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Missouri prisoner’s execution in limbo after Supreme Court stay

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The U.S. Supreme Court was weighing Wednesday the fate of a Missouri killer sentenced to death, a day after his execution was halted at the 11th hour.

Russell Bucklew had been set to die at 12:01 am (0501 GMT) on Wednesday before a flurry of legal proceedings late Tuesday ended with a temporary stay issued by the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for the inmate had argued that a rare medical condition suffered by Bucklew put him at risk of suffering excruciating pain during his execution, making it unconstitutional.

Bucklew, convicted in 1996 of murdering a love rival and raping a former girlfriend, could yet face execution later Wednesday at midnight (0500 GMT Thursday), depending on how the Supreme Court rules during its deliberations.

If Bucklew’s execution goes ahead, he would be the first inmate to die since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month which stirred fresh debate about capital punishment in the United States.

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Bucklew’s lawyers have argued that an unusual medical condition that leaves him with growths on his head and neck creates significant risk he will die a painful death — making his execution unconstitutional.

Death penalty states across the U.S. have faced a barrage of legal actions challenging the origin of drugs used in lethal injections.

Oklahoma used an untested cocktail of drugs during the botched procedure because some drug suppliers have ceased making the compounds usually used in executions available.

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Some US states have turned to compounding pharmacies as a source of the drugs, but the future of that option is in doubt, as state governments review their execution procedures.

Despite the questions over lethal injection drugs, a recent study found that 59 percent of Americans remained in favor of capital punishment, with 35 percent against.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’

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MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.

"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.

"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.

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Trump ignored being condemned by Congress and instead praised Republicans on Twitter for defending his racism

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President Donald Trump celebrated on Tuesday night despite the House of Representatives having voted earlier in the day to condemn his racist statements.

By a final vote of 240 to 187, Congress voted for a resolution saying, "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The resolution said Congress “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

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The tortured madness of Donald Trump: It’s clear the president is out of his mind

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Where’s Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn’t made. It’s as though his saying something makes it true — even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he’s either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” assuring the adoring crowd that “that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

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