January 30, 2006

Death toll from Chinese New Year blast rises to 36

BEIJING (Reuters) - The death toll from a Lunar New Year
explosion in China's central province of Henan rose to 36 on
Monday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Many of the victims in Sunday's blast in Henan's Linqi town
were devout Buddhists burning incense and praying at a temple
near a warehouse storing firecrackers which were ignited by

Eight others were listed in critical condition at local
hospitals, while another 40 people were slightly injured,
Xinhua said. It gave no further details.

Chinese worldwide marked the start of the Year of the Dog
on Sunday with many people setting off fireworks and
firecrackers, which are believed to scare off evil spirits and
attract the god of wealth to people's doorsteps.