Nation/World Briefs

Weighing 450 pounds, Ohio killer fights execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio – At about 450 pounds, Ohio death row inmate Ronald Post is so fat that his executioners won’t be able to find veins in his arms or legs for the lethal injection, and he might even break the death chamber gurney, his lawyers say.

If the state is forced to use a backup method that involves injecting the drugs directly into muscle, the process could require multiple doses over several hours or even days and result in a grueling and painful end, they say.

Post, who gained close to 200 pounds on death row, is trying to stave off execution Jan. 16 for the 1983 killing of a motel clerk during a robbery, arguing that because of his obesity, an attempt to put him to death would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

State officials say Post, 53, can be humanely executed under both Ohio’s usual method and the untested backup procedure. The warden at the prison where the death chamber is situated even tested the gurney by piling 540 pounds of weights on it for two hours.

Celebrations are planned as Wash. legalizes marijuana

SEATTLE – Legal marijuana possession becomes a reality under Washington state law today, and some people planned to celebrate the new law by breaking it.

Voters in Washington and Colorado last month made those the first states to decriminalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana. Washington’s law takes effect today and allows adults to have up to an ounce of pot – but it bans public use of marijuana, which is punishable by a fine, just like drinking in public.

Nevertheless, some people planned to gather at 12 a.m. today to smoke in public beneath Seattle’s Space Needle. Others planned a midnight party outside the Seattle headquarters of Hempfest, the 21-year-old festival that attracts tens of thousands of pot fans every summer.

Colorado’s measure, as far as decriminalizing possession goes, is set to take effect by Jan. 5. That state’s regulatory scheme is due to be up and running by October 2013.

Washington governor signs gay-marriage law

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election Wednesday afternoon, as they were joined by couples who plan to wed. The law takes effect today, when gay and lesbian couples can start picking up their wedding certificates and licenses at county auditors’ offices. King County, the state’s largest and home to Seattle, and Thurston County, home to the state capital of Olympia, planned open the earliest, at 12:01 a.m., to issue marriage licenses.

Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck dies at 91

HARTFORD, Conn. – Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as “Take Five” caught listeners’ ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, has died. He was 91.

Brubeck, who lived in Wilton, died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd. Brubeck would have turned 92 today.

Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since World War II.

Syrian civil war spills over into Lebanon

TRIPOLI, Lebanon – The families of Lebanese men killed in Syria last week say their relatives were more interested in nice clothes and vacations than fighting a civil war. Yet Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime branded them foreign jihadists – and their deaths set off three days of new spillover violence.

Gunmen loyal to opposite sides in Syria’s civil war battled Wednesday in the streets of the Lebanese city of Tripoli. The fighting has killed six people and wounded nearly 60 since Monday, security officials said.

Associated Press

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story