Monday, December 20, 2010

Death toll in C. China fireworks explosion rises to 12

Death toll in C. China fireworks explosion rises to 12  2010-12-20 00:10:44 FeedbackPrintRSS

CHANGSHA, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in a fireworks blast in central China' s Hunan Province rose from an earlier announced nine to 12 after DNA tests results were completed , local authorities said Sunday night.
Another two people were believed to be missing, police said, adding that three of the 12 victims were still to be identified.
The blast, which also injured nine others, occurred in Ningxiang County of Changsha, the provincial capital, at about 9:30 p.m. Friday when a truck loaded with fireworks fuses hit a power pole and sparks from fallen cables ignited the fuses.
The blast destroyed the truck and nearby houses, shattering windows and cracking walls hundreds of meters away.
Rescue work and clean-up at the site ended on Sunday, a local government spokesman said.
The nine injured, who are being treated in hospital, are in stable conditions, according to the spokesman.
However, the whereabouts of the truck driver remains unknown.
Police continue investigating the accident.


Death toll in C. China fireworks explosion rises to 12

Death toll in C. China fireworks explosion rises to 12 2010-12-20 00:10:44
CHANGSHA, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in a fireworks blast in central China' s Hunan Province rose from an earlier announced nine to 12 after DNA tests results were completed , local authorities said Sunday night.

Another two people were believed to be missing, police said, adding that three of the 12 victims were still to be identified.

The blast, which also injured nine others, occurred in Ningxiang County of Changsha, the provincial capital, at about 9:30 p.m. Friday when a truck loaded with fireworks fuses hit a power pole and sparks from fallen cables ignited the fuses.

The blast destroyed the truck and nearby houses, shattering windows and cracking walls hundreds of meters away.

Rescue work and clean-up at the site ended on Sunday, a local government spokesman said.

The nine injured, who are being treated in hospital, are in stable conditions, according to the spokesman.

However, the whereabouts of the truck driver remains unknown.

Police continue investigating the accident.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

China gave a stunning goodbye with amazing fireworks

The Asian Games (also known as XVI ASIAD) meets its grand finale tonight with incredible fireworks in the event of closing ceremony. The 16 days long game is the largest ever Asian Games. The skies light up with unbelievable firecrackers as China brought the curtains down on the major Asian Games 2010 in an uprising of colour, musical extravaganza, and an enlightening gala at the Haixinsha Island on the Pearl River.

The 16th Asian Games lowered its shutter in a jolly closing ceremony on Saturday night as host China demonstrated its unconcealed domination by sweeping 199 gold medals.

The president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, summoned the Guangzhou Asiad “a vast achievement” and “one of the most exceptional” in history.

China won 119silver and 98 bronze, crowned the table for the 8th straight time, crashing its top gold tally of 183, engrave the 1990 Beijing Games.

Out of the 45 participating teams 36 were medaled in the 16-day games, wherein South Korea bagging 232 medals including 76 gold, thrashing Japan into a far-off third with 48 gold out of 216 medals.

After Beijing hosted the Olympics and Shanghai the World Expo, Guangzhou apprehended the Asian Games at the same time as an occasion to showcase its custom and modernity to the globe.

China’s 3rd largest city invested a surprising 120 billion yuan (about 17.9 billion U.S. dollars) in its assignments including stadiums, roads and subway lines. China opened the ceremony in a distinctive water-themed opening ceremony which paid honor to the city’s seafaring heritage; the ending was more like a singing and dancing gala.

Famous Asian artists such as India’s Gupta Tanya and Rave Tripthi, China’s Tang Can, Kazakhstan’s Mayra Kerei, Japan’s Ryoko Nakano, executed folk songs of their origin.

The sail-shaped vast LED screen in the backdrop interrelated with the performance while altering lights assisted change the field of play into glittery and blue sky, delegate cultural and natural landscape of Asia, from which athletes and officials from outstanding the continent could found their familiar tempo.

