Catastrophic Factory Fire was Sabotage and Negligence
The factory fire in Bangladesh last month that killed over 100 people has been ruled by officials as "sabotage."
112 workers died in the factory that was producing clothes for Walmart and other Western retailers was originally attributed to an electric short-circuit, an official investigation ruled that the fire was deliberately started. Main Uddin Khandaker, who led the investigation, told the AFP "The statements of the witnesses revealed that it was an act of sabotage. There was no possibility of the fire originating due to an electric short-circuit or any other reason." However, it is still unclear who was behind the act. 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. According to Khandaker, "There was also gross negligence on the part of the owner. We have suggested legal action against him and nine of his mid-level managers who barred the workers from leaving the burning factory."
Media Resources: AFP 12/17/12; BBC 12/17/12; Washington Post 12/17/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .