'Start Here': Sri Lanka bombings blamed on Islamist group, SCOTUS hears census case

It's Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Let's start here.

1. 'They must've had help'

Authorities in Sri Lanka have made more than 20 arrests after a series of bomb attacks in churches and hotels killed at least 310 and injured hundreds more on Easter Sunday.

"The army are positioned outside our hotel here," ABC News Foreign Correspondent James Longman reports from Colombo on "Start Here." "Basically, the sense from Sri Lankans, from the security services, everyone here, is they just don't know what's going to happen next."

A social media ban and curfew remain in effect as questions swirl over whether the Sri Lankan government ignored warnings from international intelligence agencies of an imminent attack.

Officials are pointing to a local Islamist extremist group, National Thowfeek Jamaath, for the explosions, but the Sri Lankan government believes the group didn't act alone in coordinating the nearly simultaneous bombings, Longman reports.

"The scale of these attacks," he adds, "was just so sophisticated that they must've had help from an international terror network."

2. 'Are you a citizen?'

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in one of its biggest cases this term: the Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Americans haven't been asked, "Are you a U.S. citizen?" on a census form since 1950, and critics have said including the question discourages participation and could lead to an undercount, ABC News' Devin Dwyer says on today's podcast.

"The actual text of the Constitution simply says in plain English that there shall be an 'actual Enumeration' of the people residing in the United States every 10 years," he tells us. "It doesn't say anything about counting citizens."

3. 'All-out political war'

The president is fighting back against congressional Democrats' requests for his business records.

In a lawsuit to block a subpoena from House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, Trump's personal lawyers have accused House Democrats of declaring "all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump" and using subpoenas as "their weapon of choice."

Cummings served a subpoena earlier this month to Mazars USA, an accounting firm employed by Trump, seeking 10 years of financial records. In response to the lawsuit on Monday, Cummings said, "There is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress."

ABC News' Katherine Faulders tells "Start Here" that the lawsuit allows Trump's lawyers to drag out the fight: "This battle will go on, I think, for a long time as it relates to his finances."

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


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Doff your cap:

Mari Copeny may be known as "Little Miss Flint," but this 11-year-old already is making a big impact.

The sixth-grader rose to national fame for her advocacy work and became a voice for her community amid a devastating and ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

When Flint's water source was switched to the Flint River in 2014, nearly 100 people became critically ill, and 12 died from drinking contaminated water.

Today, many residents of Flint still don't have access to clean water.

"I wanted to speak up and say, 'Hey, the water is bad ... someone please fix it?'" Copeny said. "And they never did fix it, so I said, 'Welp, you have to listen to me because I'm a kid.'"

Copeny took matters into her own hands, holding weekly water distribution events and speaking out to support her community.

"People are still using bottled water," she said, "and they're not drinking or using the water to do anything."
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