Judge halts eight executions
An Arkansas judge on Friday halted the upcoming executions of eight death row inmates, dealing a blow to the state’s efforts to begin putting prisoners to death for the first time in a decade. Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen issued a stay for all eight of the state’s scheduled executions, the first two of which were set for Oct. 21. The inmates are challenging a new Arkansas law that allows the state to withhold any information that could publicly identify the manufacturers or sellers of its execution drugs.
Drone crashes near the White House
A man was cited for illegally flying a drone that crash-landed in a park near the White House early Friday. The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police confronted the operator after he lost control and the drone landed in the Ellipse, a park just south of the White House. Howard Solomon III of Washington, D.C., was cited with launching, landing or operating an unmanned aircraft in a restricted area. The drone and operating equipment were confiscated. Reached by phone, Solomon said that he had been trying to take pictures of the monument and that the wind blew the drone across the street.
U.S. House votes to end oil export ban
The House voted Friday to end the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. oil to foreign nations, setting up a showdown with the Senate and the president in the nation’s latest battle over energy and climate change. The ban was a response to the 1970s Arab oil embargo, ostensibly to protect Americans from gasoline shortages and price spikes. The oil industry is lobbying furiously to end the ban, calling it outdated in an era of enormous U.S. oil production and saying that exports would spur more drilling.
Palestinian protests spread to Gaza
Palestinians in Gaza joined in angry protests sweeping across Israel and the West Bank, rushing Israel’s perimeter fence and throwing stones at soldiers, who shot and killed six Gaza residents and wounded 60, many of whom were in serious condition, according to the Health Ministry. The clash at the Gaza fence marks the highest death toll in the coastal enclave since last year’s war between Hamas and Israel. After Friday prayers in Gaza, the leader of the Islamist militant movement Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, declared that a third Palestinian uprising, or intifada, had begun “and we intend to join in.”