Six In The Morning Sunday 28 April 2019

Sri Lanka attacks: Children of the Easter Sunday carnage

One week ago many dozens of children were killed in Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday attacks. Dressed in their finest clothes for one of the most important church services of the year, this was the first generation in decades to grow up free of violence. Their stories – and the struggle for the surviving children to comprehend the carnage – take the island down a devastatingly familiar path.

When bubbly Sneha Savindri Fernando went along for the Easter Sunday service at St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, her mind was on something else entirely. She had spent weeks excitedly making plans for her 13th birthday – a day she would never get the chance to celebrate.

“She was like a little bird. She loved to dance. She danced to anything. If you asked her to dance, she would immediately jump into a sari or a long skirt and oblige,” her mother, Nirasha Fernando says. Sneha, Ms Fernando and their neighbours Gayani and Tyronne all left together in Tyronne’s auto-rickshaw.

Sri Lanka: churches shut as worshippers mourn one week after bombings

Cardinal Ranjith delivers televised sermon as bells ring out across the country

It was the first Sunday anyone could remember without a mass at St Sebastian’s.

A week since the bombings that killed at least 250 people, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Sri Lanka’s most senior Catholic, had ordered the country’s churches not to hold services until police could be sure they would not be attacked.

In a televised mass, Ranjith delivered a homily before members of the clergy and the country’s leaders in a small chapel at his Colombo residence – an extraordinary measure underlining the fear still gripping this nation of 21 million people.

‘This Is Our Jungle’Abysmal Conditions for Refugees in the Greek Islands

The European Union claims that the refugee pact with Turkey has been a success. Yet asylum-seeker camps on Greek islands in the Aegean have transformed into prisons. Thousands of migrants live there in horrific conditions.

By  and Socrates Baltagiannis (Photos)

Annick Toudji has found a bit of shelter in between some cardboard boxes, tarps and plastic bottles. It stinks of urine that has trickled in from the hillside above, past rickety tents and past the rocks where Toudji is about to build a fire. The acrid stench is a constant presence.

A tall and gaunt 33-year-old, Toudji is perched on a stump and cutting tomatoes with short, decisive blows into a pot. “This is our jungle,” she says. It is a jungle without electricity or toilets. Instead, it has rats, cockroaches and scabies.

Sudan’s protest leaders, army rulers agree on joint council

Sudan’s protest leaders and army rulers agreed Saturday to establish a joint civilian-military ruling council, a major breakthrough in talks between the two sides over demonstrators’ demands for a handover to civilian rule.

The agreement on the highly disputed issue came as thousands of protesters remain encamped outside the military headquarters since the army ousted longtime leader Omar al-Bashir on April 11, demanding that the army rulers step down.

“We agreed on a joint council between the civilian and the military,” one of the leaders of the protest campaign, Ahmed al-Rabia, who was involved in the talks, told AFP.

China is watching Western democracy eat itself

By Nic Robertson

Over the next few months, the world’s current and previous superpowers are set to undergo enormous self-harm.

The biggest victim could be democracy itself, and the biggest losers the approximately 4 billion people who live in its imperfect embrace.
As London and Washington convulse, China belches along, gobbling up cultures in a way that should alarm us all.

Pine room and a secret jewel: Japan’s abdication rituals

By Miwa Suzuki

Japan has waited more than two centuries for an emperor to abdicate, but the main ceremony to perform the ritual will take a mere 10 minutes.

The solemn rite will take place at precisely 5 p.m. on Tuesday in the 370-square-meter Matsu-no-Ma (Room of Pine), considered the most elegant hall in the sumptuous imperial palace.

It is the only room with wooden floors — made from Japanese zelkova trees — rather than carpet, and the walls are covered with fabric featuring raised pine-leaf motifs.