Top news stories for today – July 12, 2016
Philippines wins South China Sea case
An international tribunal in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that China has no legal or historical claim to the South China Sea, and its activity in the area has violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights.
China has long claimed exclusive control over about 90 percent of the waters, and the case was originally filed by the Philippines in 2013 after China took over a reef that both countries said belonged to them.
In its ruling, The Permanent Court of Arbitration said China’s activity in the area, from disruptive fishing to building artificial islands, had caused “severe harm” to the environment. The case is considered “an important crossroads in China’s rise as a global power,” says The New York Times. China did not participate in the tribunal and has said it will ignore the ruling. The New York Times, CNN, The Week
N Korea closes only communication channel with US
North Korea said Monday it has decided to close its only direct diplomatic link with Washington, a move made days after the United States slapped sanctions on the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and other officials over human rights abuses.
Pyongyang and Washington do not have formal diplomatic relations, but North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York has acted as the main communication conduit between the two countries. Now it will deal with “DPRK-US relations under the wartime law of the DPRK,” according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state-run news agency.
The US sanctions announced last week marked the first time Washington sanctioned Kim personally. Administration officials said Kim was “ultimately responsible” for what they called “North Korea’s notorious abuses of human rights.” CNN
Venezuela seizes US owned factory
The government of Venezuela has said it has seized a factory owned by the US firm Kimberly-Clark. The firm had said it was halting operations in Venezuela as it was unable to obtain raw materials. But the labour minister said on Monday that the factory closure was illegal and it had re-opened “in the hands of the workers”.
Kimberly-Clark, which makes hygiene products including tissues and nappies, said it had acted appropriately. Over the weekend it became the latest multinational to close or scale back operations in the country, citing strict currency controls, a lack of raw materials and soaring inflation.
General Mills, Procter & Gamble and other corporations have reduced operations in Venezuela as the country is gripped by economic crisis and widespread shortages of basic household goods. BBC
12 killed in Italy train crash
Twelve people have been killed and dozens more hurt in a head-on collision involving two passenger trains in southern Italy, reports say. The two trains were on a single-track line at the time of the crash, between the coastal towns of Bari and Barletta. Emergency services are trying to free passengers from the wrecked carriages near the town of Andria.
“I think there are many dead,” local police chief Riccardo Zingaro told Rai TV. Some of the carriages were extensively damaged, he said. There were fears the number of deaths could rise further. One of those rescued from the wreckage was a small child who was airlifted to hospital. BBC
Pregnancy multivitamins are a waste of money
Pregnancy multivitamins are a waste of money because most mothers-to-be do not need them, according to researchers. In Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, researchers say they looked at all evidence and found supplements did not boost the health of mothers and babies.
But pregnant women should make sure they take folic acid and vitamin D, as well as eating a well-balanced diet, as per NHS guidelines, they add. Supplements-makers said some women were not getting enough nutrients.
The researchers said folic acid had the strongest evidence to support its use – taking 400 micrograms a day can protect against abnormalities called neural tube defects in the developing baby. Vitamin D – 10 micrograms a day – is recommended for healthy bones in the mother and baby. Some women can get these two pills for free on the Healthy Start scheme.
A supplement that can be dangerous in pregnancy is vitamin A. Too much can harm the baby. BBC
US Presidential election
Bernie Sanders expected to endorse Hillary Clinton at rally: Bernie Sanders will endorse Hillary Clinton at her Portsmouth, New Hampshire, rally on Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign confirmed to The Associated Press. Sanders and Clinton had said via email that they will be discussing “their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.” Sanders has held off on endorsing Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, while he successfully got issues such as climate change and $15 minimum wage included in the Democratic platform. The Associated Press, The Week
Trump said last week’s violence just the beginning: Donald Trump on Monday warned the violence of last week “might be just the beginning for this summer,” during an interview addressing recent tensions across the country. “We are in a divided nation,” Trump told the Associated Press. “I looked two nights ago and you were having trouble in 11 different cities, big, big trouble. And the press actually plays it down. I mean, you were having big, big trouble in many cities. And I think that might be just the beginning for this summer.” Two separate instances last week of police killing black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, led to protests across the country. And a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas, turned fatal after a gunman killed five police officers— the deadliest attack on police since 9/11. CNN
Trump, Bill Maher and Miss Pennsylvania, The ‘I’ll sue you’ effect: Say something bad about Donald Trump and he will frequently threaten to go to court. “I’ll sue you” was a Trump mantra long before “Build a wall.” But an analysis of about 4,000 lawsuits filed by and against Trump and his companies shows that he rarely follows through with lawsuits over people’s words. He has won only one such case, and the ultimate disposition of that is in dispute.
The Republican presidential candidate has threatened political ad-makers, a rapper, documentary filmmakers, a Palm Beach civic club’s newsletter and the Better Business Bureau for lowering its rating of Trump University. He’s vowed to sue multiple news organizations including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and USA TODAY. He didn’t follow through with any of those, though he did sue comedian Bill Maher, an author over a single line in a 276-page book, and Miss Pennsylvania. USA Today
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