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from Global Investing:

BRIC-layer makes MINT

Former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill, deviser of the BRIC acronym uniting the emerging market giants of Brazil, Russia, India and China, has coined a new term - MINT.

In a series of BBC radio programmes starting today, O'Neill looks at the "next economic giants" of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. It's a break-out of four of the countries from his previously-coined Next-11, which also included Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

O'Neill, who retired last year from his role as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (after spending too much time looking at Reuters), says on the BBC website that the MINT economies benefit from favourable geographical locations and, in some cases, reform-minded politicians:

If Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey get their act together, some of them could match Chinese-style double-digit (growth) rates between 2003 and 2008.

from The Great Debate:

The power of organizing

Two separate agreements by European and American retailers around fire safety in Bangladesh mark an important step forward in protecting the lives of Bangladeshi garment factory workers. Because they were signed months after the Rana Plaza collapse, in which 1,127 workers died, it’s tempting to link the two events: a horrifying tragedy, followed by policy change.

But that thinking misses a critical fact about garment manufacturing in Bangladesh, where for decades factory workers -- often without formalized power -- put themselves at great risk by speaking out against abuses, building worker solidarity, and educating the public. It’s this worker-led organizing that has set the stage for real political and legislative change, and made a final massive tragedy impossible to ignore.

from The Great Debate:

A cry for worker fairness

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People rescue a garment worker trapped under rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Bira

The tragedy at the Rana Plaza clothing factory was a sober reminder that Bangladeshi garment workers still lack basic rights and protections. My mother was a seamstress. She worked in the textile factories of northern New Jersey. I saw how hard and tiring her work was. But it was never lethal. And it shouldn’t be.

from Ian Bremmer:

Bangladesh and the cost of doing nothing

In Bangladesh, the search for survivors has become an effort to recover the dead. After a garment factory building collapsed in the Dhaka suburb of Savar last week, residents and rescue workers spent days digging through the rubble hoping to save the lives of people caught in yet another Bangladeshi industrial accident. At least 390 people are thought to have died.

This type of accident is all too common in Bangladesh. In November, more than 100 people died in a garment factory fire when workers could not easily escape the building. In 2006, 84 people were killed in a blaze because fire exits were locked.

from The Great Debate:

Can Western companies put an end to Bangladesh factory disasters?

On Wednesday, while a Bangladeshi survivor of last November’s Tazreen fire that killed 113 people was talking to a Seattle audience about the need for corporations to be held liable for safety violations, it happened again. That day, a factory housing dozens of garment manufacturers in Bangladesh collapsed outside of Dhaka. Since then the death toll has skyrocketed to more than 300 workers, with hundreds more still trapped in the rubble.

Could it be that the so-called convenience of economic globalization is collapsing, too?

from Global Investing:

New frontiers to outpace emerging markets

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Fund managers searching for yield are increasing exposure to frontier markets (FM) as a diversification from emerging markets (EM), as the latter have been offering negative relative returns since January, according to MSCI data.

Barings Asset Management  said on Monday it plans to launch a frontier markets fund in coming weeks, with a projected 70 percent exposure to frontier markets such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sri Lanka and Ukraine.

from Global Investing:

Corruption and business potential sometimes go together

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By Alice Baghdjian

Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam found themselves cheered and chided this week.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International, measured the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 176 countries and all three found their way into the bottom half of the study.

from Photographers' Blog:

Silent tears within the brothel walls

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By Andrew Biraj

“Hashi cannot be sad ever. Sadness is a part of our lives, so we don’t bother with sadness. My parents will not be able to identify me anymore. There is a huge difference between my present appearance and the malnourished look of my childhood. I am healthier than before and fit to serve a lot of customers in a day.”
- Hashi (which means happiness), a seventeen-year-old sex worker at Kandapara brothel in Tangail

http://youtu.be/0s0H0z_YUU0

It was a quieter evening than in hectic Dhaka. The gentle breeze of spring surrounded the cold atmosphere of the small town of Tangail, a town in the north east of Bangladesh. A small walk through a calm neighborhood took me to a place which looked similar to any of the country's slums.

from Expert Zone:

Bangladesh reinventing itself

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(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

When Bangladesh’s neighbours woke up to the news of another aborted coup last month, the fragility of its democracy was vividly evident. In 1971, erstwhile East Pakistan had emerged as an independent, secular, democratic nation -- Bangladesh. The transition had cost between 300,000 to 5 million Bangladeshi lives, by various estimates. Bangladeshi radicals had collaborated with the Pakistani army to enact a genocide that barely found adequate coverage in the West’s humanitarian reporting.

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