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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 21, 2019 11:00am-11:31am BST

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this is bbc news, i'm martina croxall. the headlines: 160 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured after eight separate explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka bringing back the violence, blasts and gunfire to this country, to they achieve their targets, they are misleading us. christian worshippers in three churches were targetted, as they gathered to celebrate easter. find out who is responsible behind this act. and also to punish them, mercilessly, because only animals can of behave like that.
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there were blasts at four hotels — nine foreign nationals are among those who have died. 160 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in a series of explosions at churches and hotels in sri lanka. it's now being reported that there's been eight separate explosions across the country — all targetting churches and hotels. the attacks on churches took place in the country's biggest city, columbo, as as well in negombo and the eastern city of battacloa. at least 67 people are tought to have died in the attack on st sebastian's church in negombo. the hotels attacked were also in colombo — they include the five—star hotels
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shangri—la, cinnamon grand and kingsbury hotels. people were attending easter mass in the churches when the explosions went off. sri lanka's prime minister has condemned what he called a "cowardly attack," and a nationwide curfew has been imposed. the government says nine foreign nationals are 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. but they are just guessing whether there is an international organisation or a religious organisation behind this. it's still very early to say and they are just investigating the matter so even... i just spoke to a government minister who came to the scene and they say they have no clue and they were never expecting, they had no intelligence report of an attack like this. so president maithripala sirisena had ordered a special inquiry and he has requested people to stay calm because there has been a lot of rumours spreading about more attacks as we have seen
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thousands of police officers and security officers around the country now, in the roads, guarding the main places because they are fearing more attacks. 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 me what he heard. at that point my wife and myself were planning to go down for breakfast but the explosion happened on the breakfast floor, which is on the top floor. 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 down to the ground floor.
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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 guests that were injured... however, there were casualties, about 40 hotel staff and guests. the archbishop of colombo, cardinal ranjith, 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. so it is a very, very
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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 behave like that.
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we can speak now to madushka balasuriya — he's a reporter for the daily financial times in columbo. thank you very much forjoining us. what are the a0 saying about the numbers of casualties now? the casualties in the colombo, the latest figures are 185, with her father a69 injured this —— with a further a69. father a69 injured this —— with a further 469. there have been to further 469. there have been to further explosions, can you tell is but the most recent ones? there was sex for a while and then at the sevens took place in a hotel where they were for the two casualties there. since then, that has been a further two explosions so they are
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110w further two explosions so they are now up to nine out of the same housing complex. there have been two explosions at the same housing complex, nine in total. we have had a statement from the sri lankan defence minister talk about a cu rfew, defence minister talk about a curfew, what's the thinking behind that? it was initially supposed to be from six p m2 6am, which was roughly two and a half hours from 110w. roughly two and a half hours from now. just a little while ago, the cu rfew was now. just a little while ago, the curfew was brought ahead and it is 110w curfew was brought ahead and it is now in effect immediately. so, just going onto the road, there are a bunch of vehicles rushing home, people rushing home and trying to get off the road. there is a heavy police presence on the road. the thinking behind it, ithink it's
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just to minimise casualties going forward for the time being because they just don't forward for the time being because theyjust don't know how many more explosions there might be. what security arrangements and at what locations are the authorities tried to put in place? as it stands, there is quite a heavy presence at all of the bomb sites. that had been big businesses at religious institutions here and there, as well as intermittent... if you are driving along the road, you will see on and off police in camouflage and army gearjust standing off police in camouflage and army gear just standing around. off police in camouflage and army gearjust standing around. i think as the day wears on, we are likely to see more. at the moment, not as much but i think it might increase. you have been to the hotel is out of the hospital to try to speak to
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people caught up in it, what were they saying about the moment those explosions happened? they saying about the moment those explosions happened ?|j they saying about the moment those explosions happened? i didn't get to speak to any eyewitnesses in the hospital... sorry, we are having problems on the line there. the bbc‘s azzam ameen is in colombo and we can speak to him now. way hearing nine explosions now. tell us what you are hearing they are? i wasjust that one of the
