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20 Killed And More Than 30 Injured In Burma's Gloden Rock Temple Blaze - 2004-01-28


Witnesses say at least 20 people have been killed and more than 30 others injured in a fire near a popular Buddhist pagoda in eastern Burma.

The fire broke out early Tuesday in an area near the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, some 160 kilometers east of the capital, Rangoon.

The pagoda attracts both Buddhist pilgrims and tourists. It is not known whether any foreigners were killed or injured.

The exact cause of the blaze has not been determined, but state media in the military-ruled country blame what they call "carelessness" on the part of shopkeepers at the pagoda complex.

More than 100 of the wooden shops at the site were destroyed.

Kyaiktiyo, also called the Golden Rock Temple, sits on a boulder atop a cliff. Legend says the boulder maintains its balance because a strand of the Buddha's hair is preserved inside the temple.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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