Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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…

Duterte to seek better conditions for OFWs in Mideast visit

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte is poised to seek deals that would guarantee better working conditions for overseas Filipino workers when he visits the Middle East this Holy Week, an analyst said Sunday.

University of the Philippines Political Science Assoc. Prof. Herman Kraft said he thinks Duterte would not question death penalty laws of countries in the Middle East given that he is an advocate of the policy himself.

“He is actually willing to respect the laws that they actually have and if that means we’re talking about death penalty, this is something that he is not going to question,” Kraft said in a phone interview on ANC’s “Dateline Philippines.”

Duterte will fly to 3 Middle Eastern countries in state visits to meet with the countries' leaders and the overseas Filipino workers there.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana said the President will visit Saudi Arabia from April 10 to 12, Bahrain from 12 to 14, and Qatar from 14 to 16.

The trip aims to "strengthen efforts for the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of the more than 1 million of our people working in those countries, invite investors to the Philippines, and usher in progress here at home, and to forge stronger partnerships by elevating our political and economic cooperation with these countries to new heights."

Duterte will also meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

"He will discuss with these leaders matters relevant to the welfare and dignity of the Filipinos living in their countries as well as explore avenues for economic and political cooperation."

During the trip, Duterte will "explore partnerships" with these countries in tourism development, Halal food security, Islamic finance, and energy security as well as investments, according to Quintana.

Just like in the President’s previous foreign trips, Kraft thinks Duterte would most likely seek partnerships in addressing terrorism and international crime.

Kraft argued that Duterte may also invite foreign businessmen to invest in the Philippines.

There are about 760,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, 60,000 in Bahrain, and 250,000 in Qatar, according to Quintana.

Source: ABS-CBN News, April 09 2017

Kuwaiti woman films housemaid falling from 7th floor

A woman has been detained by police in Kuwait for filming her Ethiopian maid falling from the seventh floor in an apparent suicide attempt without trying to rescue her (see video below).

The Kuwaiti woman filmed her maid land on a metal awning and survive, then posted the incident on social media, Al-Seyassah newspaper reported.

The 12-second video shows the maid hanging outside the building, with one hand tightly gripping the window frame, as she begged for help in an apparent last-minute change of mind.

The woman holding the camera is heard telling the hanging maid: 'Oh crazy, come back.'

The terrified maid is seen screaming 'hold me, hold me', just before her hand slipped and she fell down to hit the awning, which appears to soften the impact.

The employer made no reaction as she continued filming.

Later, paramedics rescued the maid and rushed her to hospital where she was found to have a broken arm as well as a bloody nose and ear.

The criminal investigation police referred the employer to the prosecution over failing to help the victim, the newspaper reported.

The reasons for the maid's attempted suicide were not revealed.

The Kuwait Society for Human Rights on Friday called on the authorities to investigate the case and refer it to court.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 3, 2017


Warning: Graphic Content

Gabriela urges Duterte to save OFW on death row in UAE

MANILA, Philippines — Women's group Gabriela on Monday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to save Jennifer Dalquez from death row during his visit to the Middle East.

"We urge him to exhaust all measures to save OFW Jennifer Dalquez from the death row in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)," Gabriela said on a statement on Monday.

Dalquez was placed on death row in 2015 for the murder of her employer when he attempted to rape her in 2014.

The group also expressed hope that President Duterte will have enough time to visit UAE even if it is not included in his itinerary.

President Duterte is scheduled to leave for the Middle East on Monday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, where he will meet with the heads of state as well as with the Filipino communities in those countries.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana said last week that the president's visit aims to strengthen efforts to protect the rights and promote the welfare of the Filipinos in the three countries.

Gabriela filed House Resolution 829 last month, calling on President Duterte to seek executive clemency for Dalquez.

Raul Dado, executive director of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs said that the president is expected to appeal on the case.

"There is no black and white that the president is going to take up Dalquez’s case. But knowing his concern, we have prepared the legal papers in case he makes an appeal," Dado said in a statement.

Source: philstar.com, April 10, 2017

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