first_imgThe first step in Backsberg’s green wineinitiative was a carbon audit, whichassessed the amount of CO2 producedfrom all winery activities, from vineyardto bottle. Michael Back, proprietor of BacksbergWine Cellars and environment nut. Vineyard planting systems have beenadapted to reduce the number of woodenpoles needed. A selection of carbon-neutral Backsbergwines.(Images: Backsberg)Susan de BruinRed or white wine? At South Africa’s Backsberg Wine Cellars there’s another choice: green. That’s because Backsberg has become one of only five wine producers in the world making carbon-neutral wines.Carbon neutrality means all the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere in the wine-making process is balanced by planting trees to absorb the equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. The other four carbon-neutral estates are Grove Mill Winery in New Zealand, Parducci Winery in California, ConoSur in Chile and Elderton Wines in Australia.Backsberg, which lies between Paarl and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, is owned by Michael Back. Known as something of an “environment nut” on the estate, Back began his green wine initiative in 2004.“Care for the environment means care and concern for succeeding generations,” he says. “As custodians of the land, it is our duty to understand and recognise potential threats, and to mitigate against them for the benefit of the next generation.”The first step was a carbon audit, to assess the amount of CO2 produced from all winery activities, from vineyard to bottle – its “carbon footprint”.A carbon technician measured everything from electricity and fuel consumption to grape fermentation and transport of wine bottles to local and international destinations. Each activity was then calculated to produce a specific amount of CO2. The entire process followed the strict guidelines set out by the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emission.From the audit results, the carbon technician calculated the number of trees that should be planted every year to absorb the same amount of CO2 Backsberg produced in that year. This is known as “offsetting”.Backsberg then enlisted the help of South African non-profit organisation Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA). In 2006 FTFA was honoured with the Chevron Conservation Award in California for improving the quality of life for disadvantaged South Africans by planting 2.5-million trees.FTFA and the estate began a village greening programme in nearby Klapmust, an impoverished village that is home to the surrounding wine farms’ seasonal workers. The Klapmust community took the more than 900 trees on a voluntary basis, trees the estate continually monitors to ensure they remain alive and continue to keep Backsberg’s carbon offset in balance. On the estate itself, 3 442 additional trees have been planted over the last 10 years.All these trees finally won Backsberg classification as a Carbon Neutral Estate in 2006, with the right to display the “Carbon Neutral Approved” logo on its bottles. To keep its classification, Backsberg is required to submit a carbon audit every year.Package of green ideasBut Back wanted to do more than simply get a logo on his bottles. A committed environmentalist, he was determined to reduce the estate’s carbon footprint as much as possible. The estate now employs a fulltime environmental consultant to look at all aspects of the business and assess how they could be done in a more environment-friendly way.The estate now has a package of creative green ideas. All farm vehicles and tractors are run on biofuels made from recycled vegetable oil, and the large fuel-guzzling tractors have been traded for smaller ones. The estate now generates its own energy from solar power, and is looking at wind power. Energy demand has been reduced by implementing timers, low-energy bulbs and skylights.The old hot-water “donkey” system, last used over a half a century ago, has been reintroduced, using waste wood to heat the water for washing barrels. Vineyard planting systems have been adapted to reduce the number of wooden poles needed.Back has also reserved 10% of the estate for conservation of the natural habitat, some 40 hectares of Swartland alluvium fynbos. This delicate fynbos environment, one of only a few left in the area, will never be cultivated, even though it might hold soils suitable for more vines.Good economic senseBacksberg remains the only carbon-neutral wine producer in South Africa. But according to John Spiers, chief executive of the estate, other South African winemakers are increasingly interested in environment-friendly production. He said Backsberg’s green initiatives were fairly inexpensive, and will save money in the long term. “It makes good economic sense if you look at where the fuel and energy prices are going,” he says.More than this, Backsberg exports 35% to 40% of its wine to the US, UK and Europe. Recent market feedback from Wines of South Africa (Wosa), which markets South African wine internationally, indicated that the British, American and especially the German markets seek environmentally responsible products. “These three destinations want products that are not only linked to social issues, but also environmentally responsible,” says Andre Morgenthal, Wosa communications manager.Spiers believes it is still early days for the carbon neutral logo to play a deciding role in the minds of the international consumer. But he adds: “In future it will become very important, and then we will definitely benefit from it.”Useful linksBacksberg Wine CellarsFood and Trees for AfricaWines of South Africalast_img read more

