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Oklahoma leaves drug cocktail unchanged in first executions since botched procedure

Oklahoma execution drug unchangedThe last time Oklahoma executed a prisoner, Clayton Lockett in April 2014, the triple-cocktail procedure unraveled into scenes that even a skilled horror film-maker would be hard pressed to emulate. Blood squirted all over the doctor jabbing at the inmate’s groin in a desperate attempt to find a vein,

Lockett writhed and groaned on the gurney as he took 43 minutes to die, eyewitnesses were traumatised long after the event.


At least 10 killed when Texas prison bus hit by train

texas prison trainA Texas prison bus carrying 15 people veered off a road and was hit by train on Wednesday, prison officials said, with local media saying at least 10 people were killed in the accident.

The bus with 12 inmates and three corrections officers was traveling from Abilene to El Paso when it skidded off a highway and ended up on railroad tracks, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said based on preliminary reports.

The accident took place near the western Texas city of Odessa.


New Jersey Muslims seek new ruling on NYPD mass surveillance program

NJ Moslems want new surveillance guidaelinesThe 11 plaintiffs in the Hasan v City of New York case are a diverse group: an Iraq war veteran, university students, a coalition of mosques, and the head of a religious school for girls. All are united by their Muslim faith, their residency in New Jersey and the fact they were targeted by the New York Police Department in a mass surveillance program that their attorneys argue was both indiscriminate and unconstitutional.

On Tuesday the US court of appeals will hear arguments over whether the 11 have the right to challenge the program in court. Last February the New Jersey district court dismissed the case in a controversial ruling. Justice William Martini found that the “motive of the [surveillance] program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims”.


Opponents Of LGBT Protections Forged Signatures Or Everyone In Houston Has The Same Handwriting

HoustonNext week, a judge will begin hearing arguments over the validity of conservatives’ petition seeking to overturn Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that would protect LGBT people and other groups from discrimination but has yet to take effect because of these legal challenges.

The city of Houston rejected the signatures last year on technical grounds; many full pages of signatures could not be accepted because they were not filled out properly by petition circulators as city law dictates. Evidence has now surfaced suggesting that some of the signatures may have also been forged.


Mistrial for white ex-police chief in black man's death

Mistrial for ex-police chiefA judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former small-town white police chief charged with murdering an unarmed black man in 2011.

Judge Edgar Dickson made the decision in the Richard Combs case just after 2 a.m. Tuesday, after the jury told him it remained deadlocked. Dickson thanked the jurors for their service, then dismissed them.

Combs shot and killed 53-year-old Bernard Bailey in May 2011, but wasn't charged with murder until last month.


Supreme Court rules for homeowners over mortgage dispute

SC rules for homeownersThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of homeowners seeking to back out of mortgages when lenders are accused of failing to follow a federal “truth in lending” law.

On a 9-0 vote, the court handed a win to an Eagan, Minnesota couple, Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski, over the $611,000 loan they obtained in 2007 from Countrywide Home Loans Inc, now part of Bank of America Corp.


Sister: Cuban spy hailed by Obama fine, in US

Rolando SarrafThe Cuban spy traded to the U.S. for jailed Cuban intelligence agents but out of contact with his family for nearly a month is in the U.S. and is doing fine, his sister told The Associated Press in a brief interview Tuesday.

Vilma Sarraff, who lives in Spain, said her 51-year-old brother Rolando called her for the first time since his Dec. 17 release amid a big thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. The brother told her he is "free and doing fine."


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