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The Leader of Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' Is Facing an Unprecedented Challenge. Here's What It Could Mean for Belarus

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Europe’s longest serving leader Alexander Lukashenko has long worked hard to seem invincible. He has dominated past elections that the U.S. has deemed neither free nor fair and brokered no dissent and suppressed protests. Now, he is facing an unprecedented challenge as he runs for a sixth term as president of Belarus in elections on August 9. A former teacher and political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has emerged as his main rival, pledging to topple Lukashenko’s regime and restore democracy.
Tens of thousands have rallied across Belarus in some of the country’s biggest opposition protests in a decade, amid mounting frustration over the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with grievances about the economy. Referring to Lukashenko, protestors chanted ‘stop the cockroach’ and held placards reading ‘change!’.
“For the first time in his 26-year rule, Lukashenko knows the majority don’t support him,” says Aleksandr Feduta, a former aide to the incumbent, who was i…

Missouri schedules July 30 execution

A northern Missouri methamphetamine dealer is set to be the state’s first inmate put to death since October 2005.

The Missouri Supreme Court today set a July 30 execution date for John C. Middleton, who was convicted of killing two people in Mercer County in 1995.

Middleton, now 48, also was convicted in a separate case of killing a third person. He also received a death sentence in that case.

Prosecutors said Middleton killed the three to keep them from telling police about his methamphetamine operation.

Missouri has not executed an inmate since October 2005 when Marlin Gray was put to death.

Executions in the state and across the country had been put on hold while inmates raised legal questions about the constitutionality of the lethal injection method used in Missouri and most other capital punishment states.

But since April when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol, states have once again begun carrying out death sentences.

Nine men have been put to death since that ruling, and seven other executions are scheduled to die before Middleton, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Middleton is housed at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point. He will be transported to the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, where the state’s execution chamber is located.

Source: kansascity.com

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