Magic104.9 Birthday Bash

 

MORE MUSIC MORE VARIETY

MAGIC MORNINGS WITH RICKY T.

5am – 10am Weekdays

Las Cruces
84°
clear sky
humidity: 10%
wind: 10mph SW
H 75 • L 71
75°
Mon
73°
Tue
72°
Wed

ON-AIR NOW

NOW PLAYING

MUSIC NEWS

Michelle Branch & Patrick Carney marry in New Orleans

C Flanigan/Getty ImagesPatrick Carney of The Black Keys married his longtime girlfriend, singer/songwriter Michelle Branch, Saturday night at the Marigny Opera House in New Orleans, People magazine confirms.

Additionally, Michelle posted a headline announcing the wedding on Instagram, and wrote, “Can confirm.”

In attendance were Michelle’s 13-year-old daughter Owen from her first marriage, and her and Carney’s seven-month-old son, Rhys.

The couple met in February of 2015 at a Grammy party in L.A., and worked together on her album Hopeless Romantic.  Carney proposed on Michelle’s 34th birthday, July 2, 2017.  They started planning their wedding, but three months before they planned to marry, the couple announced they were expecting.  Rhys was born in August of 2018.

Michelle’s first marriage to Teddy Landau ended in 2015. This is Carney’s third marriage.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead: Adele and husband have split

Lester Cohen/WireImageAfter seven years together, Adele and her husband Simon Konecki have split.  The two share a six-year-old son, Angelo.

“Adele and her partner have separated. They are committed to raising their son together lovingly,” Adele’s rep told ABC Radio in a statement. “As always they ask for privacy. There will be no further comment.”

According to People, Konecki, who divorced his first wife in 2008, met Adele in 2011.  She first acknowledged their relationship in January of 2012, and in June of that year, announced that she and Konecki were expecting a child together.  Angelo was born in October of that year.

It’s not clear when they tied the knot, but in early 2017, at least, Adele and Konecki appeared to be married.  They wore wedding rings, and Adele referred to him as “my husband” in February at the Grammy Awards.  In March, she also said onstage that she was married.

People magazine notes that the last time Adele and Konecki were seen together in public was in January.  Recently, Adele has been spotted out and about in New York City, without her wedding ring.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ariana Grande and Beyonce were reportedly paid the same for Coachella performances

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AGDon’t believe those rumors that Ariana Grande was paid twice as much as Beyonce for headlining Coachella — in reality, the two women cashed the same paycheck.

According to The Blast, the contracts for both superstars were “structured exactly the same way,” and both women earned four million dollars per weekend.  They each played both weekends of the festival, so they each took home a total of eight million bucks each.

Both singers’ performances at the festival in Indio, CA were, of course, historic: Beyonce was the first black woman to headline Coachella, while Ariana is the youngest act ever to do so.  She’ll give her second performance this weekend, but sadly, *NSYNC won’t be joining her this time around, as they did last weekend.

Both Bey and Ari are two of only four female artists in total to ever serve as Coachella headliners: The others were Lady Gaga and Bjork.

Of course, Beyonce has now presumably earned millions more from her iconic 2018 performance, thanks to the release of her new Homecoming Netflix special and live album.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

CBS’ ‘Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration’ salutes iconic record label with Stevie, Smokey, Diana, Meghan, John, J-Lo and more

Courtesy CBS/The Recording Academy/AEG Ehrlich Ventures(LOS ANGELES) — Sunday night at 8 p.m., CBS airs Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration, saluting six decades of the iconic record label.  It features performances and appearances by current acts like John Legend, Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Lopez, Fantasia, Boyz II Men and Pentatonix, and Motown legends like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Thelma Houston and Smokey Robinson.  But Smokey believes Motown music will continue to endure, far beyond these first 60 years.

“There are kids who haven’t even been born who are gonna hear it,” he notes. “So it’s a beautiful thing.”

The show’s executive producer Ken Ehrlich says his goal was to give a “21st century interpretation of some of the great moments of Motown.”

“We were fortunate in having Stevie and Smokey and Diana and Thelma Houston and a few of the other artists that date back to the really amazing early days of Motown,” he tells ABC Radio. “And then, John Legend does a pretty amazing Marvin Gaye, and Ciara did a medley of more current Motown hits, and Ne-Yo the same way.  So we were able to kinda bring yesterday and today together.”

