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tv   Fault Lines  Al Jazeera  December 12, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm EST

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>> we can pass those those savings on. >> welcome hugh jackman. >> having low prices drives traffic to our shores. >> please welcome john legend. >> which allow us to lower expenses and lower prices again.
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>> please welcome tom cruise. >> all around the globe, walmart is taking the lead and making a difference. >> the american dream has become a global concept. i think it's our country's best export. >> 2012 was a good year for walmart. but it was a bad year
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>> this isn't a new channel, this is a watershed moment in media for america. >> this entire region is utterly devastated. >> people our here are struggling. >> the fire jumped the highway we took earlier. >> your average viewer want's to actually understand how the health care law is going to help them or hurt them. >> they know they can get extremist bickering somewhere
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else. >> people say that we're revolutionary. our revolution is just going back to doing the best in journalism. >> this is the place to go watch high quality journalism, period. he wanted to cut the growth in cost of living adjustments and others that felt that was the wrong way to go to start to cut entitlements or at least slow the growth of entitlements. both of them came to a neutral, compromised ground. this is a compromise of the sort that people have been asking for for quite some time. the bottom line here, those conservative objections are getting some traction, but the betting is now this evening that this is going to pass the house of representatives on thursday and go to the senate the next week and end up on the president's desk, joie. >> mike, thanks for being with us. we'll follow up. ahead. the international space station marks 15 years. are we getting enough bang for our buck, or is it just taking up space? get it?
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>> i'm phil torres coming up this week on techknow... for some soldiers the war never ends. watch as a battle once fought in a warzone, comes to life on a video screen. >> he was doused in deisel fuel and he was just in a lot of pain. >> can re-living trauma lead to a cure for ptsd? technow on al jazeera america >> after the tazreen fire, walmart announced that it had dropped success apparel as a supplier. we tried to speak to success' representative in bangladesh, but we found the company had closed down its office here.
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we also tried to interview the company's ceo, gila goodman, in new york but she refused to speak with us. kevin taxin was success' president at the time of the fire. he also refused to speak to us on camera. he now heads up another supplier called americo group. one of its walmart. >> if walmart were really so upset about what success apparel did, one assumes they would not be keen to continue to do business with a leading executive from success apparel. >> on the phone, kevin told us that neither success nor its agent in bangladesh, true colors, knew about the subcontract to tazreen. but we managed to track down true colors' last remaining employee in dhaka. >> if there's any subcontracting, would you be aware of that? >> yeah. >> and then what do you do with that information? do you pass it up? >> yeah. we pass it up to our importer. >> so can you read this email
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for me and tell me who it's from? >> ok, it's saying hi kanta, i heard the shocking news about the fire last evening. it's nov 26. >> and what's the subject line of the email? >> fire at subcon. >> subcon is industry-speak for subcontractor. that email was sent by a manager at true colors shortly after the fire. so despite success' denials, their own agent may have been aware of the sub-contract to tazreen. (vo) al jazeera america we understand that every news story begins and ends with people. >> the efforts are focused on rescuing stranded residents.
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(vo) we pursue that story beyond the headline, past the spokesperson, to the streets. >> thousands of riot police deployed across the capitol. (vo) we put all of our global resources behind every story. >> it is a scene of utter devastation. (vo) and follow it no matter where it leads, all the way to you. al jazeera america. take a new look at news. >> and now a techknow minute...ñ
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we are on the trail investigating how walmart's supply chain works here in bangladesh. does the company know when its orders are being subcontracted? is the way they source their clothing- the system itself -flawed? the garment industry is notoriously secretive, so we needed an insider. we're on our way to meet an auditor. he was hired by wal-mart to assess standards at some of its factories. it's very rare for auditors to speak on the record and he doesn't want to speak to us on camera. so we recorded the conversation secretly in bangladesh, government regulation of garment factories is lax, and international companies are not legally required to ensure working conditions are safe. some companies hire auditors to inspect the factories. >> the purchasing system of walmart is very complex. >> how so? >> because they rely on their agents. they don't source directly from the factories.
