World Bulletin/News Desk
Several Japanese nationalists landed on Sunday on a rocky island in the East China Sea at the heart of a territorial row with Beijing, with protests in several Chinese cities also indicating ties were worsening between Asia's two biggest economies.
Tokyo and Beijing have been feuding for decades over the island chain, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, near potentially huge maritime gas fields.
Tensions flared last week after seven of a group of 14 Chinese activists slipped past Japan's Coast Guard to land on one of the uninhabited isles and raise a Chinese flag.
Japan, keen to avoid a rerun of a nasty feud that chilled economic and diplomatic ties in 2010, deported the activists within days, but the dispute still rankles.
Relations have long been plagued by China's bitter memories of Tokyo's past military occupation and Tokyo's concerns about Beijing's rising clout.
On Sunday, about nine of a group of more than 100 Japanese nationalists who sailed to the island chain swam ashore early on Sunday to one of the islets and waved Japanese flags.
Three Japanese Coast Guard vessels were nearby, a Reuters TV journalist on board one of the group's boats said.
The nine activists later swam back to their boats and were being questioned by Japanese Customs officials.
China had urged Japan to "stop the action that seeks to undermine China's territorial sovereignty" over the islands.
On Sunday, more than 100 protesters gathered near the Japanese consulate in southern Guangzhou, waving Chinese flags and banners urging the Japanese to leave the islands, Xinhua news agency reported.
Protesters also gathered in the cities of Shenzhen, Qingdao and Harbin, the news agency said.
Japan's government had denied the group permission to land on the islands, which it leases from private Japanese citizens.
"This is a way of saying to not mess around," Toshio Tamogami, a leader of the Japanese group, said before the flotilla set sail on Saturday.
The flotilla includes several members of parliament and local lawmakers.
"We hope to convey ... both to China and the Japanese people that the Senkaku are our territory," Tamogami said.
The renewed maritime tension with China has parallels with Beijing's other recent tangles with Southeast Asian countries over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China's expanding naval reach has fed worries that it could brandish its military might to get its way.
The Sino-Japanese row has intensified in recent months since the nationalist governor of Tokyo proposed that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buy the isles, prompting the central government to make its own bid to purchase them instead.
Japan's ties with South Korea, where resentment over its 1910-1945 colonisation still remains, have also frayed since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited an uninhabited island claimed by both countries.
About 30 South Koreans held a ceremony on Sunday to unveil a monument on one of the barely inhabited islands, which are known as Dokdo in South Korea and as Takeshima in Japan.
The 1.2-metre tall monument is engraved with the Korean word for "Dokdo" on the front and "Republic of Korea" in Lee's handwriting on the back.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, his ratings in tatters ahead of an election that may come soon, faces domestic pressure to take tough stances with Japan's neighbours over the island disputes.
This is despite deep economic links and efforts by Seoul and Tokyo, both close U.S. allies, to forge closer security ties.
90 percent of the party's 6,250 members had backed al-Bashir's bid in the next presidential elections
Tunisia's first democratic legislative elections since its independence from France in 1956 has begun.
The ministry said the Gaza Strip had nothing to do with events unfolding in Egypt, apparently in reference to a deadly attack in Egypt's Sinai
The death of the first case of Ebola in Mali made Algerian authorities realize that the virus was getting closer to Algeria's southern border
Voting started on a cold but sunny morning in Kiev in the first parliamentary election since street protests n the capital last winter forced Moscow-backed leader Viktor Yanukovich to flee
Flooding was knee-deep in the streets, and the water penetrated houses and shops.
Bahah said he would assign Houthis, who have been controlling the Yemeni capital since September 21, the petroleum, electricity, insurance, higher education, culture and justice portfolios
Groups of Taliban militants storm police checkpoints; leaving 19 Taliban dead and seven in local police.
Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, a conservative pro-Taliban Deobandi cleric and head of Jamiat Ulema Islam -- one the country’s two mainstream religious parties -- narrowly escaped an attack.
Tunisians are expected to cast ballots in the elections inside Tunisia on Sunday. Around 5.2 million Tunisians, including 360,000 living outside the country, have the right to vote in the elections
Soldiers exchanged heavy fire with the militants, whose exact affiliation was unclear, and had surrounded them by midday, security sources said
A Kurdish intelligence officer in Zumar said peshmerga forces had advanced from five directions in the early morning after coalition air strikes on ISIL positions
458 candidates, including 97 women, find their way to provincial council seats; IEC Chairman blames delay in announcing results to technical problems
The United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution granting observer status to the Developing-Eight, or D-8.
The Palestinian youths pelted Israeli troops with stones and empty bottles, but the troops responded by firing teargas and birdshot, wounding ten Palestinians and making dozens of others experience temporary asphyxiation
More than 36 million citizens are set to vote and choose among 29 political parties in Sunday's early general election.