Top news: The death toll from last month's building collapse in Bangladesh topped 900 Thursday, amid news that the country had been hit with a fresh industrial disaster. Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, a fire swept through a clothing factory in Dhaka's Mirpur industrial district, killing eight people. The fire, which was most likely caused by a short circuit, would almost certainly have claimed more lives except that it happened after normal business hours.
The latest accident comes after authorities forced 18 factories to shut down temporarily in order to comply with safety standards. (Six were apparently up and running again by Thursday.) The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of State, and Department of Labor, meanwhile, convened a conference call with 70 retailers and manufacturers that do business in Bangladesh to discuss coordinating efforts to improve working conditions. None of the companies said they planned to scale back production in the South Asian country.
The April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Dhaka was the world's worst industrial accident since the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India.
Benghazi: The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Wednesday to determine if the Obama administration responded appropriately to the Sept. 11 consular attack in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead. FP's John Hudson reports on six new things we learned from the hearing.
- U.S. senators on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would tighten sanctions on Iran, denying its government access to critical foreign exchange reserves.
- Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday that her ministry is drafting legislation to end gender segregation in public spaces, including buses.
- A court in Egypt charged five democracy activists with an arson attack on former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq's campaign headquarters.
- A Zambian court charged two men with engaging in homosexual acts, a crime that carries up to 14 years in prison.
- Members of the Nigerian Ombatse militia ambushed police officers as they attempted to arrest the group's leader, killing at least 23 and setting their bodies alight.
- South Sudanese rebels seized a military base Wednesday in the eastern town of Boma and claimed to have killed more than 50 soldiers.
- China dispatched hundreds of police officers to a southern section of Beijing on Thursday, following a rare protest by migrant workers.
- Gunmen in Pakistan's southern Punjab province abducted the son of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday as he attended an election rally.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that the United States could keep nine military bases in the country after the 2014 withdrawal deadline.
- Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday announced plans to expand access to credit for small businesses.
- Argentina's Senate on Wednesday passed a controversial judicial reform bill that critics worry could leave courts vulnerable to political influence.
- Tens of thousands of Chilean students have taken to the streets once again to demand free education.
- An Italian appeals court on Wednesday upheld a tax fraud conviction on former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and sentenced him to four years in prison.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday that he didn't think Britain should leave the EU, adding that it is "possible to change and reform this organization."
- Police in France, Switzerland, and Belgium detained 17 people on Wednesday in connection with the February heist of $50 million worth of diamonds at the Brussels airport.