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places, a few kilometres away from my house. it was a minor blast, i was ina my house. it was a minor blast, i was in a hotel and police are suspecting whether there was two dead bodies inside that hotel, whether the persons involved in these court edt attacks, whether they blew up or something like that. they are not sure. it was in a small hotel inside a housing complex. then there has been another attack in another colombo suburb area, a heavily populated area. after that, police decided, they were earlier planning to impose coffee at 6pm but they are now imposing because you immediately. there has been some panic and people have been visiting these damaged areas. the church i was out, many thousands of people are visiting to see what happened,
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the dead and some of them are missing, there has been no access to the hospitals. that is the situation. there has been a security council meeting, social media has been temporarily blocked because that has been a lot of misinformation being spread, information on attacks that have not taken place. ligament has decided that they will block —— the government has decided they will block facebook and other social media as well. the defence minister has put out a statement saying we will not get any chance for these extremist groups to operate and do what they have been doing for the past few days. we believe all the culprits involved in this terrorist incident will be taken into custody as soon as possible. how far along is this investigation? i'm not exactly sure i was listening to him but he what's not giving exact
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details but they have identified suspects or organisations or not. because there have been many reports local media has reported seeing that a couple of attacks were suicide attacks, so this is something that no final statement or any security organisation, police, have come up with item details. they say they are investigating and how some suspects. they said one of the... when police officers said there was cctv footage officers said there was cctv footage of people any shangri—la. it is a very early stage to say who was really behind it, when i spoke to a government minister they say they are suspecting an international religious terrorist organisation behind this may be. they are not exactly sure because they say they we re exactly sure because they say they were not expecting this kind of attacked and there is no intelligence report about these things. there are some media reports
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saying that the intelligence had warned the government about these kind of attacks taking place because of extremist religious organisation but there is no verification for those. thank you forjoining us. 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, which 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. world leaders have expressed their support for sri lanka. here are some of their statements on twitter. the indian prime minister narendra
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modi has condemned the blasts, saying "there is no place for such barbarism in our region." pakistan's prime minister imran khan says his country "stands in complete solidarity with sri lanka in their hour of grief." the australian prime minister scott morrison has also condemned the attacks, calling them "devastating" and "horrific." and there's been reaction back home this morning, the prime minister tweeted to say "the acts of violence against churches and hotels in sri lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time." the archbishop of canterbury has also tweeted, saying: "on this holy day, let us stand with the people of sri lanka in prayer, condolence and solidarity as we reject all violence, all hatred and all division." the attacks came as christians gathered in rome to see the pope hold easter sunday mass. 0ur correspondent, james reynolds, is in the vatican. how has the situation in sri lanka
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have been reflected there in rome? we have just been following the pope's address from the main balcony of st peter's basilica, the very traditional address that he gives. he has listed a number of conflicts, city akamai is really, palestinian, libya, burkina faso, nigeria, cameroon, sub sedan, ukraine, venezuela, nicaragua. ifollowed the text closely, neither me or my colleague could make out any reference to sri lanka, it was not mentioned in his address. but he has made to the importance of religious freedom and to be free from persecution one of his main themes? he has that's been essential theme of this papacy, along with support for migrants. it's been christian religious freedom, particularly in the middle east were christian
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communities are in a minority have faced a very difficult times in recent yea rs. faced a very difficult times in recent years. of course, the pope himself visited sri lanka in 2015 and visited a church there. but, the vatican has clearly decided not to, as far as vatican has clearly decided not to, as farasi vatican has clearly decided not to, as far as i can tell, change the text of the address that he gave. hugely solemn event, an enormously important occasion for christians, easter. that's a lemon choreography of this event is somewhat at odds with pope francis who likes to be very informal. just to update you, pope francis is playing for the victims of sri lanka now, it's important that i say that. although he did not make reference in his text that we followed word for word in his address, he is now offering those players, i think that's an