Show highlights include a “Women of Motown” tribute featuring Meghan Trainor, Tori Kelly and Fantasia performing with Thelma Houston, and an “In Memoriam” segment with Stevie Wonder singing “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer.”

“It’s about people that have left us,” Ehrlich says of the song. “It’s pretty emotional and pretty evocative. Stevie got very emotional and you can see that in the performance. He does some other stuff that’s up[tempo]…but this song just had something special.”

Enjoying the show from the audience: Motown’s 89-year-old founder, Berry Gordy.

“He was just having a ball, he loved it,” says Ehrlich. “We really appreciated his lending us the Motown legacy for a night.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tika Sumpter serves bohemian goddess looks in first images from black-ish prequel episode

ABC/Richard Cartwright(LOS ANGELES) — ABC’s black-ish is celebrating one of TV’s favorite moms, just in time for Mother’s Day.

In an exclusive first-look from Entertainment Weekly, fans are getting a preview of the forthcoming prequel episode focusing on Tracee Ellis Ross’ black-ish character, Rainbow Johnson. The May 7th episode will tell Rainbow’s origin story.

According to EW, the episode will be set in the 1980s and could lead to a spinoff series. It will feature Tika Sumpter and former Workaholics star Anders Holm as Alicia and Paul, Bow’s interracial, hippie parents. In the present day on the show, Bow’s parents are played by Anna Deavere Smith and Beau Bridges.

Meanwhile, young Rainbow will be played by Arica Himmel, who has appeared on CBS’s God Friended Me.

The forthcoming episode will also star Gary Cole as Bow’s paternal grandfather, as well as Ethan William Childress, Mykal-Michelle Harris, and Christina Anthony.

The special episode of ABC’s black-ish airs on May 7 at 9 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fishy: Report alleges Johnny Depp tried to get ex Amber Heard fired from ‘Aquaman’

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Last month, Johnny Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, claiming she made up abuse allegations that hurt his career.

However, a new suit against the actor’s former lawyer alleges that Depp tried to hurt Heard‘s career, by trying to get her kicked off the global blockbuster Aquaman.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp is suing his former attorney Jake Bloom, claiming Bloom gave the actor bad legal advice during his messy split with Heard. But Bloom isn’t going quietly, according to the publication, and reportedly wants to depose a host of people who could level damaging testimony against the Pirates of the Caribbean series star.

One of those is disgraced former Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara — who recently left the studio amid a sex scandal. “Sources…say Tsujihara will be asked to testify under oath about whether or not he played a role in ‘blacklisting’ Heard at Warner Bros.,” according to THR.

At the time, Depp was working on the Warner Bros. Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gridelwald.

The allegation states Depp wanted Heard “blacklisted” from the studio — even though she’d previously played her Aquaman character Mera in Justice League.

Some of the allegations Bloom makes actually seem to track with a Washington Post op-ed Heard wrote late in 2018, in which she made her claims of “domestic abuse.”  In the same op-ed, she wrote about about being sabotaged when it came to acting roles.

“A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me,” she wrote.  “Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role…in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

Florida officials accused by defense attorneys of peddling alleged Kraft sex tape to the media

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images(JUPITER, Fla) — Attorneys for the owner and manager of a Florida day spa, where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men were allegedly caught on camera receiving sexual favors are claiming either prosecutors or police are trying to profit from the unauthorized sale of the footage “to the highest bidder,” according to newly filed court documents.

“I am deeply disturbed that someone in the Palm Beach County attorney’s office or Jupiter Police Department — who are the only ones with access to these video — would attempt to sell and profit from these videos and be in contempt of the courts orders,” attorney Tama Beth Kudman told ABC News on Friday. “It’s disgraceful.”

Kudman, who represents Hua Zhang, the owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida — charged with multiple counts of running a brothel — in an emergency motion for an order to show cause filed on Thursday evening. The motion seeks to hold officials in criminal contempt and “for violation of this Court’s order prohibiting the release of the video surveillance in this case,” according to filing.

“The motion is asking the court to get to the bottom of whoever attempted to sell these videos and hold whoever it is in contempt because they are violating the judge’s order. It’s disgraceful,” Kudman told ABC News.

Emails and phone calls from ABC News to the Jupiter Police Department and Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office requesting comment about the allegations were not immediately returned.

Zhang’s business was one of numerous Florida spas targeted as part of a larger human trafficking investigation which installed hidden surveillance cameras in spa massage rooms and allegedly captured Kraft seeking and receiving sexual favors from spa staffers on Jan. 19 and 20. Kraft has denied the charges.

