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New York Attorney General sues Harvey Weinstein, brother, firm

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Harvey Weinstein (File Photo)

New York, Feb 12: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, his brother Robert and their firm, the Weinstein Company, a move that could complicate the sale of the disgraced mogul’s film studio, the media reported.

Schneiderman said on Sunday that a four-month investigation into sexual harassment found “vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees”, reports CNN.

The lawsuit, filed electronically in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, cites what it calls “egregious” violations of state, civil and human rights laws.

Harvey and Robert Weinstein co-founded the company in March 2005. Previously deemed as one of Hollywood’s most powerful film studios, it has produced Hollywood blockbusters like “Django Unchained”, “The King’s Speech”, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Inglourious Basterds”.

The complaint alleges “a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro-quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends”.

The alleged misconduct began in 2005 and continued through October 2017, the suit has claimed.

The lawsuit has also delayed a fire sale of the company, which was expected to be finalised on Sunday, reports The New York Times.

“Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman said.

The company has been trying to avoid bankruptcy since reports of the allegations were first revealed by The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine.

Before the lawsuit, the company was nearing a deal to sell itself to an investor group for about $275 million, plus the assumption of $225 million in debt, informed officials told The New York Times.

Robert had frantically tried to keep control of the company following his brother’s firing in October.

The brothers, who jointly own about 42 per cent of the company, would receive no cash from the proposed sale, according to the officials.

Other equity holders, including the advertising giant WPP Group, may also be wiped out.

In reply to the lawsuit, Weinstein attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement that “a fair investigation by Schneiderman will demonstrate that many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are without merit”, CNN reported.

“While Mr. (Harvey) Weinstein’s behaviour was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality,” the statement added.

IANS

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Lucknow Covid team’s data includes US couple & one long dead

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Corona Death Body

The district health department in Lucknow has released Covid reports of two persons who are in the US and one, who died years ago.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Sanjay Bhatnagar said an employee was suspended and show cause notice was served to another on Tuesday after a probe found them guilty of the lapse.

According to reports, Ashray Jaiswal, a bank executive, tested Covid positive on October 6.

Two days later, a contact tracing team came to his rented house in Rajajipuram area to collect the samples of his wife and two children for tests.

The team gave Ashray a link of the portal where he could login to see the test results.

When Ashray opened the portal the next day, he was shocked to see reports of five other persons, along with his family members, with the same residential address.

“The reports of my wife and children stated that they were tested through the RT-PCR method. While my son tested positive, wife and daughter came negative. However, of five other names, three were of my landlord’s family — two of them were the couple who own the house and are currently in the US — while third report was of the landlord’s father who had passed away a few years ago. The remaining two persons are not known to me,” he told reporters.

The team, apparently, noted the names of the landlord’s family from the nameplate outside the house without actually collecting samples.

Ashray reported the matter immediately on the Covid helpline. “Thereafter, a contact team personnel arrived and apologised while promising to get my family’s tests done again”.

Source: IANS

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Soldiers open fire on Nigerian protesters in Lagos: witnesses

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Nigerian Protesters

LAGOS : Soldiers opened fire on Nigerian protesters in the Lekki district of the commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday, shooting at least two people, three witnesses told Reuters.

Protesters have demonstrated here for more than a week over allegations of police brutality in Nigeria.

“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.

Lagos state government said it would open an investigation into the shooting, which witnesses said took place around 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).

“There have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza,” Gboyega Akosile, a spokesman for the governor, said on Twitter. “The State Government has ordered an investigation into the incident,” he said in another tweet.

A Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Inyene Akpan, 26, a photographer, said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the toll gate in Lekki and opened fire. He said he saw two people being shot.

Akinbosola Ogunsanya, a third witness, said he saw around 10 people being shot. He also said he saw soldiers remove bodies.

A Reuters witness heard sirens and gunfire.

Authorities on Tuesday imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Lagos, which contains Africa’s biggest city, in response to the protests, which the state governor said had turned violent.

The national police chief also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces nationwide following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.

