Home' Greymouth Star : April 4th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, April 4, 2014
Scores of garment workers have
fallen sick this week at factories
in Cambodia, including two that
produce clothing for sportswear
groups Puma SE and Adidas,
workers and the companies said
A total of 118 employees passed
out at work overnight at the
Shen Zhou and Daqian Textile
factories in Phnom Penh, police
said, another blow for an industry
fraught with disputes but critical
to Cambodia's economy.
Garment manufacturing earns
Cambodia more than $5 billion a
year in revenue and employs some
600,000 people, many of them
breadwinners for impoverished
families in the countryside.
"It was hot and I began to
vomit, I had diarrhoea and others
had the same problems," Nguon
Sarith, 30, who was hooked up to
an intravenous drip at a hospital
in the capital, said.
She said she did not know the
cause, but suspected it may have
been food poisoning.
Community Legal Education
Centre said more than 200
workers had fainted this week.
Both Puma and Adidas said
they were closely monitoring
the situation while investigations
were under way and a ected sta
had received medical treatment.
Puma said its representatives
had met with police and workers
and samples of food from the
canteen of Shen Zhou had been
sent for laboratory analysis to
determine whether the cause of
the sickness was food poisoning.
Mass faintings are all too
familiar in Cambodia, which
has become an important
manufacturing centre for many
high street fashion brands.
Garment makers have often
complained of poor ventilation,
strong chemicals and use
of potent glue for footwear,
although o cial investigations
in recent years have been largely
ere were over 1000 faintings
reported in 2011 alone in factories
mostly owned by Chinese,
Taiwanese and South Koreans.
Most workers earn less than $100
a month and many volunteer for
overtime to boost their income.
e problems do not stop at
faintings. e industry has been
plagued by unrest in recent
months, with long-running
disputes over pay mushrooming
into nationwide strikes and anti-
government protests that have
been violently suppressed by
Some 18 unions plan to hold a
week-long strike on April 17 to
demand a minimum wage rise
to $160 monthly from $100.
e last strike was put down by
authorities, which on January 3
used live ammunition to disperse
crowds, killing ve workers.
Working conditions in the
Asian clothing industry rose to
international prominence last
year after the collapse of a factory
in Bangladesh killed more than
1100 people. --- Reuters
Mass faintings at
e Russian Foreign Ministry has
issued a complaint to the German
ambassador after a German minister
reportedly drew parallels between
Moscow's annexation of Crimea and
Hitler's actions in 1938.
On Monday a report in Der Spiegel
said that Germany's Finance Minister
Wolfgang Schaeuble compared Russia's
seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region
last month to Nazi aggression in
Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War
e Russian Foreign Ministry said
in a statement that such historical
parallels were "unacceptable" and that
it had handed Germany's ambassador
to Moscow, Ruediger von Fritsch, an
o cial complaint over the matter.
"We consider such pseudo-historical
digressions by the German minister to
be provocative," the Russian ministry
"His analogies are a crude manipulation
of historical events and facts."
Schaeuble, an outspoken veteran
politician, reportedly told schoolchildren
at a ministry event: "Such methods
were already adopted by Hitler in
Sudetenland," referring to Russia's
annexation of Crimea.
e German-speaking part of
Bohemia, the Sudetenland, was ceded to
Germany in 1938 before the outbreak of
World War Two when the republic was
occupied by the Nazis.
A Germany Finance Ministry
spokesman did not con rm the
comment, but said Schaeuble did not
intend to compare Russia with the ird
Reich. --- AFP
Royal gifts for Pope Francis
PICTURE: Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, exchange gifts with Pope
Francis during an audience in the Pope's study in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on their
one-day visit to Rome.
Queen Elizabeth met Pope Francis for
the rst time overnight and gave a bemused
ponti culinary delights from the royal estates,
including a dozen eggs and a bottle of whisky.
"I've also brought something from all our
estates, which is for you personally," the
Queen, wearing a lavender dress and a purple
hat, said as she handed Francis a wicker
basket full of food at the end of a 17-minute
private meeting in the Vatican.
e 18 items from Buckingham Palace,
Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral also
included two types of honey, Coronation Best
Bitter, Grandad's chutney and Sandringham
handmade aromatherapy soaps.
A Vatican o cial said the Pope would
probably share the food with other residents
of the guest house where he has lived since
his election after renouncing the spacious
papal apartments or would donate it.
e Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke
of Edinburgh, met the Pope in a modern
room attached to the Vatican's audience hall
without much of the ceremonial pomp that
usually accompanies such visits.
A Vatican statement did not say what the
two discussed. e Queen is also the Supreme
Governor of the Church of England, which
split from Rome in 1534.
e Pope is Argentinian and Britain went to
war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands,
which Argentina calls the Malvinas, in 1982.
