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Republican congresswoman criticized over comment on mass murderers



U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., on Wednesday raised eyebrows when she said in a radio interview that many mass murderers “end up being Democrats.”

Tenney, who was interviewed a week after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was criticized for the comments.

Democrats condemned the first-term Republican’s claims and called for her to apologize.

State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who is her expected Democratic challenger this fall, said her rhetoric was “toxic” and “a new low.”

During an interview with Fred Dicker on his Talk 1300 Radio show “Focus on the State Capitol,” Tenney and the host discussed calls for stricter gun control, the New York Times reported.

“Most gun crimes are occurring in what’s euphemistically called the inner cities involving minorities and they’re the ones the Democrats generally are going to bend over backwards to protect,” Dicker said.

Tenney then responded with, “Obviously, there’s a lot of politics in it. And it’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats. But the media doesn’t talk about that either.”

She did not present any evidence to support her claim, USA Today reported.

Tenney’s campaign issued a statement Wednesday.

“While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime,” she said. “I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists.”

Evan Lukaske, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, issued a statement in response to Tenney’s comments Wednesday.

“Once again Congresswoman Tenney has demonstrated how completely unfit she is to serve in Congress,” Lukaske said. “Tenney’s comments are unhinged, shameful and disgusting, and show why voters will replace her next November.”

Tenney was first elected in 2016, and her district covers a large area of central New York, including Binghamton, Utica and Rome.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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South Carolina electric chair executions halted as court says death row killers must get firing squad option | US News



The executions of two inmates have been blocked by a US court, who ruled they must get the choice to die by firing squad.

The South Carolina supreme court halted the executions of Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens, ruling that officials needed to put together a firing squad to give them the option of how to be killed.

Sigmon, 63, was scheduled to be executed using the electric chair on Friday, the first use of capital punishment in the state in a decade.

He was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend’s parents with a baseball bat in 2002.

Owens’ electric chair execution was set for 25 June, having been convicted of murdering a store worker during a robbery in 1999.

The state recently changed its capital punishment law to address a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

In South Carolina, inmates must choose between the electric chair or a firing squad if the lethal injection is not available. Pic AP
A new law means prisoners must have a choice how to die if the lethal injection is not available. Pic AP

It now forces death row inmates to choose between electrocution or firing squad if the drugs are unavailable.

The law aimed to restart the state’s executions after a 10-year pause caused by its inability to produce the lethal injection.

Prisons officials had previously said they could not get hold of the drugs and had yet to put together a firing squad, leaving the 109-year-old electric chair as the only option.

“The department is moving ahead with creating policies and procedures for a firing squad,” said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Chrysti Shain after the court ruling.

“We are looking to other states for guidance through this process. We will notify the court when a firing squad becomes an option for executions.”

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Lawyers for the men said electrocution was cruel and unusual and that the new law moves the state toward less humane execution methods.

They said the men had the right to die by lethal injection – the method both chose – and that the state hadn’t exhausted all methods to acquire the drugs.

Lawyers for the state maintained that prison officials were simply carrying out the law and that the US Supreme Court had never found electrocution to be unconstitutional.

South Carolina is one of eight states to still use the electric chair and four to allow a firing squad, according to the Washington-based non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.

South Carolina’s last execution took place in 2011 and its batch of lethal injection drugs expired two years later.

There are 37 men on the state’s death row.

Death penalty opponents called for South Carolina to scrap capital punishment altogether.

Abraham Bonowitz, director of the national group Death Penalty Action, said he was grateful the execution plans were blocked but felt a bigger change was needed.

South Carolina has not executed someone in 10-years and there are currently 37 men on death row. Pic AP
There are 37 men on the state’s death row. Pic AP

“It’s always good news when executions are put on hold, but if the conversation is only about how we kill our prisoners, rather than if the state should have this power, something is very, very wrong,” he said.

“All of this is unnecessary and a costly waste of taxpayer dollars that could be better supporting the needs of all victims of violent crime.”

At a rally on Wednesday, people marked the anniversary of the electrocution of 14-year-old George Stinney, the youngest person executed in America in the 20th century.

Stinney was still a teenager when he was sent to South Carolina’s electric chair after a one-day trial in 1944 in connection with the killings of two white girls.

A judge threw out the black teenager’s conviction in 2014.

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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics to ‘prolong career’ | World News



Rafael Nadal has said he will not be taking part in Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics this year.

The 35-year-old announced the move on social media, saying it was not “an easy decision” but “after listening to my body” and discussing it with his team he said it was “the right decision”.

The Spaniard continued: “The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition.

“The fact that there has only been two weeks between RG (French Open) and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season.

“They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.”

The double Olympic champion was seen to be struggling physically towards the end of his loss to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Nadal won gold in singles in Beijing Olympics in 2008 and in doubles with Marc Lopez in Rio in 2016, when he also carried Spain’s flag in the opening ceremony.

The 20-time grand slam tennis champion said “I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.

Rafael Nadal last won Wimbledon in 2010
Rafael Nadal last won Wimbledon in 2010

“The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live.

“I personally had the chance to live three of them and had the honour to be the flag bearer for my country.”

Rafael Nadal will be replaced as third seed at Wimbledon by Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Shooter ‘on run’ after man and woman killed in Espelkamp in western Germany | World News



A shooter is reportedly on the run after killing a man and woman in western Germany.

Bild newspaper, quoting police, said it appeared someone had been “running amok” in the town of Espelkamp in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Special police commandoes had been called to the scene, it added.

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