In the News This Week

by Debra Brown

Sri Lanka

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


The Sri Lankan Government Vows To Overhaul State Security.

Sri Lanka’s president has vowed to overhaul state security after several bomb blasts killed 359 people and wounded about 500. The Sri Lankan government is facing scrutiny after it emerged the authorities were warned of about a possible attack, the prime minister and the cabinet were not warned, ministers said.

The nearly simultaneous attacks targeted three churches packed for Easter services and three major hotels in the capital, Colombo.

IS said it had “targeted nationals of the crusader alliance [anti-IS US-led coalition] and Christians in Sri Lanka” via its Amaq news outlet. It provided no evidence for the claim but shared an image on social media of eight men purported to be behind the attack.

Here is how to help victims of the Sri Lanka bombings.


France Announces Contest to Redesign Notre Dame Spire.

France will launch an international architectural competition to redesign the roofline of Notre Dame Cathedral.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said the competition would give the 850-year-old building “a spire suited to the techniques and challenges of our time”. He said an estimation of the cost of rebuilding the cathedral had yet to be made. French billionaires, multinationals and private citizens have so far raised almost 1 billion for the restoration.

The fundraiser to rebuild Notre Dame has sparked criticism concerning how quickly philanthropists were able to raise nearly 1 billion dollars. One popular tweet said, “Some French billionaires have pledged 600+ million euros for Notre Dame in less than 12 hours. Shows how easily billionaires could end world hunger, poverty, lack of access to healthcare/clean water/education but don’t. 600+ million in twelve hours from just 3 people.”


Drug Distributor And Former Execs Face First Criminal Charges In Opioid Crisis.

A major pharmaceutical distribution company and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges for their roles in advancing the nation’s opioid crisis and profiting from it.

Rochester Drug Co-Operative Inc., one of the nation’s 10 largest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S., its former CEO Laurence Doud III and former chief of compliance William Pietruszewski were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled narcotics, oxycodone and fentanyl, for non-medical reasons and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Rochester Drug Co-Operative Inc. and Pietruszewski are also charged with willfully failing to file suspicious order reports to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Both executives face maximum sentences of life in prison and a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years on the drug trafficking charges. They face a maximum five years in prison on the charge of defrauding the government.

Here is a video explaining the opioid crisis.



Victims Of The Flint Water Crisis Can Now Sue The Federal Government.

A federal judge ruled Flint, Michigan, residents can sue the federal government for its role in the five-year water crisis.

There have been numerous lawsuits filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for reportedly not acting quickly enough. Currently, there are about a dozen lawsuits against the city of Flint and the state of Michigan. Many of the lawsuits alleged the government knew the Flint River water source and outdated piping were contaminated with lead in 2014 and 2015.

The recent news came after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced a $77.7 million loan for water projects in Flint, reports ABC 12. Essentially, the loan will be a grant as there will be a 0% interest rate and the entire loan will be forgiven.


Charges Dropped Against Broward Teen Who Was Head-slammed On Pavement By Sheriff’s Deputy.

A few hours after meeting with the family of a high school student whose head was slammed into the pavement during a rough arrest that was captured on cellphone video last week, Broward County prosecutors said they were dropping all the charges against the teenager.

Prosecutors announced they were dropping the charges against the teen after his family hired renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.

The two Broward Sheriff’s deputies who arrested DeLucca Rolle also have been suspended during a continuing investigation into their conduct, prosecutors said in the same statement.

Here is a petition asking to fire the Broward county police officers that used unreasonable excessive force on the teen DeLucca Rolle.


Photo Credit: Adam Dean for The New York Times

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