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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…

Ex-officials at Vietnamese firm sentenced to death

Former CEO and sales manager at state-owned company found to have stolen millions in country's largest embezzlement scandal

A Vietnamese court issued the death penalty Wednesday for 2 former executives at state-owned shipbuilding firm Vinashin in the largest embezzlement scandal to hit the nation.

Tran Van Liem, the former CEO at the company's Vinashinlines subsidiary and Giang Kim Dat, its former sales manager, were sentenced to death by a Hanoi court for embezzling $16 million from the firm.

Dat and Liem were found guilty of using their positions to steal assets, including conspiring with business partners to fix prices on ships the company had acquired in the late 2000s.

As sales manager, Dat received between 2 and 3.75 % on every closed transaction.

Tran Van Khuong, Vinashinline's ex-chief accountant, was also sentenced to life imprisonment on the same charge while Giang Van Hien, Dat's father, received a 12-year sentence for money laundering.

All men claimed innocence at their 6-day trial.

Vinashin, which the government had flooded with debt on the expressed hope that its shipbuilding prowess would elevate Vietnam on the global stage, had a peak debt of $4.5 billion when the scandal emerged in 2010.

The embezzlement was particularly embarrassing for Vietnam when the company defaulted on $600 million in foreign loans the same year.

Moody's attributed the fate of Vinashin, which had been funded partially by a $750 million sovereign debt issuance, when it downgraded Vietnam's credit rating in 2010.

9 officials, including Liem, were convicted of other charges related to the scandal in 2012.

Liem had been sentenced to 19 years for failing to stop the embezzlement, although he wasn't yet considered one of its chief beneficiaries.

Dat, who fled the country in 2010, had been hiding in several countries on fake passports over a 5-year period before being returned in 2015 to face trial.

Source: aa.com.tr, February 23, 2017

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