Jury backs man in suit over Roundup

SAN FRANCISCO • A San Francisco jury on Friday ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay $289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company’s popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease.

Dewayne Johnson’s lawsuit was the first of hundreds of cases filed in state and federal courts alleging that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which Monsanto denies.

Jurors in state Superior Court agreed the product contributed to Johnson’s cancer and the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard. Johnson’s attorneys sought and won $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million of the $373 million they wanted in punitive damages.

Monsanto spokesman Scott Partridge said the company will appeal.

Rebels welcome U.N. call for strike probe

SANAA, Yemen • Yemen’s Shiite rebels on Friday backed a U.N. call for a probe into a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the country’s north that killed dozens of people, including many children, in an attack that drew wide international criticism.

Senior Yemeni rebel leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said on Twitter that the rebels, known as Houthis, welcome the call and are willing to cooperate in an investigation of the strike in Saada province that hit a bus carrying civilians, many of them school children, in a busy market.

The coalition’s statement signaled a shift in its earlier stance when spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki defended the attack as a “legitimate military action” and blamed the Houthis for recruiting children and using them in the battlefields as cover.

Taliban attack raises pressure on Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan • A brazen and bloody overnight assault Friday by the Taliban on a key provincial capital in central Afghanistan has increased pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces that are withering under relentless attacks, prompting President Ashraf Ghani to call an emergency meeting of his security officials.

While government security forces in the city of Ghazni repulsed the multipronged attack with the help of U.S. air support, Taliban insurgents remained hunkered down on its outskirts, and some were still holed up in residential areas, according to Interior Ministry deputy spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi.

At least 39 insurgents were killed, while 14 police died and 20 were wounded in the fighting.

NEWS SERVICES

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