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Nathaniel Woods executed in Alabama after Supreme Court denies stay

Nathaniel Woods executed in Alabama after Supreme Court denies stay

first_imgsimpson33/iStock(ATMORE, Ala.) — The controversial execution of Nathaniel Woods was carried out late Thursday in Alabama just minutes after the Supreme Court denied a temporary stay, issued only hours earlier.Woods was pronounced dead at 9:01 p.m. local time, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.Advocates had argued Woods, who was convicted in the murder of three police officers in 2004, did not directly take part in the slayings and should have his execution delayed.The decision came after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey reviewed the letter requesting a reprieve from the death sentence, but said she would allow the execution to proceed.“Governor Ivey does not presently intend to exercise her powers of commutation or reprieve in this case,” general counsel William G. Parker Jr. wrote. “While Governor Ivey reserves the right to grant clemency at any time before an execution is carried out, she has determined, based on her review of the complete record, including the matters presented in your letter, that clemency for Mr. Woods at this hour is unwarranted.”Woods, 44, was killed by lethal injection at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.“The fight is far from over. Nathaniel is an innocent man, and that will always be the truth. We are not giving up,” the family said in a statement provided to ABC News.Supporters were calling for Ivey to grant a reprieve. As of Thursday morning, Ivey offered no sign that she would intervene in Williams’ case and it appeared the execution would go as planned.But late Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas issued a temporary stay in the minutes leading up to the execution of Woods, who was convicted of capital murder in the 2004 killings of three Birmingham, Alabama, police officers.He already requested his final meal of sweet potatoes, spinach, chicken patty, chicken leg quarter, cooked apples, fries, two oranges and an orange flavored drink, according to a statement from the Alabama Department of Corrections. However, he only took one bite of the chicken and left the rest of his meal untouched, the statement read.Woods also made calls earlier that day to his father, sister, daughter and mother, as well as friends. His imam was expected to be the only person present at the execution.At news of the temporary stay, the son of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., who had joined a chorus of calls to halt the execution, praised the move.“Amazing news!! The Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Nathaniel Woods!! Great work everyone!” Martin Luther King III wrote on Twitter.Following the execution, King called it a “mockery of justice.”A spokeswoman with the Alabama Department of Corrections told ABC News that the execution warrant did not run out until 11:59 p.m., meaning they had until then to carry out the execution once the court decided to lift the temporary stay.On Tuesday, King sent a letter to Ivey, a Republican, reading, “I stand with hundreds of thousands of Americans across Alabama and the nation, pleading with you not to execute Nathaniel Woods.”In his letter, King, who was born in Alabama, told Ivey her state was “set to kill a man who is very likely innocent.”King told Fox News Thursday, “If a person is innocent, they should not be killed in this country. People have been killed and [hanged] for doing nothing. And in this context, if that is the prospect, we ought to at least go through the facts, go through the information, give the system the opportunity to work if it did not work.”As of Thursday afternoon, more than 91,000 people had signed a petition on the website Change.org to stop the execution of Woods, who would become the first person executed in Alabama this year and the 67th since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Ivey noted two Alabama citizens had been executed since 1983 as being accomplices to capital murder.Woods’ alleged accomplice, Kerry Spencer, confessed to being the sole gunman who killed the officers with a high-powered weapon, but separate juries convicted him and Woods of four capital murder charges, including killing the officers in the course of committing another crime.“The state offered the testimony of 39 witnesses at Woods’ capital murder trial, including Officer Michael Collins, 25 other law enforcement officers, and forensic experts,” Ivey wrote in a lengthy statement announcing Woods’ execution. “There is no evidence, and no argument has been made, that Nathaniel Woods tried to stop the gunman from committing these heinous crimes. In fact, he later bragged about his participation in these horrific murders. As such, the jury did not view Woods’ acts as those of an innocent bystander; they believed that he was a fully engaged participant.”Spencer’s trial was held before Woods’ case was heard by a jury, but his execution date has yet to be set.During both trials, prosecutors presented the juries the theory that Woods and Spencer acted in tandem to lure the officers into the apartment to kill them.On June 17, 2004, Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III and Charles Bennett were shot to death while executing a misdemeanor assault warrant for Woods at a suspected crack house in Birmingham. A fourth officer was also shot, but survived and testified against Woods.A jury convicted Woods in December 2005, and in a nonunanimous verdict of 10-2 recommended a sentence of death.Chisholm’s sister has come out against the execution, saying in a statement to ABC News provided by Wood’s family: “I am writing to express my sincere wishes for Governor Ivey to stop the execution of Nathaniel Woods. I am the sister of Harley Chisholm III. I do not think that Nathaniel is guilty of murder. I urge Governor Ivey to reconsider her decision not to intervene.”“There is no harm in allowing more time for the courts to investigate,” the statement added. “I want the new evidence to be brought forward and evaluated by new attorneys. Please do not move forward with the hasty decision to execute Nathaniel. My conscience will not let me live with this if he dies. I beg you to have mercy on him.”Alabama State Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement Wednesday that Woods was “correctly found guilty and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers.”“The only injustice in the case of Nathaniel Woods is that which was inflicted on those four policemen that terrible day in 2004,” Marshall said in the statement.Woods appealed his conviction, arguing his lawyer gave him inadequate representation by misinforming him that he could not be convicted of capital murder as an accomplice and convincing him to reject a plea deal prosecutors offered him of 20 to 25 years in prison, according to court records.“A jury of Mr. Woods’ peers convicted him of four counts of capital murder,” Ivey wrote Thursday night. “In the past 15 years, his conviction has been reviewed at least nine times, and no court has found any reason to overturn the jury’s decision.”Woods’ appeal was denied by the Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.In his letter to Ivey, King stated that Woods “has never had a fair trial” and has not gotten the opportunity to present new evidence since his conviction bolstering his claim that Spencer acted alone and that there was never a plan to lure the officers into an ambush.The case has also garnered the attention of celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, who has become an advocate for criminal justice reform. She tweeted Thursday, Woods “is scheduled to be executed in Alabama TONIGHT for murders he did NOT commit. Join the broad coalition- including members of the jury and relatives of the victims – in urging @GovernorKayIvey and @AGSteveMarshall to stay Nate’s execution.”Following Ivey’s inaction, which allowed Woods’ execution to proceed, West said her heart goes out to Woods’ family and those who worked to “save his life.”“This is a tragic example of injustice in the system,” she tweeted. “Nate will die for a crime another man confessed to and says Nate had nothing to do with.”West met with President Donald Trump Wednesday at the White House to talk criminal justice reform along with women the president recently commuted.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

