Police interrogate building’s owner
A Bangladesh court on Monday gave police 15 days to interrogate the owner of a building that collapsed last week, killing at least 382 people, as rescuers used heavy machinery to cut through the destroyed structure after giving up hopes of finding any more survivors.
Mohammed Sohel Rana, who was arrested Sunday as he tried to flee to India, will be held for questioning on charges of negligence, illegal construction and forcing workers to work. His father, Abdul Khaleque, also was arrested on suspicion of aiding Rana to force people to work in a dangerous building.
The illegally constructed, eight-story Rana Plaza collapsed in a heap Wednesday morning as thousands of people worked inside in five garment factories. About 2,500 survivors have been accounted for.
Rana was brought to the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in a bullet-proof vest and led away to an unknown detention place after the magistrate granted a police request to hold him longer before filing formal charges. The crimes he is accused of carry a maximum punishment of seven years. More charges could be added later.
S&P 500 reaches new closing high
Technology companies led the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to an all-time closing high Monday.
The stock market has recovered all the ground it lost over the previous two weeks, when worries over slower economic growth, falling commodity prices and disappointing quarterly earnings battered financial markets.
The S&P 500 index rose 11.37 points to close at 1,593.61. The 0.7 percent increase nudged the index above its previous closing high of 1,593.36, reached April 11.
A pair of better economic reports gave investors some encouragement. Wages and spending rose in the U.S. last month, and pending home sales hit their highest level in three years.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 106.20 points to 14,818.75, up 0.7 percent. Microsoft and IBM were among the Dow’s best performers, rising more than 2 percent each.
Chrysler profit falls 65 percent
Three Chrysler factories were slow to switch from old models to new ones, and that helped dramatically reduce the company’s first-quarter profit.
The Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker said Monday that its net profit fell 65 percent from January through March, mainly because production didn’t keep pace with sales.
Chrysler freshened up the Jeep Grand Cherokee large SUV and its Ram heavy-duty truck for the new model year and is replacing the Liberty midsize SUV with the all-new Jeep Cherokee. But the plants that make those vehicles were slow to crank out the new models.
Chrysler’s profit dropped from $473 million a year ago to $166 million. Revenue dropped 6 percent to $15.4 billion. Total inventory fell to 419,000 last quarter, enough to supply dealers for 66 days of sales, down from 73 at the end of last year.