Tag: 2021-10-05 01:18:14

[translate arab indonesia]Boy Scouts of America reaches $850M agreement with 60,000 victims of child sex abuse

  Boy Scouts of America reaches $850M agreement with 60,000 victims of child sex abuse

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  Boy Scouts of America reaches $850M agreement with 60,000 victims of child sex abuse

  Updated 03 July 2021

  AP

  July 03, 2021 04:41

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  Boy Scouts of America reaches $850M agreement with 60,000 victims of child sex abuse

  The Boy Scouts of America sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020, moving to halt hundreds of lawsuits by men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders

  Updated 03 July 2021

  AP

  July 03, 2021 04:41

  DOVER, Delaware: The Boy Scouts of America have reached an $850 million agreement with attorneys representing some 60,000 victims of child sex abuse in what could prove to be a pivotal moment in the organization’s bankruptcy case.

  The agreement filed in court by BSA attorneys late Thursday would mark one of the largest sums in US history involving cases of sexual abuse. The filing, known as a restructuring support agreement, includes the BSA, abuse victims, local Boy Scouts councils and lawyers appointed to represent victims who might file future claims.

  “After months of intensive negotiations, the debtors have reached resolution with every single official and major creditor constituency,” BSA attorneys wrote.

  The Boy Scouts of America sought bankruptcy protection in February 2020, moving to halt hundreds of lawsuits by men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders. The filing was intended to try to reach a global resolution of abuse claims and create a compensation fund for victims.

  But attorneys for the Irving, Texas-based BSA had previously been unable to reach agreement with victims, local Boy Scout councils and insurers on how to compensate victims while allowing the 111-year-old organization to continue operating.

  Thursday’s agreement signals the BSA’s acknowledgment that disagreements remain between attorneys representing abuse victims and those representing the BSA’s insurers.

  In an earlier court filing Thursday, attorneys for certain insurance companies accused the BSA of allowing attorneys for abuse victims to rewrite the BSA’s restructuring plan to favor their clients.

  “With only the fox guarding the henhouse, the outcome is utterly at odds with what BSA itself asserted was necessary for a confirmable plan and is permissible under the bankruptcy code,” the insurers wrote.

  Attorneys for insurers appear to be concerned, among other things, that decisions regarding insurance coverage issues would be made without their input.

  Meanwhile, attorneys for the Boy Scouts are also asking for US Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein to declare that they have no obligation to seek court approval of a previously announced settlement with The Hartford, one of the BSA’s insurers.

  The Hartford agreed to pay $650 million into the victims’ trust in exchange for being released from any further obligations under policies dating to 1971.

  The Hartford settlement was roundly criticized by attorneys for abuse victims, who estimate the insurer’s liability exposure at several billion dollars. They made it clear that victims would not support any plan that includes the Hartford settlement.

  The Boy Scouts have said that between $2.4 billion and $7.1 billion, including insurance rights, might be available for abuse victims. Attorneys for a committee that acts as a fiduciary representative of all victims in the bankruptcy case have estimated the value of some 82,500 sexual abuse claims at about $103 billion.

  Matthew Sturdevant, a spokesperson for The Hartford, said the company’s agreement with the Boy Scouts “is a crucial building block to move this bankruptcy case toward a conclusion.”

  “We are disappointed that the Boy Scouts of America have chosen to flout the organization’s tenet of keeping promises by seeking to discard a thoughtfully negotiated and mutually agreed upon deal that appropriately values The Hartford’s obligations,” Sturdevant said in an email.

  In a joint statement, representatives for the victims as well as future claimants representative said the restructuring support agreement will allow the Boy Scouts to emerge from bankruptcy “while providing meaningful compensation to the victims, and holding the Boy Scouts’ insurers to the terms of the insurance policies purchased by the Boy Scouts and their affiliates over many decades.”

  In a revised plan submitted barely two weeks ago, the BSA offered to issue an $80 million promissory note to a trust fund for abuse victims. It also proposed maneuvers to make up to $50 million in additional cash available for abuse survivors. The proposed changes would increase the BSA’s proposed contribution to as much as roughly $250 million, more than doubling a prior plan.

