Making a Killing

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LONDON: Just graduated and looking for a career? Two words: Arms sales. The global weapons trade, which dipped after the Cold War, is booming again, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. The think-tank revealed Tuesday that sales grew by 8 percent last year and 13 percent in 1995, arresting a seven-year decline. The market for weapons of mass destruction has now hit a staggering $39.9 billion per annum.

The big spenders? Saudi Arabia easily tops the list with $9 billion in purchases. Egypt and the east Asian nations don't even come close. The big exporters? It's the usual suspects: Britain, France, China, Russia and the good old US of A - who also just happen to be the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Strange, that.

So why the boom? The institute doesn't quite know, but "unpredictable tensions" in the Middle East and east Asia were cited, along with favorable oil prices in the Persian Gulf. But whatever the reason, the future looks bright for the bomb industry.