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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 21, 2019 10:00am-10:31am BST

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this is bbc news, i'm martine croxhall. the headlines at 10. more than 130 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in a wave of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka. bringing back the violence, blasts and gunfire to this country, that they achieve their targets, they are misleading us. christian worshippers in at least three churches were targetted — as they gathered to celebrate easter. so it isa so it is a very, very sad day for all others. i was to therefore express my deepest sorrow and sympathy to all those innocent families that have lost someone.
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i spoke to a government minister who said they had no clue and they had no intelligence to expect something like this. there were blasts at three five star hotels were also targetted — foreign nationals are among those who have died. good morning. more than 130 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in a series of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka. at least six explosions were reported at three churches and three five—star hotels. in the last few minutes, we're also getting reports of a possible seventh explosion. the attacks on churches took place in the country's biggest city, columbo, as as well in negombo and the eastern city of battacloa. the three hotels attacked were also in colombo — they are the shangri—la,
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cinnamon grand and kingsbury hotels. people were attending easter mass in the churches when the explosions went off. sri lanka's president has urged people to remain calm — and the prime minister has condemned what he called a ‘cowardly attack‘. foreign nationals are also reported to be among the dead. the bbc‘s azzam ameen is at the scene of one of the attacks in colombo. it's very early to say but even the police are not saying who is behind it. they arejust guessing whether there is an international or religious organisation behind this but it is still very early to. they are just investigating the matter so i just spoke to a government minister and they have no clue. they have no intelligence about an attack like this. so the president is holding a special inquiry and he has requested people to stay calm
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because there has been a lot of rumours about more attacks. we have seen thousands of police officers around the country, guarding the main places because they are afraid of more attacks. just to reiterate, we are getting reports which would make a seventh explosion in three line cut. the reports the bomb has gone off in colombo and that two police officers have been killed. —— seven explosion in sri lanka. akshat saraf was on the 25th floor of the shangri la hotel in colombo with his wife and child when the explosion happened. he told us what he heard. at that point my wife and myself are planning to go down for breakfast but the explosion happened on the breakfast floor. which is on the top floor.
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from the 25th floor we heard two loud bangs. the room was shaking, which is why we decided we should go down to the lobby, even though at that point we cannot see much from our window. when we got downstairs i could see that ambulances had arrived. it took me about three to four minutes to take the stairs to get downstairs. by then all ambulances, police, rapid action force, fire brigage, were there, i could see a lot of guests who were taken to different hospitals. i would not be able to comment on the number of guest that were injured... however, there were casualties, about a0 hotel staff and guests.
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and i went —— and eyewitness speaking to the bbc earlier. 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, 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. the archbishop of colombo cardinal ra njith has condemned the attacks. he compared 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. from the initial statistics that have come to me.
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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 be like this.
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the archbishop of colombo. world leaders have expressed their support for sri lanka. here are some of their statements on twitter. the indian prime minister narendra modi has condemned the blasts, saying "there is no place for such barbarism in our region". here we had the statement from our prime minister, theresa may. pakistan's prime minister imran khan says his country "stands in complete solidarity with sri lanka in their hour of grief". and the australian prime minister scott morrison has also condemned the attacks, calling them "devastating" and "horrific". let's get more now from our south asia correspondent rajini vaidaya nathan.
