Seven dead in India firework factory blast

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Updated 19 October 2017

Seven dead in India firework factory blast

NEW DELHI: An explosion at an illegal firecracker factory in eastern India killed seven workers and injured nine others in the hours before Thursday’s Diwali festival, officials said.
Firework use hits a peak across India during the Hindu festival but New Delhi authorities have tried to restrict sales to tackle mounting pollution.
The explosion late Wednesday completely destroyed the makeshift structure after fire touched off the gunpowder and chemical stocks used to make the fireworks in Balasore district of Odisha state, said district magistrate Pramod Kumar Das.
He told AFP several of the injured workers are in a critical condition after the “huge” explosion.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by lighting lamps but has metamorphosed into a grand show of fireworks, sparking pollution and controversy.
Explosions often occur in the thousands of illegal backyard and underground workshops that spring up during the festive season.
Last month, nine people were killed in neighboring Jharkhand state after their workshop was gutted by fire.
India’s firecracker industry, worth nearly one billion dollars a year, is the second largest in the world after China.
The country’s Supreme Court this month temporarily banned the sale of firecrackers in New Delhi because of the air pollution threat.
The ruling came after the capital last year suffered its worst air pollution in nearly two decades, which experts blamed on Diwali fireworks and stubble-burning in farming regions around the city.
Police have arrested more than two dozen people in New Delhi over the illegal sale of firecrackers since the October 9 court order and have seized more than one ton of firecrackers.


Indonesia bus collision kills seven

Updated 30 min 47 sec ago

Indonesia bus collision kills seven

  • The cause of the accident was not immediately known
  • Traffic accidents are common in the Southeast Asian archipelago, where vehicles are often old and poorly maintained
BANDUNG, Indonesia: Seven people were killed as two passenger buses collided on a busy toll road in Indonesia Thursday, authorities said.

The fatal accident, which also left 16 people injured — some seriously — happened shortly after midnight on a route in West Java that connects to the capital Jakarta.

One bus driver lost control of his vehicle, which crossed a road median before slamming into another bus traveling in the opposite direction, killing seven including its driver and injuring more than a dozen onboard, according to West Java police spokesman Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko.

The driver who lost control of the bus was injured, but none of his passengers were hurt, he added.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Traffic accidents are common in the Southeast Asian archipelago, where vehicles are often old and poorly maintained and road rules regularly flouted.

In September, at least 21 people died when a bus plunged into a ravine in West Java’s Sukabumi region.

Several months earlier, 12 people were killed and dozens more injured when a passenger tried to wrest control of a bus steering wheel following an argument with the driver on the same toll road in West Java as Thursday’s accident. The bus smashed into two cars, causing a truck to roll.