The Hague: An international tribunal on Tuesday ruled against China in a bitter row over territorial claims to the South China Sea that is likely to ratchet up regional tensions.
“The tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’,” the Permanent Court of Arbitration said in a statement. All eyes were watching for reaction from the Asian political and military powerhouse, which had fired off a barrage of criticism even before the decision by the PCA in The Hague was announced.
China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital waters in the face of rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours.
Manila had lodged the suit against Beijing in 2013, saying that after 17 years of negotiations it had exhausted all political and diplomatic avenues. Beijing waged a months-long campaign to discredit the panel, which it says has no jurisdiction in the multinational dispute, and it refused to take part in the case.
The state-run China Daily topped its front page with a picture of Woody Island in the Paracels, emblazoned: “Arbitration invalid”.
English-language headlines on the official Xinhua news agency included: “South China Sea arbitration abuses international law: Chinese scholar”, “Permanent Court of Arbitration must avoid being used for political purposes” and “The sea where Chinese fishermen live and die”.
Ahead of the decision, new Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had signalled he did not want to antagonise China, saying he would not “taunt or flaunt” a favourable ruling and would seek a “soft landing” with China.
China’s claims were first enshrined in a map drawn in the 1940s with a nine-dash line stretching south from China and encircling almost all of the sea, although it says Chinese fishermen have been using it for centuries.
To bolster its position it has rapidly turned reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes. It has held naval drills between the Paracels and the southern Chinese island of Hainan in recent days. US naval destroyers have been patrolling near the Chinese-claimed Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands, supported by aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the US-based Navy Times reported.
Chinese state media have said Beijing will not take a “single step back” after the ruling, and President Xi Jinping said earlier this month that China would never compromise on sovereignty, adding: “We are not afraid of trouble.”
China had sought diplomatic support around the world, and foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said its latest backers included Angola, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea, showing that “justice and righteousness always have popular support”. (PTI)
“Who is upholding the sanctity of international law and who is breaking international law, I think people are all clear about that,” Lu said.
Manila lodged its suit against Beijing in 2013, saying China was in violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both countries are signatories. One of the key issues was whether the land features in the area are islands capable of supporting human habitation — which under UNCLOS are entitled to territorial waters and an exclusive economic zone — or rocks, which only have territorial waters, or low-tide elevations, which get neither. If none of the outcrops are islands, then none of the claimants to them would gain sole rights to major expanses of the waters around them.
“The ruling can reduce the scope of the South China Sea disputes, but will not solve them,” said analysts Yanmei Xie and Tim Johnston of the International Crisis Group in a report.
The ruling was likely to “escalate the war of words”, they said, but added: “Escalation to military standoffs is not inevitable.” China could choose to withdraw from UNCLOS, or begin building on Scarborough Shoal, which Washington would view as a provocation.
Beijing could also declare an air defence identification zone over the South China Sea, claiming the right to interrogate aircraft passing through the airspace, or try to remove a ship grounded by the Philippines on Second Thomas Shoal for use as a base. Alternatively, it could move to reduce tensions. Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told AFP on Friday that Manila hoped to open direct talks with Beijing on the dispute, and presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Tuesday: “The top priority will be national interest.” The Philippine embassy in China has warned its citizens to beware of personal “threats” and avoid political debates. Nationalist demonstrations are not rare in China, sometimes apparently with the tacit backing of authorities. More than 20 Chinese police were positioned outside the Philippine embassy on Tuesday, with more in vans nearby — a significantly larger presence than usual — along with two lorries loaded with crowd control barriers, a possible indication that authorities expected protests at the building. (AFP) KUN 07121513
Islamabad: Cricketer-turned politician and Chairman of opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan has married for the third time in a simple ceremony in London, according to media reports on Tuesday.
The news of the marriage surfaced after 63-year-old Khan in a recent interview said that he might consider marrying for the third time after his two marriages ended in divorces.
Duynia TV reported that Khan has “completed hat-trick of marriages”, a cricketing jargon used when a bowler takes three wickets on consecutive deliveries.
