* China and India to be top apparel markets by 2025: Report:
03:59:39 local time PHILIPPINES
* EDC keeps 10% growth target for 2013:
The public-private Export Development Council (EDC) is keeping the 10-percent growth target for export this year despite a 6-percent contraction in revenues from shipments of local goods to the global market in the January-to-May period.
EDC Vice Chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. told the BusinessMirror the council met last week and did not see any need to change the export-growth target for 2013.
“We did not see the need to change export-growth target for this year. This is because some major export sectors such as electronic products have been registering increases,” said Ortiz-Luis in a telephone interview.
He also noted that there is an increase in the order for locally produced garments, as well as metal products manufactured here.
“Local garments manufacturers have seen an increase in orders for their products because of the ban imposed by the United States against Bangladesh. Also, [clothes] produced by China have also become relatively more expensive,” said Ortiz-Luis, who is also the president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport).
02:59:39 local time VIET NAM
* 1,200 Vietnamese accused of illegal immigration in Russia :
The Vietnamese Embassy in Russia is taking measures to protecting 1,200 Vietnamese who have been recently arrested on suspicion of illegal immigration, the Vietnam Consular Department has announced.
The Vietnamese are among 1,400 foreigners that Russian police apprehended at textile factories in a market east of Moscow on July 31, according to the department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the meantime, the Russian-owned news agency RIA Novosti last Thursday reported that a Vietnamese national is among eight people suspected of organizing illegal labor at 20 textile factories probed during the same raid.
02:59:39 local time CAMBODIA
* Offer rejected, strike continues in K Cham:
Thousands of striking workers rejected an offer from a Kampong Cham-based footwear company that met most but not all of their demands on Saturday and vowed continued disruptions.
More than 4,000 workers from Chinese-owned Juhui Footwear Co, Ltd, who walked out on Friday, were unimpressed by the firm’s offer to meet 15 of their 18 point demands, Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) vice-president Kong Athit said yesterday.
“I think [Juhui has] lower quality working conditions than the others [factories] in the city,” Athit said yesterday.
Though Juhui agreed on key points, including paying sick leave and overtime transportation costs and introducing onsite doctors, the firm stood firm against a $3 top up to their monthly transportation payments and a $5 monthly health care allowance.
During negotiations on Saturday Juhui officials also shot down a demand that the firm calculate absence deductions proportionally rather than stripping the worker of their entire attendance bonus for the month regardless of how much time they actually missed.
Meng Lik, an administrative manager at Juhui declined to comment.
But Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo condemned the demonstrators for their inflexibility.
“We have never supported workers that strike to strike and demand such payments,” Loo said.
Athit said most of the workers had joined C.CAWDU in June, and since that time, numerous reports of abuses at the factory, including physical attacks by supervisors, had been reported to the union.
01:59:39 local time BANGLADESH
* 33 injured in Gazipur garment workers unrest:
At least 33 people, including three members of the police, were injured in a clash between police and garment workers in the Masterbari area of Sadar Upazila in Gazipur on Monday.
The clash erupted when police attempted to disperse the demonstration of the workers of Stylo Fashion Garments Ltd on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway around 10am. The workers gathered on the busy road to press home their demand for payment of wages and Eid bonuses.
The half-an-hour long blockade caused a huge traffic tailback.
Police lobbed several rounds of tear-shells and also charged batons to disperse the workers from the street while the workers replied by throwing brickbats, leaving three policemen injured.
* 40 workers hurt in clashes with police:
At least 40 people, including three cops, were injured in clashes as the police dispersed garments workers who were demonstrating for immediate payment of wages and festival allowances in Gazipur and Savar on Monday.
New Age correspondent in Gazipur reported that 33 people, including three cops, were injured in clash at Masterbari under sadar upazila.
The worker of Stylo Fashion Garments Limited began demonstration at 8:30am pressing for wages and festival allowances and blocked the Dhaka- Mymensingh highway at 10:00am, witnesses said.
The police charged batons on them and fired tear gas shells leaving at least 30 workers injured. The injured were rushed to nearby clinics and hospitals for. Three cops were also injured during the clash.
Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on the both sides of the highway resulting huge traffic jam in the area.
* Shoe Factory Blast – Another victim dies:
Last week’s shoe factory blast in the capital’s West Islambagh, which had killed one and injured seven workers, claimed another life as one of the injured succumbed to his burns yesterday.
The deceased, Rubel, 22, sustained 60 percent burns to his body in the July 29 fire and had been treated in Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The conditions of the other injured–Dipu, 13, Sharif, 18, Babu, 25, Ujjal, 26, Sohel, 30, and Sentu, 35–remain uncertain as well, said hospital sources. With 90 percent burns to the body, Dipu is in a more vulnerable position.
