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 (heir 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.
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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 P9tentially 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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