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important update. yes, it is a solemn service but bear in mind, it's a happy occasion in the christian calendar for catholics. just in the crowd, i was able to follow pope francis only put my bill, he was smiling, people were waving, they were smiling when he went by. she was beaming with happiness when he was shaking hands. that is a happiness. but that was not much by happiness by the pope we saw afterwards. many people who are catholics around the world... james, thank you very much, james reynolds in rome. and meanwhile, here in britain, the queen and the royals are attending an easter service at st george's chapel in windsor, helena lee is there for us now. we set like beautiful easter weather, couldn't have picked a better day, plenty of people hoping
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to catch a glimpse of of the royal family? yes, blue skies outside windsor castle. that is quite a big crowd outside the castle and the the front entrance was up however, u nfortu nately for front entrance was up however, unfortunately for them, we don't think they will see the queen or any other members of the royal family. the easter sunday service is taking place at the moment in st george's chapel in the grounds of the castle. we saw the queen arrived earlier on, she was greeted by members of her family, the duke of edinburgh has not attended the service today but we know that the duke and duchess of cambridge, they are here. prince harry is here, he is attending the seve rs harry is here, he is attending the severs but meghan markle is not here and there was much interest here amongst the crowds as to whether she would be coming to the easter service here today. she is heavily pregnant. we know from the palace
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officially, all but they say was that their first baby was due in spring. she revealed a bit later on that the baby is expected at some point later this month, or early next month. she is probably taking a vest. they are now living not far away from here but prince harry is here, with his grandmother. she is celebrating her birthday, born on this day, 1926. we understand after the service, she will continue to spend how you still count here at windsor castle. the headlines on bbc news: 160 people are believed to have been killed in sri lanka after a number of explosions at churches during easter services, as well as three hotels. nine foreigners are among those who have been killed, no one has claimed has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. after monday's fire at notre dame, today's easter celebrations in paris have moved to the church of saint
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eustache. sport and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre with 0lly. amir khan lost his world title fight against terence crawford in new york earlier this morning but there was a controversial end to the bout at madison square garden. khan was being outclassed by the wbo welterweight champion and was knocked down in the first round. but he was then caught by an accidental low—blow, below the belt, in the sixth round. khan said he was in too much pain to carry on and crawford, who was ahead on all the judges scorecards, retains his crown. i've never put anything, i'd rather be knocked out than quit a fight. it's just never been in be knocked out than quit a fight. it'sjust never been in me be knocked out than quit a fight. it's just never been in me to quit. 0bviously, it's just never been in me to quit. obviously, i was hit by a low shot, i couldn't recover from obviously, i was hit by a low shot, i couldn't recoverfrom it, that's the reason of the fight was called off. i try to continue but it was
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getting worse but obviously, we chose do not fight and called off. i tried to continue but it was getting worse but obviously, we chose to not fight and coded. so what now for khan? 0ur reporter ade adedoyin was at the fight i've never seen him like she was this evening. he was doing well... in this fight, he couldn't get a foothold. he has got a decision to make as to what he does next. he has been out of the elite level throughout his career, amateur and pro. but tonight, he wasjust throughout his career, amateur and pro. but tonight, he was just one step behind. he says he has a lot to offer these but what does he want to bea offer these but what does he want to be a contender or does it we want to be a contender or does it we want to bea be a contender or does it we want to be a possible opponent, that's the danger here? he says he wants to ta ke danger here? he says he wants to take some time away, spend time with his family. his trainer told me that he would support a mere whatever he
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decides today. i asked him if he thinks he should quit, he said that is not his decision. both say that he has something to offer the sport but tonight was a very bad night for amir khan. it's now over to liverpool in the premier league title race. they are playing catch up again. manchester city are top of the table by a point after beating tottenham yesterday. liverpool kick off at apm at strugglers cardiff. manchester united have the chance to move into the top four, if they win at everton — and arsenal will move up to third if they beat crystal palace. celtic play at hibs today in the scottish premiership, but even if they win, the title will have to wait at least another week, after rangers beat hearts yesteday. chelsea women play the first leg of their champions league semifinal this afternoon in france. lyon have been european champions for the past three seasons chelsea have never been beyond the semi—finals in europe and were also knocked out in the last four of the womens' fa cup by manchester city last weekend. they are out of the title race so europe is their last chance of any silverware this season and they know that they couldn't
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have a tougher tie. to win the champions league, you have got to play the best and beat the best. at some point you have to face that. we have a semifinal. the fantastic thing about football, after the heartache of sunday, that i was the next game to get you raiding and ready to go. what a speed hack them up for us to try and do it and play only on. great britain's fed cup tie against kazakhastan is poised at 1—1 going into the second day. katie boulter wasted three match points before losing her singles rubber — she said she was devastated. she led yulia putinseva a—0 in the deciding set at the copper box in london — but she lost it on a tie—break. johanna konta won the first rubber of the day but it's all square ahead of the reverse singles and doubles. that's all the sport for now but there's more on the bbc sport website,
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including the latest from the world snooker championship at the crucible — four—time champion john higgins is level at 2—2 with mark davis, and ding junhui leads anthony mcgill 8—5. that's that's all the sport for now. i'll have more in the next hour. let's get more now on our top story, the series of explosions in sri lanka. let's speak to asela waidyalankara he lives in colombo and can see the smoke from one of the blasts from his house. we are watching the news and heard a loud explosion, very close by. i climb to my riffs up to see what was happening and i could see white
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smoke about one kilometre away from where i am. immediately afterwards, there were some helicopters that flew by and then we could here and the lenses and fire trucks coming. a little bit later, we heard another helicopter doing if i buy as well. what was the target of this seventh explosion? we heard from local news sources there was a small hotel close by to the zoo. that seems to be the area of the seventh explosion. how are you getting your information? how easy is it because i understand social media platforms have been closed down? currently, it's only been news. there is currently a curfew in operation. there was a subsequent news built that told us that the coffee was in
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immediately effect indefinitely. social media wise, facebook, instagram, whatsapp are not accessible to sri lankans at the moment. however, twitter is still available so that it is one social media platform still available in the sri lanka. when you look outside, giving this curfew, how quiet is the city? it is usually quiet, there is no vehicle traffic at the moment. everyone is at standstill, that is a very uneasy feeling. obviously, in the past, some time ago, there was violence in sri lanka but life has changed for the better in that respect in recent yea rs, the better in that respect in recent years, hasn't it? i'm back absolutely. next month will be ten yea rs absolutely. next month will be ten years without any major violence, suicide bombings or terrorist attacks. the government seem to
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think there were two real targets here, churches, of course, christians at easter. but also foreign nationals because the reports are nine foreign nationals are amongst the casualties, what is the view, generally speaking, in sri la nka the view, generally speaking, in sri lanka towards visitors? it is a much visited country. we are very warm, welcoming, generous people. tourism has been on the uptake for the last five, six years. i think last year, we welcomed about 2.5 million tourists into sri lanka. basically, this is the height of the tourism season. businesses are closed down, it's a very easy—going atmosphere. sri lankans are generally open to foreigners and welcoming to them. it has boosted our tourism industry.
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the foreign office have put out some advice, they say if you are worried about british friends orfamily in sri lanka caught up in the incidents, please call the foreign office switchboard number: 020 70081500. firefighters have spent the night tacking a large wildfire ——tackling on moorland in west yorkshire. the blaze broke out over 50 acres of ilkley moor at lunchtime yesterday on the hottest day of the year so far. bradford council warned people living nearby to stay indoors and keep their windows closed. if your password is "123a56" — then you share it with more than 23 million people. that's according to a study published today by britian's cyber security watchdog. the national cyber security centre
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also says three and a half million use the word "password". it's urging people to make it harder for hackers to access their data by using three random, but memorable words. ukrainians head to the polls today in the country's presidential election. voters face a choice between incumbent president petro poroshenko and television comedian and political newcomer, volodymyr zelensky. the winner will be elected for a five—year term. now it's time for a look at the weather. unusually for a bank holiday, is looking pretty nice for a lot of people? absolutely right, pretty worn out there, yesterday we saw 25.5 degrees. today, we could beat the easter sunday record if we surpassed 23.5 degrees. a lot of sunshine away from the coast where it will be a little bit colour. some hazy sunshine for the north of scotla nd hazy sunshine for the north of scotland and western northern ireland, if you spots of rain for
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the outer hebrides. elsewhere, across scotland, northern ireland, england and wales in the mid 20s. into the evening, places will be dry, departures will fall away with a little bit of mist and fog. for easter monday, we will lose this weather front i should see more sunshine across the north west, a bit of hazy cloud moving northwards, so sunshine will be hazy at times, another one day to come, temperatures into the mid 20s. tippett is beginning to fall away, increasing amounts of showers and thunderstorms. temperatures are selling closer to the seasonal norm by


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