Another explosion yesterday, another death, and protests continue

This is how it looked to the spectators inside the soccer stadium in Brasov, Romania, last night (Thursday), where they were watching a second-division match between teams from Brasov and Valcea.

The massive explosion, triggered by fire in a nearby bread factory, sent five injured workers to the hospital, one of whom subsequently succumbed from his burns.

Ten people were inside the bread factory when the explosion occurred, according to Deputy Interior Minister Raed Arafat who spoke to media as the firefighters struggled to excavate one worker who had been buried underneath the rubble.

Meanwhile street rallies continued in more than ten cities across Romania protesting the perceived governmental corruption that had permitted a Bucharest nightclub to operate unsafely where only six days earlier a fire had killed 32 patrons and injured nearly 200 others, resulting in demands by citizens for top government officials to resign. "Curruption kills!" was perhaps the loudest of the reported chants, referring to bribes paid by building owners to bypass enforcement of safety standards, and the tolerance of such practices by higher government officials.

U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm praised the non-violence of the anti-corruption street demonstrations, urging all Romanians to remain engaged in the civic process, as the Prime Minister Victor Ponta, his Interior Minister Gabriel Opera, and the district mayor of the Bucharest neighborhood where last Friday's nightclub fire had occurred, all submitted their resignations.

This morning, on behalf of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce based in New York, its President Elias Wexler released a statement strongly condemning "the lack of control and responsibility by the appropriate authorities when a building is approved for occupancy."

"We urge the government of Romania to streamline the process of building inspections and modernize the changes that need to take place in order to have a process to review and update building standards every few years. All new construction as well as all old buildings that are renovated should comply with the most advanced life safety standards. Buildings should be designed and built to protect people first and foremost," the RACC's statement declared.

The RACC is the oldest bilateral trade association dedicated to the development of prosperous business relationships between Romania and the United States.

06 NOV 2015