A factory collapse in Bangladesh last week killed more than 400 people, mostly garment workers. Hundreds more are still missing, making it one of the largest manufacturing disasters in history. It's just the latest horrific accident in the garment industry despite more than a decade of auditing aimed at improving working conditions.
In September 2012, a fire at the Ali Enterprises factory in Pakistan killed nearly 300 workers. Six weeks later, in November, a fire in the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh killed 112 people. Then, last week, there was the Rana Plaza collapse.
NPR's business news starts with a scramble for Apple bonds.
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MONTAGNE: Apple, yesterday, sold $17 billion worth of bonds - which is a new industry record. Apple issued the bonds to take advantage of low interest rates as it prepares to make a payout of $100 billion to shareholders by 2015. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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GREENE: "Downton Abbey," it's our last word in business today. The hit PBS program is expanding into the world of merchandise.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
CNBC reports the costume drama, set in Edwardian England, will soon launch a line of fashion, furniture, wallpaper and beauty products. The show's popularity has already created a boost in sales for items from the era, like gloves, fur capes and old-fashioned sherry.
Look at photographs from the Bangladesh garment factory collapse, and you can see clothing in the rubble destined for a store called Joe Fresh, one of the many retailers using supercheap fashions made overseas to keep shoppers buying often.
But in the aftermath of the tragedy, would customers pay more if they knew the clothes were made by workers treated fairly and safely?
Consumer groups are stepping up pressure on animal producers and their practice of giving antibiotics to healthy animals to prevent disease. In two new reports, the groups say they're worried that the preventive use of antibiotics is contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which get harder to treat in humans and animals over time.
To mangle a familiar quotation from Tolstoy, all regions of Italy are different, but each is Italian in its own particular way.
Suppose the Italian regions were women (humor me here). Lombardia would be a glamorous but unapproachable Milan model. I see Emiglia-Romagna as a wealthy, slightly dowdy widow. Umbria would be the wholesome, friendly girl next door. Unlike the American girl next door where I live, however, this one is a terrific cook.
On cable TV, there's a whole truckload of reality shows that make fun of working-class, white Southern culture. They are some of the most popular and talked about new shows, too, such as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.
MTV tried cashing in on the redneck TV trend with its own hyped-up platform for young Southern kids behaving badly, Buckwild. It played like a Southern-fried version of Jersey Shore. Its stars were a dimwitted crew of young people in West Virginia drinking hard and riding pickup trucks through ditches filled with mud.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 7:40 pm
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who sparked plenty of discussion about work-life balance when she prohibited telecommuting this past winter, took a step in the opposite direction, Tuesday: Mayer expanded Yahoo's parental leave policy.
On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama declared May as Older Americans Month, National Foster Care Month, National Building Safety Month, Jewish American Heritage Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
The president also issued a statement on the investiture of the new king of the Netherlands.
While small and routine, these moves were all easy to understand, as were the accompanying proclamations from the White House press shop.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 7:27 pm
"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."
That declaration yesterday by the journeyman NBA big man Jason Collins in Sports Illustrated sent shock waves around the sports world. As you've probably heard by now, Collins is the first player in a major professional American team sport to come out of the closet while pursuing a career in his sport.
Actress Sophia Bush hung out with NPR at the "table for kids with peanut allergies" this past weekend, as our guest for the White House Correspondents' Dinner. (Clearly she doesn't carry the same attitudes as her popular, captain-of-the-cheerleading-squad character on One Tree Hill).
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
In Nigeria, evidence is emerging of a brutal massacre of at least 200 civilians. The massacre, two weeks ago, was in an area where Nigeria's military has been battling the insurgent Islamist group Boko Haram. Survivors say Nigerian soldiers went from house to house, setting them on fire and shooting residents who tried to flee.
A Spanish doctor accused of masterminding one of the world's largest doping rings has been convicted of endangering public health. Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes gave blood transfusions to Lance Armstrong's teammates and competitors. And he says he treated soccer and tennis players too — though he won't name names. Fuentes got a one year suspended prison sentence on Tuesday. A former cycling coach was sentenced to four months, and three other co-defendants were acquitted.