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story.lead_photo.caption Sri Lankan security officers inspect vandalized shops owned by Muslims in Minuwangoda, a suburb of Colombo on Tuesday, after a series of attacks.

1 Muslim dead in Sri Lanka mob attacks

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Mob attacks on Muslim communities in Sri Lanka's northwest have left one person dead and dozens of shops and mosques destroyed, a government minister said Tuesday, as communal violence worsened in the wake of Easter bombings that killed more than 250 people.

A Muslim man was hacked to death in Monday's violence in which members of the country's largely Buddhist majority ethnic Sinhalese attacked Muslim-owned shops and homes in several towns, said Rauff Hakeem, a Cabinet minister and leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

With violence also reported in Sri Lanka's west, the government imposed a nationwide curfew Monday and temporarily blocked social media and messaging apps.

Tensions have been running high in the Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island nation since the April 21 attacks by seven suicide bombers who struck two Catholic and one Protestant church and three luxury hotels. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group.

Two United Nations advisers warned that the latest attacks against Muslims could escalate further if not stopped immediately.

Pacific island quake raises tsunami alert

CANBERRA, Australia -- A powerful earthquake struck Papua New Guinea late Tuesday, triggering a tsunami alert for coastal areas up to 620 miles away.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured magnitude 7.5 and hit 28 miles northeast of Kokopo, a remote town with a population of about 26,000. It was centered at a relatively shallow depth of 6 miles, it said.

Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage on the Earth's surface, but the Geological Survey estimated that damage and injuries would be low because of the area's sparse population.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of up to 3.3 feet were possible along coastal areas up to 620 miles from the epicenter, including Papua New Guinea and the nearby Solomon Islands. It later said the tsunami threat largely had passed and no waves had been observed, but that there were no sea level gauges in the area for measurement.

It said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or Guam.

Papua New Guinea is on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia.

It sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occurs.

Germany sees rise in anti-Semitic acts

BERLIN -- The number of anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner incidents rose in Germany last year, despite an overall drop in politically motivated crimes, according to statistics released Tuesday.

The Interior Ministry's latest annual report on politically motivated crimes showed that anti-Semitic incidents rose 19.6% to 1,799 from 1,504 in 2017, with 69 classified as acts of violence.

Of the total, 1,603 were committed by far-right perpetrators, while 102 were listed as crimes committed based on "foreign ideological" grounds, with 52 committed on "religious ideological" grounds.

Events characterized as anti-foreigner crimes increased 19.7% to 7,701 in an overall uptick in hate crimes to 8,113 from 7,913. The far right was responsible for 7,064 of the anti-foreigner crimes, and 7,153 of the overall hate crimes, according to the report.

Germany defines politically motivated crimes as those that constitute a particular threat to the country's democracy. They encompass a wide range of crimes, including acts by political extremists and animal-welfare activists that deliver their message physically.

Overall, the report showed Germany registered 36,062 politically motivated crimes in 2018, down 8.7% from 2017. The majority, 39.1%, were classified as "propaganda" crimes, such as using the swastika and other banned symbols. Others crimes motivated by politics included threats, incitement, disturbing the peace, arson, assault, kidnapping and homicide.

EU notes drop in illegal arrivals this year

The European Union's border agency says the number of migrants entering the bloc illegally continues to drop.

Frontex said Tuesday that it spotted 4,900 "illegal border crossings" in April, a fall of 19% over the previous month.

In all, about 24,200 crossings were detected in the first four months of 2019, 27% down from in 2018.

More than half the migrants were detected on Europe's eastern borders. One in 4 were Afghans, while 1 in 5 were citizens of Turkey, a candidate for EU membership.

Just over 200 people crossed the central Mediterranean, once Europe's busiest migrant route.

The EU was plunged into a political crisis in 2015 over how to handle migrant arrivals, a key issue in the May 23-26 EU elections.

A Section on 05/15/2019

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