“Direct Access” didn’t mean no access. “Back door” didn’t mean no door. “Only in accordance with the law” didn’t mean PRISM is illegal. And you didn’t need to have heard of a codename to have participated.
“Direct Access” didn’t mean no access. “Back door” didn’t mean no door. “Only in accordance with the law” didn’t mean PRISM is illegal. And you didn’t need to have heard of a codename to have participated.
LONDON (Reuters) – A mosque burned down in Britain in a suspected arson attack on Wednesday, intensifying fears of a backlash against Muslims after a British soldier was killed on a London street last month.
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Washington (ots/PRNewswire) – In dem Bestreben, nachhaltiges Bauen auf der ganzen Welt zu beschleunigen, gab die US-amerikanische Organisation U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), die das LEED-Bewertungssystem fr kologisches Bauen entwickelt hat, heute – am Weltumwelttag – bekannt, eine neue Kampagne durchfhren zu wollen. Im Rahmen dieser Kampagne wird denjenigen kologischen Bauprojekten, welche sich in den 112 Lndern [Programm in Frage.
“Das Bewertungssystem LEED ist eine weltweit gesprochene Sprache und kann den Ansto zu einem stufenweisen Wandel hin zu einer nachhaltigen Zukunft geben. Der USGBC ist bestrebt, das LEED-Bewertungssystem in jedem Land der Welt einzufhren. Gleichzeitig wollen wir auch in Zukunft Innovationen und Errungenschaften auf bestehenden Weltmrkten vorantreiben”, erklrte Rick Fedrizzi, Prsident, CEO und Grndungsvorsitzender des USGBC. “Von allen Sektoren tragen Gebude am strksten zu Treibhausgasemissionen bei; auerdem stellen sie den kostengnstigsten Weg dar, um die Umweltbelastungen unseres sich verndernden Planeten zu mindern. Das LEED-Bewertungssystem ist das geeignete Instrument, um dieses Ziel zu erreichen.”
Inzwischen gibt es in 140 Lndern und Gebieten LEED-Projekte. Tglich erhalten 1,5 Millionen Quadratfu Bauraum eine LEED-Zertifizierung, was pro Woche fast vier Empire State Buildings entspricht. Um an dem Programm teilzunehmen und ein Projekt anzumelden, knnen Sie sich unter der Adresse LEEDEarth@usgbc.org[mailto:LEEDEarth@usgbc.org] mit uns in Verbindung setzen. Um die Regeln und Vorschriften der Kampagne einzusehen, klicken Sie bitte hier [U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Der U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) strebt mittels kosteneffizienter und energiesparender Gebude eine von Wohlstand und Nachhaltigkeit geprgte Zukunft an. Erklrtes Ziel des USGBC ist es, einen Marktwandel zu erreichen. Dazu nutzt die Organisation ihr Zertifizierungsprogramm fr kologische Gebude LEED, ein umfassendes Weiterbildungsangebot, ein Netzwerk von Zweigstellen und angeschlossenen Organisationen sowie die jhrlich stattfindende Konferenz und Messe Greenbuild International Conference & Expo [http://e.weibo.com/usgbc] und LinkedIn [http://tinyurl.com/USGBC-LinkedIn] knnen Sie sich mit uns in Verbindung setzen.
Web site: http://www.usgbc.org/
London (CNN) — With the World Cup in 2014, the Olympics two years later and large discoveries of oil boosting the economy, Brazilians could be excused for looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses.
The world’s party country — home to samba dance and Carnival — is enjoying an economic cocktail of low unemployment and easy consumer credit, propelling many Brazilians into the country’s burgeoning middle class.
But while tens of millions of people have been hauled out of poverty, questions are being raised around the risks of a consumer-driven boom.
In the last decade, effective anti-poverty policies such as “Bolsa Familia” — translated as Family Bag — introduced by former President Lula and carried on by incumbent Dilma Rousseff, have helped transform Brazil’s workforce and increase the minimum wage.
Why did soccer stadium roof collapse?
Luxurious squatting in Brazil
“Brazil used to be one of the most unequal countries in the world,” Naercio Mezenes Filho, professor of economics at Brazillian business school, Insper, told CNN.
He added: “Unskilled labor is in short supply right now because the youngest have remained in school compared to the past.”
Brazil — with a population of 190 million people scattered across its Atlantic coast — is famed for its billionaire tycoons like mining magnate Eike Batista or banker Jorge Paulo Lemann, Brazil’s richest man.
