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Pakistan rejects report on fastest growing nuclear arsenal

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Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday strongly rejected a report published by a US think tank, which claimed that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world. “The report is utterly baseless,” said Qazi Khalilullah, the foreign office spokesperson, Dawn reported. “Such reports have the effect of diverting attention from the exponential increase in India’s fissile material stockpiles,” added the spokesperson. The spokesman stated that as a nuclear state, Pakistan’s policy is characterized by utmost restraint and responsibility.

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“Pakistan strictly abides by the concept of credible minimum deterrence and our nuclear program is only aimed at maintaining peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan has no desire to engage in nuclear arms race,” stated Khalilullah. It was also said that Pakistan remains committed to the global objective of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. Pakistan has put forward several initiatives to promote conventional and strategic stability in South Asia, including the proposed Strategic Restraint Regime but India has failed to respond positively towards Pakistani initiatives, according the spokesperson.

Earlier, the Washington Post reported that Pakistan could become the third largest nuclear stock pile within the next five to ten years, behind only the US and Russia, quoting reports published by two American think tanks. The report published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center, said that Pakistan, out of its fear of India, was far outpacing its rival neighbour in the development of nuclear warheads and may be building 20 nuclear warheads annually.

(IANS)

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Small Shops in US Often Sell Tobacco Without Checking Age

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores

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FILE - An anti-tobacco warning is seen on a road divider on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

Those buying tobacco from shops in the US, especially small stores, are usually not asked for identification hence it is easy for underage users to buy cigarettes there, says a study.

When researchers, aged 20 and 21, visited a variety of shops in the US, more than 60 per cent of cashiers did not ask them for identification.

In the study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, it was found that these young adults slipped by without an age check most often when they visited small stores, tobacco shops and shops plastered with tobacco ads.

“Our findings suggest that certain types of stores – tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising – are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID,” said Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.

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FILE – Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. VOA

“One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations,” she added.

The study included visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco retailers in 2017.

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More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores.

“Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers,” Roberts said. (IANS)