Thursday, April 08, 2004
Foreign Vice Developments: Moscow (gambling), India (alcohol), Malawi (prostitution)
Three unrelated but somewhat exotic stories, at least given their locales....
(1) "Moscow has been transformed over the last two years as gambling businesses have flooded the city's streets, shops and metros, enticing passersby with chances to win or lose their money....
There are now 53 casinos in Moscow, 35,000 slot machines and 2,000 igroviye zaly, or slot machine arcades in the city..." London, similar in population to Moscow (13,945,000 in the London metropolitan area, 11.2 million in Moscow), has 29 casinos, according to the linked Moscow Times article. Moscow also now sports its first Gamblers Anonymous group.
(2) The Indian state of Gujarat has prohibited alcohol since 1960. The son of one of the state ministers has had more than 750 crates of alcohol confiscated from his house, which neighbors on his father's home. The father's portfolio in the cabinet is not one you would find everywhere: he is Minister for Religious Places and Cow Protection.
(3) The lame-duck president of Malawi has been issuing a spate of decrees as elections approach. Following a long tradition of scapegoating women for sexually transmitted diseases, he recently ordered that women out at night be arrested, as a precaution against the spread of AIDS. Four law students challenged the decree, and the High Court granted an injunction that has caused the implementation of the decree to be postponed.