An Hour before the closing ceremony, the Chinese women’s volleyball team marched from two sets down to hit South Korea to win the last gold of the Games.

35 Olympic gold medalists, including athlete Liu Xiang and badminton players Lin Dan, appeared the brightest stars among the 1,454-member Chinese designation.

India finished 6th on the medal tally with a record 14 gold, 17 silver and 33 bronze for an in general tally of 64, covering their former record of 57 medals in the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi.

Korea finished following the 2nd place whereas Japan was 3rd that highlighted the reality that the Asian Games, the 2nd largest sports event after the Olympic Games, are still being terribly conquered by the distantly eastern nations of the continent.

100 artists with Indian flower garland in their hands tapped in 2 groups next the bikes and formed 2 curved moons on both sides of the Torch Tower while over 1000 singing group members grasp multihued Indian light-reflecting towels danced in accord.

The previous regions of the continent were also given their renown in the cultural background before flashbacks of the Asian Games competitions and athletes being honored their medals were shown with touching scenes, representing the eagerness and harmony that was perceptible all through the Games.

The show ended with all the contestants’ arrival to the stage forming different patterns while singing and dancing with throw away to bring an ending to the cultural part and the opening of the formal part of the ceremony with the coming of the athletes.

Subsequently the flag of the 1st Games held in Delhi in 1951 and the OCA flag were renounced to the Korean representatives by Huahua and Peng.

The Koreans accessible a little segment to the supplement of outstanding instruments and taekwondo, the country’s martial arts, which is as well a section of the Games event and ‘Welcome to Incheon’ and ‘See you at Incheon in 2014’ were burst into flames on the screen. The Games flame was snuffed out prior to the firecrackers illuminate the night sky to mark the end of the closing ceremony.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New ATF rules affecting PGI and club events

Here is the officially approved PGI stance as it will be published in the next Bulletin. Please feel free to circulate this to any other lists, discussion groups, or other sites to which you subscribe. May as well get the word, bad though it is, out to everyone.

Transportation of Fireworks by Hobbyists June 2009 Update: URGENT READING By John Steinberg This article has been vetted for legal accuracy and reviewed by PGI Attorney, Doug Mawhorr.

If you are even thinking about bringing fireworks to the PGI, that are regulated as explosives by ATF, please read this article thoroughly as there has been a major change in rules interpretation and enforcement by ATF.

Let me also clarify and reiterate DOT rules interpretation which has NOT changed. DOT: 1) If you are NOT in commerce, DOT rules and regulations do NOT apply to you. You need not have a CDL, placards, log book, MCS 90 insurance certificate and $5 million in coverage, hazardous materials registration, etc. 2) If you are in commerce, you need all of the above and more. Conclusions: If you are bringing your own non-commercial fireworks to the PGI for your own enjoyment, DOT has no issue with you and you have none with them. This has not changed. If PGI is paying you to do a display, EVEN if you are a club, you MUST find a qualified means to transport your pyrotechnic materials to the convention. This most likely means working with a display company as no club I know of, including the PGI, can afford to become a commercial transporter of display fireworks.

ATF: Some history is required here: On May 24, 2003, the Safe Explosives Act took effect. This required an ATF license for ALL transportation of regulated explosives on public roads. "Public roads" means anything off your personal property. A User Limited ATF license will allow intrastate transportation. An ATF license, of any type greater than User Limited, is required for interstate transportation.

In 2006, the ATF conducted an enforcement operation at the Appleton PGI convention. Though no material was seized and no persons were charged, this created a problem that we felt needed to be addressed. To that end, on December 11, 2006, our attorney, John Brooke, Tom Handel, and I met with ATF and DOT personnel at ATF HQ. Representing ATF at that meeting were, among others, ATF Co-Chief Counsel, Teresa Ficaretta, Arson and Explosives Division Explosives Industry Branch Programs Chief Gary Bangs, and his immediate superior, Mark Jones, the Deputy Division Chief. An agreement was arrived at, endorsed by ATF Counsel, that a member of a club could transport hobbyist materials to a club event under the club ATF license.

