Sri Lanka military gets special powers after deadly bombings
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president gave the military sweeping police powers starting Tuesday in the wake of the Easter bombings that killed nearly 300 people, while officials disclosed that intelligence agencies had warned weeks ago of the possibility of an attack by the radical Muslim group blamed for the bloodshed.
The suicide bombings struck three churches and three luxury hotels Sunday in the island nation's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended in 2009. The government shut down some social media, armed security forces patrolled the largely deserted, central streets in the capital of Colombo, and a curfew went into effect.
The military was given a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects — powers that were used during the civil war but withdrawn when it ended.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the massacre could unleash instability and he vowed to "vest all necessary powers with the defense forces" to act against those responsible.
Adding to the tension, three unexploded bombs blew up Monday inside a van parked near one of the stricken churches as police were trying to defuse them, sending pedestrians fleeing in panic. No injuries were reported. Dozens of detonators were discovered near Colombo's main bus depot, but officials declined to say whether they were linked to the attacks.
Medicare, Social Security face shaky fiscal futures
WASHINGTON (AP) — The financial condition of the government's bedrock retirement programs for middle- and working-class Americans remains shaky, with Medicare pointed toward insolvency by 2026, according to a report Monday by the government's overseers of Medicare and Social Security.
It paints a sobering picture of the programs, though it's relatively unchanged from last year's update. Social Security would become insolvent in 2035, one year later than previously estimated.
Both programs will need to eventually be addressed to avert automatic cuts should their trust funds run dry. Neither President Donald Trump nor Capitol Hill's warring factions has put political perilous cost curbs on their to-do list.
The report is the latest update of the government's troubled fiscal picture. It lands in a capital that has proven chronically unable to address it. Trump has declared benefit cuts to the nation's signature retirement programs off limits and many Democratic presidential candidates are calling for expanding Medicare benefits rather than addressing the program's worsening finances.
Many on both sides actually agree that it would be better for Washington to act sooner rather than later to shore up the programs rather than wait until they are on the brink of insolvency and have to weigh more drastic steps.
Trump, business organization sue Democratic House chairman
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and his business organization sued the Democratic chairman of the House oversight committee on Monday to block a subpoena that seeks years of the president's financial records.
The complaint became the latest front in the intensifying battle between the president and the Democrats who control the House of Representatives and are committed to investigating Trump and his finances. The complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, said the subpoena from Rep. Elijah Cummings "has no legitimate legislative purpose" and accuses Democrats of harassing Trump and wielding their new majority in Congress to try to stain the president's standing.
"Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically," the lawsuit states.
Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the subpoena earlier this month to Mazars USA, an accountant for the president and Trump Organization. He said Monday that the complaint "reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief, and it contains a litany of inaccurate information."
"The President has a long history of trying to use baseless lawsuits to attack his adversaries, but there is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress," Cummings said. "The White House is engaged in unprecedented stonewalling on all fronts, and they have refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year."
Mexican police detain hundreds of Central American migrants
PIJIJIAPAN, Mexico (AP) — Mexican police and immigration agents detained hundreds of Central American migrants Monday in the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the groups started moving through the country last year.
Police targeted isolated groups at the tail end of a caravan of about 3,000 migrants who were making their way through the southern state of Chiapas with hopes of reaching the U.S. border.
As migrants gathered under spots of shade in the burning heat outside the city of Pijijiapan, federal police and agents passed by in patrol trucks and vans and forcibly wrestled women, men and children into the vehicles.
The migrants were driven to buses, presumably for subsequent transportation to an immigration station for deportation processing. As many as 500 migrants might have been picked up in the raid, according to Associated Press journalists at the scene.
Some of the women and children wailed and screamed during the detentions on the roadside. Clothes, shoes, suitcases and strollers littered the scene after they were taken away.
Sri Lanka expats wait to reconnect amid social media block
NEW YORK (AP) — Viji Devadas hasn't heard from her nephew in Sri Lanka on her family WhatsApp chat group since he reached out just after the Easter Sunday bomb blasts that tore apart churches and hotels and killed hundreds in the South Asian nation.
It's unsettling, but she knows he's ok, and the Sri Lankan government's decision to block most social media, citing concern over "false news reports," makes sense to her.
In "one way, it's good because so many rumors and so many things, everybody gets scared," said Devadas, whose family runs a restaurant named after the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, in a tiny strip of New York's Staten Island borough known as "Little Sri Lanka." At the same time, she hoped it wouldn't be in place for long, since "people like to see what's going on and happening."
The block on social media including Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram services was announced by the Sri Lankan government's official news portal, which cited the spread of misinformation online. The NetBlocks observatory said it detected an intentional blackout of the popular platforms, as well as YouTube, Snapchat and Viber. Twitter appeared unaffected.
