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Oklahoma, investigating failure, extends delay of execution to November

Oklahoma on Thursday delayed the execution of Charles F. Warner by six months, to allow time for a review of lethal injection procedures that was started after a bungled execution last week left a prisoner writhing in pain before he died of heart failure.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued the stay after the attorney general’s office said it would not object. Warner’s execution is now scheduled for Nov. 13, and the attorney general said the office would be open to further delays if the investigation was not completed by then.

Warner, who was convicted of the rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl, was originally scheduled to die April 29, two hours after the execution of another convicted murderer, Clayton D. Lockett.

The executions had been the subject of last-minute legal battles, with lawyers for the two prisoners objecting because the state had refused to reveal the source of the drugs it would use.

Soon after Lockett’s execution began, it was apparent to witnesses that he had not been fully sedated as two follow-up drugs were injected, one to cause paralysis and stop breathing and one to stop the heart. As he began to buck and moan in apparent agony, corrections officials pulled the blinds on witnesses. The intravenous delivery of the drugs had failed, officials later said, and Lockett died of heart failure 43 minutes after the procedure began. Gov. Mary Fallin immediately delayed Warner’s execution by two weeks.

Two days later the chief of corrections, Robert Patton, revealed that Lockett had been shocked with a Taser on the morning of the scheduled execution when he refused to leave his cell, and that he had cut himself.

Patton also revealed that it had taken 51 minutes to insert an intravenous line. After no suitable vein was found on Lockett’s limbs, a needle was inserted through his groin, a more difficult procedure because the intended vein is not visible.

Fallin has appointed Michael C. Thompson, the commissioner of public safety, to lead the investigation of what went wrong and what changes in procedures and training may be necessary. Lawyers for Warner and Lockett have called instead for an independent investigation, not one led by a state official.

—Erik Eckholm, The New York Times

Apple said to be in talks to buy Beats for $3.2 billion

Apple is in talks to acquire Beats Electronics for about $3.2 billion, according to a person briefed on the matter.

A deal could be announced next week, but may still fall apart, this person cautioned.

An acquisition would be Apple’s largest ever and would see the maker of the iPhone acquire the biggest manufacturer of high-end headphones.

Beats was founded by Jimmy Iovine, the music producer, and Dr. Dre, the rapper and producer, and has invigorated the market for premium headphones and portable speakers. More recently, Beats began a streaming music service that competes with Spotify and Apple’s own iTunes music service.

For Apple, the deal represents a major break in its acquisitions strategy. To date, Apple’s has focused on buying technology providers that it then incorporates into its existing products. But by buying Beats, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, would signal his willingness to acquire established brands.

The Financial Times first reported news of the deal.

—David Gelles, The New York Times

Ukranians favor unity as Putin’s reputation grows at home, polls find

Ukrainians, including most Russian speakers, want to keep their country united with its current borders intact but there are concerns about the government. While few Ukrainians have confidence in President Vladimir Putin of Russia, his reputation has grown considerably at home, with more than 80 percent of Russians trusting his handling of world affairs.

These are some of the results of two polls conducted by the Pew Research Center last month, after the annexation of Crimea but before recent violence in several Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainians have also become more distrustful of Russia in general. Two-thirds of Ukrainians say that Russia is a bad influence on their country. In 2009, only a quarter considered its impact as a negative.

The evaluation of the United States improved slightly over the same period, while the European Union was seen as about the same. Yet while Russian speakers in Ukraine are divided over the influence of Russia, they are much more negative about both the United States and the European Union.

Although few in the international community acknowledge the validity of Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, Russians overwhelmingly say the government in Kiev should recognize the referendum results and allow Crimea to join Russia.

As Russians feel more positive about their country and their military, they have increasingly negative views of the United States and the European Union.

Only 23 percent have a favorable opinion of the United States, down from 51 percent last year. For the European Union, 39 percent of Russians have a favorable opinion, down from 63 percent last year.

In addition, tensions have caused Russian views of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Barack Obama to deteriorate, although the Ukrainian image of those leaders has stayed fairly steady over the past few years.

In-person interviews were conducted in April with 1,000 Russian adults and 1,659 Ukrainian adults. The margin of error for the Ukraine poll is 3 percentage points; it is 4 percentage points for the Russian poll.

—Marjorie Connelly, The New York Times