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Pakistan's nuclear arsenal grows

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal now totals more than 100 deployed weapons, a doubling of its stockpile over the past several years in one of the world's most unstable regions, according to estimates by nongovernment analysts.

The Pakistanis have significantly accelerated production of uranium and plutonium for bombs and developed new weapons to deliver them. After years of approximate weapons parity, experts said, Pakistan has now edged ahead of India, its nuclear-armed rival.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a leading analyst on the world's nuclear forces, said current estimates are that Pakistan has up to 110 weapons. Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at Britain's University of Bradford, put the number at between 100 and 110. Four years ago, the Pakistani arsenal was estimated at 30 to 60 weapons.

South Korea

5 Somalis will be tried for piracy

Five Somali pirates captured during a raid on a hijacked cargo ship in the Arabian Sea were brought Sunday to South Korea, where they could face life imprisonment, the Coast Guard said. The men were arrested as South Korean commandos raided the South Korean-operated Samho Jewelry this month. The commandos rescued all 21 crew members — eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 Myanmar citizens — and killed eight Somali pirates.

RUSSIA

Cargo spacecraft docks at station

Russian Mission Control says a cargo spacecraft has docked at the International Space Station, delivering food, fuel, oxygen, scientific equipment and packages for the U.S.-Russian-Italian crew. The unmanned Progress M-09M blasted off Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome carrying more than 2.6 tons of supplies. Mission Control said it docked Sunday using automatic systems. The RIA Novosti news agency said the cargo included birthday presents for Commander Scott Kelly, who turns 47 on Feb. 21. The U.S. astronaut's twin brother, also an astronaut, is married to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who survived being shot in the head Jan. 8.

RUSSIA

Vessel freed after month trapped in ice

The Russian Transport Ministry said two icebreakers freed a large fish-processing ship that had been trapped in ice off the country's far eastern coast since New Year's Eve. The ministry said the ship had been towed to open water in the Sea of Okhotsk. The Sodruzhestvo was the last of three ships that became trapped on Dec. 31. Previous rescue operations had been impeded by heavy winds and poor visibility. When the ships became trapped, the Transport Ministry said all had adequate supplies of food and water, and the crews were not in danger.

Venezuela

Fire and explosions at arms depot

A fire and a series of explosions tore through a Maracay military arms depot, killing one person. About 10,000 residents were evacuated up to several miles from the site, said Rafael Isea, governor of Aragua state. He said the burning ammunition was producing powerful blasts. Hours after the initial explosions, smaller blasts could be heard in the distance as clouds of white smoke rose from the area alongside hills in Maracay, a city 60 miles west of the capital, Caracas. Vice President Elias Jaua said on state television that authorities were investigating what caused the fire and explosions — and suggested they weren't ruling out sabotage.

Sudan

99 percent voted for secession

Southern Sudan's referendum commission said Sunday that more than 99 percent of voters in the south opted to secede from the country's north in a vote held this month. The announcement drew cheers from a crowd of thousands that gathered in Juba, the capital of what may become the world's newest country. The weeklong vote, held in early January and widely praised for being peaceful and for meeting international standards, was a condition of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a north-south civil war that lasted two decades and killed 2 million people. If the process stays on track, Southern Sudan will become a new country in July. Border demarcation, oil rights and the status of the contested region of Abyei have to be negotiated.

Elsewhere

Pakistan: Hard-line Islamic leaders in Lahore on Sunday rallied 15,000 people against an American official arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis and warned the government not to cave in to U.S. pressure to release the man.

Times wires

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal grows 01/30/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 30, 2011 10:07pm]
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