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Beijing Resumes Ban on Firecrackers
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Beijing has resumed the ban on firecrackers Monday, and those unsold are being collected and transported outside the city proper, a local newspaper the Beijing  News reported on Tuesday.

As of this morning, the eight districts in the downtown area have collected all the residual fireworks in the designated stores and are removing them to the outskirt storehouses, said sources with the municipal fireworks affairs office.

During the Spring Festival from Jan. 29 to Feb. 12, Beijing had 600,000 boxes of firecrackers in stock, but only 270,000 boxes were sold out, according to the statistics by the fireworks affairs office.

The Beijing Firecrackers and Fireworks Company alone bought 400,000 boxes from other provinces, earning 55 million yuan (US$6.8 million) in sale, said the company sources.

The amount of the burned firecrackers can not be figured out, but information from the city's public sanitation department shows about 264 tons of fireworks scraps had been swept out by Monday morning.

"We will offer some souvenirs, including the 2008 Olympics mascots Friendlies, for exchange of the residents' unburned firecrackers in the Dongcheng District," said an official with thefireworks affairs office.

Last September, Beijing lifted a 12-year ban on fireworks, allowing residents to set off firecrackers in designated areas during the Spring Festival and other traditional festivals.

The sale, started on January 22 in the city's 2,116 stores, came to an end on Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2006)

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