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Oklahoma says it plans to keep using injection mix from botched Clayton Lockett execution

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Oklahoma plans to use the same lethal injection drug combination it employed during a botched execution in April, Department of Corrections officials told a federal court hearing arguments on whether to halt death sentences in the state from being carried out.

Lawyers for 21 death row inmates in Oklahoma, four of whom are scheduled to die next year, have asked the court to suspend future executions following the lethal injection of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett.

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DOC Director Robert Patton testified that the sedative midazolam would be used in the upcoming executions, adding that Oklahoma chose the same drug protocol as Florida, which has won approval to use its combination from a court in that state.

In testimony for the plaintiffs this week, David Lubarsky, an anesthesiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said midazolam cannot achieve the levels of unconsciousness needed for surgical procedures, and is therefore problematic for executions.

Lockett appeared to be conscious for longer than expected and probably was in pain when the final drugs in the injection, which were supposed to end his life, were administered, medical experts testified earlier.

The bungled execution led to criticism from the United Nations and a call from President Barack Obama to re-examine how capital punishment is implemented in the country.

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Prison officials have continually said their lethal injection combinations are humane and appropriate. 

During Lockett’s execution, a doctor and paramedic attempted “up to 15 times” to place an IV line, finally landing one in his groin area, a state report said. That line was improperly placed and eventually fell out, spewing lethal injection chemicals and blood in the death chamber.

Lockett died about 40 minutes after the procedure started from chemicals that had accumulated in his tissues, the report said.

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Oklahoma prison officials said previously they used a new chemical combination with Lockett. After the execution, they drew up new protocols they said would remedy problems.

Several states, including Oklahoma have struggled to obtain drugs for executions after many pharmaceutical companies, mostly in Europe, imposed sales bans because they object to having medications made for other purposes used in lethal injections.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Kellyanne Conway lashes out at Democratic voters as ‘racist and sexist’ at Ohio GOP dinner

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Making an appearance at a Republican Party dinner in Columbus, Ohio, Kellyanne Conway accused Democratic voters of being "racist and sexist," in a diatribe as she tried to boost the fortunes of her boss, President Donald Trump.

According to a report from Cincinnati.com, Conway attacked the leading Democratic presidential nominees before making her claim.

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Betsy DeVos’ DOE threatens to cut university funding for positive portrayal of Islam

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The DOE ordered the universities to change their program or lose its federal grant money. In a letter to UNC, the department criticized the program, arguing that topics like Iranian art and film have “little or no relevance” to the Middle East studies program. The letter also argues that the program “appears to lack balance” because its programs are not focused on the discrimination faced by “religious minorities in the Middle East," including Christians and Jews.

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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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