The secretly-installed cameras were set up by the Jupiter Police Department during a human trafficking investigation of the spa. While prosecutors with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office have not filed any human trafficking charges related to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, Kraft and two-dozen other men who had visited the facility were arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution.

The latest drama began earlier Wednesday, when Palm Beach County prosecutors indicated that they were preparing to release the potentially embarrassing surveillance video from inside the spa.

County officials said that the video would be released in response to public records requests in the cases of Zhang and another women accused of facilitating the alleged prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Officials said they would “pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order.”

Kraft’s attorneys responded swiftly, filing a letter to the judge to apprise him of what they described as “an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct” and accused law enforcement officials of trying to circumvent the judgment of the court. Kraft’s attorneys had previously filed a motion with the court to suppress the video evidence, and a hearing had been scheduled.

“I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Florida Circuit Court Judge Joseph Marx said in an emergency hearing on a conference call with the two parties and the media late Wednesday afternoon.

That hearing is now scheduled for April 29 at 1:30 p.m. local time.

Defense attorneys for the National Football League (NFL) team owner have said that they intend to argue at that hearing that a search warrant that allowed investigators to install hidden cameras inside the spa’s massage rooms was improperly obtained.

Defense attorneys also filed motions on Wednesday requesting to seal the videos not only to “protect Mr. Kraft’s right to a fair trial” but to prevent it’s released to “millions of people around the world to see.”

“If that were to happen, it would immediately and irretrievably taint the jury pool not just in Palm Beach County, but in neighboring counties (and states) as well. Sealing is the most sensible option,” according to court documents.

Under Florida’s Sunshine Law — enacted in 1995 — any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature.

Yet on Thursday, the New York Daily News first reported that TheBlast.com published an article saying that the newspaper’s reporters, along with “multiple media outlets” were contacted by an unidentified party trying to sell the footage of 77-year-old Kraft with a masseuse.

“In a blatant derogation of this Court’s Order, a (presently) unknown individual, or perhaps even a group of individuals, is now attempting to sell, to the highest bidder, the materials subject to this Court’s order,” wrote Kudman in the motion along with Kathleen S. Phang, who represents the spa’s manager, Lei Wang. “Obviously, this information creates yet another emergency necessitating immediate judicial intervention.”

Kudman and Phang are further requesting the judge to have the police and prosecutors pay for their fees and costs for prosecuting their motion.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Conor McGregor seen in new bodycam footage getting arrested after phone altercation

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(MIAMI) — Prosecutors have released new footage of UFC star Conor McGregor getting arrested at a Miami Beach home after allegedly smashing and stealing a fan’s phone outside the Fountainebleau hotel.

The police bodycam footage shows McGregor calmly being led from a private home to a police vehicle, where he is handcuffed before getting inside.

McGregor is facing one felony charge of strong-armed robbery and one charge of misdemeanor criminal mischief after allegedly getting into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak, who was attempting to take a photo with McGregor on March 11, prosecutors say. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

McGregor was exiting a Miami nightclub at 5:20 a.m. when he encountered Abdirzak, police stated.

McGregor “slapped the victim’s phone out of his hand, causing it to fall to the floor,” the arrest affidavit states. “The defendant then stomped on the victim’s phone several times, damaging it.”

McGregor then picked up for the phone and left with it, according to police.

Federal prosecutors released surveillance footage from the incident, which they say captured the altercation.

In a statement to ABC News, McGregor’s team acknowledged the incident, saying McGregor “was involved in a minor altercation involving a cell phone that resulted in a call to law enforcement. Mr. McGregor appreciates the response of law enforcement and pledges his full cooperation.”

Abdirzak filed a civil suit against McGregor that has since been dropped after reaching an out-of-court settlement, The Miami Herald reported.

McGregor seemed to acknowledge the incident on Instagram the day after it occurred.

“Patience in this world is a virtue I continue to work on,” McGregor wrote. “I love my fans dearly. Thank you all.”

Two weeks later, McGregor abruptly announced his retirement on Twitter. “Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today,” McGregor wrote. “I wish my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

St. John’s hires former Arkansas coach Mike Anderson

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson has been named the next coach at St. John’s University, the school announced Friday.

Anderson was fired last month after taking his team to the second round of the NIT.

