Plus, Tymoshenko may be treated outside prison and Kosovo’s anti-corruption chief is arrested.by Ky Krauthamer, Ioana Caloianu, Joshua Boissevain, and Stephen Underwood 3 April 2012
A fire that swept through a Moscow warehouse during the night of 3 April killed at least 17 people, according to RIA Novosti. The city's emergency office said the victims were migrant workers from former Soviet states, while unconfirmed sources said all were from Tajikistan. The fire is believed to have started around 4:50 a.m. in a warehouse at the Kachalovsky market from a space heater left on during the night to ward off freezing temperatures.
The workers were living in overcrowded conditions and were effectively trapped in the building, The Moscow Times reports, citing Interfax.
Police are investigating the blaze, but no charges have been filed, RIA Novosti writes. Russia has an “appalling fire safety record,” the state-run news agency said, citing federal Emergency Ministry figures that fires killed 12,000 people in Russia in 2011.
Russia is the most popular destination for Tajik migrant workers, who are thought to number more than 1 million, with many thousands in Moscow.
During the same night, another fire broke out in Moscow at the Federation Tower complex, planned to be Europe's tallest building. No injuries were reported.
The man responsible for cleaning up graft in Kosovo was arrested 2 April on charges of corruption, according to Balkan Insight. Nazmi Mustafi, who has headed the country’s anti-corruption task force since its creation by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010, was picked up by Kosovo police.
According to a press release from EULEX, the European Rule of Law mission in Kosovo, two people were arrested and are being investigated for abuse of their official position and influence-peddling. The charges laid out in the release are related to the extortion of a suspect who was being investigated by the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office. No one was named in the release, but sources inside EULEX told Balkan Insight that Mustafi was one of the two. EULEX has been investigating Mustafi’s task force for almost a year, according to Balkan Insight.
Kosovo has been struggling with corruption since its independence in 2008. The media and watchdog groups have linked numerous leading political figures to corrupt activity but few have been formally charged.
Berdymukhamedov, head of the region’s most isolated regime, and Mattis exchanged compliments after their 30 March meeting, the Xinhua news agency reports. The Turkmen president reportedly said cooperation with the United States was a priority for his country, while Mattis said the United States was ready to develop its relationship with a country Washington sees as a responsible and reliable partner.
Rahmon said Tajikistan hoped to strengthen security ties with the United States, and his office released a statement saying Washington would continue to provide security assistance, RFE reports.
“The need to ramp up such cooperation is increasing, especially from 2014, that is, upon the withdrawal of international coalition forces from Afghanistan,” the statement said, according to the South Asian News Agency.
In February, Washington temporarily lifted a ban on military aid to Uzbekistan because of the country's crucial role in moving supplies to Afghanistan. Activists accuse the Uzbek and Turkmen governments of imposing severe restrictions on political activity and the media.
Mattis also reportedly said Washington will consider Kyrgyzstan’s request for drone aircraft.
Tymoshenko claims to be in pain daily, and her family reports that she has a herniated disk. Ukrainian and German officials had been in talks to have Tymoshenko treated in Berlin by doctors brought in to examine her in February. However, Deputy Health Minister Raisa Moiseyenko said Ukrainian law does not allow prisoners to have medical treatment outside the country, Ukrainian News reports.
Tymoshenko has repeatedly refused to be treated by prison doctors. Moiseyenko said the former prime minister has now agreed to be treated in Ukraine and suggested she might be treated by specialists in spinal problems at a facility in Kharkiv.
Tymoshenko began serving a seven-year prison term in October on charges of having abused her office in signing an expensive gas contract with Russia.
Days after a large pack of stray dogs severely mauled an elderly man in the Bulgarian capital, the question of how to handle Sofia’s estimated 10,000 street dogs is galvanizing the city.
Deputy Mayor Maria Boyadzhiyska, whose portfolio includes the environment, said she would consider stepping down if found personally culpable for the attack, the Sofia Echo reports, citing Bulgarian television. Boyadzhiyska said the city was doing everything it could to reduce the number of stray dogs but said environmentalists had “compromised” the effort. In February Boyadzhiyska said the city would hold a tender for a project to round up and neuter stray dogs and return them to the streets.
Mayor Yordanka Fandukova promised to halve the number of strays while running for re-election last year, the paper reports.
Street dogs have also become a contentious issue in Romania, where the Constitutional Court struck down a law allowing authorities to kill strays, while Ukrainian authorities pledged to stop euthanizing strays last year.