China began a three-day national mourning period on Monday for the victims of last week’s earthquake in Sichuan, which is now believed to have killed more than 30,000 people, state media reported. The government announced that public entertainment would be suspended, flags kept at half-mast and the domestic leg of the Olympic torch relay put on hold. A three-minute public silence is scheduled for 2.28pm on Monday, exactly a week after the earthquake struck, during which air raid sirens and car, train and ship horns would all "wail in grief," according to Reuters. Trading on the country’s stock and futures exchanges was also scheduled to halt for three minutes, Reuters reported. State television presenters marked the day by wearing black clothes while state-run newspapers published black mastheads with no color pictures. As rescue and recovery efforts continued in the worst-hit areas, a fresh tremor killed three people and injured a further 1,000. The official death toll from the original quake now stands at 32,500, with 220,000 people reported injured and 9,500 thought to be still buried under the rubble. About 4.8 million people have lost their homes. Donations from home and abroad have exceeded US$858 million.
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