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that is the problem, in my opinion. because if you rely on agents, that agent sends the order to sub-agent. that sub-agent sends the order to another agent so it changes 3, 4 times. >> what do you think about their system? >> bad. >> why do you think that's bad? what's wrong with using agents? >> using agents means you don't know your entire supply chain, from where your products are coming in. you don't have any idea. that's the danger. so you have very little idea after one or two agents, you are lost in the supply chain. >> from what you're saying it sounds like walmart's supply chain is so out of control that there could be more tazreens? >> walmart has no idea from where their goods are coming from. this is the bad and worse sentence i can say. walmart has no idea where their goods are coming from. >> well, if walmart doesn't know where its goods are being produced, it's because they choose not to know. this is a
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company whose success is built first and foremost on an extraordinary level of control they exert over production in their global supply chain. >>walmart refused to give us any information about its supply chain. but a spokesperson told us walmart relies on its suppliers to implement the company's standards. there's a reason bangladesh is so popular with companies, especially those that produce inexpensive clothes that need to be made quickly. >> it's the rock-bottom, cheapest place in the world to make apparel. it's cheap because it has the lowest minimum wage for apparel workers in any country in the world at 18 cents an hour >> that's about 38 dollars a month. but it goes both ways - garments are just as important to bangladesh, accounting for 80 percent of its exports and giving jobs to 4
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million people, mostly poor women. that gives the industry enormous leverage inside the country >> so what they do - the retailers and buyers come here to look for the cheapest supplier. so here there is a buyer's market. everybody share -- everybody takes a share of the cake so formally we have 5 to 6 layers, but here are many hands with these layers who are taking all this money. >> it's not just the multi-nationals. in bangladesh everyone wants a shot at making it in the ga rment industry. i'm headed to a small factory that does finishing of garments. they're supposed to be finishing garments for walmart. i'm posing as a buyer to get in there.
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for those who can't open large factories, there's always business in sub-contracting, even if it means putting the finishing touches on garments before they're shipped out. >> do you make anything that ends up in walmart? >> yes >> you've made products that go to walmart? >> were you an authorized walmart subcontractor? >> so is this very common? that a lot of factories subcontract for big labels like walmart without authorization? >> sabina? you're 14? so you started working when you were 13
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years old? >> so what's the average age of your workers? >> but we just spoke to a girl who said she's 14. >> walmart told us they don't tolerate child labor in their supply chain - and they're investigating whether this finishing center did any work on walmart products. once we found one finishing house, it wasn't hard to find others. >> what are you making? >> how many buttons do you put on everyday? >> how old are you? >> how long have you been working here? >> shewli, how old are you? >> shewli, do you go to school? >> how much money do you make here, shewli?
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>> 2,500 take is just 32 dollars a month. >> shewli, you're putting the elastic band into old navy pants? >> it says "old navy" >> old navy >> old navy is owned by gap inc, one of the largest clothing companies in the world. this is where a lot of america's clothes come from - and it's a reality many companies don't want us to see. this is one of very many subcontracting factories at the bottom of the supply chain in bangladesh. it seems completely unregulated, completely unauthorized. // there's no fire extinguisher, no fire exit. it's just a shack in someone's backyard. >> this morning we went to a finishing house and they had
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about 20 workers there. more than half of them were under 14.there were girls as young as twelve making clothes for gap. >> really? in a finishing section that you went? oh, my gosh. oh, my gosh. i mean for me, i just can't believe. so this is the time that gap should step forward to make this correct. oh, my gosh. so see how critical is the supply chain is. how critical it is. >> gap declined to give us an on-camera interview. they did give us a statement, though, saying the products we found were quote "either counterfeit or improperly acquired." but through the barcodes on the tags we found at the finishing house. we were able to match the garments to ones at old navy
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stores in the u.s. gap added that it "strictly prohibits any vendor from employing underage workers" >> there is a fairy tale that major brands and retailers like gap and walmart tell to public. in this fairy tale gap and walmart are companies that are socially responsible and deeply committed to protecting the rights of workers and making every effort to inspect their factories and ensure that everything is on the up and up. that fairy tale has very little to do with the reality of the supply chain. for walmart, for gap, worker rights issues are not a moral issue. they're an issue of reputational risk and walmart and gap understand that their image in the eyes of the public has a very large impact on the degree to which they can get people to come to their stores and buy their goods. and so to the extent that they can be convinced that their image will be damaged if they don't do the
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right thing for workers, than they will make change. >> months after the tazreen fire, the memories of that disaster - and the ones that followed - are still fresh in people's minds. kalpona akter, a worker's rights activist, rushed to the scene not long after the fire began. >> it was horrific. for my experience, i think, i was crying and still you could feel the heat inside and my skin was burning. it took walmart two days to acknowledge its connection to tazreen... after photographs emerged showing its labels in the wreckage. the walmart clothes wasn't burned to ash, some others maybe, but not them. >> kalpona, like the women who survived the fire, is still haunted by what she saw that day. it's a feeling that when you are on the inside of the building you can feel that how these workers fought to remove these
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window bars. my feeling was like nothing could be worse than this, nothing can be worse than this. like seeing these people burnt to ash and their family crying in front of you and they cannot find, identify their bodies, whether it's their beloved or not. nobody thinks about these human faces who are making clothes for them and dying in these factories every day. nobody is talking about their compensation, nobody talking about their wages that they are getting. even they don't even consider that they're human. they have names, they have a voice. they wanted to speak out. they have right to have a safe working place.
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[the house is voting right now on that budget deal, they are voting as you can see the votes being counted. u.n. report on chemical warfare from syria. proving to be inconclusive. and talking on cell phones in flight turning into a political football today. as dualing agencies weigh in. that compromised budget plan facing its first major test today. we want to take you live now to


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