5 international stories of the week

<p>Irina and Anastasia Lagutenko walk with their son, Dorian, at a playground July 2, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Their 2017 wedding wasn’t legally recognized in Russia. <strong>(AP Photo)</strong></p>

Irina and Anastasia Lagutenko walk with their son, Dorian, at a playground July 2, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Their 2017 wedding wasn’t legally recognized in Russia. (AP Photo)

Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.

The debate on whether to make face masks mandatory, U.S. Marines in Japan being infected with the coronavirus, China's sanctions against American politicians, the rejection of China's claims in the South China Sea and Russia's constitutional change against same-sex marriages make up this week’s five international stories.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask, boards an ambulance during a visit to the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust July 13, 2020, in London. (Ben Stansall/Pool via AP)

Time to make masks mandatory? It’s not just a US debate

Whether to make masks mandatory isn’t just a matter of debate in the United States, where infection rates are still climbing fast. Amid pervasive backsliding on social distancing, Britain and France are weighing whether to require people to wear masks in public places. Scientists say the two countries’ governments should have done so ever since they started easing lockdowns, like many other European nations, instead of exposing their populations to the risk of infections.

Read more: Virus Outbreak

This Jan. 27, 2018, aerial file photo shows U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa, southern Japan. On July 11, 2020, Okinawan officials said dozens of U.S. Marines have been confirmed to have infected with the coronavirus. (Kyodo News via AP, File)

Okinawa governor wants tougher action as 61 Marines infected

The governor of Japan’s Okinawa island demanded a top U.S. military commander take tougher prevention measures and more transparency hours after officials were told that more than 60 Marines at two bases have been infected with the coronavirus over the past few days. Okinawa is home to more than half of about 50,000 American troops based in Japan under a bilateral security pact, and the residents are sensitive to U.S. base-related problems.

Read more: Japan

On July 13, 2020, China said it will ban entry to U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sam Brownback, ambassador at large for international religious freedom, over their criticism of the ruling Communist Party's policies toward minority groups and people of faith. (AP Photo)

China sanctions Cruz, Rubio, Smith, Brownback for criticism

China said Monday it will impose sanctions on three U.S. lawmakers and one ambassador in response to similar actions taken by the U.S. last week against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Muslims in the Xinjiang region. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Rep. Chris Smith and Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback were targeted, as was the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Read more: China

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Groups steam move in formation July 6, 2020, in the South China Sea. On July 6, China accused the U.S. of flexing its military muscles in the South China Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton/U.S. Navy via AP)

US to reject nearly all Chinese claims in South China Sea

U.S. officials say the Trump administration is poised to escalate its actions against China by stepping squarely into one of the most sensitive regional issues dividing them and rejecting outright nearly all of Beijing’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea. In the move expected as early as Monday, the administration will present the decision as an attempt to curb China’s assertiveness in the region with a commitment to recognizing international law. 

Read more: South China Sea

Irina and Anastasia Lagutenko's 2017 wedding wasn’t legally recognized in Russia. Any hopes of them being officially married vanished when voters approved a package of constitutional amendments, one of which stipulates that marriage in Russia is only between a man and a woman. (AP Photo)

Russian constitution change ends hopes for same-sex marriage

The possibility for same-sex couples to officially be married in Russia vanished July 1 when voters approved a package of constitutional amendments, one of them stipulating that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Although Russia decriminalized homosexuality decades ago, animosity against the gay community remains high and attacks on them persist. They lack, and probably never will receive, those rights accorded to heterosexual couples.

Read more: Russia


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