November 01, 2014 04:42 UTC

In the News

Bangladesh Building Collapse Kills More Than 500

More than 500 people are confirmed dead after the building failure on April 24th.

Relatives mourn as they look for garment workers.
Relatives mourn as they look for garment workers.


From VOA Learning English, this is In The News.                                                                   
Labor groups, businesses and people around the world are condemning the human cost of a building collapse in Bangladesh.  More than 500 people are confirmed dead after the building failure on April 24th.  
In the capital, Dhaka, tens of thousands of textile workers ended a week-long protest and reported to their jobs on Thursday.  The collapsed building had housed several clothing factories.  The workers had launched the protest to demand better working conditions.
 
The $20 billion dollar textile industry in Bangladesh makes up 80 percent of the country’s exports.  Bangladesh’s Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association says it is working to prevent future incidents.  Association representative Shahidullah Azim says his group is working with government officials.  He says the team will move immediately to report unsafe conditions to the government.
 
However, clothing workers and activists say they have heard similar promises before.  Just six months ago, more than 100 people were killed in a factory fire in Dhaka.  
                                                    
The day before the building collapse, an engineer warned of cracks in the structure.  Some concerned business owners had sent workers home.
 
Alonzo Suson works with the Bangladesh Center for Workers' Solidarity.  He is not sure whether working conditions will change when most textile workers earn less than $50 a month.  He tells of a 16-year-old who was told she would lose a week’s pay if she failed to enter the factory.
                             
Doctors had to remove the young woman’s arm after she was severely injured in the collapse.  Alonzo Suson says clothing workers cannot refuse to work in unsafe conditions.  He says some workers know the place where they work is unsafe.  But the workers need the job to survive.
                                                    
Mr. Suson says Bangladesh’s clothing industry needs more inspectors and laws for building safety.  He says only 25 to 30 factories have labor unions, and most were organized in the past six months.
 
In Dhaka, police have detained the owner of the collapsed building.  Some protesters say he should be sentenced to death.  Police have also arrested factory owners and building engineers for ignoring safety issues.
                                                                   
Activists say people overseas must also take responsibility -- both those who sell clothing and buyers of the clothes made in unsafe factories.
                                                                                  
On Thursday, the European Union said it may change its trade agreement with Bangladesh.  The EU called on Bangladeshi officials to ensure that the country’s factories obey international labor rules.  
                                                                          
Europe is Bangladesh’s largest trading partner.  Ineke Zeldenrust is with the activist Clean Clothes Campaign in Europe.  She says western clothing stores have ignored warnings about the dangerous conditions in foreign factories.  She says Western businesses must promise to pay more to clothing manufacturers and demand safer factories.



This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ThanhTung from: Saigon-Vietnam
05/09/2013 11:59 AM
I'm so sorry to all victims for a collapsed building. I thought Government need find out solutions to assist and protect them.


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
05/07/2013 4:04 PM
Aldous Huxely once said: 'The industrialist produce the most perishable thing'. Modern man has lost the committment and sympathy toward his fellow-being. The milk of human kindness has become dry. Money has become the measuring criterion for everything. Man has lost his conscience. The builder of the building might have sacrificed the saftey and strength of the building to his own personal gain. He has caused the killings of 100s of people. It is a mass murder and it is a great sin. The wages of sin is death. His punishment should be so model that no other builder there should be dare follow his suit. Thank you.


by: kamil
05/04/2013 8:16 AM
even if it did not happen level of violence is horrid. its how capitalist system works. its not something out of norm - its fully incorporated in global capitalism - misery of the third world.

Learn with The News

  • FILE - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping as they arrive to the Monument to the People's Heroes during a ceremony marking Martyr’s Day at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Sept. 30, 2014.

    Audio China’s Constitution Receives New Attention

    The constitution took effect in the early 1980s, when the Communist Party was opening up the country economically. Now China is at a new crossroads. Observers say it is reaching for a new economic growth model. Chinese officials will promise to defend its rules when they take office. | In The News More

  • Video More US Hispanic Women Convert to Islam

    Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. The Pew Research Center says about six percent of American Muslims are Latino. And women make up a little more than half of the new converts -- the people who have changed their religion to Islam. More

  • This image released by USCIS shows a sample of the front of the redesigned green card carried by foreign-born residents living permanently in the U.S. The Homeland Security Department is issuing the redesigned "green card" that is stacked with safety feat

    Audio US 'Green Card Lottery' Ending November 3

    State Department’s Diversity Visa program closes November 3rd. Millions of people have entered the program, hoping to win a visa. But only 50,000 are chosen. 5,000 more are available under the Nicaraguan and Central America Relief Act. The green card lottery closes on Monday. | As It Is More

  • A convoy of peshmerga vehicles is escorted by Turkish Kurds on their way to the Turkish-Syrian border, in Kiziltepe near the southeastern city of Mardin October 29, 2014

    Audio Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Kobani

    Also in the news, Burkina Faso ends efforts to extend its presidential term limit after protests in the capital. Ukraine says the EU will be guarantor in any gas deal with Russia. Myanmar holds a major meeting Friday. And claims of cheating delay SAT results for South Korean and Chinese students. More

  • Video Singapore Film Ban Raises Free Speech Issue

    The documentary film, “To Singapore, with Love” tells about political dissidents from Singapore. The film has been shown at public events in Britain, India and Malaysia, among other countries. But one place the movie cannot be seen is Singapore. That is because the government there has banned it. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama Halloween

    Audio Halloween Is Big with Kids and Business

    The National Retail Federation says sales of Halloween goods will total about $7.4 billion this year. It says the average American will spend about $77. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate. The NRF predicts 54 million of them will hold Halloween parties. | American Mosaic More

  • A print shows the Second Battle of Bull Run, also called Second Manassas.

    Audio South Defeats North Again at Manassas

    Lincoln named George Pope to lead the Army of Virginia. He wanted to join Pope’s forces with the Army of the Potomac and break through Confederate defenses around Richmond. But General Robert E. Lee decided to hit Pope first. More

  • Star House

    Video Home of Last Comanche Chief Close to Ruins

    One of the most interesting people in U.S. history is Quanah Parker, the last chief of the country’s Comanche Indian tribe. Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Quanah Parker was a fierce fighter. More

  • FILE - A veterinarian at the nonprofit Bali Animal Welfare Association gives a rabies shot to a puppy in Kebon Kaja village, Bangli Regency in Bali, Indonesia.

    Audio Mass Vaccination of Dogs Can Eliminate Rabies

    About 70,000 people worldwide die every year of rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that people get mainly through dog bites. Scientists say vaccinating dogs can effectively get rid of rabies outbreaks in dog populations. And this will have a domino effect, fewer humans with rabies. More

  • Methane oxidizing

    Photogallery Small Organisms in Deep Sea Rocks Eat Methane

    The gas methane has been linked to rising temperatures on Earth. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as another “greenhouse gas” -- carbon dioxide. Scientists say both gases trap heat from the sun. They prevent heat from escaping into outer space. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs