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Chatter: Retailers divided over Bangladesh worker safety pact

European retailers agree to plan for improving safety in Bangladesh, Angelina Jolie reveals she underwent a preventive double mastectomy, and why Swaziland's witches must fly low.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

What next for Bangladesh? As recovery efforts end, and mourners gather to pray for the dead, the death toll from the collapse of a garment factory building three weeks ago stands at 1,127 — the worst industrial accident in Bangladesh's history. 

The collapse of the Rana Plaza followed several other horrifying incidents at Bangladesh garment factories, including a fire in November that killed 112 people.

In the aftermath, European retailers including two of the biggest fashion chains — Sweden's H&M and Spain's Inditex, which owns Zara — have agreed to a pact to improve Bangladesh building and fire safety. 

But major US retailers, including Gap, have declined to endorse the accord, leading to fears that the push for garment industry reform will be diluted.

Rohingya boat capsizes. A boat carrying up to 200 Rohingya Muslims has capsized off western Myanmar. The boat was evacuating people ahead of a cyclone expected to hit the area later this week, with coastal areas in Rakhine state and neighboring Bangladesh at risk of flooding or tidal surges.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims are living in temporary camps in Rakhine after violence last year. To understand more, read this dispatch from GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Patrick Winn, whose ongoing series Myanmar Emerges delves further into this rapidly changing country.

Heart stopping. Among the legions of disturbing videos and news from Syria, there's this: footage which appears to show a Syrian rebel eating the heart of a dead soldier.

"I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog," the man in the video says, as he stands over the soldier's corpse.

The New York-based group Human Rights Watch has said the rebel is Abu Sakkar, an insurgent from the city of Homs, and describes his actions as a war crime.

WANT TO KNOW

Angelina's choice. The actress has revealed she underwent a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her risk of contracting breast cancer. Jolie, 37, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times that she had the procedure because she carries a faulty gene that increases her risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Jolie said she kept the issue quiet while undergoing surgical procedures and continuing to work, but she was speaking out to encourage other women with a family history of cancer to seek out information from doctors and make informed choices about their bodies.

Back to Earth. It was a great ride, but after 146 days — and a whole lot of tweeting, photographing, and music video-making along the way — International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield is back on Planet Earth.

A Soyuz capsule carrying Hadfield and two flight engineers landed safely in southern Kazakhstan last night at 10:31 p.m. EDT. Hadfield, the first Canadian commander of the ISS, handed control over to the next team of astronauts under the command of Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov.

For posterity, GlobalPost has compiled 15 ways that Hadfield is really darn awesome.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Sorry, Swazi witches. Your high-flying fun is over.

Like airplanes and helicopters, witches on broomsticks must also obey the Swaziland's aviation laws, according to Sabelo Dlamini, a Civil Aviation Authority official. “A witch on a broomstick should not fly above the [150-meter] limit,” Dlamini explained.

Dlamini's statement was prompted by the arrest of a private detective who had operated an unregistered toy helicopter with a drone-like video camera attached. A statute in Swaziland also forbids toy helicopters and children’s kites from ascending too high into the country’s airspace.

But while witches are known to use their brooms for applying or flinging “potions” and other cursed substances across large areas, they are generally not used for transportation purposes. 

So while traditional healing is taken seriously in Swaziland, it can be assumed that Dlamini used the flying broomstick example only to illustrate his point. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-retailers-divided-over-safety-pact-bangladesh-workers