in the news on-line, 16 October 2012

08:16:32 local time map of china CHINA

* Dip in Chinese orders lessen India’s cotton export:

India’s cotton export in 2012-13 is expected to fall to seven million bales (a bale is 170 kg) compared with 12.8 million bales last year, following a sharp fall in Chinese demand, a cotton exporter said Tuesday.

According to the Cotton Advisory Board (CAB), headed by the textile commissioner, China’s total imports are projected to fall to 2.5 million tonnes this year, half of last year’s. Around 65 per cent of India’s cotton export goes to China.

“China’s imports will be lower as their crop is good; they also have huge stocks,” said A B Joshi, India’s textile commissioner. India’s cotton prices are higher compared to global ones.

“Although China is expected to reduce import of cotton from India, they may start importing cotton yarn,” said Umang Kapasi, joint managing director of the Coimbatore-based Shri Vardhaman Cotton Corporation, which is also an indenting agent. read more.

* Famous clothing brands condemned for suppliers’ pollution:

 A new report by a number of environmental protection organizations has uncovered serious pollution problems with suppliers of branded clothing enterprises.

Among 49 clothing brands investigated, 47 were linked to suppliers with environmental contamination problems, said Wang Jingjing, deputy head of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), adding that only Esquel and Burberry were not involved.

According to the report, carried in Monday’s Securities Daily, 30 brand owners have communicated with the Green Choice Union (GCU) since April, when it enquired of the 49 enterprises whether they knew about their suppliers’ environmental performance.

Environmental NGOs of GCU revealed that 17 brand owners have acted positively, including H&M, Nike, Esquel, Wal-Mart, Levis, Adidas, Burberry and Gap.

The union wrote again to the 49 enterprises on Sept. 25, looking forward to explanations on suppliers management, and by Oct. 7 it had replies from a total of 17 of the bunch, among which only Nike, Esquel, Adidas, H&M, Levis and Burberry have implemented environmental regulations on dyeing suppliers.

Nineteen brands gave no response, including Disney, Polo Ralph Lauren, 361 Degrees, Kappa, Macy’s, Armani, Calvin Klein and Carrefour, according to the organizations. read more.

07:16:32 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Garments aim to enter Japanese market:

Japan is a demanding market, and understanding its consumer behaviour, attitudes and perceptions towards products will help businesses, including garment markers, penetrate the market.

To capitalise on this lucrative market, many garment manufacturers have adjusted their operations and planned to increase export volume to Japan to 20 percent in 2013 from the current 10 percent.
They have also invested in upgrading workshops, production lines, and other facilities to meet the tough requirements of Japanese importers.

According to the Vietnamese Trade Office in Japan, Japanese businesses attach great importance to trust in transactions and require production to meet the highest technical standards.
Japanese consumers also have strict demands for imports in terms of quality, durability, reputation, and convenience. They are interested in after-sale services and various product distribution modes and are willing to pay high prices for quality items.

The Japanese are among the most health aware consumers in the world, forcing garments, footwear, food, handicrafts and even packaging design to be adjusted to cater to their tastes. read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 16/10. (18th item).

* Apparel sector races to hit targets:

Employees at the Nam Dinh-based Truong Tien Company make clothes for export. The domestic apparel industry will have to work hard to meet its export target this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
The textile and garment sector will take several measures to achieve its export target this year, according to the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas).

Exports in the first nine months were worth US$10 billion, a year-on-year increase of seven per cent, but concerted efforts are indeed required to hit the target of $17-18 billion, it said.
The industry faces certain difficulties that will significantly affect production and trading, and serious efforts are needed to resolve them soon.

They include an ongoing dispute between Vietnamese textile firms and US cotton merchants – which could affect their purchase of cotton – and a Ministry of Finance plan to scrap the 275-day grace period for tax payment they currently enjoy.
read more.

07:16:32 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* 400,000 illegal migrants face deportation:

Some 400,000 illegal migrant workers face the prospect of being deported after failing to undergo the nationality verification process, which expires on Dec 14.

