Archive for the ‘Top Stories’ Category
Editor’s note: Arne Svenson is a fine art photographer and a former therapist/educator working with severely disabled children.
My art practice has led me down many and varied paths of visual exploration — from landscape photographs of Las Vegas to portraits of sock monkeys, chewed dog toys and medical museum specimens.
Currently, in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Museum, I am working on a long-term portrait project with a group of autistic teenagers. Given my background as a special education teacher, I find this a particularly rewarding homecoming.
First and foremost, my practice seeks out the inner life — the essence — of my subjects, whether they be human or inanimate. I use my camera as a writer uses text, to create a narrative that helps the viewer understand what might lie hidden or obscured. This narrative, at times only a whisper or suggestion, weaves throughout my bodies of work.
Some time ago, I began photographing the occupants of a neighboring building through the windows. I’ve lived in Tribeca, in Lower Manhattan, for 30 years, and have built my life and studio here. The area has gone through many changes, and I watched the building across the way built from the ground up. Made entirely of glass and steel, it offers residents views of the neighborhood — and neighbors and passersby views into the apartments.
As people filled the empty units, I was intrigued not only by the implied stories within the frame of the glass but also by the play of light upon the subjects, the shadows, the framing of the structure. I don’t photograph anything salacious or demeaning — instead I record the turn of the head, the graceful arc of a hand, the human form obscured by drapery.
The photographs make up a show called “Neighbors,” which opened a week ago at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York, and some people have raised concerns.
I am not photographing the residents as specific, identifiable individuals, but as representations of humankind. In fact, I take great care in not revealing their identity; the strength of the imagery comes from us seeing ourselves in the anonymous figures of “The Neighbors.”
In New York, people are masters of being both the observer and the observed. We live so densely packed that contact is inevitable — even our homes are stacked facing each other. It is no wonder that street photography was born in this city, and some of the best subjects and most famous works are the results of those who didn’t know they were being photographed or painted.
“Neighbors” has sparked a good bit of conversation. While people differ in their opinions — as most do when it comes to art — I believe the images speak for themselves. I encourage everyone to draw their own conclusions after seeing the work.
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SEOUL (Reuters) – Overtaking Apple Inc as the world’s leading maker of smartphones has stretched Samsung Electronics Co’s in-house supply lines, and the South Korean firm is now courting some of its rival’s main parts suppliers.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Overtaking Apple Inc as the world’s leading maker of smartphones has stretched Samsung Electronics Co’s in-house supply lines, and the South Korean firm is now courting some of its rival’s main parts suppliers.
After costly courtroom battles over technology patents, the two gadget giants are now going head-to-head over securing the best supply of parts as they jostle to rule the $253 billion smartphone market. The two took 100 percent of the industry’s profit in January-March, Canaccord Genuity data show.
Trampling on Apple’s supply patch could make life tough for the U.S. firm as it prepares for its next product line-up including a cheaper iPhone for emerging markets such as China. Having Samsung muscle in on its suppliers could drive up costs and lead to component bottlenecks, disrupting product launches.
Samsung’s huge in-house supply chain – providing parts from displays and powerful processors to memory chips and batteries – has been a core strength in its war for smartphone supremacy. As it now looks to widen its lead with products spanning both the high and cheap-and-cheerful ends of the market, Samsung’s supplies have become stretched, prompting it to hunt elsewhere to ensure it isn’t caught short.
“The next round of the post-patent battle for them will be over component supplies,” said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. “Who wins access to the best performing components in class in large quantity – that’s the key … and explains why Samsung is shopping for components more than ever.”
SHARP AND SOUR?
Samsung has made overtures to traditional Apple partners such as Japanese display maker Sharp Corp and South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix. Samsung, which buys most of its mobile screens from its Samsung Display unit, last year placed orders with Sharp for high-resolution LCD screens for its popular Galaxy range of products, though it later canceled the order, said two people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named as the negotiations were confidential.
Sharp, in which Samsung bought a 3 percent stake earlier this year for $110 million, said this week it was seeking to boost sales to the Korean firm, potentially souring the Japanese company’s ties with Cupertino, California-based Apple.
Samsung is also using more chips made by Qualcomm, another major Apple supplier, in its flagship Galaxy S, which went on sale late last month.
Some other suppliers who provide parts to both Apple and Samsung include Toshiba Corp in NAND memory chips, Sony Corp, in image sensors, and Corning Inc for its Gorilla Glass used in iPhones, iPads and Galaxy products, industry data show.
STMicroelectronics and Bosch, the only mass producers of pressure sensors used in navigation features, supply those parts for the Galaxy range, and could be tapped by Apple for future products, according to research firm iSuppli.
TINY OVERLAP, BIG IMPACT
For sure, Samsung still buys the majority of its components in-house, and the overlap with Apple on external suppliers is, so far, limited. BNP Paribas estimates that more than 80 percent of component profits generated by Galaxy S4 sales go to Samsung itself and its units.
