- Bangladesh garment factory fire kills 120
- Four injured in fire at U.S. State Department
- Iraqi Kurds send more troops into standoff with Iraq army
Posted: 24 Nov 2012 08:29 PM PST
DHAKA (Reuters) - At least 120 people were burnt to death as a fire swept through a garment factory on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital, the chief of the fire brigade said on Sunday.
The fire at the nine-story factory in the Ashulia industrial belt started on the ground floor late on Saturday and quickly spread, trapping hundreds of workers.
"This morning we have recovered 120 dead bodies and the death toll could rise," Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, director general of the fire brigade, told reporters.
Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for brands including Tesco, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl's and Carrefour.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul ; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)
Copyright © 2012 Reuters
Posted: 24 Nov 2012 04:45 PM PST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fire broke out during routine maintenance at the U.S. State Department on Saturday, injuring four maintenance workers, officials said.
The fire began inside ductwork on the building's eighth floor at about 11 a.m. (1600 GMT) as workers were replacing insulation, State Department and fire officials said.
Workers doused the fire with hand-held extinguishers before fire department personnel arrived, District of Columbia Battalion Chief Edward Mills said.
Mills, who was one of the first responders to the scene, told Reuters TV the cause of the fire remained under investigation but did not immediately appear suspicious.
As firefighters tackled the fire, State Department personnel were evacuated to a nearby facility, where around-the-clock operations continued, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
"The fire was quickly extinguished and the main building has been reopened for normal weekend operations," Nuland said in a statement.
The firefighters' association Facebook page said three of the injured were taken to Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman could not immediately provide details about the conditions of the injured.
Washington Fire and EMS spokesman Lon Walls said the injured were all maintenance workers, and that one suffered serious injuries, according to the Washington Post. Walls did not immediately return a call for comment.
(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh and Peter Cooney; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Bill Trott)
Copyright © 2012 Reuters
Posted: 24 Nov 2012 04:32 PM PST
ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's Kurdish region has sent reinforcements to a disputed area where its troops are involved in a standoff with the Iraqi army, a senior Kurdish military official said, despite calls on both sides for dialogue to calm the situation.
The second military buildup this year illustrates how far relations between Baghdad's central government, led by Shi'ite Muslim Arabs, and ethnic Kurds have deteriorated, testing Iraq's federal cohesion nearly a year after U.S. troops left.
Baghdad and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region earlier this week began sending troops to an area over which they both claim jurisdiction, raising tensions in a long-running feud over land and oil rights.
More Kurdish troops and tanks were mobilised on Saturday and headed towards the disputed areas, the deputy minister for Kurdish military affairs said late on Saturday, adding that they would hold their positions unless Iraqi forces made a move.
"If they overstep the line, we will strike them," Anwar Haji Osman said.
The Iraqi army and Kurdish troops have previously come close to confrontation only to pull back at the last moment, flexing their muscles but lacking any real appetite for a fight.
Iraq's speaker of parliament, who visited Kurdish President Massoud Barzani on Friday, said "significant progress" had been made towards defusing the standoff and that a meeting between military leaders from both sides would be held on Monday in the Defence Ministry in Baghdad.
Washington intervened to end a similar standoff in August and is again in contact with Iraqi and Kurdish officials to ease tension mounting over the formation of a new command centre for Iraqi forces to operate in the disputed areas.
Kurds say the Dijla Operations Command is a threat to them and an attempt by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to seize control over the oil rich territories along the internal border that demarcates the Kurdish region from the rest of Iraq.
Maliki says the Dijla Operations Command is necessary to keep order in one of the most volatile parts of the country.
Barzani on Saturday turned down an invitation from Shi'ite cleric and lawmaker Moqtada al-Sadr to meet with Maliki to discuss the situation.
In a statement posted on the Kurdistan regional government's website, Barzani's spokesman said he had refused because the matter was not personal, but rather a result of Maliki's "constant non-commitment to the constitution".
The latest flare-up began one week ago when Iraqi troops went after a fuel smuggler who had taken refuge in the office of a Kurdish political party in Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (106 miles) north of the capital, sparking a clash with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in which one passerby was killed.
Maliki has sparred more aggressively with Barzani since the withdrawal last year of U.S. troops who had served as a buffer between the federal Baghdad government and Kurdistan.
(Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Paul Simao)
Copyright © 2012 Reuters
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