Man testifies in own defence over 'honour killings' of US son-in-law, daughter's friend

A Jordanian immigrant convicted in two deaths prosecutors described as "honor killings" has testified in his own defence for a second time and said witnesses had lied.

The Houston Chronicle reports Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan testified today he constantly gave other people gifts and treated his daughters "like princesses".

Mr Irsan was convicted last month in Texas in the deaths of his son-in-law and his daughter's friend who had encouraged the marriage.

His first wife and a daughter had testified that Mr Irsan raped them and subjected them to years of abuse.

Mr Irsan is expected to be the last witness in the trial.

The jury must determine whether he will be given life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

Jordanian immigrant Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan sits in court in Houston. Source: Associated Press

Lisa Marie Presley sings soulful duet with her late father and King of Rock n' Roll, Elvis

An exhibit centered on the career of Lisa Marie Presley, and a launch party marking the release of an album of gospel songs by her late father Elvis Presley, are among the highlights of this year's Elvis Week in Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis Presley died 41 years ago, on August 16, 1977, in Memphis.

Since then, fans have been making a pilgrimage to Graceland to celebrate the King of Rock n' Roll's life, movies and music.

Elvis Week began yesterday. It features performances by tribute artists, a memorabilia auction and the candlelight vigil that begins the night before his death anniversary and continues until the next day.

The "Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley" exhibit opens today.

Elvis Week ends with a concert at the Graceland Soundstage on August 18.

The video's release marks this year’s Elvis Week, which features tribute performances to the star. Source: Associated Press


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.