But even a tiny overlap can be damaging as smartphones are constantly upgraded to more powerful computing and media devices – allowing users to take pictures, shoot video, play music, game online, watch TV and navigate – raising the need for more and smarter components.
“Any disruption in even small parts that you wouldn’t think are really core, say headphones, can affect product launches,” said Lee at NH Investment & Securities.
For example, Taiwan’s HTC Corp, which has slipped out of the top-10 smartphone makers, reported a record-low quarterly profit last month after delaying the full launch of its flagship model due to a shortage of cameras.
“Having a single supplier carries a lot of risk. Bearing that in mind, Samsung may even consider using LCD along with OLED in its signature Galaxy S range to reduce its total reliance on Samsung Display,” said Song Jong-ho, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities.
Samsung Display doesn’t produce LCDs for smartphones so as it boosts sales at the lower end of market it needs to outsource LCDs. The Korean firm uses the more expensive OLED display only on its high-end models.
NOT SO DIFFERENT
Outsourcing more components could mean Samsung will lose some of its hardware differentiation – a big selling point for the Galaxy range – and be seen as just selling generic phones, say some analysts.
The Exynos 5 Octa processor, which Samsung touted as having 8 brains designed to maximize energy efficiency while multi-tasking, is not used in the S4 models sold in the United States. Instead, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips will power the phone in that crucial market, with Exynos chips used in select markets such as South Korea and some European countries.
“Given that Qualcomm chips are also found in rival products, and the much-heralded launch of smartphones with flexible display appears to be delayed, I’m worried Samsung is losing its hardware differentiator,” said BNP Paribas analyst Peter Yu.
Samsung says both Qualcomm and its own chips have passed its rigorous quality standards and both will provide satisfactory user experience. “We’ll continue to resort to multi vendors to ensure smooth supply,” Kim Hyunjoon, vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, told analysts on a recent earnings call.
Samsung’s Exynos processors accounted for around 30 percent of the S3, but that is likely to fall to around 10 percent in the S4, analysts said.
“Qualcomm’s latest chips are getting good reviews from carriers, which I think forced Samsung to switch in favor of Qualcomm from Exynos in the S4,” said KDB Daewoo’s Song. “There’s even a possibility Apple may drop its own processor and go for Qualcomm chips in some future devices.”
Losing some of its hardware appeal and taking longer than expected to come up with innovative products such as flexible or wearable devices are additional challenges for Samsung, which is getting only mixed reviews for its efforts to improve software capability to integrate better with hardware.
In a recent review of the S4, Walt Mossberg, a gadget expert for the Wall Street Journal, said Samsung’s software was “often gimmicky, duplicative of standard Android apps, or, in some cases, only intermittently functional.
Despite the lukewarm reviews, consumers keep snapping up the S4, according to carriers. For the first time in at least three years, Samsung last year spent more on marketing than on research and development, seeking to pick up market share in the absence of new, competing models from Apple. And Samsung’s operating profit is seen topping Apple’s this quarter for the first time in years, J.P. Morgan analysts predict.
“There’s not much left in terms of what you can do to really differentiate your product as everybody’s thinking something similar – flexible or wearable,” said NH Investment & Securities’ Lee.
In late 2011, Samsung told analysts it planned to introduce flexible displays on handsets “some time in 2012, hopefully the earlier part than later”, but a year later it said the technology was still “under development.” It again demonstrated prototypes of flexible phones earlier this year, but executives now say they can’t disclose the timing of flexible smartphones.
Rivals are also moving fast. LG Electronics Inc, the third-biggest smartphone maker in January-March on strong sales of its high-end Optimus G model, said last month it planned to introduce an unbreakable smartphone by the year-end.
(Additional reporting by Mari Saito and Reiji Murai in TOKYO; Graphic by Catherine Trevethan; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)
Editor’s note: Laura Wexler is Professor and former Chair of the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Yale and a fellow of the Op-Ed Project’s Public Voices Fellowship Program. She is co-author of “Pregnant Pictures”, a book about photographic images of the pregnant body.
In the inaugural issue of Ms. magazine in 1972, dozens of American women signed a statement declaring “We Have Had Abortions,” even though abortion was still mostly illegal in the United States. Celebrity names dotted the listâGloria Steinem, Nora Ephron, Lillian Hellman and Billie Jean King among them.
This consciousness-raising maneuver played a key role in changing public attitudes toward abortion. It contributed to what legal scholars Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel call the “successive waves of arguments” that “prompted growing public support for liberalizing access to abortion.” A year later, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision decriminalized most abortions.
In 1978, former first lady Betty Ford entered the Long Beach Naval Hospital’s Drug and Rehabilitation Service, and publicly admitted her own alcohol and drug dependency. In 1982, she became founding director of the Betty Ford Center for the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse. While many remained silent, celebrities Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Ali MacGraw all chose to openly share their experience at the center.
At a 1991 press conference, NBA megastar Magic Johnson announced that he had tested positive for HIV. He retired from basketball and subsequently served as a public voice for HIV-AIDS education, prevention and anti-discrimination efforts.
