The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

Commercial satellites reveal lively North Korean nuclear site:  Following a string of ballistic missile tests and a submarine-launched missile late last week, July 7 imagery above North Korea is revealing a flurry of movement at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in north east of the hermit state.

Photographic evidence uncovered did not indicate Pyongyang was preparing further missile tests, but did illustrate an inordinate amount of vehicles present, an increase of activity among personnel and equipment located at the site.

Experts examining the images are unable to determine if the rise in movement at the main support area or surrounding portals suggested routine maintenance of the site or preparations for another missile test.

UN rules against Beijing’s claims in South China Sea:  An international tribunal at The Hague has ruled against China’s territorial claims on the Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.

China has long claimed dominance over the islands, claiming the territory falls within their territorial sovereignty and marine rights.

In its ruling, the tribunal said no evidence existed China had no historical claim over the islands or its resources and Beijing had no legal right to a territorial claim; similarly, the tribunal also chastised Beijing for its land reclamation projects in the disputed island groups and the construction of artificial islands in the Spratly Island chain.

Denouncing the ruling, Beijing says it will not accept the judgement of the tribunal.

Government, opposition leaders in South Sudan order ceasefire:  As recent chaos in South Sudan threatened to erupt into a resumption of full-scale civil war, warring factions led by President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar have ordered troops to cease hostilities.

The two rivals have engaged in peace talks following Machar’s return to the vice presidency earlier this year.

A recent flare-up in fighting in and around Juba, the South Sudanese capital, saw 272 military personnel and civilians killed and dozens wounded.

The UN recommended the Security Council impose a weapons ban on South Sudan Monday.

Iraqi army completes encirclement of Mosul:  Three days following the recapture of the Qayara air base, Iraqi forces supported by U.S.-led airstrikes have driven the last vestiges of ISIS from Mosul’s surrounding areas.

The northern Iraqi city has been controlled by the Islamic State since June 2014.

In completing the encirclement of Mosul, Iraq’s army is said to be in the late stages of planning its final assault to re-take the city from ISIS.

The U.S. sent 560 troops to Iraq on Monday; the troops are expected to support the Iraqi army from the Qayara air base.

Syrian rebel group says Russian airstrike pounded refugee camp:  A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army has alleged Russian aircraft bombed a refugee camp at the Syrian-Jordanian border.

The attack on the Hadalat camp is said to have killed 12 refugees and injured dozens more.

Located on a desolate strip of desert near the border with Jordan, Hadalat is one of two major refugee camps along the Syrian-Jordanian border.  A similar camp, Rukban, is situated 10 miles to the north.  Both camps are temporary shelters to approximately 100,000 Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS brutality.  Jordan does not accept most Syrian refugees for security reasons.


[Reuters] [The Guardian]