WHO to report on ethical issues in pandemic planning

WHO to report on ethical issues in pandemic planning

first_imgOct 27, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to issue a report in January on ethical issues raised by pandemic influenza planning, such as how to provide fair access to available drugs and vaccines, WHO officials said today after 2 days of meetings in Geneva.More than 30 leading experts on pandemic flu, ethics, and public health attended the meetings Oct 24 and 25, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said at a news teleconference today.”This was not designed to reach any conclusions, but to raise issues,” Hartl said. “The idea was to get people talking about these issues before the pandemic started.”Dr. Alex Capron, a professor of law and medicine at the University of Southern California, said the discussions focused on four main topics: equitable access to therapeutic and prophylactic measures; ethical aspects of interventions such as quarantine and social distancing; what healthcare workers should be expected to do during an outbreak and what obligations are owed them; and issues that arise between governments when developing a multilateral response to a pandemic.The WHO report will stress the need to have broad public involvement in decisions and to base choices on an accurate understanding of the pandemic, officials said.”The recognition that emerged very strongly [at the meetings] was that it was going to be essential to have public engagement in all aspects of planning and a frank and candid recognition that the questions of the pandemic are going to be not just technical questions, but also ethical questions,” Capron said.He said the WHO is not aiming for “a single set of prescriptions for all circumstances.” Instead, everyone involved in planning will be dealing with “the need for trading off among a number of different ethical values.”He cited several examples: the principle of utility, which stresses the need to “maximize welfare”; the principle of fairness, which emphasizes justice; the principle of liberty, which says individuals should be able to make their own choices as much as possible; and the principle of reciprocity, which says that people who contribute to the public good are owed something in return.”These may point in different directions,” Capron said.In response to a question about vaccine rationing, Capron said, “One of the things that emerged very strongly is the necessity for good ethics to rest on good facts.” Some at the meeting challenged the assumption that children and elderly people will be at greatest risk, and suggested, he said, that health agencies may need “contingency plans depending on what the virus turns out to be like, how it behaves.”In an apparent reference to suggestions that the pandemic may hit young, healthy adults hardest, as occurred in the 1918 pandemic, Capron added, “The assumption that the youngest or oldest are most at risk is the assumption that applies to seasonal influenza, [which] may or may not be the case here.”Dr. Elaine Gadd, a senior medical officer and ethics specialist with the United Kingdom Department of Health, seconded Capron’s comments. “It’s very important that any plans are responsive to the actual characteristics of the pandemic, which we do not know in advance. Any plan must be capable of amendment in light of the actual facts.”In response to another question about vaccine allocation, Dr. Richard Heymann, the WHO director-general’s acting special representative for pandemic flu, said the groups that will most need protection include health workers and their families along with police and fire fighters.As for journalists, Heymann said he hopes they can be protected too. “But it has to be decided by the local community and the countries,” he added. “WHO just meets and makes broad recommendations and studies the issues.” (Experts say no vaccine well-matched to the pandemic virus will be available for at least the first several months of a pandemic, and after that it will be in short supply.)A report on the ethics meeting will be drafted and circulated to participants and other stakeholders in November, with a goal of publishing the report and some “guiding points” in January, said Dr. Andreas Reis, a WHO technical officer for ethics and health.See also: May 25, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Pandemic planning puts ethics in spotlight”last_img read more