Some 1.3 million out of 1.7 million migrant workers in the country have completed nationality verification, Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap said yesterday.
The remaining 400,000 migrant workers will be deported to their home countries if they fail to complete the verification process by the deadline, the minister said.
read more.

* ‘Migrants should get medical benefits’:

Thailand has about 4 million migrant workers, who should be included in the national healthcare system, |several agencies said yesterday.

The 2010 census showed that 2.7 million residents of Thailand did not hold Thai nationality and that 90 per cent of them were migrant workers, Suphan Srithamma, deputy permanent secretary for Public Health Ministry said at a conference held in Bangkok yesterday. read more.

06:16:32 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Garment workers urge owners to pay wages, bonus within Oct 20:

Garment workers have urged the factory owners to pay wages and eid bonus within October 20 to avert any untoward incident.

They called upon the owners to pay the salary of current month, full bonus and over time bills within the time.
“Every year the garment workers go on the rampage when they do not get their wages and eid bonus in time. This year we do not want repeat of such incident,” president of National Garment Workers’ Federation (NGWF) Amirul Islam Amin told the FE.

He said the federation has opened an emergency cell at its Topkhana Road office like previous years to listen any complaints from both the workers and owners ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
He said the apparel workers will not be able to celebrate eid if they were not paid their wages for October and the festival allowance before eid. read more.

* Hall-Mark RMG units closed:

Hall-Mark authorities closed its all readymade garment units for three days following workers’ demonstrations demanding arrears.

Police said the controversial business group came up with the decision as the factories do not have any work orders right now and more than 35,000 workers have been demonstrating for their due payments.
Talking to The Daily Star, Md Moniruzzaman, a deputy director of Industrial Police, said the group’s around 60 factories in Savar were closed.

A government appointed committee headed by a joint secretary for running the apparel units of the group said the workers will be paid their due salaries by next Thursday.
The government has appointed the committee following the arrest of Hall-Mark Group Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud and its General Manager Tushar Ahmed in connection with Sonali Bank loan scam.

Earlier on Sunday, at least 50 people were injured as the workers clashed with the police demanding their due salaries.
The injured were admitted to local hospitals while the Hall-Mark authorities shut the factories for the day. read more.

* Hall-Mark closes factories as workers rally for wages:

Hall-Mark Group yesterday closed all its factories for the next three days, as its workers demonstrated demanding wages, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, a deputy director of Industrial Police at Savar.

“All the units of the group will reopen on Thursday.”
But, factories of the group virtually remained closed for the last six months when its loan scam was detected and disclosed in May.

Also, there was misinformation about the number of workers.
Witnesses said the workers of Hall-Mark Group started their demonstration at around 10am and came out of the factories.

Tushar Ahmed, general manager (commercial) of the group, told The Daily Star last month that they had a total of 38,000 workers. Since May, 20 percent of its workers left the group each month.
“No bank wants to work with us after the incident (loan scam). What will they (workers) do?” he said.

Hall-Mark has become a news item in the media since May after the central bank detected a loan scam of Tk 2,686 crore by the Group from Sonali Bank. read more.

* Hallmark factories shut in Savar:

The Hallmark Group on Monday shut down its factories at Hemayetpur in Savar for three days in the wake of workers’ protests demanding arrears.
The authorities of the Group were forced to announce closure of the factory in Nandakhali to prevent the protests from turning violent, said Industrial Police’s Inspector Abdul Baten.
He said authorities had assured that the arrears would be paid once the factories reopened on Thursday.
Workers’ salaries and other payments had become uncertain following the arrest of Hallmark managing director Tanvir Mahmud and general manager Tusher Ahmed over Sonali Bank loan scam, said Savar model police station’s sub-inspector Sazzad Romel. read more. & read more. & read more.

