The United States had no immediate reaction to a lawsuit filed by a nation where it staged nuclear tests early in the Cold War, Reuters reports.
The Marshall Islands on Thursday announced legal actions against Washington and eight other governments it charged with “flagrant violation of international law,” and demanded action by the countries to comply with international disarmament commitments.
The plaintiff country pursued legal steps specifically against Washington at the Federal District Court in San Francisco, and against all nine known and presumed nuclear-capable nations at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Marshall Islands provided no advance warning to the governments it is suing, the Associated Press reported. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not respond on Thursday to a question on the legal steps, according to Reuters.
The 46-year-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty requires signatories in possession of atomic arsenals — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — to pursue “good faith” talks on nuclear disarmament.
In its case against the United States, the island republic called on Washington to act within 12 months of a possible favorable ruling “to comply with its obligations … including by calling for and convening negotiations for nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.”
The complainant said Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea also are “bound by [the treaty’s] nuclear disarmament provisions under customary law,” even though they are not part of the nonproliferation regime.
The case prompted a skeptical initial reaction from Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear weapons.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said he had not reviewed details about the island nation’s legal actions, but suggested that its case against countries outside the Nonproliferation Treaty “doesn’t have any legal legs.”
What We're Following See More »
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.
According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.
"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.
"The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems." Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson earlier this month conferred with state election officials, offering his department's assistance in scanning for vulnerabilities."