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Archive for the ‘treaties’ category

Jan 21, 2021

U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Coming into Force

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, treaties

Tokyo, Jan. 21 (Jiji Press)—The U.N. treaty to ban the production, possession and use of nuclear weapons has started taking effect in countries that ratified it by October last year.

Among the 50 signatories, Kiribati and other island countries in the South Pacific became the first to see the nuclear weapons ban treaty coming into force on Friday, the day of effectuation in respective time zones.

The landmark international treaty was adopted in 2017 with support from 122 nations and regions at the initiative of nonnuclear weapons states frustrated with long-stalled disarmament talks. It met the requirement of having 50 member states as Honduras ratified it in late October.

Dec 27, 2020

Planetary Protection Policy: For sustainable space exploration and to safeguard our biosphere

Posted by in categories: alien life, geopolitics, habitats, policy, sustainability, treaties

COSPAR’s Planetary Protection Policy ensures scientific investigations related to the origin and distribution of life are not compromised.


Protecting the Earth from alien life sounds like the latest plot for a blockbuster thriller set in outer space. Whether it’s an invasion or a mysterious alien illness, the extraterrestrial threat to our planet has been well-explored in science fiction. But protecting the Earth from extraterrestrial contamination is not just a concept for our entertainment; as we explore further across our solar system and begin to land on our neighbouring planetary bodies, ensuring that we don’t bring potentially dangerous material home to Earth or indeed carry anything from Earth that may contaminate another planet is a responsibility we must take seriously.

So, who is responsible for ensuring that our space exploration is completed safely? Many nations around the world have their own space agencies, such as NASA and the European Space Agency, who run many different types of missions to explore space. States are responsible for their space activities under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, including governmental and non-governmental actors. The Outer Space Treaty, among several provisions, regulates in its Article IX against harmful contamination. One of the core activities of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) is to develop, maintain, and promote a Policy on Planetary Protection, as the only international reference standard for spacefaring nations and in guiding compliance with Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty.

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Nov 26, 2020

Nuclear prohibition: Changing Europe’s calculations

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, law, military, nuclear weapons, treaties

In October, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) reached the 50 ratifications needed to become international law. Beatrice Fihn and Daniel Högsta look at how European governments can use the TPNW to advance nuclear disarmament.

Nov 17, 2020

The new space rush: Avoiding the hidden costs of profiting in space

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, geopolitics, space travel, treaties

There is some precedent for international treaties regarding the exploration of other worlds, most-notably the Outer Space Treaty of 1976 or the Artemis Accords. But these amount to little more than non-aggression pacts. The COSPAR convention came closer to what is needed by declaring the inherent hazards to science and terrestrial life that go with exploring other worlds. However, at present, such documents merely recommendations to governments and industry. There are no current means for enforcing the guidelines.


Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, talks with Commercial Crew astronauts and the current NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine. The merger between the public and private sectors of the aerospace industry is seen clearly with the partnership between NASA and SpaceX, as it was the first private company to bring American astronauts to the International Space Station.

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Nov 10, 2020

Kosta Tsipis, MIT physicist and prominent voice for nuclear disarmament, dies at 86

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military, nuclear weapons, physics, treaties

In arguing against nuclear war, Dr. Tsipis said he came « to believe that reason must prevail. »


A curious boy who gazed at the stars from his mountainside Greek village and wondered how the universe came to be, Kosta Tsipis was only 11 when news arrived that the first atomic weapon had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

“After the bomb went off, I sent away for a book because I wanted to understand it,” he told the Globe in 1987.

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Nov 1, 2020

UN treaty banning nuclear weapons set to enter into force in January

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, nuclear weapons, treaties

In what leading campaigners are describing as “a new chapter for nuclear disarmament”, the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will now come into force on 22 January, after Honduras became the 50th Member State to ratify on Saturday.

Oct 22, 2020

Artemis Accords: why many countries are refusing to sign moon exploration agreement

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, space travel, treaties

Eight countries have signed the Artemis Accords, a set of guidelines surrounding the Artemis Program for crewed exploration of the moon. The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the US are now all participants in the project, which aims to return humans to the moon by 2024 and establish a crewed lunar base by 2030.

This may sound like progress. Nations have for a number of years struggled with the issue of how to govern a human settlement on the moon and deal with the management of any resources. But a number of key countries have serious concerns about the accords and have so far refused to sign them.

Previous attempts to govern space have been through painstakingly negotiated international treaties. The Outer Space Treaty 1967 laid down the foundational principles for human space exploration – it should be peaceful and benefit all mankind, not just one country. But the treaty has little in the way of detail. The moon Agreement of 1979 attempted to prevent commercial exploitation of outer-space resources, but only a small number of states have ratified it – the US, China and Russia haven’t.

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Sep 29, 2020

Medical historian compares the coronavirus to the 1918 flu pandemic: Both were highly political

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, geopolitics, health, treaties

Additionally, some reports have suggested that then-President Woodrow Wilson downplayed the virus, but that is a “wrong and a false trope of popular history,” Markel said. Wilson, who would later contract the virus, was organizing and commanding the U.S. effort in World War I and once the war ended, he sailed for Paris, where he stayed until April of 1919 organizing a peace treaty and the League of Nations, Markel said.

“The federal government played a very small role in American public health during that era. It was primarily a city and state role and those agencies were hardly downplaying it,” he said.

Unlike today, there was no CDC or national public health department. The Food and Drug Administration existed but consisted of a very small group of men. Additionally, there were no antibiotics, intensive care units, ventilators, IV fluids or vaccines. “You got a bed or maybe nursing care,” Markel said.

Sep 16, 2020

Afghanistan Peace Talks Open in Qatar, Seeking End to Decades of War

Posted by in categories: government, treaties

The Afghan government and the Taliban are finally coming to the table, after repeated delays. But the violence continues, and the challenges are vast.

Aug 25, 2020

Russia to continue bilateral dialogue with US on all space issues

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, space, treaties

Spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova, said at a briefing on Thursday that Russia is ready to continue to discuss space issues with the US. This discussion should operate within the framework of a bilateral expert group, commenting on the publication of the US Space Force doctrine by the Pentagon.

“The document confirms the aggressive direction of Washington in the sphere of space, the determination to achieve military superiority up to the total dominance in space. The outer space is considered by the American side exclusively as the arena to conduct warfare,” she said. “We see an opportunity to remove mutual concerns within the framework of the Russian-American working group on space security whose first meeting took place in Vienna on July 27 and we confirm our readiness to discuss further all issues of space activities in the bilateral format,” the diplomat added. The spokeswoman drew attention to the fact that the use of space research exclusively in peaceful purposes remains a priority for Russia as well as prevention of an arms race in outer space. “As opposed to the US, we do not pursue the goals of domineering and superiority. We are interested instead in maintaining the strategic balance in order to strengthen the international security.” She referred to the Russian-Chinese treaty draft on the prevention of stationing arms in space, use of force or threats against space objects. All existing issues and contradictions on the subject of arms in space should be resolved within the framework of the Disarmament Conference, the spokeswoman stressed. According to her, Russia thoroughly analyzes the possible consequences of “Washington’s aggressive endeavors.”


Spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova, said at a briefing on Thursday that Russia is ready to continue to discuss space issues with the US. This discussion should operate within the framework of a bilateral expert group, commenting on the publication of the US Space Force doctrine by the Pentagon.

Continue reading “Russia to continue bilateral dialogue with US on all space issues” »

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