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Sneaker factory ceiling collapses, killing 2

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- The ceiling of a Cambodian factory that makes Asics sneakers collapsed on workers early Thursday, killing two people and injuring seven, in the latest accident spotlighting the often lethal safety conditions faced by those toiling in the global garment industry.

About 50 workers were inside a workroom of the factory south of Phnom Penh when the ceiling caved in, police officer Khem Pannara said. He said heavy iron equipment stored on a mezzanine above them appeared to have caused the collapse.

Two bodies were pulled from the wreckage and seven people were injured, he said. Rescuers picked through rubble for several hours and after clearing the site said that nobody else was trapped inside.

The accident comes just a little more than three weeks after a building housing five garment factories in Bangladesh crashed down on thousands of workers, killing 1,127 people. That disaster is the deadliest in the history of the global garment business and has led to calls for Western retailers to do more to ensure the safety of those who make their products.

"This shows that the problem is not only isolated to Bangladesh, and that companies [elsewhere] are trying to drive prices down by taking shortcuts on workers' safety," said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch.

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