The Nuclear Horns Continue to Grow (Daniel)

China, India, North Korea and Pakistan expanding their nuclear arsenals

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The global number of nuclear warheads dropped last year, but it seems China, India, North Korea and Pakistan are expanding the size of their atomic arsenals, a Swedish arms watchdog said Thursday.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said developments in North Korea’s nuclear program “contributed to international political instability with potentially serious knock-on effects.”

SIPRI said that as of January 2017, nine countries — the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — together had about 14,935 nuclear weapons, down from 15,395 a year earlier.

SIPRI, in its latest yearbook, listed North Korea as not having any deployed warheads but with 10 to 20 “other warheads” which include “operational warheads held in storage and retired warheads awaiting dismantlement.” The watchdog said the North Korean figures were uncertain. “North Korea continues to prioritize its military nuclear program as a central element of its national security strategy,” it said.

It said Israel has 80 warheads — the same number as the previous year — and noted that “Israel has a policy of not commenting on its nuclear arsenal.”

“Recent steps in the nuclear disarmament field are encouraging,” said Shannon Kile, head of SIPRI’s Nuclear Weapons Project. “The groundwork laid in 2016 has been built on in 2017, with 122 states approving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the U.N. in July 2017.”

“The so-called ban treaty is potentially an important milestone on a long-term path toward nuclear disarmament,” he added.

More generally on global security issues, SIPRI noted positive developments such as the entry into force of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and a United Nations General Assembly resolution to start negotiations in 2017 on eliminating nuclear weapons.

However, one issue remains a major challenge to human security: forced displacement.

The institute said Africa and the Middle East “together currently host over two-thirds of the world’s displaced population,” adding the number of people displaced last year has “increased significantly” to more than 60 million.

Armed conflicts were the main reason for the displacement crises, SIPRI said in its 48th edition of its annual yearbook.

New Jersey #1 Disaster State: The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

States of danger

Kiplinger News

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Disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. But some places experience more than their fair share of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and severe weather — so much so that certain locales earn frightening nicknames, such as Tornado Alley. No matter where you live, make sure you have the right kinds and necessary amounts of insurance coverage to protect your finances.

  • Estimated property damage (2006-2013): $26.4 billion
  • Most frequent disasters: damaging wind, winter storms, floods and flash floods
  • Weather-related fatalities (2006-2013): 87

New Jersey earns the top spot on this list, in large part due to damage wrought by Sandy — which had weakened from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone by the time it the Jersey Shore — in October 2012. The state was among the hardest hit by Sandy, which was the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina. Many homes and businesses were destroyed along the Jersey Shore, and a portion of the Atlantic City Boardwalk washed away. Shortly after Sandy hit, another storm brought wet snow that caused more power outages and damage.

Homeowners who live along the coast or in areas where there are frequent storms should take steps before hurricane season begins to protect their homes and finances from damage.