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St Sebastian's Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo Sunday after the blast. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

More than 290 people died and 500 more were injured in explosions at churches and hotels frequented by foreign tourists in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday — which Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe described as "cowardly attacks."

The latest: A Sri Lankan government forensic analyst said 7 suicide bombers caused 6 of the blasts, AP and Reuters report. Police arrested 24 suspects by Monday over the attacks, which killed at least 37 foreigners, including several U.S. citizens. Authorities were warned of possible attacks 2 weeks ago, the government said Monday. The U.S. State Department warned plotters planned more attacks.

Details: Authorities were warned of possible "acts of terror" on April 4, said Sri Lanka's Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who is responsible for national security and intelligence, at a news conference. The national intelligence chief wrote a letter on April 9 names of a terrorist organization, he said.

“The prime minister was not informed [of] these letters and revelations."
— Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne
  • The first wave of attacks occurred in quick succession, with churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa targeted during Easter services. In central Colombo, there were blasts at the luxury hotels the Shangri La, the Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury.
  • Sri Lankan authorities imposed a curfew in as 2 more blasts were reported in the capital, Colombo. It was lifted Monday morning but brought in again for that night.
  • An improvised bomb discovered at the main airport in Colombo was defused.
  • The 7th and 8th blasts in Colombo appear to have happened as the attackers fled police, Sri Lankan MP Harsha de Silva said, citing a press conference. In the first explosion at a smaller hotel near a zoo, 2 people were reported to have died.
  • Social media use has been temporarily banned in the island nation.
  • One of the biggest massacre sites was at St. Sebastian’s Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, where 50 people died, a police official told Reuters.
  • At the conclusion of his Easter address, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the "cruel violence" in Sri Lanka.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: Religious minorities are protected by the constitution of Sri Lanka, where 70% of the country is Buddhist, 12.6% Hindu, 9.7% Muslim and 7.6% Christian, according to the 2012 census. However, tensions have been a constant of Sri Lankan life, especially after the end of the long-running Sri Lankan civil war in 2009.

The backdrop: Christians reported an increase in violence and discrimination against them last year. The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka said there were 86 reported incidents against Christians in 2018.

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A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

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At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
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  5. Variant tracker