An agreement was also reached whereby it was determined that travel requiring an overnight stay would still be interpreted as transportation and that no magazine storage would be required. Table of distances requirements would be in force, however, but cars would not count as occupied structures, so parking lots would have sufficed so long as the vehicle was locked. The details of and permissions granted under this agreement have previously been published in some detail and I will not reiterate those details here. Though we asked ATF to reduce this agreement to writing, no written response was ever provided to the questions we posed. These questions have now been answered in the June 2009 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter.

For two and a half years, this verbal agreement was honored. No other interpretation was offered and enforcement was consistent with the agreements reached in 2006 by ATF and PGI. DOT did not offer any changes in regulatory interpretation at this meeting and none were requested of DOT by PGI.

The ATF regulation interpretation has now changed. The permissions previously afforded members to transport under a club license have been unilaterally rescinded and previous permissions granted must be considered as revoked.

If you are a non-ATF-licensed hobbyist: 1) You may continue to make and use regulated explosives for your own non-commercial enjoyment on your own property and must comply with lawful storage requirements. 2) You may NOT transport that material to a club event on the club license. 3) You may transfer your material to an ATF license holder. BUT, you may NOT transport the material off your property to that license holder. An ATF license holder may come to you, collect your material, create a record of acquisition, and then transport the materials to his magazine, logging them in properly. This is NO longer your material. The transfer must remain NON-COMMERCIAL. No payment for this service may be made by you to the license holder nor any payment made to you for the material. The license holder may bring this non-commercial material to an ATF-licensed-club event and transfer the material to the possession of the club. The club must create a record of acquisition. If you are a member of the club, with the club's permission, you may then be allowed to fire said material at that club event. But, the material can never be returned to your possession.

From this point forward, with NO EXCEPTIONS: You MUST have an ATF User Limited License for ANY intrastate (within your state, crossing NO state boundary lines) transportation of regulated explosive materials, whether in commerce or not. You must have an ATF license, of any type greater than User Limited, which is required for ANY interstate transportation of regulated explosives.

Further, as if that news were not enough, you are now in transportation ONLY while en route and moving. Whether or not you are an ATF license holder, if you stop overnight, your material MUST either be placed in a lawful magazine or, in a locked and attended vehicle AT THE DISPLAY SITE.

I was pleased that we could work out the agreement that was in force for the last two and a half years. I am dismayed that an agreement that worked so well has now been unilaterally discarded without any consultation with or communication to those affected, except as provided in the newsletter. But, that's the way it is.

Given the recent changes in ATF interpretation of explosives rules that rescind these two key allowances previously afforded hobbyists as published in the June Industry Newsletter, I think it would be both reasonable and prudent to expect an ATF enforcement action at the PGI convention and, perhaps, at other regional club activities. Thus, if you are not 100% certain you are lawfully transporting fireworks (non-commercial, ATF license holder) do not even think about doing so this year.

If you can find a license holder to come collect your material and are willing to part with it, as described above, this is your only remaining option to be a non-licensed hobbyist manufacturer and shoot your material at club events held at sites other than on your property. Otherwise, your best course would be to obtain an ATF license and a contingency storage letter from a license holder or to establish proper storage on your own premises.

In closing, this is, in my opinion, bad news and certainly makes life more complicated, but, for all but a few hobbyists, there are still solutions that will allow you to continue to enjoy your hobby. Whatever you choose to do, please do so lawfully. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email. I will answer your questions and have our attorneys vet those answers for accuracy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Asian Games open amid fireworks, water show

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) — Light beams, fireworks and water jets exploded from the banks of the Pearl River as China marked the opening of the 16th Asian Games in southern city Guangzhou, two years after dazzling the world with a gala opener to the Beijing Olympics.

