Dying gardener who claims weed killer caused his cancer awarded over $400m

A jury in California has awarded $US289 million ($NZD439 million) to a former gardener who said he got terminal cancer from Roundup, a widely used weed killer made by US agro-chemical giant Monsanto.

The jury awarded $US250 million ($NZD380 million) in punitive damages and more than $US39 million ($NZD59 million) in compensatory damages to Dewayne Johnson who was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer at age 42 in 2014, according to news reports.

He is one of hundreds of cancer patients suing Monsanto, with Friday's development potentially setting a precedent for other cases against the company.

Johnson's case had been moved up to be heard ahead of others because he is dying.

Johnson blames Roundup for his suffering and accused the company - recently acquired by Germany's Bayer - of concealing the dangers of the weed killer. Monsanto vigorously rejects the allegations and says the herbicide glyphosate is safe.

In his job as a gardener he sprayed Roundup and another Monsanto product, Ranger Pro, across a San Francisco Bay Area school district, his attorneys said.

Last month Judge Vince Chhabria ruled against Monsanto's request for a dismissal. The company argued that the more than 400 plaintiffs couldn't prove that glyphosate, the controversial ingredient in the product Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer affecting white blood cells.

Chhabria called the decision "a very close question," but declined to grant Monsanto's motion for summary judgement. He also allowed the opinions of three expert witnesses to be admitted.

In addition to the individual lawsuits there is a class action suit in Chhabria's courtroom filed by farmers, gardeners and consumers.

Source: istock.com

Donald Trump praises Kanye West for speaking the 'truth' on US talk show

US President Donald Trump is thanking Kanye West after the rapper talked about his support for Trump during an appearance Thursday on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

"Thank you to Kanye West and the fact that he is willing to tell the TRUTH," Trump said in a tweet from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course Friday evening. "It is making a big difference."

But the appearance wasn't all positive.

West was notably silent on the show when he was asked why he thinks the president cares about black people.

West was discussing his support for Trump and questioning why people go after the president instead of trying "love" when Kimmel pointed to the policy that separated families caught crossing the border illegally.

"You've so famously and so powerfully said 'George Bush doesn't care about black people,' it makes me wonder what makes you think that Donald Trump does, or any people at all?" Kimmel asked.

West considered the question, sitting silently without answering before Kimmel took a commercial break.

Kimmel had earlier asked West if he was worried about his wife, Kim Kardashian West, being alone with the president in the Oval Office during a recent visit.

The rapper replied that Trump "is a player," drawing laughs.


German police rescue man being terrorised by squirrel

German police have come to the rescue of a man being harrassed by a baby squirrel.

Police responded to the call to find the rodent still terrorising the man in distress.

The squirrel was taken into custody after it abruptly fell asleep, reports BBC.

In a report, the officers from the south-western city of Karlsruhe said the detainee was now their mascot, and had been dubbed Karl-Friedrich.

A police spokeswoman said that squirrels that have lost their mother can focus their attention on one person as a replacement. 

Squirrels are known to chase people when in need of food or help.

Karl-Friedrich is now being looked after in an animal rescue centre. 

Squirrel attack aren't uncommon overseas and aren't always so benign.

In July last year, New York authorities warned Prospect Park visitors to avoid an "unusually aggressive" squirrel who attacked five people in the space of one week.

A three-year-old boy in Cornwall, UK was left covered in blood the previous year after being bitten by a pack of six squirrels.

German police have come to the rescue of a man being chased by a baby squirrel.
German police have come to the rescue of a man being chased by a baby squirrel. Source: rnz.co.nz