And while wealth disparity remains an issue in Latin America’s largest economy, Brazil is beginning to see a change in the tide, according to Jens Arnold, head of the Brazil desk at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
He told CNN that Brazil’s population is seeing a new trend as some of the poorest 10% in the country shake off poverty.
Arnold said: “More people have access to better paying jobs… [and] living standards are coming up, particularly for those who are below the poverty line.”
Could the boom bust?
Many Brazilians who once inhabited the gang-ridden shanty towns, known as favelas, now have the disposable income to shop for aspirational products, from cars to DVD players.
And that’s not all. Robust and highly-capitalized banks are offering easy lines of credit to Brazilian consumers who find themselves in regular employment.
Edmund Amann, senior lecturer in social sciences at Manchester University, told CNN that Brazil’s economy is experiencing a consumer-borrowing model of growth.
“There’s been quite a surge in domestic consumption,” he said. “That has centered on consumer durables, not least automobiles,” Amann added.
Store cards are the most popular way to shop in Brazil, allowing customers to pay for goods in regular installments rather than meeting the full price up front.
A study by McKinsey & Company in 2012 showed that 40% of consumers said they shop more in stores that extend credit, six times more than the U.S. data from the Central Bank of Brazil in 2009 indicated that use of retail cards increased over 100% from 2004 to 2008.
Amann said although the increase in household debt is unlikely to cause a bubble, there is a chance investors could be spooked with the crisis in Europe and the U.S. still causing global pain.
But Amann noted Brazil’s economy is protected by a buoyant commodity market and said of consumer appetite: “Financial education is important… for many people, this will be their first experience of a formal financial arrangement where they have a bank account and have access to lending.”
While Naercio believes inflation risk — currently at 6.5% in Brazil — is one of the biggest threats to Brazil, with easy lending from public-sector banks hitting consumers if the economy fails to grow.
However, “I don’t think there is any chance we will see what happened in the U.S. and Europe in the property crash,” he said.
A bright future
In 2001 Brazil was included in the term BRIC, an acronym coined by then-Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill, to describe the next big emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Brazil — the world’s sixth largest economy — is beginning to see its mining and commodities sectors bear fruit, particularly oil and iron ore.
And despite Brazil’s disappointing economic data for the last two years relative to its high-growth brethren, Arnold believes Brazil has a bright future ahead. He said: “We expect this to come back to potential growth rates and we expect a recovery to be taking place in this year.”
Amman told CNN he was “no doomsayer” on the Brazilian economy but added that the country needed to move to a “Chinese model” of investment to kick-start growth.
Amann said: “The biggest single risk the economy faces is a collapse on commodity prices… we probably are approaching the limit of a consumer borrowing based growth model.”
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Bnen (ots) – Vor dem Hintergrund jngster Unglcksflle in Textilfabriken nicht nur in Bangladesch sondern auch in Pakistan, sieht KiK die Notwendigkeit einer Ausweitung des Brand- und Gebudeschutzabkommens. “Unser Ziel ist es, in allen Regionen, also beispielsweise auch in Pakistan, die gleich hohen Standards an Produktionsbedingungen, Brandschutz und Gebudesicherheit sicherzustellen. KiK befindet sich hierzu bereits in Gesprchen mit der ILO (International Labour Organization) sowie weiteren Institutionen”, sagte Dr. Michael Arretz, Geschftsfhrer fr Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement und Unternehmenskommunikation.
Dies ist eine klare Konsequenz aus den jngsten Unglcksfllen in Bangladesch und Pakistan.
Wie bereits angekndigt, hat KiK vor dem Hintergrund des Fabrikeinsturzes in Bangladesch sorgfltig geprft, warum KiK-Textilien in den Gebudetrmmern gefunden werden konnten. Danach ergibt sich der folgende Sachstand:
Fakt bleibt, dass KiK seit 2008 keine direkten Geschftsbeziehungen zu den Fabriken im Rana Plaza unterhielt. Seit 2008 wurden keine direkten Auftrge mehr an eine der Produktionssttten in Rana Plaza vergeben.
Zum Zeitpunkt des Unglcks wurde weder direkt noch indirekt ber einen Importeur fr KiK im Rana Plaza Building produziert. Ebenfalls waren keinerlei Auftrge platziert oder geplant.
