Man Charged With Murder Of Daughters, Pregnant Wife

This Police Mugshot released by the Frederick Police Department shows Chris Watts, 33, who appealed in the media for the return of his missing pregnant wife and daughters and has been charged with their murders on August 21, 2018. Frederick Police Department / AFP

 

A man who made an emotional appeal in the media for the safe return of his missing pregnant wife and daughters appeared in court Tuesday charged with their murders.

Chris Watts, 33, faces three counts of first-degree murder, plus two counts of killing children under 12, and is accused of tampering with the bodies and unlawfully terminating a pregnancy.

Colorado man Watts contends that it was Shanann Watts, 34, who strangled Celeste, three, and Bella, four, after he told her he wanted them to split up — leading him to fly into a rage and kill her.

Watts, who lived with his family in Frederick, a small town around 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of Denver, was arrested last week and is in custody.

He appeared at a Weld County courtroom where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days and didn’t enter a plea. His next appearance will be in November.

Video of the hearing, posted online by local news station ABC 15 Arizona, showed Shanann’s distraught father being comforted by her brother in the courthouse.

A bespectacled, bearded Watts listened intently but made no statement, speaking only to confirm that he understood the proceedings.

His wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was found in a shallow grave last week at a petroleum company that he had worked for, while the girls’ bodies were found later in nearby oil tanks.

“Chris was presented with an aerial photograph of the tank battery area and identified three separate locations in which he placed the bodies,” the affidavit reads.

Court papers showed the couple had financial troubles, and filed for bankruptcy in 2015. Investigators said they learned Watts, despite previous denials, was having an affair with a co-worker.

Reported missing

A friend dropped off Shanann Watts at her home from a business trip to Arizona in the small hours of the morning last Monday, according to the affidavit.

It was then that Watts told his wife he wanted to separate, he said, telling police in an interview that it was a “civil conversation and they were not arguing but were emotional”.

The affidavit says Watts saw Bella “sprawled” on her bed and looking blue, and observed his wife Shanann strangling Celeste via a baby monitor. He went into a “rage,” he said, and strangled Shanann.

Shannan Watts was reported as missing when she failed to show at a doctor’s appointment later that morning and a friend rang Watts when she visited the family home and could find no sign of Shanann.

Watts appealed on local television for the return of his family on Wednesday last week — after his family disappeared but before his arrest.

“I’m just hoping right now that she’s somewhere safe. I just want them home so bad,” he said.

AFP

Store In Alaska Begins Legal Sales Of Marijuana

cannabisA store in Alaska, a state in the United States, has begun retail marijuana sales, with buyers queueing up to buy legal marijuana on its first day.

The store’s grand opening took place on Saturday, one which the operators referred to as the “high noon.”

The store, ‘Herbal Outfitters, in Valdez, finally opened nearly two years after voters approved allowing people from 21 years and above to re-creationally use ‘pot’.

The company’s offerings will mark the first time it’s legal to buy ‘pot’ under the voter initiative approved in November 2014.

Furthermore, the passage of this law made it legal under state law to possess up to an ounce of marijuana outside of a home.

The store launch comes less than a week after the opening of the state’s first testing lab, ‘Cann Test’, in Anchorage.

A worker tends to cannabis plants

The laboratory which would be used to test cannabis products such as flowers, edibles and concentrates, opened on Monday after clearing regulatory hurdles days before.

General Manager of the Herbal Outfitters, Derek Morris, said the store would initially carry only dried cannabis flowers, adding that manufacturers of edibles and concentrates are still in various stages of the permitting process.

In Fairbanks, another city within Alaska, two marijuana retail stores are planning to open in weeks to come, after final inspections are completed, with a third one being launched in about a month.

Public Benefit

In 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalise the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use.

In 2013, a measure to impose sales and excise taxes of 25% on the newly legalized recreational marijuana and earmark the first $40 million in revenue for public schools was approved.

