Beijing bans firework sales near Games venues

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Beijing, Nov 28: Beijing authorities concerned about fire risks have banned the sale of fireworks near venues for next year's Olympic Games during celebrations to mark Chinese New Year in February.

Firework sellers have been banned from setting up shop within 100 metres of the city's 31 Olympic venues, which join kindergartens, schools and hospitals as prohibited areas, today's Beijing News said.

Sales had also been banned near the site of the Olympic village and near offices on ''airport roads'', the paper said, citing local authorities.

China may have famously invented fireworks but accidents kill hundreds of people every year, often in explosions at illegal factories based in densely settled areas.

Yesterday, a blast at an illegal fireworks workshop in central Hunan province killed 13 people and injured six.

The explosion came two days after five children were killed and one seriously wounded when playing in an abandoned firecracker factory in the country's north.

Beijing authorities permitted local residents to light fireworks throughout the city as part of Chinese lunar new year festivities last February after banning them from downtown areas for over a decade.

Despite posting thousands of police on the streets to keep order, fireworks marking the start of the Year of the Pig killed one man, injured 124 and started more than 100 fires, according to Xinhua news agency.

UNI

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