Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Russia is "Winning" the Nuclear Race


In most of the industrialized world, nuclear energy has lost its appeal due to, among other reasons, the disaster at Fukushima in 2011. Few countries have ordered new plants to supplement or replace aging ones. China is an exception with 44 reactors under construction meaning that by 2030 almost 150 GW of nuclear energy will be produced. Saudi-Arabia could become the second largest growth market and a boon to companies specialized in nuclear energy across the world. Riyadh will order its first two reactors in 2019 and an additional 19 power plants until 2030.
As there are no Saudi companies with the required nuclear know-how, expertise will be provided by foreign companies. Several corporations have been shortlisted to provide the necessary expertise. In order to export American nuclear technology, Congress needs to approve the deal. Strong ties and mutual interests such as the containing of Iran would have smoothened a deal on nuclear energy in the past. Recent developments, however, paint a gloomier picture.
Saudi-U.S. relations and challenges
Washington has maintained close relations with Riyadh since the end of Second World War due to the Arab country’s strategic importance. Every president has dedicated precious time and resources to maintain good relations with the Saudis. President Trump is no exception. The destination of his first foreign trip was Saudi-Arabia where $110 billion in military hardware deals were signed.
Despite Riyadh making several foreign policy blunders such as the blockade of Qatar and alleged kidnapping of Lebanese prime minister Hariri, Washington’s support for Saudi-Arabia remained unchallenged. Even the disastrous war in Yemen didn’t change the situation. The murder of one man, however, could possibly do more harm.
The killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and the obvious involvement of senior leaders in Riyadh have fraught relations. Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 requires several prerequisites as guarantees for the peaceful use of nuclear energy before foreign companies and states are able to use American technology. Five key Republican Senators are pushing President Trump to take punitive actions. According to Senator Marco Rubio "no relationship is too big to fail".
In addition, Democratic Senator Edward Markey urged Trump to “suspend discussions on civilian nuclear cooperation with Saudi-Arabia and to revoke any approvals for the transfer of nuclear services, technology or assistance”. Bipartisan pressure on Trump’s administration threatens to derail negotiations. This was before the midterms. The Democrats, which after 8 years have regained control over the House of Representatives, are more critical towards Riyadh on the subject of Khashoggi than the Republicans. This could become a serious challenge for the U.S. administration and for U.S. companies trying to do business in Saudi Arabia going forward.
Russia’s potential win
Among the countries vying for lucrative contracts to build nuclear power plants, is Russia’s state-controlled Rosatom. The company is currently constructing 34 reactors in 12 countries while several other states have shown interest. The order book has increased to $300 billion which adds up to 60 percent of all nuclear power plants under construction. In order to land new deals and service existing agreements in the Arab world, Rosatom has opened an office in Dubai.

Until recently, Russia and Saudi-Arabia were competitors on the global energy market with little cooperation between the energy superpowers. The dramatic fall of oil prices caused by the surge of U.S. shale forced the countries to cooperate which led to the OPEC+ agreement and increased prices. According to Minister of Energy, Khalid Al-Falih Saudi-Arabia is also considering investing $5 billion in the Arctic-2 LNG project led by Novatek and Total.
Although it cannot be said with certainty that Rosatom will receive lucrative orders, Moscow has positioned itself well in recent years to profit from good relations with Riyadh. In case Washington decides to withhold American nuclear technology, Riyadh has plenty of alternatives. The extended track record of Rosatom and attractive conditions have in the past assured the nuclear energy giant of several deals. The Russians meet, on paper at least, the requirements to succeed in Saudi-Arabia which will be assisted by the absence of American competitors.
By Vanand Meliksetian for Oilprice.com