It said Khan married a woman belonging to Maneka family in a simple ceremony few days back in London.
Geo TV reported that Khan decided to get marry at the suggestion of female spiritualist called ‘Pinki’ of influential Maneka family from Punjab province.
Other TV channels reported that Khan was seen with his wife in London where he had gone to spent vacation with his two sons. There was no definite report about his third (would be) wife. (PTI)
Though, Geo identified her with single name Mariam. However, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party rejected the news as rumor and said he will be back soon to take up political challenges. “This is not true. We are seeing the news channels and laughing,” said Naeem ul Haq, Central Information Secretary of the party. Khan last year married for the second time when he entered in wedlock with former BBC weather girl Reham Khan, but the marriage failed to prosper and the two separated before the end of the year. His first marriage was with Jemima Goldsmith (later Jemima Khan) of UK in 1995 but they separated in 2004. PTI SH ZH AKJ ZH 07121620
Kathmandu: Prime Minister K P Oli-led coalition government in Nepal on Tuesday plunged into a serious crisis after its alliance partner CPN-Maoist Centre withdrew support to the nine-month old government, accusing him of failing to implement past agreements.
CPN Maoist chairman Prachanda announced the withdrawal of support from the CPN-UML-led coalition government, saying Oli’s party was hesitating to implement the past agreements — the nine-point agreement signed between CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre in May and the gentlemen’s agreement for the change of guard. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Prachanda referred to the promulgation of new Constitution and the past agreements, and said his party was always in favour of forging a national consensus.
He further said the party’s decision to withdraw support from the government would help build the national consensus. “Our party saw the need for national consensus to implement the new statute, complete the remaining tasks of peace process along with the transitional justice, resolve the issues raised by Madhesis, Janajatis and Tharus, and provide relief to the people and carry out reconstruction of the country in the wake of the last year’s devastating earthquake,” reads the letter.
“And the spirit of nine-point agreement that the Maoist party and CPN-UML forged in May was also national consensus,” he pointed out. “But as the leadership of the existing government was not ready to implement the nine-point agreement and the three-point gentlemen’s agreement (including change in government leadership), it would be politically inappropriate for our party to remain in this government. Thus, we withdraw our support from this government now.” Prime Minister Oli and the Maoist chief had reached a verbal agreement in May to hand over the leadership of the government to the latter after the Parliament endorses the new budget, according to sources close to Prachanda. (PTI)
Islamabad: A political party in Pakistan has put up banners across the country asking army chief General Raheel Sharif to ‘impose martial law’ and form a ‘government of technocrats’, a move analysts said strengthened the view that something was cooking up.
The banners and hoardings were erected by the ‘Move on Pakistan’ party on Monday in 13 cities including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Hyderabad, according to media reports. Unlike its earlier campaign requesting Raheel to reconsider his retirement due in November, the message is quite ominous this time, Dawn reported. A banner hanging at a traffic intersection on the thoroughfare between Chief Minister’s House and the Rangers headquarters in Karachi reads, “Janay ki baatain hui puraani, Khuda k liye ab ajao” (Talks of leaving are now old; for God’s sake now come and take over the country).
Ali Hashmi, the central chief organiser of the party, told the newspaper that “the goal of their campaign was to suggest to the army chief that after imposing martial law, a government of technocrats should be made in Pakistan and Raheel should himself supervise it”.
While the Inter-Services Public Relations remained tight- lipped on the issue, analyst Amir Rana said the latest move strengthened the view that something was cooking up.
Interestingly, the banners sprang up overnight on all major thoroughfares in the 13 cities, even in cantonment areas, despite the presence of several checkpoints and extra security.
Hashmi claimed that his party’s banners were removed in Lahore and Faisalabad. (PTI)
London: Theresa May, who will be formally confirmed as Britain’s 76th Prime Minister on Wednesday, is the daughter of a Church of England vicar and has been often compared with Margaret Thatcher.
Even before entering Downing Street, May, now 59, made history by becoming the longest serving Home Secretary in more than 100 years.
