Sacklers seek immunity from opioid suits. Families separated at border reunited. Four arrested in global child sex abuse ring. WH weighs vaccine patent waiver.
25 states fight to block Sackler family immunity in opioid crisis
The Sackler family, which owns Oxycontin-makers Purdue Pharma, are attempting to create what experts are calling a “legal firewall” to prevent further lawsuits against them for their role in the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis claimed the lives of over 500,000 Americans over two decades. The Sackler family has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the addiction crisis. However, internal memos and testimony from other Purdue board members have said that David Sackler was instrumental in pushing sales quotas. He continued to do so even after the company had paid millions in fines for pursuing unethical policies to push Oxycontin sales.
The Sacklers have offered to forfeit control of the already bankrupt firm and pay $4.2 billion from their private fortunes. This would be exchange for immunity to any further civil suits against the families other assets. The Sacklers are estimated to have taken home around $10 billion in profit by pushing the sales quotas. The family also has considerable holdings in real estate and other firms.
A New York bankruptcy court is hearing the case. Some consider the deal a legal shortcut that could speed compensation to families and state and local governments. But attorneys general from 25 stakes say the deal is unethical and would set a dangerous precedent. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says, “The bankruptcy system should not be allowed to shield non-bankrupt billionaires”. Healey continued, “It would set a terrible precedent. If the Sacklers are allowed to use bankruptcy to escape the consequences of their actions, it would be a roadmap for other powerful bad actors”.
US begins reuniting families separated at Mexico border
Shortly after taking office, President Biden committed to reuniting more than 1000 immigrant families who were separated at the border during former President Trump’s time in office. Members of four families have received temporary humanitarian parole to reunite with their children on US soil. Humanitarian parole typically offers temporary residence in the US, usually in cases of family illness or other emergency. Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas has not said whether other families will receive the same relief or something similar. Details are sparse on the four families, but Mayorkas says that the cases include families from both Mexico and El Salvador, who will reunite with children as young as 3 years old.
Advocates have welcomed the good news for these four families, but have criticized the slow progress of the family reunification project. White House sources say their efforts have been hampered by the poor record-keeping of the Trump administration. Additionally, the parents of the children can be hard to trace. Many have either returned to their countries of origin or remain in towns or encampments near the border which are difficult to monitor.
Four arrested in raid on global child sex abuse network.
German and Paraguayan authorities are holding four men connected to a global child abuse network on the dark web. The platform, called Boystown, has over 400,000 registered members worldwide. Boystown is one of the largest networks for trading images of child sex abuse ever uncovered. Germans are leading the investigation of the network with help from law enforcement in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the US and Canada.
Europol, a European police agency, says that “more arrests and rescues are to be expected globally” in connection with the Boystown investigation. The four German nationals arrested are believed to have run the huge paedophile network. One of these men alone was responsible for uploading more than 3,500 images of child sexual abuse. The majority of the children on the site are young boys, many of them toddlers.
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Sanders, others push global patent waiver for COVID vaccines
Last week, the White House announced that it was considering support for a patent waiver for COVID vaccines. The waiver would allow poor countries to produce their own vaccines. This would speed up the global vaccination campaign, as developing countries would no longer have to wait for wealthy countries to donate their surplus vaccines. Even as the crisis in India continues, no further commitment from the White House has been forthcoming.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN that the US not only has a “moral responsibility” to help vaccinate the rest of the world, but that it is “also in our own self-interest”. Otherwise, Sanders says, “this pandemic … is going to come back and bite us at one point or another”.
In truth, Sanders’ dire prediction is already unfolding. The first cases of the more contagious double mutant strain from India have already been detected in the US. Moreover, experts are predicting that vaccine hesitancy may prevent the US from reaching herd immunity.
Sanders supports addressing this issue through the World Trade Organization. Several developing countries are already pleading with the WTO to grant a waiver as cases continue to rise and new variants constantly emerge. The White House has promised an update on the issue in “the coming days”.Boystown, child sexual abuse, Covid 19 vaccine, COVID-19 variants, dark web, immigration, international news, national news, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news, opioid crisis, OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, Sackler family, world news