The fire in Shikder Plastic Factory followed by a blast had killed Sabbir Hossain, 22, on the spot.
* 200 inspectors by Oct 15:
The government will appoint 200 more factory inspectors in efforts to regain the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) privileges to the US market by December, Commerce Minister GM Quader said yesterday.
The recruitment will be done by October 15 under special arrangements to avoid the usual lengthy process of selection in government jobs, Quader said. The labour and employment ministry has already appointed some inspectors, he added.
This is part of a series of steps the government has taken in line with the action plans recommended by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the reinstatement of Bangladesh’s GSP status.
The US government suspended the trade privileges on June 27, citing poor labour rights and bad working conditions at factories in Bangladesh.
read more. & read more.
* BD may regain GSP by Dec: Quader:
Bangladesh is hopeful of regaining the generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility by December, as the government has made a notable progress in line with the US government’s plan of action, said Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader Monday.
“We are hopeful that we will regain the GSP facility by December next, as we have taken a number of steps for improving labour rights situation and working environment, following the plan of action proposed by the US.”
* RMG reforms a harbinger of reforms in leather sector? :
That the US shot (through suspension of the Generalised System of Preference or GSP facility for Bangladesh) has gone astray affecting the non-RMG exports more than that of the garments for no apparently grievous fault of their own is by now well known.
One of the affected export sectors, ceramic tableware, for example, is known for its well-managed factory conditions, free from any manifest labour agitation so far. However, questioning the moral ground of US action, an issue already under critical scanner at home and abroad, may not help us much simply because the country’s garment sector needed to be shaken awake — to behave.
What we have been hearing since the Rana Plaza collapse seems to promise, despite the fear of shrinkage in exports, tangible reforms the garments sector in the form of collaborative moves both from within the country and beyond. Now, are these reform steps in the garments sector going to leave any message for the leather industry, an industry believed to have all the potentials to be a leader in the region but for its dreadfully harsh work conditions?
* Uzbekistan to regularize cotton sales to BD:
Uzbekistan would supply 200,000 metric tons of cotton to Bangladesh annually under the terms of a new bilateral agreement, Dhaka’s Financial Express newspaper reported on August 5.
The deal, which would mark the first time Bangladeshi purchases of Uzbek cotton are regularized, may be signed during an annual industry fair in Tashkent this October, 12news.uz reports.
“Since Uzbekistan is a major source of cotton for us, we want to make the import process easier and uninterrupted. So, we are finalizing the draft of the MoU for signing as soon as possible,” the Financial Express quoted a Bangladeshi official as saying. The memorandum will ensure direct delivery of raw Uzbek cotton “on a regular basis,” the newspaper added.
Human rights groups say deals like this help Tashkent circumvent campaigns designed to end its reliance on forced child labor during the cotton harvest. Uzbekistan, the world’s sixth-largest cotton producer and third-largest exporter, earns over $1 billion from cotton exports annually.
According to the Cotton Campaign, the government forces over a million children and adults to pick cotton each autumn. Over 130 global apparel brands have signed the Responsible Sourcing Network’s pledge not to use Uzbek cotton.
These campaigns have forced many cotton traders from Western countries to abandon direct purchases of Uzbek cotton, prompting Tashkent to divert its supplies to Asian markets such as China, Bangladesh and South Korea, where it becomes harder to guarantee cotton used by international apparel manufacturers did not originate in Uzbekistan.
THE SAVAR BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza survivors stage demo:
The garment workers who survived Rana Plaza collapse and the relatives of the deceased staged demonstration in front of Savar Bazar bus stand demanding arrear wages, festival allowance and compensation on Monday.
At least seven people were injured when police charged baton on the demonstrators as they blocked the Dhaka-Aricha Highway to press home their demand in the morning.
Witnesses said about 500-600 victims and relatives of the deceased staged demonstration in front of Savar Bazar bus stand at about 9.30 am.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* Rana Plaza survivors block Dhaka-Aricha highway:
The home-bound people had to suffer a lot stranding on a 6-kilometer tailback Monday morning as the survivors of Rana Plaza tragedy blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar for two hours demanding their salaries and compensation.
Around 10 demonstrators were injured when law enforcers charged truncheons on them in a bid to clear the highway, reported our Savar correspondent quoting witnesses.
Several thousand vehicles carrying the home-bound people ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival of the Muslims, came to a halt as around 500 Rana Plaza survivors and their relatives took to the highway stretching from Ulail area to Radio Colony in Savar around 9:00am.
