Stories by Alyssa Ayres

Expert Voices

Easter terrorist attacks open new front of violence in Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan Catholic priest among the dead outside a church targeted in the attacks.
A Sri Lankan Catholic priest among the victims outside St Anthony's Church in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The series of coordinated blasts that struck several Sri Lankan churches and several hotels Easter Sunday has left more than 207 people reported dead and more than 450 injured — making the cluster of terrorist attacks more deadly than both the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings.

The big picture: The attacks targeting Christian worshippers suggest a new front in the annals of violence in Sri Lanka. Since the end of the bloody civil war in 2009, the country has mainly returned to peace, so the Easter attacks came as a shock.

Expert Voices

Modi’s vision of India is on the ballot in parliamentary elections

India's prime minister Narenda Modi with the president of his political party
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah holding up copies of the party manifesto in New Delhi. Photo: Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Indians began casting votes for their lower house of parliament on Thursday, in an election that represents a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Why it matters: The elections are taking place amid worries about unemployment, recent tensions with Pakistan and the future of secularism in India.

Expert Voices

U.S. economic strategy for Indo-Pacific doesn't stack up to China's

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during the Indo-Pacific Business Forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) July 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Secretary of State Pompeo speaks during the Indo-Pacific Business Forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on July 30, 2018, in Washington, DC. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

In a speech on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rolled out the Trump administration’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific economic strategy, outlining the Trump administration’s alternative to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

The big picture: The Trump administration has made the region a centerpiece of its approach to Asia, speaking frequently about the importance of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” Pompeo highlighted the importance of deeper U.S. engagement with this large and fast-growing economic area, but the proposed strategy falls short of the scale needed to provide credible alternatives to China’s efforts, which include increasingly prominent cases of “debt-trap” diplomacy.