Ichthyosaurs Suddenly Appeared in Triassic Oceans

Ichthyosaurs Suddenly Appeared in Triassic Oceans

first_img“Ichthyosaurs were a group of Mesozoic marine reptiles that evolved fish-shaped body outlines,” begins Ryosuke Motani (UC Davis) in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences,1 in a paper on “Evolution of Fish-Shaped Reptiles… in Their Physical Environments and Constraints.”  But while much is said about their environments and constraints, little is said to explain their evolution.  It is not even certain they were reptiles: “The sister group of ichthyosaurs is unknown,” he says, resulting in taxonomists proposing conflicting ideas of where to put them within the vertebrates: “Many different hypotheses have been proposed as to where ichthyosaurs belong in the tree of vertebrates, and all major groups, including mammals, amphibians, and osteichthyes [bony fishes], have been proposed.”  The majority view is that they are reptiles that diverged before the dinosaurs, though “It is unknown whether they are outside or inside the saurian clade.”  The classification problems continue inside the clade.  Even though “there seems to be a consensus regarding the basic phylogenetic relationship among major groups” of ichthyosaurs, “None of the published phylogenetic trees is uncontroversial,” he notes.    Ichthyosaurs are characterized by narrow snouts, usually conical teeth, and a bend in the vertebra near the tail.  They apparently ate fish and squid.  Some of them had enormous eyes, much bigger relative to body size than any other animal.  The number of fin digits varied from one to twenty.   “Ichthyosaurs were a diverse group, with various body forms and sizes,” writes Motani, an expert on this unusual group of swimmers.    The first ichthyosaur was described in 1814, long before Darwin’s theory.  “Despite such a long history of scientific study,” Motani says, “our knowledge of the evolution of the group was limited until recently because interest in the group flagged, especially after the recognition of the Dinosauria (Owen 1842).  It was not until the late 1980s that the ichthyosaurian study was revitalized, and many of the noteworthy facts listed above were recognized during the past decade.”  Summarizing the latest discoveries and discussing future perspectives are the purposes of Motani’s review.    “The first definitive records of ichthyosaurs appear suddenly and almost simultaneously over a wide range of the Northern Hemisphere, including Canada, China, Japan, and Spitsbergen,” in the upper Triassic, he says, making it “difficult to discuss the geographic origin of the group.”  The earliest forms look like a “long-snouted lizard with flippers and a small caudal fin…, with a relatively small skull, an elongated trunk containing approximately 40 vertebrae in front of the pelvic girdle, and a short tail” (emphasis added in all quotes).  These were 1-3 meters in length.  Two other groups appear in Middle Triassic strata, one large (9m) and one small (2m), that disappear in the Late Triassic.  A group of tuna-shaped ichthyosaurs called Parvipelvia shows up in Late Triassic strata and became the dominant type in those rocks.  Ichthyosaur fossils appear throughout the Jurassic into the Cretaceous, when they all went extinct.  More fossils of new species are being found all the time.  Some finely-preserved, articulated specimens found recently in China are proving very interesting.  Yet putting all the diversity of ichthyosaurs into an evolutionary timeline is made difficult by gaps:The evolution of the intermediate grade ichthyosaurs during the Middle and Later Triassic is poorly understood at this point, and the diversity of ichthyosaurs in the Early Cretaceous requires further investigation.  Middle and Late Jurassic are also important, given the scarcity of materials known at his point.Motani speaks often of evolution in his review, yet points more to species diversity than to any particular trends in morphology.  For instance, discussing the flippers, he claims “it is possible to trace the continuous evolutionary transformation series for the forelimb,” but then says, “Although the series is continuous, it is difficult to single out a feature that is shared by all ichthyosaurian front flippers.”  His elaboration presents a somewhat confusing picture:Ichthyosaurs initially had five digits as in many amniotes, including humans.  Some time in the Late Triassic, a form without the first digit, or the thumb, appeared…, and this lineage eventually gave rise to the Parvipelvia.  Extra digits started to appear in some species of Norian ichthyosaurs, and many Jurassic ichthyosaurs added digits both anteriorly and posteriorly in the forelimb (Figure 4), a phenomenon referred to as hyperdactyly.  Ichthyosaurs also added extra finger bones, or phalanges, to their digits.  Such hyperphalangy was present even in the most basal ichthyosaurs, such as Utatsusaurus ….So the earliest forms already had multiple phalanges and digits; some later forms had more, some had fewer.  Neither is there an evolutionary pattern in size: “There was no simple trend in ichthyosaurian body sizes through geological time,” he writes.  “Large as well as small ichthyosaurian species seem to have coexisted from the beginning.”  Most were under 10m, but a giant species possibly 20m was found near British Columbia.    Motani says that ichthyosaurs were the “first tetrapod to evolve a fish-shaped body profile with a well-demarcated caudal fluke, long before cetaceans came up with a similar design some 150 million years later,” but merely assumes that three very different groups – reptiles, mammals and fish – all converged on the multiple structural and physiological features necessary for streamlined swimming.  He claims ichthyosaurs “evolved the largest eyes of all vertebrates” without saying how; later, he mentions, “It is not known why such an extensive bony coverage of the eyeball evolved.”    