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BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

The business news enterprise package planned through May 6. For comments or questions, call Joseph Pisani at 212-621-1975. For questions about photos, call ext. 1900. For questions about graphics, call ext. 7636. Repeats of stories are available from or the Service Desk, 1-800-838-4616.



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. â¿¿ Many Americans, having seen home prices rebound, are finally ready to buy. Yet they're running into an obstacle that's keeping the national housing recovery in check: There aren't enough homes for sale. The housing shortage in Grand Rapids, Mich., is fairly typical of the country. Like many other places, Grand Rapids never experienced the oversupply or the price collapse that marked the recent boom and bust. Yet it, too, was affected. Prices fell. Homeowners lost equity. And now, many remain unable or unwilling to sell just as ordinary Americans want to buy again. By Business Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

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NEW YORKâ¿¿ You can recycle plastic, grow your own food and drive a fuel-efficient car, but being socially responsible isn't so easy when it comes to the clothes on your back. Last week's deadly building collapse in Bangladesh that killed at least 383 clothing factory workers not only shone a spotlight on the fact that people in poor countries often risk their lives working in unsafe factories to make the cheap tees that Westerners covet. The disaster also highlights something just as troubling to socially-conscious shoppers: There's very little you can do to ensure that your clothes come from factories with safe working conditions. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

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SAVAR, Bangladesh â¿¿ Merina was tired. It had been three days since the garment factory collapsed around her, three days since she'd moved more than a few inches. In that time she had had nothing to eat and just a few sips of water. The cries for help, so loud in those first few hours, had long since subsided. Describing her ordeal from a hospital bed, Merina's tale was as much a look at the dreams that bring Bangladeshis to work in garment factories as at the terror when one building tumbled down. By Gillian Wong, Chris Blake and Tim Sullivan.

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