Unlike the land-bound festivities at the Bird's Nest stadium that featured thousands of performers moving in coordination in 2008, Asian Games organizers paid tribute to coastal Guangdong province's seafaring heritage.

The venue on tiny Haixinsha island was configured like a sailboat for the 4 1/2-hour opening festivities designed by Chen Weiya — famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou's deputy when he crafted the Beijing ceremony. The 27,000-capacity stadium stood as the cabin; four towering pillars in front of it unfurled eight video screens that doubled as sails.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao declared the games open. He was joined in the dignitaries box by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

The ceremony kicked off with a small boy floating down from the sky on a leaf-like carriage lit in green. He poured water from a bottle, setting off giant fountains that sprayed in arcs across the stage. Four dozen water goddesses seemed to walk across the water, followed by a dozen fairies rising out of pools in the stage floor.

Performers flapping large pieces of red cloth scrambled across the stage to create the image of petals dropping on water. Other actors entered in a large sampan-like vessel, recreating a journey in rough seas, with the would-be sailors swaying on ropes and ladders amid waters represented by large flags waved by hundreds of dancers.

Classical pianist Lang Lang performed on a white grand and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" actress Zhang Ziyi sang as synchronized swimmers danced and water sprouted before them.

Performers on jet skis zoomed into the stadium and performed tricks.

In a playful segment, dozens of dancers attached to wires seemed to run across cityscapes flashed across the video screens, climbed mountains and formed formations to look like eagles flying through the sky.

In a nod to Chinese hurdling superstar Liu Xiang, who is recovering from an Achilles' tendon injury that forced him to withdraw from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the dancers formed hurdles across a track while one jumped smoothly over them.

In keeping with the night's nautical theme, instead of walking into the stadium, the athletes arrived on boats that ferried them down the Pearl River. Brightly illuminated in bulbs of different colors, the 45 boats were decorated with Asian landmarks — including Japan's Mount Fuji, Cambodia's Angkor Wat, Jordan's Petra and India's Taj Mahal. China was represented by the Temple of Heaven, the Bird's Nest and the country's pavilion from the recently concluded Shanghai World Expo.

When the final torch bearer, Olympic champion diver He Chong, approached the Guangzhou cauldron — which emerged from the stage supported by four giant arches — he lit a big firecracker with two children who muffled their ears. The sparks that followed set the cauldron aflame.

The huge scale of the event has posed a logistical dilemma for the Chinese organizers.

Except for members of the public who won a lottery for tickets to the show, most residents of this wealthy city of 10 million watched it on TV — even though many could have enjoyed a picturesque view of the proceedings from either side of the river.

Officials locked down areas near the stadium, ordering residents within a half-mile radius to leave their homes for the night — apparently to eliminate the threat of sniper fire. However, they were asked to leave their lights on to help maintain a glittering skyline backdrop.

Tickets to the ceremony went for as much as $1,025.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

China’s Mandatory Vacation, With a Catch

Fireworks lighted the sky over Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong on Friday to celebrate National Day.

BEIJING — Who doesn’t love a weeklong obligatory vacation? In China, where an estimated 200 million people on Friday began elbowing their way onto trains, buses and highways for the National Day holiday, the answer is not so simple.

According to a government-mandated holiday schedule that took effect in 2008, workers were given three consecutive days off last week for the Mid-Autumn Festival, but they were required to make up two of those by working the Saturday and Sunday on either end of the holiday.

This give-and-take arrangement is then repeated for the National Day holiday, with employees enjoying seven straight days off — Friday through Oct. 7 — except only three of those are official free days. (The four “gifted days” will be made up over the weekends before and after.)

If you have trouble with the math, you are in good company.

“Seeing the calendar, my first reaction was, ‘This is insane, how am I supposed to remember this?’ ” Zhou Li, a government employee, told The Yangzhou Daily last week. “The arrangement is so complicated, with holidays messed up with weekends, it is impossible to memorize.”

