International Current Affairs

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  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russia on 9 july that it must take the first steps to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine and that American and European sanctions would remain in place until Moscow reversed course in the region.
  • In surprisingly blunt language just two days after presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Germany, Tillerson said Russia should use its influence with separatists in Ukraine's east to fully restore an oft-violated truce, end harassment and attacks on international monitors and pull back heavy weaponry to lines agreed upon under a two-year-old accord known as the Minsk Agreement.
  • He said a primary goal of the United States "is to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty" and that would be "required in order for the US and Russia to improve our relationship."

  • More than 120 countries approved the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons today at a UN meeting boycotted by all nuclear-armed nations.
  • To loud applause, Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the UN conference that has been negotiating the legally binding treaty, announced the results of the "historic" vote - 122 nations in favour, the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining.
  • "We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons," Whyte Gomez said. "We (are) ... saying to our children that, yes, it is possible to inherit a world free from nuclear weapons."

  • India and Israel on 5jully signed seven agreements, including three on space cooperation, following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • A Plan of Cooperation was signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) regarding cooperation in atomic clocks.
  • Both ISRO and ISA signed a MoU on cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link. ISRO and ISA signed another MoU on cooperation in electric propulsion for small satellites.
  • An MoU was signed between the Department of Science and Technology, India, and the National Technological Innovation Authority, Israel, for setting up an India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F).

  • Iraqi forces slowed their advance on Tuesday through the last streets in Mosul controlled by Islamic State where militants and civilians are packed in densely together, a commander said.
  • While Iraqi commanders predicted final victory in Mosul this week, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had begun an assault on Islamic State's Syrian redoubt in the Old City of Raqqa.
  • The Iraqi military has pushed insurgents into a shrinking rectangle no more than 300 by 500 metres beside the Tigris river in Mosul; but the resistance has been fierce.
  • The Rapid Response Division, an elite Interior Ministry unit, called in air strikes just 50 metres away from their targets, and the fighting got close enough at one point for the militants to toss a hand grenade at the troops.

  • The introduction of the world's first emergency call telephone number 80 years ago was celebrated on 1 july by police forces across Britain.
  • Now the 999 number to alert police, fire, ambulance and coast guard in emergencies is the best known phone number in Britain, reports Xinhua news agency.
  • In London, the Metropolitan Police described how in its early days at Scotland Yard, a handful of police officers transmitted 999 messages by Morse code to wireless cars.
  • Fast forward to now, and the emergency service is run from three high-tech centralized communications complexes in Bow, Hendon and Lambeth.