Last month, NBA player Jason Collins announced that he is gay. While he justly deserves praise for an action that puts him among the first active American athletes in any of the four major professional team sports to publicly so identify, it has also been widely noted that he is far from early or alone in the coming out ranks of major athletes. Celebrity names already dot that list too — Greg Louganis, Martina Navratilova, Sheryl Swoopes and former NFL player Wade Davis among them.
Tuesday, Angelina Jolie made public the fact that she elected to undergo a double mastectomy, at the age of 37. This was her attempt to lower her risk of breast cancer, given the fact that she carries “the breast cancer gene.” She hopes to encourage other women to consider the potentially life-saving procedure for themselves. No doubt, other women will now come forward. A new list of celebrity names will coalesce.
What is particularly remarkable about the public statement made by Angelina Jolie is that she is a young, beautiful, sex symbol. She risks her career by changing her image in this way. To medicalize her breasts in the public’s perception is potentially to de-sexualize them. The bodily care of cancer prevention is far from the glamorous dream world that Hollywood sells.
Clearly, Jolie has chosen the high moral ground of trying to save lives by publicizing the procedure and stating that she feels as beautiful as ever. We should be grateful for her straightforward and courageous statement.
Indeed, we should be grateful for all — celebrities or not –who have driven social change by publicly outing themselves. It is arguable that we might not have had as much support for abortion reform, or addiction treatment, or HIV-AIDS research, or marriage equality, without them. Destigmatizing cancer prevention surgery will happen more quickly if celebrities and others get publicly vocal about their personal health choices.
Importantly, abortion and addiction and HIV-AIDS and love are different issues from preventative mastectomy. Abortion is a difficult but fundamentally ordinary choice in an untenable situation. Addiction is a disease that is relatively well understood, even if it is still difficult to treat. HIV-AIDS is a global pandemic that is by now well known. Marriage equality is a function of health and happiness in the first place.
But the phenomenon of breast cancer still eludes scientists. We still do not know how to prevent it or reliably cure it, save perhaps by surgically removing a vulnerable organ.
Furthermore, it seems that a lot of our current ideas about it are not even correct. While the public receives the message that getting regular mammograms is an effective preventive strategy, it has recently been reported that such screenings turn out to be only minimally effective in lowering the morbidity of the disease. As Peggy Orenstein wrote in the New York Times, our war against cancer has been a “feel-good war.”
In fact, given the incidence of false positives, and of cancers that do not actually need to be treated, such screenings can cause harm. According to a survey of 30 years of screening published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2012, as cited by Orenstein, “mammography’s impact is decidedly mixed: it does reduce, by a small percentage, the number of women who are told they have late-stage cancer, but it is far more likely to result in over diagnosis and unnecessary treatment, including surgery, weeks of radiation and potentially toxic drugs.”
When a celebrity such as Angelina Jolie makes such a generous and powerful intervention, it is right for the world to pay attention. But the list needs to grow longer, as well, of those demanding greatly increased support for primary cancer research and stricter environmental controls on the toxic substances we eat and breathe. Cancer needs a social movement demanding change.
Otherwise, no matter how many celebrities and others come courageously forward, and how well the world adapts to preventive mastectomy, it will not be enough.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Laura Wexler.
Por TELIS DEMOS
Anos depois que o surgimento das negociaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas comeÃ§ou a dizimar os seus empregos, os operadores de Wall Street estÃ£o fazendo as pazes com os computadores.
Pressionados por incertezas dos mercados, crescimento lento e regras mais duras, os grandes bancos globais estÃ£o encontrando novas maneiras de aumentar a lucratividade das suas grandes Ã¡reas de negociaÃ§Ã£o de aÃ§Ãµes â em muitos casos alimentando o chÃ£o da bolsa com operaÃ§Ãµes de redes computadorizadas .
Recentemente, no escritÃ³rio nova-iorquino de operaÃ§Ãµes de bolsa do banco britÃ¢nico Barclays
PLC, uma plataforma eletrÃ´nica postou a informaÃ§Ã£o de que o Barclays estava vendendo um grande volume de aÃ§Ãµes da Pfizer Inc.
Nos Ãºltimos anos, o normal seria um computador rapidamente ligar aquela ordem a um comprador, contornando os operadores do chÃ£o da bolsa.
Mas o pequeno volume vem impedindo que muitas firmas negociem aÃ§Ãµes tÃ£o rapidamente quanto gostariam. Por isso, o Barclays hÃ¡ pouco tempo conectou ao chÃ£o da bolsa sua recÃ©m-lanÃ§ada plataforma DirectEx. A iniciativa se mostra vantajosa quando um cliente que estÃ¡ comprando, por exemplo, 150.000 aÃ§Ãµes na rede eletrÃ´nica decide, depois de conversar com um operador de chÃ£o da bolsa do Barclays, comprar outras 150.000.
Eric Johnston, diretor de operaÃ§Ãµes de bolsa do Barclays para as AmÃ©ricas, disse que essa segunda operaÃ§Ã£o nÃ£o aconteceria antes do lanÃ§amento da DirectEx, em dezembro. “A intervenÃ§Ã£o humana comeÃ§a depois da primeira execuÃ§Ã£o eletrÃ´nica”, disse ele.
Dez anos promovendo negociaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas de aÃ§Ãµes reduziram os custos dos bancos. Ainda assim, a lucratividade das firmas financeiras estÃ¡ novamente sob pressÃ£o diante da queda no volume de negÃ³cios e de novos regulamentos, nos Estados Unidos e em outros paÃses, que limitam a capacidade delas de investir e correr riscos.
Uma resposta tem sido trazer os operadores de bolsa, hÃ¡ muito na defensiva diante de cortes de custo e iniciativas para aumentar a produtividade, de volta ao processo, numa tentativa de movimentar aÃ§Ãµes que de outra forma ficariam paradas.
“A evoluÃ§Ã£o estÃ¡ juntando as duas pontas”, disse Anthony Pallone, que chefia a distribuiÃ§Ã£o eletrÃ´nica de aÃ§Ãµes do Barclays nas AmÃ©ricas.
O volume de negociaÃ§Ã£o de aÃ§Ãµes nos EUA no ano passado caiu para sua mÃ©dia diÃ¡ria mais baixa desde 2007, segundo dados compilados pela Thomson Reuters, embora alguns acreditem que o volume possa se recuperar este ano se os investidores continuarem voltando do mercado de renda fixa para o de aÃ§Ãµes.
A forÃ§a de trabalho no setor de operaÃ§Ãµes de aÃ§Ãµes nos bancos de investimento multinacionais caiu 8,5% no terceiro trimestre de 2012 em relaÃ§Ã£o ao fim de 2011, para 18.400 pessoas, informou a Coalition, uma firma de anÃ¡lise e dados de serviÃ§os financeiros.
O Citigroup Inc.
anunciou em dezembro um corte de 1.900 funcionÃ¡rios nas suas unidades de varejo e operaÃ§Ãµes de mercado, cortes estes concentrados em “Ã¡reas que sofrem de constante baixa lucratividade, como aÃ§Ãµes”. A receita com operaÃ§Ãµes de aÃ§Ãµes do Morgan Stanley
ficou inalterada no quaro trimestre ante um ano antes, em US$ 1,3 bilhÃ£o.
Analistas da Sanford C. Bernstein estimaram em novembro que as regras que comeÃ§arÃ£o a vigorar nos prÃ³ximos dez anos vÃ£o encolher ainda mais o setor. A margem de lucro tÃpica antes dos impostos Ã© de 15%, contra 25% nos setores de operaÃ§Ãµes de renda fixa, commodities e cÃ¢mbio.
Como resultado, os bancos estÃ£o combinando suas operaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas e humanas de uma maneira sem precedentes, numa iniciativa para extrair mais receita dessa fonte estagnada. O Credit Suisse Group AG
divulgou no ano passado que estava combinando suas unidades de operaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas e viva voz “num Ãºnico grupo de operaÃ§Ã£o e execuÃ§Ã£o” e colocou seu diretor de operaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas na chefia da unidade combinada. O Deutsche Bank AG
comeÃ§ou recentemente a pedir ao seu pessoal de venda que lida com clientes para tambÃ©m usar ferramentas eletrÃ´nicas para realizar operaÃ§Ãµes, disseram pessoas a par da iniciativa. A Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
estÃ¡ combinando partes de duas corretoras que realizam operaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas e por voz, disseram pessoas a par da decisÃ£o. Os clientes que gostam do anonimato das operaÃ§Ãµes eletrÃ´nicas podem hesitar em falar com operadores.
“Temos uma tendÃªncia a achar que quanto menos pessoas lidarem com uma ordem, menor a chance de vazamentos”, disse Ryan Larsen, diretor de operaÃ§Ãµes de bolsa da RBC Global Asset Management, unidade do Royal Bank of Canada
responsÃ¡vel por fundos de investimento e que Ã© separada da Ã¡rea de banco do investimento do RBC.
Os bancos afirmam que seus clientes ainda terÃ£o que optar por esses serviÃ§os hÃbridos de operaÃ§Ã£o que combinam olhos humanos e sistemas eletrÃ´nicos e podem continuar a usar funÃ§Ãµes separadas se assim preferirem. Cheyenne Morgan, analista da consultoria Tabb Group, disse que os bancos estÃ£o “conversando com clientes para entender qual seria o equilÃbrio certo” entre as operaÃ§Ãµes tradicionais e as eletrÃ´nicas.
Suriname, once known as Dutch Guiana, is one of South America's smallest countries. It enjoys a relatively high standard of living but also faces serious political and economic challenges.
However, there is little assimilation between the different ethnic groups, which confine their contacts to the economic sphere. Similarly, most political parties are ethnically based. This acts as an obstacle to consensus-building.
Suriname has potential for tourism, boasting rainforests, abundant wildlife and colonial architecture in the capital. But the sector is undeveloped, hampered by the inaccessibility of the interior and the lack of infrastructure. So, Suriname depends heavily on mining and processing its declining reserves of bauxite and is vulnerable to falls in commodity prices.
Suriname and neighbouring Guyana have been engaged in a long-running territorial dispute over a potentially oil-rich offshore area. A UN tribunal settled the issue in 2007, redrawing the maritime border and giving both countries access to the basin. The ruling is expected to bring a surge of exploration by major oil companies.
The issue flared up in 2000 when Surinamese patrol boats evicted a Canadian-owned rig from a concession awarded by Guyana.
A pathologist in India says post-mortem tests are still being conducted on an eight-year-old girl from Birmingham who died while on holiday there in April.
Gurkiren Kaur Loyal's parents said she died after having an injection as part of treatment for mild dehydration.
Her body was returned to England without its organs so doctors here were unable to establish a cause of death.
The Rajindra Hospital, in Patiala, where Gurkiren died, said her organs were still being prepared for tests.
Gurkiren became ill while visiting the Punjab with her family during the Easter holidays.
Her parents took her to a local doctor for treatment on 2 April, where they said she was given an injection of an unknown substance and fell ill immediately.
She was taken to hospital but died by the time she arrived.
The girl's body was flown back to the UK and sent to the Birmingham Coroner's Office for a post-mortem examination, which it was unable to carry out because her organs were missing.
The coroner's office has since written to the Foreign Office for help requesting a return of the organs.
Professor Manjit Singh Bal, from the hospital, said they were planning to carry out microscopic examinations on the eight-year-old's body parts.
He said he had retained her heart, lungs, brain and part of her liver at the department of pathology.
He said that the heart was enlarged and had an area of calcification.
Gurkiren had been diagnosed with a heart defect years earlier and had then had a stent fitted at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Her mother Amrit Kaur Loyal, from Hockley, said a doctor in the UK had declared Gurkiren fit to travel to India.
She said the Indian GP who administered the injection did not answer her questions about what it contained and whether it was necessary.
SYED ZAIN AL-MAHMOOD
, CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO e
, de Daca, MilÃ£o e Nova Delhi
Ã medida que varejistas estrangeiros abraÃ§avam a fabricaÃ§Ã£o de vestuÃ¡rio rÃ¡pida e barata de Bangladesh, Bazlus Samad Adnan sentia que esse era um momento a ser aproveitado. “HÃ¡ dinheiro no ar”, dizia ele, segundo lembram seus amigos.
Adnan e um amigo montaram em 2006 uma pequena fÃ¡brica de roupas, a New Wave Style, atrÃ¡s de uma favela fora da capital, Daca, justamente quando gigantes do vestuÃ¡rio invadiam Bangladesh, atraÃdos pelos baixÃssimos custos da mÃ£o de obra. Em poucos anos, sua empresa estava prestando serviÃ§os para marcas internacionais de ponta, como a varejista italiana Benetton Group SpA.
Na Ã©poca, a New Wave Style se mudou para o Rana Plaza, um complexo de manufatura de oito andares construÃdo em 2007, entre vÃ¡rios que surgiram com o renascimento econÃ´mico do paÃs. Hoje, Adnan estÃ¡ preso e 615 pessoas morreram soterradas no desmoronamento do Rana Plaza, em abril, um dos piores acidentes industriais que o mundo jÃ¡ viu.
A pressÃ£o agora recai sobre alguns dos maiores compradores da indÃºstria tÃªxtil de Bangladesh, como a varejista sueca Hennes & Mauritz AB,
dona da rede H&M, e a americana Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,
para que reduzam sua exposiÃ§Ã£o ao paÃs. A Benetton era um dos mais novos clientes da New Wave Style.
No inÃcio, a Benetton negou qualquer vÃnculo com a fÃ¡brica. Essa confusÃ£o inicial expÃµe a complexidade da cadeia global de fornecedores, na qual os varejistas montam amplas redes de terceirizadores e intermediÃ¡rios para produzir suas roupas e tentar obter alguma vantagem sobre os concorrentes. A Benetton, por exemplo, tem 700 fornecedores, disse um executivo.
Essas vastas redes dÃ£o aos varejistas flexibilidade para fazer encomendas e mudanÃ§as de Ãºltima hora, necessÃ¡rias na era do chamado “fast-fashion”, onde a Ãºltima moda pode sair direto das passarelas para fÃ¡bricas da Ãsia. As amplas redes tambÃ©m dificultam avaliar de quem Ã© a culpa quando algo dÃ¡ errado.
O relato dos negÃ³cios da Benetton com a New Wave Style nos meses que antecederam o acidente se baseia em entrevistas realizadas em Bangladesh, na Ãndia e na ItÃ¡lia, bem como em documentos recuperados por grupos de trabalhadores no local do desabamento.