To cut short any speculation that the two
might have discussed the Falklands, the
British embassy reminded reporters that while
the Pope may be Argentinian, the Vatican's
o cial position on the territorial dispute is a
Francis also gave the Queen a gift for her
eight-month-old great-grandson, Prince
George of Cambridge. It was a sphere made
of lapis lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious
stone, topped with the silver cross of St
"He will be thrilled by it," the Queen told
the Pope. en she paused and added: "When
he is a little older." --- Reuters
Italian police arrested a former
member of Silvio Berlusconi's
government, accusing him of
colluding with the ma a to quash
competition against his family's
petrol distributorship near
Naples, o cials said overnight.
Nicola Cosentino, an under-
secretary in the Economy
Ministry from 2008-10 and the
ex-boss of Berlusconi's party in
the region around Naples, was
arrested along with 12 others on
suspicion of extortion and unfair
e Italian mob has always
sought alliances with business
and political leaders. Seven-time
Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti
was acquitted of ma a charges
but found to have ties to the
Sicilian ma a's top bosses before
1980. Berlusconi himself has
been investigated, though never
tried, for ties to organised crime.
Naples anti-ma a prosecutors
say Cosentino, his brothers
Giovanni and Antonio, and two
brothers of mob boss Antonio
Zagaria set up a "criminal
system" to control local petrol
Cosentino used his political
sway in local administrative
o ces to favour his family
business and create bureaucratic
obstacles for the competition,
while the mob intimidated and
extorted petrol distributors not
owned or supplied by Cosentino's
company, prosecutors said.
Cosentino had a "stable
relationship based on common
interests" with members of
the local ma a, known as the
Casalesi clan, prosecutors said
in a statement released after the
Two Cosentino lawyers did
not respond to repeated calls for
Among those arrested were two
employees of the Italian unit of
Kuwait Petroleum International
(known by its trademark, Q8),
which re nes and distributes
petroleum products around the
world for the State of Kuwait.
e employees were complicit
in favouring the Cosentino
family business, prosecutors say.
In a statement, the company
denied any knowledge of the
situation described by prosecutors
and that it was "disconcerted" by
the arrest its employees, while
expressing hope that they would
ultimately be cleared.
is is Cosentino's second
arrest on ma a-related charges in
a year. After losing parliamentary
immunity, he turned himself in
on separate charges in March
of 2013. He was later put under
house arrest and then released in
November. at trial continues.
Cosentino has denied any
Ma a groups in the southern
regions of Campania, Calabria,
Apulia and Sicily continue to use
violence and threats to control
their local economies, and they
do not hesitate to threaten
o cials who refuse to cooperate.
government o cials have risen
66% since 2010, when the gures
were rst collected, according to
a report published last month.
Berlusconi govt associate held over mafia links
A 10-year-old boy has been killed and
four others wounded when an explosive
apparently hidden inside a toy they were
playing with detonated in north-western
e incident took place overnight in
Khaki, a suburb of Nowshera town in
the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa district, where
many Afghani refugees are settled.
"Up to six children were playing with a
toy that they had found from the garbage
they collected from nearby areas when it
exploded, killing the boy and wounding
four other children," senior local police
o cial Khurram Rasheed told AFP.
Another local police o cial, Saeed
Ullah con rmed the incident, and said
the boy who was killed in the blast was
Dozens of children, mostly in the
insurgency-hit north-western Pakistan,
have lost their lives in the past when
playing with "toys" that turned out to be
Pakistani troops have been ghting
for years against homegrown insurgents
in several north-western cities and the
tribal belt, which Washington considers
the main hub of Taliban and al Qaeda
militants plotting attacks on the west
and in Afghanistan. --- AFP
Bomb in toy
kills boy, 10
United States o cials have
invited British chef Nigella
Lawson to reapply for a visa to
enter the US after the television
celebrity was barred for boarding
a ight last weekend.
According to the Daily Mail
newspaper, Lawson, dubbed the
"Domestic Goddess" after the
title of one of her cookery books,
was prevented from ying to the
US because she had confessed to
taking drugs during a recent court
battle with her former assistants.
A spokeswoman from the US Embassy in
London con rmed overnight Lawson had
been refused entry but declined to provide an
explanation, adding the chef was welcome to
reapply for travel documents.
"We have invited her to come and apply for a
visa," she said.
Lawson made headlines globally when she
told a London court she had taken cocaine
several times and smoked cannabis at the end
of her 10-year marriage to art dealer Charles
British police decided not take
any action against the 54-year-
old following her admission
which was made during the trial
of her two former assistants who
were later cleared of charges of
defrauding the couple of £685,000
But when Lawson went to
London's Heathrow airport on
Sunday to catch a ight to Los
Angeles, she was told she would
not be allowed on the ight and
returned home, according to the
Daily Mail newspaper.
A spokesman for Lawson declined to comment
on the story, whether Lawson was turned away
or on how this could a ect her career in the US,
where she is judge on the talent show e Taste.
Lawson could not herself immediately be
reached for comment.
e trial of the two assistants, sisters Francesca
and Elisabetta Grillo, fascinated Britain with
lurid tales of drug use, lavish spending and
marital bullying. e Italian sisters alleged that
Lawson used cocaine, cannabis and prescription
pills daily for over a decade. --- Reuters
Nigella barred from US flight
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