Fire kills eight at Russian drug rehab centre

April 28, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

MOSCOW: Eight people died yesterday when a fire ravaged a drug rehab centre in Russia’s Altai region, investigators said, the latest tragedy to raise questions about security standards at the country’s medical care institutions.

The bodies of eight people were found after authorities put out a blaze that broke out at the private drug rehab centre dubbed “Chisty List” (Clean Slate) sitting on the shores of a picturesque lake outside the city of Barnaul in the Altai region, investigators said in a statement. 

Another six people from the private drug and alcohol abuse treatment centre in the village of Ozero Krasilovo were injured, said a spokesman for the regional emergencies ministry, Andrei Pozdnyakov.

The fire left the building completely gutted, he said. 

“Only the walls remained,” Pozdnyakov said adding that the rest of the patients were moved into a local school.

The emergencies ministry did not rule out negligence as a possible cause of the fire.

Conservatives tipped to win in Macedonia polls

SKOPJE: Macedonians voted yesterday to elect a new assembly and president, with the ruling conservatives tipped to win despite widespread poverty and a stalemate in Skopje’s bid to join the European Union.

The legislative vote is being held a year ahead of schedule after the ruling VMRO-DPMNE failed to agree with its ethnic Albanian coalition partner, the DUI, on a joint presidential candidate.

Voters were also casting ballots in the run-off for president, a largely ceremonial post with a five-year mandate, pitting incumbent Gjorge Ivanov of the VMRO-DPMNE against his Social Democrat rival Stevo Pendarovski.

“I expect those who will win the elections to fulfil their promises and enable prosperity for all citizens of Macedonia,” Ivanov said after he voted.

Electoral officials said turnout was 30.9 percent six hours before the polling stations close at 1700 GMT.

More than 1.7 million voters are eligible to elect a new 123-seat parliament, choosing among 14 parties and coalitions.

Opinion polls have given a strong lead to both Ivanov and the VMRO-DPMNE.