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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ready for global disaster? Scientists leave 'Doomsday Clock' at five to midnight

The Science and Security Board of the US-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has warned UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that the hand of the Bulletin's symbolic Doomsday Clock still remains at five minutes to midnight because "the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high."

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is an online magazine that covers global security issues related to the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction and emerging technologies. It was founded in 1945 after the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


In its address, the Board, which comprises leading scientists and security experts, urged the UN to step up efforts to promote talks on further nuclear cuts.

Every year, the Board changes the position of the Doomsday Clock’s minute hand in accordance with scientists’ analysis of global threats. In 2012, the hand moved to five minutes to midnight and stood there in 2013, which symbolizes hypothetical nuclear annihilation.

The Board called on the United States and Russia restart nuclear disarmament and "take the courageous steps needed to further shrink their nuclear arsenals, to scrap their deployment of destabilizing missile defenses, and to reduce the alert levels of their nuclear weapons".

The Board is also unhappy about China, India and Pakistan moving in the opposite direction with their military nuclear programs, including the stockpiling of fissile materials.

It hopes that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident will raise global awareness of the need to move away from nuclear energy and regrets that only Germany and Switzerland are the only counties to have made strides in that direction, while others, Britain among them, consider building new nuclear facilities.

The physicists also warned that despite the fast progress of new technologies, including breakthroughs in the fields of biology and cybernetics, the world is not progressing as fast to be able to control them.

The hand of the Doomsday Clock has been moved 20 times over the past decades. In 1947, it showed seven minutes to midnight, in 1953 – just two minutes to midnight, following nitrogen bomb tests in the USA and the Soviet Union. The safest year was 1991: 17 minutes to midnight after the two superpowers agreed to slash their nuclear arsenals.

Voice of Russia, RT, Newsroom America
 http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_01_15/Ready-for-global-disaster-Scientists-leave-Doomsday-Clock-at-five-to-midnight-1342/
15/1/14 --

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