Walmart Tied to Collapsed Building: Report
Death toll now stands at 273
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 26, 2013 4:36 AM CDT
A Bangladeshi worker who was pulled alive from the rubble lies in an ambulance Friday, April 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

(Newser) – The number of dead after a building collapse near Dhaka, Bangladesh, has soared to at least 273, the BBC reports. Rescues continue, however, with more than 40 saved since yesterday. The fates of some 372 people remain uncertain following reports by their families. Meanwhile, "volatile" protests following the collapse have drawn some 10,000 people, police say, amid reports of attacks on factories and buses set alight. Authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets on the crowd.

Some have managed to speak to the media while still trapped in the rubble. "It would have been better to die than enduring such pain to live on," said one. Building owners—reportedly in hiding—as well as bosses of factories inside are due to appear in court next week, the BBC notes. As the collapse highlights the dangers of Bangladesh's garment industry, the AP reports the names of companies with links to the building. Ether Tex, which had 530 workers in the building, says it supplies Walmart, while New Wave supplies Mango, Dress Barn, and the Children's Place, among others. Dress Barn and the Children's Place, however, say they weren't involved with the building when the collapse occurred. Walmart is investigating whether any of the factories were producing garments for it at the time of the collapse.

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Apr 26, 2013 5:10 PM CDT
Apr 26, 2013 3:58 PM CDT
Again, I see several comments claiming an appreciation of Wal-Mart's low prices. Wal-Mart's prices are not low. Wal-Mart is a corporate welfare cheat, and studies have shown that Wal-Mart steals from the tax base wherever it goes. Wal-Mart stores cost the communities where they locate more than they contribute. They destroy existing businesses, provide lower wage jobs, negotiate tax deals that hurt the communities, and practice labor policies that result in workers utilizing Medicaid, food stamps, and tax subsidies for daycare, rent and utilities. Those welfare payments go to Wal-Mart's bottom line. They do not benefit Wal-Mart's workers, who are already working as hard as they can. Wal-Mart's workers suffer, and we taxpayers suffer. Our losses are Wal-Mart's gain.
Apr 26, 2013 2:01 PM CDT
What an obscure way to do more Walmart bashing. The problem is clearly with corrupt officials, in this case including building permit and inspection officials. Without going into the argument that Americans, especially in the current recession, continue to buy cheaper goods, and the way to make them cheaper is by having them made by workers, including children, who make $1 a day or less. Remember that both the US and jolly old Britain used child labor extensively during the Industrial Revolution a century ago. The only difference is that our countries made, and enforced laws against it. At least they try. I went into a 7-11 in Seattle (Fremont) WA State USA, that was run by a couple from the Indian subcontinent. I can't be more P.C. as I can't discern the differences between Hindi, Urdu and Bengali, or their dialects. I frequently saw them coming and going from the office area. Many times the only clerk working the register was a 12 yr old son, and twice I saw their 7 yr old daughter dragging double-stacked dairy delivery baskets out of the back storeroom, with her little 2 yr old sister in tow, helping her stock the cooler cases. So this type of problem is endemic in their societies. The parents may not even be aware of U.S. child labor laws, being recent immigrants. Neither of them spoke very good English, and even the 12 yr old needed to be told, and had to repeat things, twice or more to get a question correct, the little girls only spoke in their native language. Although the teenager was spot-on with the register and with the cash (very important skill, one that I've seen absent in many American born, high school graduates). And I agree that someone in charge of the Texas blast facility should be in jail, from the corrupt and ignorant officials who failed to inspect, or close the facility before such danger, to the greedy owner and operator who didn't mind running an extremely risky facility just for the sake of profit. I'm not even in that line of work but I remember from the Oklahoma incident by McVeigh and cohorts, that even a truckload of fertilizer can do a lot of damage. The fools involved in Texas must be illiterate if they didn't read about that in the news, and murderers if they did. Let's try to make the real criminals accountable instead of laying blame for everything that goes wrong on Walmart's doorstep. That's just really lame. I would be willing to bet that those fancy pink socks Bush Sr. was wearing at the opening of W's Library were probably produced outside of the "first world" countries, and probably by a 10 year old child running a knitting or sewing machine.