Babylon the Great Builds Up Her Nuclear Horn


Published 12:58 p.m. ET Oct. 22, 2018 | Updated 6:48 p.m. ET Oct. 22, 2018
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday he would build up America's nuclear arsenal in response to what he portrayed as growing threats from Russia and China.
"Until people come to their senses, we will build it up," Trump said in reference to U.S. nuclear weapons capacity. "We have more money than anybody else by far."
Trump also reiterated his intention to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, which he accused of violating the pact.
"I'm terminating the agreement," Trump told reporters before leaving for a campaign rally in Texas. "Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago."
Trump first announced plans to withdraw from the three-decades-old accord, commonly referred to as the INF Treaty, during a campaign rally over the weekend. The agreement, signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, required the U.S. and Russia to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between approximately 310 and 3,400 miles, along with supporting equipment.
The White House says Russia is breaking the accord by producing or testing ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles with that range. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Trump made the threat of a nuclear weapons build-up shortly after his national security adviser, John Bolton, landed in Moscow for a series of previously scheduled meetings.
White House officials said Bolton would focus on a broad range of issues, from arms control to the Syrian civil war. But Putin’s spokesman said they would use the meetings to demand answers from Bolton about the fate of the nuclear accord.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expects “a detailed explanation” of Trump’s threat to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty, a Kremlin spokesman said Monday before Bolton's meetings began.
“Putin has always said that scrapping this document would cause damage to global security and stability," Dmitry Peskov, the Russian leader’s spokesman, said Monday, according to the state-controlled media outlet Tass. “We would like to receive a detailed explanation from the U.S.”
European leaders have not disputed U.S. allegations of Russian cheating. But they've expressed concerns that Trump's plan to nix the treaty will lead to a new nuclear arms race.
The INF treaty "contributed to the end of the cold-war and constitutes a pillar of European security architecture since it entered into force 30 years ago," the EU said in a statement Monday. It noted that the treaty led to the elimination of nearly 3,000 missiles with nuclear and conventional warheads have been removed and verifiably destroyed and urged the U.S. and Russia to resolve its differences over the accord.
"The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability," the EU statement says. .
Trump’s announcement also sparked concern among some members of Congress.
“They’re a nuclear power, and I think it’s foolish of us to get out of the INF treaty willy-nilly or flippantly,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters during a conference call Monday. “We should be appointing arms negotiators to work out our differences.”
Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told CNN on Sunday that Trump’s decision could undermine other disarmament agreements. He said he hoped Trump would reconsider.
“Maybe this is just a move to say, ‘Look ... if you don't straighten up we're moving out of this’,” Corker said. “... And I hope that's the case."
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it was “absolutely the right move” to nix the treaty. "The Russians have been cheating,” Graham said on Fox News.
@AmbJohnBolton began his visit to Moscow by meeting with Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. They discussed a wide range of topics including strategic arms control, Syria, Iran, North Korea and the fight against terrorism. https://t.co/KToxiqmLU7
— Andrea Kalan (@USEmbRuPress) October 22, 2018
Contributing: The Associated Press

Closer to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Muzaffarabad: President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Masood Khan, on Tuesday made a threatening statement against India by saying that Indian “obstinacy on the Kashmir issue” could trigger a nuclear war in South Asia.
“India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and Indian obstinacy on the Kashmir issue, along with inhuman atrocities in Kashmir and Indian shelling on the civilian population living along the Line of Control (LoC) could bring both nuclear-armed states to the brink of another devastating war,” Khan threatened.
There is no possible military solution to the Kashmir issue and India will have to initiate dialogues with Pakistan to find a ‘peaceful’ resolution to this conflict, he said.
Speaking to a delegation of 48th Pakistan Navy Staff Course participants in Muzaffarabad, Khan said Pakistan always sought peaceful resolution on Kashmir through dialogues but India “is adamant to settle the issue through military might by suppressing the voice of Kashmiri people for their internationally recognized right to self-determination”.
“It is high time for the United Nations Secretary-General to take a step forward and appoint a special representative to explore a viable solution to the conflict of Kashmir and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” he said.
“The United Nations and world powers need to intervene in setting a stage for the resolution of Kashmir before the two nuclear states of India and Pakistan indulge in a full-fledged war which will be a monumental disaster that will engulf not only the region but large part of the world,” Khan emphasized.
Khan went on a further verbal assault on India’s laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) and called them ‘draconian’, alleging that our laws give impunity to the Indian army in Kashmir, so much so that “an Indian soldier can shoot to kill any at will and he will not be accountable to anybody or any agency for prosecution”.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Earthquake Assessment For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


