Fire in Bangladesh Garment Factory Kills 8 as Collapse Deaths Pass 900
Thursday night, a fire broke out in a garment factory in the Mirpur area of Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed eight people. No workers were in the building at the time. Officials say that the building owner, four of his staff members, and a senior and low-level police officer died when they were overcome by toxic fumes from the burning clothes as they tried to escape down a stairwell. There is no word about what caused the fire, and fire fighters were able to keep the blaze contained to a single floor. The government closed 18 garment factories out of safety concerns on Wednesday. Six have been cleared to reopen.
The fire comes as rescue officials announce that the death toll from the Savar Building collapse on April 24 has reached 912. More bodies are expected to be uncovered when rescue workers begin to search the basement of the building. Nine people have been arrested in connection with the collapse. An initial investigation found that the top four floors of the eight story building had been constructed illegally without permits. The factories also opened despite a crack discovered in the building. Approximately 80% of the garment factory workforce in Bangladesh are women who are often responsible for providing for their families. Under grueling working conditions, workers in garment factories can make as little as $26 a month.
Media Resources: Al Jazeera 5/9/2013; BBC 5/9/2013; Reuters 5/9/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/7/2013
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. . . .