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No stopping Palestinian teen jailed for slapping Israeli soldier

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Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi who has just been freed from an Israeli prison says she is not deterred by the experience, vowing to fight on regardless.

Tamimi was made to serve eight-month prison sentence for slapping a soldier.

According to a spokesman for Israel’s Prison Authority, Tamimi’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, was also released.

Early Sunday morning, the two were taken from the HaSharon prison in central Israel to a West Bank border crossing, then on to their village of Nabi Saleh and released.

The young activist received a hero’s welcome upon returning home. Video from Nabi Saleh showed dozens of her supporters waved Palestinian flags and cheered for Tamimi, who turned 17 in prison. As she walked through the crowd, many lined up to hug the teenager.

Flanked by her father and mother, Tamimi gave a short statement outside a home in her village, saying, “From our home, the resistance is continuing until the end of the occupation. I thank everyone who supported me during my arrest.”

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Tamimi then left with her family to Ramallah, where she paid her respects at the grave of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a family spokeswoman said.

While in Ramallah, she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Abbas praised Tamimi, describing her as “a model of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, independence and statehood,” according to Wafa.

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Musings From Abroad

Swiss firm, ABB, gets $4.3 million fine over bribery case in South Africa

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Judicial authority in Switzerland has fined engineering and technology group ABB, the sum of 4 million Swiss francs ($4.3 million) in connection with a bribery case in South Africa.

According to the country’s Attorney General, the fine on ABB is for “not having taken all necessary and reasonable organisational provisions in order to prevent bribery payments to foreign officials in South Africa”.

The group was found guilty of improper payments and other compliance issues at the Kusile power station after a wide-scale investigation into state corruption concluded in June 2022.

Earlier in the week, ABB and South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) agreed that the company will pay reparations for its involvement in state corruption.

According to a statement by the NPA, the company agreed to pay 2.5 billion rands ($144.51 million) in punitive reparations to South Africa within 60 days from the first day of December.

The reparation is in addition to 1.6 billion rand ($92.48 million)the company paid back to South African state power utility Eskom in 2020.

The Central Europe country has been fingered in lots of corruption cases involving African countries.

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Musings From Abroad

United States: Appeal court rejects President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel student loan debt has suffered a new setback as a federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to support it.

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit in Wednesday’s brief order declined to put Pittman’s ruling on hold while the administration appealed his decision, but the court directed that the appeal be heard on an expedited basis.

The court declined to put on hold a Texas judge’s ruling that said President Biden’s move was unlawful.

President Biden had requested to pause a judge’s Nov. 10 order vacating the $400 billion student debt relief program in a lawsuit pursued by a conservative advocacy group.

President Joe Biden announced plans earlier this year to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt for borrowers who qualify and extend the federal student loan payment pause until the end of the year.

As of the fourth quarter of 2021, the average federal student loan debt balance in the United States was $37,787 while the total average balance (including private loan debt) may be as high as $40,780.

The US Department of Education had already approved requests from 16 million to about 26 million Americans that applied for student loan forgiveness.

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