* Apparel sector faces stagnation for banks’ reluctance: 4 assocs:

Four apparel sector trade bodies on Monday said their business plunged in to a stagnant condition as the commercial banks were not paying money against bills of acceptance for clearing the letters of credit after the Hallmark Group scam.
‘A number of banks are now reluctant to pay in favour of bills of acceptance after the Hallmark Group scam, resulting in a crisis in the garments sector,’  said Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin at a press briefing after a meeting with Bangladesh Bank officials.
BB deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury presided over the meeting held at the BB headquarters in the capital.
‘We sought the BB’s intervention so that it takes measures against the banks which have not made payment against the bills of acceptance,’ said Shafiul.
Many of the banks are dilly-dallying in clearing the local LCs after the embezzlement of around Tk 3,600 crore by Hallmark Group and five other companies from Sonali Bank came to light recently. read more.

* Banks turned unsupportive after loan scam: Apparel exporters:

Apparel exporters on Monday alleged that some over-conscious private and state-owned commercial banks are showing unwillingness in purchasing inland bills, while some banks are not making payment against those.

They said the present unsupportive role of the banks following the Hall-Mark loan scandal has created a panic as well as created stagnation in the apparel, textiles and accessories industries.
The exporters sought necessary directives from the Bangladesh Bank in resolving the problems facing by the three vital more.

* Accept Inland Bills, BB tells banks:

The central bank warned Monday that it will not accept any indifferent attitude by private banks while accepting or buying ‘inland bills’ of the garment manufacturers or those supplying accessories to the country’s export-oriented apparel industry.
“No banks should avoid accepting or buying inland bill purchase (IBP) citing any excuse of Hall-Mark loan scam,” said Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury while briefing the journalists after a meeting with textile and apparel industry leaders.
“Most of the private banks have become more conscious after the Hall-Mark scam which prompted them to be choosier,” said the Deputy Governor, instructing the bank MDs who attended the meeting, to purchase the IBP as usual.
The central bank held a meeting with leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BMEA) and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) at its board room to resolve banking problems the industry is facing.
read more.  & read more. & read more.

* Ex-manager arrested over Hallmark scam:

Rapid Action Battalion on Sunday night arrested former Manager of Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel Branch, AKM Azizur Rahman, over the loan scam involving Hallmark Group.

RAB-3 Commanding Officer MN Anisur Rahman confirmed that Rahman was arrested in Rampura in the capital.
Rahman is the first bank official to have been arrested since Bangladesh’s biggest-ever loan scandal surfaced in May this year.

Hallmark’s Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud along with the firm’s General Manager Tusher Ahmed were arrested recently.
A Bangladesh Bank audit revealed a little over Tk 36 billion was taken as loan by five firms, including Hallmark, from different branches of Sonali Bank, including Ruposhi Bangla, violating rules.

Hallmark Group drew over Tk 26 billion alone.
On Oct 4, Anti-Corruption Commission filed 11 cases against 27 people, including Azizur Rahman, over the scam.
Rahman is one of those 18 who were named in all the 11 cases for their involvement in misappropriating money from the branch. read more.

05:46:32 local time map of india INDIA

* 77 bonded labourers rescued from Erode textile mill:

Officials in the district rescued 77 persons, including children, who were allegedly forced into bonded labour at a private yarn processing mill in Erode on Monday.

Mayor Mallika Paramasivam, who received information from the people living in Arumugam Street in Karungalpalayam area about the bonded labourers, alerted police and revenue officials.
A team of police personnel monitored the mill for the past 10 days and the preliminary investigations revealed that persons were forced into bonded labour at the mill.
A team of officials led by the Mayor conducted a surprise check at the mill on Monday afternoon and rescued 77 bonded labourers. The labourers included more than 30 children. read more.

* Court orders fresh, nationwide survey to free bonded labourers:

Taking note of the National Human Rights Commission report that 2,780 cases involving about one lakh bonded labourers have been registered, the Supreme Court has ordered a fresh survey by the States to find out the total number of such people still to be rescued from employers.

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra, disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, said on Monday that the petitioner had brought to the notice of this court telltale miseries of bonded labourers and their exploitation, and the necessity of checking the practice and rehabilitating the victims. “Not a single case has been reported so far that an offending employer had been convicted by way of imprisonment.” read more.

* Child Trafficking on the Rise in India:

The gore reality of children going missing in the country is a nightmare, to which one wakes up each day. Most of these children are trafficked or sold and some are recovered from placement agencies or elsewhere.