  Under a new plan expected to be filed Friday, the BSA’s 250-odd local councils would contribute $600 million into the fund for abuse victims, doubling an offer from earlier this year. Under the plan, the BSA and local councils would be released from liability in return for their contributions to the victims fund.

  A hearing in the case is schedule for July 20.

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  Bangladesh starts Pfizer vaccination program for workers bound for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

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   People crowd a ferry terminal to leave the city ahead of a lockdown set to start on July 1, at the Shimulia ferry terminal in Munshiganj, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (AP)

  People crowd a ferry terminal to leave the city ahead of a lockdown set to start on July 1, at the Shimulia ferry terminal in Munshiganj, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (AP)

  Updated 03 July 2021

  SHEHAB SUMON

  July 03, 2021 00:47

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   People crowd a ferry terminal to leave the city ahead of a lockdown set to start on July 1, at the Shimulia ferry terminal in Munshiganj, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (AP)

  Departures to Kuwait are scheduled to begin next month with the state expected to start receiving travelers from Aug. 1

  Updated 03 July 2021

  SHEHAB SUMON

  July 03, 2021 00:47

  DHAKA: Bangladesh is to provide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pfizer vaccinations to migrant workers heading for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to help them meet the new travel requirements of Gulf countries.

  The Bangladeshi overseas employment ministry made the announcement on Friday in the wake of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait’s updated travel restrictions requiring visitors to have had either Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson jabs to gain entry, leaving out the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on which Bangladesh now relies.

  Until April, Bangladesh had been administering Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by India, but its south Asian neighbor stopped delivering the shots.

  Every week, 12,000 Bangladeshi workers travel to Saudi Arabia where they have had to undertake a costly 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, but with the Pfizer vaccination it will no longer be necessary.

  Departures to Kuwait are scheduled to begin next month with the state expected to start receiving travelers from Aug. 1.

  Bangladeshi Minister of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmad on Friday told Arab News: “Our migrant workers who will have the first dose of Pfizer vaccine in Bangladesh, will be exempted from the mandatory quarantine after their landing in the Kingdom.”

  As the government started registering workers for vaccination, he added that workers would receive their second vaccine doses under the supervision of Saudi authorities.

  Bangladesh has so far received 100,000 Pfizer vaccine doses under the World Health Organization’s COVAX program for equitable distribution of COVID-19 shots among developing nations.

  FASTFACT

  Dhaka has received 100,000 Pfizer vaccine doses under WHO’s COVAX program. More than 2m Bangladeshis work in Saudi Arabia, around 350,000 in Kuwait.

  “Currently, we have around 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines which arrived through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative,” Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research principal scientific officer, Dr. A.S.M. Alamgir, told Arab News.

  He said that workers bound for Saudi Arabia or Kuwait would receive the Pfizer vaccine at seven government-run health facilities in the capital Dhaka.

  “Later, the migrants will be inoculated with Moderna vaccine, which is approved by Saudi authorities as well,” he added.

  Bangladesh is expecting to receive 2.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine from the US.

  More than 2 million Bangladeshis work in Saudi Arabia and around 350,000 in Kuwait.

  Tipu Sultan, president of the Recruiting Agencies Unity Forum, said: “Considering the current vaccine crisis around the world, the government’s decision to ease the migrant workers’ trouble to such an extent is appreciated.”

  Mohammad Saleh, 27, said he had borrowed $2,000 to pay for his flight and visa in order to work in Saudi Arabia and had been worried about finding another $1,000 for mandatory quarantine.

  “I was concerned about the hotel quarantine costs in the Kingdom but now I can take the flight without any worries,” he added.