Earthquake Risk in New Jersey
by Daniel R. Dombroski, Jr.
A 10–fold increase in amplitude represents about a 32–fold increase in energy released for the same duration of shaking. The best known magnitude scale is one designed by C.F. Richter in 1935 for west coast earthquakes.
In New Jersey, earthquakes are measured with seismographs operated by the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the Delaware Geological Survey.
An earthquake’s intensity is determined by observing its effects at a particular place on the Earth’s surface. Intensity depends on the earthquake’s magnitude, the distance from the epicenter, and local geology. These scales are based on reports of people awakening, felt movements, sounds, and visible effects on structures and landscapes. The most commonly used scale in the United States is the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and its values are usually reported in Roman numerals to distinguish them from magnitudes.
Past damage in New Jersey
New Jersey doesn’t get many earthquakes, but it does get some. Fortunately most are small. A few New Jersey earthquakes, as well as a few originating outside the state, have produced enough damage to warrant the concern of planners and emergency managers.
Damage in New Jersey from earthquakes has been minor: items knocked off shelves, cracked plaster and masonry, and fallen chimneys. Perhaps because no one was standing under a chimney when it fell, there are no recorded earthquake–related deaths in New Jersey. We will probably not be so fortunate in the future.

Area Affected by Eastern Earthquakes
Although the United States east of the Rocky Mountains has fewer and generally smaller earthquakes than the West, at least two factors  increase the earthquake risk in New Jersey and the East. Due to geologic differences, eastern earthquakes effect areas ten times larger than western ones of the same magnitude. Also, the eastern United States is more densely populated, and New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.

Geologic Faults and Earthquakes in New Jersey
Although there are many faults in New Jersey, the Ramapo Fault, which separates the Piedmont and Highlands Physiographic Provinces, is the best known. In 1884 it was blamed for a damaging New York City earthquake simply because it was the only large fault mapped at the time. Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault.
However, numerous minor earthquakes have been recorded in the Ramapo Fault Zone, a 10 to 20 mile wide area lying adjacent to, and west of, the actual fault.
More recently, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to the Indian Point, New York, Nuclear Power Generating Station. East of the Rocky Mountains (including New Jersey), earthquakes do not break the ground surface. Their focuses lie at least a few miles below the Earth’s surface, and their locations are determined by interpreting seismographic records. Geologic fault lines seen on the surface today are evidence of ancient events. The presence or absence of mapped faults (fault lines) does not denote either a seismic hazard or the lack of one, and earthquakes can occur anywhere in New Jersey.
Frequency of Damaging Earthquakes in New Jersey
Records for the New York City area, which have been kept for 300 years, provide good information
for estimating the frequency of earthquakes in New Jersey.
Earthquakes with a maximum intensity of VII (see table DamagingEarthquakes Felt in New Jersey )have occurred in the New York City area in 1737, 1783, and 1884. One intensity VI, four intensity V’s, and at least three intensity III shocks have also occurred in the New York area over the last 300 years.
The time–spans between the intensity VII earthquakes were 46 and 101 years. This, and data for the smaller–intensity quakes, implies a return period of 100 years or less, and suggests New Jersey is overdue for a moderate earthquake like the one of 1884.
Buildings and Earthquakes
The 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, is an example of what might happen in New Jersey in a similar quake. It registered a magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale and produced widespread destruction. But it was the age of construction, soil and foundation condition, proximity to the fault, and type of structure that were the major determining factors in the performance of each building. Newer structures, built to the latest construction standards, appeared to perform relatively well, generally ensuring the life safety of occupants.
New Jersey’s building code has some provisions for earthquake–resistant design. But there are no requirements for retrofitting existing buildingsnot even for unreinforced masonry structures that are most vulnerable to earthquake damage. Housing of this type is common in New Jersey’s crowded urban areas. If an earthquake the size of New York City’s 1884 quake (magnitude 5.5) were to occur today, severe damage would result. Fatalities would be likely.
Structures have collapsed in New Jersey without earthquakes; an earthquake would trigger many more. Building and housing codes need to be updated and strictly enforced to properly prepare for inevitable future earthquakes.

