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US Doomsday Clock Reset Toward Danger

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 704 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... HANDS OF US DOOMSDAY CLOCK RESET TOWARD DANGER
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2002
      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 704
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.


      Reuters / Planet Ark
      USA: March 1, 2002


      CHICAGO - The keepers of the "Doomsday Clock" this week advanced its hands
      nearer to the midnight hour symbolizing nuclear weapons conflict, its
      closest since the Cold War's end, citing worries over lagging disarmament
      efforts, the security of existing stockpiles and terrorism.

      The directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine that has
      campaigned for nuclear disarmament since 1947, pushed the hands forward by
      two minutes, to seven minutes to midnight.

      It is the closest to midnight that the clock has been positioned since the
      end of the Cold War, but not as close as the record danger position - two
      minutes to midnight - in 1953 when the United States tested the first
      hydrogen bomb.

      "Despite a campaign promise to rethink nuclear policy, the Bush
      administration has taken no significant steps to alter nuclear targeting
      policies or reduce the alert status of U.S. nuclear forces," said George
      Lopez, chairman of the Bulletin's Board of Directors.

      "Meanwhile, domestic weapons laboratories continue working to refine
      existing warheads and design new weapons, with an emphasis on the ability to
      destroy deeply buried targets," he said.

      Lopez said the directors also were "deeply concerned that the international
      community appears to have ignored the wake-up call of Sept. 11. Terrorist
      efforts to acquire and use nuclear and biological weapons present a grave
      danger. But the U.S. preference for the use of preemptive force rather than
      diplomacy could be equally dangerous."

      The announcement cited what it said was a continuing U.S. preference for
      unilateral rather than cooperative action, and its efforts to impede
      international agreements designed to limit the proliferation of nuclear,
      biological and chemical weapons.

      It criticized U.S. plans to walk away from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty
      in June, and its refusal to participate in talks regarding implementation of
      the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

      It also cited a general lack of progress on nuclear disarmament, growing
      concern about the security of nuclear weapons materials worldwide, and the
      crisis between nuclear-capable neighbors India and Pakistan. It said more
      than 31,000 nuclear weapons still are maintained by the eight known nuclear
      powers, a decrease of only 3,000 since 1998.

      The new seven-minute mark is the same position at which the clock was set
      when it began appearing on the cover of the magazine in 1947. In addition to
      the magazine cover, the publication keeps an actual clock at its offices,
      and it repositioned those hands this week.

      The hands last were moved in June 1998, from 14 minutes to nine minutes to
      midnight. The clock has been reset 16 times previously. After the collapse
      of the Soviet Union, the minute hand was pushed back to 17 minutes to
      midnight in 1991, completely out of the final 15-minute danger zone.


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