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SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Thursday rejected remarks by former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda that Beijing had expressed willingness to improve ties between Asia's two biggest economies, and said there was "no change" in its policy on Tokyo. Relations between China and Japan have been frayed by rows over the legacy of Japan's wartime militarism, a territorial feud over tiny islands in the East China Sea, and mutual distrust over defense policies. China's foreign ministry was asked to respond to a speech on Wednesday in which Fukuda described his recent meetings with Chinese leaders, and added that both sides had shown the same sense of crisis over Sino-Japanese ties. "Japan must face up to reality, show sincerity, take concrete actions and make efforts to eliminate political obstacles that affect the development of bilateral relations," Qin added, in a statement on the foreign ministry's website.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues to accelerate", the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. The epidemic in the region, the deadliest since the disease was first discovered in 1976, has killed nearly as many people as all the previous known outbreaks combined.
France's president on Thursday rejected any cooperation with Bashar al-Assad whom he accused of being a "de-facto ally" of jihadists wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, and urged a "humanitarian and military" response to the threat. Speaking at an annual Paris gathering of ambassadors from around the world, Francois Hollande touched on crises in both countries as well as those rocking Ukraine and Libya -- all of which he said affected France directly.