Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2012 04:04 PM
In a fiery furnace of déjà vu, a garment-factory fire in Bangladesh on Saturday killed 112 people trapped inside the building, or jumping to their deaths in buildings where safety is ignored in a retail rush for products to export.
It was just over a century ago — March 25, 1911 — when the now infamous fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on New York's Washington Square left 146 workers dead because the owner had blocked exits and stairwells to keep employees from leaving or taking a break. The tragedy led to reforms and unionization for U.S. garment workers, but here we are a century later, and it's happening again in Bangladesh.
About this latest firetrap, which has sparked mass protests in Bangladesh, AP writes: “The fire alarm: Waved off by managers. An exit door: Locked. The fire extinguishers: Not working and apparently 'meant just to impress' inspectors and customers. 'Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower,' said Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, fire department operations director.
The factory is owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd., a subsidiary of the Tuba Group, and has produced garments for Walmart, Carrefour, C&A and IKEA, since opening in 2009 and employing about 1,700 people. Walmart's connection to the factory is still "unclear," as Salon notes. A 2011 Walmart ethical sourcing audit gave Tuba Group a yellow rating and requested that it address unacceptable conditions at its factories.
Update: Walmart stated on Monday that the factory in question was indeed producing pieces for the retailer — but without its knowledge, due to a subcontractor arrangement. "Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier," America's biggest retailer said in a statement. "The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh."Continue reading...
no kidding around
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 21, 2012 09:19 AM
In 1985, Elmo pushed aside Grover, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and even Ernie and Bert to make his way to the front of the pack on Sesame Street. And he’s been leading the way ever since, pulling in viewers for the show and big bucks for anybody who finds a way to sell an Elmo-related product.
But now the man who brought Elmo to life, Kevin Clash, will no longer be pulling the puppet onto his arm, thanks to allegations that Clash had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year-old and possibly other young men. This came on top of allegations from another young man that have since been recanted. Whether it is true or not, damage has been done to the Elmo brand and Sesame wanted to control that as quickly as possible. Clash resigned from the show Tuesday and in what Children’s Television Workshop called “a sad day for Sesame Street.”
Elmo products, of course, have been a big staple of holiday wish lists for children for close to 30 years now and this season is no different. This year’s include the $39.99 LOL Elmo, which is a direct descendant of the Tickle Me Elmo doll that set sales records years ago, and Let’s Rock! Elmo, which sings and comes with a drum set and microphone. Hasbro, which is the main toy licensee for Sesame Street, put out a statement Tuesday that expressed confidence that Elmo will still be an important part of the show for years to come, the New York Times reports.
“People are making the separation that this is about Kevin Clash, this is not about Elmo,” said Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of Time to Play magazine, according to the Times. “The more people make the separation, the less effect on sales.” Silver says Sesame Street-related toys bring in about $75 million annually and Elmo accounts for 50 to 75 percent of that.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 12, 2012 05:05 PM
You know things are bad when the BBC is covering itself under the banner, "Crisis at the BBC." The British Broadcasting Corp. has fallen from its venerable pedestal, with its latest embarrassment triggering the resignation of senior executives, who are taking the fall for the corporation's newsgathering operation failing to maintain the ethical and journalistic standards at the heart of its brand promise.
BBC director-general George Entwistle resigned on Saturday, after only 55 days in the role, holding himself responsible for "unacceptable journalistic standards" on the BBC's flagship current-affairs program, Newsnight, after it failed to verify an accusation it aired against Lord McAlpine, a former Conservative Party treasurer, of child sex abuse in Wales. The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, have also stepped down.
No wonder Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, is calling the network a "ghastly mess."Continue reading...
no kidding around
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 12, 2012 03:19 PM
Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who not only performs as Elmo on Sesame Street but created the character's persona and inimitable voice, is taking a leave of absence in the wake of allegations he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy. The accuser, now 23, says the relationship happened seven years ago when Clash was 45; Clash maintains that their relationship was consensual and occurred when his accuser was the legal age of consent.
UPDATE: Clash's accuser today recanted, as reported by the New York Times, which ran this quote from Clash: "I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further." The rest of our original post:
Clash issued a statement on Monday that was cited by CNN: "I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was. I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation."
The unidentified accuser is being represented by a legal firm retained by one of the victims in former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's criminal trial. The accusation is an unfortunate turn of events, one that Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children's Television Workshop) no doubt hopes won't tarnish its standing as one of the world's leading creators of children's entertainment, and a brand that relies on the trust of parents, educators and legislators, as the recent U.S. presidential election's roping-in of Big Bird by Mitt Romney as the symbol of PBS makes clear.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 2, 2012 09:28 AM
Emily Rahimi has emerged as a heroine in Superstorm Sandy’s wake. As social media manager for the New York Fire Department's Twitter account, she tweeted messages of comfort in response to New Yorker’s in peril from Monday night as the storm approached until 6 p.m. Tuesday.
"You could see the panic and fear in the words they were typing," said Rahimi to Firehouse News. "People were so scared they were reaching out to anyone they thought might listen. It really struck a chord with me. I tried to help them as best as I could."
As callers jammed 911 (despite Mayor Bloomberg’s constant plea to use 311 for non-life threatening issues), Rahimi responded to every tweet, “took their information and called our dispatchers myself to make sure they sent an emergency crew."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 10, 2012 03:17 PM
What is it about the living legends of sports? These larger-than-life heroes -- people like Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong — should be symbols of lasting integrity, yet they often seem to self-destruct, shocking their fans and shaming their sport.
Still, these personalities' brands somehow weather the storm and they move on. Woods, publicly debased for his marital infidelities in late 2009, proved the point when he finally won a tournament late last year, the first since his 2009 Australian Masters victory. The situation with Lance Armstrong, however, plays by a different set of rules. The world's greatest cyclist was disgraced by doping charges that resulted in his being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling. In August, Armstrong decided not to fight the charges, a move that many interpreted as admitting guilt without saying it.
Now, the boom is officially being lowered on Armstrong by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The organization announced on October 10 that it is releasing its "Reasoned Decision" in the Lance Armstrong case (click here for a PDF). The USADA called it "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 24, 2012 11:31 AM
At least five million new iPhone 5 owners were busy checking out their new devices over the weekend, and factories have been churning them out as quickly as they can make them to meet the global demand.
In the midst of all the good news, though, Apple was forced to halt production for three days. A "massive brawl" Sunday night at Foxconn's Taiyuan factory in northern China that produces parts for the iPhone 5 reportedly involved around 2,000 people and took 5,000 police officers to contain, although details are still unclear. The tensions reportedly stemmed from a personal dispute that flared up, the BBC is reporting. M.I.C. Gadget uploaded two videos from the scene.Continue reading...
wisdom of the crowd
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 19, 2012 01:16 PM
Wikipedia's most valuable brand asset is trust. For the information portal, which turned 10 last year, to maintain its credibility, and its value, it must cultivate trust with its users, and create trust that self-interested parties are not influencing its product, i.e., its content.
So new questions about Wikipedia editors taking money to change content could combust into the greatest threat the brand has seen to date, bigger than waning interest and wooing academia or even rivals vying for its perch. One Wikipedia watcher suggests scandals are already taking a toll on Wikipedia's bottom line.Continue reading...