Friday, July 26, 2019 View this email in your browser

Sound bites: The U.S. wants to reinstate the death penalty • over 100 people are missing from another migrant boat accident • Jeffrey Epstein is on suicide watch • the two Canadian boys suspected of murder are still on the loose.



The U.S. is reinstating the death penalty. Though capital punishment is legal in 29 states, including Texas and California, executions on the federal level are rare. There hasn’t been a federal execution since 2003, and there have only been three since 1988.

So, why now?
In 2014, an inmate named Clayton Lockett was scheduled for execution by lethal injection. But when the drugs hit his system, they didn’t kill him. Lockett was left squirming and groaning on the table before he died 43 minutes later of a heart attack. That incident prompted President Barack Obama to order the Justice Department to thoroughly review the death penalty. Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr said the review was done.

What are people saying?
Not surprisingly, Democrats are criticizing the announcement, calling capital punishment “immoral” and flawed. But supporters of the death penalty think it’s about time victims and their families get justice. Barr has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to move forward with the execution of five death-row inmates. Those executions could happen as early as December.


Over 150 people are thought to have drowned yesterday after two boats went down off the Libyan coast. The boats were carrying around 300 migrants trying to make their way across the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

Why take the chance?
Because there’s no other choice. Often, migrants are trying to escape violence, poverty, and seek better opportunities. And to make it happen, they’re willing to attempt the short but dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea. The situation is made worse by traffickers who prey and exploit these people for, what else, money, and promise them transportation to their destination. What they get instead is hoarded onto small, often unseaworthy boats. Before yesterday’s tragedy, as many as 686 people had died this year trying to travel across the Mediterranean. The International Organization for Migration confirmed that 145 people were saved in this latest incident.


Jeffrey Epstein, the New York millionaire arrested on sex trafficking crimes, was found in his NYC jail cell semiconscious with marks on his neck and has been placed on suicide watch. The allegations are serious but there are conflicting reports on what exactly happened. Some say Epstein staged the attack to get a transfer to a better facility, while others hint that another inmate tried to hurt him. Epstein says he was beaten up and called a “predator.”
Remind me.
Between 2002 and 2005, Epstein paid girls as young as 14 for massages that led to sex at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach. He also paid victims to recruit other women. In 2008, Epstein was arrested in Florida and given a “sweetheart deal” – he was sentenced to 13-months in jail but could leave six days a week to go to work. Last month, Epstein was arrested in New York on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges and could face 45 years in jail.


Police are still looking for the two Canadian teen boys suspected of killing three people. Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, are likely still in the Gillam, Manitoba area. Reminder, their burnt-out Toyota was found near Gillam on Wednesday. The manhunt for the teens – who were originally reported missing – started earlier this week after a young couple was found shot dead on the Alaska highway. A few days later, Leonard Dyck of Vancouver was found dead near the Dease Lake, B.C. area. Police have received 80 tips from the public and two confirmed sightings, and they think the boys are travelling on-foot through thick, swampy land. There’s a heavy police presence in the area and residents have been told to stay away from the boys if they’re spotted.


You might’ve heard about an online prank making its rounds – the Facebook group gathering people to storm Area 51, a top-secret government facility that conspiracy theorists believe holds aliens. Almost 2 million people have hit “attend” in the FB group. But one Oklahoma City animal shelter had the out-of-this-world idea to use the viral event to draw attention to its adorable adopt-ables. The shelter started posting pics of its animals in their best alien costumes, asking people to “storm their shelter.” And it’s working! Since the postings, dozens of the shelter’s animals have been adopted. And why not? We’d rather pet a pup than catch an alien any day.


• Rick Ross and Drake teamed up on Gold Roses, and Big Sean shared his new song, Single Again.

Speaking of Drake, the Canadian rapper announced a new partnership with SiriusXM and Pandora.

• Travis Scott dropped the music video for WAKE UP.

• If you can’t get enough of Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, the singer and RM from K-Pop group BTS dropped another remix.

• Here's a podcast episode that will make you think: Invisibilia's latest, The End of Empathy.

It's the weekend before a long weekend.