Midway through her new sophomore recording “Siberia,” amid Erasure-bubbly anthems like “Toes,” “Banner” and “Peace Sign,” Canadian synth-rocker Lights has placed a dubstep-jittery dirge called “Heavy Rope.” It sounds like a plaintive cry for help as she whispers, “Don’t let me tumble away, toss me a heavy rope, it’s a slippery slope/Come bail me out of this God-forsaken precipice.” Read More
WHAT: The sinking of a Volga riverboat, with some 125 people drowned, is the latest fatal failure of Russia’s rotting transit equipment. Two Soviet-era airplanes went down over Siberia in just the past three weeks.HOW: River ships are supposed to undergo checks before each voyage and thorough inspections every two years. But the whole process is riddled with corruption, as are most Russian industrial inspections, including construction. Read More
WHAT: Russia has become a global center of home-made designer drugs. The newest and scariest is called crocodile, a mix of over-the-counter codeine and toxic ingredients such as gasoline, paint thinner and matchbook phosphorus.
WHAT IT DOES: Easily made crocodile delivers a heroin-like high three times more cheaply. But the average crocodile user lives only two or three years. And the few who manage to quit usually come away disfigured and brain-damaged. Read More