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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 January, 2005, 08:08 GMT
Chinese fireworks blast kills 25
Map showing the location of Shanxi province
An explosion at a fireworks factory in northern China has killed 25 people and injured nine, state media reports.

Most of the dead were women workers at the Xiangliu factory in Xiangfen county in the northern province of Shanxi, the official Xinhua news agency says.

Police are searching for the factory owner, who disappeared after the blast.

Several hundred people die each year in Chinese firework factories, many in unregulated and substandard premises.

Correspondents say the number of accidents always increases as production is stepped up for the New Year celebrations, which this year are due next month.

In another explosion, a man was killed making fireworks at his home in eastern Anhui province.

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