Analysts said nuclear powers seem committed to retaining significant atomic arsenals, despite pursuing modest reductions since last year, Reuters reports.
Nine nations as of early this year possessed roughly 16,300 nuclear weapons, a drop of roughly 5.6 percent since 2013, according to estimates compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The decrease continued an incremental downward trend in global warhead counts over the last half-decade, the assessment indicates, noting that about 4,000 of the weapons were in active service this year.
Still, the rate of stockpile cuts appears to have slowed down, and governments around the world are pressing ahead with updates to their arsenals, according to the findings.
“Once again this year, the nuclear weapon-possessing states took little action to indicate a genuine willingness to work toward complete dismantlement of their nuclear arsenals,” issue experts Shannon Kile and Phillip Patton Schell said.
Washington and Moscow “have extensive modernization programs under way for their remaining nuclear delivery systems, warheads and production facilities,” the report states.
Other nuclear-armed nations possess less sizable arsenals, but are “either developing or deploying new weapons or have announced their intention to do so,” according to the paper.
Amid concerns about possible technological advancements in North Korea’s nuclear-arms program, the authors said there is “no public evidence to date that it has developed a sufficiently compact nuclear warhead or other key technologies for a nuclear-armed ballistic missile.”
The United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom possess nuclear stockpiles acknowledged under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The SIPRI report also designates India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel as nuclear-armed countries, though Israel has never formally acknowledged holding atomic arms.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."