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Flags to fly at half-mast next week in wake of fatal accidents

TAIPEI -- Flags will be flown at half-mast for three days in Taiwan next week to mourn the deaths in the Kaohsiung explosions Thursday night and the plane crash in Penghu a week earlier, Premier Jiang Yi-huah said Friday.

Jiang made the announcement in Kaohsiung where he was surveying the damage caused by a series of gas explosions overnight, in which at least 25 people were killed and 267 others injured.

The accident followed a TransAsia Airways crash in the outlying county of Penghu on July 23, which killed 48 of the 58 passengers and crew members on board.

The period of half-masting will last three days, beginning Aug. 5, the premier said.

Flags flew at half-mast in Taiwan in Sept. 1999, following a massive earthquake in central Taiwan that killed more than 2,400 people, and again in 2009, after some 680 lives were lost in landslides and floods caused by Typhoon Morakot.

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