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China Observes Day of Mourning for Landslide Victims

Flags flew at half-staff and all public entertainment was suspended Sunday as China observed a national day of mourning for more than 1,200 people killed by massive mudslides in the northwest a week ago.

The State Council (Cabinet) on Saturday ordered flags throughout China and at all Chinese embassies lowered to honor 1,239 people killed in Gansu province.

The official announcement said public entertainment, including all games, music shows and movies, should be suspended Sunday.

Authorities said more than 500 people are still missing in the northwestern province. Soldiers are working around the clock to clear debris from Gansu's Bailong River, to reduce the chance of further flooding with any new rainfall.

In China's southwest, landslides ravaged Wenchuan County in Sichuan province early Saturday.

Xinhua news agency quoted a local government official as saying there were no confirmed casualty reports but that 38 people are missing. Thousands of people and vehicles were stranded on blocked roads in the area.

The same part of Sichuan was hit by a massive earthquake that killed almost 70,000 people two years ago.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.