This was in the news on-line, today, 15 april 2012

* Olympics: 2012 Chiefs Concerned by Reports of Adidas
‘Sweatshop’ in Indonesia:
London Olympics organizers said Saturday they were taking “extremely
seriously” allegations of “sweatshop” conditions for Indonesian workers
producing outfits for British athletes and Games volunteers.

The Independent newspaper alleged that the clothing being made for the
London 2012 Olympics was “being manufactured for Adidas in sweatshop
conditions in Indonesia, making a mockery of claims by London 2012
organizers that this summer’s Games will be the most ethical ever.”

Adidas, the German sportswear and equipment manufacturer, is
investigating, the London organizing committee said.

“We place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues
when securing goods and services and take these allegations extremely
seriously,” said a spokeswoman.
Workers at nine Indonesian factories which have contracts to produce
Olympic shoes and clothing for Adidas are working up to 65-hour weeks
and earning as little as Rp 5,000 ($0.55, 42 euro cents) an hour, the
report claimed.

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* China bullish about Canton Fair:
China is “prudently optimistic” about the result of this week’s 111th
Session of the China Import and Export Fair, or the Canton Fair, the
Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday, a forecast that augers well for
increased foreign trade.

“We have a prudently optimistic expectation about the export deals
during this Canton Fair. We estimate that the value of orders placed by
overseas buyers will maintain the record of $37.9 billion set in the
autumn session of the 110th Canton Fair last year,” Liu Jianjun, deputy
director-general of the China Foreign Trade Center of the ministry,
told a news conference.

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* Rising income inequality a threat to Asia’s growth: ADB
Developing Asia’s rapid growth in recent years has given rise to a
widening rich-poor divide that threatens to undermine the region’s
growth and stability, but governments can address the problem via
shifts in spending priorities, the Asian Development Bank said.

The region must spend more on education and health, create quality jobs
and invest in infrastructure to reduce imbalances between developed and
lagging rural areas so as to prevent social problems that can lead to
inefficient populist policies, the Manila-based ADB said on Wednesday.

In its Asian Development Outlook 2012 report, the bank said if
inequality in the region had remained stable over the past two decades,
growth over the years would have lifted 240 million people more out of
poverty, the equivalent of 6.5 percent of developing Asia’s population
in 2010.
But instead, inequality widened even as Asia’s economic growth took

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* Pulling Bicol up from poverty with coco fiber ropes:
In the early 90s, when the then dean of Bicol University’s College of
Agriculture, Dr. Justino Arboleda, first heard of a report naming Bicol
as the second poorest province in the Philippines, he was incredulous.

“I could not believe it! How could Bicol be the second poorest
province?” he asked. “We are so rich in coconut trees, the tree of life
itself.” He then continued, “So we conducted our own investigation in
the university and to our dismay, we found that the report was
Thus started Dr. Arboleda’s crusade to discover what had caused Bicol’s
poverty and, more importantly, how to help alleviate it.

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* C. Mindanao workers to get wage increase:
Minimum wage earners in Central Mindanao are getting a much-awaited pay
increase, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) said
Under the new wage order, the NWPC said the previous P15 cost of living
allowance (COLA) of workers in Central Mindanao will be integrated into
their daily basic pay.

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* Government raises minimum wage:
Another VND220,000 (US$10) will be added to the monthly minimum wage
from May 1, according to a new Government decree issued on Thursday.

Accordingly, the increase will be applied at all State agencies,
people’s armed forces, socio-political organisations and State-owned
one-member limited companies.

It is the fourth increase of the minimum wage in the last four years:
in 2009 it was VND 650,000 ($31), in 2010 it was VND730,000 ($34) and
from 2011 to May 2012 it will have been VND830,000 ($39).

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* Sai Gon Tex promotes VN products:
Nearly 300 businesses from 18 countries and territories are showcasing
their products and services at the 22nd international fair on “Garments
and Textiles Equipment and Accessories” (Sai Gon Tex 2012) which opened
in HCM City on Wednesday.
The four-day fair has been organised by the State-owned Viet Nam
National Textiles and Garments Group (Vinatex), in association with the
VCCI Exhibition Service Company and the Hong Kong Exhibition JSC.
Sai Gon Tex 2012 is seen as a great opportunity for garment and textiles
businesses both in Viet Nam and overseas to exchange information, seek
out new sources of materials and expand their operations.



* Programme Update – February to March 2012


* Immigrant workers running low on food:
Food shortages have been reported by representatives for Cambodian and
Myanmar workers at a factory in Songkhla, which was the scene of a
rowdy industrial dispute last week over pay and alleged mistreatment of
The Phattana seafood factory has been closed since April 8 and with
workers allegedly not due to be paid until April 22.
Workers were running short of cash and had been collecting snails and
vegetables from local areas, according to Andy Hall, an advocate for
migrant workers.
Senior Myanmar officials have reportedly been dispatched to Thailand to
try to resolve the matter. Hundreds of Cambodian workers have quit the
factory and allegedly returned home in recent days.


