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Oklahoma Execution Procedure Under Review By Supreme Court

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Earlier today the US Supreme Court announced that it would be reviewing the execution procedure used by Oklahoma. This announcement came after the state used a controversial lethal injection cocktail to put an inmate to death earlier this month.

A lawsuit was filed by three death row inmates claiming that the state’s lethal injection “cocktail” vAccording to the lawsuit filed by three death row inmates, Oklahoma’s lethal injection combination violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects Americans from cruel and unusual punishment. The inmates argue that the sedative midazolam, which is used by Oklahoma during executions, is not strong enough to knock inmates completely unconscious and protect them from pain, Reuters reported.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that since midazolam is not considered effective enough to use in surgery, it should not be used for lethal injections.

READ MORE: ‘My body is on fire’: Oklahoma proceeds with executions using controversial method

As the Supreme Court reviews the case, it will decide whether the state’s lethal injection procedure does indeed violate inmates’ constitutional rights.

“We are pleased that the court is going to review this case,” said the inmates’ attorney, Dale Baich, to the Guardian. “There has been a dramatic shift in how the states carry out lethal injections since the last time the court looked at this issue.”

All three inmates are scheduled to die before the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case, and Baich said he would seek stays of execution until a verdict is rendered.

The lawsuit was originally filed by four inmates, but one of the men – Charles Warner – was executed on January 15 after the justices voted 5-4 to allow the lethal injection to proceed.

 
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Paris Mayor Threatens To Sue Fox News

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Amidst all of the attention that Paris has been receiving lately, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that she may sue Fox News because the network “insulted” the city with its coverage of “no-go zones” that are supposedly only for Muslim residents.

“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo was quoted by CNN as saying to the network’s Christiane Amanpour. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”

Such zones don’t exist and Fox News has repeatedly apologized for the errors.

The executive vice president for news at Fox News, Michael Clemente said in a statement: “We empathize with the citizens of France as they go through a healing process and return to everyday life. However, we find the Mayor’s comments regarding a lawsuit misplaced.”

“We have made some regrettable errors regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly in regard to England and France,” a Fox News anchor said Monday on air. “We deeply regret the errors and apologize to any and all who may have taken offense, including the people of France.”

In a series of reports that have been widely criticized and mocked, Fox News reported that some neighborhoods in Paris are so heavily Muslim that some young men openly wore Osama bin Laden T-shirts. Displaying a map that supposedly outlines these “no-go zones,” Fox News also reported that terrorists groups recruit members in the areas.

“Paris would have a “difficult” case against Fox News in the U.S. since the city would be treated as a public figure”, says Karl Kronenberger, partner attorney at Kronenberger Rosenfeld LLP.

Paris “would need to prove that the information published by Fox News was false and that the information was published with actual malice,” he said.

It sounds to us like Paris may need to really consider this lawsuit before they just jump in to something. I’m sure that it won’t be an easy fight.

 
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Canadian College Basketball Player Found Dead

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The loss of young potential seldom makes sense and is always sad, especially in the case of Toronto college basketball player Shanice Clark.

The 21-year-old, who was raised by a single mother before moving on to eventually play hoops and study at California University of Pennsylvania, died suddenly on Sunday morning in her residence room. A preliminary medicat report indicated that Clark, a senior who was having a redshirt season, might have choked on a piece of chewing gum after falling asleep.

Basketball teams, due to having smaller rosters than in other sports, tend to have a dynamic where everyone is constantly together. Making that works relies on having people who can keep the mood light — a quality that goes a long way in life, too — and Clark was said to have that gift.

Scratch a Canadian who can handle all the adjustments to competing in the NCAA, while also being a student-athlete, and typically you’ll find a very determined person. Clark, who aspired toward a career in broadcasting, will surely be missed. The former star at Toronto’s Cederbrae Collegeiate is survived by her mother, Kashaeka Fearon, and one sister.

