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China's cold snap lingers

BEIJING, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The cold snap that began New Year's Day in several central and southern Chinese provinces is likely to maintain its grip for another week, forecasters say.

The frigid weather has driven up grocery prices in some cities while cutting off supplies to others, China's official news agency, Xinhua, reported Wednesday.

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"It's a really bad start to the New Year," said farmer Xu Xinquan, who grows vegetables in Yangliu village.

More than 100 primary schools in Guiyang's Yuyan District and Kaiyang County were forced to suspend classes due to safety concerns, local education officials said.

A tap water pipeline in Youyang County froze, cutting off water to 85,000 residents.

An isolated mountain town in Ziyuan County saw prices rise 20 percent for radishes and 50 percent for chilies after freezing weather closed all four area highways.

A spokesman for the local Communist Party said the highway closures are a problem because the town has to have all its groceries trucked in from a neighboring city.

Authorities in the capital city of southwestern Guizhou province placed a cap on the price of cabbage and radishes Wednesday to prevent the two most common Chinese dinner vegetables from becoming unaffordable.

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