KUALA LUMPUR/BEIJING (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that the Chinese-funded $20 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project and a natural gas pipeline project in Sabah will be canceled for now, according to media reports. Mahathir made the comments while addressing the media in Beijing during his five-day trip to China. He said the projects, would be canceled until such time as Malaysia can afford it. The Prime Minister's office confirmed the comments Mahathir made to reporters in Beijing. Prior to his China visit, Mahathir had vowed repeatedly to discuss what he called "unfair" Chinese infrastructure deals authorized by his predecessor Najib Razak, whose near-decade long rule ended in electoral defeat in May amid a massive financial scandal. Mahathir said he relayed the matter to China and they understood the problems faced by Malaysia, the New Straits Times (NST) reported. "I believe China itself does not want to see Malaysia become a bankrupt country," the NST quoted him as saying during a press conference marking the end of his China trip. The ECRL project was the centerpiece of China's infrastructure push in Malaysia but work has been suspended pending discussions over pricing and graft accusations. Project contractor, China Communications Construction Co Ltd told Reuters that more than 1,800 of the 2,250 people hired for the ECRL project had been laid off since the suspension. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that Mahathir had said during his visit that China's development was an opportunity for Malaysia. Both countries' peoples benefit from their trade and business relations, Lu said on Tuesday. "But in the cooperation between any two countries, it can't be avoided that there may be various kinds of problems, and different views at different times." Lu said such differences should be "appropriately resolved by friendly consultations", and that it was an important consensus reached by both countries. Mahathir said in a joint press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday that he believed China would sympathize with Malaysia's "internal fiscal problems". Mahathir also told the press on Tuesday that he did not bring up Low Taek Jho, the Malaysian financier wanted for his role in the multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, in his dialogue with the Chinese leaders, local reports said. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Malaysia believed Low was being harbored in China and that a request to extradite him would be high on Mahathir's agenda. Mahathir's predecessor Najib Razak is set to stand trial in February next year on charges linked to a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing related to 1MDB. (Reporting by Liz Lee and Rozanna Latiff in KUALA LUMPUR; Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; writing by Praveen Menon; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
- The State
Clarrissa Winchester died Nov. 9 when she was seven months pregnant. The baby died as well.
- Rolling Stone
Facing intense GOP pressure, Republican strongholds in Arizona are waiting until the last possible moment to certify their election results
- Business Insider
Trump Org. rests case on sour note in NY tax fraud trial after judge scolds defense over 11th-hour evidence dump
Trump's real-estate company rested its defense case in a Manhattan tax fraud trial, after getting scolded by the judge for an 11th-hour evidence dump.
- Yahoo Celebrity
Lopez and Affleck ended their engagement in 2004. "It sent me on a spiral for the next 18 years where I just couldn't get it right," the singer shared.
- Sacramento Bee
Emergency officials say ash and Pele’s hair could blanket parts of the island.
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/GettyABUJA, Nigeria—Russia’s infamous Wagner Group is freeing hardened rebels held in jail cells in the Central African Republic and deploying them overseas, including in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, two senior military officers in CAR told The Daily Beast.According to the sources in CAR, where armed rebels have controlled large parts of the country for about a decade, dozens of men held in military and police custody for crimes such as r
The family of the late Katie Meyer, formerly Stanford University’s star soccer captain, is suing the university for wrongful death, after Meyer took her life in her dorm room in February. Last week, Santa Clara County ruled that “there is no indication of foul play, and Meyer’s death was determined to be self-inflicted,” prompting Meyer’s family to file a lawsuit on Wednesday, Sports Illustrated reported.
- Touchdown Wire
The Broncos' defense seems to have had enough of carrying Russell Wilson's water.
- Fox News
Donna D’Errico rocks red silk lingerie as former 'Baywatch' star gets into holiday spirit with OnlyFans shoot
The ex "Baywatch" actress, 54, posed in her bedroom while wearing a strappy red bra with matching bottoms for a "Cyber Monday" snap shared on social media.
- Broncos Wire
Broncos fans want Russell Wilson's social media team to stop the 'tone deaf' tweets while Denver is struggling.
- Rutgers Wire
Paul Finebaum gives his four teams for the College Football Playoff.
Julia Roberts and Danny Moder's twins Hazel and Phinnaeus are 18 years old.
USMNT captain Tyler Adams graciously handled a question from an Iranian journalist about discrimination in the US
Tyler Adams was also informed that he'd been mispronouncing "Iran" by the journalist, but the American used the moment to gracefully answer a tough question.
- The Hill
Correction: An AARP poll released last week had Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leading GOP candidate Herschel Walker by 4 percentage points. Early voting is underway in Georgia in what promises to be an intense week-and-a-half of campaigning between GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Walker and Warnock were forced to…
The royal staff have a secret and pretty rude nickname for the Sussexes, and "flinch" whenever they come up in conversation.
- ABC News
Republican officials in two counties in Arizona and Pennsylvania declined on Monday to certify their midterm election results, with some citing concerns about the integrity of the voting system that have become commonplace among conservatives. Republicans on the election boards of Cochise County in Arizona and Luzerne County in Pennsylvania voted against motions to certify the election results there.
- Good Housekeeping
Heidi Klum, living legend and Halloween Queen, just posted a NSFW Instagram featuring a casual nip slip.
- NBC Sports BayArea
Deebo Samuel tweeted about former 49ers teammate Raheem Mostert in light of recent comments about the 49ers.
- Roll Tide Wire
Alabama's win over Auburn was enough to bump the Crimson Tide up in the latest USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll.
- The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama football is most likely headed to a New Year's SIx bowl game, but which one is still unknown. More will be learned after Tuesday's CFP rankings