first_imgBangkok-based Thai AirAsia X has passed a major international safety audit, the International Air Transport Association Operation Safety Audit (IOSA), that covers more than 1060 separate parameters.Thai AirAsia X is a JV between Thai nationals Tassapon Bijleveld and Julpas Krueospon with 51% share and Air Asia X with 49%.Thai AirAsia X operates 8 A330s to 7 destinations in Asia.The operational safety audit is compulsory for IATA members and airlines that have completed the audit have a safety record almost four times better than those that have not.See the video of ANA A380 superjumbo turtle being painted.Now 427 airlines have completed the audit, which is renewed every two years.The completion of the audit elevates the Thai operation from three stars to six-stars out of a possible seven-star safety rating with AirlineRatings.com.The airline is the fifth in AirAsia Group to become IOSA accredited following AirAsia X Malaysia in 2015, AirAsia Indonesia in August 2018, AirAsia Malaysia in September 2018 and AirAsia Philippine in November 2018.Nadda Buranasiri, Group CEO of AirAsia X, said the carrier’s completion of the IOSA accreditation process confirms the ongoing focus on continual improvement in the areas of operational and safety integrity and is a testament to the hard work of the whole team at AirAsia X Thailand.“I would like to thank all our team members for their diligent and stringent work to ensure robust safety and service procedures that meet the highest world safety standards.  Our achievement of IOSA is a credit to all of your efforts and will instill further confidence amongst our passengers,” Mr. Nadda said.IATA is a world-recognized aviation industry operations, management and standards control inspection and evaluation agency.  The IOSA accreditation process covers eight key areas, namely; corporate organization and management systems, flight operations, operational control – flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations, and operational security.The awarding of the IOSA accreditation is expected to be a major boost for the airline.The IOSA certification audit is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.The audit covers eight functional and operational areas: organization and management system, flight operations, operational control, and flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling operations, cargo operations, and security management.IOSA was introduced to stem the increasing number of crashes in the late 1990s and into the beginning of the last decade.The AirAsia Group airlines fly to 165 destinations in 25 countries.It has just ordered or reconfirmed orders for 100 A330s for its AirAsia X operation.Also, it is evaluating Airbus’ long-range version of the  A321neo as it moves to target more destinations within a range of seven hours.Powered by CFM International’s LAEP-1A engines, the A321neo LR,  is due to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is designed to carry up to 240 passengers 4000 nautical miles.last_img read more

first_imgChris Darimont discusses the impact of humans’ unique predatory behavior on the planet, and Catherine Matacic talks with Sarah Crespi about whistled languages, Neolithic massacres, and too many gas giants. Hosted by Sarah Crespi.last_img

first_imgIn the backdrop of growing outrage over Dow Chemicals’ sponsorship of the London Games, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided to convey the concerns of the 1984 Bhopal Gas disaster victims to the world body.In a letter to acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the sports ministry has asked him to take up the matter with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which has entered into a 10-year agreement with Dow Chemicals.Dow has bought Union Carbide, considered to be responsible for the loss of thousands of lives due to the leakage of toxic gas in their Bhopal plant.While Malhotra said they will convey the concerns to the IOC, he admitted that the IOA is still undecided about its stand if the world body refuses to heed their requests.”On December 15 we have a meeting with all the IOA officials and we will decide what exactly has to be asked for,” Malhotra told Mail Today.”As of now what has been decided is that IOA will make IOC aware of the feelings of the people in India with regard to Dow Chemicals’ involvement. In the IOA meeting, we”ll decide on the other options as well.”In its letter, the ministry also states that Dow’s agreement is not only with the IOC but also with other National Olympic Committees (NOC), including the IOA.”Under the agreement between Dow and IOC, Dow will partner IOC and National Olympic Committees around the world, including India. We would advice the Indian Olympic Association to raise this matter immediately with the IOC, while keeping the government informed,” read the letter from joint secretary (sports) Rahul Bhatnagar.advertisement”You are also aware that the matter of Dow’s liability, in respect of the Bhopal Gas tragedy victims, is sub judice and that the government of India has itself filed a suit against the company. Strong public sentiment exists in this matter and a number of eminent Olympians have also raised concerns.”Many Olympians have come out in protest of Dow’s agreement with the IOC. Malhotra, however, stuck to his stand and reiterated that India will not boycott the Games.He admitted that the deal signed by the IOC with the sponsors automatically brings into it the National Olympic Committees although he claimed that the agreement was till the 2016 Olympics.”The National Olympic Committees automatically fall under the agreement because they are also involved in profit sharing with the IOC for the event.” Organisers of the London Olympics have entered into a sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals for an $ 11million artistic wrap around the Olympic Stadium.last_img read more