Richtig ist, dass Anfang dieses Jahres ber einen unserer Importeure indirekt dort erstmalig ein Auftrag fr KiK produziert wurde. Die Ware wurde laut den Frachtpapieren bereits am 19. Mrz dieses Jahres verschifft. Bei den Anfang Mai gefundenen Textilien kann es sich daher mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit nur um Produktionsberschsse oder Ware zweiter Wahl aus diesem Auftrag handeln.
Wir haben ebenfalls geprft, ob dieser Importeur diesen Auftrag dort htte produzieren lassen drfen. Festzuhalten ist, dass der betroffene Importeur alle bisherigen branchenblichen Auditierungs- und Kontrollmechanismen eingehalten hat. Diese weisen aus, dass die Arbeitsbedingungen in der Fabrik den entsprechenden branchenblichen Standards entsprachen.
Allerdings haben diese bisherigen branchenblichen Auditierungsmanahmen keine Bewertung der generellen statischen Gebudesicherheit eingeschlossen. Die Einhaltung von Gebudesicherheitsstandards wie zum Beispiel im Bereich der Statik oblag und obliegt derzeit weiterhin den Behrden vor Ort in Bangladesch. Deswegen ist es entscheidend, dass die jetzt geformte internationale Allianz neben Brandschutz erstmalig auch die allgemeine Gebudesicherheit mit einschliet
“Textilunternehmen knnen nur gemeinsam mit den Behrden vor Ort wirklich sicherstellen, dass definierte Standards fr Brand- und Gebudeschutz konsequent durchgesetzt und eingehalten werden. Dass, wie im Fall von Rana Plaza, ein einzelner Fabrikbesitzer jenseits aller Kontrollmechanismen dafr sorgt, dass in einem behrdlich gerumten Gebude weitergearbeitet wird, darf nicht mehr passieren”, so Arretz.
Obwohl fr KiK zum Zeitpunkt des Unglcks nicht im Rana Plaza Building produziert wurde, ist sich KiK seiner unternehmerischen Verantwortung gegenber den Menschen vor Ort bewusst. Wir prfen derzeit deshalb mit anderen Textilunternehmen vor Ort, wie den Betroffenen schnell und nachhaltig geholfen werden kann.
Um die Transparenz in der Lieferkette zu erhhen, wird KiK darber hinaus den Anteil direkter Geschftsbeziehungen zu den Lieferanten vor Ort weiter ausbauen. Bereits heute importiert KiK weltweit rund 80% seiner Waren ber direkte Geschftsbeziehungen zu den Lieferanten.
Hintergrundinformation: Im Jahr 2012 wurden aus Bangladesch Textilien im Gesamtwert von 19 Mrd. US Dollar exportiert. Der Anteil daran von KiK liegt bei 150 Mio US Dollar. Insgesamt gibt es in Bangladesch mehr als 5000 Textilfabriken fr den internationalen Markt. Fr KiK werden derzeit in knapp 100 dieser Fabriken Textilien produziert. Allein diese Fakten zeigen, dass nur ein konzertierter sektoraler Ansatz die Produktionsbeziehungen in Bangladesch nachhaltig verbessern kann.
ber KiK Textil-Diskont:
KiK steht fr “Kunde ist Knig”, das Leitmotiv des textilen Grundversorgers seit der Unternehmensgrndung im Jahr 1994. Die KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH bietet Damen-, Herren-, Kinder- und Baby-Bekleidung in guter Qualitt zum vergleichbar gnstigsten Preis an. Das Sortiment umfasst neben Bekleidung auch Geschenkartikel, Spielwaren, Beauty-Produkte, Accessoires und Heimtextilien. Mit mehr als 3.200 Filialen in Deutschland, sterreich, Tschechien, Slowenien, Ungarn, Slowakei, Kroatien und Polen erwirtschaftet das Unternehmen einen Jahresumsatz von weit mehr als einer Milliarde Euro. Im deutschen Textilhandel rangiert KiK unter den Top Ten und bietet seit 2013 seinen Kundinnen und Kunden die Mglichkeit der Onlinebestellung unter www.kik24.de.
Seit Mrz 2012 untersttzt KiK auerdem die gemeinntzige Stiftung DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF.
Fr weitere Informationen:
Beatrice Volkenandt Pressesprecherin - KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH Tel.: 023 83/95 41 16 E-Mail: email@example.com
Mag.(FH) Hannes Haider
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12905
Ende der Mitteilung euro adhoc
Unternehmen: AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
Indizes: WBI, ATX Prime
Brsen: Prsenzhandel: Berlin, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Amtlicher Handel: Wien
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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Gunmen attacked an election rally in Pakistan’s southern Punjab province on Thursday and abducted the son of a former prime minister, intensifying what has already been a violent run-up to Saturday’s nationwide elections.