The problem was made worse this year because the Mid-Autumn Festival fell on Sept. 22, within a week of the longer National Day sojourn.

A cheat sheet that has been making the rounds on the Internet sums up the pattern as such, beginning Sept. 18: One day off, three days on, three days off, six days on, seven days off, two days on, one day off.

Confusion aside, many Chinese resent having to pay back some of their vacation days.

“Even while I’m enjoying my week off, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I have to make up four of those days during my weekends,” said Huang Linmei, 25, a legal secretary in Beijing. “I’d like to yell at the person who came up with this schedule.”

Ms. Huang could start by yelling at Cai Jiming, a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing who is generally blamed for pushing the changes that saw the shortening of the May Day holiday from a week to a day and its replacement with three shorter blocks — Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Tomb-Sweeping Day. Although officials have promoted the holidays as a way for people to reconnect to traditions eradicated decades ago by the Communist Party, most Chinese complain that at three days each, the holidays are too short for traveling.

Even as the government increased the number of official holidays to 11 from 10 days, it infuriated the nation by killing off one of three so-called Golden Weeks (the third one is the Spring Festival, when Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year in January or February).

Mr. Cai is eager to explain that he is committed to giving Chinese workers their leisure time while sparing the country’s transportation system and tourist sites the madness of mass travel.

“It’s not good for the environment, and it’s not good for the tourist sector, which has to invest all this money for a few weeks of craziness and then is relatively idle the rest of the year,” he said.

It was during the throes of the Asian financial crisis that Beijing, in 1999, came up with the notion of Golden Weeks as a way to incite consumer spending and to give a lift to the tourist industry.

But penurious spending habits and low wages doomed any economic windfall, while those who did travel domestically returned to work less than refreshed.

“I stopped going anywhere during Golden Week after I was forced to stand 20 hours on the train back from Huangshan,” said Chen Liubing, 29, a computer repair technician, referring to a fabled mountain that is a popular tourist draw.

The other problem, Chinese leaders realized, is that bringing the entire country to a halt for three weeks is not exactly conducive to a nation obsessed with rapid economic growth.

But two years ago, when the government proposed phasing out both the May Day and National Day Golden Weeks, the people’s response was so furious that only the May Day one was affected and the three short “traditional” holidays were born.

Many officials are still seeking an end to the National Day Golden Week, but they acknowledge that for now, mandatory holidays may be the only way to give workers time off, given that most companies ignore a law that guarantees workers 15 days of paid vacation a year — to be taken at a time of their choosing.

Mr. Cai said that one day, when China’s development is on par with that of Europe and the United States, he hoped people would be able to take vacations when they pleased, not in one gigantic, nerve-racking huddle.

Still, he admitted that even if he had paid time off, he probably would stay at his office desk, which is where he will be spending the coming week.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I just have too much work to do.”

Fireworks greet opening of China Town

Hundreds of Chinese yesterday celebrated the opening of a little piece of China in Auckland, accompanied by fireworks and a lion dance ceremony.
China Town in Manukau City was opened with two mayors, MPs and local politicians in attendance.
The project is headed by local businessmen Jack Ren and Crown Xu, who have turned the former 7157sq m Bunnings Warehouse building on Ti Rakau Drive into a market square.
Mr Ren said the market would be different from what was being offered at local malls and weekend markets.
Bargaining and bartering are often accepted and expected in such centres. Lili Qi, the centre's marketing manager, says more than half of the 170 stalls have been leased, and business will be in full swing by Christmas.
She said the centre was "an opportunity to showcase Chinese culture".
An "Asian gourmet street" will house more than 30 stalls selling street dishes from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other parts of Asia.
Dick Quax, a Manukau councillor, said the project was fantastic for Manukau and long overdue.
"China Town will be a huge attraction, not just for the locals, but it will also bring in the tourists and other visitors," said Mr Quax, who attended the opening.
Auckland is home to more than 100,000 Chinese, and 27 per cent of people in Manukau are of Asian descent. A Property Economics study says about 40 per cent of visitors to China Town will come from outside the Manukau area.
Business owner John Robertson, who runs Van Qing, a stall selling Chinese paintings, said the low rent was the main attraction for him to set up shop at China Town.
"It would have cost me three or nearly four times more to start the same thing at the local mall," he said.
The mall was opened on the 61st anniversary of the creation of the People's Republic of China.
However, shopper Kevin Foo, a local-born Chinese, said he wasn't happy with the project.
"Our ancestors have worked so hard for us Chinese to be accepted as New Zealanders, and this China Town is just another sign that shouts Chinese immigrants aren't prepared to integrate."
Chinese band members entertain during the grand opening ceremony of China Town in East Tamaki yesterday