first_imgAnti-corruption activist Anna Hazare on Friday said he is ready to fast in jail if he doesn’t get permission to hold his protest elsewhere. Maharashtra state sports department has denied permission to Team Anna for their three-day protest at Azad Maidan in Mumbai.Team Anna was earlier holding the fast at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground but due to financial constraints the venue was shifted to Azad Maidan.Also read: Full text of Lokpal BillThe 74-year-old activist plans to sit on a hunger strike from December 27 to December 30 to protest against the government’s Lokpal Bill draft. This is the same time when the bill will be debated in Parliament.The Mumbai Police was in a dilemma over Hazare’s protest as it was unable to limit the number of people participating in the agitation at Azad Maidan to 4,000.Team Anna had once considered Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan as their protest venue but with the city reeling under cold waves, the venue was shifted to Mumbai. Team Anna begins resgistrations for jail bharoTeam Anna has now launched an online campaign for their ‘jail bharo’ agitation from December 30 against government’s Lokpal Bill wherein people can register themselves for the protest.Besides online registration, people can also approach Team Anna through text messages and a missed call service.Those planning to participate in the ‘jail bharo’ agitation can either register through www.jailchalo.com or sent a text message to 575758 or give a missed call to 073031509500.Till now, over 5,500 people have registered for the agitation through online alone with Maharashtra and Delhi topping the list with over 1,000 each volunteers joining hands with Team Anna.advertisementlast_img read more

first_img“Brothers, even though I’m not there fighting with you, you’re always part of my prayers. That’s all I can give right now and like what I told coach Chot when I excused myself, this is not the last time I’ll be playing for the nation. Once I’m 100-percent again, I’ll try out, and if I’m still deserving at that time, I’ll still give all my heart to play for the country,” he said.Romeo is one of the biggest omissions from the national team in this first leg, as the speedy playmaker from FEU averaged 17.8 points, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 rebounds in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup.Without him, much of the playmaking and scoring load will fall on the shoulders of Jayson Castro, as well as substitutes Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas for the game against Japan.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Photo from Fiba.comAmid all the questions about his absence, Terrence Romeo insisted that it was his nagging knee injury and not anything else that prevented him from joining Gilas Pilipinas in the to the 2019 Fiba World Cup.Romeo, an integral piece of the national team, broke his silence and declared his support for his brothers hours before the Filipinos take on Japan in Tokyo.ADVERTISEMENT The Fatted Calf and Ayutthaya: New restos worth the drive to Tagaytay The sly guard set the record straight in an Instagram post that his knee contusion was the main reason for his absence and that “no one else can stop me from playing for the country aside from my injury.” Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim After 30 years, Johnlu Koa still doing ‘hard-to-make’ quality breads Malditas save PH from shutout He also credited the Gilas program for his growth as a player.“My family and the people close to me knows that I’m indebted to Gilas because it’s here where I became disciplined, where I fast-tracked my maturity in basketball,” he said.Romeo was in and out of training camp for the first leg of the Asian qualifiers before eventually missing the last few days of training.Days before the team left for Japan, head coach Chot Reyes said he was still hopeful that Romeo could join the trip, but when it was clear that he was definitely out, he was not anymore included in the Final 12 for the game.Romeo, though, vowed to the national team mentor that he’ll be back better than ever.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View commentscenter_img LATEST STORIES MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims MRT 7 on track for partial opening in 2021 Brazil striker Robinho given nine-year term in Italy for rapelast_img read more

first_img $999 Post a comment Top 5 reasons why Netflix should be scared Tags Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. See It Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Digital Media,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. $155 at Google Express Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) $999 Read the AirPods review HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) See It Now playing: Watch this: Chris Monroe/CNET I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) $520 at HP Share your voice $999 Read DJI Osmo Action preview JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Sarah Tew/CNET $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $299 at Amazon Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $59 at eBay Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Read Google Home Hub review Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Rylo $999center_img Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Comments Turo: Save $30 on any car rental $210 at Best Buy Sarah Tew/CNET Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Sarah Tew/CNET Share your voice Read the Rylo camera preview An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Tags See at Turo $6 at Tidal Apple iPhone XS 3:19 DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) 0 Best Buy Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Tubi has reached more than 20 million monthly active users. Tubi Tubi, a free movie streaming site, said Monday it surpassed 20 million monthly active users. Customers also watched more than 94 million hours of content on the ad-supported service last month, the company said. The Netflix alternative has more than 15,000 movies and TV shows available on its service. It also has over 200 content partners, including Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, MGM and Lionsgate.”Tubi has made remarkable strides in the first half of the year, further demonstrating the vitality of [ad-supported video on demand] in an environment fatigued by the amount of subscription video options,” Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi said in a release. “We’re excited to provide even more premium content this year.”By comparison, Pluto — a Tubi competitor that was acquired for $340 million by Viacom earlier this year — said it had 16 million monthly active users in May. Of course, every service is tiny compared with Netflix, which last fiscal quarter had almost 150 million monthly subscribers. (YouTube would be the exception, with 2 billion signed-in visitors every month.)In January, Tubi said it would spend more than nine figures on content this year to expand its library. The service is currently available in the US and Canada, and can be accessed on devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Comcast Xfinity, iOS and Android. See it 7 Boost Mobile DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) The Cheapskate Sarah Tew/CNET Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Turo $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express See at Amazon See It Sprint $60 at Best Buy Angela Lang/CNET Amazonlast_img read more

