SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — When the cracks in the building appeared early Tuesday afternoon, a stocky man in his early 30s, a feared political operative who a neighbor says dropped out of school in seventh grade, quickly arrived at the scene in this crowded industrial suburb of the capital.
By then, fear had spread through the 3,200 people who worked in the five clothing factories that jammed the upper floors of Rana Plaza, and the handful of shops on the lower ones. Most of the workers had gathered in the street out front. Few wanted to go back in. Inspectors said the eight-story building should be closed until it could be inspected.
But Mohammed Sohel Rana scoffed.
"The building has minor damages," Rana, the building's owner, told gathering reporters. "There is nothing serious."
The next morning, many of the building's shops and a first-floor bank remained closed. But the factories'