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we are hearing reports of the seventh explosion, tells what you're hearing? yes, the bbc reporter in colombo has confirmed these reports. ina suburb colombo has confirmed these reports. in a suburb of colombo, another explosion went off. he shared some photos on his twitter account, you could see the devastation. we understand there are two casualties. we understand they were police officers. i am we understand they were police officers. iam not we understand they were police officers. i am not sure but that is what we are hearing, there are two casualties. it was in a hotel, opposite the zoo there we are told. 0bviously, sri lanka and a heightened state of alert as weird news of another explosion. another statement from the office of the prime minister seeing nine
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foreigners. —— nine foreigners have been injured, no foreigners had been injured during the civil war. the view of the government is that foreigners were the target. yes, indeed, in many senses there were two groups. you have the three attacks or explosions at the church this morning during easter service, before nine o'clock when the churches were packed with worshippers. that appears to be religiously targeted on christians. you also have three luxury high—end hotels which were targeted, one was clue —— source close to the prime minister has to the bbc that nine foreigners were among the casualties in these attacks. this is the first
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time the government is saying foreign nationals have been targeted in this way. sri lanka is a country with a huge history of bloodshed and violence and in the coming weeks the country was looking to mark the tenth anniversary of the end of the civil war. no one has taken responsibility yet, no groups, organisations or individuals. at the moment the prime minister saying no should speculate, he is urging the country to remain calm and united but i must say, when we hear reports of another bomb blast with two more casualties, one can only imagine the heightened sense that people in sri la nka heightened sense that people in sri lanka are feeling right now. for many people visiting sri lanka, the beauty of it is feels open, if there we re beauty of it is feels open, if there were to be an increase in security in response, that could affect the decision to travel there? yes, of
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course this is going to have an impact on tourism. sri lanka is a very important to this destination. u nfortu nately we a re very important to this destination. unfortunately we are now hearing that many tours have been caught up in these attacks. at the moment i am not sure if there had been any travel warnings issued. —— many tourists have been caught up. there may well be some sort of warnings going out but certainly the british consulate on the ground is offering help to british people and other people from around the world who are there on holiday. facebook, as they often do new situations, has introduced a feature where people can mark themselves the. the scale of this attack is fast. at the moment we are hearing 100 and 60 casualties. —— mark themselves safe.
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i suspect the death toll is only going to climb as the day progresses. thank you very much. with me is thusiyan nandakumar, member of the editorial board at the tamil guardian newspaper. thank you for being with us, what is your reaction to what you are seen, your reaction to what you are seen, you have heard that the scale is so breathtaking? if you look back in the history of sri lanka in different attacks, there have been attacks on churches before, in the north and north—east but there has been nothing on this scale for some time now. these particular parts of the country, we have battacloa in the country, we have battacloa in the east but we also have places targeted in the west. yes, it is absolutely devastating, i horrific attack. reports of the seventh blast makes it seem very well coordinated and there are questions to be asked
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by the government how this could have happened. especially the seventh coming sometime after the first six which looked coordinated. what were the expectations that might what will their expectations of the sri lankan people be of the government? first of all, it will be safety, and being able to go to church, just last week there was an attack on a church. there were more than 60 attacks on churches throughout last year. they need to ensure the safety of those who are practising their religion, whatever it is. how do you do this when there are multiple sites needing protected at once? the government has questions to answer how such a militarised island could let something as horrific as this slip through the net. particularly we're hearing from government ministers, we do not want to return to
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violence. we were looking forward to marking ten years since end of the civil war, i know there have been incidents since but not on this scale sadly in sri lanka.|j understand what you are trying to say, of course that has been a decade since the end of the conflict. the final phase saw tens of thousands of civilians massacred in attacks on hospitals and others. no one wants to return to that level of violence or any level of violence out of. every community has been affected, especially their tamil community in the north—east and no one wants to return to that. what is sri lanka like to visit as a foreigner because it is so popular? there is a sharp contrast between the north—eastern side. in this it would not even notice a military presence which is why this makes it so surprising. that might in the south you would not even notice. in
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terms of the north—east, it is militarised. it is surprising something like this could penetrate the n this way. it wasn't so long ago where you were discouraged from visiting the north. yes, you need clea ra nce to visiting the north. yes, you need clearance to go to certain areas. that kind of security apparatus we do not want to see again. how careful does the government have to be to ensure unnecessary divisions are not created in society?” be to ensure unnecessary divisions are not created in society? i agree with you, they have to be really careful. there is a fear that extreme elements of the political spectrum may use these attacks to further nationalist or anti—christian or anti muslim or anti—tamil agenda. they have to be careful not to stoke those flames again. thank you very much for joining us. the attacks came as christians gathered in rome to see the pope
