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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Cannes Festival entry focuses on Taiwan death penalty debate

A prize-winning Taiwanese film exploring the use of the death penalty will screen at the Cannes Film Festival later this month, adding to recent increased debate about the island's use of capital punishment.

Leon Lee's 23-minute film titled "The Day To Choose" puts its main character, a lawyer and strong opponent of the death penalty, in the difficult position of choosing how to punish the murderers of his wife.

Taiwan retains the death penalty despite calls to abolish it in line with international practice, but some have argued it is necessary in extreme cases such as the beheading of a four-year-old girl on a Taipei street in March.

Lee, a student in the German language department at Soochow University, developed the film with his producer Cheng Kuang-yu, based on a script that Cheng had long wanted to realize.

"What I really want to discuss in this short film is not only the issue of capital punishment, but how much a human will stick to (his or her ideals) when faced with adversity," Lee told Reuters on the set of the film.

The picture will screen in the short film corner at the prestigious annual Cannes festival in France on May 11-22 and has already won "Best Drama Short Film" at the 2016 Universe Multicultural Film Festival in California last month.

Source: Reuters, May 9, 2016

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