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Disneyland fireworks show returns Friday

The fireworks show that was created for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary by Chinese fireworks will come back to the park this weekend.
The “Remember” display is set to return 9:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See the Disneyland schedule.
“Remember … Dreams Come True” is themed with music and effects based on the different lands within Disneyland. It was created for the park’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2005, but the show usually comes back during off seasons.
“Remember” is scheduled to appear most weekend nights during the fall.
Friday also marks the beginning of Halloween Time in the Disneyland Resort.
However, the special fireworks show, “Halloween Screams,” will only be displayed for visitors who buy special tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party events in October. Disney will host the trick-or-treat parties and fireworks shows on 10 nights in October — Tuesdays, Fridays and Oct. 31.
The special Halloween fireworks show debuted last year, when all park guests could watch it. This year, the show is restricted to party goers.

Monday, September 06, 2010

China officials shut fireworks plants after blast

BEIJING—All nine fireworks factories in Heilongjiang province in northeast China were ordered shut Thursday, days after a blast at one of them killed 20 people.

Tweet 1 person Tweeted thisSubmit to DiggdiggsdiggYahoo! Buzz ShareThis The factories have been told to dismantle their production facilities by the end of the month, according to a statement on the website of the Heilongjiang Work Safety Administration.

"We have rescinded their permits for production," the statement said.

The official Xinhua News Agency said three government officials and two factory executives were fired or detained after Monday's blast. It said a preliminary investigation showed the plant was illegally producing fireworks.

Up to 50 people were working at the fireworks factory in the city of Yichun when it was rocked by an explosion, damaging nearby buildings and sparking secondary blasts.

A total of 153 people were injured by the blast, which could be felt up to 2 miles (5 kilometers) away and smashed windows in the local government offices and other buildings, the Xinhua reported.

Safety is lax at Chinese fireworks plants, and accidents are common. Dozens of people also die each year from unsafe handling of fireworks while celebrating weddings and traditional holidays.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A fireworks factory in China where an explosion killed 20 people and injured 150 more was operating illegally, according to reports

Shockwaves from the blast were felt over three miles away, shattering building windows.

The explosion happened on Monday near the city of Yichun in Heilongjiang province.

It is unclear what caused the explosion but it is believed the blast occurred while workers were moving stock inside the factory.

The factory had its licence confiscated in June after safety concerns were raised according to the official Xinhua news agency.

An eyewitness from a nearby building said: "We assumed it was an earthquake because the office building trembled and the lamps and clocks fell.

"A huge black mushroom cloud was visible. It rose and grew from where the fireworks factory is located."

More than 2,000 residents were evacuated from the area as over 550 firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

.China farmer uses cannon to fight eviction

BEIJING (AFP) – A farmer in central China has turned his home into a fort equipped with a homemade cannon and fireworks to fight off government eviction in an ongoing land dispute, state media said Wednesday.

Yang Youde, 56, has twice repelled government-backed demolition crews in Hubei province by firing the cannon and peppering workers with fireworks, the Beijing News said.

Yang manufactured his arsenal with used stove pipes and 2,000 yuan (300 dollars) worth of fireworks, it said.

