Khamis, 24 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Orphans vent grief, six month after Bangladesh tragedy


SAVAR, Bangladesh, Oct 24, 2013 (AFP) - Orphans who lost their parents when a garment factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh vented their grief and anger at leading Western retailers Thursday on the six-month anniversary of the disaster.

Relatives of the 1,135 people who lost their lives when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed on April 24 also said they had still to receive any compensation for their loss as they rallied at the site of the tragedy.

"We lost our parents for your work: Walmart, Carrefour, Benetton ...," read a banner held by a group of orphans, listing some of the retailers whose clothing was made at Rana Plaza before it collapsed.

Although some retailers have promised to pay into a compensation fund, activists complained that money was not reaching those in need.

"If you talk about legal compensation, none of the 3,629 workers working in the Rana Plaza at the time of the disaster has been paid a single cent," said Roy Ramesh, Bangladesh head of the IndustriALL global union, which is negotiating with retailers for compensation.

"The government donated some money from its charity fund and British retailer Primark paid 30,000 taka ($375) to each of the victims," he said, adding factory owners and the rest of the 28 retailers who were making clothing at the Rana Plaza factories have paid nothing.

Rezaul Karim, 32, was one of the injured workers who joined the protest in front of the Rana Plaza ruins, demanding more money to treat his broken spinal cord and a monthly pension to maintain a decent life.

"Since the collapse, I've got only the 30,000 taka given by Primark. I am now reduced to begging," he said, clutching the hand of his eight-year-old son.

"The government has paid for some of my treatment but more treatment is needed and it'll cost a huge amount.

"My son cannot go to school and there are days we don't have enough food," he said, adding he now depends on charity from relatives and neighbours.

A report by British charity ActionAid published on the anniversary also highlighted a failure by the authorities and the retailers to compensate the Rana Plaza victims and their families.

The charity surveyed 2,297 people - nearly two thirds of survivors and families of those who died - and found that 94 per cent reported they have not received any legal benefits from their employers since April, including sick pay or compensation.

The Bangladesh government has paid some funds to 777 people - around a third of the victims and their family members - but no long-term compensation package has been agreed, it said.

Legendary Bollywood singer Manna Dey dies


MUMBAI: Legendary Bollywood singer Manna Dey died in hospital on Thursday after a five-decade career on the soundtracks of Indian movie classics, reports said. He was 94.

The star, who had been unwell with respiratory problems in recent months, died of cardiac arrest in the early morning, a senior doctor at the Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital in southern Bangalore city told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

"We are saddened by his loss, but he died peacefully. His last rites will be performed later in the day," his son-in-law Jnanranjan Deb told PTI.

Born in Kolkata in May 1919 as Prabodh Chandra Dey, he was given the nickname Manna by his uncle K.C. Dey, a well-known singer and actor who was a great influence on his nephew.

After he graduated from college, Manna travelled to Mumbai where he was first employed as an assistant, before making his debut as a playback singer in the 1943 film 'Tamanna' (Desire).

His first big hit came seven years later in 'Mashaal' (Torch) and his career went on to span more than five decades, during which he recorded over 3,000 songs.

His last recording, for "Umar" (Age), was in 2006.

The versatile singer was as much at ease with a classical Indian song as he was with a peppy youthful one. Beside Hindi, he also sang in regional languages such as Bengali, Malayalam, Bhojpuri and Gujarati.

He won various awards for his work in the music industry, including the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award from the Indian government.

His sang various numbers in films for Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who was one of many in the industry to pay tribute to Dey on Twitter.

"Manna Dey, stalwart of the music world, passes away. Flooded with memories and his songs," Bachchan wrote.

"Manna Dey had a unique voice. He will live on through his songs," wrote actor Shabana Azmi. -AFP

Myanmar makes biggest heroin bust this year


YANGON: Myanmar police said Thursday they had arrested a man with 133 kilos (293 pounds) of heroin worth $2 million at local prices - the country's biggest seizure of the drug this year.

The drugs were found on Sunday in Tachileik near the border with Thailand - a major destination for smuggled narcotics.

"One man was arrested and three others are still at large," a police official in the drugs control department told AFP.

"It's the biggest seizure of heroin this year," he said on condition of anonymity.

State media said the heroin was discovered in bags transported by motorcycle following a tip-off.

Myanmar, the world's second-largest opium producer, in May pushed back by five years its goal of eliminating drug production, to 2019.

That followed a rebound in poppy cultivation in the impoverished country, which is emerging from decades of military rule.

Experts say production of amphetamine-type stimulants is also surging in Myanmar.

Earlier this month seven tonnes of caffeine - which is sometimes mixed with methamphetamine in pills - were seized near Tachileik, the police official said.

The drugs trade is closely linked to Myanmar's long-running insurgencies in remote border areas, with ethnic minority rebels widely thought to use the profits to fund their operations. -AFP


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