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Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction reinstated

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Massachusetts’ top court on Wednesday reinstated former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez’s conviction on charges of murdering an acquaintance in 2013, making it easier for the victim’s family to sue his estate.

Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell in 2017, days after being cleared of a separate 2012 double murder, leading a lower-court judge to toss his conviction under a longstanding state legal doctrine that vacated guilty sentences for people who died before they had exhausted the appeals process.

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court scrapped that legal doctrine, saying that it was not in keeping with norms of “contemporary life.”

“When a defendant dies irrespective of cause, while a direct appeal as of right challenging his conviction is pending, the proper course is to dismiss the appeal as moot,” the court said.

Hernandez was convicted in 2015 of murdering acquaintance Odin Lloyd in an industrial park near his home by the Patriots’ stadium and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. In 2017, he was cleared in a separate case of murdering two Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub after a dispute over a spilled drink.

After the 27-year-old former athlete hung himself, his family turned his brain over to scientists who determined that Hernandez had the one of the worst cases of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy that they had ever seen.

CTE, which can cause premature dementia and violent behavior, is a condition caused by the sort of repeated head hits that have long been part of football. Multiple former players have sued the league over it and the NFL has scrambled to change rules to reduce the risk.

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The high court’s decision clears the way for the victim’s family to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez, who had a $41 million contract when he was arrested for Lloyd’s killing, said Robert Bloom, a professor at Boston College Law School.

“What it means is that Lloyd’s family might be able to collect from the estate,” Bloom said. “They would have an action against the estate because of the wrongful death of their family member.”

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown

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Trump is going through a mental health crisis that makes his judgment even more impulsive and ‘catastrophic’: psychologist

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The first week of public impeachment hearings against Donald Trump in the House of Representatives has concluded. Despite the obsessive efforts of Trump’s Republican Party minions, his personal spokespeople and the right-wing disinformation media, the facts are clear: Multiple witnesses independently report that Donald Trump abused the power of the presidency for personal gain in an effort to bribe and extort the president of Ukraine into aiding his re-election campaign.

This article first appeared in Salon.As documented by Robert Mueller's report, the Ukraine scandal is part of a long pattern by Donald Trump and his supplicants to seek out foreign assistance to subvert American democracy, with the goal of first installing Trump in power and then keeping him there.

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North Korea will not hold ‘useless’ summits with US: KCNA

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Another summit between North Korea and the US would be "useless" unless Washington offers new concessions in their nuclear negotiations, Pyongyang said Monday, hours after Donald Trump hinted at the prospect.

"You should act quickly, get the deal done," Trump tweeted Sunday, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "See you soon!"

Kim and Trump have met three times since June last year, but talks have been gridlocked since their Hanoi summit in February broke up in disagreement over sanctions relief, while October's working-level talks rapidly broke down in Sweden.

Pyongyang has set Washington a deadline of the end of the year to come forward with a fresh offer, and foreign ministry advisor Kim Kye Gwan said the US was "buying time while acting as if it has achieved progress".

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Samoa makes measles vaccine mandatory to stop deadly outbreak

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Samoa finalised plans for a compulsory measles vaccination programme Monday, after declaring a state of emergency as a deadly epidemic sweeps the Pacific nation.

At least six fatalities, including five children, have been linked to the outbreak of the virus, which has also hit other island states such as Tonga and Fiji.

Samoa is the worst affected with more than 700 cases reported from across all areas of the country, prompting the government on Friday to invoke emergency powers.

Declaring a state of emergency, the government said plans for compulsory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisations would be published on Monday.

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