India's cabinet Wednesday cleared the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) aiming at granting citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to six religions from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.
The bill would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainsim, Parsi and Christianity from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but would keep out Muslims from applying for the citizenship.
"Citizenship Amendment Bill has been cleared by cabinet and after introduction in the parliament, a debate on the bill will take place," Prakash Javdekar, a federal minister said during a press conference.
The bill is likely to be taken up in the Indian parliament next week.
Opposition parties have criticized the bill as contrary to secular principles enshrined in India's constitution as it excludes Muslims.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure and got it passed in the lower house of the parliament -- the Lok Sabha. However, it could not introduce it in the upper house -- the Rajya Sabha, due to vehement protests.
The bill lapsed following the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.
Gunmen opened fire at a car belonging to a Japanese physician and aid worker in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, seriously wounding him and killing five Afghans, including his bodyguards, the driver and a passenger, officials said.
The attack took place in eastern Nangarhar province and targeted Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura as he was heading to the provincial capital, Jalalabad, according to the provincial governor's spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani.
Nakamura was reported to be in critical condition and was undergoing surgery at a local hospital. After that, he would be transferred to the capital, Kabul, for further treatment, said Gulzada Sanger, the hospital spokesman.
Nakamura has headed the Japanese charity, Peace Medical Service, in Nangarhar since 2008. He came to Afghanistan after a Japanese colleague, Kazuya Ito, was abducted and killed.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the second in as many weeks targeting aid workers in Afghanistan. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State group operate across the province.
Nangarhar police said they were searching for the attackers, who fled the scene, and that an investigation was underway.
In late November, an American working for the United Nations mission in Afghanistan was killed and five Afghans, including two staff members of the mission, were wounded when a grenade hit a U.N. vehicle in Kabul.
Dozens of angry Islamists swarmed the building of an independent Pakistani newspaper in the capital, Islamabad, blocking its entrance for several hours, threatening the staff and demanding its editor be hanged.
A simultaneous protest also took place Tuesday evening in the southern port city of Karachi, where the Islamists gathered at the Press Club, demanding Dawn's editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon be hanged.
The demonstrators were angered that the English-language paper had reported that the London Bridge attacker was of "Pakistani origin".
The protest was condemned by Pakistani rights groups and members of civil society advocating for the rights of journalists.
In a statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists urged Pakistan to prevent protests against the newspaper from turning violent and investigate the death threats to its staffers.
A survey conducted in China has found that most primary and high school student respondents are interested in extracurricular reading, but many do not have time to do it.
The survey, which covered more than 30,000 primary and high school students from 30 provincial-level regions, showed that 90.4 percent of the respondents were interested in extracurricular reading and around 82 percent said they have abundant reading materials available.
However, nearly 70 percent of the students spent less than one hour reading per day, including 19.6 percent reporting less than 30 minutes of daily reading time, the China Youth Daily reported Monday.
The number of students with less than one hour of daily reading time increases the older a child is, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, 42.1 percent of the respondents spent 0.5 to less than one hour writing per week and 24.4 percent had less than 0.5 hour of weekly writing time, the report showed.
The newspaper quoted Wang Feng, deputy head of the Peking University Center for Chinese Linguistics, as saying that primary and high school students should have enough time to read and write in order to improve their skills. Schools should do systematic research and provide effective instructions on reading and writing methods.
Over 15,000 people have been affected by heavy rains in Sri Lanka while six deaths have been reported, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said on Wednesday.
Four deaths were reported from the Nuwera Eliya District, in the central highlands, which is one of the worst affected by days of heavy rains and strong winds.
Over 900 people have been evacuated to safer shelters while over 350 houses have been fully or partially damaged.
A landslide warning also remains in effect in several areas including in Ratnapura, in south central Sri Lanka and families residing in landslide prone areas have been moved to safer shelters.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday instructed officials to take immediate action to ensure the safety and welfare of the people affected by floods and landslides and further instructed all ministry officials and local government agents to coordinate with the Ministry of Defense and the Disaster Management Center to be prepared for rapid response in the event of floods, landslides and rock falls occurring due to heavy rainfall.
An order issued by the president also instructs all officials to take immediate disaster mitigation and public welfare measures.
More rains are expected in Sri Lanka in the coming days due to a low-level atmospheric disturbance in the vicinity of the island country and the Meteorology Department has warned the public to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by strong winds and lightning.
Rains of above 150 mm are expected in several areas along the north, east and southern coasts.