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27 Jan 2017

Nuclear 'Doomsday Clock' 2.5-mins closer to midnight after Trump's statements

The US-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its symbolic "Doomsday Clock" 2 minutes 30 seconds closer to midnight.

This comes after US President Donald Trump's statements on nuclear weapons and climate change.

The clock is a symbol for how close humanity is to "midnight", a metaphor for destroying the earth.

The Bulletin contains several scientists and intellectuals, including 15 Nobel laureates.

In context

Trump statements push world closer to doomsday
What is the 'Doomsday Clock'


What is the 'Doomsday Clock'

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is a non-profit founded in 1945 by scientists from the secretive Manhattan Project that created the world's first nuclear bomb.

They were concerned about atomic weapons and created the clock in 1947.

The minute hand of the clock is updated every year after a review of the predominant threats facing the world.

Why the 'Doomsday Clock' was moved

The move comes after "a rise in strident nationalism worldwide, President Donald Trump's comments on nuclear arms and climate issues, a darkening global security landscape that is coloured by increasingly sophisticated technology, and a growing disregard for scientific expertise," the Bulletin said.

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Apocalypse looming?

'Doomsday Clock' closest to midnight in 53 years

The Bulletin said last time the clock was moved closer to midnight was "in 1953 after the then Soviet Union exploded its first hydrogen bomb, creating the modern arms race."

In 1953, the clock was two minutes from midnight.

"Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person," it said, referring to Trump.

Bulletin said Trump must accept climate change is real

The Bulletin said: "The Trump administration needs to state clearly, unequivocally it accepts climate change caused by human activity…There are no alternative facts here."

Future at risk

Bulletin asks Trump, Putin to reduce nuclear stockpiles

The Bulletin has called on Russia and the US, both of whom have the world's largest nuclear weapon arsenal, to focus on reducing their stockpiles.

"President Trump and (Russian) President Putin, who claim great respect for each other, can choose to act together as statesmen or act as petulant children risking our future," it added.

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