Adnan foi detido e preso por suspeita de negligÃªncia criminosa, mas nÃ£o foi acusado de nenhum delito. Ele nÃ£o foi localizado para comentar. Seu advogado nÃ£o quis falar a respeito. Executivos da empresa que sobreviveram ao acidente tambÃ©m nÃ£o quiseram comentar.
Em um comunicado por email, o diretor-presidente da Benetton, Biagio Chiarolanza, disse que a empresa estÃ¡ trabalhando com a OrganizaÃ§Ã£o Internacional do Trabalho para melhorar as condiÃ§Ãµes de trabalho. “Essa Ã© uma tragÃ©dia tÃ£o grande que ninguÃ©m na indÃºstria deve se sentir isento”, disse ele, acrescentando que a Benetton disponibilizarÃ¡ recursos para ajudar as vÃtimas.
Ã parte, um alto executivo da Benetton disse que funcionÃ¡rios da empresa fizeram visitas sem aviso prÃ©vio Ã New Wave Style nos oito meses em que a confecÃ§Ã£o prestou serviÃ§os Ã companhia italiana e que, no inÃcio de 2013, a Benetton havia decidido nÃ£o usar mais os seus serviÃ§os.
Em questÃ£o de anos, Bangladesh se tornou o terceiro maior exportador mundial de vestuÃ¡rio, depois da China e da ItÃ¡lia. As exportaÃ§Ãµes de roupas chegaram a US$ 20 bilhÃµes em 2012, 80% do total das exportaÃ§Ãµes do paÃs, bem acima dos 25% de 2010.
Representantes dos trabalhadores dizem que o crescimento ocorreu Ã s custas da seguranÃ§a. Cerca de 800 funcionÃ¡rios do setor de vestuÃ¡rio morreram em acidentes no paÃs nos Ãºltimos dez anos, sem contar esse Ãºltimo desastre. Mais de 5.000 fÃ¡bricas surgiram no paÃs, muitas em edifÃcios com problemas de seguranÃ§a. HÃ¡ alguns dias, o dono do Rana Plaza, Sohel Rana, foi preso, acusado de construir o prÃ©dio sem alvarÃ¡s de seguranÃ§a. Os donos da New Wave Style e de outras fÃ¡bricas que operavam no local foram presos sob a acusaÃ§Ã£o de terem forÃ§ado empregados a voltar ao trabalho apÃ³s o prÃ©dio ter sido evacuado devido ao surgimento de rachaduras nas paredes. Seus advogados nÃ£o quiseram comentar.
Quando as marcas estrangeiras comeÃ§aram a invadir Bangladesh, hÃ¡ uma dÃ©cada, elas optaram por fÃ¡bricas modernas. Mas conforme os negÃ³cios foram crescendo, elas passaram a subcontratar confecÃ§Ãµes menores, como a New Wave Style. As redes varejistas foram atraÃdas para o paÃs devido aos salÃ¡rios iniciais de US$ 40 por mÃªs, um quarto do valor na China. Com o tempo, o cenÃ¡rio se tornou mais difÃcil. O setor enfrentou greves depois de um lÃder sindical que exigia melhores salÃ¡rios ter sido assassinado.
A New Wave Style tambÃ©m passou a ter problemas. Ela nÃ£o conseguiu, por exemplo, pagar o financiamento que fez para se mudar para o Rana Plaza, segundo pessoas a par do assunto. A encomenda da Benetton, feita em setembro de 2012, foi considerada uma tÃ¡bua de salvaÃ§Ã£o, de acordo com executivos que sobreviveram ao acidente.
JÃ¡ a Benetton vem lutando contra a concorrÃªncia de marcas “fast-fashion” como a H&M e a Zara. A H&M reduziu seus custos, tornando suas roupas mais acessÃveis que as da Benetton, e Bangladesh representa boa parte dessa estratÃ©gia. Hoje, a H&M Ã© o maior comprador do paÃs, seguida da Wal-Mart, segundo a AssociaÃ§Ã£o dos Fabricantes e Exportadores de VestuÃ¡rio de Bangladesh.
Em 2012, apÃ³s divulgar lucros decepcionantes, a Benetton anunciou que iria “agir com determinaÃ§Ã£o para atingir a mÃ¡xima eficiÃªncia possÃvel nos processos de produÃ§Ã£o e de fornecimento”.
Bangladesh foi um lugar onde a Benetton pÃ´de colocar isso em prÃ¡tica. AlÃ©m dos baixos salÃ¡rios, a empresa se beneficiou de um acordo pelo qual o paÃs, por ser um dos mais pobres do mundo, pode exportar para a UniÃ£o Europeia sem ter de pagar impostos. Hoje, o paÃs responde por cerca de 4% da produÃ§Ã£o de vestuÃ¡rio da empresa italiana, comparado com 2% cinco anos atrÃ¡s.
Ã comum que varejistas estrangeiros faÃ§am auditorias de seguranÃ§a independentes para avaliar os fabricantes contratados. O executivo da Benetton disse que a empresa nÃ£o fez isso porque tinha feito apenas uma encomenda pequena Ã New Wave Style.
