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Hilary Clinton first woman to get US Prez nominations

The Democratic convention formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president on making history by choosing a woman to be the first standard-bearer of a major political party.
•    Vince Insalaco, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas, where the Clintons built their public profile over two decades, said the choice of the first female presidential nominee was a historic moment.
•    Mrs. Clinton’s primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, played a symbolic role in hopes of unifying the party behind her. 
•    After Vermont arranged to go last in the roll call, Mr. Sanders joined its delegation to roars of “Bernie, Bernie” and called on the party to rally behind Mrs. Clinton.
•    Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton had their own brutal competition this year, and their policy differences were greater than those between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama — part of why many of Mr. Sanders’s supporters are reluctant to get behind her.

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Crime against Humanity museum opens in Bosnia

A museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide has opened in Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital Sarajevo, exploring the country's wartime history. 

•    The exhibit includes a reconstruction of a prison cell, personal belongings of victims who lost their lives, and screenings of films about the witnesses of crimes.
•    The exhibition is aimed at providing information about the Bosnian war during 1992-1995.
•    It also screens films about the war, including ‘City under Siege’ and ‘The End of Impunity - Sexual Violence before the Tribunal’ and ‘Through Their Eyes’, about victims and witnesses of crimes who overcame their fears to testify in court.
•    Journalist and film-maker Avdo Huseinovic played a major role in gathering material for the museum, which he described as modest but important.

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Nepal Prime Minister resigns from Post

Nepal's Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Oli, on 24 July 2016 resigned from his office. He resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote.
•    Oli’s resignation, who was heading Nepal’s eighth government in past 10 years, threw the nation into a fresh political turmoil.
•    Oli, 64, who became prime minister of Nepal in October 2015, has been facing a no-trust motion after the Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government.
•    Oli tendered his resignation after two key ruling alliance partners -- Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic and Rastriya Prajatantra Party -- decided to support the no-confidence motion tabled against him by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda.
•    The allies of the multi-party coalition deserted his government by accusing him of not honouring the power sharing deals that helped install him as prime minister nine months ago.
•    The constitution was termed as a democratically-framed constitution because it was conceptualized, developed and adopted by a representative Constituent Assembly.

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India and Japan have signed a Social Security Agreement (SSA) and will come into force on 1st October 2016.

Indian professionals working in Japan on short term contracts of up to six years will no longer require to make any social security contribution in that country if they continue to make such payments in India with the two countries firming up an agreement in this regard.
•    Similarly, Japanese employees posted in India would enjoy the same benefit under provisions of the Indo-Japan Social Security agreement which will come into force on 1st October 
•    Besides benefiting the professionals in each other's country, the pact will provide for cooperation in areas of labour market expansion, employment facilitation and orderly migration.
•    The Social Security Agreement (SSA) between India and Japan was signed in Tokyo on November 16, 2012 and the administrative arrangement for implementation of the pact was exchanged between the two sides on June 9.
•    India has already signed SSAs with 15 countries -- Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Austria, and Australia.

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Turkey has declared three-month state of emergency after a failed military coup to overthrow the democratically elected government.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 20 July 2016 declared a three-month state of emergency in the country. The emergency was declared in response to the failed coup that happened on 15 July 2016.
•    The decision was made following a meeting with cabinet ministers and top security advisers in Ankara.
•    While declaring the imposition of the emergency Erdogan said that the measure was being taken to counter threats to Turkish democracy.
•    A coup was attempted by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces against the incumbent Justice and Development Party in Turkey, which ultimately failed. The faction organized the coup under a council calling itself the Peace at Home Council.
•    The council attempted to seize control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere.
•    The event ended one day later when forces loyal to Erdogan achieved control of military factions that had openly projected military power against Turkey's government and military leadership.

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Permanent Court of Arbitrationhas rejected China’s claims to economic rights across South China Sea.

The Hague-based (PCA) on 12 July 2016 ruled in favor of the Philippines in a maritime dispute on South China Sea. The tribunal concluded that China do not have legal basis to claim historic rights to the bulk of the Sea.
•    The tribunal gave a ruling that China does not has the right to resources within its nine-dash line  which extends hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan and covers some 90 percent of the disputed waters.
•    The tribunal also found that none of the sea features claimed by China were capable of generating what's called an exclusive economic zone which gives country maritime rights to resources such as fish and oil and gas within 200 nautical miles of that land mass.
•    It found that they were rocks or low-tide elevations such as reefs, rather than islands.
•    The tribunal found that some of China’s activities in the region were in breach of the Philippines' sovereign rights.
The Philippines and China have longtime maritime dispute as China claims of sovereignty over large swaths of the South China Sea, and Manila took its fight to the court in 2013.

