International Current Affairs
Brazil Declared ‘Measles-Free’
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Brazil free of measles in July, 2016, after no case of the disease was registered in the year of 2015.
- Brazil saw no domestic cases of measles from 1985 to 2000, although it broke out in 2013 in the north-eastern States of Pernambuco and Ceara.
- The WHO had worked alongside the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) to stamp out the disease.
- Measles can be transmitted orally, through mucus or saliva and mainly affects children. It can be spread rapidly through the air due to sneezing or a cough, and the first symptoms appear after 10 days with red spots on the skin.
China Unveiled World’s Largest Amphibious Aircraft
- China inaugurated the world’s largest amphibious aircraft to fight forest fires and perform marine rescue missions on July 23, 2016.
- The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes, a maximum flight range of 4500 km, and it can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, according to state aircraft maker the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
- The plane is part of a massive program to modernise China’s armed forces, the world’s largest, which includes the development of aircraft carriers, anti-satellite missiles and stealth fighters.
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State of Emergency Declared in Turkey
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month State of emergency following a botched coup attempt on July 20, 2016.
- The schools and other institutions are suspected by Turkish authorities of having links to Gulen, who has many followers in Turkey. Gulen denies any involvement in the coup attempt in which at least 246 people were killed.
- The State of Emergency announcement needs to be published in a State gazette and lawmakers have to approve it for it to take effect.
- Turkey imposed emergency rule in the South-East in 1987, allowing officials to set curfews, issue search and arrest warrants and restrict gatherings as the security forces fought Kurdish rebels. It was gradually lifted by 2002.
International Tribunal Rejected Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea
- The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an international tribunal in the Hague, delivered a decision on China’s behavior in the South China Sea, including its construction of artificial islands, and found that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis on July 13, 2016.
- In its most significant finding, the tribunal rejected China’s argument that it enjoys historic rights over most of the South China Sea. That could give the governments of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam more leverage in their own maritime disputes with Beijing.
- It was the first time the Chinese government had been summoned before the international justice system.
- The tribunal also reiterated that China had violated international law by causing ‘irreparable harm’ to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine fishing and oil exploration.
Peru Declared Zika Emergency
- Zika health emergency across the northern half of their country after confirming that 102 people have been infected with the virus on July 13, 2016. The 90-day emergency was announced on Wednesday in the official gazette.
- The cases detected so far include 34 pregnant women. Zika is seen as a cause of microcephaly i.e., abnormally small heads and brains in babies.
- A major Zika outbreak in neighbouring Brazil, where nearly 1600 babies have been born with the birth defect, has prompted concerns for athletes and visitors ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
- In adults and children it usually causes only mild, flu-like symptoms and a rash. But, it has been linked to neurological problems such as a pptentially fatal paralysis known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
- The NATO summit held in the Polish capital Warsaw in early July made public the fact that NATO perceives Russia to be a bigger threat than terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
China Completed Asia’s Longest Tunnel
- China has completed Asia’s longest 16 km single tunnel with double tracks for high-speed trains in the country’s North-West Shaanxi province on July 8, 2016.
- The tunnel, the longest of its kind in Asia, cuts through the Qinling Mountains. It is part of a high-speed rail line that links Xi’an, the provincial capital and Chengdu in China’s South-West Sichuan province.
- The 643 km line, with a designed speed of 250 km/h, will slash the travel time between the two cities from 16 hours to just three hours.
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