William Epstein 1912-2001

Mr. Epstein began working for the United Nations before it was even founded and continued to go there to work every day until October. He was a tireless worker for nuclear disarmament, and knew more than probably anyone else ever had about arms

UN Firearms Protocol

On March 4. 2001 the U. N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice completed negotations in Vienna on a Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition. This is part of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which was signed in December 2000.

Although the protocol is not perfect, it will contribute to the reduction of the illegal trade and misuse of firearms.

Canada's domestic laws have already been strengthened, but international cooperation is needed, according to Wendy Cukier, President of the Coalition for Gun Control, and the new Protocol will help keep better track of what goes across borders. Too many guns now are in circulation that are not uniquely marked.


Tribute to Sam Day, Peace Activist

Sam Day, a peace activist, passed away on 26 January. Day was a reporter, editor and political activist who dedicated his life to exposing the wrong-doing of the US government in nuclear issues and creating public awareness of nuclear dangers. Day was imprisoned on several occasions for protesting and exposing nuclear programs. In 1993, Day was imprisoned six weeks for putting up stakes at the construction site of an Air Force communications tower near Medford, Wisconsin. He suffered a series of strokes in prison, which left him partially blind and unable to read or drive.

For his work, Day was honored with several awards including the Distinguished Reporting Award of the American Political Association (1962) and the US Fellowship of Reconciliation Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize (1992).

U.S. Continues to Dominate World Military Expenditures

The Bush Administration's recently released Fiscal Year 2002 budget blueprint includes a $324.8 billion request for the Pentagon. This is $14.2 billion more than this year, or 4.6 percent above current levels. The United States spends more on its military than any other nation. What is surprising is just how large the U.S. share of world military spending actually is, and the fact that while defense budgets are shrinking worldwide, U.S. military spending continues to grow.

Consider the following. Russia, which has the second largest military budget in the world, will spend roughly one-sixth what the United States will, assuming its economy can afford it. China, which has the third largest military budget, recently announced that it would increase its military spending by almost eighteen percent. Yet the United States spends seven times what China spends.

China's military budget has seen modest increases over the past several years. Last year, due to a slowing economy, it appeared that these increases might be plateauing, although some analysts warned that major increases might occur. But in February, citing "drastic" changes in the world military situation, China announced plans to raise defense spending by 17.7 percent this year.

World military spending, which was $1.2 trillion in 1985, stood at $809 billion in 1999. During that period, the U.S. share of global military spending continued to increase, going from 30% in 1985 to 36% in 1999.

The U.S. military budget is more than twenty-two times as large as the combined spending of the seven countries traditionally identified by the Pentagon as its most likely adversaries - Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria- which together spend just over $14 billion annually.

The United States and its close allies - theNATO nations, South Korea, and Japan - spend more than the rest of the world combined. Together they spend thirty-seven times more than the seven rogue states. The seven rogue nations, along with Russia and China, together spend $116 billion, less than one-half the U.S. military budget. The United States alone spends more than the combined spending of next twelve nations.

by Christopher Hellman, Senior Analyst, Center for Defense Information, chellman

India Tests Advance Intermediate-range Missile

In January, India test-fired its Agni intermediate-range ballistic missile, which has a 1,250 mile range.* The test prompted immediate concern from Pakistan, Japan and the UK. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry stated, "India's test-firing today of its Agni II missile is part of its nuclear and missile program, which poses a direct threat to Pakistan's security and has been a matter of concern for the international community."

Japan and the UK's Foreign Office called on India to refrain from further testing and urged restraint upon Pakistan .

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2001

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2001, page 31. Some rights reserved.

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