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Blaze kills eight in another Bangladeshi garment factory disaster


Eight people were killed when a fire swept through a clothing factory today, as the death toll from the collapse of another factory building two weeks ago climbed above 900.

The fire, in an industrial district of Dhaka, comes as global attention is focused on safety standards in Bangladesh’s booming garment industry following the catastrophic collapse of Rana Plaza, on the outskirts of the city, in the world’s worst industrial accident since India’s Bhopal disaster in 1984.

“It is not clear to us how the accident happened,” said Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

On Wednesday the Bangladesh government said it had shut down 18 garment factories for safety reasons following the collapse of Rana Plaza on 24 April, which housed five garment factories making clothes for Western brands. Six factories were cleared to re-open after inspectors issued safety certificates.

Meanwhile, a tribunal sentenced an Islamist party leader to death for atrocities in the country’s war of independence, bringing a wave of violent protest from his supporters nationwide.

Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, 61, assistant secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty of genocide and torture of unarmed civilians during the 1971  war to break away from Pakistan.