Biden raked in millions his first day on the campaign trail. The Supreme Court is set to review three cases that will affect LGBTQ rights. Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and San Diego mourn those lost in two seperate terrorist attacks committed on holy days.
Sri Lanka Easter terrorist attacks
In Colombo, suicide bombers targeted three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter morning, killing over 250 people and wounding at least 500. The bombings are believed to have been orchestrated by a terrorist cell pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Prior to the attacks, Indian intelligence officials gave a series of warnings – including a memo on April 11th that warned of attacks on churches and named the plotters – to the Sri Lankan government, which failed to act on them. With police still finding explosives, officials warn of an ongoing threat and possibility for future bombings. As of Wednesday, 60 people have been arrested in connection to the attacks.
Supreme Court and LGBTQ rights
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would review three cases that seek to determine whether current federal law prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equal Opportunity Commission has stated that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees the protections. However, the Trump administration takes the opposite side, claiming that the legislation cannot be read to apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status. These three cases will be the first concerning LGBTQ rights since Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh replaced the less conservative Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was considered a champion for gay rights.
Biden enters the race
In the first 24 hours after former Vice President Joe Biden announced his presidential campaign, he raised an astonishing $6.3 million – exceeding the first-day totals of all his competitors. According to Biden’s campaign, these donations were received from 96,926 people, 65,000 of whom were not on his email list of supporters. Even before Biden announced his run, he was consistently at the top of most polls of the Democratic field, which now has 20 candidates. Biden’s campaign team hopes to use these donation statistics as a metric for his chances over his rivals and as a demonstration of his increasing popularity.
But Biden has also recently attracted controversy over his handling of the Anita Hill hearing and allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women. A few weeks before announcing his presidential run, Biden called Hill to express his regret for how she was treated during the 1991 confirmation hearings in which she accused Clarence Thomas, President George H. Bush’s nomination for the Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. Biden was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and presided over the hearings. Hill was not satisfied with the phone call, claiming that it was short of an apology and that Biden failed to fully take responsibility for his conduct during the proceedings. Hill blames Biden as having “set the stage” for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation last October despite accusations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford.
Netanyahu to give Trump a gift
In a display of appreciation, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he would ask his government name a Jewish settlement in Golan Heights after President Trump. The announcement was made during Netanyahu’s Passover tour of the Golan Heights a month after Trump recognized Israel’s sovereignty of the area. Trump’s proclamation, which went against decades of American foreign policy, came before Israel’s recent election when Netanyahu was accused of corruption. Analysts believe Trump’s proclamation was invaluable in helping Netanyahu secure a fifth term.
Since 1967, when Israel first occupied the Golan Heights, the United Nations has rejected the country's rule over the land as it was seized by force from Syria during the Arab-Israeli war.
San Diego synagogue shooting
A gunman opened fire in a synagogue 25 miles north of San Diego on Saturday, killing one person and injuring three others. The incident occurred during a religious service on the last day of Passover. The shooter has been taken into custody and identified. According to an official with knowledge of the investigation, the gunman shouted that Jews were ruining the world as he made his way into the place of worship.
During a news conference following the attack, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said the 19-year-old gunman’s weapon malfunctioned, putting an early end to the attack. The police are currently investigating a possible connection between the gunman and an anti-Semitic manifesto ladened with slurs, white nationalist conspiracy theories posted on 8chan before the attack.