HÃ¡ um banco de dados de auditorias nas fÃ¡bricas usado por vÃ¡rios varejistas. Ele continha um relatÃ³rio de uma auditoria anterior feita pela Business Social Compliance Initiative, entidade de Bruxelas, em nome de um cliente de varejo. Em marÃ§o de 2012, os auditores reprovaram a New Wave Style porque faltavam itens no kit de primeiros socorros, nÃ£o havia mÃ©dico ou enfermeiro disponÃvel e os trabalhadores nÃ£o tinham treinamento suficiente sobre temas de seguranÃ§a dos equipamentos, segundo a BSCI, que afirmou ao The Wall Street Journal que as auditorias nÃ£o incluem a avaliaÃ§Ã£o da estrutura de edifÃcios, apenas temas ligados ao chÃ£o de fÃ¡brica.
A Benetton fez seu primeiro pedido Ã New Wave Style em setembro, de 145.000 peÃ§as, segundo documentos analisados ââpelo WSJ. Em janeiro, fez um novo pedido, de 40.000 peÃ§as. Ele foi entregue no fim de marÃ§o, pouco antes de o Rana Plaza desabar.
Editor’s note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pot in America.” She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.
Some of us believe, with good reasons, that the Republicans are “mad-dogging” Hillary Clinton with the Benghazi hearing to damage not only her presidential prospects, but also to damage President Obama’s credibility.
Polls show Obama is trusted more than his Washington opponents, especially on the economy. So, to defeat his economic agenda and substitute their own, which has already lost on logic, they’ve decided to undermine Obama’s credibility and authority.
The Benghazi hearing, which House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, orchestrated and planned for months, is a classic “killing two birds with one stone” scenario for Republicans. Or maybe three: They see an opportunity to smear Obama, sabotage Clinton and fundraise like giddy televangelists.
Benghazi hearing chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, said Clinton is not a target of his committee. That doesn’t seem to jibe with statements by GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, among others. And further contradicting Issa’s protestation, the National Republican Congressional Committee was boasting that its Clinton/Benghazi fundraising page was the most successful in its history.
Benghazi is a rather unseemly subject to turn into a political weapon. It’s one thing to try to drag the former secretary of state through the mud. But the Republicans are trying to drag her through blood — blood that’s tainted with partisan politics. The Republicans cut the funding for embassy security by $128 million in 2011 and $331 million in 2012. Clinton warned that doing so would be “detrimental to national security.” Republicans scoffed then, scream now.
Obama called the Benghazi hearing a circus. He’s right. It’s not a transparent, due process hearing. Democrats have complained they were excluded from much of the investigations, weren’t allowed to call witnesses or to look at documents.
As Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland and ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said Wednesday after the White House’s release of approximately 100 pages of e-mails relating to the attacks in Benghazi: “These documents undercut the reckless accusations by Republicans that the White House scrubbed the Benghazi talking points for political reasons and in fact show just the oppositeâthat the primary goal was to protect the FBI’s ongoing criminal investigation and our nation’s intelligence operations.”
A transparent, due-process hearing would call the witnesses who would testify that the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli mistakenly believed Katibat Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi had claimed credit for the attack. The group didn’t make the claim and later denied any role. But that was an on-the-ground, in-the-moment embassy mistake. (While no friend of the United States, the Benghazi al-Sharia organization has not, so far, been implicated in terrorist activity.)
It came from mistaken identity: There were two distinct and unrelated Ansar al-Sharia militant groups in Libya. Even Fox News interviewed an expert, J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council, who said these groups have no formal affiliation with each other. They are grass-roots up organizations, whereas al Qaeda organizes from the top down.
It is suspected that the Ansar al-Sharia in Derna was involved in the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans. Its leader is a former prisoner at Guantanamo who was released under the Bush administration and deported to Libya for jail. Gadhafi later released him.
In a transparent hearing we would learn that the Republicans’ chief witness, Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks, was likely, even today, in error about which Ansar al-Sharia was involved. It is the difference between a local militant militia group and professional terrorists.
Hicks clearly was referring to the Benghazi al Sharia when he testified about his concern that Ambassador Chris Stevens was taken to the hospital that the Benghazi group then guarded. But, this week the same hospital was bombed; the rival al-Shaira group in Derna, with al Qaeda links, is a reasonable suspect.
Getting the facts right matters. Getting the truth matters. Posturing for propaganda points not only misleads us, it endangers us. For whatever the Benghazi hearings are about, they’re not about learning the lessons from this tragedy and improving securities at American embassies and other facilities overseas.
They are, in fact, a partisan campaign fundraiser for the Republican Party, and not a fact-finding inquiry to help the State Department and military correct their mistakes.
Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC has already taken on Hillary Clinton, spending megabucks on a 2016 attack ad that savages her judgments. Some Republicans, to their credit, can’t stomach any more from their fellow Republicans.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a Republican, appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and said he would have handled Benghazi just as Obama handled it. He added a flat, “No” that he did not think Hillary Clinton would be involved in any kind of a cover-up.
Bill Kristol, conservative editor and commentator, told Fox News Sunday, “I wish the Republicans would just be quiet for a while and that the partisan Republican groups that are fundraising off this would be quiet … for a while … and let’s find out what really happened.”
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.
Editor’s note: Zoraida Sambolin is co-anchor of CNN’s “Early Start.”
I have been struggling for weeks with how to tell my co-workers and viewers that I have breast cancer and have chosen to have a double mastectomy. How much should I share? Will I be an emotional wreck? Do I want people feeling sorry for me?
Angelina empowered me to share my story.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer five weeks ago, on April 9. Saying it, talking about it, dealing with it has been a complicated journey. Luckily, I have a very early form of breast cancer called DCIS.
MRI scans show some questionable areas in my left breast and many in my right. After several consultations with some of the finest doctors in New York and Chicago (my hometown), volumes of research and some serious soul searching, I have chosen to have a double mastectomy.
Angelina Jolie chose to bear her soul in writing and I chose to follow her lead in front of all our viewers Tuesday. I identified with some of the issues she candidly discussed, such as her children, her sexuality and her femininity. I never expected to share this news so publicly and I certainly did not want to become the story.
But judging from the outpouring of support, I am not alone.
I have a history of fibrocystic breast tissue, which is very dense and complicated to read in a mammogram. For years, I’ve had biopsies and two years ago, prior to staring at CNN, I had a lumpectomy to remove abnormal tissue that doctors thought was cancer. One doctor said that in my case cancer was a matter of when, not if.
Still, when I got the call five weeks ago, it knocked me over.
My greatest challenge was sharing the news with the people who love me. My son Nico and my daughter Sofia were the hardest. I sat with Nico, 14, and asked him what came to mind when he thought of breast cancer.
His response was a fight. I knew then he had the right attitude.
I pulled out the book “Breast Cancer for Dummies” and explained in great detail what my diagnosis was and how I chose to treat it. He listened intently but still worried I was going to die. I explained that my decision gave me the best chance of survival long term. I promised this would not kill me.
I agonized for weeks about how to tell my daughter, and even consulted a psychologist.
Would she instantly think her breasts were sick, too? Were they? Would the information scare her and would she be overwhelmed by fear of losing me and potentially getting sick herself? I worried about nothing.
I asked her the same question I asked Nico and her response was that breast cancer makes people’s hair fall out and that they get sick. I told her neither would happen to me and that I would have surgery and be back in no time. That was plenty for her.
I surprised myself by worrying about my sexuality. Logically, I knew that getting rid of all the breast tissue was the best decision for me. But would I still be attractive and desirable to my partner?
I was angry at myself for even caring about that, but I did. I was choosing reconstruction, so that to the outside world nothing would look different — but I knew and he knew. Kenny, my fiancÃ©, was focused on making me whole. He said nothing mattered more to him than having me alive.
Yet I still worried.
Kenny happens to be executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox and travels nonstop. But he halted his schedule so he could be by my side for every appointment and every moment of vulnerability. He held my hand and sat with me when I cried.
We have talked in great detail with doctors about the changes ahead, and privately about our personal feelings. They have been graphic, emotional conversations that have made us stronger.
Early on, a very dear friend told me very matter-of-factly to treat this cancer as a pain-in-the-ass inconvenience. Getting there takes time and, in my case, a lot of prayer and a lot of research.
I hope that every woman facing this decision takes the time to understand her options and surrounds herself with the support she needs to get through the difficult times.
There are challenges to access that need to be tackled, especially for our Latina women. There is a lot of work and I am poised for the challenge to help others like me. I am grateful for the support and information available to me. My goal is to pay my many blessings forward.
What I know, you will know. I am not yet on the other side, but judging by all the e-mails I’ve received from survivors, I am headed to a place that is stronger, wiser and definitely more empowered.
My final words here are thank you — for the many blessings, thoughts, prayers and even hugs you have sent my way today.
Keep them coming!
<span class="articleLocation”>(Reuters) – An Airgas Inc distribution center in Putnam Country, West Virginia, has been closed after two people were injured in an explosion and fire at the facility, the company said on Monday.
The center handles industrial gases including nitrogen, acetylene and oxygen that do not pose an immediate threat to public safety, though a section of adjoining highway has been closed, said Jason Owens, deputy director of public safety at the Putnam County Office of Emergency Management.
“About 3:20 p.m. they had an explosion and fire,” he said. “The fire is contained. However, it is still burning because they don’t want to let the product vent into the atmosphere.”
Airgas said in a statement that an investigation into the cause of the incident was underway and that the company was working with local authorities and emergency personnel. It did not say how long the center would be closed.
Airgas shares closed down 1 percent at $96.72 on the New York Stock Exchange. Airgas officials were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Bernard Orr and Joseph Radford)