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Former leader given 4 days to join government

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA | The new leader of the Maldives gave the ex-president’s party four days on Thursday to decide whether to join a coalition government, hoping the move would end long-standing political divisions.

The Indian Ocean island nation, which is economically reliant on high-end tourism, has been in political turmoil since then-President Mohamed Nasheed ordered a top judge arrested earlier this year and began losing support from the security forces.

He was replaced last week by former Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, who is forming a coalition government to stabilize the country ahead of presidential elections due next year.

On Thursday, Mr. Hassan sent a letter to Mr. Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party, asking the party to inform the government of its decision before Monday, the president’s website said.

In the letter, Mr. Hassan “stressed the need to resolve the existing political rifts and to find a way forward” and hoped that “that his proposition would bring an end to the long standing divisions that had existed in the country.”

Mr. Nasheed’s party had no immediate comment to the letter, but Nasheed rejected an earlier invitation. He insists early elections should be called and has angrily claimed he was ousted in a coup at gunpoint, accusations Mr. Hassan denies.


Beijing mayor visits Taiwan amid protests

TAIPEI | Beijing’s mayor arrived in Taiwan Thursday amid protests from dozens of anti-China activists who labeled him a “human rights villain.”

Guo Jinlong, the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the island since last month’s re-election of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, was flanked by about 200 policemen after he arrived at Taoyuan airport.

But the tight security cordon did not dissuade the Tibetan and Falun Gong protesters, who shouted anti-China slogans and unveiled protest banners at the airport’s arrival lobby.

Television images showed an emotional Tibetan activist being carried away by four policemen in uniform. He was later released.

The police also blocked dozens of members of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement outlawed by the Chinese authorities, who earlier in the day filed a lawsuit against Mr. Guo, denouncing him as a “human rights villain.”

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