News ID: 92719
Publish Date : 26 July 2021 - 21:57

MOSCOW/TOKYO (Reuters) -- Russia rejected what it said was a hostile Japanese diplomatic protest following a visit to a disputed island chain on Monday by the Russian prime minister, saying he could go wherever on Russian territory he wanted.
A top Japanese government spokesman said earlier on Monday that Tokyo was lodging an official diplomatic protest over the visit by Mikhail Mishustin to one of four Russian-held islands to which Japan lays claim. The territorial dispute over the islands dates to when the then-Soviet Union seized them at the end of World War Two, and has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty. Russia’s foreign ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador in Moscow to protest over Tokyo’s behavior. “Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov conveyed a strong protest to the Japanese side in connection with hostile steps taken by official Tokyo in recent days,” the ministry said in a statement. The Kremlin said it valued and wanted to improve relations with Tokyo but saw nothing wrong with Mishustin’s trip.

MUMBAI (Reuters) -- Rescue teams in India were digging through thick sludge and debris on Monday to find over 60 people trapped in landslides caused by torrential monsoon rains that have so far claimed more than 160 lives four days. The western states of Maharashtra and Goa, as well as Karnataka and Telangana in the south are the most affected by heavy rains that have flooded croplands over thousands of hectares and forced authorities to move over 230,000 people to safer places. In Maharashtra, 149 people have died mainly in landslides and other monsoon related accidents, while another 64 are still missing, the state government said in a statement. Rescuers couldn’t reach affected villages quickly because approach roads were cut off by overflowing rivers and landslides, officials said.

LA MADDALENA (Guardian) -- Firefighters are working to put out wildfires that have spread quickly across parts of south-western Sardinia, destroying 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of forest and forcing 1,500 people to be evacuated from their homes. Many agricultural businesses and private properties have been damaged by the fires, which began on Saturday in the province of Oristano. The EU on Sunday sent four firefighting planes, including two Canadair planes provided by France, to support 11 aircraft working to extinguish the fires raging close to 13 towns. Efforts have been hampered by strong and hot winds. Newspapers in Sardinia described the fires as “apocalyptic”, with the damage equaling or potentially eclipsing that caused by wildfires in 1983 and 1994.

WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- At least 430 people died in at least 915 shootings that took place across the United States last week, according to ABC News and the Gun Violence Archive. Also, 1,007 people were wounded in the shootings that occurred between Saturday, July 17, and Friday, July 23, according to ABC. The stunning numbers are indicative of the surge in gun violence across the country. Last year marked the deadliest year for shooting-related incidents in the U.S. in at least two decades with over 43,000 gun deaths, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that tracks gun violence data. The number of gun-related deaths, however, is likely to eclipse that record this year, as over 24,000 gun fatalities have been recorded in 2021. More than 800 of the 24,000 individuals, who have been killed in shootings this year, were under the age of 18, according to the Gun Violence Archive. And 174 of them were under 12 years old, data shows.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Reuters) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will become the first member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to visit Southeast Asia this week, seeking to emphasize the importance Washington places on fortifying ties in the region while pushing back against China. The United States has put countering China at the heart of its national security policy for years and the Biden administration has called rivalry with Beijing “the biggest geopolitical test” of this century. Six months into his presidency, however, Southeast Asian countries are still looking for details of Biden’s strategy as well as his specific plans for economic, trade and military engagement with the Indo-Pacific.

CARACAS (Reuters) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that he was aiming to begin a dialogue with the country’s political opposition next month in Mexico facilitated by Norway, a process he hoped the United States would embrace. In May the opposition changed strategy and indicated its willingness to return to negotiations to resolve the political crisis in OPEC member Venezuela. In June, top diplomats in Washington, Brussels and Ottowa said they would be willing to revise their sanctions on Maduro’s government if the dialogue with the opposition led to significant progress toward free and fair elections. “I can tell you that we are ready to go to Mexico,” Maduro said in an interview on the state-funded Telesur television network. “We have begun to discuss a complicated, difficult agenda.” Opposition groups have said they are willing to negotiate the conditions for presidential and parliamentary elections with Maduro’s government. Maduro, in turn, has said he wants the negotiations to focus on the lifting of U.S. sanctions targeting the financial and oil sectors.

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