Bangladeshi garment factory owners on defensive, fear losing ‘lifeline’
By Sohel Uddin and John Newland, NBC News
As many of the world’s largest clothing labels signed a pact earlier this month to try to bring safer working conditions to the Bangladeshi garment industry, factory owners in the country were on the defensive, saying they were already struggling to comply with the labor standards Western companies demand while keeping prices at a level they will tolerate.
“Look, we make a particular brand of polo shirt, which they pay us $15 to make and they sell for $150. We only make five percent on that by the time we pay the bank, the workers and compliance costs,” said Adnan Bhuiyan, who along with his father owns the major manufacturer MIB near Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.
His comments came in the wake of the Apr. 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza, a complex housing five garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka, collapsed and killed more than 1,100 people. Six months ago, a fire killed 112 people at Tazreen Fashions, also in the city’s garment district.
Industry, fires and poachers shrink Sumatran tigers’ last stronghold
No Sumatran wild animal is safe as contact with humans rises with disastrous results
The Observer, Sunday 26 May 2013
Karman Lubis’s body was found near where he had been working on a Sumatran rubber plantation. His head was found several days later a mile away and they still haven’t found his right hand. He had been mauled by a Sumatran tiger that has been living in Batang Gadis National Park and he was one of five people killed there by tigers in the last five years.
Contact between humans and wild animals is increasing disastrously in Sumatra as deforestation, mining and palm oil concessions expand, fragmenting forest habitats and driving animals out of protected areas. The exact number of tigers left in the wild is uncertain but latest estimates range from under 300 to possibly 500 in 27 locations.
Terror in Woolwich: Internet is the vital frontline in war against extremism
Experts are trying to pre-empt terrorism by bombarding jihadist websites with alternative messages
PAUL CAHALAN , JONATHAN OWEN SUNDAY 26 MAY 2013
The major battle in the war against extremism is being fought over the internet by elite teams stationed behind keyboards and engaged in winning the hearts and minds of would-be terrorists.
It is a sign of the increasing understanding that small-scale, unsophisticated attacks such as the one in Woolwich are a growing threat: the Government, police and other agencies are involved in a propaganda war to counter extremism.
Tunisia’s long, difficult path to a new constitution
Tunisia was the first Arab Spring country and it could become the first Arab Spring country to adopt a democratic constitution. But negotiations between secularists and Islamists have taken a toll on the country.
The new Tunisian constitution should have been ready months ago – it was due to be finalized in October 2012. It would have paved the way for parliamentary and presidential elections the entire country had been waiting for.
But secular and Islamist parties and groups are still debating the constitution’s text and have currently drafted a third version. It has been approved by several committees, but the document is still considered controversial. The key point of disagreement centers on how Islamist the Tunisian constitution should be.
China must stick to ecological ‘red line’: Xi
May 26, 2013 – 11:59AM
China’s President Xi Jinping said the country won’t sacrifice the environment to ensure temporary economic growth, amid rising public discontent that industrial expansion is creating pollution and threatening food safety.
China must carefully balance economic development and environmental protection, Xi told a study session of the top leadership of the Communist Party on promoting ecological progress, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Proposed law to protect Afghan women faces backlash
By Pamela Constable, Sunday, May 26, 3:04 AM
KABUL – A proposed law to protect Afghan women and girls from abuses such as child marriage, bride barter and spousal abuse has created a furor in the past week, exposing a generational and religious struggle that persists in this traditional Muslim society despite a decade of Western-backed democracy and a constitution that enshrines women’s rights.
The drama erupted when a female legislator brought the bill before parliament May 16 and a group of conservative male lawmakers vehemently objected, saying it was contrary to Islam and Afghan culture. The backlash grew this past week, with protests at Kabul University by students of Islamic law, and some women activists now say it was a fatal mistake to bring the sensitive issue to parliament’s attention.