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SRI LANKA-CHURCH BLASTS-THE LATEST The Latest: 2 more explosions hit Sri Lanka COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan military spokesman has confirmed two more explosions just outside the capital, hours after six nearly…

SRI LANKA-CHURCH BLASTS-THE LATEST

The Latest: 2 more explosions hit Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan military spokesman has confirmed two more explosions just outside the capital, hours after six nearly simultaneous blasts rocked churches and luxury hotels, killing at least 138 people.

The spokesman, Brig. Atapattu, says a seventh blast occurred at a guesthouse in Dehiwala, killing at least two people. Atapattu says an eighth blast occurred in Dematagoda on the outskirts of Colombo. He did not have details on the Dematagoda blast.

Earlier Sunday, a series of blasts at three churches and three luxury hotels killed at least 138 people.

It’s the worst bout of violence in Sri Lanka since the South Asian country’s bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

COLUMBINE-20 YEARS LATER-REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS-THE LATEST

The Latest: 12 students,1 teacher killed honored at ceremony

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — A ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting has ended with the names of 12 students and a teacher killed being read aloud, accompanied by the release of white doves.

More than 2,000 people attended the event in a park near the suburban Denver high school on Saturday afternoon.

Frank DeAngelis, who was the school’s principal during the 1999 shooting, said he begins every morning by reciting the victims’ names. He thanked their families for supporting him and the school in the decades since their loved ones were killed by two teenage gunmen.

Saturday’s ceremony ended a three-day slate of somber gatherings honoring the victims and lending support to survivors, the school and victims’ families.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-LEGAL STRATEGY

Trump’s legal team breathes a sigh, takes a victory lap

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team managed to protect their client from a potentially perilous in-person interview during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Trump’s lawyers accomplished that through a combination of bluster, legal precedent and shifting tactics.

They’re now taking a victory lap after a redacted version of Mueller’s findings revealed politically damaging conduct by the president but drew no conclusions of criminal behavior.

The aftershocks from the report will help shape the next two years of Trump’s administration. But while the report may cause some Democrats to take a renewed look at impeachment despite long odds of success in Congress, the legal threat to Trump that seemed so dangerous upon Mueller’s appointment in May 2017 has waned.

VATICAN-EASTER

Pope celebrates Easter Sunday amid bloodshed in Sri Lanka

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is celebrating Easter Mass this year facing a fresh round of bloodshed targeting Christians in Sri Lanka.

Hours after celebrating a late-night vigil, Francis processed into a flower-decked St. Peter’s Square for the liturgy Sunday commemorating the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion.

This year the Easter season has been marred both by the destruction of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral by fire last week and the massacre on Sunday in Sri Lanka. More than 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded following near-simultaneous blasts at three Sri Lankan churches during Easter Sunday services and three hotels frequented by foreigners.

After Mass, Francis delivers his annual Easter “Urbi et Orbi” speech about conflicts and other difficulties around the world.

ELECTION 2020-MUELLER REPORT-CANDIDATES

Democratic hopefuls demur on pursuing Trump post-White House

AMHERST, N.H. (AP) — Some Democratic presidential candidates aren’t saying whether they’d re-open investigations into President Donald Trump if they were to defeat him in 2020.

Their fellow 2020 challenger, Elizabeth Warren, and some other liberals have increased the pressure on Democratic leaders to pursue impeachment following the release of a redacted version of the Mueller report.

Candidates Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

A voter attending a house party for Warren in New Hampshire on Saturday thanked her for calling for impeachment. However, some Democratic voters are wary of how impeachment could embolden Trump supporters.

TRUMP-ROMNEY

Trump brushes off Romney’s criticism, points to loss in 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Mitt Romney says he’s “sickened” by the dishonesty the Russia investigation found in the Trump White House, but the president fires back that Romney should have put the same energy into running for president in 2012 that the Utah Republican has tapped in criticizing him.

Romney also tweeted Friday that in reading the special counsel’s report he was “appalled” Americans working on the Trump campaign had welcomed help from Russia.

On Saturday, Trump responded via Twitter, saying if Romney “spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!”

In 2012 Romney won a slightly greater percentage of the popular vote than Trump in 2016. He’s one of the few prominent Republicans to criticize Trump since Trump’s election.

UKRAINE-ELECTION-THE LATEST

The Latest: Comedian says his campaign has united Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A comedian who has a strong chance to win Ukraine’s presidential vote says his campaign already has helped unite the country.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, who comes from Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking east, got twice as many votes as President Petro Poroshenko in the first round of voting three weeks ago. Opinion polls have shown him far ahead of the incumbent ahead of Sunday’s runoff, reflecting public disenchantment with Ukraine’s pervasive corruption and its political elite.

Speaking after casting his ballot in the Ukrainian capital, Zelenskiy predicted that Sunday’s vote will mark a “victory for the Ukrainian people.” He added that “we have united the country.”

Like Poroshenko, Zelenskiy has promised to keep Ukraine on a pro-Western course, but says the country needs to hold a nationwide referendum on whether to join NATO.

FRANCE-PROTESTS-THE LATEST

The Latest: French protesters demand attention from Macron

PARIS (AP) — French yellow vest protesters have set fires along a march through Paris to drive home their message to the government that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.

Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “look at me — I need help too!”

Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march.

The protests marked the 23rd straight weekend of yellow vest actions against Macron’s centrist government, which they see as favoring the wealthy and big business. Protesters view themselves as standing up for beleaguered French workers , students and retirees who have been battered by high unemployment, high taxes and shrinking purchasing power.

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EGYPT

Egyptian voters urged to allow el-Sissi rule until 2030

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian pro-government media are urging a “Yes” vote on the second day of a nationwide referendum that would allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in power until 2030.

Polls reopened at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) Sunday. Voting will continue through Monday to allow maximum turnout, which the government hopes will lend the referendum legitimacy.

Election officials say results are expected within a week.

Opposition parties have called on voters to reject the changes, blasted by critics as a major step back to authoritarianism.

Voting comes amid an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since the 2013 military ouster of an elected but divisive president.

El-Sissi came to power in 2014 and was re-elected for a second four-year term last year.

Trucks with loudspeakers drove around central Cairo Sunday morning urging high turnout.

SPAIN-NKOREA-EMBASSY ATTACK

Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s February raid on North Korea’s Embassy in Madrid has been arrested in Los Angeles by U.S. authorities.

A person familiar with the matter tells the Associated Press that former U.S. Marine Christopher Ahn was arrested and charged Friday.

The specific charges against Ahn were not immediately clear.

The person said that separately federal agents raided the apartment of Adrian Hong, a leader of the Free Joseon group on Thursday. Hong was not arrested.

The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A lawyer for the group says he’s dismayed that Justice Department “has decided to execute warrants against U.S. persons that derive from criminal complaints filed by the North Korean regime.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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