Oct 24, 2007

AT&T told to pay 2 Jehovah's Witnesses

Dallas Morning News

October 24, 2007

From Wire Reports

AT&T Inc. must pay $756,000 to two former technicians who were denied time off to attend a Jehovah's Witness meeting, a federal jury in Arkansas decided.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued AT&T last year, claiming the San Antonio-based company denied Glenn Owen and Jose Gonzalez a "reasonable accommodation" of their religious beliefs when it fired them after they asked to attend a Jehovah's Witness convention in Little Rock, Ark.

The two men had "sincerely held religious beliefs" and had attended the convention previously, according to the EEOC complaint.

The verdict, delivered Oct. 19, was entered Monday, according to the court docket.

"We respectfully disagree with the verdict and plan to appeal," said AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk.


Oct 11, 2007

Aum bankruptcy to wrap up in March

Japan Times

October 11, 2007

Kyodo News Service


The bankruptcy proceedings for doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo are now scheduled to conclude in March, which will allow the bankruptcy administrator to find ways to compensate victims of Aum's deadly crimes.

At the 15th meeting of victims' representatives and other creditors held Wednesday at the Tokyo District Court, bankruptcy administrator Saburo Abe proposed closing the procedures on March 31, a dozen years after the cult was declared insolvent in 1996.

Abe and the victims plan to urge the government and Diet members to establish a special law obliging the government to shoulder compensation payments on behalf of Aum, which has renamed itself Aleph, and collect debts from the group.

Presiding Judge Kenji Nishi decided to hold the final creditors' meeting on March 26.

"We doubt that we can collect the debts from the group simply through the bankruptcy procedures, because the pain felt by the victims has already reached its limit," Abe said. "I am confident that our proposal was approved by the court and we will continue supporting the victims until they are provided with redress."

In Wednesday's meeting, Abe presented the conditions for closing the proceedings, under which a fund to support Aum's victims, set up in June 2006, will take over the cult's claimable assets. The victims will receive another round of payments before mid-March.

According to Abe, Aum is roughly ¥5.1 billion in debt, and about ¥3.8 billion of that should be used as compensation.

But the victims have so far received only 34 percent of that amount, or ¥1.3 billion, in the past three rounds of payments. The next payment is expected to boost their take to around 37 percent or 38 percent.

Aum was founded by Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto. Twelve people died in the group's 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway system. Another gassing in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994, killed seven people.

Asahara and several other cultists have been sentenced to hang for those attacks and other murders linked to Aum.