* Doubts over Italian-Thai’s Myanmar plans may scare off ADB:
The Asian Development Bank will find it hard to lend money for
Italian-Thai Development’s US$8.6-billion (Bt267-billion) plan to build
a deep-sea port and industrial estate in Myanmar, Craig Steffensen, its
Thailand country director, said yesterday.
“If you look at their plans, with golf courses and hotels and steel
mills and refineries, it scared a lot of people,” Steffensen, who also
oversees Myanmar for the ADB, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“It’d make it very difficult for a group like ADB to ever get involved
in a project like that given the concerns of everyone, including
ourselves, about how this project should move forward.”
Although it is predicting fast growth in Myanmar’s gross domestic
product – 6 per cent this year and 6.3 per cent in 2013 – the bank
believes the country is unlikely to catch up with Thailand or Vietnam
in the next decade because it is in an early stage of development.

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* Nike calls for investigation into latest faintings:
Nike has asked the International Labour Organisation to investigate two
mass fainting incidents at its Cambodian supplier Sabrina (Cambodia)
Manufacturing last week and report on its findings.

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* IMF loan won’t relive people’s hardship: Rights groups:
Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), an alliance of
rights-based civil society organisations, has urged the government to
open public and parliamentary debates on having any foreign loan in the
name of assistance and development.

In a statement on Friday, the rights group said the latest $1 bln loan
form IMF (International Monetary Fund) would not relieve people of
their livelihood plight as the loan is tied with a lot of strings which
are globally proved as anti-poor conditionality.

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* Child Laborer Finally Freed From Captivity After Losing Arm in Cotton
Ginning Accident:
Police in the Indian state of Gujarat arrested Harmish Patel on
Wednesday for allegedly trafficking children for labor.
Patel is the owner of Umapati Ginning in the village of Bodaso in Kedi,
Gujurat, where in this past February Anil, a 12 year old child laborer,
had been working ginning cotton when he lost his arm in a tragic ginning
Patel’s arrest release came more than two months after Anil’s step
mother, Hakribai Bhagora, filed a complaint with the local police with
the help of local labor organizers from PRAYAS, seeking Patel’s arrest.

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* Pakistani textile brand to open 200 stores in India:
Pakistan-based fashion house Sefam, which already has a store in the
capital’s Greater Kailash market, is planning to expand its network in
India with 200 stores in the next five years.

“Owing to impressive demand for Pakistani dress material in India, we
are targeting at significantly strengthening our presence in the
country through a dynamic product range,” Zain Aziz, international
business head, Sefam Private Limited, said in a statement.

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* India-China meet to discuss trade disputes:
India and China have intensified efforts to iron out trade differences,
with two high-profile meetings set to take place in coming weeks that
will address mutual concerns over anti-dumping investigations and
barriers to investment.

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* NIFT to join hands with Institute of Fashion Design, Lahore:
Apart from giving a major thrust to liberal trade between the two
countries, India and Pakistan plan to join hands in the field of
fashion designing, textiles and footwear through collaborations between
their fashion institutes.

The attempt is to come up with challenging and innovative fusion of
fashion from both the countries and open new avenues and markets for
their designers, including the textiles and footwear industries. The
National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and the Lahore-based
Institute of Fashion Design are working on extensive exchange of
fashion knowledge and expertise.

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* Gilani promises 0.1m jobs in budget:
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Saturday his government
would take an initiative to provide 100,000 jobs to the youth in the
2012-13 budget.
Addressing a ‘charged’ public gathering at Alipur, he spoke proudly of
his association with the Pakistan People’s Party.
He said: “When I was in jail in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I got
many offers to change political party but I refused to do so.”

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map of Asia

* Olympics: 2012 Chiefs Concerned by Reports of Adidas
‘Sweatshop’ in Indonesia

* China bullish about Canton Fair

* Rising income inequality a threat to Asia’s growth: ADB
* Pulling Bicol up from poverty with coco fiber ropes
* C. Mindanao workers to get wage increase

* Government raises minimum wage
* Sai Gon Tex promotes VN products

* Immigrant workers running low on food

* Doubts over Italian-Thai’s Myanmar plans may scare off ADB

* Nike calls for investigation into latest faintings

* IMF loan won’t relive people’s hardship: Rights groups

* Child Laborer Finally Freed From Captivity After Losing Arm in Cotton
Ginning Accident
* Pakistani textile brand to open 200 stores in India
* India-China meet to discuss trade disputes
* NIFT to join hands with Institute of Fashion Design, Lahore

* Gilani promises 0.1m jobs in budget

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

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