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.


Boko Haram suicide attack kills eight at mosque

Updated 2 min 58 sec ago
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Boko Haram suicide attack kills eight at mosque

KANO: Eight people were killed at a mosque in northeast Nigeria on Monday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, a civilian militia member and a local resident said.
The blast happened in the Mainari area of Konduga, in Borno state, said Ibrahim Liman, from the civilian militia force assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram.
“The male bomber walked into the mosque at about 5:15 am (0415 GMT) while prayers were on and exploded, killing eight worshippers and injuring five others,” he told AFP.
“Seven of the victims died in the mosque while another died on the way to (the Borno state capital) Maiduguri.”
Suicide bombings against “soft” civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations are the hallmark of the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau.
Many of the bombers used are young women and girls. Liman said the latest attack appeared to be carried out by a man in his early 20s.
Umar Goni, who lives in Konduga, said he was on his way to the mosque when the blast occurred and he helped to rescue victims with members of the civilian volunteer force.
“We pulled out seven dead bodies and six injured worshippers. One of the six injured died on the way to hospital,” he added.
The bomber was disguised as a worshipper, he said, adding: “There was no way anybody could have known his mission.”
The latest attack comes as Nigeria’s government is encouraging people displaced by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency to return home.
But aid agencies providing food, health care, clean water and shelter across the conflict-ravaged region have warned that security has not improved.
Last week, at least six traders were killed when a convoy of lorries under military escort were ambushed in Borno state near the border with Cameroon.
There have also been a number of attacks on military convoys and bases in Borno and neighboring Yobe state, with undisclosed casualties.
Soldiers and civilians have also been targeted in separate attacks in neighboring Chad and Niger.