They demanded salaries for three months from May, Eid bonuses, compensation and costs of rehabilitation and treatment.
Under labour rules, the authorities of a factory must pay salaries for three months when they declare a factory closed, the agitating workers claimed.
read & see more (video).
01:29:39 local time INDIA
* Garment exports may jump 24% to $16 billion in FY14: AEPC:
In the 2012-13 fiscal, these exports stood at $12.9 billion, according to data provided by the council.”In the first three months of this fiscal, garment exports have shown a growth of about 11%. If we keep growing at the same pace, we expect these exports to touch $16 billion in 2013-14,” AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said.
The US and Europe together account for over 65% of the country’s total apparel exports.
* Indian garment exports grow 12% in June:
Dr. A Sakthivel, Chairman AEPC, releasing the data on the apparel exports for the month of June stated that, “Apparel exports were to the tune of US D 1240 million in June 2013-14 with increase of 12.13 per cent against the corresponding month of last financial year.
In rupee terms, the exports have increased by 17 per cent in June 2013-14 over the same month of previous FY.”
Export in dollar terms for 3 months of the FY 2013-14 has increased by 11 per cent over the same period of previous FY and reached to USD 3561 million however, in rupee terms exports increased by 15 per cent compared to same period of last FY. In April-June 2013-14 in rupee terms apparel export of India was to the tune of Rs. 19918 crore compared to Rs. 17342 crore in April-June 2012-13, he added.
01:29:39 local time SRI LANKA
20130801 * Protesting against water pollution:
More than 1000 people took to the streets obstructing the new Kandy Road at Weliweriya junction accusing the authorities of failing to resolve the ground water pollution that created a shortage of drinking water in several areas in the Gampaha District.
The protestors said the haphazard disposal of waste water from a factory resulted in this situation. Police have taken steps to divert traffic along byroads.
20130801 * Youth dies from Rathupaswala protest:
Gampaha district hospital sources say that a young man has died from the attack made by the security personal who tried to dissolve the residents of Rathupaswala who were protesting in the Waliweriya city center today (01).
A spokesperson said that the youth was already dead when he was brought to the hospital.
He further said that 8 more who have been injured have been admitted to the hospital.
Police used tear fas, rubber bullets and water shots to dissolve the protest.
Nearly 5000 people around Waliweriya and Ambaealuwa villages joined the massive protest in the evening.
20130802 * Thirty-six injured in Weliweriya protest:
A clash between the security forces and the public who were protesting over contaminated water in the Rathuwaswela , Waliweriya area in Gampaha yesterday has killed one person, while the number of injured persons has increased to 36, the Police Media Unit told Ceylon Today Online.
The injured persons have been admitted to the Gampaha, Wathupitiya and Ragama Hospitals.
Meanwhile, sources from the Ragama Hospital stated that 15 persons have been admitted to the Ragama Hospital following the incident.
20130802 * Weliveriya this morning:
The town of Weliweriya resembled a war zone today as buffle vehicles and army personnel patrolled along the roads that were tattered following yesterday’s violent clash between the military and the villagers.
The clash resulted in the death of a 17 year-old school boy and injured dozens of others.
20130802 * Weliweriya water problem was solved, interested parties provoked clashes – Defence Secretary:
The Weliweriya drinking water dispute was settled satisfactorily but interested parties, in the meantime provoked the villagers into needless confrontations, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday.
The protesting public were satisfied with the solution offered to close a factory, which was causing contamination of water in the area.
They were eager about the practical outcome of the settlement, but those with political motives provoked some of the residents into taking needless action, he said.
Meanwhile, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told the Daily News that the Water Resources Board of his ministry convened an emergency committee meeting comprising officials from ministries, health, water supply, drainage, industries and from the Board of Investment to address the problems faced by the public in Weliweriya, Gampaha over the contamination of drinking water wells and ground water in the area from chemical effluents.
Sections of the public in Gampaha yesterday staged a black flag protest over the situation of drinking water and ground water contamination in their district as a result of chemical effluents released by some factories in their areas, demanding pure potable water.
20130803 * Army attacked us non-stop – waliweriya residents:
Waliweriya villagers say that now they understand how the Army would have behaved during the war in the North, by seeing how they shoot down the innocent civilians who protest against poisoning their drinking water.
The attack which went on killing of the 16 year old boy and and the wounding of nearly 20 people is named by the villagers as a “Barbaric and callus” act.
They also say that although according to the law of all the wars, schools, hospitals and religious places must not be harmed, but the Army directly came and open fired inside the Catholic church in Waliweriya.
