an increase in the number of customers. In 2018, around 50 lakh books were sold. In 2019, around 75 lakh books were sold at the fair. In terms of visitors, around 11 lakh people visited the fair last year. This year saw a footfall of 15 lakh people. Meanwhile, sales last year stood at ₹15 crore; it was ₹21 crore in 2019. Every year 50-60 new Tamil titles are published, and 100-150 Tamil writers are introduced.

Bilkis Bano case: SC directs Gujarat govt to give her ₹50L compensation, job, accommodation

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (April 23) directed the Gujarat government to give ₹50 lakh compensation, a job and accommodation to Bilkis Bano who was gang raped during the 2002 riots in the state. A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi was informed by the Gujarat government that action has been taken against the erring police officials in the case. The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, was informed by the state’s counsel that pension benefits of the erring officials have been stopped and the IPS officer who was convicted by the Bombay High Court in the case has been demoted by two ranks. Bano had earlier refused to accept the offer of ₹5 lakh and had sought exemplary compensation from the state government in a plea before the top court. The top court had on March 29 asked the state government to take disciplinary action within two weeks against all the erring police officials.

How Priyanka’s likely entry from Varanasi could upset BJP’s plans

Once again, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has expressed willingness to contest from Varanasi seat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She simply put the ball in the court of her brother Rahul Gandhi. “If the Congress president asks me to contest, I will be happy to contest,” Priyanka Gandhi said in Wayanad, the Kerala constituency from where Rahul Gandhi filed his second nomination. And this, she has reiterated at least three times from public forum. Is she and the Congress party indeed serious about this or is it pure political posturing? The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is filing his nomination on April 26th after a roadshow. The nominations close on April 29 and therefore there are only six days left for the Congress to take a final decision.

SC issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on Rafale verdict

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (April 23) issued criminal contempt notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his “chowkidar chor hai” remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi while referring to the Rafale judgment, which the apex court said was “incorrectly attributed” to it. The apex court however exempted Gandhi from personal appearance in the case, filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, which will come up for hearing on April 30. The criminal contempt petition will be heard along with the pending review petitions against the December 14, 2018 verdict in the Rafale fighter jet deal, it said.

203 IPL sixes – ‘Thala’ Dhoni – man behind jersey number 7

At 37 years, he is one of the oldest players in the current season of Indian Premier League (IPL). Over the course of 12 seasons, he has 203 sixes to his credit, becoming the first Indian batsman to hit 200 sixes in IPL, one shy of being number two on the list of players with most sixes in all seasons. In match 39 of IPL 2019, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni hit a massive six of 111 metres in the 20th over. In his own swashbuckling style of sending the ball over the stadium roof, Dhoni hit 5 fours and 7 sixes, scoring an unbeaten 84 on Sunday (April 21). Along with hitting the longest six of the season yet*, captain Dhoni created a number of records. (*Biggest six of the tournament as on April 22 after the DC vs RR match). He scored 4000 runs as a captain in IPL, scored his highest individual score in the league so far.

Naxals will be rooted out by 2023: Rajnath Singh

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday (April 23) said Naxalites will be rooted out in the country by 2023. Rebels and terrorists coming in the way of the country’s security, which is an essential part of development, will be crushed, Singh told a poll rally here. “Naxals have been almost eliminated in Jharkhand and their remaining pockets in the state will end soon,” he told a poll rally here.

At least 264 dead in battle for Libya capital: WHO

At least 264 people have been killed and 1,266 wounded, including civilians, in an offensive by military strongman Khalifa Haftar to seize Libyas capital Tripoli, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday. The UN agency called on Twitter for “a temporary cessation of hostilities” between Haftars self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) and forces loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). It urged “all parties to respect international humanitarian law”. Fighting since April 4 in the southern suburbs of Tripoli has displaced 35,000, UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria do Valle Ribeiro said on Monday.

N Koreas Kim to meet Putin in Russias Far East

Kim Jong Un and President Vladimir Putin will meet in Russias Far East on Thursday (April 25), the Kremlin said, as the North Korean leader looks to rebuild ties with an old ally amid a standoff with the United States. Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said the meeting – the first between the two men – would take place in the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok, before Putin heads to Beijing for another summit. “The focus will be on a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula,” Ushakov told a briefing.

Indian-origin boy lauded as Britains youngest accountant

A 15-year-old Indian-origin boy has been lauded as Britains youngest accountant after setting up a successful accountancy firm while still at school. Ranveer Singh Sandhu, based in south London, has set himself a goal of becoming a millionaire by the time he turns 25 after he set up his first business when he was aged just 12 years. “Young Entrepreneur aged 15 living my best life and trying to make money,” he proclaims on social media. The schoolboy says he knew from a very early age that he wanted to become an accountant and financial adviser to help fellow young entrepreneurs set up their dream businesses.