Daily News Roundup

March 20, 2018

TUESDAY, MARCH 20

Unveiling a long-awaited plan to combat America’s opioid drug addiction, US President Donald Trump has called for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including embracing a tactic employed by many global strongmen: the death penalty, according to the ABC.

“Toughness is the thing that they most fear,” Mr Trump said.

At an event in Manchester, New Hampshire, a state ravaged by opioids, Mr Trump called for broadening awareness about drug addiction while expanding access to proven treatment and recovery efforts.

But the backbone of his plan was to toughen the punishment for those caught trafficking highly addictive drugs.

“This isn’t about nice anymore,” Mr Trump said.

“This is about winning a very, very tough problem and if we don’t get very tough on these dealers it’s not going to happen folks … I want to win this battle.”

The President formalised what he had long mused about publicly and privately: that if a person in the US can get the death penalty or life in prison for shooting a person, a similar punishment should be given to a drug dealer who potentially kills thousands.

Mr Trump has spoken approvingly about countries like Singapore that have fewer issues with drug addiction because they harshly punish their dealers.

The Justice Department said the federal death penalty was available for limited drug-related offences, including violations of the “drug kingpin” provisions in federal law.

It is not clear if the death penalty, even for traffickers whose product causes multiple deaths, would be constitutional.

The death penalty is allowed in 31 states.

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A 42-year-old Perth woman has won the right to take her dead partner’s frozen sperm to the ACT in a bid to have his baby.

The woman, known as GLS, launched civil proceedings in the Supreme Court last year, following the death of her partner in early 2016.

The man, referred to in court documents as Gary, suffered a heart attack in late January of that year was pronounced dead at Royal Perth Hospital a few days later.

He was 53 years old.

The couple had been together for more than five years, and had discussed freezing Gary’s sperm in late 2014, due to his age and fear of early death.

Following his death in February 2016, GLS contacted a fertility centre specialist who attended the RPH mortuary and extracted the sperm, which was placed in storage at the fertility clinic.

In December 2016, GLS obtained permission from Gary’s adult son to use the sperm, with the condition she not contact Gary’s family for financial or emotional assistance.

However, directions published in November 2004 by the then CEO of the WA Health Department prohibit fertility clinics in WA from knowingly using gametes (eggs or sperm) from deceased providers for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation.

In July 2017, lawyers acting for GLS contacted the Reproductive Technology Council of WA (RTC) to request approval to move the sperm to the ACT, which does allow gametes from dead providers to be used in artificial insemination.

The RTC responded in October it would not allow the transfer to take place, arguing to do so would be contrary to state legislation.

GLS then referred the matter to the Supreme Court, arguing she was entitled to have the sperm moved to the ACT, and also that RTC approval for such a move was not required.

In a hearing before Chief Justice Wayne Martin last month, lawyers for the WA Health Department argued that only under circumstances in which all participants were still alive could extracted gametes leave WA without RTC approval.

The department claimed the death of a person from whom gametes have been extracted infers that person has lost control of how that material can be used, effectively making the extraction a donation and bringing it under the purview of the RTC.

But Justice Martin dismissed that argument, and ruled since Gary’s sperm had been extracted posthumously it could not be considered a “donation of gametes”, and GLS was entitled to have the sperm transferred to the ATC.

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Former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has announced she will run for governor of the state of New York, challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination.

Her announcement sets up a race pitting an openly gay liberal activist against a two-term incumbent with a $US30 million war chest and possible presidential ambitions.

“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor,” Nixon, 51, said on Twitter.

A statement by Nixon’s campaign called her a progressive alternative to Mr Cuomo.

It said the Governor was a “centrist and Albany insider”, referring to the state capital, and mentioned the legal troubles of a number of his aides.

“We want our government to work again, on healthcare, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway,” the statement said.

“We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.

“It can’t just be business as usual anymore.”

Mr Cuomo, 60, the son of late New York governor Mario Cuomo, is seeking his third term this year.

Nixon, a Manhattan mother of three and longtime advocate for fairness in public school funding, is aligned with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who is politically to the left of Mr Cuomo.

The two men have feuded publicly over issues such as public transport and public housing in the nation’s largest city.

 

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