A moment of silence before high school, college and university games in the Toronto area this week might be in store. There’s likely to be someone in each game who is close to someone who was close to Shanice Clark.

 
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Miss Universe Selfie Causes An International Dispute

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It’s official, selfies have now crossed over into the exciting world of politics. After Doron Matalon (Miss Israel) posted a photo of herself with Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan on Instagram, Lebanese beauty queen Saly Greige faced calls for her to be stripped of her title for posing in the picture with Matalon. Lebanon and Israel have been bitter enemies for years. Although the Miss Universe pageant has never been the place for international issues the posting of the photo on Instagram has brought political attention to it.

Lebanon, has a law forbidding its citizens from fraternizing with Israelis. Last week, this year’s Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a photo on Instagram featuring herself alongside Saly Griege, this year’s Miss Lebanon, and her fellow contestants from Japan and Slovenia.

Griege claimed that she had been the victim of a sinister photobomb, writing on Facebook and Instagram, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”

Matalon responded with a Facebook post of her own, saying that Griege’s reaction “doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad.” Addressing her rival, she added, “Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

The New York Post reports that the Lebanese government has launched an investigation into the photo. The Miss Universe pageant is scheduled to take place Sunday in Miami. Unfortunate that these girls can’t enjoy this experience and not have to worry about what’s going on around them in the world while they try to live out their dreams.

 
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New Music Saturday – Immature “Can’t Wait”

We don’t normally premiere new music on a Saturday but for this song we had to make an exception. After a 15 year hiatus the dynamic R&B trio Immature is back! They have a new album and tour scheduled for later this year! Here’s their new song that they just released today, “Can’t Wait”. Check it out below!

 
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NFL Player Charged With Rape

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Indianapolis Colts backup linebacker Josh McNary has been charged with felony rape, felony criminal confinement and misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury.

McNary, 26, has not yet been arrested, Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said today, but an arrest warrant was signed by a judge.

A 29-year-old woman reported to police on the morning of December 1 that she was raped hours earlier at the apartment of a man she met while out at a bar.

She said she told the man several times she didn’t want to have sex and fought with him, scratching him on the face, neck, back and shoulder. The man forced her to have sex on his bed, she told police. She took the man’s cell phone as she left the apartment. A forensic nurse examined the woman and found injuries to her vagina and dried blood behind one ear.

Detectives used the cell phone that the woman took to identify McNary the next day. He was cooperative, police indicated, and he asked for a lawyer after being advised of his rights.A nurse found abrasions and scratches on his stomach, back, neck and shoulder, after he was taken in to custody. Investigators also found the woman’s clothing and an earring in McNary’s apartment.

A statement from the Colts organization said, “At this time, we are very concerned and trying to find out what the relevant facts are, but we have insufficient information to venture any opinion. As we learn more, we will make appropriate updates.”

The National Football League said the matter is “under review.”

Recently, the NFL revised its Personal Conduct Policy. It includes a minimum six-game suspension for crimes involving violent conduct, including domestic violence and sexual assault. The league reviewed its stance after widespread criticism of its handling of the Ray Rice case.

McNary is listed as a second-string inside linebacker for the Colts, who play the New England Patriots on Sunday in the AFC championship game. Definitely not the kind of attention the Colts need before Sunday’s game.

 
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U.S. Presence Is Absent In Paris Unity Rally

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President Obama and his administration are under “heavy” criticism today after no one from the Administration was present at the Unity Rally held in Paris yesterday. The rally was held to show a universal solidarity following the shooting at satricial newspaper Charlie Hebdo in the French capital. Officials at the White House have said there were good reasons why there was no one from the administration in attendance.

Leaders from some of America’s strongest allies were among the more than 40 heads of state marching in solidarity with French President François Hollande. The group included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were there.

In admitting their fault for not having a prominent official in attendance, the White House stated that the president’s attendance would have brought his security which would have significantly interfered with the crowd in attendance. But that didn’t really explain why there wasn’t any other high-ranking official representing the United States, including attorney general Eric Holder, who happened to be in Paris for counter-terrorism meetings.