Ali Haider Gilani, the son of ex-premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, is running for a provincial assembly seat in the district of Multan.
He was attending an election event in the town of Multan on Thursday — the last day of campaigning across Pakistan — when the gunmen pulled up, started shooting, grabbed and threw him into a vehicle and drove off, officials and witnesses said.
A resident of Multan who attended the rally told a local TV station that the attackers first pulled up in a car and motorcycle outside the venue where the younger Gilani was meeting with a few hundred supporters.
When he came out of the building, two gunmen opened fire, killing one of the people in Gilani’s entourage.
“One of the gunmen grabbed Haider who had blood splashed on his trousers,” said Shehryar Ali in comments aired by Pakistani television broadcaster Geo News.
A Punjab government official, Rao Iftikhar Ahmad, said one of Gilani’s guards was killed and five people were wounded in the attack.
It was not immediately known who abducted Gilani or why.
Saturday’s election marks a historic milestone for Pakistan as one civilian government completes its term and prepares to hand off to another.
But the race has been marred by a string of violent attacks against candidates and election events.
Much of the violence has been at the hands of the Taliban, which has mainly targeted political parties that have supported military operations against the militants in northwestern Pakistan. Gilani is running as a candidate for the Pakistan People’s Party, one of the three parties the Taliban has said it is focusing on.
Gilani’s father served for roughly four years as prime minister but was forced out of office last summer by the Supreme Court after refusing to pursue a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad in Islamabad and Zaheer Babar in Lahore contributed to this report.
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A young lady wails over the phone as she tells her family that she had identified one of the many bodies at a morgue to be her relative, Saturday, May 4, 2013 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. In the aftermath of a building collapse that killed more than 530 people, Bangladesh’s garment manufacturers may face a choice of reform or perish. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Ten days after the horrifying collapse of a garment-factory building, life has become still more gruesome for crews working to recover bodies at the site. The death toll rose to 547 on Saturday and the stench of decaying flesh was sickening evidence that the work is not yet done.
Rescue workers said some bodies have deteriorated so badly that they have found bones without flesh. Since the April 24 collapse in the Dhaka suburb of Savar, high temperatures have generally been 32 degrees C (90 degrees F) or above, and lows have rarely dipped below 27 C (80 F).
“The bodies are smelling. We are using air freshener to work here,” said Mohibul Alam, a firefighter at the collapse scene. The odor of decay is overpowering just the same.
Bodies have decomposed beyond recognition, Alam said, but he added that some could still be identified because the victims’ identification cards were found with them.
Some of the victims who had been closest to escaping appear to be among the last to be recovered. Only now have rescuers dug deep enough, using cranes and other equipment, to approach the stairs of the ground floor.
The official death toll from the collapse reached 547 Saturday and was expected to climb. The official number of missing has been 149 since Wednesday, though unofficial estimates are higher.
The disaster is likely the worst garment-factory accident ever, and there have been few industrial accidents of any kind with a higher death toll. It surpassed long-ago garment-industry disasters such as New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, which killed 146 workers in 1911, and more recent tragedies such as a 2012 fire that killed about 260 people in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh that same year that killed 112.
Bangladesh’s $20 billion garment industry supplies retailers around the world and accounts for about 80 percent of the impoverished country’s exports. The collapse has raised strong doubts about retailers’ claims that they could ensure worker safety through self-regulation.
Five garment factories operated in the Rana Plaza building that collapsed, and many brand labels have been found in the wreckage, but only two retailers, Britain’s Primark and Canada’s Loblaw Inc., have acknowledged that their clothes were being made there at the time. Loblaw’s CEO has decried the “deafening silence” from what he said were more than two dozen other international retailers who used garment factories in the collapsed building.
Mainuddin Khandkar, the head of a government committee investigating the disaster, said Friday that substandard building materials, combined with the vibration of the heavy machines used by the five garment factories inside the Rana Plaza building, led to the horrific collapse. Because of a power outage, heavy generators were turned on about 15 minutes before the building fell, he said.
The building developed cracks a day before the collapse, and Rana Plaza owner Mohammed Sohel Rana called engineer Abdur Razzak Khan to inspect it. Khan appeared on television that night and said he told Rana the building should be evacuated.
