Daily News Roundup

April 23, 2019

TUESDAY, APRIL 23

An Australian man caught up in the Sri Lanka bombings has told of the moment his wife and daughter died as they left an Easter Sunday church service.

Mr Suydesh Kolonne told the ABC his wife and daughter had been excited to join the Easter mass at St Sebastian’s Catholic Church, which they attended “every Sunday”.

He had just walked out of the church ahead of them after the service when the bomb blast tore through the building.

“I heard a huge noise and I jumped into the church and I saw that my wife and my daughter were on the floor,” he was quoted as saying.

“I just saw my daughter on the floor and I tried to lift her up, [but] she was already dead. And [then] exactly the same… next my wife is there.”

At least 290 people were killed and 500 injured in a series of coordinated blasts in churches and hotels, in Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended in 2009.

There were initially eight explosions — three at church services, three at hotels, one outside a zoo south of Colombo, and another on the outskirts of the city.

Three bombs inside a van parked near one of the stricken churches exploded on Monday as police were trying to defuse them

Dozens of detonators were discovered near Colombo’s main bus depot, but officials declined to say whether they were linked

Mr Kolonne said his family had moved from Melbourne to Sri Lanka in 2014 after his wife started a consultancy business.

He described his wife, Ms Manik Suriaaratchi as a smart, talented and successful entrepreneur. He said his  10-year-old daughter Alexendria was a grade five student at an international school in Colombo.

“[She] loved music, loved to dance,” he said.

In Melbourne, there was an outpouring of grief at vigils around the city as Australia’s migrant Sri Lankan community absorbed the scale of the terror attack.

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US President Donald Trump says he is “not even a little bit” worried about the threat of impeachment based on the Mueller report.

Mr Mueller’s 448-page report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election said that his  22-month investigation did not establish the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election campaign

It did find “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations”

The report also revealed staff and associates sometimes ignored requests from Mr Trump to deliver messages, including one to fire Robert Mueller.

“Nobody disobeys me,” Mr Trump said when asked if he was worried about his orders not being followed. He made the remark at the White House during an annual Easter celebration.

According to the report, White House counsel Don McGahn had been on the brink of resigning when Mr Trump told him to ask Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mr Mueller. Mr Trump then denied using the word “fire”, according to Mr McGahn’s retelling to Mr Mueller.

Mr Trump later lashed out at the report on Twitter.

“Isn’t it amazing that the people who were closest to me, by far, and knew the campaign better than anyone, were never even called to testify before Mueller.”

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Motorists in central Melbourne are set be slowed to 30km/hI  the CBD in a bid to improve pedestrian safety in an increasingly busy city centre.

Council officers are believed to be working on plans to cut current speed zones in the CBD from 40km/h in a bid to improve pedestrian safety in an increasingly busy city centre.

The new speed limit will replace the 40km/h limit that was introduced seven years ago between Flinders, La Trobe, Spring and Spencer streets, Nine News reports.

The rule will be enforced to reduce the number accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in the Hoddle grid.

According to Nine News, the change comes after a city council review of transport in central Melbourne produced several key recommendations in the city’s transport strategy that will be released next month.

Co-ordination of public transport along with car parking and congested footpaths will also be reviewed.

Variable speed zones are also being considered for roads such as the King St arterial, currently 40km/h, where a 30km/h zone could be impractical during off-peak times, reports the Herald Sun.

RACV senior manager Peter Kartsidimas said the motorists’ group had supported 40km/h speed zones in the city’s CBD.

“This speed limit is in use in Victoria in areas with high pedestrian activity and where workers are on roads,” Mr Kartsidimas told the publication.

“RACV supports variable speed limits and believes every case should be judged on its merits.”

The change comes after Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the city needed to find the right transport balance, with the council shifting their focus onto pedestrians and public transport.

The council is confident this approach will make the roads safer as it focuses on changing people’s behaviour, an attractive alternative to costly infrastructure like speed bumps.