Motani also discusses that ichthyosaurs “have one of the earliest records of live-birth in amniotes” without mentioning the transitions necessary to make it possible; in fact, this capability seems to have appeared abruptly in this group: “Given that ichthyosaurs did not appear until very late in the Early Triassic, live-birth clearly evolved early in the ichthyosaurian evolution, at least during the first few million years or possibly less, of their 150-million-year evolutionary history” — i.e., this complex adaptation suddenly appeared in the first 1% of their timeline and persisted unchanged throughout 150 million years, while other major changes in body shape evolved, including significant reductions in the pelvis.    Motani’s only specific reference to a transitional form is “Californosaurus, which is one of the transitional forms between the fish-shaped and more basal ichthyosaurs, it is clearly seen that the change of the orientation of the neural spines corresponds to the position of the tailbend.”  Yet that change seems to represent only a rather minor difference in shape.  In another place, he admits that “The exact phylogenetic position for the appearance of the fish-shaped design in ichthyosaurs is controversial.”  The only other reference to transitional forms is: “The evolution of the group during the Early Jurassic can be considered as continued experimentation along the fish-shaped parvipelvian design that appeared in the Norian,” yet he does not elaborate on which descended from which, or which could be considered more fit or better adapted.    However confusing the interpretation of ichthyosaurs remains, this diverse group of marine animals became an early icon of evolution: ichthyosaurs “were the first major fossil collected by Mary Anning in the 1800s (McGowan 1991), and, together with the plesiosaurs that she discovered later, they symbolize the early phase of scientific movements in England that cultivated the grounds for Darwin’s evolutionary theory.”    Some of the most remarkable ichthyosaur fossils show the young in the process of being born.  At least six genera show embryos inside adult individuals. 1Ryosuke Motani, “Evolution of Fish-Shaped Reptiles (Reptilia: Ichthyopterygia) in Their Physical Environments and Constraints,” Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 33: 395-420 (Volume publication date January 2005) (doi:10.1146/annurev.earth.33.092203.122707)Ichthyosaurs were a remarkable group of swimming animals.  Motani knows a lot about them, but he doesn’t know much about their evolution.  Despite his bluffing assertions about phylogeny, there is not a single point he makes that is without controversy or problems.  Even accepting the evolution-biased geological dates, he has to admit that the “basal” (earliest, presumably most primitive) ichthyosaurs already had five digits in functional flippers and gave birth to live young.  No subsequent evolution could be anywhere near as dramatic as having a full-fledged ichthyosaur appear in the fossil record without ancestors.    They are not clearly related to any other group of vertebrates, yet in many respects are like reptiles in fish costumes.  The similarities in body shape between some ichthyosaurs and tunas or dolphins is uncanny.  Streamlined body design requires not just a skeleton, but the musculature and skin to deal with fast swimming.  Every other body system – digestive, circulatory, endocrine, nervous, sensory, excretory, reproductive, and immune – must also adjust when there are changes in morphology.  How many lucky mutations had to converge in just one species of ichthyosaur to get this all right, let alone in a tuna (bony fish) or dolphin (mammal)?  Since the last common ancestor of these three groups could not have possessed that genetic information, the Darwinist is forced to believe that these three distant groups illustrate an amazing example of convergent evolution, whatever that means.  But even accepting that cop-out explanation, Motani admits that the phylogenetic position of the fish-shaped ichthyosaurs is controversial.  They seem to appear fully streamlined out of nowhere.    Consider also how remarkable it is to have numerous examples of fossils containing live embryos.  Marine creatures do not normally fossilize while carrying young.  A marine animal is either eaten or else dies of old age, not while giving birth.  For the embryos to be preserved, some even possibly in the process of exiting the birth canal, there had to be a sudden catastrophe that captured and smothered these large, strong creatures in mud before they could even appear startled.    There is nothing in this story to suggest these creatures evolved from something else.  Diversity is not evolution.  Motani did not demonstrate any clear sequence of characters morphing into others, or new functional capabilities arising de novo; nor did he explain how mutations and natural selection could produce an interrelated suite of complex structures like an ichthyosaur.  He did not show how they originated in one location and spread around the globe.  On the contrary, they burst on the scene all over the world, from Canada to Europe to China, in a geological blink of an eye, without precursors.  The only thing of any certainty about evolution in this paper was his determination to force-fit every piece of data into a Darwinian belief system.  (Notice how these fossils were used as props for Darwin’s theory, even though 146 years later, scientists are still struggling to understand their evolution.)  There is much in this story, however, that fits the framework of creation and a worldwide flood.  Along with most other living things, these marvelously designed animals were carrying out their everyday life and bearing their young, when the flood came and destroyed them all.(Visited 55 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

