Sri Lanka, Supreme Court, Lizzo: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

1. Coffins of all sizes.

Mass burials began in Sri Lanka for the more than 300 people killed in Sunday’s suicide attacks. The true toll of the attacks started to come into focus as details of the dead emerged — a celebrity chef, a mother at Mass, a fifth grader.

The Islamic State’s claim of responsibility has not been confirmed, but it dovetailed with the government’s suspicion that “an international network” had helped local Islamic extremists. Grief began turning ominously to sectarian anger.

CreditShawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock

2. The Supreme Court will decide the battle over the way the nation tallies its population.

Hearing oral arguments today, the conservative majority seemed to back the Trump administration on allowing a citizenship question on the census. Critics say including it could depress participation and skew results.

The solicitor general, who represents the administration, said the question might be worth it: “You’re always trading off information and accuracy.”

A citizenship question has never been asked of all the nation’s residents in the census’ 230-year history, or of any since 1950. Including it, some experts say, could alter the political landscape for generations to come.

CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

3. Add this to the conflicts between President Trump and Congress.

The I.R.S. does not appear to be meeting the second deadline for releasing Mr. Trump’s tax returns. The Treasury Department said it needed until May 6 to look at the legality of the “unprecedented” request, but a presidential spokesman portrayed the failure to comply as the president’s decision. Above, Mr. Trump at a round-table discussion on tax reform this month.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are divided about whether to continue investigating Mr. Trump or move to impeachment. Our top legal reporter looked at the kinds of acts the framers thought could justify removal from office, and how they played out in the impeachments of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Separately, Stephen Moore, Mr. Trump’s presumptive nominee for the Federal Reserve, has written numerous published pieces over the years that include disparaging statements about women, gender equity and gay rights. Here’s a sampling.


4. Some called a Navy SEAL platoon leader a war hero. But a Navy report paints a picture closer to war crimes.

The 439-page confidential criminal report, obtained by The Times, details how the commandos who served under Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher tried to report him for committing shocking acts in Iraq — including stabbing a helpless teenage captive to death — and a SEAL hierarchy that looked the other way. Above, Mr. Gallagher deployed in Iraq in 2017.

The commandos finally took their concerns to authorities outside the SEALs. Chief Gallagher’s court-martial is set to begin next month. Meanwhile, his wife and brother have been mustering Republican support for his release.


CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

5. Federal authorities have long tried to stem the opioid epidemic with drug-trafficking charges against street dealers and cartel kingpins. Now they’re going for the white-collar set.

Rochester Drug Cooperative, facing felony charges over its distribution practices, agreed to pay a $20 million fine and admitted that it intentionally violated narcotics laws by shipping dangerous, highly addictive opioids to pharmacies, knowing that they were being sold and used illicitly. Laurence Doud III, Rochester Drug Cooperative’s former chief executive, surrendered on Tuesday, above.

Separately, jurors in Boston have been deliberating since April 8 in the criminal trial of executives at Insys Therapeutics, a company that sold a fentanyl-based painkiller for cancer patients with a marketing plan that included paying doctors in a sham speaking program that our Magazine wrote about last year.


CreditLindsey Wasson/Reuters

6. Measles has spread to Los Angeles.

Public health officials there declared an outbreak after five cases were reported, bringing the national total to 626 confirmed cases across 22 states so far this year. It is already the second-highest number since 2000, and numbers are growing rapidly.

Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and nearby Rockland County have been at the center of the measles outbreak.

Moshe Friedman, a Hasidic yeshiva graduate and father, argues in an Op-Ed essay that much of his community’s anti-vaccination sentiment stems from disinformation.


CreditWoody Harrington

7. Is Bitcoin an irredeemable flop? Or an economic miracle?

Our reporter Nathaniel Popper has been following Bitcoin for several years. To understand where the cryptocurrency is going, he takes a look beneath the price gyrations and examines how people are actually using the technology — for speculative transactions and criminal transactions and by the oppressed.

He found in the data reason for both hope and concern.

In other business news, the S&P 500 hit a record, surpassing a September high. A Fed policy shift helped investors overcome a softening economy and slowing profit growth.

CreditEve Edelheit for The New York Times

8. This one goes out to anyone who has ever struggled to finish a race.

It’s the runner’s nightmare — getting pulled off the course because you are going too slowly. For a seven-mile race across a bridge in the Florida Keys, the fate is particularly harsh: A big yellow school bus sweeps up the laggers.

Our reporter rode the shag bus and chronicled the misery.

We also went to Kenya, where success in a major long-distance race can lift a runner out of poverty overnight. It can also bring plenty of pitfalls, as fame and wealth often do.


CreditAmy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

9. And now for three danceable minutes, packed with joy and charm.

In our latest installment of “Diary of a Song,” our music reporter talks with Lizzo, a flute-playing, body-loving, social-media-dominating rapper and singer whose debut album was released on Friday. She performed at Coachella over the weekend, above.

Lizzo and her collaborators break down the album’s defining anthem, “Juice,” and what it takes to write a song that feels modern, but could also get your grandmother dancing at a wedding.


CreditPete Oxford/Minden Pictures

10. Finally, strange state animals to end your day.

From parasitic wasps to shark look-alikes, states have honored many distinctive creatures. Often, students were the driving force. That’s the case in Pennsylvania, where the governor named the hellbender — a two-foot-long, nocturnal salamander nicknamed the “snot otter” — the state’s official amphibian, above.

Other states have also honored obscure animals in an effort to spotlight conservation efforts or recognize their contribution to the state’s heritage, including the California gull in Utah and the American paddlefish in Mississippi.

Have a different kind of night.


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