“What kind of people target little Children?” Nasreen Bibi sobbed the question as she waited for news of her toddler — among 280 injured by today’s suicide bombing in Lahore that killed at least 65. A breakaway Pakistani Taliban faction announced that it targeted Christians celebrating Easter with the blast in the city’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park — a few yards from children’s swings. Rickshaws served as ambulances, and hundreds came to donate blood, while Punjab’s chief minister declared three days of mourning and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Presidential Daily Brief
He’s wearing a white hat. Government forces and Russian warplanes have driven ISIS from the ancient city of Palmyra, say Syrian President Bashar al Assad and independent monitors. The embattled leader called it an “important achievement” for “allies in the war against terrorism.” The radical Islamist group destroyed iconic 1,500-year-old structures in Palmyra, but lost some 400 fighters there in the last three weeks, said a human rights monitoring group, calling it the worst-ever defeat for the “caliphate.” Experts say it’s also a stragic loss, exposing routes to ISIS’ main city, Raqqa.
He’s in his element. Left-leaning western state caucuses felt the Bern yesterday, giving him 72 percent of the vote in Washington State and a proportionate allotment of its 101 delegates. He also won a respective 82 and 71 percent of the vote in Alaska and Hawaii, with 40 delegates between them. The result whittles down Hillary Clinton’s seemingly insurmountable lead, and gives the “democratic socialist” Vermont senator desperately needed momentum. The losses may not trouble the former secretary of state’s backers — her own New York State voters cast ballots April 19.
Now they know. The families of expat Americans Stephanie and Justin Shults agonized since Tuesday’s Brussels massacre over the missing couple’s fate. Yesterday, Justin’s brother tweeted, “The world lost two amazing people … it’s not fair.” Their empty car was found at the city’s airport, where they had dropped off Stephanie’s mother, who was injured in the first attack there, for a flight back to Kentucky. The couple were among 31 killed in the airport and subway suicide bombings, which left survivors with the burden of providing authorities with biometric evidence to confirm their worst possible fears.
The threat can’t be ignored. Leaders from 56 nations and international organizations will converge on Washington, D.C., next Thursday for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit. “We cannot afford to wait for an act of nuclear terrorism” to boost international collaboration, organizers say — a point driven home all too well by a report that Belgian police recently learned that two Brussels suicide bombers were involved in secret surveillance of a nuclear researcher. The summit will include discussions on the secure handling of nuclear materials, cyberwarfare and the role of the international nuclear industry.
The mud is flying. The Republican presidential race got especially personal when Sen. Ted Cruz blamed Donald Trump for a tabloid “smear” alleging he’d had affairs with five women. “These attacks are garbage,” Cruz said, while accusing the Donald’s “henchmen” of planting the story. Two of the three alleged mistresses denied the report, while Trump retaliated with unflattering tweets about Cruz’s wife after insisting that, unlike “Lyin’ Cruz,” he doesn’t surround himself “with political hacks … and then pretend total innocence.” Democrats, meanwhile, are shedding crocodile tears as civility takes a holiday.
America invaded Cuba this week … with handshakes and democratic ideals. After 55 years of the U.S. giving its island neighbor the cold shoulder, Obama took his message of hope directly to Havana in a bid to warm up relations and build momentum for change. The American president encouraged Cubans to enjoy more trade and greater freedoms. But he’s also hoping that this shift in approach will woo others in the increasingly powerful and resource-rich region who have long regarded U.S.-Cuban tensions as an unnecessary irritant.
Europeans launch new anti-terror raids, make multiple arrests. (AP)
Trump’s ‘checking fine print’ of petition to allow guns in GOP convention. (USA Today)
Pope Francis’ Easter message: Fight terror with with ‘weapons of love.’ (LA Times)
Pentagon releases trove of Secretary Ash Carter’s personal-work e-mails. (TIME)
N.C. beats Notre Dame 88-74 to become only top seed in Final Four. (USA Today)
She’s riding a new wave. Yusra Mardini, 17, was one of the million-plus refugees who headed for Europe last year, fleeing her native Syria in a boat stuffed with about 20 others. When the engine died and the vessel started taking on water, she and her sister jumped overboard. Together they swam and pushed the boat for three and a half hours until it reached Lesbos safely. Now Mardini, who found refuge in Germany, is among 43 migrant athletes looking to compete in the Rio Olympics this summer.
They’re gunning for Goliaths. Lyft, with its strictly U.S.-centric market, is valued at less than a tenth of Uber’s $62.5 billion, thanks to its rival’s global domination. But the smaller San Francisco-based firm does have spunk … and friends in high places. Lyft has crafted partnerships with Starbucks, General Motors and ride-sharing leaders in China and India. Rather than trying to replace the $12 billion U.S. taxi market, Lyft’s slingshot is aimed higher — at the $2.15 trillion auto industry and private vehicle ownership.
Can they play the same tune? In the 20 years since the Bosnian war, relations haven’t improved much in places like the divided city of Mostar, where Croat and Bosnian children remain separated, attending the same schools but at different times, with different teachers and different history books. Now two independent music programs are offering them the chance to play together for the first time, sharing an artistic environment. While words and politics continue to divide, arts programs like this may prove the best hope for raising children who don’t fear “the other side.”
Hear them roar! While Hillary Clinton’s making waves this year, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for U.S. president, way back in 1872, long before ladies could vote. “Big Mama” Thornton got “Hound Dog” onto vinyl three years before Elvis. And Adelina Otero-Warren was the first woman of Mexican descent to run for Congress. For Women’s History Month, we’re taking note of female pioneers and hoping that future generations find another Anna Arnold Hedgeman, founder of the National Organization for Women, to help continue the push for equality.
It’s still breaking barriers 95 years later. In 1921, New York City saw the premiere of Shuffle Along, one of the first prominent musicals showcasing Black creative talent. Now a powerhouse team of performers and producers — including two-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe, dance legend Savion Glover and unmatched diva Audra McDonald — is transforming the musical. They’ve taken a blackface-racist and hackneyed script and edited it into a musical drama about the original show’s creation that reveals and contextualizes the creative classic for a new generation.