10 months ago​Liverpool boss Klopp sympathises with Benitez

10 months ago​Liverpool boss Klopp sympathises with Benitez

first_img​Liverpool boss Klopp sympathises with Benitezby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a lot of sympathy for his opposite number Rafa Benitez.The former Liverpool boss has faced a tough situation at Newcastle, where he is unable to sign many players to improve his side.But he still has them punching above their weight, out of the relegation zone for now.”I heard that nobody was really happy with the amount of money they had to sign players,” said Klopp of the Newcastle situation in his press conference.”Rafa [Benitez] is too experienced to carry that for a full season, those emotions. Meanwhile, they are really settled and in a good moment results wise. It is always difficult to play against them.”We know it will be a tough job.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announces divorce on Twitter

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announces divorce on Twitter

first_imgLAS VEGAS — Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said he and his wife MacKenzie have decided to divorce after 25 years of marriage.Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday.The two married in 1993 after they met at hedge fund D.E. Shaw in New York, where they both worked. They left New York on a road trip to Amazon’s eventual headquarters Seattle, with her driving and him writing up the business plan for what would become the world’s largest online retailer. They have four children together.A note posted Bezos’ Twitter account said the two of them will remain “cherished friends,” as well as “partners” in ventures and projects.“If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again,” said the note, which was signed “Jeff & MacKenzie.”Joseph Pisani, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Delhi Metro invites feedback on curtailed announcement

Delhi Metro invites feedback on curtailed announcement

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC), after curtailing the number of announcements inside the trains on its Magenta Line on a trial basis for three months, has now invited feedback from the commuters whether to introduce the same practice on all other Lines. The feedback/suggestion by commuters in this regard can be submitted on DMRC’s official website www.delhimetrorail.comhttp://delhimetrorail.). Commuters can also submit their feedback on Twitter by visiting the following link -https://twitter.com/. The feedback can be provided till May 31, 2019.last_img