Police also issued an evacuation order, but witnesses say that hours before the collapse, Rana told people that the building was safe and garment factory managers told their workers to go inside.
Rana has been arrested is expected to be charged with negligence, illegal construction and forcing workers to join work, crimes punishable by a maximum of seven years in jail. Authorities have not said if more serious crimes will be added.
On Thursday, Khan was arrested as well, on a charge of negligence. Police said he worked as a consultant to Rana when three illegal floors were added to what was supposed to be a five-story building.
The Bangladesh High Court also has ordered the government to confiscate Rana’s property and freeze the assets of the owners of the factories in Rana Plaza so the money can be used to pay the salaries of their workers.
Savar’s mayor and another local official have been suspended in an apparent effort by higher levels of Bangladesh’s government to fend off accusations that it is in part to blame for the tragedy because of weak oversight of the building’s construction.
In New Delhi on Friday, Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith downplayed the impact of the disaster on the garment industry, which is by far the country’s biggest source of export income.
“The present difficulties … well, I don’t think it is really serious — it’s an accident,” Muhith said. “And the steps that we have taken in order to make sure that it doesn’t happen, they are quite elaborate and I believe that it will be appreciated by all.”
The government made similar promises after the November garment factory fire that killed 112 people, saying it would inspect factories for safety and pull the licenses of those that failed. That plan has yet to be implemented.
Retailers have been drawn to Bangladesh as a source of clothing largely because of its cheap labor. The minimum wage for a garment worker is $38 a month, after being nearly doubled this year following violent protests by workers. According to the World Bank, the per capita income in Bangladesh was about $64 a month in 2011.
Merina, a survivor of the garment factory building collapse, is comforted by family members in hospital on Saturday April 27, 2013 in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Merina was trapped under rubble for three days, surviving with nothing to eat and only a few sips of water. The building collapse was the worst disaster to hit Bangladesh’s $20 billion a year garment industry.(AP Photo/Gillian Wong)
SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Merina was so tired. It had been three days since the garment factory where she worked had collapsed around her, three days since she’d moved more than a few inches. In that time she’d had nothing to eat and just a few sips of water. The cries for help had long since subsided. The moans of the injured had gone silent.
But It was fatigue she feared the most. If sleep took her, Merina was certain she would never wake up.
“I can’t fall asleep,” the 21-year-old thought to herself, her face inches from a concrete slab that had once been the ceiling above her. She’d spent seven years working beneath that ceiling, sewing T-shirts and pants destined for stores from Paris to Los Angeles. She worked 14 hours a day, six days a week, with her two sisters. She made the equivalent of about $16 a week.
Now she lay on her back in the sweltering heat, worrying for her sisters and herself. And as the bodies of her former coworkers began to rot, the stench filled the darkness.
The eight-story, concrete-and-glass Rana Plaza was one of hundreds of similar buildings in the crowded, potholed streets of Savar, an industrial suburb of Bangladesh’s capital and the center of the country’s $20 billion garment industry. If Bangladesh remains one of the world’s poorest nations, it is no longer a complete economic cripple. Instead, it turned its poverty to its advantage, heralding workers who make some of the world’s lowest wages and attracting some of the world’s leading brands.
But this same economic miracle has plunged Bangladesh into a vicious downward spiral of keeping costs down, as major retailers compete for customers who want ever cheaper clothes. It is the workers who often pay the price in terms of safety and labor conditions.
The trouble at Rana Plaza began Tuesday morning, when workers spotted long cracks in at least one of the building’s concrete pillars. The trails of chipped plaster led to a chunk of concrete, about the size of a shoe box, that had broken away. The police were called. Inspectors came to check on the building, which housed shops on the lower floors and five crowded clothing factories on the upper ones.
At 10 a.m., the 3,200 garment workers were told to leave early for lunch. At 2 p.m., they were told to leave for the day. Few of the workers — mostly migrants from desperately poor villages — asked why. Some were told the building had unexplained electricity issues.
The best factory buildings are well-constructed and regularly inspected. The workers are trained what to do in case of an emergency.
Rana Plaza was not one of those buildings. The owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, was a feared neighborhood political enforcer who had branched into real estate. In 2010, he was given a permit to build a five-story building on a piece of land that had once been a swamp. He built eight stories.
Rana came quickly after the crack was found. So did the police, some reporters and officials from the country’s largest garment industry association.
Rana refused to close the building. “There is nothing serious,” he said. The workers were told to return the next morning, as scheduled, at 8 a.m.
Merina, a petite woman with a round, girlish face and shoulder-length hair, never saw the crack.
She comes from Biltala, a tiny village in southwest Bangladesh, where there is electricity but little else. Her father is a landless laborer who grows rice and wheat on rented farmland, and, when he can, travels the seven hours by train to Dhaka to sell cucumbers, cauliflower and other vegetables on the street. When she was 15, she moved to Dhaka. Some of her aunts were already working in garment factories, and she quickly had a job.
For millions of Bangladeshis, the garment factories of Dhaka are a dream. Every year, at least 300,000 rural residents — and perhaps as many as 500,000 — migrate to the Dhaka area, already one of the most crowded cities on the planet.
Poverty remains the norm across most of rural Bangladesh, where less than 60 percent of adults are literate. To them, the steady wage of a garment factory — even with minimum wage less than $40 a month — is enough to start saving up for a scooter, or a dowry, or a better school for the next generation.
Merina’s two sisters joined her in Savar, where women make up the vast majority of the factory workers. Here, the poor learn quickly that it is not their role to question orders. And girls learn quickly that nearly all decisions are made by men.
So for a woman like Merina, who like many Bangladeshis goes by one name only, there are generations of culture telling her not to question a command to go back to work.
When some factory workers did speak up Wednesday morning, they were reminded that the end of the month — and their paychecks — were coming soon. The message was clear: If you don’t work, you won’t get paid.
“Don’t speak bullshit!” a factory manager told a 26-year-old garment worker named Sharma, she said, when she worried about going inside. “There is no problem.”
Around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, when the factories had been running for 40 minutes or so, the lights suddenly went off in the building. It was nothing unusual. Bangladesh’s electricity network is poorly maintained and desperately overburdened. Rana Plaza, like most of the factories in the area, had its own backup generator, sometimes used dozens of times in a single day.
A jolt went through the building when the generator kicked on. Again, this was nothing unusual. Eighteen-year-old Baezid — who like many Bangladeshis uses only one name — was chatting with a friend as they checked an order of short-sleeved shirts.
He’d come from the countryside with his family — mother, father and two uncles — just seven months earlier. Since then, he’d worked seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight. His salary was about $55 a month. But he could more than double that by working so many hours, since overtime pays .37 cents an hour.
Sometime after the generator switched on — perhaps a few moments later, perhaps a few minutes — another, far larger, jolt shook the floor violently. The building gave a deafening groan.
The pillars fell first, and one slammed against Baezid’s back. He was knocked to the floor, and found himself pinned from the waist down, unable to move.
He heard coworkers crying in the darkness. One coworker trapped nearby had a mobile phone, and the seven or eight people nearby took turns to call their families.
Baezid wept into the phone. “‘Rescue me!’” he begged them.
Like a young boy, he kept thinking of his mother. He wanted to see her again.
In Bangladesh, people in need of help rarely think first of the police, or firefighters, or anyone else official.
Baezid called his family. So did many other people. The state is so dysfunctional here, so riven by corruption and bad pay and incompetence, that ordinary people know they have a better chance of finding help by reaching out to their families. Often, they simply call out for the help of whoever will come.
Until Monday, when there was no hope left for survivors and heavy equipment was brought in to move tons of concrete, many of the rescuers working inside the rubble were volunteers. They were garment workers, or relatives of the missing. Or, in the case of Saiful Islam Nasar, they were just a guy from a small town who heard people needed help.
Nasar, a lanky mechanical engineer from a town about 300 kilometers away, runs a small volunteer association. They get no funding and have no training. They buy their supplies themselves. For the most part, the group offers first aid to people who have been in car accidents. During the monsoon rains, they help whoever they can as the waters rise around the town.
When he saw the news, Nasar gathered 50 men, jumped on a train and reached Rana Plaza about 11 hours after the collapse.
He made his way into the rubble with a hammer and a hacksaw, by the light of his mobile phone. In six days, he says he has rescued six people, and helped carry out dozens of bodies.
That first night, he slept on the roof of the collapsed building. Then for two nights he slept in a field, and now he has a tent. But he can’t sleep much anyway, because the images of all the corpses keep running through his head.
Told that he was a hero, he looked back silently.
Then he wept.
Merina was sitting at her knitting machine on the fourth floor, in the Phantom-TAC factory, when the world seemed to explode.
She jumped to her feet and tried to run for the door, but pieces of the ceiling slammed down on her. She crawled in search of a place to hide, and found one: a section of the upstairs floor had crashed onto two toppled pillars, creating a small protected area. Around 10 other men and women had the same idea, including Sabina, a close friend. The two women clutched hands and wept, thinking their lives would end in a concrete tomb. “We’re going to die, we’re going to die,” they said to each other.
The group could barely move in the tiny space. Merina’s yellow salwar kameez was drenched with sweat. The air was putrid with the smell of death.
As time passed, desperately thirsty survivors began drinking their own urine. One person found a fallen drum of water used for ironing and passed around what was left in a bottle cap. Merina sipped gratefully.
She kept thinking of her sisters, who shared a single bed with her in a corrugated tin-roofed room near the factory.
Her sisters, though, had been luckier.
Merina’s older sister, Sharina, ran out just in time. She turned around to watch the building she had toiled in for years fold onto itself in an instant.
“I must be no longer on this earth,” she thought, her hands covering her ears from the deafening boom. After a frantic search,, she found 16-year-old Shewli, who had also escaped. But where was Merina? She borrowed a cell phone and called her father in their village. “I managed to escape, but Merina is still trapped,” she told him.
Their parents booked tickets on the next train to Dhaka.
They arrived Thursday morning, joining hundreds of other relatives who had thronged to the scene. Merina’s mother prayed hard, promising God a devotional offering — a valuable gift from this rural family — if Merina got out alive.
“If you save the life of my daughter, I will sacrifice a goat for you,” she promised.
On Friday, Merina finally began to hear the sounds of rescuers cutting through the slab above her with concrete saws.
“Save us! Save us!” she and Sabina yelled together. But by the time the rescuers reached her Saturday morning, she was disoriented and barely conscious. She was put in an ambulance and people surrounded her. “Where are you taking me?” she asked them. “What happened?”
“Don’t be afraid, you’re going to the hospital,” someone told her.
Merina was taken to the Enam Medical College Hospital, a bare-bones facility with aged, rusted beds, dirty tile floors and bare concrete walls. After everything that happened, she had emerged with just bumps on her head and a sore back from lying in the same constrained position for so long. Baezid woke up in the same hospital, relatively unhurt except for a huge bruise from the pillar, which had turned his back almost black.
At least 382 others died, and the toll is climbing. Factory owner Rana has been arrested.
On Saturday, as Merina lay on her side resting, her mother stroked her hair, fed her and rubbed her back. Tears rolled down Merina’s face, and she squeezed her father’s hand.
That night, Merina slept fitfully, replaying the ordeal in her mind. She woke with a new conviction. “God has given me a second life,” Marina said later, speaking from her hospital bed. “When I’ve recovered, I will return home and I will never work in a garment factory again.” Baezid said the same thing: He’d never go back to the garment factories.
Many survivors, though, will return. The choices are just too few.
Baezid’s two uncles also worked in Rana Plaza. The three went to the factories together last Wednesday.
The two uncles have not been seen since. They are presumed dead.
Sullivan reported from New Delhi, India.
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Webydo, a cloud-based service that helps create what it calls code-free websites, is launching in beta. Announced at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the platform, which has helped to develop 50,000 sites since it was first made available in a “closed beta testing phase”, is billed as the “first open canvas for professionals”.
Building a website has often required an individual or a group of people to have the skill sets that fit the nature of a designer and developer. Webydo seeks to change the paradigm and puts it in the hands of the creative people. This cloud-based WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) editor, site builders can create business websites without needing to enter in one line of code.
Some of the notable features of Webydo includes the ability for it to design a site using professional web design software. Users can click on an icon when in the administrative view to make changes to things like an element’s location, fonts and topography, backgrounds, image optimization, guidelines, and more — all without needing to log in and look at the HTML code.
The service utilizes drag and drop functionality to help create the site. Images, videos, forms, links, and more can be inserted. The final result is that Webydo claims that the website will be cross-browser and cross-platform compatible that is “updated to the latest Web standards” so that it will look exactly the same no matter who sees it on what device.
Webydo offers its service using a freemium system. Anyone can sign up for free, but they are limited to a site of no more than 15 pages, 1 GB of storage, and it must reside under Webydo’s domain. From $7.90 per month to as high as $15.90 per month, users can pay for more pages, storage, and use of their own domain.
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Photo credit: Webydo