His cannon can fire projectiles up to 100 metres (yards), it said.

"I'm a law-abiding citizen, I don't believe these fireworks can kill," Yang said in an interview.

"I must protect my rights. I believe that the lower-level officials are out to harm the people, but higher-level leaders are enlightened," he said.

"I'm a farmer. My whole life depends on farming. If I surrender, I have nowhere to go."

In the latest confrontation in May, workers beat Yang up after he ran out of fireworks, the report said.

China has witnessed a surge of violent confrontations triggered by land seizures as officials and businesses seek to cash in on a nationwide property boom by evicting residents and developing their land.

In late April, a Communist Party official in Henan province was detained after he ordered a truck driver to run over a protester in a land dispute. The protester was killed.

In another case, a 47-year-old woman set herself on fire in November in Sichuan province over the planned demolition of her husband's garment-processing business. She died 16 days later.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

20 dead, 49 injured in S China firework blast

GUANGZHOU: The death toll of a fireworks explosion has risen to 20 as an injured person died in hospital in south China's Guangdong Province, local authorities said Saturday.

The explosion occurred at Shiqiaotou Village, Junbu Township of Puning City at about 8:00 pm Friday, according to the provincial public security department and Puning city government.

Bodies of 13 people were discovered at the scene Friday night and seven others died in hospital later. Eight people are still in critical conditions.

Related readings:
19 dead in S. China firework-triggered blast
Death toll in N.China firework blast rises to 4

Villager Yang Junshu and his family were setting off firecrackers in front of his house. It is believed that the flame ignited other fireworks on the ground and caused the huge explosion, a witness surnamed Yang, whose house is about 200 meters away from the scene, told Xinhua.

Police have detained Yang Junshu and his nephew Yang Keqin. Their relatives have handed in 8 million yuan ($1.17 million) for compensation.

The municipal government has identified 10 of the dead, seven men and three women, including the detained suspect Yang Junshu's mother Chen Yaxia, brother Yang Junmao, daughter-in-law Yang Beibei.

The others include two sons and a daughter of a neighbor of Yang Junshu and four villagers.

Police and work safety officials have started a safety check on the sale, storage, transportation and the use of fireworks in Puning. Officials said they would close all unlicensed retailers.

Fireworks and firecrackers are a necessity for celebrating the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday in China. The festival ends Sunday.

China urges checks after deadly fireworks blast

BEIJING (AP) — China has issued an urgent order to local authorities to strengthen safety measures after an explosion triggered by Lunar New Year fireworks killed 21 people and injured 48 in a southern village.
The State Council's Work Safety Commission said in a notice that authorities around the country should learn from the mistakes that caused the blast late Friday in the southern province of Guangdong, the deadliest accident of the 15-day Spring Festival.

The celebrations are set to end Sunday with a lantern festival. Fireworks are often a key part.

Last year, lantern festival fireworks sparked an inferno that destroyed a nearly completed hotel next to state broadcaster CCTV's landmark new office building in downtown Beijing, leaving one firefighter dead. Earlier this month, fireworks started a blaze that destroyed a 1,600-year-old city gate in northern China, causing about $150,000 in financial losses.

The death toll from Friday's explosion in a residential area rose to 21 by Sunday morning, Guangdong emergency authorities said in a statement. State media said authorities have so far identified 10 of the dead.

Thirteen bodies were found at the site while eight others died in hospitals from injuries. Among the remaining 48 people who were injured, six were in critical condition, the government said.

The provincial authority said an initial investigation found that a pile of fireworks were set off in an open space 30 yards (meters) from a residential building and that two people allegedly responsible for the blast have been detained by police.

State broadcaster CCTV said some of the fireworks that triggered the explosion were highly dangerous and only meant to be handled by professionals.

Television footage showed the explosion had ripped through a six-story apartment building, blowing out windows and a ground floor wall, covering one side of the structure in soot and completely melting the exterior of a car parked in front of it.