Fireworks in Beijing kill 2 celebrating New Year

Chinese state media reports say two people have been killed and more than 220 hurt in Beijing by fireworks set off to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The official Xinhua New Agency said Friday that the traditional fireworks frenzy in the capital from late Wednesday through Thursday killed two men who were setting off shoddy fireworks and injured 223. It says most suffered eye injuries.

The tradition of setting off fireworks to ward off evil spirits results in injuries and fires every year, with the biggest fire this time gutting a five-star hotel in northeast China. There were no casualties.

Xinhua says more than 20,000 street cleaners were needed to clean up an estimated 2,380 tons of exploded fireworks in Beijing.