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Forum cancels gala to mourn bus fire victims

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12:48, June 16, 2013

XIAMEN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The opening gala of the 5th Straits Forum was canceled on Saturday to pay tribute to the victims of a deadly bus fire last Friday in the forum's host city of Xiamen, its organizers said.

The decision to cancel the event scheduled on Saturday evening was to express grief over the deaths, extend condolences to the victims' families and show respect to the injured, said Chen Ling, a spokeswoman for the forum.

Other activities related to the forum will be held as scheduled, according to Chen.

A bus in Xiamen burst into flames on an elevated road on June 7, killing 47 people and injuring 34 others. Police suspected a man, who also died in the fire, of committing the arson.

This year's forum is scheduled from June 15 to 21 in southeast China' s Fujian Province, featuring an array of activities on grassroots exchanges between Taiwan and the mainland, including a main conference in Xiamen as well as sub-forums and seminars in cities across the province.

The activities will be attended by thousands of delegates from all of the island's 22 regions, representing different fields, including non-governmental societies, political groups, labor unions, youth, women, religious and commercial sectors.

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