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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…

Three Islamic militants executed in a prison in central Pakistan

Three Islamic militants convicted by military courts were executed in a prison in central Pakistan on Wednesday, the Pakistani army announced.

The militants were associated with the Pakistani Taliban and a second extremist group named Harkat-ul-Jihad e-Islami, the army said in a statement. 

They were convicted of involvement in the killing of soldiers and police officers, it said.

The Pakistani government began trying alleged Islamic militants in military courts and lifted a moratorium on executions following a December 2014 Taliban attack on a school that killed more than 150 people, most of them schoolchildren. 

Human rights groups have criticized the fairness of the military courts, but the army says all defendants have a right to appeal.

The two-year mandate for the military courts to try alleged Islamic militants recently expired, and parliament has been debating whether to continue the practice.

Pakistan has been at war with Islamic militants for over a decade.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, gunmen intercepted the car of a bureaucrat, Abdullah Jan, in the southwestern city of Quetta, and abducted him, according to police officer Abdur Razzaq Cheema.

No ransom or any other demand has been made yet and no one has claimed responsibility. 

Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, is a hotspot for both Islamic militant groups and separatist insurgents who demand greater autonomy and a larger share of regional resources.

Source: Associated Press, March 15, 2017

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