‘No Bangladesh garment firm totally safe’

Updated 23 April 2015

‘No Bangladesh garment firm totally safe’

DHAKA: Safety overhauls of Bangladesh’s garment factories were running behind schedule and none were considered totally safe two years after the Rana Plaza disaster, a global labor group said Thursday.
IndustriALL said thousands of factories were found to have some structural flaws following inspections carried out in the wake of the tragedy that killed more than 1,100 people.
The Swiss-based group said efforts to upgrade the factories were lagging despite some 200 mostly European retailers
“Important progress has been made, but the fact that all remediation is currently behind schedule, some over six months behind, is a serious problem,” IndustriALL said in a statement on the eve of Friday’s anniversary of the disaster.
“It is an unacceptable reality that not a single factory can yet be called 100 percent safe,” the group, which played a key role in sealing the agreement, said.
The nine-story Rana Plaza factory complex imploded on April 24, 2013 in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

The collapse triggered international outrage and put pressure on European and US brands who had placed orders to improve the woeful pay and conditions at Bangladesh’s 4,500 garment factories.
Two years on, nearly $25 million in compensation has been paid out to survivors and relatives of the dead.
More than 2,500 garment factories have been inspected for structural, fire and electrical safety since the disaster, the ILO said in a statement on Thursday.
Despite IndustriALL’s statement, Bangladesh Junior Labor Minister Mujibul Haque hailed progress made so far in improving the safety of Bangladesh’s $25 billion garment industry.
“Almost three quarters of garment factories have now been assessed for structural and fire safety with only a very small number being deemed too unsafe to operate,” he said at an event to mark the disaster.
The Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association also said Thursday that major improvements had been made to factories, with only around one percent deemed too unsafe to repair and forced to shut down.


Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of virus doses by 2021

Updated 16 min 46 sec ago

Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of virus doses by 2021

  • The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago
  • Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience

MOSCOW: Russia said Monday it aims to launch mass production of a coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.
The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one prepared at the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development.
“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,” industry minister Denis Manturov said in an interview published by TASS news agency.
“We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year,” he said, adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Saturday said the Gamaleya vaccine had “completed clinical trials” and that documents were being prepared to register it with the state.
Another vaccine, developed by Siberia-based Vektor lab, is currently undergoing clinical trials and two more will begin human testing within the next two months, Murashko said.
Gamaleya’s vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
Gamaleya’s vaccine employs the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.
The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago, with specialists criticizing the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.
Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience, particularly with advanced technology like viral vector.
Some Russian officials have boasted that the country will be the first to come up with the vaccine, even comparing it to the space race to produce the first satellite in the Soviet era.
Moscow has dismissed allegations from the UK, the United States and Canada that a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence services tried to steal information about a coronavirus vaccine from labs in the West.
Russia’s coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.