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Pope Francis brands life in prison a ‘hidden’ death sentence

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Pope Francis on Thursday branded life-long prison terms “a hidden death sentence” in an attack on “penal populism” that included severe criticism of countries that facilitate torture.

In a wide-ranging speech to a delegation from the International Association of Penal Law, the pontiff said believers should oppose life-long incarceration as strongly as the use of capital punishment.

“All Christians and men of good faith are therefore called upon today to fight, not only for the abolition of the death penalty — whether it is legal or illegal and in all its forms — but also to improve the conditions of incarceration to ensure that the human dignity of those deprived of their freedom is respected,” the pope said in Italian.

“And this, for me, is linked to life sentences.

“For a short time now, these no longer exist in the Vatican penal code. A sentence of life (without parole) is a hidden death penalty.”

Broadening his comments in a manner likely to enhance his reputation as one of the most liberal of popes, Francis went on to slam what he described as the risk that sentencing in many countries was becoming disproportionately severe.

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“In recent decades a belief has spread that through public punishment the most diverse social problems can be resolved, as if different diseases could all be cured by the same medicine.”

Reiterating the Catholic Church’s teaching that the use of capital punishment is a sin, the pope also made what appeared to be a thinly-veiled attack on the European countries which have, at the behest of the United States, facilitated the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects to detention centres in parts of the world where they can be tortured with impunity.

“These abuses will only stop if the international community firmly commits to recognising… the principle of placing human dignity above all else,” he said.

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Fox & Friends attacks Mueller’s credibility: ‘I don’t think he knows the details of the report’

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The hosts of "Fox & Friends" questioned Robert Mueller's credibility after Congress set a date for the former special counsel to testify about his findings.

Mueller will testify July 17 to lay out evidence of alleged crimes by President Donald Trump and his campaign associates, and Fox News broadcasters suggested questions that could undercut his impartiality.

"How did it make you feel when president of the United States said that you're compromised, or how did it make you feel when the president of the United States kept attacking the process?" said co-host Brian Kilmeade. "What did you think about the rumors he was going to fire you? I'm not sure he is going to answer that either."

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How the DOJ just asked the Supreme Court to essentially become a ‘branch of the Trump administration’

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With the fate of the nation's electoral maps — and thus the very basis of democracy — hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the controversial Census case. But at the last minute, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote new a new plea to the justices asking them to take an even more extraordinary step than simply ruling on the issue before them.

Indeed, law professor Richard Hasen wrote in Slate on Tuesday that if the court goes along with Francisco's request, it will essentially act as a part of the Trump administration.

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2020 Election

Where, when and how to watch NBC’s 2020 Democratic Party presidential debate

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Election 2020 is kicking off for Democrats in Miami, Fla. this Wednesday and Thursday night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and it's going to be a doozy.

For starters, 20 out of 24 candidates will take the stage in a two-night debate expected to span approximately four hours in total. Candidates will be allowed 60 seconds to answer questions with an additional 30 seconds to respond to follow-up. No opening statements will be allowed, but candidates will be able to deliver closing remarks.

In addition to NBC hosting the debate, MSNBC and Telemundo will pitch in their parts. The debate airs from 9 to 11 p.m. EST. both nights. Additionally, viewers have the option of tuning in to live stream the debate on social media via NBC's YouTube channelTwitter account and Facebook page.

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