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Bangladesh mourns factory worker deaths

Bangladeshi garment workers hold flags during a protest in Dhaka on November 27, 2012, following a deadly fire in a garment factory.

Bangladesh is holding a day of mourning for more than a hundred people killed in a factory fire over the weekend. It has emerged the factory was making products for western companies, including Wal-Mart. Wal-mart has admitted that a supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and that it has now terminated its relationship with that supplier.

The BBC's Anbarason Ethirajan travelled to what remains of the Tazreen Fashions factory on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Witnesses say the Tazreen factory lacked emergency exits and 12 people died when they jumped from windows to escape the blaze.

Today garment factory workers have held a second day of protests, demanding tough punishment for the factory owners and those who tried to stop the workers from escaping.

"The workers are angry. This is one of the worst industrial accidents here in Bangladesh," says Ethirajan.

Bangladesh is the second biggest exporter of ready made clothes with more than 80 percent of its clothes shipping to Europe and the United States.

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This story about the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist-like fire (locked doors; no fire escapes) stuck with WalMart's denial of knowledge. Democracy Now! went further and the denial didn't sound so convincing: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/27/bangladeshi_labor_activist_finds_.... The fire story also links thematically with an all-so-far-US-domestically focused WalMart labor-conditions series Marketplace is doing, today's part here http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/walmart-warehouse-temps.... Per a DemNow post-fire witness of the scene, Faded Glory was one of the WalMart labels being manufactured at the factory. The Marketplace/BBC story also doesn't say WalMart first said it didn't know its relationship with the factory at all, as Amy Goodman reported it did on DemNow. The DemNow witness also said she saw WalMart as "cutting and running from this factory" in its "without authorization" statement. The DemNow coverage also examined Sec'y of State Clinton's (a) discussion of labor issues in Dhaka, Bangladesh, recently and (b) background with six years on WalMart's board. A story, overall, worth attention surely.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 268435456 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 80 bytes) in /mnt/www/html/marketplace/docroot/includes/common.inc on line 6493 .... That was a discouraging step -- with loss of comment I was trying to preview -- for reference. Let's see if it saves.

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