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Geopolitics

Death Toll Tops 400 In Bangladesh Factory Collapse

BD NEWS 24 (Bangladesh), THE TIMES OF INDIA (India), BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

DHAKA – Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis joined May Day protests Wednesday demanding the death penalty for the owner of the garment factory building that collapsed last week near Dhaka, as the number of people killed in the disaster moves past 400 with more bodies recovered beneath the rubble.

Workers holding red banners and flags chanted "Hang the Killers, Hang the Factory Owners" as they took to the streets of Dhaka at the start of a series of nationwide demonstrations during the public holiday, The Times Of India reports.

The Rana Plaza, which housed five factories in Savar, a sub-district near Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, collapsed on April 24, in what BBC News describes as the nation's worst industrial disaster. The owners of the complex have been accused of having ignored warnings not to allow their workers into the building.

Police officials confirmed that 399 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, while another three people had died in hospital. Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for, and many bodies are feared trapped in the rubble. Some 2,500 people were injured.

Bangladesh’s government is observing May Day with the slogan "Safe Workplace for Bangladesh's Progress." Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged workers to go back to work: “You will lose jobs if the industry is not running. You will have to return to your villages,” Hasina is quoted as saying by Bangladesh News 24 Hours.

Building collapses are common in Bangladesh, especially in Dhaka where construction laws and safety rules are seldom enforced.

Late on Tuesday, the EU issued a brief statement expressing concern over labor conditions in the country and suggested it would look at Bangladesh's preferential trade access to the EU market to encourage better safety standards, Reuters reports.

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Geopolitics

China v. India: A New Twist In Asia's "Billion Club" Rivalry

The news that China's population has shrunk for the first time in 60 years, comes as India appears to be outperforming its giant neighbor on a number of fronts. But this would be reversal of fortune still has too many variables to predict the demise of one or the rise of the other.

Photo of a crowded street in Hyderabad, India

Street scene in Hyderabad, India

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — China and India have at least one notable feature in common: the Asian giants are the only two countries in the world with a population above one billion. Yet Beijing announced this week that China has registered its first decline in number of inhabitants after 60 years of continuous expansion. This comes as India’s population continues to grow — on the path to overtake China as the world's most populous country.

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