Forming the Nuclear Arm of Babylon the Great

Democrats next year will control the gavels for the defense and foreign policy committees in the House for the first time since 2010.
The party has been itching to check on a host of issues, from his relationship with Saudi Arabia to the ballooning defense budget.
But to get legislation through Congress, House Democrats will need to work with the Senate, which is still in Republican hands. And the chairmen poised to lead the defense and foreign policy panels in the upper chamber are seen as staunch Trump allies.
Here are the top foreign policy and defense fights to watch in a divided Congress:
U.S.-Saudi relations
Lawmakers in both parties have been eyeing ways to punish Saudi Arabia over the killing of U.S.-based journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.
House Democrats have said responses should include an end to U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in neighboring Yemen’s civil war. Democratic lawmakers were already opposed to U.S. backing because of civilian casualties, but Khashoggi’s murder has given the issue new urgency.
Rep. Adam SmithDavid (D-Wash.), who’s poised to be chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Eliot (D-N.Y.), in line to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are among the top Democrats who have signed on to a bill that would end military support for Saudi Arabia.
But Republicans have said the Yemen civil war and Khashoggi killing are two separate matters. Continuing support in the civil war, they argue, is imperative to countering Iran, which supports the rebels in Yemen.
GOP senators have talked about sanctions as a possible response. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who is expected to take over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), signed on to a committee letter last month triggering a sanctions determination by the administration.
But Risch is a Trump loyalist who is seen as much more likely to be deferential to the president than Corker. Trump, who has fostered a close relationship with the Saudis as central to his Middle East strategy, has waffled on how to respond to the Khashoggi killing.
On Tuesday, Trump said he’d have a “stronger opinion on that subject over the next week.”
Space Force
The Trump administration has said it wants the establishment of a "Space Force" included in next year’s defense policy bill. That position has contributed to increasingly diverging opinions between House and Senate lawmakers.
Republicans in the Senate — who were initially skeptical of creating a separate branch of the military for space — have appeared more open to the idea since Trump got involved.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Trump ally who will keep the gavel in the next Congress, has said he has an open mind but is awaiting more cost details.
The Senate may lose one of its most vocal Space Force critics, albeit on the Democratic side. Sen. Bill Nelson(D-Fla.), who led the chamber’s opposition to a similar plan from the House last year, is fighting for his political life in a reelection race that appears headed toward a recount.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the House have grown more entrenched in their opposition to Space Force ever since Trump injected himself into the debate.
Smith, who supported the House’s space corps plan last year, came out against Space Force in September. He said that while he believes the military needs to do a better job of prioritizing its presence in space, a separate branch is not the most cost-effective way to do so.
Space Force still has some key Democratic support in the House. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), who worked alongside Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) to lead the chamber’s space corps push, said in September that he hopes Trump’s involvement doesn’t “ruin the debate” about it.
Defense budget
Smith has said this year’s defense budget of $716 billion is “too high,” and in a Thursday letter announcing his run for chairman he vowed to target “inefficiency and waste” at the Pentagon.
The Washington Democrat has argued that lawmakers need to start making tough choices about spending and taxing as rising deficits have been compounded by the GOP’s 2017 tax-cut law.
Defense hawks and the Pentagon pushed for the $716 billion to help address what they characterized as an urgent readiness crisis. Few Democrats argue that the military is not facing readiness issues, but Smith has said the military needs to be “smart” about how it spends its money. He has cited the Navy’s 355-ship goal, saying the focus on a number is flawed logic because “capability matters.”
Senate Republicans argue that defense cuts would reverse any readiness progress that’s been achieved. They say the budget needs to continue the growth trend from the past two years in order to fully emerge from the readiness hole.
Asked by The Hill in October about the potential House-Senate split and the looming return of budget caps, Inhofe expressed confidence that the defense budget would at least stay flat.
“We have to catch up,” Inhofe said. “We have to keep that up, or all that we have done in catching up in those last two fiscal years will go out the window. So that’s not just going to happen.”
But in this case, Democrats may actually have an ally in Trump, who recently ordered his administration to propose a $700 billion defense budget for fiscal year 2020 — a $16 billion cut from this year and $33 billion less than the initial plan for 2020.
Nuclear weapons
One of Smith’s longtime concerns has been the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He opposed the Obama administration’s modernization plans, arguing they weren’t affordable.
With the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review calling for new capabilities, Smith has stepped up his criticism, vowing to scrutinize the nuclear budget to look for savings in the overall defense budget.
In his Thursday letter, Smith said Democrats must “take substantial steps to reduce America’s overreliance on nuclear weapons.”
Adding to Democrats’ nuclear anxiety is Trump’s intention to withdraw from a Cold War-era arms accord with Russia known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Smith and Engel wrote a letter to the administration last month warning they “will neither support, nor enable, a precipitous course of action that increases the risk of an unconstrained nuclear arms race.”
Congress is limited in its power to prevent Trump from withdrawing from the treaty, but it could block funding for any new missiles that would be out of compliance with the accord.
Inhofe backed the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review and is unlikely to support reduced funding for weapons in the defense policy bill. Risch, meanwhile, issued a statement of support after Trump announced withdrawal from the INF Treaty, saying “the time has come to set the treaty aside.”

More Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

People gather Monday around a vehicle destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.Israel defends secret Gaza operation that led to death of IDF solider and Hamas commander

 
(CNN)The Israeli army has defended a secret operation inside Gaza that left one of its officers dead, after it was forced to pull out its soldiers in an effort that ended in the deaths of seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas military commander.
The exchange, near the city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza strip, led to a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel that injured at least 11.The sudden escalation of tensions threatens to derail recent initiatives aimed at alleviating the humanitarian situation facing Gaza's two million residents.
 
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified the dead Israeli soldier only as Lt. Col. M. Another officer was wounded. Army chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the officer had been killed in a "very meaningful operation to Israel's security," adding that the army owed him "more than we can say."
 
Hamas named a commander of its armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, Nour Baraka, as among the seven Palestinians killed.
 
Questioned on Israeli radio, IDF chief spokesman, Ronen Manelis, refused to give details of the IDF operation, but defended the decision to undertake it.
"Each of these operations is planned in the most serious manner," Manelis said. "It is an operation that takes time to plan. Commanding it directly are the Head of Intelligence and the Chief of General Staff. We are talking about an operation that was well planned right down to the smallest of details."
Hinting that the operation was part of a wider intelligence-gathering sweep, Manelis said, "It is the sort of thing that takes place every night, and in most instances remains under the media's radar."
This time, the soldiers had found themselves in a "very complicated situation," Manelis wrote on social media.
Israeli soldiers near the southern Israel-Gaza border on Monday.
 
According to a statement from the Qassam Brigades, Israeli officers had entered southern Gaza in a civilian car, which was then discovered by Qassam militants led by commander Nour Baraka, who was killed along with another militant Mohammed Al-Qara, in the ensuing gun battle.
The Qassam statement said that Israeli warplanes then carried out airstrikes to provide cover while the soldiers escaped on an Israeli helicopter that had landed nearby to extract them.
Militants also said that the Israeli air force had destroyed the civilian car used in the operation, and distributed photos of what they said was the burned-out car Monday.
Hamas accused Israel of hypocrisy. Musa Abu-Marzouq, a senior member of the Hamas Political Bureau, said in a statement on Monday morning, the Israeli military operation in Gaza "exposed the Israeli occupation's hypocritical behavior with the international community."
 
A barrage of rocket fire was directed at Israel following the Palestinian deaths. The Israeli army said 80 rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israel in one hour Monday, some of which were intercepted by the IDF's Iron Dome aerial defense system.
An Israeli bus was hit by an anti-tank missile from Gaza on Monday afternoon, the Israeli military said. One person was seriously injured, according to ZAKA, a volunteer emergency response service.
Ten other people were wounded after rockets were fired towards the town of Sderot.
Israeli security forces and firefighters gather near the bus hit by fire from Gaza.
 
Three people were killed and foud injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. The ministry said it had increased the level of alertness at hospitals and among ambulance units in Gaza, in anticipation of a possible escalation of hostilities.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two prominent militant groups in Gaza, announced that their fighters were also on high alert. Israel blamed Islamic Jihad for the last sharp escalation over Gaza two weeks ago, accusing the group of firing dozens of rockets at Israel at the instruction of Iran.
The developments came just days after Qatar sent $15 million into Gaza in an attempt to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave and reduce tensions along the Gaza border, which has seen often violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters.
Relatives mourn a Palestinian man killed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Monday.
 
Hamas hailed the money as a victory for the Islamist group, saying it would go to pay salaries of civil servants in Gaza, and help care for those wounded in the weekly clashes.
Netanyahu, who approved the transfer of the Qatari money through Israel into Gaza, had defended the payments, saying in Paris on Sunday before the latest round of violence that he was trying to avoid an "unnecessary war."
Speaking to reporters, he said: "I am working in every direction to try to return the calm to the residents of the Gaza periphery and also to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This is the decision that the [Israeli] security cabinet has made."
But Netanyahu had also struck a note of caution, suggesting he sees a long-term arrangement with Hamas in Gaza as impossible. "There is no diplomatic solution to Gaza," he said.

