A New York timepiece estimating how close humanity is to catastrophic nuclear destruction was being shifted back a minute today.
Anti-nuclear campaigners welcomed forecasts by the symbolic Doomsday Clock, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, that the current threat had lessened.
The gimmick was built two years after the US dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan in World War Two and was first set at seven minutes to midnight.
In 2007 it was wound on to five minutes to midnight, to reflect the failure to solve problems posed by nuclear weapons.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said the hands on the clock were today being moved back to six minutes to midnight.
Kate Hudson, from CND, said: "This shift reflects the significant improvement since the end of the Bush era. Both Presidents Obama and Medvedev are committed to nuclear abolition and have put the issue firmly at the centre of the international political agenda.
"From the aggressive escalation of the Bush years we have seen a significant change in the US administration's approach to nuclear weapons. Now almost all states are pushing in a more sane direction.
"The progress towards major US-Russian reductions in warheads is creating an improved international climate ahead of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May - but now we need to translate aspirations into results."Reuse content