News



DATE=5/14/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-40383
TITLE= DOOMSDAY CLOCK
BYLINE= MICHAEL LELAND
DATELINE= CHICAGO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  INDIA'S DECISION TO TEST SEVERAL NUCLEAR DEVICES COULD 
RESULT IN THE KEEPERS OF THE SO-CALLED "DOOMSDAY CLOCK" MOVING 
ITS HANDS CLOSER TO MIDNIGHT.  THE CLOCK APPEARS ON THE COVER OF 
THE CHICAGO-BASED "BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS," AND IS 
CONSIDERED A SYMBOL OF HOW CLOSE THE WORLD IS TO GLOBAL 
CATASTROPHE.  MORE FROM V-O-A'S MICHAEL LELAND.

TEXT:  THE CLOCK ON THE COVER OF THE BI-MONTHLY "BULLETIN OF THE 
ATOMIC SCIENTISTS" HAS READ 14-MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT SINCE 1995.  
EDITOR MIKE MOORE SAYS THE BULLETIN'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS WILL 
MEET IN EARLY JUNE, AND AMONG THE ITEMS ON THE AGENDA WILL BE 
WHETHER TO MOVE THE MINUTE HAND A LITTLE CLOSER TO MIDNIGHT.

                      // MOORE ACT #1 //  

         THE INDIAN TESTS ARE VERY LIKELY TO RAISE A LOT OF 
         CONCERN AMONG THE BOARD MEMBERS.  WE MAY VERY POSSIBLY 
         MOVE THE HAND OF THE CLOCK, UNLESS BY THEN WE KNOW THAT 
         INDIA IS READY TO SIGN THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN 
         TREATY.

                          // END ACT //

NEITHER INDIA  NOR  NEIGHBORING PAKISTAN HAS SIGNED THE 1996 
GLOBAL NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY, ALTHOUGH THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT 
HAS INDICATED IT IS WILLING TO RE-OPEN TALKS ON THE TREATY, IF IT
WERE ACCEPTED AS A NUCLEAR STATE.  

                      // MOORE ACT #2 //  

         IF THAT IS TRUE, IF THEY ACTUALLY JOIN THE TREATY, THAT 
         WOULD BE A PRETTY POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT.  WE WOULD ASSUME
         THAT PAKISTAN WOULD PERHAPS TEST A WEAPON OR TWO AND 
         THEN JOIN THE TREATY, AND THE ARMS RACE WOULD BE FROZEN.

                          // END ACT //

MR. MOORE POINTS OUT RESETTING THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK HAD ALREADY 
BEEN PLACED ON THE NEXT MEETING'S AGENDA BEFORE INDIA CONDUCTED 
NUCLEAR TESTS.  THAT IS BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES HAS STILL  NOT 
RATIFIED THE 1996 TEST BAN TREATY, AND BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN 
LITTLE PROGRESS IN NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT. 

                      // MOORE ACT #3 //  

         THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA ARE REALLY  NOT  GOING VERY
         FAST IN CUTTING DOWN THE NUMBERS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  
         BETWEEN THEM, THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA STILL HAVE 
         ABOUT 35-THOUSAND BOMBS AND WARHEADS IN VARIOUS STATES 
         OF READINESS.  BOTH SIDES HAVE MANY WEAPONS ON 15-MINUTE
         ALERT.

                          // END ACT //

THE CLOSEST THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK HAS EVER BEEN TO MIDNIGHT WAS IN 
1953, WHEN THE UNITED STATES TESTED ITS FIRST HYDROGEN BOMB.    
THE MINUTE HAND WAS MOVED TO TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT.  THE 
BULLETIN'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS NEXT MEETING IS JUNE FOURTH AND 
FIFTH.    (SIGNED)

NEB/MJL/MMK

14-May-98 12:55 PM EDT (1655 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.