Arkansas execution goes awry
For the past month, national attention has been on Arkansas as it moved forward in its enforcement of the death penalty for some prisoners on death row. The push to execute was motivated by the state’s soon-to-expire stock of midazolam, one of the lethal injection drugs used in executions. The substance has been subject to widespread debate regarding the ethics of its use. This injection kills in an excruciatingly painful way, so it is not administered on its own. First, an anesthetic and paralytic are employed to immobilize the prisoner and put them in a state of unconsciousness. After these steps have been taken, the midazolam is injected, and it travels through the bloodstream and stops the heart from beating. However, many people question whether the prisoners are actually desensitized adequately prior to injection because their paralysis means we have no way of knowing if they feel pain – a level of pain that would easily qualify as a cruel and unusual punishment, which is unconstitutional. Evidence that this might be the case emerged during the fourth execution in Arkansas. On Friday night, convicted killer Kenneth Williams was executed. However, “within three minutes into the execution [Williams] began coughing, convulsing, jerking and lurching with sound that was audible even with the microphone turned off.” The man did not still until seven minutes into the execution and was pronounced dead at 13 minutes. Williams’ lawyers worry that the state was “torturing [their] client to death.”
Another launch from North Korea
Early Saturday morning, the North Korean government tested another ballistic missile. The missile was launched from South Pyeongan, and the exact model of the weapon is yet to be identified. Both the South Korean and U.S. militaries confirmed the origin of the launch and that the missile exploded in North Korea only seconds after it lifted off. This latest test comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States, as well as between North and South Korea, with the latter increasing its military exercises in recent weeks. Even more poignantly, the incident was timed only hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke about these tensions, imploring other world leaders to help stop North Korea’s nuclear program. Within moments, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China and its highly respected president when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”
Le Pen accused of plagiarism
Emanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen won the first round of the French presidential elections and have been continuing their campaigns by traveling around the country, giving speeches and visiting landmarks. Ms. Le Pen, a leader of the National Front party, gave a speech on Tuesday in Villepinte and spoke on subjects such as the potential of the German border to be both a source of profitable trade and of danger, as well as France’s culture, history and values. However, people were quick to note similarities between this address and a speech that Francois Fillon, who lost the first-round election, gave earlier in April. A youtube channel called Ridicule TV eventually uploaded a video of the speeches side by side, highlighting that portions of the talks were all but identical. Le Pen and other members of the National Front Party have been quick to refute the claim that the speech was plagiarized and instead frame it as a “nod and a wink” to Mr. Fillon. In addition to insisting the speech was merely a “nod” to her defeated rival, she said she had intended for the similarity to emphasize that she is “not sectarian.”
Fyre festival organizers sued
The Fyre Festival, which was supposed to be an exclusive luxury music festival held in the Bahamas last month, was postponed and eventually cancelled. The chaotic event presented substandard living conditions, even though the event advertised a “geodesic dome” for all to live in during their stay. Performers pulled out of their bookings at the last minute. All of this, unfortunately, occurred too late for many of the event’s nearly 7,000 attendees, who paid anywhere between $1,000 to $100,000 for their tickets. Fyre festival organizers Jeffrey Atkins and Billy McFarland are now being sued. The attendee who filed the lawsuit has hired a celebrity lawyer and accused Atkins of fraud, negligent representation and breach of contract. The court filing said that “The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees – suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions – that was closer to The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies than Coachella… [it]was nothing more than a…scam.” Atkins and McFarland have since offered to refund the price of tickets.
Sabrina Leung ‘18 is the Digital Editor majoring in International Relations-Political Science with a minor in History. She is best reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sabrinatzleung on Twitter.