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US: White Supremacist Executed for Texas Dragging

Image
© The Associated Press/David J. Phillip
Louvon Harris, left, covers her face as Clara Taylor, right, both sisters of James Byrd Jr., looks back while answering a question after witnessing the execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, in Huntsville, Texas.
White supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed Wednesday evening for the infamous dragging death slaying of James Byrd Jr., a black man from East Texas.

Byrd, 49, was chained to the back of a pickup truck and pulled whip-like to his death along a bumpy asphalt road in one of the most grisly hate crime murders in recent Texas history.

Brewer, 44, was asked if he had any final words, to which he replied: "No. I have no final statement."

He glanced at his parents watching through a nearby window, took several deep breaths and closed his eyes. A single tear hung on the edge of his right eye as he was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms, both covered with intricate black tattoos.

Byrd's sisters also were among the witnesses in an adjacent room.

"Hopefully, today's execution of Brewer can remind all of us that racial hatred and prejudice leads to terrible consequence for the victim, the victim's family, for the perpetrator and for the perpetrator's family," Clara Taylor, one of Byrd's sisters, said.

She called the punishment "a step in the right direction."

Magic Wand

US: Long-Lost Moon Rock Turns Up In Clinton Papers

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© Getty Images
Astronaut Harrison Hagan Schmitt takes rock samples from the surface of the moon during America's last lunar landing mission of the 20th century, Apollo 17.
Rock was one of 50 brought back to states from Apollo 17 mission

A long-lost, highly valuable Moon rock brought back from the Apollo 17 mission has turned up in the files of Bill Clinton.

The rock was one of 50 presented to each state, and was given to Arkansas while the ex-president was governor. The rock, worth millions of dollars, had been missing since at least 1980 until an archivist found it in old gubernatorial papers. Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, told Reuters the archivist opened a box previously archived as "Arkansas flag plaque." The rock and a state flag were originally affixed to the plaque, but the rock had fallen off and the plaque had been misplaced.

"The moon rock, which is in a plastic container, had fallen off the plaque," Roberts said, explaining that the rock was at the bottom of the box. "The archivist immediately knew what he had discovered."

Handcuffs

US, New Jersey: Teens Charged, Officer Hospitalized After Brawl

police, crime
© unknown
Aggravated assault charges have been filed against two youths who allegedly attacked and injured a Jersey City police officer who was trying to break up a street brawl involving roughly 30 teenagers.

The boys - ages 14 and 17 - were among several teens fighting during Tuesday afternoon's fracas. The officer was trying to separate the two when they allegedly attacked him, striking him several times.

Other officers who were arriving on scene at the time quickly collared the youths, who were remanded to the Hudson County Youth House in Secaucus. They also face charges of failure to disperse and resisting arrest.

The injured officer, whose name was not disclosed, was treated at Jersey City Medical Center for undisclosed injuries.

Padlock

US, Mississippi: TSA official charged in fatal stabbing

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© Rankin Co. Sheriff's Dept.
Benitez
One of the top federal Transportation Security Administration officials in the state of Mississippi has been arrested in connection with the killing of TSA worker Stacey Wright.

On Sunday, D'Iberville police found Wright, 43, stabbed to death in her apartment there.

Authorities said Ruben Orlando Benitez, 45, who serves as assistant federal security director for screening for the TSA in Mississippi, has been arrested.

Bond has been set for $3 million by Justice Court Judge Albert Fountain.

Info

US, California: Dugard sues feds over failure to monitor abductor

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© The Associated Press/Carl Probyn
This Aug. 27, 2009 file family photo provided by Carl Probyn shows his stepdaughter, Jaycee Lee Dugard, who went missing in 1991. Dugard sued the federal government Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 for failing to monitor the convicted sex offender who kidnapped her and held her captive for 18 years.
Jaycee Dugard sued the federal government Thursday for failing to monitor the convicted sex offender who kidnapped her and held her captive for 18 years.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco said the mistakes by federal parole officers in the handling of Phillip Garrido's case are as "outrageous and inexcusable as they are numerous."

Had federal parole officers done their jobs, Dugard's lawyers allege, Dugard and her daughters would not have had to endure their years of captivity in a ramshackle compound tucked inside Garrido's Antioch backyard.

Garrido, who was convicted in 1977 of raping and kidnapping a 25-year-old woman, was on parole and under federal supervision when he kidnapped Dugard in 1991. He fathered Dugard's two children while he and his wife, Nancy, held her captive. The pair was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and rape charges in the case.

