Monday saw the start of UN talks focused on a noble goal: banning nuclear weapons across our planet. It was the result of a 2016 vote that saw more than 100 countries in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution to kick off such talks, which are aimed at ultimately establishing an international treaty that would prohibit the development and possession of such weapons, CNN reports. By extension, using them would also be banned. The AP reports Austria, Brazil, and Ireland were at the forefront of the effort. Wondering where the US is? Boycotting. US Ambassador Nikki Haley was present Monday—but remained outside the General Assembly hall with other boycotting nations in a sign of opposition.
One big quote: "As a mom, as a daughter, there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic." Her view is that the nearly 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is doing its job, with the US slashing its nuclear arsenal by 85% under it, and that North Korea is too big a loose cannon for this to be a responsible or feasible endeavor. "North Korea would be the one cheering, and all of us and the people we represent would be the ones at risk," she said. By the Guardian's count, 113 countries are participating, but 40 are boycotting, and that list includes the US, China, France, Britain, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, which the paper points out are the nine states known to have nuclear weapons. (Read more nuclear weapons stories.)