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Texas set to execute man for murder of San Antonio police officer

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Texas plans to execute Manuel Garza on Wednesday for seizing a gun from a San Antonio police officer and fatally shooting him in a struggle in 2001.

Garza, 34, is set to be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, it will be the 524th in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

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Garza was convicted of killing John “Rocky” Riojas, 37, a member of an elite SWAT unit who was patrolling an apartment complex that had been hit by a crime wave.

When Riojas approached Garza, he fled from the officer, who then gave chase, court documents show. A struggle ensued and Garza used Riojas’ gun to shoot him in the head.

A jury deliberated for three hours before sentencing Garza to death in a trial that dominated media, featuring weeks of jury selection and an attack on a TV cameraman by a relative of the defendant.

Garza’s attorneys appealed unsuccessfully to halt the execution, saying he did not have adequate legal representation at the time of his original trial.

Prior to his arrest on the murder charge, Garza had been arrested for suspected burglary, auto theft and marijuana possession.

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(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Trump says Putin to ‘probably ask’ for sanctions lifting

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President Donald Trump said Monday he expects his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to request the lifting of US sanctions during an upcoming phone call.

"Yeah, he'll probably ask for that," Trump told Fox News.

Trump did not say what his response would be, noting that he had put sanctions on Russia but adding: "They don't like that. Frankly we should be able to get along."

The two were due to talk "shortly," he said.

Last Thursday, Putin told G20 leaders during a conference call that he wanted a moratorium on sanctions as a "matter of life and death" during the global coronavirus outbreak.

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Arguing with the coronavirus deniers in your life can backfire — here’s how to make them see the light

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For those of us diligently practicing social distancing, it can be infuriatingly frustrating to encounter friends and loved ones who refuse to. There’s a strong temptation to lash out at them as selfish fools whose irresponsibility endangers us all. But doing so will backfire because, when people feel attacked, they get defensive and entrench in their position. Like it or not (not!), this is human nature.

Your civic duty, in addition to social distancing, is to talk to Covid-deniers in a way that has some chance of getting through to them. Here are some do’s and don’ts from the world of cross-partisan dialogue best practices that apply to the Covid-19 pandemic:

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