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China chemical plant blast kills 13
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 28, 2012

An explosion ripped through a north China chemical factory Tuesday, killing at least 13 people and injuring 43, the government said of the latest industrial accident to strike the nation.

The impact of the blast, which occurred near Shijiazhuang city, capital of Hebei province, was felt in at least three nearby villages, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Photographs posted on the Internet purportedly of the blast site showed a large crater surrounded by debris. The walls of several work shops that surrounded the site had been destroyed.

The cause of the blast is still under investigation and rescue efforts are ongoing, the State Administration of Work Safety said on its website.

The casualty toll came from a preliminary report, the administration said, indicating it could rise.

Safety standards are regularly flouted in China, and workplace accidents remain common despite repeated pledges by the government to improve regulations and oversight.

Nearly 50,000 people died in work-related accidents in the first nine months of 2011, the administration said earlier.

Last week, 13 workers were killed at an explosion at a northeast China steel factory, while three people died in a gas leak at a steel plant in eastern China's Nanjing city, state press reports said.

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One year on, 'ghosts' stalk Japan's tsunami city
Ishinomaki, Japan (AFP) Feb 28, 2012
A year after whole neighbourhoods full of people were killed by the Japanese tsunami, rumours of ghosts swirl in Ishinomaki as the city struggles to come to terms with the awful tragedy. One reconstruction project appears stalled because of fears the undead spirits of those who perished last March will bring bad luck. "I heard people working to repair the store became sick because of gho ... read more

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