This move according to the then government, showed a willingness on the part of Colorado voters to tax marijuana for the public benefit

This however, is in sharp contrast to what applies in many other states across the continent where the use of Marijuana or any other form of ‘hard drugs’, is highly prohibited and considered a crime which draws severe sanctions from the government.

cannabisIn Nigeria, there is high prohibition for the use of illicit drugs, enforced by the National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency, (NDLEA).

The agency had in different operations, destroyed large expanse of cannabis farms in states such as Oyo, Osun and Ogun, among others.

Facts About Cannabis- 

Research has suggested that: Young people who smoke cannabis run the risk of a significant and irreversible reduction in their IQ.

A UK expert said the research might explain why people who use the drug persistently, seem to under-achieve.

Stopping or reducing cannabis use, failed to fully restore the lost IQ.

Persistent cannabis use for over 20 years is associated with neuro-psychological decline.

This is according to the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

cannabisConstant consumption builds up tolerance, in which users desire to consume stronger drugs to achieve the same level of highness, causing greater risk of IQ drop.

Among the short term dangers are:

Loss of coordination and distortions in the sense of time, vision and hearing.

Sleepiness, reddening of the eyes, increased heart rate as well as appetite and relaxed muscles which may result in reduced productivity levels.

US Republicans Spar In Heated Presidential Debate

US Republicans Spar In Heated Presidential DebateThe United States (US) Republicans have once again locked horns in a fiery 2016 presidential debate in Colorado.

Right from the start, front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who have no experience in politics, were under attack.

BBC says that Ohio Governor, John Kasich, condemned their “fantasy tax plans” and ridiculed their lack of political experience, stressing that “we cannot elect someone who does not know how to do the job”.

Mr Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has edged past Mr Trump in national polls, had a quiet night in Boulder.

His tax plan, which is based on biblical tithes, was decried as “fantasy” by Mr Kasich, who also condemned Mr Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the Mexico border.

Political friendships were also strained by some of the testy exchanges, notably between former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush and Florida Senator, Marco Rubio.

Chile Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalisation Bill

mariguanaThe 15 years of jail term for selling and transporting marijuana might now become a thing of the past in Chile, after Chile lawmakers approved marijuana decriminalisation bill, to allow  Chileans grow marijuana  for medical purpose.

Members of the Lower House approved the bill by a wide margin, with 68 in favour and 39 against.

According to the country’s Lower House of congress, citizens now have access to marijuana for recreational or spiritual use.

The measure will allow each Chilean to grow up to Six plants of Cannabis in their home.

The new bill will go before a Health Commission and then the Senate for approval.

A Chilean municipality began planting the country’s first medical marijuana in October, as part of a government-approved pilot programme.

However this bill, if passed, will also decriminalise its recreational use.

Several other countries have eased restrictions for medical or personal use of marijuana in recent years.

Reports have it that in the US, more than 20 states allow some form of medical marijuana, Colorado and Washington have legalised it for personal use.

Uruguay became the first country to create a legal marijuana market in 2013 and earlier this year, Jamaica decriminalised personal use of the drug.

Colorado Voters Approve 25 Percent Taxes On Recreational Marijuana

A Colorado measure to impose sales and excise taxes of 25 percent on newly legalized recreational marijuana and earmark the first $40 million in revenue for public schools was approved by voters on Tuesday, Governor John Hickenlooper said.

The move showed a willingness on the part of Colorado voters to tax marijuana for the public benefit even as they roundly defeated a broader tax measure that would have increased state income taxes to raise $1 billion for schools.

Colorado and Washington last year became the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. But Colorado, whose constitution requires a statewide vote to approve tax increases, left it to voters to decide how to tax the newly legal drug.

“We are grateful voters approved funding that will allow for a strong regulatory environment, just like liquor is regulated,” Hickenlooper said as returns showed 65 percent of voters in favor of the tax and 35 percent against with about a quarter of votes counted.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure kids don’t smoke pot and that we don’t have people driving who are high. This ballot measure gives Colorado the ability to regulate marijuana properly,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

Under the marijuana tax proposal, a combined 15 percent excise and 10 percent sales tax would be imposed on recreational pot sales, with the first $40 million raised to fund school construction projects.

