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Hi, we're your new neighbors!

There are "grand opening" celebrations with balloons, ribbon cuttings, and giveaways to the first 100 customers who come through the door. And then there's what happened at noon one day last week in Shanghai, China. To call attention to its shiny new operation in an industrial park on the outskirts of the city, Shanghai Daneng Biscuit Foodstuff Co. decided against inviting in the public or setting off the strings of firecrackers that Chinese customarily use on auspicious occasions. Instead, employing some outside-the-box thinking, the company's executives chose to shoot a cannon load of confetti into the sky. Almost immediately , a 10,000-volt overhead power line blew up, knocking out 18 transformers. Scores of factories, office buildings, and homes in three residential neighborhoods went dark. People were stranded between floors in stalled elevators. A sewage pumping station shut down. The chaos was blamed on some nylon strapping that was mixed in with the shredded paper and wrapped itself around the cable, causing a short-circuit. It took five hours for a 50-man crew to restore electrical service. As for Shanghai Daneng Biscuit's fellow occupants of the industrial park, they're demanding compensation for damaged machinery and lost production.

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