Pakistan to Counter India's Nuclear Triad

 India recently announced its first submarine armed with ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads has completed its first patrol.   © Reuters
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan has vowed to counter India's successful launch of a nuclear-powered submarine, a move that has thrown off the delicate military balance between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Islamabad said New Delhi's latest action will intensify an arms race that could draw China into the mix. Pakistan is hemmed in by a financial crisis that could force it to turn to Beijing for military assistance.
"No one should doubt Pakistan's resolve and capabilities to meet the challenge posed by the latest developments," said Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry. Faisal's comment came three days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov. 5 said the Arihant, India's first domestically built nuclear-powered submarine, had recently completed its first patrol.
India plans to build three more nuclear subs. The country's leaders say the program will complete a "triad" and give India the ability to deliver nuclear payloads from land, air and sea.
The submarines will greatly enhance India's "second strike capability." A submarine fleet is widely recognized as the most reliable platform that a country first hit by nuclear weapons can use to fire off a response.
Pakistani officials warn that India's triad will force Islamabad to respond in kind so as to deter Indian decision-makers from considering the nuclear option during a future conflict.
The deployment of a nuclear submarine marks a disturbing development for the two South Asian countries. "This development will only fuel the nuclear race," said a senior Western diplomat in Islamabad who asked not to be named.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India and Pakistan each possess up to 150 nuclear weapons. "India's decision to produce nuclear-powered submarines is a major escalation in the nuclear field," said Talat Masood, a retired lieutenant general in Islamabad. "Pakistan will certainly try to match in kind. Once you also place your nuclear weapons on submarines, which are extremely hard to detect, the nuclear decision-making becomes much more complex. There is now a major question mark on how Pakistan will respond, and also how China will respond."
Another Western diplomat pointed out the possibility of Beijing leasing nuclear-powered submarines to Islamabad. China has been a close ally of Pakistan and has geopolitical interest to counter India's militarily moves.
India reportedly spent more than $12 billion on the Arihant. Many experts are skeptical that Pakistan, currently suffering a balance of payments crisis, has spare billions that could be used to develop a similar submarine.
Submarine leasing is nothing new. Russia in the past leased a nuclear sub to India. "I wouldn't be surprised if we hear one day that the Chinese have simply followed with Pakistan what Russia did with India some time ago," the second Western diplomat said.
China has already begun deepening its ties with Pakistan's navy. It has a contract to supply four new conventional submarines to Pakistan by 2022 and another four by 2028. This is on top of having supplied fighter jets and land-based weaponry to Pakistan's air force and army.
Pakistan accounted for 42% of China's total arms sales from 2000 through 2014, according to a report released by U.S. think tank Rand.
Pakistan could also consider building more nuclear bombs and placing some weapons deep underground, where they could better survive a first strike. "What is certain is that we are just not going to sit idle while India gains a nuclear edge to threaten us," said a senior Pakistani government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Pakistan will have to counter the challenge of India's home-built nuclear submarine, one way or the other."
Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said Pakistan has time to formulate a strategy as India has yet to deploy at least four ballistic-missile-carrying submarines. He said other major nuclear powers like the U.K. and France have built at least four nuclear submarines to be able to "hide at least one at any given time."
Deep down, Wezeman said, submarines "are difficult to find and destroy."
Pakistan and India have fought three major wars and many skirmishes during their 71-year history. They continue to deploy large military forces across the mountainous Kashmir region, which has been a flash point since 1947, when the countries became independent.

Shaking Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


GOOCHLAND, VA — Two small earthquakes rumbled the Goochland area Nov. 9, the same region where a 5.8 earthquake in August 2011 originated that was felt up and down the East Coast, and caused damage to hundreds of homes and structures including the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.
The first 2.4 magnitude earthquake occurred at 11:25 a.m. about 23 miles west northwest of Richmond, while a second quake nearby came about 20 minutes later and was recorded as a magnitude 2.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Past Virginia Quakes
 
