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Doomsday Clock shows signs for hope, need for progress

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Scott Olson/AFP

(Read caption) The Doomsday Clock now reads six minutes until midnight.

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The hands of the Doomsday Clock ticked backward today – giving humanity an extra minute before proverbial midnight.

The symbolic clock, a fixture of the Cold War still ticking 60 years later, measures the threat of man-made catastrophe through nuclear war or global warming. Today's new reading represents progress by world leaders to curb weapons proliferation and cap climate change, said the group behind the Clock during its event today in New York City.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the Doomsday Clock to six minutes until midnight. The timepiece has changed 19 times since its creation in 1947. Only five of those were closer to midnight than today's reading – 1949 (Russia's first atomic weapons tests), 1953 (Cold War ramps up), 1981 (conflicts in Afghanistan, South Africa, and Poland), 1984 (Cold War escalates further), and 2007 (North Korea and Iran pursue nuclear weapons, global warming becomes evident).

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