Building collapse kills scores in Bangladesh

April 24, 2013

An eight-story building crumbles in Bangladesh, Obama’s red line wriggles on Syria, and China condemns attack as terrorism. Today is Wednesday, April 24, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

People weep for their relatives, who are trapped inside the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Building buckles in Bangladesh. A building housing five garment factories and a shopping complex collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh, killing almost 100 people and injuring more than 700:

Firefighters and troops dug frantically through the rubble at the eight-story Rana Plaza building in Savar, 20 miles outside Dhaka. Television showed young women workers, some apparently semi-conscious, being pulled out. One fireman told Reuters about 2,000 people were in the building when the upper floors slammed down onto those below.

Factory owners apparently ignored a warning to stop employees from entering the block after a crack was discovered in the building on Tuesday. The chairman of one company said he wasn’t aware of the warning. Bangladesh’s garment industry is notorious for fires and accidents. In November 2012, a deadly fire killed 112 workers in a factory subcontracted without authorization by a Wal-Mart store.

Red line on Syria not so bright. White House spokesman Jay Carney said today that the U.S. requires “conclusive evidence” that Syria used chemical weapons before it will respond:

Israel’s top military intelligence analyst said in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons – probably the nerve gas sarin – in their fight against rebels trying to force out President Bashar al-Assad. He cited photographic evidence of victims foaming at the mouth, their pupils contracted.

The administration’s refusal to accept Israel’s accusations as sufficient proof calls into question the meaning of Obama’s “red line” on Syria’s chemical weapons. France and the UK also raised concerns over chemical weapons before Israel issued its report. In a visit to Israel last month, Obama called the use of chemical weapons a “game-changer.” Syria blocked a U.N. team that was supposed to investigate the allegations firsthand, following a dispute over which cities the group would be able to access. Meanwhile, Syria expects more financial aid from Iran and Russia imminently, according to Syria’s central bank governor Adeeb Mayaleh. Mayaleh said that Syria has already used more than half of the $1 billion credit-line it received from Tehran, adding that Russia is printing Syrian banknotes that were previously supplied to Syria by Germany and Austria before the EU imposed sanctions on Syria.

Axe, knife, and arson attack kills 21 in China. China’s troubled Xinjiang region saw the deadliest violence in four years:

 It was the deadliest violence in the region since July 2009, when Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, was rocked by clashes between majority Han Chinese and minority Uighurs that killed nearly 200 people.

The Chinese government did not immediately name a group responsible, but China has accused Islamic separatist Uighurs of perpetrating similar attacks. Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim people native to Xinjiang subject to strict Chinese controls on their culture, language and religion.

Nota Bene: Italy finally gets a new prime minister, bringing to a close months of political stasis.


Boston bomber’s friend – A mysterious Muslim radical influenced Boston bomber suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. (The Associated Press)

Shake faux pas – South Koreans were outraged when Bill Gates greeted President Park Geun-hye with a one-handed shake. (Christian Science Monitor)

Squeaky clean wifi – British Prime Minister Cameron blocks porn in public Internet hot spots. (BBC)

Flu-fried chicken – KFC is a surprising casualty of China’s chicken scare. (Quartz)

Soviet style – A new HRW report says that following Putin’s re-election, Russia has unleashed the worst crackdown on civil society since the fall of the Soviet Union (Human Rights Watch)

From the File:

  • Kidnapped Syrian bishops still missing: church sources
  • China calls Japan-U.S. island drill “provocative”
  • Afghanistan quake kills at least four, wounds 69
  • Mortar attack hits government-held suburb of Damascus
  • Canada passenger train attack plot suspect set for court hearing


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