A factory collapse in Bangladesh last week killed more than 400 people, mostly garment workers. Hundreds more are still missing, making it one of the largest manufacturing disasters in history. It's just the latest horrific accident in the garment industry despite more than a decade of auditing aimed at improving working conditions.
In September 2012, a fire at the Ali Enterprises factory in Pakistan killed nearly 300 workers. Six weeks later, in November, a fire in the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh killed 112 people. Then, last week, there was the Rana Plaza collapse.
With all of the controversy over entitlement reform, there's one thing both sides can agree on: Social Security alone does not provide enough money for a comfortable retirement. For these workers, the Obama administration is proposing automatically enrolling workers in IRAs through their employers.
California adopted a version of this last year. Democratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon sponsored the bill to automatically enroll workers in an individual retirement account. The inspiration, he says, was his Aunt Francisca, who's 74.
Look at photographs from the Bangladesh garment factory collapse, and you can see clothing in the rubble destined for a store called Joe Fresh, one of the many retailers using supercheap fashions made overseas to keep shoppers buying often.
But in the aftermath of the tragedy, would customers pay more if they knew the clothes were made by workers treated fairly and safely?
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who sparked plenty of discussion about work-life balance when she prohibited telecommuting this past winter, took a step in the opposite direction, Tuesday: Mayer expanded Yahoo's parental leave policy.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 3:04 pm
For Jason Collins, coming out just might prove a winning career strategy.
Before this week, the NBA center seemed like just another second-tier professional athlete, slouching toward retirement while still in his 30s. But all that changed overnight when Collins acknowledged he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine published Monday.
The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.
We've known about the gap in wealth between white Americans and black and Latino Americans for some time. Just last year, the Census revealed that whites had about 22 times the wealth of African-Americans and 15 times the wealth of Latinos — and those numbers only got worse over the last five years during the Great Recession.
Fast times on the Champs-Elysees: People walk past a McDonald's on one of Paris' most storied avenues. But it's not just McD's that has caught French interest: Fast food now accounts for the majority of restaurant spending in the country.
When it comes to culinary matters, France, in many minds, is synonymous with fine dining. So it might surprise you that, for the first time, sales at fast food chains have overtaken those at traditional restaurants in the country that gave us the word gastronomie.
Los Angeles has notoriously awful traffic. I know. I live here, and it seems to have gotten worse, as the city tries to fix it with a massive transportation development project aimed at getting commuters to choose the train over jammed freeways.
As Alex Schmidt reports that a change on that level needs to involve more than just laying down tracks.
The billionaire Richard Branson is happy this morning. His Virgin Galactic spacecraft successfully completed its first rocket-powered test flight.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Branson's high flying endeavor has been plagued with delays and technical problems, but on Monday, after an early morning flight from the California desert, the often flamboyant billionaire said history was being made.
OK. So that's a vision of L.A.'s future. Our last word in business is a vision for clothes of the future.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
In particular, it's a dress shirt for those who are tired of the effort to look dressy. The American company Wool and Prince says it has developed a wool shirt so odor resistant you could wear it for 100 days in a row without washing it.
Paul Applewhite of Applewhite Aero isn't allowed to fly this 3-pound Styrofoam plane. That's because he has added circuitry to make it autonomous — it can find its way to specified coordinates — which means it's an unmanned aerial vehicle requiring a special testing permit.
Americans are suspicious of drones. Reports of the unmanned aerial vehicles' use in war zones have raised concerns about what they might do here at home. For instance, in Seattle earlier this year, a public outcry forced the police department to abandon plans for eye-in-the-sky UAV helicopters.
Smoking has its risks, but in California higher prices for health insurance probably won't be among them.
The federal health law allows states to charge smokers up to 50 percent more for a health plan, but a bill moving forward in the California Legislature would prevent that from happening.
The Affordable Care Act is supposed to remove discrimination in the pricing of health insurance for things like gender and medical condition. Critics say a tobacco surcharge creates a new category of discrimination against smokers.