India’s most ambitious unmanned mission to the moon launched successfully, six days after the previous lift-off had to be halted due to a technical snag. The country’s heaviest rocket, the Geo Synchronized Launch Vehicle Mark III, carrying the Chandrayaan 2, a three-component spacecraft comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, blasted off from Indian Space Research Organization’s space port in Sriharikota, an island in Andhra Pradesh at 2:43 pm local time on July 22.
About 16 minutes after launching, the 43.43m rocket released the 3,850 kg Chandrayaan-2 into orbit. It will take about 48 days to land on the moon surface. The mission will traverse 384,000 km before landing on the moon’s south pole, an unexplored region of the celestial body, on September 6. The launch week coincided with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, that shot American astronaut Neil Armstrong to worldwide fame.
Britain announced plans to develop and deploy a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz in light of Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the waterway last week. Briefing Parliament on the budding crisis, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused Iran of “an act of state piracy” that must be met with a coordinated international reaction.
Iranian officials have suggested the Stena Impero was seized and taken to an Iranian port in response to Britain’s role in seizing an Iranian oil tanker two weeks earlier off the coast of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located on the southern tip of Spain. Iran’s foreign minister says his country seized the British-flagged Stena Impero because it was violating “international law on safe passage” in the Strait of Hormuz.
To nobody’s surprise, Boris Johnson was elected new Conservative leader in a ballot of party members, and will become the next UK prime minister. He beat Jeremy Hunt comfortably, winning 92,153 votes to his rival's 46,656. The former London mayor takes over from Theresa May on July 24.
In his victory speech, Mr Johnson promised he would "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn". Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, he said: "We are going to energise the country. We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do. We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self doubt and negativity."
South Korea said its jets fired warning shots at a Russian surveillance plane that entered its airspace on July 23. Officials said the plane twice violated the airspace over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands, which are occupied by South Korea but also claimed by Japan.
South Korea's ministry of defence said it scrambled fighter jets in response and fired 360 machine-gun rounds.
Russia denied violating the country's airspace. Moscow said two of its bombers carried out a planned drill over "neutral waters" and denied any warning shots were fired by South Korean jets. But Japan then confirmed its military had also deployed fighter jets in response to the Russian incursion. Russia later said it had been conducting its first joint long-range air patrol in the region with China.