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Building Collapse in Bangladesh
Last week’s collapse of a garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh left over 370 dead with scores of people still missing. The tragedy has renewed calls for international fair labor standards in the garment industry and has highlighted the lack of government oversight over factories in Bangladesh. We’ll speak with Nusrat Chowdhury, assistant professor of anthropology at Amherst College, about the relationship between corruption and development, and broader context of activism and state politics in Bangladesh.
Nusrat Chowdhury is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Amherst College.
New York Street Vendors Win Victory from City
New York City’s 10,000 street vendors play an important and vibrant role in the city's cultural and gastronomic landscape, selling food, artwork and other merchandise. Yet they are often made invisible in the struggle for public space. Subjected to numerous rules and regulations, many of these low-income and immigrant workers face arrest by the NYPD and are hit with arbitrary and unfair tickets for minor violations that threaten their livelihood. Lei Bai and Archana Dittakavi from the Street Vendor Project talk about how the city makes conditions difficult for street workers, as well as their recent success getting City Hall to pass a bill to lower fines.
Lei Bai was born near Bejing, China. When she was 18 years old, she moved to Japan, where she studied business in Tokyo while living there for 14 years. She immigrated to the U.S. in 2003. Shortly after arriving in New York, a friend taught her how to take and sell photographs on the streets of Times Square, which she has been doing for the last ten years. She has served on the Street Vendor Project leadership board the past four years. She lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Archana Dittakavi is a staff attorney at Street Vendor Project.
Andrew Lam’s Birds of Paradise Lost
A widow whose husband’s killer becomes a customer in her restaurant, a man who discovers he can dial his old house in Vietnam simply by picking up the phone, and a father raising his young daughter alone in a California housing project after his wife dies on the boat crossing. The characters in Andrew Lam’s new book of short stories, Birds of Paradise Lost (Red Hen Press), may have left Vietnam behind, but they are unable to escape the trauma that accompanied their departure. APF’s Leyla Mei sat down with the author to talk about nostalgia and memory, hatred and forgiveness, and sadness and loss.
Andrew Lam is a journalist and writer. He is an editor and cofounder of New American Media and blogs regularly at Huffington Post. His book Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora won the 2006 PEN Open Book Award.
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