However, one U.S. official was present at the rally: Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. Still to the chagrin of the world, no notable U.S. Official was there and that’s where the heavy criticism lies.

The president was quoted saying, “I want the people of France to know the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow”.

The White House announced Sunday that Mr. Obama will hold a summit next month on ways to counter violent extremism like the attacks in France.

 
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President Obama Looking To Impose Free Community College Program

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“Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it,” the president said in his Facebook announcement.

Today President Obama proposed making community college free for all Americans. He presented the plan as a way to introduce more people to the middle class, which would in turn strengthen the U.S. economy. Congress has already presented the President with the question of how this program would be funded.

The $60 billion plan was announced during a speech in Tennessee, in where he described a quality education as a “right” for those that were willing to work for it. He also asked that Congress work with him to bring the cost of Community College down to zero.

Obama said, “I want to make it free.” He urged making community college just as universal as high school. “A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class,” Obama said.

The proposed plan would cover enough tuition, to assist students who keep their grades up an associate’s degree or halfway to a bachelor’s.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the plan is expected to cost the federal government $60 billion over 10 years. The White House said the federal government would pick up 75 percent of the cost and the final quarter would come from states that opt into the program — though it’s unclear where the money might come from.

Last year, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a scholarship program called Tennessee Promise that provides free community and technical college tuition for two years to the state’s high school graduates. About 58,000 of the state’s roughly 62,000 seniors have applied to participate this fall.

Under the president’s new plan, students would be required to maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and must make steady progress toward completing their program in order to have their tuition eliminated, according to the press release.

 
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12 People Dead In Paris Terrorist Shooting

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Twelve people were killed today in Paris when gunmen went into the offices of a popular French satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo. The Magazine is know for publishing a series of cartoons about the famous Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Two gunmen ran into the Magazine’s office today wielding AK-47’s and shouting out “Allahu Akbar”, which is the Muslim term for “God Is The Greatest”. Among the victims were two police officers and the Magazine’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier.

Since the attack earlier today, authorities have released the names of three suspects: Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both in their 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.

France has declared this day a national day of mourning and have raised the terror threat level. Security for media organizations, large stores and places of worship have been increased, and a manhunt for the killers with the assistance of the FBI was launched.

“We will find the people who did this,” French President Francois Hollande vowed. He later called for national unity.

“Freedom is always bigger than barbarism,” he said. “Vive la France.”

What a terrible day for the country of France. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims.

 
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Boston Marathon Bomber Trial Begins

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Everyone in America remembers April 15, 2013. That was the day that the world famous Boston Marathon was rocked by two bombs that exploded near the Marathon finish line killing 3 people and injuring 264. That tragic day ended when Law Enforcement tracked down and captured the suspect in the bombing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A little over 18 months later the trial is set to begin for Tsarnaev this Monday. Going into the trial defense attorneys have suggested Tsarnaev was controlled by his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a confrontation with police three days after the bombing. The younger drove over the older brother and escaped.

Defense attorneys also have said the family’s history played a role in shaping Tsarnaev. They note that the family, of Chechen ethnicity, experienced difficulties dating to World War II, when Josef Stalin deported mass populations to central Asia.

With his older brother dying, Tsarnaev is left to face these charges alone. “Prosecutors appear to have virtually incontrovertible evidence supporting their claim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, planned and executed the Boston Marathon bombing,” said CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, a former prosecutor and defense attorney.

“The defense, on the other hand, will push for a more expansive ‘War and Peace’ type presentation to create a narrative that paints Dzhokhar as the innocent pawn of a domineering older brother,” Callan added. “A more expansive presentation of Dzhokhar’s family and psychological history is more likely to be seen during the sentencing phase if the jury returns a guilty verdict.”

This case will be tried as a Capital Case which means that if convicted, Tsarnaev will be tried separately to see if he will be executed. We’ll make sure to keep you updated as the trial progresses.