Trump to seek death penalty for drug dealers: White House official

In this March 15, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump talks with reporters during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP)
Updated 19 March 2018
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Trump to seek death penalty for drug dealers: White House official

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will present on Monday his plan to combat an opioid abuse epidemic which will include seeking the death penalty for drug traffickers.
The Department of Justice “will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers, where appropriate under current law,” a White House official indicated Sunday whilst outlining the plan’s main points.
The official did not offer greater detail on how the death penalty could be invoked against drug dealers without amending statutes.
Trump is due to unveil his plan in a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, a state hard hit by the crisis.
An estimated 2.4 million Americans are addicted to opiates, the narcotics that include prescription painkillers, as well as heroin.
Nationwide, emergency room visits for overdoses from drugs like heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers up 30 percent from 2016 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month.
The report found that from July 2016 to September 2017, a total of 142,557 emergency room visits were due to suspected opioid overdoses.
Trump has previously mooted the “ultimate” punishment for drug dealers, and is said to have spoken in glowing terms about the policies of deeply controversial Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte, who has ordered extra-judicial killings of traffickers.
“If you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty. These people [who sell drugs] can kill 2,000, 3,000 people and nothing happens to them,” he said.
Many opposition Democrats oppose the idea of executing drug dealers, and changing the law would require an act of Congress.
“We will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic,” said Democratic senator Ed Markey last week.
“Extreme proposals like using the death penalty only perpetuate a harmful stigma associated with opioid use disorders and divert attention from meaningful conversations and progress on expanding access to treatment, recovery, and other public health initiatives,” he said.


China’s Xi arrives in North Korea for talks with Kim Jong Un

Updated 20 June 2019
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China’s Xi arrives in North Korea for talks with Kim Jong Un

  • The summit comes as both Xi and Kim are locked in separate disputes with the United States — Xi over trade and Kim over his nuclear weapons
  • Chinese and North Korea media have said Xi would stay in Pyongyang for two days

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Thursday morning for a two-day state visit to North Korea, where he’s expected to talk with leader Kim Jong Un about the stalled negotiations with Washington over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Xi was accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, and several Communist Party officials. He is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years.
The summit comes as both Xi and Kim are locked in separate disputes with the United States — Xi over trade and Kim over his nuclear weapons.
A Xinhua commentary said China could play a unique and constructive role in breaking the cycle of mistrust between North Korea and the US so they can work out a roadmap to achieve denuclearization.
The US is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons development before international sanctions are lifted. North Korea is seeking a step-by-step approach in which a step toward its denuclearization would be matched by a concession from the US, notably a relaxation of economic sanctions.
China backs what it calls a “suspension for suspension” proposal. The Xinhua said both sides “need to have reasonable expectations and refrain from imposing unilateral and unrealistic demands.”
Experts say Xi will likely endorse North Korea’s calls for an incremental disarmament process.
Chinese and North Korea media have said Xi would stay in Pyongyang for two days. His meeting with Kim would their fifth summit since Kim entered nuclear diplomacy with the United States and South Korea early last year.
In an essay published in both countries’ official media before his trip, Xi praised North Korea for moving in the “right direction” by politically resolving issues on the peninsula. He did not mention Kim’s nuclear diplomacy with the US in the article, much of which focused on lauding the neighbors’ seven-decade relationship. Xi said his visit will “strengthen strategic communication and exchange” between the traditional, though sometimes strained, allies.
The nations fought together in the 1950-53 Korean War against the United States, South Korea and their allies, but there has been friction in recent years, especially over the North’s relentless push for nuclear weapons.