Court refuses to revive defamation suit against Bill Cosby

In this Aug. 22, 2017 photo Bill Cosby departs Montgomery County Courthouse after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case in Norristown, Pa. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Court refuses to revive defamation suit against Bill Cosby

BOSTON: A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a bid to revive a defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby by an actress who said the entertainer raped her in 1974 and then called her a liar after she made her accusations public in a newspaper interview.
The lawsuit, filed by Kathrine McKee, revolved around a letter that an attorney for Cosby sent New York’s Daily News in 2014 as a wave of women was coming forward to accuse the comedian of a string of sexual assaults dating back to the 1960s.
The statute of limitations on the alleged crimes had long expired, leading some accusers to pursue civil lawsuits, such as McKee’s. The lawsuits and accusations by dozens of women shattered the family-friendly reputation Cosby built in a career highlighted by his role in the 1980s television hit “The Cosby Show.”
Cosby, 80, has denied wrongdoing, saying any encounters with his accusers were consensual. He is awaiting an April retrial in Pennsylvania on charges he sexually assaulted a former basketball coach at his alma mater, Temple University.
McKee argued in her suit that the attorney’s letter to the newspaper called her a liar by saying the article was “defamatory, characterizing her claims as “wild” and suggesting she had a criminal record.
But the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston stood by a lower-court ruling that the entertainer could not be sued over the letter.
The decision found that McKee had made herself a public figure by wading into the controversy with Cosby, rejecting her claim that her dispute with the entertainer was a private one. As a public figure, McKee would have to prove that Cosby acted with malice in his response.
“The web of sexual assault allegations implicating Cosby, an internationally renowned comedian commonly referred to as ‘America’s Dad,’ constitutes a public controversy,” US Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch wrote for the three-judge panel.
William Salo, McKee’s attorney, said he disagreed with the decision and may appeal.
“They’re saying just because a famous person rapes you, you become a public figure if you complain about it,” he said.
Alan Greenberg, a lawyer for Cosby, welcomed the “well-reasoned decision confirming that there was no defamation.”
McKee sued Cosby in 2015, a year after the Nevada resident told the newspaper he raped her in a Detroit hotel room in 1974.
 


More than 300 distressed Bangladeshis without salary in Qatar for 6 months

Updated 1 min 18 sec ago
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More than 300 distressed Bangladeshis without salary in Qatar for 6 months

  • Bangladesh mission officials said around 400,000 Bangladeshi migrants were working in Qatar
  • Around 100 Bangladeshi workers left the camp in the past few days and repatriated to Bangladesh
DHAKA: “We had to face starvation for three days on Sept 8, 9 and 10. Now, every day we are getting two meals from a Qatar charity,” said Kazi Lutfur Rahman, a Bangladeshi migrant who has worked with Doha-based estate agent Hamton International since 2012.
“Around 1,000 migrant workers from Asia and Africa are now living a very miserable life in a camp without electricity and water supply.”
Like Rahman, around 300 Bangladeshi migrants are now living in uncertainty in Qatar since the employer Hamton International has not paid their salary for about six months. The workers are now living in a camp at Al Shahaniya, about 20km from Doha.
“The Qatar charity provides us with diesel to produce electricity during the night only for two hours, and for a shower we rush to a nearby church,” Rahman, 44, told Arab News.
The crisis in Hamton started in April this year when the staff remained unpaid for two months. After the workers’ agitation in June the employer paid them two months’ salary in arrears and promised to pay the due amount on June 20.
But still the workers remained unpaid. Later on Hamton management increased the time to July and promised to pay the due salary on Sept.10.
“Just two days before the payment date the authority closed the operations of the company and we fell into uncertainty about our due payments,” added Rahman, who has worked for Hamton since July 2012 and used to receive around $550 salary per month.
Apart from Bangladeshis, there are 1,000 other migrants from India, Nepal, Ghana and Sri Lanka, Rahman said.
Sirajul Islam, labor secretary of the Bangladesh mission in Qatar, told Arab News: “We are very concerned about the sufferings of our migrants and already we have contacted the Qatar Labor Ministry to resolve the crisis.”
He said that among the 333 Bangladeshis, around 150 workers joined last June/July and all of them spent around $4,300 to get the job.
“We are trying to replace the Bangladeshi workers in some other local companies. Already the Qatar Labor Ministry has initiated the issue and it may take another one or two weeks to place many of them in the new job.”
However, around 100 Bangladeshi workers left the camp in the past few days and repatriated to Bangladesh. According to the Bangladesh mission authority, they were compensated by the concerned recruiting agencies in Bangladesh which sent the workers to Qatar and the repatriated migrants have authorized the Bangladesh mission in Doha to receive the money from their company in their absence.
Family members of the distressed Bangladeshi migrants are living in anxiety and have had sleepless nights for the past two months.
Morium Begum, 35, Rahman’s wife, told Arab News: “I want the safe return of my husband and the employer should pay the due amount.”
She added: “We have one son and two daughters. All of them are studying in school and college. Last night I noticed my elder daughter was weeping alone about her father, which was unbearable for me as a mother.”
Repeated attempts were made to reach Hamton International’s top management, but none of the telephone numbers on its official letterhead was in service.
Bangladesh mission officials said around 400,000 Bangladeshi migrants were working in Qatar. Of them, 75 percent are engaged in construction work and around 100,000 are employed as drivers, housemaids and cleaning staff.