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Regional party quits India’s ruling coalition over citizenship row

NEW DELHI ( ) – A small regional party in India quit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling coalition on Monday, protest上海品茶工作室ing against his bid to give citizenship to hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims from neighboring countries such as Bangladesh.

Modi said last week his government was determined to pass a bill in parliament to relax rules for Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to become citizens of Hindu-majority India.

Critics have called the bill, to be discussed in parliament on Tuesday, an attempt by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiy,上海品茶会所Octavien,a Janata Party (BJP) to boost its Hindu voter base ahead of a national election due by May.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), based in the border state of Assam in India’s northeast, has become the fourth ally to quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance in the past year, for a variety of reasons.

Protests have erupted in recent months and on Monday in Assam, where a movement against illegal immigrants, of all religions, from Bangladesh has simmered for decades, with some residents blaming them for eating into their resources and job opportunities.

It is estimated that millions of Bengali-speaking people in Assam trace their roots to Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which won independence from Pakistan in 1971 with India’s help.

“The home minister clearly told us they will try to get this bill passed tomorrow, so there’s no question us staying with the BJP anymore,” AGP President Atul Bora told reporters in New Delhi.

The BJP has the numbers in the Assam assembly to stay ,上海品茶水磨Hal,in power in the state despite the AGP pullout, but the regional party could help galvanize anger amongst many ethnic Assamese opposed to giving citizenship to migrants who came to India after 1971.

That could hurt the BJP’s goal of sharply increasing its parliamentary seats from the northeast region of the country in the national election.

At least two of the parties that have left the BJP fold have already largely agreed to ally with the main opposition Congress, which hopes to take on Modi as a united front and says the citizenship should not discriminate against Muslims.

The BJP says it is in favor of institutionalist “constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards” to the ethnic Assamese, but also wants to give citizenship to Hindus from Bangladesh as the growth in the Hindu population of Assam had been overtaken by that of Muslims.

“We’re trying to save Assam from Jinnah,” BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, referring to Pakistan founder Muhammad ,上海外卖品茶群Gabriella,Ali Jinnah who was instrumental in carving Muslim-dominated Pakistan out of India after winning independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

China denies report of bailout offer for scandal-plagued Malaysian…

KUALA LUMPUR ( ) – China on Tuesday rejected a Wall Street Journal report that said Chinese officials had offered to bail out scandal-ridden Malaysian state fund 1MDB and try to get the United States and other countries to drop their corruption probes into the fund.

The Journal, citing minutes of meetings between Chinese and Malaysian officials, reported on Monday that the offers were made in 2016. In return, Malaysia offered China lucrative stakes in railway and pipeline projects for Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure initiative, the report said.

In a statement in response 上海品茶工作室to the Journal report, the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lump,上海品茶会所Balthazar,ur said China never attaches political conditions to its cooperation with other countries.

“China has all along adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of any other country. We do not accept any groundless accusations made against China,” the embassy said.

1MDB, founded by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, is the subject of corruption and money laundering investigations in at least six countries.

The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates.

The scandal was a key reason for the shock ouster of Najib in last year’s election, which saw the return of Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

Najib has since been charged with corruption over 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied wrongdoing.

In a statement issued on his Facebook page late on Tuesday, Najib denied the allegations made in the Journal report. He said China had never offered to bail out 1MDB, and he defended the cost of i,上海品茶群二维码Gabe,nfrastructure,上海外卖品茶群Radley, projects awarded to China.

Since coming to power in May, Mahathir’s government has accused the Najib government of inflating the cost of Chinese deals. The new administration has paused more than $20 billion worth of projects awarded to Chinese firms, pending review.

Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would study the allegations made in the Journal report.

“I have to refer back to any details explicitly said. If it was said in black and white, then it is something we will pursue,” Lim was quoted as saying in Malaysian media.

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