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hold easter sunday mass. 0ur correspondent, james reynolds, is in the vatican. we canjoin him, i am sure what happened in sri lanka will be reflected in the poor‘s address. yes, he is due to speak from the balcony in saint peter's basilica. this is a most profound in the christian calendar and this was a country they pull himself visiting 2017. it will be very much on the minds of the pope and the vatican. —— the pope himself visited in 2017. this is a huge day for the catholic calendar, what can we expect to happen? it goes like clockwork. there will be marching bands going into st peter's square, flowers from the netherlands decorate the square. worshippers will be in the square. the pope is celebrating mass. we have seen one of the show with the
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vatican and taylor, directing people to receive mass. afterwards, the police will —— the pope will go to the balcony to deliver his adjacent he will then go into the popemobile and drive around saint peter square. how does the feel and tone of the data for this year? —— of the day differfor data for this year? —— of the day differ for this data for this year? —— of the day differfor this year? data for this year? —— of the day differ for this year? i think essentially this is something this pope tries to make timeless. he tries —— mike enjoys a more informal approach, we saw that before he became pope. —— he tries to enjoy a more informal approach. we saw that before he became pope. he was trying to peer his bill personally. there
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is one thing which passes on from pope to pope which is the high solemnity of this easter mass. it is in latin. we see a continuation under what we had seen under many previous popes. it can be so quiet and yet so many people have gathered there. that is something. i had just beenin there. that is something. i had just been in saint peter's square. it is fascinating, a citizen rather slice of people were allowed in by the police, they started running to get the best positions. a lot of people we re the best positions. a lot of people were asking when the pope might pass in his popemobile. yes, there is a sense of solemnity for the worshippers but in that crowd, there area worshippers but in that crowd, there are a lot of people for whom this is certainly just a spectacle are a lot of people for whom this is certainlyjust a spectacle to be enjoyed and photographed, certainly with reverence. thank you very much,
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james reynolds at the vatican. the main easter celebration in paris, which would have taken place at notre—dame cathedral, will instead be held at the church of saint—eustache, as workers continue the task of making the cathedral safe. last night, french television put on a concert to raise funds for the renovation, following monday's fire. let's speak now to our paris correspondent, hugh scofield. what do they have planned today, given that notre dame cannot be the focus this year? well, indeed, that is why we're here at the church of saint eustache, a kilometre from notre dame. near a shopping area. the mass is now getting under way. a quarter of an error go there was a line of many hundreds of people just behind us. many have had to be turned away because it does not have the capacity of notre dame, it is
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standing room only. the mass is now under way. we were talking to people in the queue as they moved up towards the door. 0bviously what is happening here today is overshadowed by what is happening in sri lanka, use of that was just breaking for people. their thoughts are with the people. their thoughts are with the people in sri lanka. many readers speaking about the need to protect religious choices of people, whatever religion they are part of. —— many leaders. what is the sphere —like in paris so soon after that? well, among the christians, there is a strange feeling, it is a special easter, no question about that. spiritually for observant christians, notre dame was their home. countless people have been
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saying how they feel a sense of deep loss because the cathedral was a place they would go for moments of introspection, sadness and grief or the need for solitude. that is no longer with them, it is like a sister one of them said who has been taken away. the easter message is central to all of this and many people think it is no coincidence it happens at the beginning of easter week. it happened on monday, it seemed the world was coming to an end, the beloved building would be lost forever. by the end of the week it was clear that was not the case, the building has survived and will be reborn. the parallel with the easter message has escaped no one which is why the look on their faces is not despair but one ofjoy and hope. thank you, hugh scofield in paris. and, meanwhile, here
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in britain, the queen and the royal are attending easter mattins service at st george's chapel in windsor, helena lee is there for us now. it isa it is a beautiful day, how do the crowds look? there are quite a few people gathered outside the royal castle, u nfortu nately they people gathered outside the royal castle, unfortunately they will not get a look at the royal family. traditionally, the royal family get a look at the royal family. traditionally, the royalfamily are already in the castle grinds, they will come out of the gate close to st george's chapel and make a small walk. pictures will be taken inside the castle and that will be led by the castle and that will be led by the queen so people here will not see members of the royal family but it does not stop them coming to the outside of the castle. that service is due to get under way shortly and the queen is celebrating her 93rd birthday as well so she will be with herfamily to birthday as well so she will be with her family to celebrate that. born on the 21st of april 1926. there
