Topics : President Donald Trump’s administration has discussed holding the first US nuclear test since 1992 as a potential warning to Russia and China, the Washington Post reported Friday.Such a test would be a significant departure from US defense policy and dramatically up the ante for other nuclear-armed nations. One analyst told the newspaper that if it were to go ahead it would be seen as the “starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race”. The report, citing one senior administration official and two former officials, all who spoke anonymously, said the discussion had taken place at a meeting on May 15. “It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told the Post.He added that it would also likely “disrupt” negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, “who may no longer feel compelled to honor his moratorium on nuclear testing.”The Trump administration has repeatedly shaken up US defense policy.The Washington Post report came one day after Trump announced that he plans to withdraw from the Open Skies treaty with Russia, which was designed to improve military transparency and confidence between the superpowers.It is the third arms control pact Trump has abrogated since coming to office.Russia has insisted it will abide by the 18-year-old agreement, which seeks to lower the risk of war by permitting each signatory country’s military to conduct a certain number of surveillance flights over another member country each year on short notice.European nations have also urged Trump to reconsider.Facing re-election in November, Trump has also significantly hardened his rhetoric against China in recent weeks, repeatedly criticizing Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic which first emerged there.He has made repeated but vague threats of retaliation against the chief US economic rival, which has denied all his accusations.Earlier this month Trump called for involving China in new arms control talks with Russia, telling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin they need to avoid a “costly arms race”.It is not the first time Trump’s defense policy has raised concerns the administration is elevating the risk of nuclear war.In February the Pentagon announced it had deployed a submarine carrying a new long-range missile with a relatively small nuclear warhead, saying it was in response to Russian tests of similar weapons.Critics worry that small nukes would be more likely to be used because they cause less damage, thereby lowering the threshold for nuclear conflict.But the Pentagon says it is crucial to deterring rivals like Moscow who might assume that, with only large, massively destructive nuclear weapons in its arsenal, the US would not respond to another country’s first use of a small, “tactical” nuclear bomb. It came after some US officials reportedly claimed that Russia and China were conducting their own low-yield tests. Moscow and Beijing have denied the claims, and the US has not offered evidence for them.The senior administration official said that demonstrating Washington’s ability to “rapid test” would be a useful negotiating tactic as the US seeks a trilateral agreement with Russia and China over nuclear weapons.The meeting did not conclude with any agreement, and the sources were divided over whether discussions were still ongoing.Nuclear non-proliferation activists were quick to condemn the idea.
The draw for the 2018 World Cup Final was made last Friday in Moscow. Eight groups from A to H were selected. Each group consists of four teams each, a total of 32 teams. Each time will play each other in each group from the field of 32 teams 2 will advance from each group to the quarter finals; eight rom the quarter finals to the semi-finals, four to the semi-finals, and eventually the two finalists.The respective groups and teams, and the teams currently touted by experts to emerge to the quarter finals are:Group A – Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UruguayQualifiers – Uruguay and EgyptGroup B – Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IranQualifiers – Spain and PortugalGroup C – France, Australia, Peru, DenmarkQualifiers – France and DenmarkGroup D – Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, NigeriaQualifiers – Argentina and CroatiaGroup E – Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, SerbiaQualifiers – Brazil and SwitzerlandGroup F – Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South KoreaQualifiers – Germany and MexicoGroup G – Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, EnglandQualifiers – Belgium and EnglandGroup H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia, JapanQualifiers – Poland, ColombiaThe first match of the World Cup will involve hosts Russia against Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 14, 2018, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which will also be the venue for the finals.That will be the only game on the opening day, but after that there will be three or four games played per day for the duration of the group stage.The 2018 World Cup tournament ends on Sunday, July 15. The third-place play-off is a day earlier, and the two semi-finals will take place on July 10 and 11.All of the final four matches of the World Cup will be played at either the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow or the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg. read more
Taysom Hill has figured out how to not only get on the field for the Saints but also affect games in different ways. He demonstrated most of those ways in the first half of Thursday’s Thanksgiving game vs. the Falcons.The former BYU quarterback contributed a punt block, a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the first 30 minutes as New Orleans built an eight-point lead over the Falcons in Atlanta. The touchdowns were his fourth and fifth of the season (four receiving, one rushing). NFL.com noted that Hill is the second quarterback since 1950, and the first since Jim McMahon in 1983, to catch and run for a touchdown in the same game. “He’s a real good practice player, and I think that, coupled with his athleticism and his love for the game — I don’t know that there’s anyone who enjoys playing football more than him, and that’s . . . kind of contagious on our team,” Payton added.Hill’s versatility has taken him from undrafted free agent two years ago (by the Packers) to waiver-wire pickup (by the Saints) to secret weapon for a Super Bowl contender. “Look, when you have guys like Mike Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, the list goes on, it kind of creates opportunities for little old me because there’s so much attention that’s put on those guys, and coach (Payton) is one of the best of being creative and putting guys in position to be successful, and I got lucky because I was that guy tonight,” Hill said. MORE: Updated NFL playoff pictureFor the season, Hill had 29 touches (16 rushes, 13 receptions) for 241 yards. In addition, he had taken part in 160 special teams snaps prior to Thursday, with one kick return for 12 yards to his credit. He hasn’t forgotten how to throw the ball, either. He was 2 for 2 on the season for 35 yards before an incompletion on a trick play in the third quarter.”While he’s developing as a quarterback, there’s a lot of places he’s playing,” Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters (via the team’s Twitter feed) after the Saints’ NFC South-clinching 26-18 victory. “Probably need to keep getting him the ball even more.”VIDEO: Saints-Falcons game highlights read more