UN: Nu­clear ban treaty rued by US to en­ter into force

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NEWS BRIEF­ING -

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.

ALESSAN­DRA TARANTINO/AP

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.

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