No wonder, she won substantial support from her Conservative party in the leadership race, polling 199 votes to her rival and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom’s 84.
On Monday, Leadsom withdrew from the contest.
Holding the post of Home Secretary since 2010 and an MP for Maidenhead from 1997, May became famous in early years in politics for her exuberant choice of footwear.
Her vicar father died following a car crash when she was only 25. May’s middle class background is said to be more in keeping with the last female occupant of Downing Street, Margaret Thatcher (1979-90).
May went to Oxford University for studies. There, she met her husband Philip, a president of the Oxford Union, in 1976.
Media reports say they were introduced at a Conservative disco by Benazir Bhutto, another student who would later go on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
May and Philip married in 1980. She will be the oldest leader to enter Downing Street since James Callaghan in 1976 and will be the first Prime Minister since Ted Heath who does not have children.
May, who has become a role model for aspiring female MPs, told prospective candidates before the 2015 election: “There is always a seat out there with your name on it.”
In politics, her stand on social issues gained her more prominence. She backed same sex marriage, said in 2012 that the legal limit on abortion should be lowered from 24 to 20 weeks and, along with most Conservative MPs, voted against an outright ban on fox hunting.
And with a strong personality, she firmly ruled out bringing forward the day of the next election, set for May 2020.
May has pledged to forge a new role for Britain outside the European Union. She is expected to appoint her Cabinet on Thursday. One of her first major decisions be to invoke Article 50 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty to set in motion the process of the country’s exit from the EU. (IANS)
Coburg: A woman on trial in one of Germany’s worst infanticide cases, involving eight dead babies, confessed on Tuesday to killing several of them but said she could not remember how many.
Andrea Goeppner, 45, was charged with four of the murders after the babies’ remains were found wrapped in towels and plastic bags last year in a case that revulsed the country. Asked how many of the eight she confessed to killing, her defence lawyer Till Wagler said, “it could have been two, three or four”.
Prosecutors were unable to pursue murder charges for the other four infants, as one was found to have been stillborn and three were so badly decomposed that it was unclear whether they were viable at birth. The grisly remains were uncovered last year in Goeppner’s apartment in the Bavarian small town of Wallenfels. The woman’s estranged husband, Johann Goeppner, 55, is charged with complicity for failing to stop the killings, which took place between 2003 and 2013.
In her confession, read out by her lawyer, the mother said she had given birth to each of the eight babies at home alone and had wrapped every infant in a hand towel. She would promptly suffocate any baby that moved or cried, then place the body in a plastic bag or containers and hide it in the apartment, said Wagler. Her now estranged husband described the mother as a chronic liar and compulsive shopper who stole from her mother and her children. “Through his inaction, he encouraged the accused, in all the cases,” they said. In Germany, murder carries a sentence of 15 years’ prison, while complicity carries a minimum of three years. (AFP)
New Delhi: In a significant but surprise move, India on Tuesday named senior goalkeeper PR Sreejesh as the captain of the national team for the Rio Olympics, removing long-standing skipper Sardar Singh.
Sreejesh, one of the finest custodians in world hockey at the moment, was rewarded after the team, under his leadership, ended up with a silver medal at the Champions Trophy in London, their best-ever result in the 38-year-history of the blue riband six-nation tournament.
The team played a brilliant final where they held eventual champions Australia to a goalless draw in the regulation time before losing in a controversial shoot-out.
Playmaker SV Sunil, who is also a key component in the team, has been named vice-captain. He was Sreejesh’s deputy in the Champions Trophy.
While there were rumours that Sardar’s axing was a result of his dip in form in recent times, Indian hockey team’s chief coach and High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans said the move to relieve the ace midfielder from captaincy was purely taken to free him from excess responsibilities.
“The philosophy behind changing the captain is that we felt people need to take more responsibilities on the pitch and off the pitch. Sardar was taking too much responsibilities because of which he was not performing at the level that is expected of him,” Oltmans told reporters during a gliterring fucntion organised by Hockey India to announce the men’s and women’s teams for the Rio Games.