Earthquakes happen when there is movement below the Earth's surface on fault lines. They can occur anywhere in the U.S. and usually last less than a minute, according to FEMA.
Most recently, a quake on Nov. 30, 2017, about 6 miles northeast of Dover, Delaware, was felt from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., and Fairfax County. The initial report was for a 4.4-magnitude quake but the USGS later scaled it back to 4.1.
A 2.4 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of Virginia on Aug. 25, 2017, according to the USGS. The temblor was registered with the epicenter located 6 kilometers from Goochland, Virginia, near Richmond, experts say.
On March 12, 2017, a 2.3 magnitude quake was registered with the epicenter located 6 kilometers from Goochland, Virginia, near Richmond. The USGS reports that people in Rockville, Maryland, felt the quake. And on Dec. 22, 2016, a 2.2 magnitude earthquake was registered with the epicenter located 18 kilometers from Ashland, Virginia. A 2.3 quake centered nine miles south of Louisa, Va. and 27 miles northwest of Short Pump, Virginia, was reported about 18 months ago.
Since at least 1774, people in central Virginia have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from infrequent larger ones, the USGS noted. The largest damaging earthquake (magnitude 5.8) in the seismic zone occurred in 2011. Smaller earthquakes that cause little or no damage are felt each year or two.
The 5.8-magnitude quake felt by Northern Virginia hit August 23, 2011, when, as the USGS notes: "Tens of millions of people all over the East Coast and southeastern Canada suddenly felt the earth shaking from the largest earthquake in that area since the M5.8 earthquake in 1944 near Cornwall and Massena, New York.
When the earth stopped shaking, more than 148,000 people reported their experience of the earthquake on the Did You Feel It? Web site representing an area occupied by one-third of the U.S. population."
That quake did millions of dollars in damage, including to the National Cathedral, the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., as well as minor to major damage to almost 600 residential properties.
The 5.8 earthquake was centered near the town of Mineral, Va., about 65 km northwest of Richmond at a depth of about 6-8 km.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)


Historic Earthquakes
Near New York City, New York
1884 08 10 19:07 UTC
Magnitude 5.5
Intensity VII
USGS.gov
This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.
Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.

Six Palestinians killed outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

 
Gaza officials say six Palestinians killed in Israeli raid
Senior commander of Hamas's armed wing killed by Israeli forces in undercover operation, officials in Gaza say.
1 hour ago
Security officials in the Gaza Strip say at least six Palestinians, including a senior commander with Hamas's armed wing, have been killed by Israeli forces who carried out an undercover operation in the besieged enclave.
A senior official of Hamas, the group administering the Gaza Strip, said on Sunday that an Israeli special forces team infiltrated an area near the southern city of Khan Younis in a civilian car.
Among those reported killed in the raid was Nour Baraka, a prominent commander of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.
"We heard that a special Israeli unit went inside Khan Younis and assassinated Nour Baraka and another [commander]," Ghazi Hamad, senior Hamas official, told Al Jazeera.
"After [that], the car which carried this special unit or some collaborators, they tried to escape … but they were followed by Hamas and the al-Qassam Brigades and after that Israel tried to cover this car through striking here in Gaza," he added.
"I expect this night in Gaza to not be easy, to not be calm."
Witnesses said that during the chase Israeli aircraft fired over 40 missiles in the area where the incident took place, killing at least four other people.
Fawzi Barhoum, spokesperson for Hamas, denounced what he called a "cowardly Israeli attack".
The Israeli military said in a brief statement: "During IDF (Israel Defense Forces) operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved."
The army did not provide any other details, but said all its soldiers had returned.
In the early hours of Monday, reports said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had cut short a visit to Paris and was returning to Israel after the events in the Gaza Strip.

The Strength of the Russian Nuclear Horn


World War 3: Vladimir Putin claimed he has a weapon able to resist any anti-missile systems (Image: RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY/GETTY)
World War 3: Russia to arm an 'INVINCIBLE' nuclear weapon by 2019 says Putin
RUSSIA is finalising a nuclear weapon capable of wiping out an entire city by descending on Earth “like a meteorite” at 20 times the speed of sound, Vladimir Putin has claimed, sparking World War 3 fears.
By ALICE SCARSI
PUBLISHED: 21:43, Fri, Nov 9, 2018
UPDATED: 21:59, Fri, Nov 9, 2018
Tensions between Washington and Moscow reached a new high as the Russian President claimed he has a weapon that can resist any anti-missile systems, making it almost invincible. Mr Putin said: "We know for certain, it’s an obvious fact and our colleagues realise it, that we surpassed all our competitors in this area. "Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months. We have them in service already."
And blaming the need of a second nuclear race after the Cold War on the US, which has an advanced ballistic missile defence, he added: “Responding to the development of anti-ballistic missile systems by the US, we are improving our strike capabilities.
"Some are already in service, others will be deployed soon."
Called Avangard, the weapon will go into active service by next year with the Red Banner Missile Division, based in the Urals, according to a Russian defence industry source.
Speaking to Russian news agency TASS, they said: “The scheduled period for placing the lead regiment on combat duty is the end of 2019.
“Initially, the regiment will comprise at least two systems but eventually their number will rise to their organic quantity of six units.”
According to the claims made by Russia, the Avangard is an hypersonic glide vehicle, a spacecraft which is lofted into the atmosphere atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, such as the Satan II, to then glide down at hypersonic speed.
Being 20 times faster than the speed of sound means the Avangard could travel as fast as at 6860 m/s. 
The Avangard is loaded with countermeasure systems able to neutralise defence systems - but it can also count on its exceptional manoeuvrability, which makes it almost impossible to track.
Each Avangard can be loaded with a nuclear warhead of as much as two megatons, making its power of annihilation even bigger.
According to Russia, the Satan II, nickname for the RS-28 Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, can carry up to 24 Avangard, meaning Russia could destroy a country’s main cities with one single strike.

