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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alibaba fires accused manager

HONG KONG – China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, said Monday it fired a manager accused of sexual assault and pledged to strengthen its anti-sexual harassment policy, after a female employee accused the company of suppressing her report of the assault.

The unidentified female employee went public Saturday with an internal post detailing the alleged sexual assault by her manager and a client during a business trip, according to local media reports.

She said she was forced to drink alcohol, that her manager sexually assaulted her in a hotel room while she was intoxicated and that she was also molested by the client while her manager turned a blind eye.

The employee said the company didn’t take the matter seriously when she reported the assault, and that she was told the suspect would not be fired from the company, according to her post.In a memo by Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang made public Monday, he said the accused perpetrator – who works at its Neighborhood Retail business unit – confessed to “intimate acts” with the female employee while she was intoxicated.

Judge blocks Florida law

MIAMI – A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Florida law that prevents cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove they’re vaccinated against COVID-19, saying the law appears unconstitutional and likely won’t hold up in court.

The “vaccine passport” ban signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis fails to protect medical privacy or prevent discrimination against unvaccinated people, but it does appear to violate the First Amendment rights of Norwegian Cruise Lines, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams wrote.

From wire reportsIn a nearly 60-page ruling issued late Sunday, the judge said Florida failed to “provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate” for banning requirements that passengers prove they’ve been vaccinated.

Norwegian has shown that suspending the requirement will jeopardize public health, potentially causing “super-spreader” events wherever passengers disembark, she wrote.

Florida separately sued the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking to block federal cruise ship vaccination requirements.