During his eight season with Arkansas, Anderson led the team to five postseason appearances and won 169 games. His best season was in 2014-15 when he won a 27 games and finished second in the SEC regular season.

“My family and I are extremely excited to join the St. John’s University community,” said Anderson. “This basketball program is rooted with such great tradition and it has a history built by legendary coaches, so this is a humbling experience. I look forward to mentoring the young men who will represent St. John’s proudly on the court, in the classroom and in our community.

Anderson has a career record of 369-200 with Arkansas, Missouri and UAB. He has led teams to 12 postseason appearances in his 17 years of coaching, including 9 trips to the NCAA tournament.

Anderson is one of only four current Division 1 coaches with at least 15 years of experience who have never had a losing record. The other three are North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Gonzaga’s Mark Few.

St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin resigned last month following a 21-13 record and a berth in the NCAA first four against Arizona State.

The former St. John’s great leave’s the school with a 59-73 record after four seasons in charge.

As a player, he led the team to the 1985 Final Four and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Mullin

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATIONAL NEWS

Transit worker stabbed on subway platform in New York City following random altercation

Google Maps Street View(NEW YORK) — A New York City transit worker is recovering after he was stabbed on a subway platform on Easter Sunday following an altercation.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority conductor was sitting on a bench at the southbound platform for No. 2, 4 and 5 trains at 149th Street and Grand Concourse in the Bronx when the suspect randomly approached him and slapped him in the face, MTA worker Tina Smith told ABC New York station WABC-TV.

The pair then engaged in a physical fight, and the suspect stabbed the MTA worker several times in the shoulder and torso, WABC-TV reported. The 33-year-old conductor was able to hold the suspect, identified as 20-year-old Walter Rivera, down until police arrived and took him into custody.

Rivera was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to WABC-TV.

The conductor was in uniform when he was attacked, photos posted by WABC-TV show.

Smith said the suspect was “looking for trouble.”

“Why would you have a knife if you weren’t looking for trouble?” Smith told WABC-TV.

An image tweeted by WABC-TV reporter Kemberly Richardson shows the MTA worker being treated for a gaping gash on his upper back. Another photo shows a large knife lying on the platform ground.

 The conductor, who has been on the job for five years, was taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries, according to WABC-TV.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Leader of armed militia that held migrants arrested on weapons charges

Sherry Smith/iStock(SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) — The leader of a militia operating along the southern border has been arrested by the FBI days after the armed group detained over 200 migrants who had just illegally crossed into New Mexico.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, New Mexico, was arrested Saturday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the FBI Albuquerque office said.

Hopkins was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which lies right on the border with Mexico and is just 8 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas.

 “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, and not armed vigilantes.”

The spokesperson for the group attacked Balderas and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the arrest.

“I am confident that Mr. Hopkins will get though this, will fare well,” the militia’s spokesperson, Jim Benvie, told El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA-TV, while wearing a red “Trump 2020” hat. “The [New Mexico] AG has declared war on American citizens at the order of the ACLU, instructing the governor, in a sense, to effectively find a reason to remove private citizens from assisting and documenting a crisis on the border. It’s really sad that she can’t use the resources of the National Guard or even the FBI, if they had to, to help protect the border. Instead, they had to infiltrate and set up our camp, and we’re confident about our position with this.

“We’re not worried about it. It doesn’t change anything,” he added.

Hopkins was convicted of impersonating an officer and felony gun possession in 2006, according to The Daily Beast.

He leads a group called The United Constitutional Patriots, which states on its Facebook page that its mission is “to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America.”

“We uphold this cause against all enemies both foreign and domestic which shall infringe upon the rights of the citizens given by the Constitution,” it says. “We are here to serve in time of need at the local and state level and if necessary for our country.”

Benvie regularly uploads videos to his Facebook page showing the group’s actions detaining migrants.

The group gained attention on Tuesday when it detained over 200 migrants at gunpoint after they crossed into the U.S. near Sunland Park. The group was held by the militia until U.S. Border Patrol agents responded and took them into custody.

A spokesperson for the group told KVIA-TV that the group never points a gun at migrants and they weren’t forced to stay.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately came out against the action, and blamed it on the rhetoric of the president.

“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law,” the ACLU said in a statement Friday. “This has no place in our state: we cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum.”

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on behalf of the government expressing “profound concern about the activities of intimidation and extortion of migrants by groups of militias on the New Mexico border.”