Pointing out that even the church building was damaged from the shooting, the villagers accuse the army for abducting the people who fled for security in to the church.
20130803 * Govt. looking for scapegoats on Weliweriya protests: JVP:
JVP MP Vijitha Herath yesterday rejected government claims that the incidents leading from the Weliweriya protest were politically inspired, with a minister implying that the JVP had a hand.
“The government is busy looking for scapegoats without resolving the issue at hand,” Herath said.
He is a Gampaha district MP but his name was not among those mentioned as having attended a meeting of elected officials convened on Friday by Minister Basil Rajapaksa to discuss the water pollution problem. He was not available when we tried to reach him a second time to check whether he was invited.
20130803 * Weliweriya Wails- Plea for Clean Water takes a Nasty Turn:
The little town of Weliweriya and the villagers who had been pleading with t he authorities for an effective solution to their grievance of clean drinking water received media attention on Thursday when they staged a demonstration blocking the Colombo- Kandy road at the Weliweriya town.
The demonstration in Weliweriya took an unexpected turn when the military was brought in to disperse the protesting crowds.
T. Liyanage, a resident of Weliweriya who witnessed the entire skirmish that unravelled since the arrival of the military claims the entire town turned into a battle ground within a matter of a few seconds. “Once the military arrived, the Brigadier and the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the troops met with the protesting monks and asked them to disperse. The monks informed them that they alone couldn’t make a decision and inquired from the protesting villagers whether they were willing to move; but they refused. Then the agreement was to discuss with several representatives of the group and arrive at a solution but before any decision was made, the military started advancing towards the protestors and pushing them away, yelling at the crowds in filth,” he said.
20130804 * Army went to Weliweriya to guard 3 containers – Bahu:
Leader of the NSSP Dr. Wickramabahu Karunarathne says the sudden deployment of the army to suppress the Waliweriya public protest was done in order to secretly evacuate 3 container trucks which had been prepared to export goods from the factory.
It is said that attempts have been made to take out these containers with armed security, from the Billionaire businessman Dhammika Perera’s Vingross factory in Rathupaswala.
Mr. Karaunarathne says that this attack was made when everything was prepared to shut down the hand gloves factory and to hold an investigation on water poisoning.
He also says that the people in Waliweriya are terrified after this army attack.
He says that 2 have already died and a few are severely injured from this attack.
Dr. Karunarathne accuses that this factory has not paid any attention to the environment or safety steps and that the water has been contaminated with acids.
20130804 * Death toll of Sri Lanka’s water protest rises to three:
Death toll of the Army – civilian clash in Sri Lanka’s Weliweriya over drinking water issue rose to three today as a third protester also succumbed to injuries at Colombo National Hospital.
Director of the National Hospital Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that the third individual died Sunday afternoon while receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit.
The victim has been identified as 29-year-old Nilantha Pushpakumara, a resident of Weliweriya.
A second injured individual, 19-year-old Ravishan Perera, succumbed to his injuries Saturday night.
Dr. Jasinghe said that four others critically injured in the incident are still being treated at the National Hospital.
Meanwhile, funeral of the 17-year-old student Akila Dinesh who died on Thursday was held today at the Weliweriya Cemetery.
The deaths occurred when the residents of 12 villages in the Weliweriya area in Gampaha district protested a glove making factory in Rathupaswala for allegedly polluting the water and Army fired upon the protesters.
read more. & read and see more (video).
20130804 * Sri Lanka’s glove maker says company waste not the cause for water pollution, suspects a hidden agenda:
Sri Lanka’s top rubber glove maker and exporter, Dipped Products PLC of Hayleys Group has rejected the accusation that its factory is responsible for water pollution in the Weliweriya area.
Issuing a statement following the public protest over the water quality in the villages surrounding the factory, the Managing Director of Dipped Products Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma expressed his grave concern over the misconception that its factory located in Nedungamuwa, Weliweriya is causing environmental and water pollution.
20130804 * Waliweriya latest kill is a garment worker:
Govt officially announced today (04) that 2 more people have died from the Waliweriya attack.
The person who died today is a 29 year old male from Gampola named Nilantha Pushpakumara.He is said to be a garment factory worker, who has worked in Stage line Garment factory, while being boarded in Waliweriya.
And the schoolboy who died was 19 year old Ravishan Perera and it is reported that he was preparing to sit for ALs this year.
Ravishan is the eldest of a family of two brothers.
Although Lanka E news reported that the boy had died due to a bullet punching right through his mouth, the Govt declared that he is being treated in the ICU.
