Pentagon alarm over China’s nuclear arsenal
China is expanding its nuclear arsenal much more quickly than anticipated, narrowing the gap with the United States, the Pentagon said in a report published on Wednesday. China could have 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027, and could top 1,000 by 2030 – an arsenal two-and-a-half times the size of what the Pentagon predicted only a year ago. According to the report, China “is investing in, and expanding, the number of its land, sea, and air-based nuclear delivery platforms and building the infrastructure necessary to support this major expansion of its nuclear forces”.
US ‘absolutely’ has ability to defend Taiwan
The United States military “absolutely” has the ability to defend Taiwan from an attack by China if called on to do so, US Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Aspen Security Forum. But the Pentagon’s top general also warned that China’s military had made stunning technological advances in a short time, signified by its recent globe-circling hypersonic missile test, leaving the world poised to enter an era of increased strategic instability. Milley said he did not expect China would take military action against Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province, in the next 24 months.
Record global CO2 emissions in 2021
Global CO2 pollution this year will be just below the record set in 2019, the annual report of the Global Carbon Project consortium, released during COP26, reveals. Carbon dioxide emissions caused mainly by the use of fossil fuels are expected to rebound in 2021 to pre-COVID levels, with China’s share growing to almost a third of the total.
COP26 vows to put climate at heart of finance
Banks, insurers and investors with around US$130 trillion or 40% of the world’s capital at their disposal, have pledged to put limiting climate change at the centre of their work. An announcement made at COP26 commits its signatories to assuming a “fair share” of the effort to wean the world off fossil fuels. How exactly to meet those pledges, particularly in the developing world, is still being worked out.
COVID-19 cases rise in Europe
The number of coronavirus cases has risen in Europe for the fifth consecutive week, making it the only world region where COVID-19 is still increasing. In its weekly report on the pandemic, WHO said new cases jumped by 6% in Europe compared to an 18% increase the previous week. The weekly number of new infections in other regions either fell or remained about the same. The sharpest drops were seen in the Middle East, where new cases decreased by 12%, and in Southeast Asia and Africa, where they fell by 9%. Overall, 3 million new weekly cases were reported globally. The report states that the number of deaths from COVID-19 worldwide rose by 8%, driven mainly by Southeast Asia, where deaths spiked by 50%. The coronavirus infection rate was by far the highest in Europe, which reported about 192 new cases per 100,000 people, followed by the Americas, which had about 72 new cases per 100,000.
Attorney suggests sabotage on Baldwin set
A lawyer for the armourer who oversaw weapons used on the Rust movie set has suggested that someone deliberately put a live round into the gun used by Alec Baldwin when he accidentally shot dead cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Jason Bowles said on ABC television’s Good Morning America his client, Hannah Gutierrez, had pulled ammunition from a box that she believed contained only dummy rounds that were incapable of firing. He said he thought it was possible that someone purposely placed real bullets, which look similar to dummies, into the box, to sabotage the set. A spokeswoman for producers Rust Movie Productions had no comment on Bowles’ remarks.
Selfies kill over 370 people worldwide in 13 years
At least 379 people have died in 13½ years as a result of selfies. A study by the Miguel Hernandez University of Elche (Alicante), referring to the period between January 2008 and July this year, shows how selfie deaths have again increased in the first seven months of the year, during which the victims were at least 31. Of the 379 victims, 141 were tourists and 238 locals. The sad ranking is led by the USA (39) and Russia (33). 41% of the victims were under the age of 19 and 37% were in their twenties. The average age of the victims is 24.4 years. The leading cause of death were falls, with 216 cases. This is followed by accidents related to transport (123), drowning (66), firearms and electrocution (24 each) to finally arrive at the injuries sustained by photographing wild animals (17).