Neighbour Briefs

China blast toll 21

BEIJING: The death toll in a fireworks explosion in southern China rose to 21 with two more people succumbing to their injuries, state media said on Sunday. The blast occurred on Friday night in Guangdong province, Xinhua news agency reported, as millions of people around the country continued to set off fireworks to mark the beginning of the Year of the Tiger. Thirteen people died in the initial massive explosion, which security officials believe occurred when a smaller blast touched off a chain reaction among a supply of fireworks, it said. The others died in hospital.

7 killed in NW Pak

PESHAWAR: Pakistani authorities slapped a curfew on a restive northwestern district on Sunday after clashes and gun fights left at least seven people dead at a religious procession, officials said. Sectarian violence erupted on Saturday in the town of Paharpur in Dera Ismail Khan district, as hundreds of Muslims rallied to celebrate Eid Milad-un-Nabi, which marks the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. Gunmen opened fire on a parade by the Barelvi sect of Sunni Muslims, killing one person on the spot and prompting the angry crowd to retaliate by attacking a

seminary of the local Deobandi Sunni sect.