While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 26 edition

Nepal quake: International aid groups rush to reach victims

Countries and international aid groups rushed to respond Saturday to a massive earthquake in Nepal that claimed more than 1,000 lives as aftershocks and severed communications hampered rescue efforts.

The United States and the European Union were among those to pledge assistance to the government of Nepal, as messages of support poured in from world leaders including China’s Xi Jinping, France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

“Roads have been damaged or blocked by landslides and communication lines are down preventing us from reaching local Red Cross branches to get accurate information,” said Jagan Chapagain, Asia/Pacific director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in a statement.

“We anticipate that there will be considerable destruction and loss of life.”

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Up to 150,000 Bangladesh workers lost jobs after Rana Plaza safety overhaul

Some 220 garment factories have shut down in Bangladesh with the loss of up to 150,000 jobs after the collapse of Rana Plaza shone a light on unsafe working conditions in the ready-to-wear industry, triggering a wave of inspections, according to a report on Saturday.

More than 1,100 workers were killed when the building collapsed in 2013, creating urgent demands for global retailers to do more to ensure the safety of their workers in Bangladesh, the world's second biggest garment exporter after China.

Since then, the US$24 billion (S$32 billion) industry has been in the throes of a massive safety overhaul, with more than 2,000 of 3,500 exporting factories inspected by the government or as a result of retailer-led initiatives.

German-based NGO Transparency International Bangladesh said many factories had closed down because they failed to meet the stricter safety measures and better terms for their workers, or due to a fall in orders.

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Protesters hope for lasting reprieve for Frenchman facing execution

Some 200 people who gathered in Paris on Saturday to protest Indonesia's planned execution of foreign drug convicts said they hoped for a lasting reprieve for a Frenchman granted a temporary stay.

Indonesia earlier said it had notified eight foreigners they would be executed but that France's Serge Atlaoui would not go before a firing squad with the group as he still has an outstanding appeal.

Among the crowd were members of Amnesty International, rights groups and opponents of the death penalty as well as Indonesian-born French singer Anggun (above).

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Football: Neymar, Messi guide 10-man Barca to crucial win

Neymar and Lionel Messi were on target as Barcelona produced a sensational first-half performance to take a huge step towards the La Liga title with a 2-0 win at local rivals Espanyol on Saturday.

The visitors dominated from the off and two goals in eight minutes sealed the win as Neymar and Messi rounded off excellent team moves.

Barca were reduced to 10 men early in the second period as Jordi Alba was given his marching orders for taking his protestations towards referee Mateu Lahoz too far, but Luis Enrique's men held on comfortably and could have even added to their lead had Neymar not blazed a glorious chance over 25 minutes from time.

Victory takes Barca four points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table with Los Blancos not in action until Sunday when they travel to Celta Vigo.

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Coyote captured outside lower Manhattan cafe

Police captured a young, female coyote outside a cafe in a residential area of lower Manhattan on Saturday, the latest in a series of coyote sightings in New York City, where an increasing number of the predators are making their home.

An emergency operator fielded a 911 call early Saturday morning reporting a coyote sighting at North Cove Marina near Battery Park City, said Detective Annette Markowski, spokeswoman for the New York Police Department.

Armed with a tranquiliser gun, officers spent an hour trying to corner the animal near a cafe with an outdoor seating area.

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