Global Manufacturing Safety – A New York Times report on a fire in a Bangladesh factory found glaring safety gaps in the supply chain of Western brands, including Walmart. In total, 112 workers were killed in a blaze after managers warned staff that the fire alarm was just a drill. Walmart claimed that the company was unaware that the factory was making their clothing, which begs a larger question about accountability in the global marketplace. The lengthy report includes interviews from survivors, families of the deceased, local fire officials, garment factory owners and others. The Associated Press also reports that this factory lost its fire safety certification in June, five months before the blaze.
Thailand’s Ex-PM — Thailand’s former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva faces murder charges for his handling of the 2010 demonstrations calling for an election, reports Bloomberg. According to the Department of Special Investigation, prosecutors and police, Abhisit and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban allegedly authorized the military to use weapons to clamp down on protestors — more than 90 of whom died in the protests. Abhisit’s opposition Democratic Party said the charges are politically motivated.
Plummeting Pirates — Somali pirate attacks plummeted in 2012, reports VOA News. This year, the European Union Naval Force Somalia reported 34 pirate attacks, compared to 176 in 2011. Tighter security measures by ships, multinational naval efforts by NATO and E.U. naval forces and developments on land in the eastern African nation have led to the dramatic drop in pirate attacks, writes VOA.
Migrants in Greece — Reuters notes that “migrants have become among the biggest and most defenseless victims of Greece’s economic crisis, facing racist attacks, police apathy and a system that punishes them rather than their assailants.” This week, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on migrants’ rights also criticized Athens for doing little to stop racist attacks. Greece, a gateway for African and Asian immigrants trying to enter Europe, has often struggled with illegal immigration, but the economic crisis has hardened attitudes towards migrants.
Clinton in Belfast – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Northern Ireland Friday as detectives began questioning four suspects after the discovery of a car bomb in Derry, the Guardian reports. The visit comes after East Belfast’s Alliance Party MP Naomi Long received a death threat for her opposition to recent loyalist riots. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, helped bring international support to Ireland’s peace process throughout the 1990s, the Guardian adds, and this marks her eighth visit.