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  Ethiopia denies blocking humanitarian aid to Tigray

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  People try to shake hands with soldiers of Tigray Defense Force as they arrive in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia. The rebel fighters have vowed to drive all ‘enemies’ out of the region. (AFP)

  People try to shake hands with soldiers of Tigray Defense Force as they arrive in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia. The rebel fighters have vowed to drive all ‘enemies’ out of the region. (AFP)

  Updated 03 July 2021

  Reuters

  July 03, 2021 00:26

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  People try to shake hands with soldiers of Tigray Defense Force as they arrive in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia. The rebel fighters have vowed to drive all ‘enemies’ out of the region. (AFP)

  The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral cease-fire which the TPLF dismissed as a joke

  Updated 03 July 2021

  Reuters

  July 03, 2021 00:26

  ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia has denied blocking humanitarian aid to its northern Tigray region where hundreds of thousands face starvation, and said it was rebuilding infrastructure amid accusations it is using hunger as a weapon.

  The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, provincial authorities which Ethiopian forces and troops from neighboring Eritrea had driven out last year, returned to regional capital Mekelle this week to cheering crowds, in a dramatic reversal of eight months of war.

  The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral cease-fire which the TPLF dismissed as a joke. There are reports of continued clashes in some places as pressure builds internationally for all sides to pull back.

  “The allegation that we are trying to suffocate the Tigrayan people by denying humanitarian access and using hunger as weapon of war is beyond the pale,” Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen told diplomats in Addis Ababa.

  “We have been exerting every possible effort to rebuild damaged infrastructure and restore electricity, telecoms, internet and banking services.”

  Just before Mekelle was taken, Reuters saw a convoy of 34 trucks — each laden with 43 tons of food aid — stopped in the Tigray town of Mai Tsebri. Blue flags from the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) hung from the cabins, sodden with rain.

  The trucks had waited four days at a checkpoint controlled by government-allied Amhara regional forces.

  Finally, they unloaded the food, without having reached the area where it was needed.

  Aid has been completely blocked since the TPLF took the capital, a senior diplomat in Addis Ababa said.`

  The allegation that we are trying to suffocate the Tigrayan people by denying humanitarian access and using hunger as weapon of war is beyond the pale

  Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy prime minister

  In a speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Tigrayans needed to reflect on who they chose as leaders.

  “If they are cheering after we left — while we were the ones who had been giving them wheat — they need a time of silence,” he said.

  The UN said in early June at least 350,000 people in Tigray faced famine. The US Agency for International Development last week estimated the number at 900,000.

  The TPLF dominated the central government for decades before Abiy came to power in 2018. His government has been battling the TPLF since late last year, when it accused the TPLF of attacking military bases in Tigray. Thousands have been killed.

  TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda has repeatedly told Reuters this week that the group condemns the government’s shutdown of services as a continued act of war.

  He accused the military and Amhara regional forces of destroying one of three bridges across the Tekeze River on Thursday.

  He said that the forces also damaged the two other bridges, calling the destruction “a deliberate effort” to ensure that aid doesn’t reach the people of Tigray.

  Demeke’s comments denying that the government was blocking aid “fly fully in the face of the reality on the ground,” said Getachew, alleging that the government had systematically destroyed infrastructure, including farming tools needed for the planting season.

  The WFP also raised alarm at the destruction on Thursday of a bridge across the Tekeze, saying that even prior to that, the agency had food destined for people in famine conditions that was being held up.

  With the bridge out, a WFP official said in Geneva on Friday: “We currently have one possible road into Tigray that is much longer and will take much more time to reach hard hit areas of Tigray.”

  The WFP has resumed deliveries in Tigray, but faces continuing access problems and is “way behind” in bringing supplies to people facing starvation, its emergency coordinator, Tommy Thompson, said.

  Speaking by satellite phone from Mekelle, he said fighting continued in some “hot zones,” and that its 35 staff had been “trapped” during the hostilities.

  “WFP suspended its operations for only about 48 hours and we began operating in the northwest fairly quickly thereafter, managing to reach probably by the end of this weekend probably about 40,000 people,” he told a Geneva briefing.

  But Thompson said he was “cautiously optimistic” an air bridge could be set up in coming days to speed aid delivery.

  Government official Redwan Hussein told reporters that airspace would be opened “in case UN airplanes need to transport aid.”

  But he added that once the planes landed in Tigray: “For anything that happens on the ground, the government will not take responsibility because that chance is now closed.”