first_imgThe Union cabinet has given its nod to raise the foreign shareholding limit in Indian stock exchanges to 15 percent from 5 percent. The move is in line with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s announcement on FDI reforms in the Union Budget 2016-17, which included raising investment limit of foreign entities in Indian stock exchanges.The rise in investment cap applies to stock exchanges, depositories, and commodity derivative exchanges. The new proposal will allow foreign portfolio investors to buy shares through initial public offering (IPO) over secondary market route. “The move will help in enhancing global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges by facilitating the adoption of latest technology and global best practices which will lead to overall growth and development of the Indian Capital Market,” an official statement said.The attempt to make Indian stock exchanges more competitive comes after Asia’s oldest bourse Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and its rival National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE) expressed their intent to go public.The BSE declared its plans to get listed by the end of the current financial year. The stock exchange is set to raise Rs. 1,300 crore by selling up to 30 percent stake.Earlier in March this year, the BSE received in-principle approval to offer IPO from capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The Dalal Street, Mumbai-based stock exchange had issued capital of 10.9 crore shares. The exchange was valued at Rs. 4,367.05 crore with a share price of Rs. 400 apiece.Approximately 39 percent of shares in the BSE are held by brokers and the remaining 61 percent shares are held by foreign institutional investors. This includes domestic investors as well as foreign stock exchanges like Deutsche Boerse and Singapore Stock Exchange, BSE CEO Ashish Kumar Chauhan was quoted as saying by the Business Standard. The NSE was planning to submit a draft proposal on issuing its IPO in January 2017. According to its board of directors, the exchange will also file papers to seek approval for an international listing.last_img read more

first_imgIn September 2016, another factory burned in the same district. Here, firefighters stand at the site of a fire at a packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, 10 September 2016. Photo: ReutersFollowing a fire in Munshiganj, Human Rights Watch has urged Bangladesh to publish its inspection reports on how factories terminated from the Accord and Alliance are faring.“If the government wants to be considered a credible labour inspectorate, it should at least publish reports. It’s not just an investment in transparency. It’s also a strategic investment in business,” said HRW’s senior counsel (women’s rights division) Aruna Kashyap in an article published on the HRW website on Friday.She said over the past few years, the accord brands cut ties with 76 garment factories that failed to make their buildings safer. Similarly, the alliance brands terminated business with 158 garment factories. These factories are now the responsibility of government inspectors.Referring to Wednesday’s fire in a Munshiganj textile factory which killed at least six workers, Aruna Kashyap said, “Soon, the blame game will begin. Perhaps there’ll be a government-ordered inquiry. Maybe someone will be sent to jail. Then it will be business as usual, and the six workers will join a growing list of those who died in factory tragedies there.”Earlier this year, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement between clothing brands and unions, was renewed. The accord covers more than 1,600 garment factories. Under the revised agreement, the accord steering committee can opt in textile mills. This means the mills could also be subject to fire and building safety inspections, and management and workers could be trained on safety measures.She went on saying, “Instead of rallying around the Bangladesh Accord, the Bangladesh government has protested against its extension. Unhelpfully, the government also announced it will begin a “new” initiative on fire and building safety.“The Bangladesh government authorities already inspect about 1,550 garment factories not covered by the accord or the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (another fire and building safety initiative led by American brands). In addition, government authorities inspect factories in sectors not covered by the accord or alliance, including textiles.Referring to the accord brands’ decision to cut ties with Bangladeshi garment factories, she asked, “How have these terminated factories fared? Has the government ensured that the factories took steps to make the workplaces safer? Were any of these factories closed down as unsafe?”In 2017, she added, Human Rights Watch spoke with workers from four terminated factories.“They had no knowledge about whether the government had inspected their factory and declared it safe,” she claimed.“We came to know it [the factory is not safe] only from some staff. We also asked the owner about it once. He only said that everything will be fine… We used to see fire drills here on the first Thursday of every month. But we haven’t seen this in the last three months – I don’t know why… I get worried when I think that our factory building is unsafe. But still I have to continue the job because I need it,” one of the four workers was quoted by the HRW.last_img read more