The group wrote Friday on its Facebook page that Paypal had permanently suspended its fundraising account.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California authorities searching for suspect after LAPD officer shot during traffic stop

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) — An LAPD officer was shot and injured while exchanging gunfire with a suspect in South Los Angeles Saturday night.

The officer, a gang officer in the Newton area, was conducting a traffic stop near Long Beach Avenue and 52nd Street when the driver got out and fled, according to the LAPD. The officer chased the suspect up to 150 yards before “another man appeared” and began shooting, police said.

Both the officer and that suspect were struck by gunfire, police said.

The injured officer, who was not identified, was out of surgery by Sunday morning, ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported. He is in stable condition, police said.

The condition of the suspect, who was transported to a local hospital, is unknown.

Police initially thought there were two occupants in the car that was stopped and set up a perimeter around the scene. They later discontinued the search after determining that the suspect who was injured, the one who appeared during the foot pursuit, was the one who shot the officer.

Investigators are still trying to identify the driver of the car.

Additional information was not immediately available.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukrainian presidential election: Exit poll

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no political experience who plays the president on TV, has won Ukraine’s presidential election in a landslide, according to a national exit poll. The poll showed Zelenskiy receiving 73 percent of the vote, sweeping away Ukraine’s incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who conceded defeat on Sunday.

At a campaign party at a bar in Kiev, packed with hundreds of journalists, Zelenskiy declared victory. As the exit poll’s results were announced, confetti was shot into the air and Zelenskiy thanked his campaign volunteers, saying they had “protected Ukraine”.

The result places a political novice at the head of Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in Europe, on a fault-line in the stand-off between the West and Russia. Ukraine is still locked in a war with Russia that has seen 13,000 people killed since 2014.

Zelenskiy’s victory comes on the back of deep dissatisfaction among Ukrainians with their political establishment, weariness over the war. He ran promising to fight corruption and to upend that political elite, which is viewed as corrupt and indifferent to the concerns of ordinary Ukrainians.

At polling stations on Sunday, few voters expressed great affection for Zelenskiy, saying instead they supported him as an agent of change.

“I am for a new face,” said Tatiana Zakharenko, 50, an economist voting in central Kiev. “We need a change.”

The vote was a resounding rejection of Poroshenko, a 53-year-old billionaire confectionary tycoon who came to power on the back of mass protests in 2014 that toppled Ukraine’s then-Russian-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. Poroshenko had campaigned as a wartime leader, promoting himself as a defender of Ukrainian identity against Russia and warning that Zelenskiy’s inexperience meant a win for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Poroshenko, though, was unable to overcome widespread perceptions that he has failed to tackle entrenched corruption and continued Ukraine’s tradition of using power to enrich his associates.

In a country where politics is a byword for corruption and self-dealing, some said that Zelenskiy’s lack of experience in politics was actually a plus.

“On the one hand, it’s not the best president for me, but at least he has no experience in corruption or all the things that our politicians have,” Anna Dysheleva, a marketing executive, told ABC News after voting with her young son.

Few know, however, what that change will mean in practice. Zelenskiy has campaigned on almost no detailed policies and has avoided the media, refusing interviews. The last interview he gave was to a journalist who won a ping pong competition on the night of his victory in the first round. On Sunday, the same competition was running at the victory party.

Instead, Zelenskiy largely campaigned as a version of his on-screen persona, and held stand-up shows instead of political rallies. In his show, “Servant of the People,” he plays a schoolteacher who is catapulted into the presidency when his rant against corruption goes viral. Once president, he eschews the traditional perks of his office and battles oligarchs who normally direct politics in Ukraine.

Both candidates have promised to maintain Ukraine’s pro-European course. Critics of Zelenskiy, though, fear his more moderate stance could see the country slide back into Russia’s orbit.

Poroshenko, who campaigned as a wartime leader, warned that Zelenskiy will be unable to stand up to Putin.

Tatiana Zakharenko, 50, an economist, said she had voted despite her reservations about Zelenskiy.

“I’m for a new face, for the young,” she said. “We need a change.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sri Lanka bombings: 207 dead, hundreds injured in church, hotel explosions on Easter Sunday

Stringer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds more injured on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka when attackers unleashed an apparently coordinated series of suicide bombings that simultaneously targeted Christian churches and luxury hotels, and sent a wave a terror across the globe.

The explosions took place miles apart, and the targets included three Christian churches holding Easter services and three hotels, some commonly used by Western tourists. In addition to those who were killed, at least 450 were wounded, according to officials with police, the Colombo Hospital, and St. Sebastian Church.

