The National:

THE suspected leader of the militant group Sri Lankan authorities say carried out a series of Easter Sunday bombings died in the attacks.

Police said Mohamed Zahran, the leader of local militant group National Towheed Jamaat, known for extremist speeches, had been killed in one of the nine suicide bombings.

Police also said they had arrested the group’s second-in-command.

They said investigators had determined that the assailants’ military training was provided by someone they called “Army Mohideen”, and that weapons training had taken place overseas and at some locations in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province.

Police also said that the attackers had worked out at a local gym and by playing football using their authentic national identity cards.

IN Afghanistan, the president has inaugurated the country’s new parliament, six months since elections were held and following long delays, unresolved disputes and political bickering.

The ceremony came as the defence ministry said the military had stormed a Taliban-run jail in southern Zabul province, freeing 53 captives held by the insurgents.

The two developments underscore the myriad troubles authorities face in Afghanistan, from political turmoil to a resurgent Taliban who now control nearly half the country.

The Taliban stage near-daily attacks and though they are negotiating with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is trying to find a peaceful resolution to the 17-year war, they refuse to talk directly to Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s government.

LEADER of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has boarded his private train and headed back to Pyongyang after directing some harsh criticism at Washington during his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kim said the US negotiated in “bad faith” when he met with President Donald Trump in Hanoi two months ago. Kim left about four and a half hours earlier than planned, Russian news agencies reported. It was not immediately known why he decided to return from Vladivostok early.

Putin, who indicated he may be interested in playing a bigger role in breaking North Korea’s stand-off with Washington, had already left for a two-day meeting in Beijing.

IN Yemen, Al Qaida is vowing to avenge beheadings carried out by Saudi Arabia this week.

The pledge indicates that some of the 37 Saudis executed were members of the Sunni militant group. Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula posted a statement saying they will “never forget about their blood and we will avenge them”.