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New Asian Bank Launched

China and some 20 other Asian nations have officially launched a new international bank for Asia.

Officials signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on October 24 to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Beijing hopes the bank will challenge established institutions like the U.S.-backed World Bank.

Those taking part include regional powers India and Qatar as well as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

Those countries opting out include close U.S. allies South Korea and Australia.

China proposed the bank a year ago and has said it will provide most if not all of the initial $50 billion in capital.

The bank aims to fund the construction of roads, railways, power plants and telecommunications networks that global finance officials say are needed to keep the region's economies growing.

Based on reporting by AP