Most of the explosions were detonated by suicide bombers, according to the Sri Lankan Defense Ministry.

At least 11 foreigners were confirmed killed in the attacks, including two victims who were dual citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom. One American was also among the missing, officials said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Sunday that “several U.S. citizens were among those killed.”

All of the foreigners died in attacks on hotels in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean, according to the officials.

President Donald Trump sent his condolences to the country in an early morning tweet from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending the Easter holiday.

“The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka,” the president tweeted. “We stand ready to help!”

 White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in the statement that “the United States condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka that have claimed so many precious lives on this Easter Sunday.”

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the more than 200 killed and hundreds of others wounded,” Sanders said in the statement. “We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they bring to justice the perpetrators of these despicable and senseless acts.”

Eight simultaneous explosions erupted about 8:45 a.m. local time. Video from inside the St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a coastal city about 40 miles north of Colombo, showed the immediate aftermath a bombing there as worshipers who had just been praying for peace found themselves surrounded by devastation, death and chaos.

There were about 500 people at the Easter Mass at St. Sebastian when the explosion took place, according to officials from the church. Parishioners, many bleeding, scrambled to carry severely injured people from the church, which was littered with overturned chairs, shattered glass and debris that had fallen from the ceiling.

A statue in the sanctuary of Jesus Christ was left pockmarked and splashed with blood but remained standing.

St. Anthony’s Shrine, a Catholic church in Colombo, and Zion Church, in Batticaloa, were also attacked. Colombo is located on the western side of Sri Lanka, while Batticaloa is on the eastern shore about 200 miles from the capital.

 Shangri-La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel and Kingsbury Hotel, all located in Colombo — and all popular with tourists — were targeted in the bombings. An explosion occurred near an overpass in the area of Dematagoda near Colombo, the Associated Press reported.

Hours after the initial bombings, a ninth explosion occurred at a guest house in Colombo that killed at least two people, according to police.

On Sunday night, at 10:15 local time, a 6-foot-long was detected on a road near Colombo International Airport. The country’s air force initiated a controlled explosion, Air Force spokesman Gihan Seneviratne told ABC News.

Police chief warned of attack

The wave of bombings came after the Sri Lanka police chief issued a nationwide alert 10 days ago that suicide bombers planned to attack “prominent churches,” according to multiple reports.

“Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore, there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored,” Harin Fernando, a member of parliament in Sri Lanka, tweeted Sunday and included a document he says is the security warning.

Pope Francis prays for the victim

Following Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned the “cruel violence” that “have wrought grief and sorrow.”

“I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community [of Sri Lanka], wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” Pope Francis said. “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.”

Officials who spoke to ABC News were able to confirm at least 24 people were killed at St. Anthony’s Church, 27 died at Batticaloa’s Zion Church and 81 have died at St. Sebastian Church.

The explosions were followed by the wail of sirens from emergency vehicles headed to the multiple bombing scenes.

Ruwan Gunasekara, a police spokesman, said that in addition to the 207 killed, approximately 450 people were injured, overwhelming hospitals throughout the island nation.

The National Hospital in Colombo reported that 66 people had died there from injuries suffered in the attacks and that 260 were being treated, Gunasekara said. At the Negombo Hospital, 104 people were reported dead and 100 of the injured were being treated, he said.

Another 37 people were pronounced dead at the Kalubowila, Batticaloa and Brown’s hospitals. Eighty-nine people were being treated at those medical centers, Gunaskekara said.

Authorities confirmed that three British citizens, in addition to the two with dual American citizenship, one Portuguese citizen, three Indian and two Turkish nationals were among the dead.

“It’s 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,” Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said at a news conference. “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 lost someone may be consoled.

“I condemn to the utmost of my capacity this act that has caused so much death and suffering to the people,” Ranjith said. “I ask all us Sri Lankan people not to take the law into their own hands and to maintain peace and harmony in this country. And I also ask that all those who are able to donate blood in order to help these people who are injured, and then I also appeal to the doctors to please help us.”

Several suspects arrested

Secretary of State Pompeo said the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka is working to provide assistance to American citizens affected by the attacks, including their families.

