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National News, Monday, April 22nd – Sri Lanka Bomb Blasts Kill Nearly 300

by Don Early and Aaron Martinez for Basin Life Magazine

MONDAY, APRIL 22nd, 2019

Although warnings came weeks ahead that something was going to happen in Sri Lanka, several bomb blasts took place on Easter Sunday in the country on the Christian holy day, killing nearly 300 people and injuring and wounding another 500.

A Muslim group is claiming responsibility today according to sources.  Sri Lanka’s security officials reportedly failed to heed the alerts and apparently took no action to protect against a potential attack. Authorities were first alerted to the threat April 4.

Yesterday near-simultaneous blasts detonated at three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo, the capital city. Two more explosions occurred hours later outside of Colombo – one at a guesthouse and the other near an overpass.

At least 290 people – including 39 foreigners – were killed and more than 500 people were injured.

The government on Monday said the attacks were likely perpetrated by local militant group National Thowfeek Jamaath, a little-known radical Islamist organization.  The group promotes an Islamic terrorist ideology.

“These attacks appear to be quite different and look as if they came right out of the ISIS, Al Qaeda, global militant jihadist playbook, as these are attacks fomenting religious hatred by attacking multiple churches on a high religious holiday,” Anne Speckhard, the director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, told the newspaper.

Top government officials, including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet, were reportedly kept in the dark about the intelligence until after the attack – which Senaratne blamed on political dysfunction within the government.

“We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe said Sunday.

An investigation has been launched into the apparent breakdown of communication within the government.

Today, President Trump and his business, the Trump Corporation, sued House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) in a bid to block a congressional subpoena of his financial records.  It’s anyone’s guess what happens next.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to prevent Trump’s accounting firm from complying with what his lawyers say is an improper use of subpoena power by congressional Democrats.

“Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family,” the filing by Trump claims. “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 filing, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, further escalates a clash between the White House and the Democratic-controlled House over congressional oversight.

For more than a decade, various law firms and financial institutions signed off on financial statements for Trump that he used when seeking loans. Some of the statements include frequent exaggerations or inaccuracies and were accompanied by a note from the firm saying it was not responsible for the accuracy of the information.

The Oversight Committee on March 20 asked the company for copies of “statements of financial condition” and audits prepared for Trump and several of his companies, including the one that owns the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. The panel also requested supporting documents used to produce the reports and communications between the firm and Trump.

The Mazars company said last week that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

Lawyers for the president and the Trump Organization previously wrote in a letter to Mazars’s counsel that an expected committee subpoena “would not be valid or enforceable.”

In the complaint filed Monday, Trump’s lawyers argue that the subpoena of Mazars “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” and is seeking information about Trump as a private citizen, before he took office.

“With this subpoena, the Oversight Committee is instead assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government,” it says. “Its goal is to expose Plaintiffs’ private financial information for the sake of exposure, with the hope that it will turn up something that Democrats can use as a political tool against the President now and in the 2020 election.”

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to help college-bound students and help solve the  $1.5 trillion student debt crisis.   The 2020 candidate unveiled a “broad cancellation plan” for student debt.

“Higher education opened a million doors for me,” Warren wrote in a post. “It’s how the daughter of a janitor in a small town in Oklahoma got to become a teacher, a law school professor, a U.S. Senator, and eventually, a candidate for President of the United States. Today, it’s virtually impossible for a young person to find that kind of opportunity.”

The Massachusetts senator’s plan involves forgiving up to $50,000 in student debt for 42 million Americans before reforming the higher education system “that created the crisis in the first place.”

While it comes with a one-time cost to the federal government of $640 billion, Warren argued that the plan would simultaneously boost the economy and close the wealth gap.

“Student debt has become a crisis that can no longer be ignored,” former Student Loan Ombudsman and Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Seth Frotman — who resigned in August 2018 protesting the agency’s handling of the crisis — said in a statement of support. “Across every community, every city, and every state, millions of Americans are struggling to bear the weight of their loans as this collective debt tears at the fabric of our society. … Senator Warren’s proposal recognizes the scale of this crisis and rises to meet it.”

Currently there are $1.5 trillion worth of student loans out there, roughly 11.5% of which are more than 90 days delinquent or in default. The average student loan borrower holds about $28,650 in debt, according to Student Loan Hero.

Collection agencies are increasingly turning towards wage garnishments —obtaining a court order to make employers set aside portions of debtor’s paycheck — to get their money back.

Warren aims to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for every person who has a household income of below $100,000.

California Rep. Adam Schiff still has a one track mind saying yesterday that congressional Democrats may take up impeachment in the wake of the release of the special counsel report, but will consider the political environment when determining any action.

Schiff told “This Week” anchor Martha Raddatz the decision whether to begin proceedings to impeach President Donald Trump will be made based on the “best interests of the country.”

Raddatz asked the congressman, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, about calls by 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for the House to open impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

On Friday, Warren tweeted that the “severity of [the president’s] misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

Asked at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Saturday if she believed the president should not only face impeachment proceedings but be impeached, Warren said “yes” in response.

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