While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 6

A computer screen displays the Twitter account of Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Alex Jones ordered to pay $62m to Sandy Hook family

US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay the parents of a six-year-old boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre US$45.2 million (S$62 million) in punitive damages - on top of US$4.1 million in compensatory damages already awarded - for falsely claiming the shooting was a hoax, a Texas jury decided on Friday.

Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, separated parents of slain six-year-old Jesse Lewis, testified that followers of Jones harassed them and sent them death threats for years in the false belief that they were lying about their son's death in the Dec 14, 2012, shooting that killed 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The 12-person jury on Thursday decided on the compensatory damages following a two-week trial in the defamation lawsuit presided over by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in state court in the Texas capital of Austin, where Jones' radio show and webcast Infowars are based.

The parents had sought US$145.9 million in punitive damages and US$150 million in compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to cover a plaintiff's suffering and losses. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant's actions.


US lightning strike that killed 2 serves as climate warning

Scientists say that climate change is increasing the likelihood of lightning strikes across the United States, after lightning struck at a square near the White House, leaving two people dead and two others in critical condition.

The hot, humid conditions in Washington, DC, on Thursday were primed for electricity.

More heat can draw more moisture into the atmosphere, while also encouraging rapid updraft - two key factors for charged particles, which lead to lightning.


Shells hit power lines at Ukraine nuclear plant, fighting in east

Russia and Ukraine accused each other on Friday of shelling Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant as fighting raged again in the crucial border region of the Donbas and three more ships left ports carrying previously blockaded Ukrainian grain.

Shells hit a high-voltage power line at the Zaporizhzhia plant, prompting operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected.

The plant was captured by Russian forces in early March in the opening stage of the war but it is still run by its Ukrainian technicians.


Top Myanmar models face jail for alleged explicit videos

Two prominent Myanmar models have been arrested and face charges of "harming culture and dignity" for posting clips online, including to intimate video-hosting platform OnlyFans, the junta said on Friday.

Nang Mwe San allegedly "distributed paid pornographic photos and videos that could... harm Myanmar culture and dignity," the junta said in a statement.

Thinzar Wint Kyaw, another top model and actress with over 1.5 million Instagram followers, allegedly posted similar videos to content creator site Exantria, the statement added.


Arteta hints at more new signings as Arsenal debutants shine

Arsenal's debutants paved the way for a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on the opening night of the Premier League season on Friday and coach Mikel Arteta said there might be some more new faces coming in before the end of the transfer window.

"There are a few things we have planned (in the transfer market), and if we can do them it would be great," Arteta told Sky Sports after his side got off to the perfect start.

Gabriel Martinelli's first-half strike and a second-half own goal by Marc Guehi gave the visitors the three points but the new signings played a big part in the victory.


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