Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

32 Killed as a Candle Prop Sets Light to Packed Theatre; World at a Glance

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

32 Killed as a Candle Prop Sets Light to Packed Theatre; World at a Glance

Article excerpt

.A CANDLE fell over and set fire to a crowded theatre in the Egyptian town of Beni Suef last night, killing at least 32 people and injuring 38.

The candle, a prop in the play Hamlet at an experimental theatre festival in the town, set fire to carpeting and spread rapidly to the rest of the building. Beni Suef is in the Nile valley, 60 miles south of Cairo.

Adel Hassan, the producer, said about 100 people were watching the Shakespeare play in a small auditorium with only one exit.

"All the people rushed to the exit and struggled to get out. But the fire spread very rapidly and many of them just couldn't get out in time," he told reporters. The one-storey theatre, attached to the town's state-run cultural centre, was burned to the ground within an hour.

The head of the local public prosecution office, Mohamed Safwat, said he had ordered an immediate investigation.

Mandelson warning on 'bra wars'

. EU TRADE Commissioner Peter Mandelson today warned EU nations not to scupper the fragile "bra wars" deal with China. The agreement has yet to be ratified by member states and there are fears France and Italy could object.

In Beijing, Mr Mandelson said: "Textile quotas are gone forever."

The face-saving deal was struck as Tony Blair continued his two-day visit to China. Mr Blair today held further talks with the Chinese on trade and climate change, and oversaw the signing of a multimillion pound deal for China to buy 10 Airbus aircraft, securing thousands of British jobs.

Another sign of Europe's growing links with Beijing came as foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the EU planned to lift a 16-year arms embargo against China but had not decided when to do so.

Picture of the day

. EMERGENCY workers carry away the dead after a helicopter accidentally dropped a 750kg (1,600lb) tub used to carry concrete on a cable car at an Austrian ski resort. …

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