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Chatter: Bitter May Day in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi workers vent their anger at last week's building collapse, the world seeks evidence that Syria has crossed its red line, Venezuelan lawmakers use their fists, and Psy is a real-life cartoon hero.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

May Day means riots, and in Bangladesh, workers have more reason than most to be angry. The death toll from last week's building collapse near Dhaka has now topped 400, making it the country's worst ever industrial disaster. The multi-story building, workplace to thousands of factory employees, showed clear signs of structural damage a full day before it collapsed; 149 people are still missing somewhere beneath its rubble.

Today, the day of workers' rights, thousands of protesters marched in Dhaka to demand the death penalty for the factory owners they hold responsible. And, more importantly, the right not to die on the job.

Did they or didn't they? With the West reluctant to intervene in Syria, no one will give the order to go in without making really, completely, entirely sure that the "red line" has been crossed. And then getting a second opinion, and a third.

The billion-dollar question is whether Syria's civil war is now being fought with chemical weapons, which several countries now say they suspect to be the case. Syrian rebels have called for UN inspectors to head an investigation, though the Syrian government has so far refused to let them into the country. President Barack Obama says he won't involve the US without "hard evidence" of what was used, and by whom. Such evidence, as GlobalPost's investigation of a recent alleged chemical attack in Aleppo demonstrates, may be hard to find.

WANT TO KNOW

When honorable members turn dishonorable. A session in Venezuela's parliament ended in fisticuffs yesterday, as government and opposition lawmakers disputed the results of last month's presidential election. Several politicians had their noses bloodied; all of them, naturally, said it was the other side that started it.

It's a testament to how high passions are running about the April 14 poll, which the chosen heir to Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, insists he won. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles and his supporters, however, have demanded a full recount – and say that ruling party MPs plan to deny them the right to address parliament until they accept Maduro's victory. Lawmakers have punched each other for less, many times before.

Northern Ireland's Troubles aren't the kind you can leave behind. A decade and a half since the Good Friday Agreement officially ended decades of conflict between Irish republicans and pro-British unionists, Northern Ireland is still adjusting to an uneasy peace. Life in the capital, Belfast, has transformed, but not for everyone; in the working-class neighborhoods that suffered the worst of the murders, bombings and violence, many believe the dividends of peace have paid out only for the advantaged few.

GlobalPost reports from Belfast after the Troubles.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Do you have enough Psy in your life? Does anyone? Hoping not are two US and South Korean publishers, who have just turned the Gangnam Style star into a genuine comic-book hero. 'Fame:Psy,' out today, tells the story of the singer's unlikely rise to fame as his horse-heavy video became YouTube's most watched clip of all time.

It's not exactly sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, but there are dance moves, some drugs, and a heck of a lot of K-Pop. Oppa!

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-bitter-may-day-bangladesh