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Russian President has given his assent to the legislation consisting of a package of controversial anti- terror amendments.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2016 signed the “anti-terrorist” legislation adopted by the lower and upper houses of parliament in June 2016.
•    This anti-terror amendment is dubbed as Big Brother by US intelligence contractor turned privacy activist Edward Snowden.
•    Critics say that the measures may cost billions to the internet and telecom companies.
•    Law enforcement agencies will be granted access to any user’s messages without any judicial oversight.
•    It boosts the surveillance powers for the security services by requiring communication providers to store users’calls, messages, photographs and videos for six months, and the Metadata for up to three years.
•    They will have to provide Federal Security Service (FSB) with access to this data and any necessary encryption mechanisms necessary to use it.
•    The law also criminalises several offences and lowers the age of criminal responsibility to 14 from certain crimes.
•    It extends prison sentences for online crimes like abetting terrorism.

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South China Sea: US asks China to follow India on dispute resolution

The US has asked China to learn from India’s handling of its maritime disputes with its neighbours, ahead of a key ruling by an international arbitral tribunal on rival claims over the strategic South China Sea.
•    China has taken a position of non-acceptance and non-participation on the jurisdiction by the International Court of Arbitration in a case the Philippines has brought against China’s claims to nearly all of the South China Sea (SCS), Abraham Denmark, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia, told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
•    The court, based in The Hague, is due to give its ruling next week, raising fears of confrontation in the region. 
•    The Philippines has sought a decision from the tribunal regarding the validity of China’s nine-dash line as a maritime claim under the Convention, as well as the clarification of maritime entitlements under the Convention of South China Sea islands and other geographic features.

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US sanctions North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for human rights abuses

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on 6 July 2016 designated top officials of the North Korean regime along with Kim Jong-Un and for their ties to North Korea’s notorious abuses of human rights. 
•    This is the first time that US has sanctioned North Korean leader over human rights abuses. The designated ones include ten other individuals, and five entities.
•    They were sanctioned under the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 on the basis of its findings in its report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea.
•    OFAC has previously designated four individuals and three entities also highlighted in the State Department report. 
•    The measures freeze any property the individuals have in the US and prevent US citizens doing business with them. North Korea is already under an extensive sanctions regime for its nuclear activities, but analysts see the latest move as an escalation of US efforts to isolate the nation.

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Newly renovated and expanded Panama Canal was reopened by the Panamanian President, Juan Carlos Varela.

Newly renovated and expanded Panama Canal reopened for bigger business on 26 June 2016.
The first ship to cross the canal using the third set of locks was a modern New Panamax vessel, the Chinese-owned container ship Cosco Shipping Panama.
The 5.25 billion US dollar project was unveiled nearly two years late after construction delays, labour strife and apparent cost overruns.
The project is expected to create demand for ports to handle New Panamax ships.
•    The Panama Canal expansion project is also called as the Third Set of Locks Project.
•    The project was formally proposed by the then-Panamanian President Martín Torrijos on 24 April 2006.
•    A national referendum approved the proposal by a 76.8 percent majority on 22 October 2006.
•    The project formally began in 2007.
•    The project has built two new sets of locks, one each on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, and excavated new channels to the new locks.
•    It also widened and deepened existing channels.
•    It also raised the maximum operating water level of Gatun Lake.
•    The expansion doubled the Canal’s capacity, and has a direct impact on economies of scale and international maritime trade.
•    The project doubled the capacity of the Panama Canal by:
•    Adding a new lane of traffic allowing for a larger number of ships
(b) Increasing the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass. The new larger size of ships is called New Panamax. They are about one and a half times the previous Panamax size and can carry over twice as much cargo.
•    The Panama Canal is a man-made 48-mile waterway in Panama.
•    It connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.
•    The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama.
•    It is a key conduit for international maritime trade.
•    France began work on the canal in 1881, but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate.
•    The United States took over the project in 1904, and opened the canal on 15 August 1914.
•    The Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
•    Colombia, France and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction.
•    The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama.
•    In 1999, the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government. It is now managed and operated by the government-owned Panama Canal Authority.
•    The American Society of Civil Engineers has called the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

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