Officials likely feared that the spread of inflammatory content could provoke more bloodshed in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist-majority island nation that has large Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities and a long history of ethnic and sectarian conflict. At least 290 people were killed and 500 people injured in the bombings.
Shelter uproar highlights strife in expensive San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's renowned waterfront hosts joggers, admiring tourists and towering condos with impressive views. It could also become the site of a new homeless shelter for up to 200 people.
Angry residents have packed public meetings, jeering at city officials and even shouting down Mayor London Breed over the proposal. They say they were blindsided and argue billionaire Twitter executive Jack Dorsey and other tech executives who support the idea should lobby city officials to build a shelter by their homes.
The waterfront uproar is among recent examples of strife in an expensive city that is both overwhelmed by tech wealth and passionate about social justice. San Francisco companies Pinterest and Lyft recently went public, and Uber and Slack are coming soon, driving fears that newly minted millionaires will snap up the few family homes left for under $2 million.
City Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer fought tears at a testy hearing over a housing density development bill, inviting her critics to visit poor seniors in her district who eat cat food for dinner. Opponents of the bill stood and turned their backs on Supervisor Vallie Brown, who vigorously defended the legislation.
And as the city continues to grapple with a housing shortage, the entire Board of Supervisors was roasted on social media this month for rejecting a 63-unit housing project because it would cast shadows over a nearby park in an area with little green space.
Video released of suspect in 2017 killings of Indiana girls
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities on Monday released video of a man suspected of killing two Indiana teenagers two years ago and urged the public to scrutinize the footage, which shows him walking on an abandoned railroad bridge the girls visited while out hiking the day they were slain.
The Indiana State Police also released a new sketch of the suspect, which State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said was produced thanks to "new information and intelligence" collected during the investigation into the February 2017 killings of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams.
During a briefing in the girls' hometown of Delphi, he said a previously released composite sketch that depicted a white man with a goatee, cap and hooded sweater is now secondary to the new sketch, which shows a clean-shaven, younger looking man.
Investigators still haven't said how the teens were killed, and they declined to take questions at Monday's briefing. Carter said investigators believe the suspect is between the ages of 18 and 40, and that he either lives or lived in Delphi or regularly visits or works in the area. He vowed that police will solve the case and he addressed the suspect directly during the briefing.
"We believe you are hiding in plain sight. For more than two years, you never thought we would shift gears to a different investigative strategy, but we have," he said.
Impeach or not impeach? Pelosi says focus first on facts
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged divided fellow Democrats Monday to focus on fact-finding rather than leaping to talk of impeachment to hold President Donald Trump accountable for the "highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior" described in special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
In her first remarks on next steps, Pelosi acknowledged in a letter to rank-and-file Democrats that the party's officeholders have a range of views on how to proceed. But she counseled them repeatedly to go after facts, not resort to "passion or prejudice" in the intense run-up to the 2020 presidential and congressional elections.
"We all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth," Pelosi wrote. "It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings."
Either way, Trump insisted he wasn't worried.
"Not even a little bit," he said when asked Monday whether he was concerned about impeachment. However, his many tweets seeking to undermine the report's credibility — even calling it "bullshit" — indicate he is hardly shrugging it aside.
SpaceX suffers serious setback with crew capsule accident
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has suffered a serious setback in its effort to launch NASA astronauts into orbit this year, with the fiery loss of its first crew capsule during testing.
Over the weekend, the company's recently flown Dragon crew capsule was engulfed in smoke and flames on an engine test stand at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX was testing the Dragon's abort thrusters when Saturday's accident occurred.
The company said the test area was clear and no one was injured.
This capsule flew to the International Space Station last month on a crew-less trial run, and it was supposed to be reused in a launch abort test in June. Another capsule was supposed to follow with two astronauts as early as July. Astronauts haven't launched from Florida since 2011.
NASA said Monday it's too early to revise the target launch dates, given that the accident is still so fresh.
Tesla gears up for fully self-driving cars amid skepticism
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla expects to have full self-driving cars in which humans won't have to touch the steering wheel around the second quarter of next year.
The company made the announcement during an investor conference at its Palo Alto, California, headquarters Monday, in which it outlined its bold but risky bid to transform Tesla's electric cars into driverless vehicles.
CEO Elon Musk told investors that the company's computer to enable its electric cars to become self-driving vehicles is powered by the best processing chip in the world.
Tesla had never made its own computer chip before it hired an ex-Apple engineer three years ago to design it. Now, Musk boasts the chip is better than any other on the market "by a huge margin."
Experts say they're skeptical whether Tesla's technology has advanced anywhere close to the point where its cars will be capable of being driven solely by a robot, without a human in position to take control if something goes awry.