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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.

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