DHAKA, Bangladesh

Government probes whether factory’s sole exit was locked

Bangladesh’s government is investigating allegations that the sole emergency exit was locked at a garment factory where a fire killed seven women.

The fire Saturday at the Smart Export Garment Ltd. factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory, raising questions about safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry, which exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The gates of that factory were locked.

Government official Jahangir Kabir Nanak said Sunday an investigation has been ordered into the cause of Saturday’s fire and allegations that the emergency exit was locked.

Altaf Hossain, father of a garment worker killed in the latest fire, has filed a police case against three directors of the factory, accusing them of negligence involving the fire, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Sub-inspector Shamsul Hoque said. He said police had begun an investigation.

Doctors said most of the victims died from asphyxiation.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Weekend attacks leave 21 police officers dead

Two police officers, including a district commander, died in a bombing Sunday near Afghanistan’s border with Iran, part of a rash of attacks that killed at least 21 officers in 24 hours, Afghan officials said.

The officers were patrolling in the Qala-e-Kah district of Farah province around 8 a.m. local time when their vehicle struck a mine, said Aqqa Mohammad Kemtoz, the provincial police chief.

It was the latest in a series of bombings targeting the Afghan security forces, which have been assuming increasing responsibility for safeguarding the country ahead of the departure of most foreign troops next year.

Late Saturday, an explosive device planted in a road on the outskirts of Kandahar, the southern city that the Taliban regard as their spiritual home, killed eight police officers and three detainees, officials said.

Earlier Saturday, 10 police officers were killed in a suicide bombing in the northern city of Kunduz.

Another officer died when a bicycle bomb exploded near a police checkpoint in the eastern city of Ghazni.


Barge with 80,000 gallons of oil strikes bridge, leaks

A barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil hit a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Miss., on Sunday, spilling light crude into the Mississippi River and closing the waterway for eight miles in each direction, the Coast Guard said. A second barge was damaged.

Investigators did not know how much had spilled, but an oily sheen was reported as far as three miles downriver of Vicksburg after the 1:12 a.m. incident, said Lt. Ryan Gomez of the Coast Guard’s office in Memphis, Tenn.

Authorities were still trying to determine the source of the leak, but it appeared to be coming from one or two tanks located at the stern of the first barge, Gomez said.

He said there was no indication that any oil was leaking from the second vessel, and said it was still unclear whether the second barge also hit the bridge or was damaged through a collision with the first.

“Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened,” he said.

United States Environmental Services, a response-and-remediation company, was working to contain the oil with booms before collecting it and transferring it to one of the barge’s undamaged tanks, then ultimately to a separate barge, Gomez said.

He could not say how long the river would remain closed in the area.