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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Indonesian president Joko Widodo to visit Australia in November 2016

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has flagged he will visit Australia in November in a powerful indication of the warmth between the leaders of the two countries.

Mr Joko and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cemented their relationship when they were mobbed by fans during a sweaty impromptu visit - known as blusukan - to a market in Jakarta last year.

"The temperature is warm but the warmth of the people towards the President is much warmer still," Mr Turnbull cried at the time as he flung off his coat and tie.

The successful one-day visit in November last year was seen as a turning point in the bilateral relationship, which had been scarred by the execution of Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in April last year.

Indonesians had taken umbrage to former prime minister Tony Abbott's comments linking the Bali nine executions and the $1 billion in aid Indonesia was given after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Australia, meanwhile, temporarily recalled its ambassador, Paul Grigson, in the wake of the executions.

During a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos on Thursday, Mr Turnbull gushed over Mr Joko and said he looked forward to welcoming him to Australia later in the year.

"You are an absolute beacon in the way that you demonstrate again and again that democracy, moderation, tolerance and Islam are thoroughly compatible," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull has often spoken of Mr Joko's commitment to promoting a tolerant and moderate Islam and his powerful rejection of extremism, which the Prime Minister says resonates well beyond Indonesia.

"Australia has a vital interest in seeing President Widodo's commitment to tolerance succeed, as my own discussions with local Muslim leaders have made clear to me," Mr Turnbull said at the 2016 Lowy lecture in March this year.

Click here to read the full article

Source: Brisbane Times, Jewel Topsfield, September 8, 2016

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