“By changing the captain I belive Sardar will play a much better Olympic Games. Sardar took the decision (of him being removed from captaincy) very sportingly. He understands what’s required from him.”
Off the field too, Sardar had been going through tough times following allegations of rape after promising marriage were levelled against him by a British national.
Asked if Sardar’s off-field controversy bogged him down, the Dutchman reacted in affirmative.
“Of course those things did affect him,” he said, pertaining to the legal tangle that the former skipper finds himself pertaining to the rape allegation.
“For me, it is important that we perform as a team. We tried this combination of players in Champions Trophy and it worked for us. This is the time to fine tune our processes and I have complete faith in our processes. I believe in this group of players,” Oltmans said.
Oltmans also said that he believes in shared leadership.
“I need shared leadership. I need players who take responsibility on and off the field and that’s the reason I felt we need to change the captain. We changed the captain in the Champions Trophy and that’s worked out really well.”
The team has five defenders, six midfielders, four forwards and only one goalkeeper in Sreejesh.
Defender Sushila Chanu will lead the 16-member Indian women’s hockey team at the forthcoming Olympic Games to be held at Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.
Hockey India on Tuesday named Sushila as the skipper in place of Ritu Rani who was dropped from the squad by the selectors due to poor form and attitude problems.
Sushila’s colleague in the backline, Deepika will assist her as the vice-captain during the Games.
The team includes five defenders, five midfielders, five fowards and only one goalkeeper in Savita.
The women’s team includes the experience of Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Sushila, Namita Toppo and Deep Grace Ekka in the defence.The midfield will be manned by Renuka Llima Minz, Monika, Navjot Kaur and young Nikki Pradhan, while forward line consists of Rani Rampal, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thockchom and Preeti Dubey.
Just like the mens’s team, the women’s squad also has two reserve players in defender Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli and goalkeeper Rajani Etimmarpu.
This will be the first time in 36 years that Indian women’s hockey team will be participating at the Olympic Games, after stellar show at the Hockey World League Semifinals in 2015.
Indian eves’ only appearance in the Olympics till now was in the 1980 Moscow edition, but there was no qualification process back then. Speaking about the selected squad, Indian women’s hockey team’s chief coach Neil Hawgood said they have handpicked the best-available team on the basis of merit. (PTI)
London: Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday described the Indian cricket team’s newly-appointed head coach, Anil Kumble, as a “fabulous” player who will teach the players how to “win big moments”.
Tendulkar, alongside another former captain Sourav Ganguly, was part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that selected India’s highest wicket-taker and former Test captain for the coaching job.
“Anil is a fabulous player, a hard competitor who will not make any compromises on the field.
He will be out there to win each and every moment. Anil has a lot to share… everything that he has learnt from this wonderful sport having played for almost 20 years,” Tendulkar said here Tuesday.
“There are always big, crunch moments in any match and how to approach those moments is important. We may plan a lot of things but eventually execution matters.
“In sport, over a period of time what you learn is not every day you are successful, sometimes you have to face failures. “It is all about being a tough character and be able to stand back on your feet again and to compete the next day. Every day is a fresh day, new beginning.
That is something I feel Anil will teach them (players),” he said.
On a personal note, he described his experience playing alongside Kumble as “fantastic” and how the bowler had been a “big match winner”.
“To the players, I would say go out and grasp as much information from him as possible and enjoy cricket above all.
“Let it be competitive, play it in the right spirit and enjoy the game,” he said. Pressed further on former Indian team director Ravi Shastri’s disappointment having lost the job of head coach to Kumble, Tendulkar simply said “whatever we discussed in that meeting room stays confidential information”.
“Ravi’s contribution has been terrific and he’s done a fabulous job. He is someone that I have played cricket with and understood the way he approached cricket,” he added. Kumble was recently announced as the Indian team’s head coach on a year-long contract, a job Shastri had also applied for with the CAC made up of Tendulkar, Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) convenor Sanjay Jagdale.
Tendulkar also called for wickets in international cricket to be made more bowler-friendly.
“Wickets need to change. They need to be more helpful for bowlers,” he said “I see in T20 format the greatest of the fast bowlers are being reverse swept at times. In One-days, a 300 total is no more a competitive total.
“There should be at least one format in cricket where the bowlers have a better chance of executing their skills and it becomes more interesting for spectators as well,” he said.
The master batsman was asked for his thoughts on former Australian captain Ricky Ponting’s call for greater regulation of bat sizes, something he said he wanted to put “more brains behind” as he announced a new partnership with sporting gear firm Spartan International.
He explained: “I personally played with a heavy bat. That was because me and my elder brother shared one bat and it was his bat. I had to hold the handle right at the bottom so the weight was not out of control to manage.
Players make their own adjustments. “The size of the bats that I played with and those I see today are different.
It is all about developing equipment and the bats have certainly developed a lot. (PTI)
Basseterre: West Indies captain Jason Holder believes it will be a tough challenge for his young and inexperienced team to face the quality bowling and batting attack of World No. 2 India during the four-Test series starting at Antigua on July 21.
“It’s going to be a tough series. India is ranked number 2 for a reason. They have a quality batting line-up and a quality bowling as well. It will be a tough challenge for this young Test team,” said Holder.
“Our Test team is a very inexperienced one, it is one that needs time to gel together and needs time to put performances together and get to know one another a little bit more. We’re practically in a transitional phase and we’re trying to groom a Test team and it will take time.”One of the big things we fell down in the past is batting 90 overs in a day and setting up a good first innings total.
That is something I want to keep stressing in the dressing room. It is important we set the tone whether batting first or bowling first,” he was quoted as saying in ‘Barbados Today’.
Asked about his expectations from the series, Holder said: “For me I need some runs. I scored a hundred last year and haven’t had one for a while. I’m at least looking to get a century this series.
“In terms of bowling, I’m yet to get a 5-wicket haul in Test cricket. So there are a few milestones for me to look ahead to and to look to accomplish. Personally for me it is to pick up that first 5-wicket haul and to look to continue on and score some runs.”
Holder had suffered a hamstring injury in the middle of the tri-series against South Africa and Australia last month but made a come back in the penultimate game.
West Indies started their training camp on Monday and Holder said he is ready for the gruelling Test series which begins with the opening Test on July 21 at Antigua.
“Yeah, I’m ready for the series. I feel well rested and it’s work time. Again it’s a quick turnaround time, just 2 weeks at home, would’ve loved to have a bit more time off but that’s how the international schedule goes.”
Holder, who made a Test debut in 2014 before becoming the captain in 2016, said he is not too disappointed with his progress so far.
“To be fair, I’m not too disappointed with my progression. I’m still relatively young, 24 years old, and in to the international circuit full on.
Seeing where I was in 2014 to where I am now is a significant improvement.
“I probably didn’t expect to have a Test century at this stage batting at number 7 and 8 because it’s tough to get a century in those positions, so I’m not too disappointed with my progression.
“Obviously I think it could’ve been a lot better. Ideally I would like to average 35 plus with the bat and be able to pick up a few more wickets.” (PTI)
Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo will almost certainly miss Real Madrid’s first competitive game of the season as a result of the knee injury which forced him out of Portugal’s 1-0 win over France in Sunday’s final of the European football championship.
A challenge from Dimitri Payet left Ronaldo with a twisted internal ligament in his left knee, an injury which usually requires between six to eight weeks for recovery, reports Xinhua.
If tests confirm the injury, Ronaldo will not recover in time for the final of the European Supercup, a re-match of the 2014 final against Europa League winners Sevilla, to be played on August 9 in the Norwegian city of Trondheim.
Even if Ronaldo were to recover from his knee injury, the fact that he is now due to begin three weeks holiday following his efforts with Portugal, means he won’t start work with his Real Madrid companions until he joins their US tour on August 1 in New York.
That would leave him a long way behind in his physical preparation for the new season, no matter the state of his knee and with a long season lying ahead Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is not likely to take any risks with such an important player. (IANS)