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Bangladesh to end search for victims of building collapse

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's military is ending its search for bodies in the wreckage of an eight-story garment factory building that collapsed last month because no more are expected to be found, officials said Monday.

Also Monday, the government agreed to allow the country's garment workers to form trade unions without permission from factory owners as part of growing concessions for industry reform following the building collapse.

Soldiers and other workers have recovered 1,127 bodies from the April 24 collapse, with none found since Sunday night.

"The possibility of getting more bodies is thin," said Brig. Gen. Mohammad Siddiqul Alam Shikder. He said the army will now turn the site over to civilian officials.

A special prayer service will be held Tuesday to honor the dead, he said.

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building has focused global attention on hazardous conditions in Bangladesh's powerful garment industry.

The Cabinet decision to allow trade unions came a day after the government announced a plan to raise the minimum wage for garment workers, who are paid some of the lowest wages in the world to sew clothing bound for global retailers. Both moves are seen as a direct response to the collapse of the building housing five garment factories, the worst disaster in the history of the global garment industry.

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