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will be doubt if the duke of edinburgh will be by her side, he was last seen in the october at the wedding of his granddaughter in saint georges chapel. he was photographed recently in the grounds of the windsor estate, close to where we are here but there will be interest in whether the duke and duchess of gloucester? be here at the sunday service. they did not attend last year but a huge amount of interest, especially for the crowds here, whether they will be coming or not. 11 months since they got married here at st george's chapel. meghan markle is due to give birth, we do not know the date but she has reviewed it is later this month or early next month. officially the palace had said she is due to give birth in —— in the springtime. so lots of interest in
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the cloud, the service is due to begin soon in the chapel. thank you very much indeed. thank you very much indeed. 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 being deployed to keep people away from the area. let's talk now to martin langan from west yorkshire fire and rescue service. he is at ilkley moor right now and is the commander in charge of operation to get the fire under control. thank you forjoining us at such a busy time, give us an idea of the scale of the fire. good morning. she said, we are at attendance at a large fire, in the of 2,000 square metre of maryland involved. we have been there since yesterday. we have started to ramp up their presence this morning up to lunchtime
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lunchtime will be a critical period. that is the hottest part of the day. until then we are watching to see if there will be further outbreaks of fire. ican there will be further outbreaks of fire. i can confirm it is mainly smoke and heated daddy which is blowing around. —— heated debris. we are watching for further outbreaks. it seems earlier in the year for such a fire, is it? yes, it has been warm and the public have been out enjoying the easter break which has probably contributed to the outbreak. can you tell as what that means, you do not know the cause of it? we do not know the cause of it, it? we do not know the cause of it, it could be deliberate or
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accidental, that is still under investigation. what is your approach to such a fire, we have virgin might be bringing into a helicopter? yes, as you might have seen in films, the helicopter dumps a lot of water over the fire. which it is the minimum number of firefighters that we can't because it is such exhausting work and we had the safety of them in mind and also members of the public. we are using quite a large, —— quantity of number —— quantity of water to avoid using large numbers of fire writers. and your advice to the public? we advise them to stay away from the area. from a safety point of view, you are better staying away and watching this for —— from afar because we have an ongoing operation. thank you very
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much. hundreds of extra police officers have been drafted into central london to help clear climate change protestors from the capital's roads. oxford circus was reopened to traffic yesterday afternoon, but demonstrators are continuing to occupy waterloo bridge, which is closed, and parliament square, as leigh milner reports. throughout the night, specialist officers worked carefully to remove protesters who had attached themselves to a truck on waterloo bridge. after being up there for about two hours or so, this protester is now being carefully hoisted down the side of this truck using specialist equipment. he has been up there for about two hours and officers are doing their best to get him down safely. it has been almost a week since the extinction rebellion protest began in central london. so far there have been 750 people arrested and 28 charged, according to the metropolitan police. i guess we're going to be here until the government declare a climate emergency,
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and agree to sit down and have a conversation that we feel is crucial. every day, more than a thousand officers police the protests, and an extra 200 have been requested to help from neighbouring forces. some people are here because it is kind of a mini party. some people are here because they are really here for the cause, and i guess you have everything in between. this morning, waterloo bridge remains closed to traffic as protests continue there and on parliament square. hello there, it has been a chilly start with mist and fog but we are no looking at a glorious afternoon for many for easter sunday with temperatures reaching above 20 celsius. hazy sunshine in western scotla nd celsius. hazy sunshine in western scotland and northern ireland. this weather front might bring rain
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scotland and northern ireland. this weatherfront might bring rain but elsewhere sunshine. cooler around the coast but inland highs of 23, 20 four celsius, a bit colder in this north—west corner. this rain will clear away, back into the atlantic. into easter monday, a chilly start but mist and fog fears and then it is widespread sunshine across—the—board. another warm is widespread sunshine across—the—boa rd. another warm one with temperatures reaching mid—20s celsius. all change on wednesday when atlantic lows move on, increasing showers and temperatures return to normal.
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hello, this is bbc news. the headlines. more than 150 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in a wave of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka. three five—star hotels were targetted — nine foreign nationals are among those who have died. the main easter celebrations in paris will be held at the church of saint—eustache following monday's devastating fire at notre—dame cathedral. deaf children, who can't use standard hearing aids or implants, will be offered cutting—edge brain surgery to help them hear, says nhs england. emergency crews have been tackling a large wildfire which broke out on ilkley moor in west yorkshire as the hot weather continues.


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