Tycoon killed in plane crash leaves $52m fortune to Oxfam

Richard Cousins was killed along with his family members on New Year's Eve in a plane crash in Australia. (Reuters)
Updated 21 August 2018
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Tycoon killed in plane crash leaves $52m fortune to Oxfam

LONDON: A tycoon killed with his family in a seaplane crash in Australia on New Year's Eve left a $52 million fortune to the crisis-hit charity Oxfam.
The bequest comes at a time when Oxfam is trying to find $21 million in savings as it grapples with the fallout from a sex abuse scandal.
The charity, which has lost thousands of donors since reports earlier this year that its staff used prostitutes while working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, said it had only recently been notified and could not confirm the amount.
"We are extremely grateful for this bequest," Oxfam said in a statement.
Richard Cousins, 58, boss of catering giant Compass Group, died with sons William, 25, Edward, 23, fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather, 11, when their plane nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney.
The Sun newspaper reported that some time before the crash Cousins drew up a will with a "common tragedy clause", leaving his money to Oxfam in the event that he and his sons were killed together.
Oxfam said it was working with Cousins' family and its board of trustees to identify how the bequest would be used.
The sum is more than twice the amount received from legacies in the year 2016 to 2017.
The Sun said all but £3 million pounds of Cousins' fortune would go to the charity. Two brothers will receive £1 million each.
The seaplane was part of the Sydney Seaplanes business that has operated since 2005 with no previous record of mishap.
A preliminary investigation found it was off course, but could not determine the cause of the crash, which also killed Australian pilot Gareth Morgan.


US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, photo provided by the ACLU of Montana, Martha Hernandez, left, and Ana Suda pose in front of a convenience store in Havre, Mont., where they say they were detained by a U.S Border Patrol agent for speaking Spanish last year. (AP)
Updated 45 min 34 sec ago
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US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

  • The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre

LOS ANGELES: Two US women detained by a border patrol agent in the state of Montana after he heard them speaking Spanish in a grocery store have sued the country’s border protection agency.
Video of the incident — which took place last May in the small town of Havre — showed Agent Paul O’Neal tell Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez that he had asked to see their identification as it was unusual to hear Spanish speakers in the state, which borders Canada.
“It has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominately English speaking,” he said.
“It’s not illegal, it’s just very unheard of up here,” he told the women.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre.
Suda and Hernandez say in the lawsuit that O’Neal detained them for 40 minutes.
California native Hernandez and Suda, who was born in Texas, said they were standing in line to buy milk and eggs when the agent — who was standing behind them — commented on Hernandez’s accent, and asked the women where they were born.
“I asked, ‘Are you serious’?” Suda said, according to the lawsuit. “Agent O’Neal responded that he was ‘dead serious’.”
The two women say they were then asked to show identification and questioned outside the store, before eventually being released.
“The incident itself is part of a broader pattern that we’ve seen of abusive tactics by border patrol which has gotten worse since the Trump administration, which has left border patrol officers feeling emboldened to take actions like this,” Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU, told AFP.
“This has been devastating for (Suda and Hernandez),” he added.
“Havre is a small town, they felt ostracized and humiliated and made to feel unwelcome in their own town and in their own country.”
He noted the United States has no official language, with Spanish by far the most common language spoken after English.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment on the case.
“As a matter of policy, US Customs and Border Protection does not comment on pending litigation,” he told AFP in a statement. “However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations.”