World Bulletin/News Desk
Russia and Japan sparred on Saturday over disputed islands that have strained their relations since World War Two, making no visible progress in talks toward a resolution weeks before Russia hosts a summit of Asian states.
Japan wants Russia to hand over four islands at the southern end of the Kuril chain that were occupied by Soviet forces at the end of the war in 1945, saying they are Japanese territory.
Moscow disagrees, and senior Russian officials have drawn protests from Japan in the past two years by traveling to the Pacific islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories.
Tension over the issue was palpable beneath the diplomatic language at a joint news conference following talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba, who was also to meet President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
"It is very sad that 67 years after (World War Two) the territorial issue is still not resolved," Gemba said, speaking through an interpreter.
"I believe that amid conditions of serious changes in the strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific region, the need to resolve this problem is becoming greater and greater," he said in an apparent reference to China's growing might.
Lavrov rejected Japanese criticism of trips by officials including Dmitry Medvedev, who made the first visit to the islands by a Russian president in 2010 and traveled there again on July 3, this time as prime minister
"We cannot accept the protests that have been heard from Tokyo about this," Lavrov said. "Russian authorities are responsible for improving the socioeconomic situation in this part of the Russian Federation and we will continue to do this."
Russia has dedicated new funds and political attention to the country's vast but sparsely populated Far East in advance of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the coastal city of Vladivostok in September.
Lavrov said dialogue on the dispute should be held "in a calm atmosphere without whipping up emotions and without artificial historical interpretations."
Gemba said he had conveyed Japan's regret over Medvedev's trip to Kunashir, one of the islands, which lies 15 km (10 miles) off the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
A nationality row has sparked a row after a Kashmiri leader refused to identify himself as Indian. Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani must declare he is Indian to receive passport.
The UN envoy has called for transparent and accountability on draft law which NGOs say might stifle freedom of expression and association.
The Thai junta have arrested opposition activists on the anniversary of the coup last year. For the Thai people, criticizing the regime is out of the question: any political gathering of more than five people could lead to imprisonment.
Unofficial armed groups are being recruited by NATO and the Afghan government in Kunduz.
Jayalalithaa Jayaram is set to return as chief minister to Tamil Nadu after she was acquitted by the Karnatka High Court this month
The western Myanmar state of Rakhine said the boat was from Thailand and the plan was to send the migrants back.
The orphaned girls of Kashmir's Gulshan-e-Banaat receive support and education but are anxious about future.
China has labelled US overflight actions as irresponsible and dangerous, after it was ordered a number of times to "go away".
US President Barack Obama has announced his decision to upgrade Tunisa's NATO status.
The AIIB Bank set up by China is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
The Turkish government has sent Turkish military ships to reach the Rohingya Muslims stranded off Thailand and Malaysia
Afghan president announces defense minister nomination after months of debate and delay
PM presents plan to become developed country with per capita income of $15,000, and middle class population of 45 percent.
The Chinese navy warned a US surveillance plane to leave the disputed south China sea area.
Thousands of Arakan refugees have left lives in Bangladeshi camps in search of opportunities in Malaysia.
The South Korean President has elected justice minister Hwang Kyo-ahn as new prime minister.