“These vile attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat terrorism,” Pompeo said in his statement. “We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they confront violent extremism and have offered our assistance as they work to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Buddhism is the most common religion in Sri Lanka. National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri-Lanka documented the growing number of attacks on Christians in 2018, saying there were 67 from January to September.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Gunasekara also said that multiple raids had been carried out as police worked to identify those responsible for the carnage.

Gunasekara said it was too early to say who was behind the attack or comment on a possible motive.

Dangerous history

Sri Lanka has been at times one of the most dangerous locations in the world for terrorist attacks. A civil war that raged for decades between the ruling government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam — known colloquially as the Tamil Tigers or LTTE — officially ended in 2009, but some conflict has continued. As many as 100,000 people were killed in the civil war from 1982 to 2009, according to the U.N.

 The U.K. government warns travelers of the risks posed by those visiting the country.

“Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka can’t be ruled out,” the government advises on its website. “Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”

 The U.S. lists Sri Lanka as a Level 1 country, the lowest risk level, which warns travelers to exercise normal precautions.

The country was also divided by a constitutional crisis at the end of 2018 when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was removed by the country’s president in October, only to be reinstated in December.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today,” Wickremesinghe said in a tweet. “I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

Security was increased across Sri Lanka, including Colombo’s international airport. Authorities also imposed an indefinite nationwide curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and temporarily blocked major social media and messaging services, including Facebook and WhatsApp, to curb what government officials described as misinformation from being spread.

U.S. security boosted

The bombings sent shockwaves all the way to the United States, where security was bolstered at churches coast to coast.

In California, the Los Angeles Police Department boosted patrols around places of worship. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the State Police to increase security at churches and houses of worship across the state.

“New York grieves for the victims of the horrific attacks at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday,” Cuomo said in a statement. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Sri Lanka, to the families who lost loved ones and to all those grieving around the world.

“In the wake of these despicable acts of violence and out of an abundance of caution, I am directing State Police to increase patrols around churches and houses of worship across the state today,” Cuomo said. “During these troubling times, we will not be intimidated by cowardly acts of violence and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”

A U.S. intelligence bulletin issued last week and obtained by ABC News raised ongoing serious concerns that U.S. law enforcement generally has in anticipation of high-profile holidays or gatherings, specifically Easter, Passover and Ramadan. But the bulletin said there was no evidence of a confirmed attack planned in the United States or U.S. facilities elsewhere.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security “are not aware of any specific, credible threats surrounding the upcoming religious holiday season, but note that previous attacks happened with little to no warning,” read the intelligence bulletin issued on Thursday.

“Religious holiday gatherings are an attractive target for HVEs [homegrown violent extremists] and domestic extremists because they offer an opportunity to capitalize on large crowds and increased symbolism of the target,” the bulletin reads.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sri Lanka bombings: World leaders, prominent figures condemn Easter Sunday bombings

Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — From the White House to the Vatican, world leaders condemned the string of bombings that killed more than 200 people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday as many of the victims were in churches celebrating one of most important holidays in the Christian faith.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan shared his condolences with the Sri Lankan brethren while strongly condemning the horrific attacks that wounded another 450 people.

“Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured. My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief,” he tweeted.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Sri Lanka, pledging that the U.S. stands “ready to help.”

 The coordinated bombings at eight locations left at least 207 people dead. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and at least three suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

The outpouring of support came from all over the world.

Prime Minister of India Chowkidar Narendra Modi tweeted: “There is no place for such barbarism in our region,” adding that “India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Pope Francis expressed “sadness” over the attacks while delivering his Easter Sunday Mass at the Vatican and prayed for those who were killed and injured.

 Former U.S. President Barack Obama described the series of coordinated bombings as an “attack on humanity.”

“On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka,” Obama tweeted.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling” and urged people to “stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he is “deeply saddened” by the attacks.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, expressed the “horror and sadness” he felt upon learning of the bombings, three of which occurred at Christian churches.

The press office for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted that the president “urges the authorities not to spare the wicked elements behind these mischievous attacks.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the “heartbreaking” attacks come at the time when Sri Lanka “has worked hard to build a common future after years of war.”

 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed state police to increase patrols around churches and houses of worship. During a press conference, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan commended the “brave” worshippers who attended mass on Easter Sunday despite the threats.

“These are the ones that give us hope,” Dolan said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Panic! At The Disco-“High Hopes”
  2. Marshmello feat. Bastille-“Happier”
  3. Halsey-“Without Me”
  4. Dean Lewis-“Be Alright”
  5. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B-“Girls Like You”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This