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Jul 22, 2015

Colorado death penalty in focus as massacre trial enters new phase

DENVER, July 22 (Reuters) – The lead prosecutor in the
Colorado movie massacre trial tore into the state’s governor at
a news conference, calling him arrogant and weak for giving the
mass murderer a reprieve from execution.

This was two years ago, and Arapahoe County District
Attorney George Brauchler was not talking about James Holmes,
who last week was found guilty on all counts by a jury for
fatally shooting 12 people and wounding 70 at a midnight
premiere of a Batman film in July 2012.

Jul 1, 2015

Mormon leaders reaffirm faith’s exclusive commitment to heterosexual marriage

By Daniel Wallis

(Reuters) – Mormon leaders are reaffirming their faith’s belief that only heterosexual marriage is ordained by God, in a letter to be read to congregations this holiday weekend following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized gay nuptials.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long held that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman, in life and in the hereafter, and the “only legitimate, authorized expression of the powers of procreation.”

Jul 1, 2015

Colorado movie rampage jurors to hear from expert on psychosis

By Daniel Wallis and Keith Coffman

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) – Calling into question his note-taking, qualifications and conclusions about gunman James Holmes, the lead prosecutor in Colorado’s movie massacre trial put the defense’s first expert witness through a withering cross-examination.

But District Attorney George Brauchler may have a tougher time trying to discredit the public defender’s star witness: an eminent psychiatrist involved in the aftermath of some of the nation’s worst mass violence cases.

Jun 29, 2015

Colorado Supreme Court rules against school voucher program

DENVER (Reuters) – Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday
that a controversial school voucher program in a Denver suburb
violates the state’s constitution because it provides funding
for students to attend religious schools.

The Colorado Court of Appeals had previously upheld the
system first proposed four years ago by Douglas County, which
granted taxpayer-funded scholarships to up to 500 qualifying
elementary, middle, and high school students for tuition at 23
private schools, including 16 religious ones.

Jun 29, 2015

Texas attorney general says county clerks can refuse gay couples

By Daniel Wallis

(Reuters) – County clerks in Texas who object to gay
marriage can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex
couples despite last week’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling
requiring states to allow same-sex marriage, Texas Attorney
General Ken Paxton said on Sunday.

The nation’s top court said on Friday that the U.S.
Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to wed, handing
a victory to the American gay rights movement.

Jun 23, 2015

U.S. appeals court backs claim under state law in Rocky Flats saga

DENVER (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday a decades-old pollution case over nuclear weapons production in Colorado should be sent back to the district court which in 2006 ordered companies that ran the facility to pay damages of $353 million.

“This long lingering litigation deserves to find resolution soon,” wrote one of the judges, Neil Gorsuch, about a case dating back to the 1980s, when Dow Chemical Co. [DOW.N] and a unit of Rockwell Automation Inc [ROK.N] were involved in operating the Rocky Flats plant.

Jun 23, 2015

Brave kitty stares down mountain lion in viral Colorado video

DENVER (Reuters) – A video of an unfazed, fluffy house cat staring down a large mountain lion as the predator paws at a Colorado kitchen window has gone viral, receiving nearly 1 million views on YouTube in just a couple of days.

The footage, recorded at a home in the Rocky Mountains about 10 miles west of Boulder, shows the cat sitting on the windowsill and meowing as the much-bigger mountain lion looks into the house, its eyes glinting gold in the light.

Jun 20, 2015

Mormon church to make available records of 4 million freed slaves

By Daniel Wallis

(Reuters) – The Mormon Church will lead efforts to index records of about 4 million former slaves and their families in the hope of connecting African Americans with their Civil War-era ancestors, the Utah-based faith said on Friday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has sponsored a non-profit organization called FamilySearch, which made the announcement alongside senior LDS officials in Los Angeles on the 150th anniversary of “Juneteenth,” the day when word reached the last group of slaves that the Civil War was over and they were free.

Jun 19, 2015

Rights group condemns Colorado bike club’s ‘anti-Ramadan’ barbecue

DENVER (Reuters) – A civil rights group said on Friday it was deeply disturbed by reports that a Colorado motorcycle club has distributed flyers for an anti-Ramadan barbecue, including a pig roast, this weekend “in defiance of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.”

Scott Levin, regional director of the Mountain States Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said in a statement the “open bike party” was being advertised by the Colorado Springs chapter of the Infidels Motorcycle Club.

Jun 17, 2015

U.S. sends seven seized boa constrictors back to Brazil

By Daniel Wallis

(Reuters) – The United States has returned to Brazil seven boa constrictors that are the offspring of a very rare white snake dubbed the “Diamond Princess” and were seized in connection with an illegal wildlife smuggling scheme, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The valuable leucistic boa constrictor was unlawfully brought to the United States in 2009 by a Utah-based collector, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

    • About Daniel

      "Daniel used to work for The Times newspaper and PA News agency in London before joining Reuters in 2003. Since then he has reported on political, general and economic news from across east Africa, Iraq and Latin America."
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