April 21, 2015 14:40 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

  • Audio US, Philippines Open Joint Military Exercises

    The training operation is bigger and more complex this year. Military officials from both countries say the exercises do not target any one country. A US general says the effort involves bringing land and sea forces together for training on amphibious landings, 'live fire' drills and other skills. More

  • Audio Chinese Leader Visits Pakistan for Talks on Trade, Security

    Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Pakistan for trade talks. The two sides hope to revive the Silk Road – the series of roads once used to connect East Asia to trading partners in the West. China has agreed to invest $46 billion in energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan. More

  • Audio 100-Year-Old Japanese Woman Sets Swimming Record

    As we age, we often take longer to recover from injuries. That is, for some people. After a Japanese woman suffered a knee injury, she became a competitive swimmer – at age 88! Learn some great swimming terms as well as the special term for people older than 100. More

  • Rescuers help children disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, April 20, 2015. About 100 migrants, including 28 children, were rescued on Sunday by a merchant vessel in the Sicilian Strait while they were trying to cross.

    Audio Hundreds of Migrants Feared Dead off Libya

    Al-Shabab's bomb attack in northern Somalia is the third in three days; Chinese president in Pakistan with plans to build roads and energy projects; and US, Philippines launch major military training after more Chinese activities in the area. | In The News More

  • Audio US-Japan Relationship: Strong and Getting Stronger

    Prime Minister Abe to visit US this month. US officials see Japan as an important partner in East Asia and the Western Pacific, and welcome Japan’s more active involvement in world affairs. US congressman calls Japan "our most trusted ally in the Pacific region." More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Tuberculosis Found in 18th Century Bodies

    TB mostly affects poor people and those infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But the opposite was true 2 ½ centuries ago, when the disease infected wealthy Europeans. Researchers say new findings could change how TB is treated today. More

  • Audio Early American Railroads Shape Modern Language

    This week, we look at some train and railroad expressions commonly used in American English. This is only part one. There are many idioms and expressions relating to trains. So ... all aboard! Make sure you have your ticket because this train is leaving the station! More

  • Everyday Grammar - Gerunds and Infinitives

    Audio Everyday Grammar: Gerunds and Infinitives

    English learners have difficulty with gerunds and infinitives. A gerund is the –ing form of a verb that functions the same as a noun. For example, “Running is fun.” In this sentence, “running” is the gerund. It acts just like a noun. More

  • Autism book

    Video Mother, Son, Co-Write Children’s Book on Autism

    ‘If You Were Me’ tells the story of 18-year-old Burnie Rollinson’s story. He was diagnosed with Asperger's at age three. He has few friends but he enjoys a full and productive life. He and his mother, Anita Rollinson, created their book together. She wrote the words and Burnie drew the pictures. More

  • Video Benito Cereno by Herman Melville, Part Two

    Last week, we told how African slaves on a Spanish ship rebelled in seventeen ninety-nine. They killed most of the Spanish sailors. Only the captain, Benito Cereno and a few others survived. The story continues - what happened on Captain Cereno's ship? Read the second of three part More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs