An eight story building in Bangladesh collapsed on Wednesday morning, killing at least over 100 people. The death toll is still rising.
The building in the suburb of Savar, outside of the capital Dhaka housed five garment factories as well as a shopping center. An official appointed to give information about those missing or hurt told Reuters that 96 people were confirmed dead and at least 1,000 were injured. Firefighters said that they believed over 2,000 people were in the building at the time of the collapse. The Daily Ittefaq, a local paper, reports that the death toll is over 100, and the government has declared Thursday a national day of mourning.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman of the local police station told reporters that a crack had been detected on Tuesday and the factory owners were given a warning not to allow their workers in the building. However, factory owners either ignored or never received the warning. "There were some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor," said Muhammad Anisur Rahman, a factory owner. "The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory." Another worker said that factory owners told their workers they had examined the crack and "not to worry."
Outrage over the conditions of garment factories in Bangladesh gained international headlines in November of 2012 when 112 workers died during a fire in a factory that was producing clothes for Walmart and other Western retailers that an official investigation ruled that the fire was deliberately started. In addition to being a deliberate act, the investigation determined that up to nine officials prevented workers from leaving the building and even padlocked exits.
The investigation also found severe evidence of negligence on behalf of the factory owner, Delwar Hossain. Hossain had originally denied that the factory was unsafe, however the factory's fire certificate had expired before the fire. In addition, the building only had permission to be three stories high but was in fact nine and lacked sufficient emergency exits.
Media Resources: BBC 7/24/2013; Daily Ittefaq 4/24/2013; Reuters 4/24/2013; Feminist Newswire 12/17/2012
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The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .