Sri Lanka sets curfew after violence
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's government imposed a nationwide curfew Monday and temporarily blocked social media after a flare-up of communal violence in apparent response to last month's Easter attacks that killed more than 250 people, officials said.
Acting Police Chief C.D. Wickramaratne said the violence started with a few shops being stoned in the North Western town of Kuliyapitiya on Sunday. It was soon brought under control, but on Monday mobs carried out violence on a bigger scale, he said.
Police said the curfew would be enforced until further notice in the country's North Western province, and until this morning in the rest of the nation.
Tensions have been running high in the Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island nation since the attacks by seven suicide bombers who struck two Catholic and one Protestant church and three luxury hotels. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group. Muslims have been subjected to hate comments since the Easter Sunday bombings.
The government imposed the social media ban after an exchange of accusations between two people on Facebook led a mob to attack a Muslim-owned shop Sunday in the Catholic-majority town of Chilaw, said Nalaka Kaluwewa, the chief of the Information Department. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said police have arrested the 38-year-old Muslim owner of the shop over allegations that he wrote the Facebook comments that sparked the violence.
China cool to nuke pact with U.S., Russia
MOSCOW -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says his country isn't interested in negotiating a nuclear arms control treaty with the United States and Russia.
Wang was in Sochi for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, a day before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to do the same. U.S. President Donald Trump is withdrawing from a nuclear treaty with Russia and has said he wants a new agreement that includes China, as well.
But Wang told reporters after the meeting that China "has no interest" in being part of such a treaty. He said China keeps its arsenal of nuclear weapons at "the minimal level to ensure the defense policies."
U.S. renews travel warning to Iraq
BAGHDAD -- The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is advising U.S. citizens against traveling to the country amid what it called "heightened tensions," reflecting worsening strains between Washington and Tehran.
The advisory was posted on Twitter on Sunday night. The U.S. has long advised its citizens against travel to Iraq, but the renewed warning came after Washington's deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf in response to unspecified "threats" by Iran.
The warning also comes after a surprise visit to Baghdad by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, which he said was aimed at demonstrating U.S. support for the Iraqi government, as the U.S. says it has been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have rocketed since President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear treaty with Iran and re-imposed severe sanctions on Iran's energy and finance sectors. Iraq is host to more than 5,000 U.S. servicemen invited by the Iraqi parliament in 2014 to assist in the war against the Islamic State group.
Poland cancels Israeli delegation visit
WARSAW, Poland -- The Polish government canceled a visit by an Israeli delegation that had been planned for Monday, saying the Israeli government made last-minute changes that suggested it would focus on the issue of the restitution of former Jewish property.
The delegation was to have been headed by Avi Cohen-Scali, director general of the Israeli Ministry for Social Equality, Poland's Foreign Ministry said as it announced the cancellation Sunday.
Poland was once home to 3.3 million Jews, but most were killed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. Their properties were often looted by Germans and later nationalized by the communist regime. The World Jewish Restitution Organization has been seeking compensation on behalf of families who lost property.
On Saturday, thousands of nationalists marched in Warsaw to the U.S. Embassy to protest Washington's pressure on Poland to settle the outstanding matter of unpaid restitution. Protesters argue that it isn't fair to ask Poland to compensate Jewish victims when the country has never received adequate compensation from its former occupier, Germany.
Restitution advocates say their claims are misunderstood.
"We are talking about confiscation after the war, after the Holocaust by the communist government," said Gideon Taylor, head of the World Jewish Restitution Organization. "We are not seeking what was taken by the Germans. We are seeking compensation for what was taken by Poland and I think this issue has been lost."
--COMPILED BY DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE REPORTS
A vendor selling plastic flowers mans his roadside stall during an annual fair in Dharmsala, India, on Monday. Traveling fairs, with their goods and entertainment, are still popular in rural India.
A Section on 05/14/2019
Print Headline: Sri Lanka sets curfew after violence China cool to nuke pact with U.S., Russia U.S. renews travel warning to Iraq Poland cancels Israeli delegation visit