In Denver, a local ballot measure that would tack an additional 3.5 percent city sales tax on pot shops also appeared headed for passage, by a margin of 69 to 31 percent with roughly a third of votes counted.

Even as many proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana supported taxing the drug, some within the pot legalization community opposed the tax.

Rachel Gillette, president of Colorado’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said before the vote that her organization was not against taxing cannabis sales, but that the state was going too far.

“This is not keeping with the promise to tax marijuana like alcohol,” Gillette said. “It’s more like regulating the sale of plutonium than alcohol. It looks like a law-enforcement money grab.”

BROADER TAS MEASURE FAILS

Backers of a statewide proposal that would have increased the state income tax to raise nearly $1 billion annually for public schools conceded defeat on Tuesday, as returns showed it losing 66 percent to 34 percent with about 25 percent of votes counted.

“Tonight, we know that goal isn’t happening as soon as we’d like. But it will happen,” said state Senator Mike Johnston, a Democrat from Denver.

The school funding constitutional amendment would have scrapped the state’s current 4.63 percent flat income tax rate tied to federal adjusted gross income tax, and replaced it with a two-tiered income tax increase.

Under the proposal, taxpayers who made less than $75,000 would have paid a 5 percent rate and taxpayers who made over $75,000 would have faced a 5.9 percent rate.

Proponents of the measure say Colorado has for years underfunded public education, and sought voter approval to put school funding on a surer financial footing.

Opponents argued that Colorado requires local school districts to allocate tax revenues, so there is no guarantee on how the money will be spent at the local level, which could be used on teacher salaries or to backfill the state’s underfunded public employees retirement fund.

Backers of the tax raised more than $10 million for their campaign, bombarding television and radio airwaves with ads, touting the need for money to fund full-day kindergarten, and to restore music, art and physical education programs.

Among the donors to the pro-tax measure were Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who, combined, donated $2 million to the campaign.

Gunman Kills Two At Shopping Mall And Takes His Life

An unknown gunman on Tuesday opened fire inside an Oregon shopping mall, leaving at least two dead and a young woman injured.

According to the police the gunman was terrorizing holiday shoppers before shooting himself to death.

The afternoon shooting rampage at the crowded Clackamas Town Center in the Portland suburb of Happy Valley touched off panic inside the mall, sending thousands of shoppers streaming out as police and fire crews arrived on the scene.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said the lone gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that law enforcement officers who descended on the scene had not fired a single shot inside the mall. A single weapon was recovered.

“The mall is supposed to be a place where we can take our families. He took the lives of two people and a young lady is at the hospital fighting for her life right now,” Roberts said.

The wounded victim was taken by helicopter to a hospital where a spokeswoman said she was in serious condition.

The incident marked the latest in a string of shooting rampages this year that included the killing of 12 people and wounding of 58 others at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado.

In Oregon, police evacuated terrified shoppers, who were reported by local media and via Twitter to have hidden in the back rooms of shops as gunshots rang out in the 1.4 million- square-foot mall.

“Shooting in the middle of Clackamas town center. I’m stuck in the back room of build a bear!” one person tweeted.
High school student Hannah Baggs, 14, told the Oregonian newspaper that she got a close look at the gunman before he entered the mall and opened fire.

“He was, like, 10 feet away from us, wearing a white mask and carrying something heavy with both hands,” Baggs said in remarks carried on the paper’s website. “He went running into the store.”

Reuters

Gunmen kill 10, injure 20 at movie Premier

At least over 10 persons have been killed and 20 people injured, when two gunmen wearing gas masks and body armor opened fire at a crowded cinema at a shopping mall in Aurora Colorado, USA.

The police arrested the suspected gunmen following a chaotic scene at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, the latest Batman movie.

According to an eyewitness at the cinema, the attacker then set off what appeared to be a smoke bomb or teargas bomb, minutes later we heard about “10-20 shots” and “small explosions”.

People started screaming, a voice from the PA system and told everyone to run out.

People started running and screaming, the eyewitness added that most people thought the gunshots were part of the movie, not until they saw bullets flying everywhere.

Reports say about 20 people or more have been admitted in the hospital.