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  Afghan forces take control of Bagram base as US troops withdraw

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  Afghan forces take control of Bagram base as US troops withdraw

  Updated 03 July 2021

  Sayed Salahuddin

  July 02, 2021 05:52

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  Afghan forces take control of Bagram base as US troops withdraw

  Airfield handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force in its entirety

  The airfield served as the hub of America’s operations against Taliban

  Updated 03 July 2021

  Sayed Salahuddin

  July 02, 2021 05:52

  KABUL: Afghan security forces have taken control of Bagram Airfield, a key American military base near Kabul, as foreign troops leave the country nearly 20 years after the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

  Bagram Airfield, some 50 km north of Kabul, served as the hub of America’s operations against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

  The withdrawal from Bagram Airfield is seen as an indication that the US is completing the drawdown months ahead of President Joe Biden’s September deadline, despite a recent spike in Taliban attacks against Afghan government forces.

  “All coalition and American troops have left Bagram Airbase,” Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the defense ministry, told Arab News as the base was handed over to the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF).

  “ANDSF will protect the base and use it to combat terrorism,” he said.

  He refused to share details of the handover and about what equipment US troops had left behind.

  Before the arrival of US troops, Bagram Airfield was used by Russians during the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979-89, but it was under the American occupation that the base became a fortress city with shops, American fast-food outlets and sports venues. At the peak of the US military presence in 2012, the base saw more than 100,000 troops pass through its compound.

  Part of the facility served as a detention center for suspected militants, earning notoriety over alleged torture of its inmates.

  The Taliban in a statement on Friday welcomed the US departure from Bagram as a “positive step,” adding that they were waiting for a complete withdrawal of all foreign soldiers from Afghan soil.

  As most NATO soldiers have already left in accordance with a historic deal signed by Washington and the Taliban in February last year, about 650 American servicemen are expected to stay in Afghanistan to protect the US Embassy in Kabul and, possibly, the city’s airport, despite repeated Taliban threats against any foreign military presence in the country after the withdrawal deadline.

  The US and NATO departure comes as the Taliban have captured several dozens of districts in the past few weeks and also seized more grounds near the Bagram base in the past two days, according to local sources.

  While the Taliban advances come both by force and through the surrender of Afghan government forces, the government has in turn started resurrecting and arming local militias to assist its troops.

  Continued violence risks a civil war in Afghanistan, the US top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, said during his last conference in Kabul earlier this week.

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  Suicide bomber kills four, wounds eight in Mogadishu

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  Suicide bomber kills four, wounds eight in Mogadishu

  Updated 02 July 2021

  AFP

  July 02, 2021 20:47

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  Suicide bomber kills four, wounds eight in Mogadishu

  Attacker, who was wearing an explosive belt, targeted a café near heavily guarded government institutions

  The café is frequented by members of Somali security forces, some sources said

  Updated 02 July 2021

  AFP

  July 02, 2021 20:47

  MOGADISHU: At least four people were killed and eight others wounded in a suicide attack on a café in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police and witnesses said on Friday.

  The attacker, who was wearing an explosive belt, targeted a café near heavily guarded government institutions, including the headquarters of the Somali Intelligence Agency, at around 5:30 pm (1430 GMT), the sources said.

  ”There was a blast caused by a suicide bomber targeting a café near Juba intersection, investigations are still ongoing but the initial information we have indicates four people were killed and eight others wounded,” Mohamed Adan, a police officer at the site of the attack, told AFP.

  ”The café was crowded when the blast occurred,” said Abdikarim Ali, a witness. “I was close to the area and rushed to the scene after the blast and I saw at least four lifeless bodies strewn in the ruins of chairs, tables and other materials used in the café.”

  According to another witness, Suleyman Mohamud, “ambulances were collecting dead bodies and injured people from the scene”.

  The café is frequented by members of the Somali security forces, some sources said.

  The attack was not immediately claimed, but Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda-linked extremist group that wants to overthrow Somalia’s fragile government, regularly carries out attacks on government targets and civilians in Mogadishu.

  Al-Shabab controlled the Somali capital before being ousted in 2011 by troops from Amisom, the African Union force.

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