‘Doomsday Clock’ closest to midnight since Cold War over nuclear threat

Scientists on Thursday moved ahead by half a minute the symbolic Doomsday Clock, saying the world was at its closest to annihilation since the height of the Cold War due to world leaders’ poor response to threats of nuclear war.

It was the second occasion the timepiece, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as an indicator of the world’s susceptibility to cataclysm, was moved forward since the 2016 election of U.S. president Donald Trump.

At two minutes to midnight, the clock is at its closest to catastrophe since 1953, due to dangers of a nuclear holocaust from North Korea’s weapons program, U.S. Russian entanglements, South China Sea tensions, and other factors, the Chicago-based group said in a statement

“Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions on both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation,” the group said of North Korea’s nuclear program and the Trump administration’s response to it.

Unchecked dangers linked to climate change were another factor scientists cited for moving the clock forward.

An overarching concern was what scientists described as the demise of diplomacy under the Trump administration.

”International diplomacy has been reduced to name-calling, giving it a surrealistic sense of unreality that makes the world security situation ever more threatening,” they said.

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