Death toll from China pesticide plant blast rises to 78

The explosion happened on Thursday in Chenjiagang Industrial Park in Yancheng city. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Death toll from China pesticide plant blast rises to 78

  • Chinese TV said 566 injured people are receiving treatment in the hospital
  • Officials said they will increase controls and risk assessments of chemical industry parks

BEIJING: The death toll from a massive explosion last week at a pesticide plant in eastern China rose to 78 on Monday, with 13 people listed as being critically injured, as the government again pledged stricter safely controls, state media reported.
Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents, ranging from mining disasters to factory fires, that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.
State television said 566 people were still being treated in hospital after Thursday’s blast at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in Yancheng city, Jiangsu province on China’s east coast.
Air quality remained within a safe range, the report added.
The official Xinhua news agency said China would strengthen the control and management of dangerous chemicals, and conduct risk assessments for all chemical industry parks.
“Authorities at all levels should inspect enterprises that are involved in nitration manufacturing and storage to make sure they comply with regulations on dangerous chemicals,” Xinhua said, citing a statement from the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Despite repeated government pledges to tighten safety, disasters have hit chemical plants in particular, with 23 people killed in November in a series of blasts during the delivery of a flammable gas at a chemical maker.
In 2015, 165 people were killed in explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin, one of the world’s busiest ports, which is not far from the capital, Beijing.


London climate protesters seek talks with government

Updated 30 min 34 sec ago
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London climate protesters seek talks with government

  • Some 831 arrests have been made and 42 people charged in connection with the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests

LONDON: Climate change protesters who have brought parts of London to a standstill said Sunday they were prepared to call a halt if the British government will discuss their demands.
Some 831 arrests have been made and 42 people charged in connection with the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests.
On the seventh day of demonstrations that have occupied key spots in the British capital, organizers said they were willing to switch tactics from disruption to dialogue.
“We are prepared to pause, should the government come to the negotiating table,” Extinction Rebellion spokesman James Fox told AFP.
“What the pause looks like is us stopping an escalation.
“We can discuss leaving if they are willing to discuss our demands.
“At the moment, we haven’t received a response from the government... so we’re waiting on that.”
Extinction Rebellion was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing environmental movements.
Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice.
“We’re giving them an opportunity now to come and speak to us,” Fox told AFP.
“If they don’t take that opportunity, and if they refuse to come and negotiate with us, then this is going to continue and this is going to escalate in different, diverse and very creative ways.”
Police said they had managed to clear the Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus junctions of protesters, who remain in place on Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square.
“We remain in frequent contact with the organizers to ensure that the serious disruption to Londoners is brought to a close as soon as possible and that only lawful and peaceful protests continue,” the police said in a statement.
Calling for an end to the protests, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said more than 9,000 police officers had been responding to the demonstrations, which had left the force as a whole overstretched.
“This is now taking a real toll on our city — our communities, businesses and police. This is counter-productive to the cause and our city,” he said.
“I’m extremely concerned about the impact the protests are having on our ability to tackle issues like violent crime if they continue any longer. It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk.
“You must now let London return to business as usual.”
In the blazing sunshine on Waterloo Bridge, police lifted protesters and carried them off to waiting police vans.
“I’m genuinely terrified. I think about it all the time. I’m so scared for the world. I feel like there is going to be calamity in my lifetime,” student Amber Gray told AFP.
“I don’t even feel comfortable bringing children into this world knowing that that is coming.
“And I don’t want people in the future to say to me, ‘why didn’t you do anything?’“
Retiree Kathy Hayman said politicians were “ignoring and denying.”
“I’m amazed really at the lack of consciousness that they have and the lack of responsibility.”