05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Heidi Ricohermoso grew up in the shadows of Hong Kong's towering cityscape and, like the rest of her peers, often gazed upwards and dreamed of success. But getting there meant getting into college, and for Ricohermoso, the child of Filipino immigrants, that meant passing a series of state-administered exams.

"I wasn't very happy to see my HKCEE results," said Ricohermoso, referring to the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, a test administered to students in the eleventh grade as a prerequisite for the last two years of secondary school (high school). Students then must pass an exit exam to graduate from high school and apply to colleges and universities.

With Hong Kong's return to China in 1997, the tests have placed renewed emphasis on Chinese language proficiency.

"I thought I had to give up on getting a college education," said Ricohermoso. That frustration eventually forced Ricohermoso and her mother to leave the country for the United States, where the soft-spoken 20-year-old is now enrolled at Portland Community College and studying to become a Certified Nurse Assistant.

"Everyone in our community should be able to share in the fruits of our economic development," said Hong Kong's new Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in June, during an inaugural address, marred by protests over the city's growing wealth gap. For Ricohermoso, such words ring hollow.

Hong Kong's Servant Class

Four years ago she was waiting tables in Hong Kong and earning less than $1000 a month for a 60-hour work week. Her dreams went no farther than the next week's wages. After leaving Hong Kong, Ricohermoso finally saw a future for herself. "I felt relieved and excited for a new life and a new beginning," she said. "There are more opportunities [for me] here in the US."

Most of her friends back home, Ricohermoso says, are still working the same service-sector jobs she left behind.

Of Hong Kong's 7 million residents, close to 400,000 are members of an ethnic minority, according to census data from 2006. Most came fleeing joblessness and other economic woes in their home countries, and were attracted by the stellar economic success of the then-British colony.

Filipinos are the city's largest minority, with a population of some 150,000. Ricohermoso's mother was among the thousands of mostly women who in the late 1980s arrived looking for jobs mostly as domestic workers or nannies in the homes of Chinese families, at a time when more Chinese women were joining the labor force. More than two decades later, the children of these early migrants have come of age, reared in a school system that many Filipino residents say is set up for them to fail.

Language Barriers

Ricohermoso attended a Canadian kindergarten and, after that, spent two years at a private international school where English was the main language of instruction. At home she spoke Tagalog with her mother and biological father. (He passed away when Ricohermoso was 10, and her mother is now remarried to a U.S. citizen).

Of Hong Kong's 524 secondary schools – the rough equivalent of junior high in the United States – only five are for students from non-Chinese speaking households. The tuition at one of these private schools typically runs around HK$80,000 (US$10,000) per year, beyond what most immigrant families can afford.

By the time Ricohermoso was ready to enter the third grade, her mother moved her to a local Chinese school, hoping it would help prepare her for government-aided secondary school, where Cantonese is the main language of instruction.

"I was struggling with tests and exams because all the subjects were (taught) in Chinese…" recalled Ricohermoso. "As a non-Chinese, being in a Chinese school for the first time was very difficult for me."

Kelley Loper, an assistant professor at Hong Kong University's Faculty of Law and who has written extensively on the struggles of the city's ethnic minorities, says that there is little data on how language barriers have helped or hindered non-Chinese students.

According to Loper, the Hong Kong government is required to ensure equality of education, but officials are not meeting these obligations.

"Language is the key challenge and obstacle facing ethnic minority students when attempting to access education on an equal basis with their Chinese counterparts," said Loper.

Passing both state-administered exams was the ticket to college entry, but non-Chinese students still face barriers beyond that.

Neither test requires Chinese, though roughly 80 percent of universities in Hong Kong require prospective students to submit Chinese language test scores during the admission process. It is one reason why minority attendance among Hong Kong's universities is an abysmal 6.7 percent.

Ticket to Higher Ed.

Early on, many non-Chinese students encounter a school system that tracks them into lower-ranking schools.

Margaret Justine Nicolas, a 22-year-old Filipino student, now attends Hong Kong Polytechnic University, but the road to success was not easy.

After the sixth grade, she, like Ricohermoso, was assigned to a third-tier middle school, called a "Band 3" school -- the lowest performing of Hong Kong's three-tier ranking system, where a majority of students are non-Chinese. Unlike Ricohermoso, she decided to challenge the appointment, applying instead to a top-tier school.

"When the interview [the top-tier school] started, the first few minutes were conducted in English, then they switched to Cantonese," said Nicolas. "They asked five questions – I could answer the first three." As soon as it became apparent that her Cantonese was wanting, Nicolas said, the interview ended.

Nicolas eventually ended up enrolling at a third-tier school with a 90 percent ethnic minority student body.

After high school, Nicholas passed her high school exit and college entrance exam, but did not score high enough to gain access to top universities. She credits a high school teacher for helping to put her on the path to enroll in a college. The teacher encouraged her to apply for a newly-launched community college transfer program tied to Hong Kong Polytechnic.

In 2010, Nicolas transferred to Hong Kong Polytechnic, and is now a few months shy of earning her degree in English for Business Professional Communication.

"I never thought it would be possible," she said, adding she now plans to pursue a Master's in English Language Arts. Still she counts herself one of the lucky ones.

"I don't think that much effort is being placed on keeping non-Chinese students in Hong Kong," said Nicolas. "Schools are just letting them go, seeing as they normally leave Hong Kong or start working."

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