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Doomsday Clock Warning Makes UN High Level Conference Even More Important

By Alyn Ware*

Photo: António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, at the Security Council meeting on Non-proliferation/Democratic People's Republic of Korea on December 15, 2017. Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias.

NEW YORK (IDN) – The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the symbolic Doomsday Clock to 2 Minutes to Midnight, on January 25, indicating that the threat of a nuclear war through accident, miscalculation or intent has risen to an alarming level, and that climate change is not being averted.

The Bulletin highlighted nuclear threats between the U.S. and North Korean governments, including "hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions on both sides." They also lamented "the decline of U.S. leadership and a related demise of diplomacy under the Trump administration". [P 34] GERMAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF 

Two Minutes to Midnight on Doomsday Clock

By the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Image credit: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN-INPS) – Citing growing nuclear risks and unchecked climate dangers, the iconic Doomsday Clock is now 30 seconds closer to midnight, the closest to the symbolic point of annihilation that the Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War.

The decision announced on January 25 to move the Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight was made by the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board in consultation with the Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel Laureates.

ICAN Chief Shows Japan the Way From a Blind Alley

By Katsuhio Asagiri

Photo: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) close to the main building of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which ICAN Chief Beatrice Fihn visited, and wrote in the Museum's guestbook:

TOKYO (IDN) – "I wish for all states, in particular Japan, to join the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. No more hibakusha," wrote Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), on a message board at the opening of an exhibition on January 12 at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

The exhibition marked the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN on December 10 in Oslo, "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons." [P 33] GERMAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF  | KOREAN TEXT VERSION PDF

Successful Test Firing of India's Agni-5 Evokes No Fury

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Photo: India's longest range nuclear capable missile Agni-5 was successfully test fired from the Kalam Island off Odisha coast on January 18 by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Source: NDTV

BANGKOK (IDN) – The successful launch of the nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-5 on January 18 has hardly been noticed in Asia. The western media however have given it coverage focusing on India's ability now to strike major Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

This partly adulatory coverage is in sharp contrast to hysteria in the western media in particular when North Korea tested a similar missile on November 28, 2017. While North Korea’s tests are projected as threats to global denuclearization efforts, India's are not. [P 32] BAHASA | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF | MALAY | THAI  

Kazakh President Offers Astana as Venue for Disarmament Negotiations with North Korea

By Santo D. Banerjee

Photo: Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan and President of the Security Council for the month of January, addresses the Security Council meeting on Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, with a focus on confidence-building measures. 18 January 2018. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – In the run up to the fiftieth anniversary of the UN inviting nuclear haves and have-nots to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on July 1, 1968, Kazakhstan has proposed a set of six measures aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and offered a platform for disarmament negotiations with North Korea.

The initiative has been launched on January 18 at the high level briefing of the Security Council which focused on the theme of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: confidence-building measures convened by Kazakhstan in its capacity as the Council President for the month of January. And this at a point in time when, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres says, "global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War." [P 31] ARABIC | TURKISH | URDU  | JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF 

Iran Nuclear Deal Is Menaced by Trump's Cynical Gambit

By Kelsey Davenport

Photo: The ministers of foreign affairs and other officials from the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran while announcing the framework of a Comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme. April 2015. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The writer is director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, where it first appeared on 17 January.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN-INPS) – President Donald Trump’s Jan. 12 decision to waive sanctions on Iran keeps the United States in compliance – for the time being – with its obligations under the multilateral nuclear deal with Tehran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump’s ultimatum that Congress pass legislation to unilaterally address what he describes as "flaws" in the agreement is based on flawed assumptions. His demands are unrealistic and put the future of the accord in doubt.

NATO Demands Cause Headaches in Iceland

By Lowana Veal

Photo: U.S. Navy Poseidon P-8A at Keflavik. 8 November 2017. Credit: b737.org.uk

REYKJAVIK (IDN) – In February 2016, the U.S. government started discussions with its Icelandic counterpart on the possibility of carrying out necessary changes to the doors of the NATO hangar at Keflavik airport so that newer, larger submarine reconnaissance planes could be housed there. The matter was eventually concluded in December 2017, when the U.S. government agreed to funding.

The hangar is located in the security zone of the old U.S. military base, “Naval Air Station Keflavik”, and the reconnaissance planes in question are of the Poseidon P-8A type, designed to track the increased presence of Russian nuclear and conventional submarines in waters around Iceland – the so-called Greenland, Iceland and United Kingdom (GIUK) Gap. [P 30] JAPANESE TEXT VERSON PDF | NORWEGIAN | PORTUGUESE

U.S. Decision to Respect Iran Deal Obligations Averts Self-Made Crisis But Uncertainty Persists

By J C Suresh

Photo credit: Arms Control Association

TORONTO (IDN) – One day after the European Union reiterated its commitment to support "the full and effective implementation of the agreement" with Iran, the Trump Administration announced on January 12 that it will continue to waive sanctions on the Islamic Republic in accordance with U.S. commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The agreement between the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Donald Trump’s Nuclear Posture Rather Menacing

By Daryl G. Kimball

Photo: President Donald Trump joined by Vice President Mike Pence meets with members of the Republican Legislative Leadership on January 5 at Camp David. Credit: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

Daryl G. Kimball is Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. This article first appeared with the caption 'Trump’s More Dangerous Nuclear Posture'.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN-INPS) – Just one year ago, Vice President Joe Biden delivered an address touting the progress achieved during the Obama years to reduce the salience and number of nuclear weapons and curb their spread.

Biden argued that “given our non-nuclear capabilities and the nature of today’s threats, it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary. Or make sense. President Obama and I are confident we can deter and defend ourselves and our allies against non-nuclear threats through other means.”

Landmark Vatican Conference on Nuclear Disarmament Brings a Breeze of Expectation

By Ramesh Jaura

Photo: The Vatican Conference in session. Credit: Katsuhiro Asagiri | IDN-INPS.

The following article is based on an interview with Hirotsugu Terasaki, the Director General of Peace and Global Issues of the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI), in Tokyo, Japan. SGI was the sole Buddhist organization that participated in the Vatican Conference on nuclear disarmament on November 10-11, 2017.

BERLIN | ROME (IDN) – There was an air of surprise when religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of State and international organizations, eminent academics, Nobel Laureates, and students, gathered in the Vatican City against the backdrop of an escalating face-off between the U.S. and North Korea.

Surprise because for the first time the Vatican's newly created Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development was hosting a Conference on the 'Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament'.

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