WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Bangladesh: Cheap Clothes, Deadly Factories

The South Asian nation of Bangladesh has risen rapidly within the global garment industry to become the world's second largest exporter of clothing. European and American companies have been attracted by some of the lowest wages in Asia. But two recent deadly accidents in Bangladeshi factories -- including a building collapse that killed more than 300 people -- have raised questions about the true cost of cheap clothes. Kojo explores the global clothing economy.

Top 10 U.S. Textile Apparel Imports By Country (In Billions)

Country 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012
China 3.6 4.8 6.5 22.4 38.5 40.7 40.6
Vietnam 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.9 6.3 7.2 7.7
India 0.8 1.6 2.7 4.6 5.4 5.9 5.9
Indonesia 0.7 1.3 2.4 3.1 4.7 5.3 5.2
Mexico 0.7 3.0 9.7 7.3 4.5 4.8 4.6
Bangladesh 0.4 1.1 2.2 2.5 4.1 4.7 4.6
Pakistan 0.4 1.0 1.8 2.9 3.1 3.4 3.0
Honduras 0.1 0.9 2.3 2.6 2.4 2.6 2.6
Cambodia 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.7 2.2 2.6 2.6
El Salvador 0.1 0.6 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.9
Italy 1.0 1.5 2.1 2.1 1.4 1.6 1.7
Canada 0.5 1.7 3.4 2.8 1.4 1.5 1.4
Thailand 0.6 1.4 2.5 2.1 1.5 1.4 1.3
Philippines 1.1 1.7 2.3 1.9 1.1 1.3 1.2
South Korea 2.7 2.3 3.1 1.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
Taiwan 3.0 2.8 2.8 1.6 0.9 0.9 0.9
Dominican Republic 0.7 1.8 2.5 1.9 0.6 0.7 0.7
Hong Kong 3.8 4.4 4.7 3.6 0.2 0.2 0.2

(Credit: Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce)

NPR

In An Alternate 19th Century London, Sins Are Marked With 'Smoke'

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Dan Vyleta about his novel, Smoke. It's set in an alternate 19th century London, where the morally corrupt are marked by a smoke that pours from their bodies.
WAMU 88.5

D.C.'s Public Schools Select New Lunch Providers

D.C. Public Schools is abandoning longtime school food provider Chartwells in the wake of allegations of poor food quality and fraud and moving forward with new vendors for 2016. But, questions remain about the selection process and future oversight.

WAMU 88.5

Creating A D.C. State Constitution

We explore the historic process of crafting a constitution for D.C. statehood nearly three decades after the last attempt, and find out how drafters are preparing for the June constitutional convention.

NPR

Online Eye Exam Site Makes Waves In Eye Care Industry

Need a vision test? Now you can do it online with a computer and a smartphone. The site has attracted a lot of attention in the tech world, but eye care professionals have concerns.

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