Probe ordered after fire
The government has ordered an investigation into allegations that the sole emergency exit was locked at a garment factory where a fire killed seven female workers, an official said yesterday. The fire on Saturday at the Smart Export Garment factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory near the capital, raising questions about safety in the garment industry, which exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The gates of that factory were locked.
Protesters target leader
About 1,000 people took to the streets yesterday to protest against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s (梁振英) policy speech, which they said offered nothing new on tackling a housing crisis and poverty. Leung pledged, among other things, to increase housing supply in the densely populated territory and tackle poverty in his policy address earlier this month that was widely seen as an attempt to halt mass protests against his leadership. Protesters held up a colorful array of banners, some of which portrayed Leung as a vampire and Pinocchio. “Leung Chun-ying does not have the heart or the ability to solve the problems for the Hong Kong people,” said Icarus Wong, vice-convener of one of the protest organizers, Civil Human Rights Front. Protesters also called for universal suffrage in the former British colony, which returned to China in 1997.
Merkel talks of responsibility
The nation has “an everlasting responsibility” for the crimes committed by the Nazis, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, just days ahead of the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s takeover of power. “Naturally, we have an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of national-socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust,” Merkel said in a podcast on her Web site. Her remarks came as the world prepared to mark Holocaust Memorial Day yesterday, the date in 1945 when the Soviet army liberated Auschwitz. In another significant date, Wednesday will mark eight decades since Hitler was appointed chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933, by then president Paul von Hindenburg. “We must clearly say, generation after generation, and say it again: with courage, civil courage, each individual can help ensure that racism and anti-Semitism have no chance,” Merkel said. “We’re facing our history, we’re not hiding anything, we’re not repressing anything. We must confront this to make sure we are a good and trustworthy partner in the future, as we already are today, thankfully.”
Acne drug probe opens
The country’s health regulator ANSM has opened an inquiry into acne drug Diane-35, which is also used as a contraceptive, after four deaths linked to the drug in the past 25 years. ANSM said yesterday that Diane-35, produced by German drugmaker Bayer, is authorized in 135 countries and sold in more than 116. Last year about 325,000 women in the nation used the drug, ANSM said. It said the four deaths were due to thrombosis linked to the use of Diane-35. Three other deaths possibly connected to the drug, reported by the media, were linked to other health issues, the agency said. Diane-35, also sold as Dianette in some countries, reduces acne for women by regulating hormones, according to several medical Web sites.