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Rescued Thai cave boys get grooming to become Buddhist monks

The odyssey of a youth soccer team rescued from a Thai cave continued Tuesday when 11 of the boys attended a solemn ceremony and had their heads shaved before being ordained as Buddhist novices

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The odyssey of a youth soccer team rescued from a Thai cave continued Tuesday when 11 of the boys attended a solemn ceremony and had their heads shaved before being ordained as Buddhist novices.

The families of the boys had pledged to have the boys ordained as a show of gratitude for their rescue from the partially flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai.

Video from the ceremony shows the boys, dressed in white, lined up before a table covered with lit candles and food. The boys prayed, bowed and took seats. A group of monks and others in the audience then took part in clipping their hair and shaving their heads.

The boys, ages 11-17, will be formally ordained Wednesday and spend nine days living in Wat Pha That Doi Wao temple near their homes in northern Thailand. That’s about how long they were trapped before the first team of rescue divers reached them, 2.5 miles from the cave’s entrance.

Read Also: Revealed: Thai cave boys tried to dig their way out

“This temple will be where they will reside after the ordination. I hope they will find peace, strength and wisdom from practicing Buddha’s teaching,” said the temple’s acting abbot, Phra Khru Prayutjetiyanukarn.

The assistant coach who was trapped with the boys, Ekapol Chanthawong, previously lived as a Buddhist novice for more than eight years and will be ordained as a monk. A 12th team member who was with the group, Adul Sam-on, is not Buddhist and is not participating in the ceremonies.

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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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