The complaint alleges that the federal government's negligence allowed Garrido to be free to kidnap Dugard. The complaint said federal authorities were aware he was still dangerous yet failed to revoke his parole and send him back to prison.

Charles Miller, a spokesman at the U.S. Department of Justice, said government attorneys will review the complaint once they are served, and "make a determination about how we will ultimately respond in court."

Bizarro Earth

World shocked by U.S. execution of Troy Davis

People hold placards on Wednesday during a demonstration in Paris against the execution of Troy Davis
© CNN
People hold placards on Wednesday during a demonstration in Paris against the execution of Troy Davis

London, England -- Troy Davis may be dead, but his execution Thursday in the American state of Georgia has made him the poster boy for the global movement to end the death penalty.

World figures, including Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, human groups and commentators urged the execution to be halted -- but to no avail. On Wednesday Davis was put to death by lethal injection for the 1989 killing of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail despite doubts being raised over the conviction.

The execution sparked angry reactions and protests in European capitals -- as well as outrage on social media. "We strongly deplore that the numerous appeals for clemency were not heeded," the French foreign ministry said.

"There are still serious doubts about his guilt," said Germany's junior minister for human rights Markus Loening. "An execution is irreversible -- a judicial error can never be repaired."

The European Union expressed "deep regret" over the execution and repeated its call for a universal moratorium on capital punishment.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the bloc had learnt "with deep regret that Mr Troy Davis was executed," her spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told Agence-France Presse.

Bad Guys

China Bans Ancient Dog-Eating Festival After Online Uproar

Dogs
© Getty Images
A Chinese animal lover consoles a dog after a convoy of trucks carrying some 500 dogs to be sold as meat, were stopped along a highway in Beijing on early April 17, 2011, and the dogs were later rescued to the China Animal Protection Association.

China has banned a dog-eating festival that dates back more than 600 years after a Chinese internet uproar over the way dogs are slaughtered, the official Xinhua news agency reports.

Dogs are chopped up and skinned in the streets of Qianxi township in coastal Zhejiang province during the ancient festival, which is usually held in October, state-run Xinhua says.

The festival marks a local military victory during the Ming dynasty, in which dogs in Qianxi were killed so they would not bark and alert the enemy.

After the victory, dog meat was served at a celebratory feast, and since then local people have eaten dog meat at temple fairs held during traditional Chinese holidays.

Ambulance

Jamaica: Frightening! Mysterious illness hits Portland school

Portland Illness
© Gareth Davis
A student is rushed inside the Buff Bay Health Clinic in Portland to be treated for a mystery illness that affected as many as 50 children at Buff Bay High School in Portland yesterday.
Approximately 50 students from Buff Bay High School in Portland had to seek emergency medical aid yesterday after suffering from a mysterious illness, which last night continued to baffle personnel at the town's health clinic.

Up until late yesterday afternoon, at least 20 of the approximately 50 ill students, many of whom were suffering from fainting spells and showed signs of hysteria, were still being treated at the Buff Bay Health Clinic by a team of Cuban doctors.

"Even now, my granddaughter has not spoken," said Naomi Fagan, grandmother of Samantha Cann, who was among the students rushed to the clinic. "She is unable to walk and had to be assisted by a porter, who whisked her away in a wheelchair. It is total confusion and we haven't been told what caused the dizziness and fainting spells."

The mysterious illness started about lunchtime, and affected mostly students from grade seven who were either having their lunches or were studying at the library.

Heart

Legal lynching in Amerika ruled by psychopaths: Troy Davis executed despite innocence

Condemned man proclaimed innocence in last words to victim's family before lethal injection in Georgia prison


Moments before he was put to death, Troy Davis lifted his head from the gurney to which he was strapped and looked the family of Mark MacPhail, the police officer for whose murder he was convicted, directly in the eyes.

"I want to talk to the MacPhail family," he said. "I was not responsible for what happened that night. I did not have a gun. I was not the one who took the life of your father, son, brother."

He then appealed to his own family and friends to "keep the faith", said to the medical personnel who were about to kill him "may God have mercy on your souls", and laid his head down again.

He was administered with a triple lethal injection of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, and at 11.08pm he was pronounced dead.

Attention

Kids - as young as 8 - cage fighting in UK prompts outcry

A club in England has drawn outrage after profiting from an event in which children as young as eight fought in cages, but the organizers will face no legal action, police said Thursday.