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Italy’s Benetton to sign Bangladesh safety deal

Italian fashion house Benetton said on Tuesday it would sign an agreement to improve working conditions in Bangladeshi factories after a plant there collapsed killing more than 1,100 people.

Italy's Benetton to sign Bangladesh safety deal
A shirt with a Benetton label lies in the rubble three days after a Bangladeshi garment eight-storey building collapsed in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP

The promise by Benetton, which has around 6,500 outlets in 120 countries, came in the wake of similar pledges by other global clothing giants Inditex and H&M.

"We have taken the decision to sign the deal on building and fire safety proposed by global union federations IndustriALL and UNI," a Benetton spokesman told AFP.

Inditex, the Spanish firm that owns Zara and other major high-street brands, said on Monday the deal aimed "to enhance health and safety conditions in the textile industry in Bangladesh."

The five-year plan, first launched in 2012, includes appointing an independent chief inspector to "design and implement a fire safety inspection programme that is credible and effective."

Activists had set May 15 as a deadline for signing up to the accord.

The full list of signatories has yet to be revealed, but US-based PVH, owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, and Germany's Tchibo, were among the first to back it, according to anti-sweatshop network The Clean Clothes Campaign.

The announcements came as Bangladeshi troops wrapped up the search for survivors in the collapsed nine-storey building outside the capital that imploded on April 24th, killing 1,127.

Police have arrested 12 people over the tragedy, including the owner of the building and four factory owners who are accused of forcing staff to return to work a day after cracks emerged in the structure, prompting evacuation.

There are around 4,500 garment factories in Bangladesh, churning out products for Western fashion labels which sell the clothing at many times the cost price.

Hundreds of factories which form the hub of Bangladesh's garment industry are to close indefinitely after worker unrest sparked by the accident, the industry's main trade body in the country said Monday.

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ITALY

Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.


Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?

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