On June 10, 2016 Stephane Dion, Canada’s foreign minister, addressed the UN Security Council, signaling a few policy changes. He emphasized human rights concerns in several ways, including by calling for the suspension of the veto in casestcity, as France and Mexico had urged. He also focused attention on assuring the civilian protection mandates of peacekeepers, and suggested that peacekeepers receive more adequate training before thr deployment.
Minister Dion underlined Canada’s intention to support peacekeeping operations, mediation efforts, the prevention of conflicts, and engagement in post-conflict reconstruction.
Source: Robin Collins, Pugwash
At the start of 2016 nine states—the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—held about 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons, compared with 15,850 in early 2015.
Source: SIPRI via Professor Jeremy Littlewood, Carleton U.
At the UN headquarters in Vienna, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong marked the twentieth anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by reaffirming China’s commitment on no-first-use of nuclear weapons. He also stated that “China is committed to taking the path of peaceful development and advocates for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.” He added, “We should solidify the institutional guarantee of the entry-into-force of the [CTB] treaty.”
The United States still has not ratified the CTBT, since the Republican-controlled Congress has blocked it. Harvard University nuclear policy analyst Matthew Bunn says that “if the United states ratified, it is very likely China would ratify.” Then, he says, “the United States and China would … be in a much better position to pressure India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, and Israel to ratify.”
Unfortunately, other developments involving China are ominous. Britain’s Guardian reported that “the Chinese military is poised to send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Pacific Ocean for the first time, arguing that new US weapons systems have so undermined Beijing’s existing deterrent force that it is left with no alternative.”
China’s nuclear arsenal is comparatively small-about 260 warheads, as compared to 7,000 for the US. They are presumably unnerved by the decision by the US and South Korea to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence anti-ballistic missiles system to the Korean Peninsula.
Unlike China, the US has never renounced a nuclear first strike and could obliterate the Chinese arsenal in a such a surprise attack.
Sources: Pakistan Today and Yahoo News.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has created a web site with an extensive list of past nuclear near-catastrophes. It is designed to resemble a wheel for gambling. You spin a pointer and see what horrible historical event you have come across. It’s called “Real-Life Tales of Close Calls, Screw-Ups, and Nuclear Near Misses” and is available at ucusa.org/nuclear-weapons/close-calls#V2Bopic3e21
An Anonymous hacker has been flooding Twitter accounts belonging to ISIS supporters with pro-LGBT messages and links to graphic gay porn after a gunman killed 49 in a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Hacker WauchulaGhost has claimed responsibility for changing profiles linked to the terror group and adding rainbow images and LGBT slogans-in some cases with a new Twitter handle: “Jacked by a Ghost.”
WauchulaGhost said he had posted a gay porn on more than 250 IS-linked accounts in one month, but switched to putting messages of gay pride after the shooting at Pulse nightclub.
Source: Mirror Online.
The departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan may lead to setbacks for women and girls-but not if one young Afghan man, Khan Wali Adil, can prevent it. Committed to nonviolent civil resistance, he protests outside the Afghan parliament, calling for lawmakers to end the “inhumane treatment of women.” Adil particularly wants to end forced marriages to settle blood feuds between clans in his conservative province, Paktia.
His original campaign began at home, where he went on a four-day hunger strike to protest his family’s decision to bar his younger sister from education and their reluctance to settle a land dispute. He wanted his family to give away the land they had captured from their relatives, who had also killed his brother. Such feuds are common and can last generations.
Adil is inspired by the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement led by Abdul Ghaffer Khan, an ally of Mahatma Gandhi. He now reads new books, such as Why Civil Resistance Works.
Source: Website of International Center on Nonviolent Conflict