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Firecrackers that produce noise but don't explode may be permitted for the 2014 Lunar New Year in Vietnam, a nation that has outlawed their use.
Vietnamese fireworks fans may have a noiser Tet than usual: the Ministry of Public Security intends to allow individuals to buy and set off "quiet" fireworks for the 2014 Lunar New Year, a first since fireworks were outlawed 18 years ago.
“Several experiments showed that these [fireworks] are safe, do not make loud bangs and do not [negatively] affect the environment,” said Major-General Tran Van Ve, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security’s administrative management of social order department, according to Thanh Nien News. “We let the sparks touch our hands and did not get hurt,” he said.
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The "quiet" or "entertainment" fireworks will be produced by Z121, a factory that's owned by the Ministry of Defense, according to VietNam Net. They use non-combustible and non-explosive chemicals to produce noise — but nothing too loud.
A black market in fireworks has sprung up in Vietnam to meet the needs of holiday revelers, with most imported from China by smugglers — and busts happen regularly.
According to the Thanh Nien News, over 100 tons of illegal fireworks were confiscated last year alone in Vietnam, while over 60 were injured by illegal firecrackers last Tet.
Fireworks aren't illegal for public use in Vietnam, however. The huge International Fireworks Competition was held in Da Nang in 2013, and featured a truly enormous display. The USA-based Melrose Pyrotechnics team eventually won the top prize. You can watch the video below.