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Toxic Liquor Kills 29 In India’s Gujarat State



The police say 29 people died after consuming toxic liquor in India’s western state of Gujarat.

The victims were mostly villagers from the Botad district, officials at the police control room said.

Preliminary laboratory tests indicated that chemicals including methanol were present in the liquor mix, regional police official Ashok Kumar Yadav said.

Three people have been arrested so far and investigations are underway.

A large amount of suspected spurious alcohol has been seized in raids.

The tragedy first came to light when villagers who consumed the liquor on Sunday night were admitted into hospitals in the area early on Monday.

There were at least 30 people in serious conditions being treated, NDTV news channel reported.

Manufacture, consumption and sale of alcohol are banned in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

There are some government-authorized liquor shops from where residents with special health permits and foreigners can buy alcohol.

This is the second major incident where spurious liquor has caused a large number of deaths in the past year.

No fewer than 30 people died in the eastern state of Bihar in November.

In Bihar, there was also an alcohol ban, which some critics said encouraged the peddling of illegal and often tainted alcohol that was brewed without any regulation.

The illegal liquor trade thrives in India because it is much cheaper than commercially produced alcohol.

Hundreds of people, mostly the poor, die every year after consuming such toxic alcohol.

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Foreign news

Chinese foreign minister resolutely rebukes G7 statement over Taiwan region



Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday slammed the so-called statement of the G7 foreign ministers and the EU high representative over China’s Taiwan region following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, saying it “calls white black.”

Wang made the remarks as he attended the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

The joint statement issued on Wednesday, claimed China’s “escalatory response” to Pelosi’s visit risks increasing tensions across the Taiwan Strait while calling on China not to “unilaterally change the status quo by force” in the region.

The Chinese foreign minister refuted the G7’s groundless accusations against China’s reasonable and legitimate initiatives to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The statement of the G7 foreign ministers calls white black, confuses right and wrong, and makes groundless accusations against China’s reasonable and lawful measures to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity. How do they have such rights? Who gives them that right?” said Wang.

He pointed out it is the U.S. who stirs up trouble, provokes crisis and continues to escalate tensions, adding U.S. blatant provocation has set a bad precedent.

“If there is no correction and no countermeasures, will the principle of non-interference in internal affairs still exist? Should international law be upheld? How should regional peace be guaranteed?” Wang asked.

He also called on the international community to oppose any moves challenging the one-China principle, and unite to safeguard peace and stability in the region. 

Speaking at a regular press conference on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also lashed out at the G7 countries over its so-called statement, saying the hypocrisy and ugliness of the G7 have been fully exposed as they have turned a blind eye to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit before it happened, but have now jumped up to accuse China when it is taking actions of justice.

Hua reiterated that China has the right to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying U.S. acts seriously undermined the one-China principle as well as China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The fundamental cause of the current tension across the Taiwan Strait is that the U.S., who in disregard of China’s strong opposition and solemn representations, connived at the visit of the No. 3 official of the U.S. government to China’s Taiwan region aboard a U.S. military aircraft,” she stressed.

Responding to the claim in the G7 statement that “it is normal and routine for legislators from their countries to travel internationally,” Hua said that China always firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the region of Taiwan and countries who have diplomatic relations with China, and the one-China principle is an important political foundation for the seven countries to establish diplomatic ties with China.

The heads of the legislatures of the seven countries are supposed to follow the foreign policies that the governments acknowledge and commit to, she noted.

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