Six days after the deadly building collapse outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, rescuers are still working to recover any remaining survivors and locate bodies of the deceased. 385 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the collapse. 2,437 have been rescued alive.
Efforts were delayed on Sunday when a spark from a metal grinder caused a fire that injured six workers as they desperately and unsuccessfully tried to save a woman trapped beneath the rubble. On Monday, rescuers began using heavy machinery and hydraulic cranes to remove concrete slabs weighing anywhere between three and 12 tons. The Special Work Organization (SWO) of the Army Engineering Corps, told reporters it will take at least 15 days to remove the debris.
Building owner and local politician, Mohammed Sohel Rana, was taken into police custody on Sunday as he attempted to flee the country into India. Seven others have been arrested in relation to the collapse: four factory bosses, two engineers, and Rana's father. A fifth factory boss is at large. Rana wore a bullet proof vest and helmet as he brought into the Dhaka courthouse while onlookers chanted "Hang him, hang him."
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.
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. An official investigation ruled that the fire was deliberately started and determined that up to nine officials prevented workers from leaving the building and even padlocked exits.
Media Resources: Al Jazeera 4/29/2013; BBC 4/29/2013; Daily Star 4/29/2013; Reuters 4/29/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/26/2013
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. . . .