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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…

Gay rights in Africa: In Mauritania and Sudan, same-sex relationships can lead to the death penalty

LONDON, May 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African countries have some of the most prohibitive laws against homosexuality in the world - same-sex relationships are a crime in many of them and can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty.

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, here are a few facts about LGBT rights on the African continent:

* Same sex acts are illegal in 32 countries across the continent.

* Laws criminalising same-sex relationships only apply to women in only 24 of these. In countries such as Ghana, Kenya or Sierra Leone, it is illegal for men to engage in consensual sex with someone of the same sex but not for women.

* In Mauritania and Sudan, same-sex relationships can lead to the death penalty.

* In Nigeria, 54 people went on trial last week on charges connected to allegations that they were celebrating a gay wedding, which are outlawed in the country. A bill was signed in 2014 that criminalised same-sex relationships, with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

* South Africa is the only African country that has legalised gay marriage. Same-sex marriage legislation came into force there in 2006.

* Only 19 percent of African respondents approved of same-sex marriage in a survey conducted in October 2016.

* Ivory Coast and its capital Abidjan are considered a refuge for the LGBT community in the region with gay bars, gay rights groups, and even an annual cross-dressing beauty pageant. 

Sources: ILGA, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters, May 17, 2017

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