UN: Nuclear ban treaty rued by US to enter into force
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations announced Saturday that 50 countries have ratified a U.N. treaty to ban nuclear weapons, thereby triggering its entry into force in 90 days, a move hailed by anti-nuclear activists but strongly opposed by the United States and the other major nuclear powers.
As of Friday, the treaty had 49 signatories, and the United Nations said the 50th ratification from Honduras had been received.
U.N. Secretary- General Antonio Guterres commended the 50 states and saluted “the instrumental work” of civil society in facilitating negotiations and pushing for ratification, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the nuclear ban treaty, said: “This moment has been 75 years coming since the horrific attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the founding of the U.N. which made nuclear disarmament a cornerstone.”
The 50th ratification cameon the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the U.N. Charter which officially established the United Nations and is celebrated as UN Day.
The treaty requires that all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices — and the threat to use such weapons -- and requires parties to promote the treaty to other countries.
Once it enters into force all countries that have ratified it will be bound by those requirements.
The United States had written to treaty signatories saying the Trump administration believes they made “a strategic error” and urging them to rescind their ratification.
The U.S. letter, obtained by The Associated Press, said the five original nuclear powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France— and America’s NATO allies “stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions” of the treaty.
Pence top aide tests positive:
A spokesman said that Vice President Mike Pence will continue with his aggressive campaign schedule after his chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday.
Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley says Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, both tested negative for the virus on Saturday and remain in good health.
Short is Pence’s closest aide and the vice president is considered a “close contact” under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. O’Malley said that “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”
Those guidelines mandate that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.
1M Californians could losepower:
Northern California officials urged residents to leave homes in the hills, secure backyard furniture and other loose items and have an evacuation plan ready ahead of powerful winds that could lead to widespread electricity outages and leave more than 1 million people in the dark.
Pacific Gas & Electric said it could black out customers starting Sunday in 38 counties to prevent the chance of sparking wildfires as bone- dry, windy weather returns to the region. In the San Francisco Bay Area, customers in every county except for San Francisco could see their power shut off.
The safety shutoffs were expected to begin as early as Sunday morning and last into Tuesday, affecting 466,000 homes and businesses, or more than 1 million residents, assuming between two and three people per home or business customer.
Death penalty sought for Peterson:
California prosecutors have said they again will seek the death penalty for Scott Peterson even as a county judge considers throwing out his conviction for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, because of juror misconduct during a 2005 trial that riveted the nation.
Stanislaus County Assistant District Attorney Dave Harris announced that it is prosecutors’ intention to retry the penalty phase of the case, spokesman John Goold said after a court hearing. He said prosecutors otherwise won’t comment or discuss the decision.
France recalls envoy:
France recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said President Emmanuel Macron needed mental health treatment and made other comments that the French government described as unacceptably rude.
Erdogan questioned his French counterpart’s mental condition while criticizing Macron’s attitude toward Islam and Muslims. His remarks at a local party congress were an apparent response to statements Macron made this month about problems created by radical Muslims in France who practice what the French leader termed “Islamist separatism.”
Kyrgyzstan elections: Authorities in Kyrgyzstan on Saturday called an early presidential election for January after the nation’s previous president was driven from power by protests triggered by a disputed vote.
The Oct. 4 parliamentary election was swept by progovernment parties and triggered protests by the opposition, who rejected the official results as rigged. Demonstrators freed several opposition leaders, including Sadyr Zhaparov, whowas quickly named the new prime minister.
On Oct. 15, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov was forced out under pressure from demonstrators and Zhaparov became the acting head of state in Kyrgyzstan, one of the poorest countries to emerge from the former Soviet Union.
The developments marked the third time in 15 years that a leader of the Central Asian country on the border with China has been forced out by a popular uprising.
Tropical depression forms:
A tropical depression formed Saturday afternoon south of Cuba amid forecasts that the system would become a named tropical storm later this weekend and possibly a hurricane, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The Miami-based center said Tropical Depression 28 emerged about 255 miles south- southeast of the western tip of Cuba. At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm had top sustained winds of 30 mph and was moving toward the north-northwest at 2 mph.
Vatican summit: Vatican Swiss Guards, wearing masks to curb the spread of COVID-19, leave the St. Damaso courtyard after Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s meeting with Pope Francis on Saturday. Francis met with Sanchez at the Vatican, which has had a rash of infections, but neither man used a mask during the public part of their meeting.