UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Speaking at an event to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated: “Nuclear weapons are the most destructive power ever created. They offer no security — just carnage and chaos.
Their elimination would be the greatest gift we could bestow on future generations.” Guterres voiced further disappointment that countries failed reach consensus at the recent Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and that eight member states have still not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Guterres then promoted his New Agenda for Peace — which addresses the evolving nuclear order and calls for a new vision for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
VANISHING LAKES IN THE ARCTIC
New research from the University of Florida’s Department of Biology has confirmed that lakes in the Arctic have been drying up and vanishing at an alarming rate over the past 20 years. Increasing permafrost melt — creating drainage channels in the surrounding soil — is to blame.
HACKTIVISTS CAUSE MASSIVE TRAFFIC JAM IN MOSCOW
In early September 2022, hacktivist groups — including Anonymous and Ukraine’s IT Army — created a massive traffic jam in Moscow by hacking the ride-hailing app Yandex Taxi. The hacktivists ordered hundreds of taxi cabs to the same address — the Hotel Ukraina in central Moscow — at the same time.
Yandex Taxi is owned by Yandex — the largest IT corporation in Russia, often referred to as the Russian Google. The EU has recently sanctioned Yandex, as the company has been removing content critical of the Kremlin and the Russian attack on Ukraine. Cyberwarfare has been on the rise in Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH CLEAN-UP
Launched in August 2021, System 002 — a project of The Ocean Cleanup — has recently announced that they have officially removed over 100,000 kilograms of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from a subsection the size of Luxembourg. The Ocean Cleanup is now planning on expanding their operations to remove more of the 79,000 000 to 100,000,000 kilograms of plastic remaining in the rest of the patch.
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION MEETING
A formal consultative meeting of states-parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) opened in late August after Russia invoked a treaty provision designed to resolve accusations about violations.
As Russia continues to double down on the charges, multiple nations have expressed disappointment that it is choosing to use international forums to spread disinformation. “I regret that the Security Council is being used by one of its permanent members as a propaganda platform,” Nicolas de Rivičre, the French ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted on March 18.
Article V of the BWC provides that states-parties must “under[take] to consult bilaterally and multilaterally and cooperate in solving any problems which may arise in relation to the objective, or in the application” of the BWC.
After an informal meeting of states-parties on July 27, the UN announced that Russia’s requested consultative meeting will open on Aug. 26 and continue Sept. 5–7 and 9. György Molnár, Hungarian ambassador to the BWC, was named to chair the formal consultative meeting. This provision has been invoked only once before, in 1997 when Cuba accused the United States of spraying an invasive insect, Thrips palmi, from an airplane in a biological attack on an agricultural region of Cuba.
That meeting, attended by 75 states-parties and three signatories, ended inconclusively as no “direct causal link” could be established between the alleged attack and the insect infestation, according to a September 1997 article by the nongovernmental organization VERTIC. Unlike other disarmament agreements, such as the Chemical Weapons Convention, the BWC has no implementing body to enforce the treaty’s ban on biological weapons.
But if Russia or any other state-party wishes to resolve allegations with a formal investigation, Article VI of the treaty gives member states the right to request that the Security Council investigate the alleged treaty breach.
Source: Leanne Quinn, Arms Control Association