Thursday, March 27, 2008

China 'fireworks' blast kills 22

Last updated at 01:38 GMT, Thursday, 27 March 2008
BBC News

Twenty-two people have been killed and 10 injured by an explosion in the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang, state media have reported.

The blast occurred when local officials tried to destroy firecrackers in the desert 7km (4 miles) outside the city of Turpan, the Xinhua news agency said.

The injured have been taken to hospital and the fire caused by the explosion has been extinguished, it added.

Xinhua did not say whether those killed were officials or bystanders.

An investigation into the cause of the blast is under way.

Several hundred people are killed by fireworks each year in China. Last year, officials announced plans to reduce the number of deaths in the industry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Paulson to raise currency, Tibet with China at economic talks

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will raise US concerns about the pace of China's currency appreciation and Tibet unrest at bilateral economic talks next week in Beijing, a senior US official said Friday.

China's yuan currency has increasingly appreciated in the past two years and that pace "should continue," said Alan Holmer, special envoy for China and the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

The yuan, or renminbi, had gained "a little over 18 percent" since July 2005, he said.

"The accelerating rate of appreciation is significant and welcome and we believe it should continue," he told a news conference on Paulson's trip next week to China.

President George W. Bush's administration has stressed the need for dialogue with China on the sensitive issue, battling US lawmakers' moves to punish China for allegedly keeping its yuan undervalued to support the ballooning Chinese trade surplus with the US that critics say has cost American jobs.

The "best way" to encourage the Chinese government to liberalize its economy is "through intensive dialogue," he said, citing the SED framework and Paulson's talks with the International Monetary Fund and other organizations.

Paulson is set to meet with Chinese government officials, including the newly appointed leadership, next Wednesday and Thursday as part of the Strategic Economic Dialogue.

The bilateral framework to address economic issues of mutual concern was launched by Bush and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, in 2006.

Paulson's visit will help lay the groundwork for the fourth cabinet-level SED meeting in June in Washington, Holmer said.

The Treasury envoy emphasized that it was "very important" for Paulson to engage the new leadership in China after the National People's Congress earlier this month named President Hu to another five-year term and elected four vice premiers.

"The meeting will be important as new relationships are formed," he added.

Paulson also will take the opportunity to directly raise US concerns about deadly unrest in Tibet with Chinese officials, Holmer said.

"All senior US officials do raise our concerns with respect to Tibet and this trip will be no different," he said.

His remarks came as Bush for the first time publicly urged China to hold talks with representatives of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, after raising concerns over deadly turmoil in the Himalayan territory.

Bush said that he had told Hu that it was in China's interest that his government "sit down again with representatives of the Dalai Lama" and "urged for restraint" from Beijing.

The protests began in Lhasa on March 10 to mark the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, an event that saw the Dalai Lama flee to India where he has since lived in exile.

Paulson is set to address China's Academy of Sciences on Thursday about energy and environment issues and the ongoing collaboration between the two largest consumers of natural resources, Holmer said.

At the third cabinet-level SED meeting, in December in Beijing, both sides agreed to "conduct extensive cooperation" over a 10-year period that will address energy, the environment and climate change.

They said the collaboration would advance technological innovation and the adoption of highly efficient, clean-energy technology, and promote the sustainability of natural resources.

Liuyang Fireworks Association announces 7 types of fireworks not allowed for export and transportation

In order to maintain safety during transportation and storage of fireworks, Liuyang Fireworks Association announces 7 types of fireworks forbidden for production, transport and export:
1> Semi-products
2> Fireworks and firecrackers containing phosphorus
3> Strike surface / friction ignited type of fireworks
4> Smokeless fireworks
5> Red strobe or green strobe products
6> Fireworks with igniters attached
7> Shells larger than 6"

Nansha port closed for fireworks - effective March 18, 2008

Nansha port will cease handling fireworks effective immediately. Decision was made by Guangdong government to end the operation and transportation of fireworks from Guangdong province. As a result, there are only 2 ports that will handle fireworks : Beihai and Shanghai.

It is known that Shanghai will stop handling fireworks containers from July 1st 2008 to 30th September 2008 due to the Olympics. It has not been officially announced, but we have been informed informally. It is not known if Beihai will follow suit. Either way, if transportation is limited, production will stop due to limited warehouse storage.