China Stockpiling Massive Fireworks Arsenal

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Vol 40 Issue 25

7-Year-Old Asshole Demands You King Him

COS COB, CT—On the 23rd turn of the game Monday, 7-year-old asshole Andy Scot advanced a checker to the opposite end of the board and plunked it down on a black square. "King me," the smug little bastard said, folding his pudgy arms across his sweater-vested chest. "Do it." The checkers game, which continued apace after you placed a checker on top of his, was at least a reprieve from hearing the little shit say "sorry" during the game of the same name.

Dysfunctional Family Statistically Average

MORSE BLUFF, NE—Although neighbors report that the Kenner family is "immensely troubled," recently published statistics suggest they are more or less average, sources reported Monday. "Sure, the kids are upset that Doug and Tammy are splitting up because of Doug's extramarital affairs, but that's hardly unusual," said analyst Doreen Fellows, who cited 2000 U.S. Census figures indicating that more than 60 percent of all American children are from divorced families. "Maybe the family would have fared better if not for Doreen's drinking, but the situation is far from unusual. According to the American Medical Association, 72 percent of American homes harbor someone with an addiction." Unbeknownst to the Kenners, one out of four family members will contract chlamydia in his or her lifetime.

Power-Crazed Orkin Man Burns House To Ground

ESTES PARK, CO—Neighbors and loved ones joined the former residents of 22 Everglade Pass Monday to marvel at the still-smoldering remains of the house razed by Orkin exterminator Zach Knight. "I called Orkin and told them we had ants," former homeowner Bill Danby said. "Twenty minutes later, a guy in a red polo shirt and a mask knocked on the door, told us to get out of the house, and said we should take our most precious belongings. Minutes later, we smelled smoke." That night, Danby received a phone call from an anonymous party, who warned him that "the Orkin man will be back" to perform a follow-up inspection of the property Thursday.

Horoscope for the week of June 23, 2004

You were all set to have a whirlwind week of romance and a landslide financial success, but a supernova in Cancer has changed your fortune to regular whirlwinds and landslides.

Julia Roberts Is A Pretty Pregnant Woman!

Item! Julia Roberts is going to have a baby! Actually, she's having two babies—twins! It's the beginning of a new dynasty, like the Barrymores or the Bridgeses or the Baldwins. Right when the Olson Sisters got too old to be cute, America's Sweetheart is turning out a whole new set for us to fall in love with. Congrats to Julia and her husband, Lyle Lovitz! (Hope the kids get their looks from Julia!)

Iraq's New Flag

Iraq is poised to assume self-rule, but many citizens are unhappy with the national flag unveiled in April. What are some of the flag's design elements?

Private Space Travel

Monday's SpaceShipOne flight could usher in an age of privately financed space travel. What do you think?

Coalition: Vast Majority Of Iraqis Still Alive

BAGHDAD—As the Coalition Provisional Authority prepares to hand power over to an Iraqi-led interim government on June 30, CPA administrator L. Paul Bremer publicly touted the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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China Stockpiling Massive Fireworks Arsenal

WASHINGTON, DC—Satellite photographs have revealed the recent test-detonation of several hundred extremely small explosive devices in the remote Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of Southwestern China, sources from the U.S. Department of Defense reported Monday.

Chinese officials conduct fireworks tests.

"The tests, combined with evidence that factory buildings in this area are operating at capacity, indicate a massive buildup in China's already substantial fireworks arsenal," Army festive-munitions expert Ronald Dowdy said. "We have also recorded an increase in the amount of cording, nitrides, and gaily colored paper being shipped to Jiangxi, Liaoning, and Hubei. Since China is already in possession of enough fireworks to delight the entire world 50 times over, we can only assume that they're gearing up for an imminent celebration of unprecedented size."

The Pentagon reports that the current Chinese fireworks arsenal, which is known to include land-based firecrackers, bottle-to-air rockets, and the oft-criticized M-80, is believed to hold a delighting force in excess of 10,000 megafuns—or, in the words of one expert, "almost a billion times the merriment produced by a single cherry bomb."

With the signing of the landmark international Black Cat Limitation Treaty in 1989, the Chinese government committed to slashing its fireworks production in half. As a part of the agreement, adult-supervision officials have been allowed to inspect factories in Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces, which had been converted to sparkler production in recent years.

Recent intelligence suggests that China simply shifted major fireworks manufacturing to other locations.

"These are not the innocent magic snakes, smoke bombs, and snap-pops that China is legally allowed to deploy for inoffensive purposes," Dowdy said. "These are full-blown instruments of mass recreation—whistling pinwheels, multiple-effect fountains, and single-shot shells that launch 80 feet into the air. Why, we've gotten reports of shells in excess of 50 shots, strobing starbursts, and, in the case of The Big Kahuna, multiple tiger tails. I'm not comfortable knowing that, at any time, a major American city could be jarred by a sudden flash and loud report."

According to Dowdy, the Chinese government has refused to acknowledge any violation of international law, claiming that its arsenal is not of an unusual size for the season. It has also defended its fireworks production as a part of Chinese culture.

But U.S. officials have expressed concern that the extremely portable fireworks, packaged in normal shipping containers and labeled as ordinary trade goods, could enter our country in large numbers.

"Despite strict laws limiting their use, a significant amount of Chinese-made fireworks ends up in North America every year," Department of Homeland Security domestic-affairs advisor Beth Galliard said. "We'll be patrolling the nation's rural gas stations, searching for any possible distribution points for these fireworks."

Galliard said that, while she doesn't want to be an alarmist, she has received reliable intelligence suggesting that a major fireworks-related incident on American soil is being planned for early July.

"It's frightening to think that nearly anybody could enter a populated area—say, a picnic shelter or a crowded beach—with a few fireworks and a book of matches," Galliard said. "To create utter chaos, all they'd need to do is place the device on the ground, light fuse, and get away."

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