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Fourth and final Arkansas inmate Kenneth Williams executed

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Arkansas has carried out its fourth execution within a week, bringing to a troubling end the state’s controversial attempt to run a “conveyor belt of death” in an aggressive burst of killings unseen in the US for more than half a century.

Kenneth Williams was pronounced dead at 11.05pm local time at the end of a 13-minute lethal injection that resulted in disturbing signs of distress on the part of the prisoner.

Eyewitnesses in the death chamber reported that his whole body shook with 15 or 20 convulsions just minutes into the procedure, and that he continued to breathe heavily even after a paralytic was injected into him to render all movement impossible.

After the killing was completed, the Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, the architect of the state’s controversial schedule of quick-fire executions, proclaimed that “the long path of justice ended tonight. Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked”.

But observers were left with anything but confidence in the state’s ability to conduct humane executions as doubts continued to dog the week’s proceedings. Those doubts are certain to deepen after Thursday night’s killing, if the eyewitness accounts are any indication.

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kenneth williams arkansas

Kenneth Williams’ attorneys have appealed to US supreme court to stop his execution on grounds of intellectual disability. Photograph: AP

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Click link below for article:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/27/arkansas-executions-kenneth-williams-fourth-final

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Hmmmmmmm…Some things Don’t Change!

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It is still true!

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Georgetown Apologizes, Renames Halls After Slaves

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In a somber remembrance ceremony filled with prayer and song, Georgetown University asked for forgiveness and took new steps to right a nearly two-hundred-year-old wrong on Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the school’s founding fathers, Rev. Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, began the morning service offering reconciliation to the descendants of 272 women, men, and children sold into slavery to pay off school debts and keep the school afloat in 1838.

“We pray with you today because we have greatly sinned and because we are profoundly sorry,” Rev. Kesicki said. “Forgiveness is yours to bestow in your time and in your way.”

More than 100 descendants of the honored slaves attended the ceremony. Sandra Green Thomas, who wore a green ribbon in honor of her ancestors, was among them.

“Their pain was unparalleled. Their pain is still here. It burns in the soul of every person of African descent in the United States,” Thomas, the great-great-granddaughter of slaves Sam Harris and Betsy Ware Harris, said. “We the descendants return to the home place, our ancestor’s home place acknowledging contrition, offering forgiveness. Hoping for penance and more importantly seeking justice for them and ourselves.”

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Mr. Jeremy Alexander, a descendant of the Mahoney family line and Georgetown staff member in the Office of Technology Commercialization, offers an intercession for hope at a Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition, and Hope at Georgetown University. Georgetown University

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/georgetown-apologizes-renames-halls-after-slaves-n747976

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Arkansas Executes Ledell Lee, State’s First Inmate Put to Death Since 2005

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The state of Arkansas executed death row inmate Ledell Lee late Thursday, its first death sentence in more than a decade and the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear five last-minute appeals by Lee’s attorneys to stay his execution, which began at 11:44 p.m. CT (12:44 a.m. ET). Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m., Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelly said.

Lee, 51, was sentenced to death in October 1995 in Pulaski County, Arkansas, for the murder of 26-year-old Debra Reese.

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Image: Ledell Lee appears in Pulaski County Circuit Court for a hearing in which lawyers argued to stop his execution, April 18, 2017. He was executed on April 20, 2017. Ledell Lee appears in Pulaski County Circuit Court, April 18, 2017. Benjamin Krain / AP

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/lethal-injection/arkansas-can-execute-one-inmate-thursday-following-court-ruling-drug-n749156

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Sources: US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

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US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.
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Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.
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During President Barack Obama’s administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn’t alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning. Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did as well. The investigation continued, but any possible charges were put on hold, according to US officials involved in the process then.

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/politics/julian-assange-wikileaks-us-charges/index.html

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Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces, source says

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A man who killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees Thursday night was known to French security services for radical Islamist activities and had shot and wounded an officer in the past, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was the subject of a “Fiche S” surveillance file and was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.
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The man was a French national who shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, the source said. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times, the source said. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.
 
The source said French investigators now believe this was in all likelihood a terrorist attack. They believe there was just one attacker, and the danger is likely over, the source said.

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Paris gunman killed police officer

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/europe/champs-elyses-in-paris-closed/index.html

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Epic Drug Lab Scandal Results in More Than 20,000 Convictions Dropped

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A mass dismissal of wrongful convictions ─ perhaps the biggest ever ─ unfolded in a Boston courthouse on Tuesday, as prosecutors in seven Massachusetts counties dropped more than 21,000 low-level drug cases tainted by the work of a rogue lab chemist.

The number of corrupted convictions was so unwieldy that the district attorneys used compact discs to deliver lists of cases they were dropping and those they believed they could successfully re-prosecute.

By day’s end, just a few hundred cases involving the disgraced chemist, Annie Dookhan, remained. The exact number may not be clear until Wednesday, when the court finishes processing the lists. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which fought for the dismissals, did its own tally and came up with 320 cases dropped from a total 21,907.

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Annie Dookhan Annie Dookhan is escorted to a cruiser outside her home in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 2012. Bizuayehu Tesfaye / AP, file

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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/epic-drug-lab-scandal-results-more-20-000-convictions-dropped-n747891

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