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Thousands rally across France in tribute to murdered schoolteacher

Nation mourns Samuel Paty, who was beheaded in a terrorist attack on Friday

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Tens of thousands of people have rallied in solidarity, in dozens of towns and cities across France, after a secondary schoolteacher was beheaded in an attack that has shocked a country already shaken by terrorist atrocities.

Demonstrators gathered on Sunday in cities including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux in support of free speech and in tribute to Samuel Paty, who was killed outside his school on Friday after discussing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad with his class.

Leading politicians, civil rights associations and teachers’ unions rallied on the Place de la République in Paris holding placards proclaiming “Je suis Samuel”, an echo of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan following the 2015 attack in which Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Protesters at Place de la République in Paris pay tribute to Samuel Paty. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Others held placards aloft declaring “No to totalitarianism of thought”, “I am a teacher” or “Schools in mourning”. Between bursts of applause, others chanted “Freedom of expression, freedom to teach” or sang La Marseillaise.

“We are the result of our history: these values of liberty, secularism and democracy cannot remain just words,” one demonstrator in Paris told French television. “We have to keep them alive, and being here helps do that.”

Many teachers said the killing came amid a climate of growing suspicion and criticism of teachers, with parents particularly willing to intervene. “We have to be allowed to do our jobs,” one teacher told Le Monde. “It cannot be allowed come to this – that I now know I might end up being killed for teaching,” said another.

Before the rallies, the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer called on “everyone to support our teachers”, saying “solidarity and unity” was vital. State interior secretary, Marlène Schiappa, said she was attending the Paris rally “for teachers, secularism and freedom of expression, and against Islamism”.

Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Lyon mosque and a senior Muslim figure, said Paty had merely been “doing his job” and was “respectful” in doing so. “These terrorists are not religious but are using religion to take power,” Kabtane told Agence France-Presse.

A national tribute will be organised for Wednesday, the Elysée palace announced. The prime minister, Jean Castex, who attended the Paris rally along with opposition leaders and the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said the government was working on a strategy to better protect teachers from similar threats.

“I want teachers to know that, after this ignoble act, the whole country is behind them,” Castex said. “This tragedy affects each and every one of us because, through this teacher, it is the republic that was attacked.”

The 47-year-old history and geography teacher was repeatedly attacked with a 30cm butcher’s knife outside the Bois-d’Aulne secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, about 20 miles north-west of Paris, by an 18-year-old assailant.

Named as Abdullakh Anzorov, the attacker was shot dead by police soon afterwards when he fired at officers and tried to stab them as they closed in on him. He was born in Moscow of Chechen parents, authorities said, and had arrived in France aged six where he had been granted refugee status along with his family.

Anzorov lived in Évreux, about 60 miles from Conflans, had not attended the school and, while he had a record for vandalism and fights as a child, had no known radical or Islamist affiliations, French media reported.

A Twitter account under the name Abdoulakh A belonging to the suspect posted a photo of the decapitated head from the attacker’s mobile phone minutes after the attack, along with the message: “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Mohammed down.”

Earlier this month, as part of a class discussion on freedom of expression and alongside cartoons and caricatures of different subjects, Paty showed his pupils two of the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo.

According to parents and teachers, the teacher had given Muslim children in his class the option to leave the classroom or turn away before he showed the two cartoons, saying that he did not want their feelings hurt.

A placard with the portrait of history teacher Samuel Paty as people gather in Paris.

A placard with the portrait of history teacher Samuel Paty as people gather in Paris. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

France’s anti-terror prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, said on Saturday that the teacher had been the target of multiple online threats for showing the cartoons to his class. Depictions of the prophet are widely regarded as taboo in Islam.

The father of one girl at the school had launched an online appeal for a “mobilisation” against the teacher, demanding he be fired. He also named Paty and gave the school’s address in a social media post days before the attack.

A known Islamist militant accompanied some parents to the school to argue their case, and helped file a formal police complaint. The schoolgirl’s father and the Islamist leader, along with four members of Anzorov’s family, are among 11 people arrested, including one person detained on Sunday.

Friday’s attack was the second of its kind since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The magazine republished the cartoons in the run-up to the trial, and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver outside the magazine’s former office.



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