Coronavirus: The Vatican celebrates Holy Week without the faithful | AFP

Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Easter Holy Week, in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica. In March the Vatican announced that all liturgical celebrations of Easter week would be held “without the physical presence of the faithful” in St. Peter’s Square, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus: Peak US death rate likely to hit in two weeks says Trump | AFP

“Easter should be the peak number”, Donald Trump says, referring to the peak death rate in the United States from the coronavirus pandemic. The US president also extends “social distancing” guidelines until April 30, as he spoke at a televised briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House. Trump also addresses statements by top medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, who estimates that the virus could possibly result in 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the country.

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Pilgrims staying away as Lourdes prays for Coronavirus respite | AFP

An annual Easter pilgrimage to Lourdes by millions of Catholics has already been hit by fears over the Coronavirus epidemic: up to 15 % have already cancelled scheduled trips. No cases have been confirmed in the small town at the foot of the French Pyrenees mountains, but local authorities are preparing as best they can: ‘healing’ pools where hospital staff used to bathe sick pilgrims are closed, hand sanitisers have been posted at many sites and warnings of how to maintain good hygiene have been put up around the town.

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Sri Lanka Easter blasts survivors attend Christmas Eve Mass | AFP

The Archbishop of Colombo holds a Christmas Eve Mass at St. Sebastian’s, one of three churches that came under attack during Sri Lanka’s deadly Easter bombings.

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Catholic church bombed in Sri Lanka attacks reopens | AFP

Devotees including some of the Easter attack survivors attend a prayer session as St Anthony’s in Colombo reopens. It which was among the three churches hit by jihadi suicide bombers in coordinated attacks that also targeted three luxury hotels in the Sri Lankan capital on April 21.

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Sri Lanka’s tourism suffers after blasts

Sri Lanka was the Lonely Planet guide’s top travel destination for 2019, but since the Easter attacks on churches and luxury hotels, foreign tourists have fled. (May 16)

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Easter target practice? ‘Rockets’ light up the sky as Greeks celebrate ‘Rouketopolemos’

Members of two neighbouring churches in Vrontados on the island of Chios fired thousands of homemade rockets at each other on Sunday, as part of ‘Rouketopolemos’ – an Easter tradition that has been celebrated by the churches of St. Mark’s and Panagia Erithiani for more than 120 years.

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Vigil for Sri Lanka blast victims held one week after massacre

A memorial vigil for the victims of the deadly Easter bombings was held on Sunday, outside the Colombo church where one of the explosions took place last week.

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Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic leader condemns suicide bombings

Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic leader condemns the Easter attacks during a private mass as the country marks a week since suicide bombers hit three churches and three luxury hotels. IMAGES of Cardinal Malcolm, Sri Lanka PM and President attending the mass

CCTV footage shows Sri Lanka bombing suspect

CCTV footage shows a man carrying a rucksack walking and entering St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo on Easter Sunday. At least 321 people were killed by suicide bomb blasts on that ripped through three hotels and three churches as worshippers attended Easter services. CCTV IMAGES

Clarkson: ‘I love the Cross Battles’

“The Voice” star Kelly Clarkson talks about how much she loves the show’s Cross Battles and reveals that she headed to the recording studio over Easter. (April 23)

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AP Top Stories April 22 P

Here are the top stories for Monday, April 22nd: Sri Lanka’s military gets sweeping police powers; US pressures countries to quit Iranian oil; Police seek new leads in killing of two Ind. teens, White House hosts annual Easter egg roll.

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NYC’s Little Sri Lanka reacts to no social media

Sri Lanka’s abrupt shutdown of social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram and others in the wake of the string of deadly Easter terror attacks left worried friends and relatives in places like New York’s “Little Sri Lanka” in the dark. (April 22)

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