Meanwhile, MP Mangala Samaraweera accuses the Govt for hiding the true facts and demands that the Govt should reveal the exact death toll of this brutish army attack.
read more.& read more.
20130804 * Woes of Weliweriya water war:
High-handed army action claims at least six lives; journalists warned not to take pictures and attacked
Weliweriya, a small peaceful town barely an hour’s drive from Colombo, resembled a war-torn area yesterday.
Traffic moved but heavily armed Army and Police personnel patrolled the streets. There were hardly any people moving around. Shops remained closed. Shattered glass from homes and shops remained strewn on the road. There were even shoes and slippers.
That told the story of a protest by some 6,000 residents on Thursday. They were demanding clean water. This was after complaints that a glove factory was pouring chemical effluents on the ground polluting their only source of water, their wells in the area. Instead, they were forced to face a barrage of bullets. The Army opened fire on them.
The factory belonging to Dipped Products Ltd, a subsidiary of Hayleys Group, is located at Nedungamuwa, just three kilometres away from the Weliwveriya town. The villagers were largely from hamlets that surrounded Nedungamuwa and complained that their well water contained unknown chemicals.
20130804 * Who ordered to fire?:
UNP says that the whole world is waiting to know who gave the order to shoot the innocent civilian protesters in Rathupaswala, whether it was the elder Rajapaksa or the younger one.
This was mentioned in a media announcement issued by the UNP Communications division head MP Mangala Samaraweera.
The announcement reads that the Govt has not only open fired at the civilians who begged For water, now they are even hiding the true death toll of the clash.
The announcement reads..
Increasing the Govt issued death toll to 2 another 19 year old boy was dead today due to injuries suffered from the brutal army attack in Waliweriya.
Although the Govt toll is 2, according to Sunday Times, 6 people have died from the brutal clash.’
20130805 * Army squad deployed to quell Sri Lanka water protest surrenders weapons to police:
The Colombo Crime Division of Sri Lanka police has seized the firearms used by the Army personnel mobilized to disperse the protesters in Weliweriya in Gampaha District on last Thursday.
The Army has handed over 120 weapons to the Colombo Crime Division on a request of the police.
Three people have died so far and at least four others are in serious condition receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital when the security personnel fired on the protesters demanding the government to provide them with clean water.
Colombo Crime Division says that the surrendered weapons will be directed to the Government Analyst for further investigations to verify if the weapons were used for firing.
read more. & read more. & read & see more (video).
20130805 * Rising death toll feared in Weliweriya Army shooting:
The death toll from Thursday’s army shooting is feared to reach at least to seven by Sunday as six more deaths were reported from several government hospitals in the western province. Many other victims who remain in critical condition, are still being kept under tight watch at the intensive care units.
The bloody episode unfolded when the Army, equipped with assault rifles and anti-riot gear, was deployed on Thursday (01) to disperse over 4000 unarmed protesters at Rathupaswala, Weliweriya, 20 kilometres north east of Colombo. The protest was staged against the waste from a rubber glove-making plant that has contaminated the groundwater supply in the area, depriving more than 10,000 families access to drinking water. According to the residents, the families have been demanding for more than a month that government authorities close down the factory but to no avail.
The Sunday Times’ reported that two have died upon admission to Wathupitiwala Base Hospital on Thursday while two others succumbed to their injuries while being treated at the General Hospital in Gamapaha.
Two more victims including a teenage student who were kept in the Neurosurgical Unit at the National Hospital in Colombo also died during the weekend.
The latter two victims with severe head injuries were identified as Ravishan Perera (19), an advance level student at St. Peters College in Udugampola and Nilantha Pushpakumara (27), an apparel factory worker who died on Sunday afternoon.
But the unconfirmed reports say that the final toll can likely be much higher than the official figures.
20130805 * No money to Waliweriya killed youth’s last rites:
It is reported that problems have occurred even holding a proper funeral to the 27 year old Nilantha Pushpakumara who was killed in the Waliweriya army shooting due to financial difficulties.
His father has told Lankadeepa newspaper that Nilantha is a father of a 9 month old baby and had to work in a garment factory in Waliweriya due to these financial problems.
Nilantha’s mother too was weeping without being able to speak anything. A large crowd of residents in the area who had heard this news too were gathered at their place.
Nilantha who was receiving treatment in the ICU of Colombo General Hospital, passed away last noon.
His father further said that Nilantha, even going through a hard childhood due to financial difficulties in the family, tried hard to win his life, even after being married to a girl he met at the garment factory and having a nine month old baby.
* Garment making prospects brighten for 16 nations: Report: