Six killed in Bangladesh textile factory blaze

Bangladeshi fire marshals took 12 hours to control the blaze that hit the huge textile factory on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 03 July 2019

Six killed in Bangladesh textile factory blaze

  • The fire brigade took 12 hours to control the blaze at the huge factory in Sreepur, near the capital Dhaka
  • Bangladesh, the world’s second largest clothes maker after China, has faced international criticism over lax factory safety standards

DHAKA: Fire tore through a textile factory in central Bangladesh killing at least six people, officials said Wednesday.
The fire brigade took 12 hours to control the blaze at the huge factory in Sreepur, near the capital Dhaka, which cast fresh attention on safety in Bangladeshi factories after a series of disasters.
The fire spread quickly late Tuesday as water supplies to the fire hydrant ran out, local fire chief Akhter uz Zaman said.
The fire brigade said six bodies had been recovered.
With about half of the complex destroyed, emergency services were searching for other victims, Zaman added. Authorities have launched an inquiry into the cause of the blaze.
Bangladesh, the world’s second largest clothes maker after China, has faced international criticism over lax factory safety standards. The pressure intensified after the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster when a complex of factories collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people.
Western retailers have pushed factory owners to boost safety standards and created two monitoring associations to help the effort.
These organizations have either stopped their work or are about to leave, and rights groups say the government is not yet ready to enforce international standards.
The debate was raised again in March when a fire in a Dhaka office building killed 26 people.


Sweden discontinues Assange rape investigation

Updated 43 min 30 sec ago

Sweden discontinues Assange rape investigation

  • The case was being dropped because “the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”

STOCKHOLM: Sweden on Tuesday dropped its investigation into an alleged rape by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently in prison in Britain.
Assange, who is battling extradition to the United States which accuses him of publishing secret documents related to his WikiLeaks work, has been facing potential charges in Sweden since 2010. The 48-year-old has denied all allegations against him.
Prosecutor Eve-Marie Persson said the case was being dropped because “the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”
She said the alleged victim, who accused Assange of raping her in 2010, “submitted a credible and reliable version of events.”
“Her statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed,” Persson said. 
The decision follows a ruling in June by a Swedish court that Assange should not be detained. Two months earlier, Assange was evicted from the Ecuador Embassy in London where he had been holed up since 2012. He was immediately arrested and is currently serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for jumping bail in 2012.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, said in a tweet that the focus should now move onto the “threat” that Assange has been “warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.”
Assange has been battling potential charges in Sweden since August 2010, when an investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a visit to Stockholm. Sweden asked Britain to extradite Assange for questioning, and in June 2012 he sought refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid arrest. That was granted two months later.
After that, the investigation stalled. Swedish prosecutors dropped cases of alleged sexual misconduct when the statute of limitations ran out in 2015, leaving only the rape allegation.
While denying the sexual misconduct allegations in Sweden, he sought asylum for protection from possible extradition to the US on charges.
Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum status in April 2019. Assange was arrested by British police and sentenced in May to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail in 2012. He remains in prison after authorities ruled he was a flight risk and faces an extradition hearing next year to the US to face spying charges