Child trafficking is a serious national and international concern. A large number boys and girls are affected by trafficking each day and it violates the basic right of a child to grow up in a family environment. It steals them of their life of dreams and possibilities depriving them from learning, playing and being loved.

In some cases children and their families are enticed by better job offers and living options, others are just nabbed form the streets. These children are exposed to a wide range of danger which includes violence, neglect and sexual exploitation.

The child victim of human trafficking is accounted to approximately 6 lakh to 8 lakh yearly, smuggled across the international borders. Human trafficking is the 3rd largest lucrative immoral industry run worldwide. The trafficked children are used for prostitution, forced into marriage, used as cheap or unpaid labour, illegally adopted, used for sport and organ harvesting. Some children are recruited into armed groups.

As per UNICEF a victim of child trafficking is “any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country”. It is one the hardest crimes to record and investigate, for this reason it’s hard to get the accurate data. However the latest number is estimated to 1.2 million children across the world as per
read more.

* FOGWA’s bandh gets mixed response:

The bandh called by Federation of Gujarat Weavers’ Association (FOGWA) to protest the arrest of weavers by the police in an alleged case of kidnapping of a textile trader on Monday evoked lukewarm response from the weavers in the powerloom sector.

Barring few industrial estates like Katargam, Varachha and Vasta Devdi, the powerloom units in Sachin, Pandesara, Udhana, Limbayat and Pandol were operational.

FOGWA had called for a bandh in the weaving sector to protest the arrest of two weavers from Sachin by the city police in the alleged case of kidnapping of a textile trader and the defaults by the traders in the textile markets targeting the weavers.
read more.

* Spinning a wheel of change in naxal-hit villages:

150 youths to be trained in handloom for six months

The Department of Police has set out to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of strengthening khadi and cottage industries by promoting income and employment generation activities in Naxal-affected villages of the district.

With the support of the Department of Police and the Department of Textiles and Handlooms, the local youths have formed Raksha Kavacha Weavers’ Cooperative Society in Agumbe village. The Department of Textiles and Handloom will provide training in handloom for these youths through this society, which has 150 members at present. The training programme will get under way on Monday.
During the six-month training period, the trainees will get a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 from the Department of Textiles and Handlooms. read more.

* A woman’s work…:

At 5 am every day, Gayatri Kotri and her two sisters-in-law wake up and begin their chores – filling water at a tap near their one-room Dharavi home, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, scrubbing vessels and getting five children ready for school.

By 7 am, the chores are done, Kotri’s two brothers have set off for work and her five nieces and nephews are in school. Just in time, too.

Quickly, 40-year-old Kotri tucks her polio-shrivelled legs under her, distributes some papad dough between the three of them, and starts rolling out papads. Over the next 12 hours, the women will churn out 10 kg of papads, earning Rs. 300. “It’s hard work. Our arms and backs ache. But we have no choice,” says Kotri.

At 7 pm, the women will quickly cook dinner, then spend another two or three hours stitching sari blouses and petticoats by hand to supplement their earnings. “If we want to feed the children, we have to keep working,” says Kotri. read more.

map of Asia

* Dip in Chinese orders lessen India’s cotton export
* Famous clothing brands condemned for suppliers’ pollution

* Garments aim to enter Japanese market
* Apparel sector races to hit targets

* 400,000 illegal migrants face deportation
* ‘Migrants should get medical benefits’

* Garment workers urge owners to pay wages, bonus within Oct 20
* Hall-Mark RMG units closed
* Hall-Mark closes factories as workers rally for wages
* Hallmark factories shut in Savar
* Apparel sector faces stagnation for banks’ reluctance: 4 assocs
* Banks turned unsupportive after loan scam: Apparel exporters
* Accept Inland Bills, BB tells banks
* Ex-manager arrested over Hallmark scam

* 77 bonded labourers rescued from Erode textile mill
* Court orders fresh, nationwide survey to free bonded labourers
* Child Trafficking on the Rise in India
* FOGWA’s bandh gets mixed response
* Spinning a wheel of change in naxal-hit villages
* A woman’s work..

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Convention on the Rights of the Child
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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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