NEW YORK—Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's highly anticipated annual address to the U.N. General Assembly ended in tragedy today when an onstage pyrotechnics mishap left the Iranian president with third-degree burns covering 40 percent of his body. Soon after ascending the podium amidst flashing lights and the blaring strains of AC/DC's "Hell’s Bells," the 54-year-old leader was seen protectively cradling his head as a massive fountain of brightly colored sparks exploded directly into his face. "We tried to warn him that our venue was not suited to this kind of display, but he was insistent," U.N. facilities manager Gary Shepard said. "And the pyrotechnicians were supposed to hold off on the larger fireworks until Mr. Ahmadinejad got to his big finish about Israel." Assembled dignitaries agreed they had not witnessed such a grave disaster since 1997, when Kofi Annan’s aerial rigging snapped and sent the secretary-general careening into the delegation from Bulgaria, killing eight.
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