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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…

Vietnam sentences 9 men to death for drug trafficking

Vietnam (file photo)
Vietnam has sentenced nine drug traffickers to death for smuggling nearly half a tonne (500 kilograms) of heroin into the country from Laos, a local government report said Wednesday.

Nine others were jailed for life over the massive drug bust and "all illegal profits were seized", according to the official newspaper of the Hoa Binh provincial government.

The traffickers smuggled the drugs from neighbouring Laos for resale in China and pocketed $670,000 between 2012 and 2016, according to a separate report by the state-run Vietnam News Agency which gave no further details.

Communist Vietnam has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws. 

Anyone found guilty of possessing more than 600 grams (21 ounces) of heroin, or more than 20 kilograms of opium, can face the death penalty.

The "Golden Triangle" region covering parts of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar is one of the world's top producers of opium, and heroin and other drugs are often smuggled into Vietnam from the region.

In January 2014 30 drug smugglers were sentenced to death in Vietnam's largest narcotics case, after nearly two tonnes of heroin was seized.

Governments in Southeast Asia's Mekong region have vowed to redouble efforts to tackle the rampant trade in heroin and methamphetamines.

But crackdowns are hindered by the soaring demand for drugs, corrupt officialdom and the long, porous jungle borders between the neighbours.

Source: Agence France-Presse, March 22, 2017

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