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Musings From Abroad

China confirms all 132 people on crashed airliner dead as second black box found

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The China Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC), has confirmed that all 132 people on board a China Eastern Airlines aircraft which crashed on Monday are dead.

The confirmation came on Sunday after searchers recovered the second black box of the jetliner which crashed in the forest mountains of southern China.

The CAAC said they have so far identified 120 of the victims using DNA testing, including 114 passengers and six crew members.

The flight MU5735 was on its way from the southwestern city of Kunming enroute to Guangzhou with 123 passengers and nine crew members on board, when it lost contact over the city of Wuzhou, the CAAC said in a statement.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined but the recovery teams said the recovery of the second black box which contains details of the flight data recorder such as speed, altitude and heading, would aid in determining the cause.

Rescue teams had combed the crash site and the surrounding forests for survivors and the black box after the first one was found on Wednesday, wading through thick mud due to heavy rains in the southern China’s Guangxi region, while desperate family members waited for news of their loved ones.

The crash of the Boeing 737-800 plane is China’s worst air disaster in more than a decade, according to the country’s aviation bureau.

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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