Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bad Times in Perm

By now you've probably heard about the terrible night club fire in the Russian city of Perm that has killed over 100 people so far (dozens more are reported to be in critical condition so sadly that total is likely to rise). While the initial fear was the Perm club disaster was another act of terrorism, the blame is now falling on lax fire code enforcement and careless owners. The managers of the Lame Horse nightclub had apparently been cited twice by city officials for violations of the fire code in the recent past and using fireworks inside a club like theirs was another violation. The Lame Horse's owners have all since been arrested and President Dmitry Medvedev is promising they will face the "maximum punishment."

Yesterday's New York Times piece on the disaster though makes note of the fact that it's been a hard couple of years for the Ural mountain city. Last year an Aeroflot plane crashed just outside the city, killing 88; in October, a pedestrian's near escape from an out-of-control bus became one of the top viral videos on the Internet; and last month there was the story of the homeless men outside of Perm who, allegedly, killed and ate one of their compatriots, and then sold the left-overs to a kabob shop (think about that next time you visit a street-food cart).

It's enough to make you hope that Perm has a much better 2010.
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