Nation and World briefs for April 23

Sri Lanka military gets special powers after deadly bombings

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — 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.

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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The military was given a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects — powers that were used during the civil war but withdrawn when it ended.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.

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.

Shelter uproar highlights strife in expensive San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — 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 — 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.

Tesla gears up for fully self-driving cars amid skepticism

SAN FRANCISCO — 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.

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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.

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