24 killed in Azerbaijan fire
24 people died from a fire at a drug rehabilitation center in Baku, Azerbaijan. According to government officials, the fire was caused by a short circuit within the wiring of the old wooden building and was then fanned by strong winds, burning for three hours before being extinguished. The Health Ministry of Azerbaijan has said that 200 personnel and patients were evacuated, with 36 people being rescued from the flames and four needing hospitalization. The rehabilitation center was just one of the many in the country, which has an estimated 30,000 registered drug addicts.
Ukraine closes schools to save gas
Following the Ukraine’s main natural gas supplier, Gazprom, severing ties unilaterally with the Ukraine, the energy ministration has requested that all educational institutes close at least until the beginning of the next school week. Additionally, in an effort to conserve remaining gas, the government has requested power stations that can be switched to fuel rather than natural gas do so. This crisis comes during the middle of a freeze in all of Europe that has largely affected the Ukraine, with most of the country buried under several feet of snow. The Russian-owned Gazprom decided to sever ties with the Ukraine following their loss in a long-running legal battle with Naftogaz, the Ukraine’s national gas company.
Four killed in avalanche in France
An avalanche killed four people near Entraunes, a resort in the French Alps bordering Italy. In addition to the four deaths, one person is reported to be missing and another person injured and hospitalized. According to local media, the avalanche struck where people were “off-piste” skiing, or skiing in an area unmarked and unmaintained for skiers. The one unharmed survivor of the accident, the group’s guide, has been taken into police custody and is being investigated for unintentional harm and possible manslaughter. This avalanche follows a slew of deadly avalanches in the French Alps, with 20 deaths reported since November.
Venezuelan election vote postponed
The Venezuelan government announced that they will be moving the nation’s presidential election to May 20 instead of the original date of April 22. Venezuela’s National Electoral Council announced in February that the election, which would typically be held in the month of December, would be moved to an earlier date. It is widely assumed that this was an attempt to stomp out opposition coalitions’ chances to nominate candidates for the presidential bid. The election comes at a time of increasing economic turmoil, with many Venezuelans being left malnourished and many more consequently fleeing the country. The decision of an early vote was met with massive blowback in Venezuela, as well as by countries internationally.