This is not the first time Russian officials have spoken out about the Avangard.
During the state-of-the-nation speech on March 1, Mr Putin described his hypersonic arsenal as “invincible”, claiming the Avangard strikes “like a meteorite, like a fireball”.
And in June, Mr Putin said “the Avangard system” was almost completed, adding “is already in the process of its manufacture and has entered its serial production and in 2019 we are planning to deliver it to the Armed Forces.

The Indian Nuclear Threat

'India's nuclear submarine could trigger arms race'
By Aamir Latif and Islamuddin Sajid
KARACHI / ISLAMABAD, Pakistan
India earlier this week announced its first locally built nuclear-powered submarine had completed a patrol in the Indian Ocean -- a development that has the potential to escalate the nuclear arms race in the region.
In a congratulatory message to the nation, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the move has given New Delhi the capability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.
Contrary to conventional submarines, which run on diesel or electricity, nuclear-powered submarines do not need to surface frequently, can operate for long-periods of time underwater, and virtually need no refuelling.
India's arch-rival and neighbor Pakistan claimed that it was fully capable of meeting the challenges posed by the move.
"The development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia which is a matter of concern not only for the Indian Ocean littoral states but also for the international community at large," Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman said in his weekly news briefing, state-owned Radio Pakistan reported.
Analysts in Pakistan view the Indian move one which could trigger a nuclear arms race in South Asia.
“The latest [Indian] move could trigger a nuclear arms escalation in South Asia, which will certainly not be a good sign for the entire international community,” Retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood, an Islamabad-based security analyst told Anadolu Agency.
Masood, who served in the Pakistan army from 1951 to 1988, said that involvement of three nuclear powers in the region -- China, India, and Pakistan -- had already mounted a nuclear arms race.
"India feels insecure against China and to an extent Pakistan. It is on the one hand trying to match Beijing’s nuclear and missile capability, while on the other it wants to prove to the world that it is a robust nuclear power in the region,” he said.
Said Nazeer, another Islamabad-based security analyst, said China would not tolerate Indian rule in Indian Ocean.
“China is spending billions of dollars on CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) to get access to Pakistan’s Gwadar seaport, which it will use for business with the Middle East and Africa. Therefore, it would not bear any threats to this project," Nazeer said, referring to China's Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan worth $64 billion.
Also, Nazeer added, the latest Indian move was direct threat to China in the Indian Ocean which Beijing was using for oil supply.
Samar Mubarik Mund, a Pakistani nuclear scientist who led the team that conducted six successful nuclear tests in May 1998, claims that Islamabad already possesses a “more effective and better” nuclear-powered submarine technology which it developed in 2017.
- Larger international implications
Analysts see a string of economic and political objectives of the big powers behind the latest surge in nuclear arms race in the region.
"The U.S. is supporting India in its nuclear pursuance to counter China, which is politically and economically challenging Washington," Masood said.
Similarly, he added, China wanted to see Pakistan as sufficient in terms of nuclear capability to counter India.
Nazeer shares a similar view.
“China knows that the U.S. is pushing India against it in the region. So in case of any misadventure against Pakistan, Beijing would stand besides Islamabad,” he said, citing several Indian moves foiled by China in the UN Security Council by using its veto in recent years.
China represents Pakistan’s largest defense partner, followed by the U.S. -- Islamabad’s ally in the war on terrorism. In July, Pakistan and China signed a multibillion-dollar deal by which Beijing will provide Pakistan’s navy with eight submarines.
Pakistan and India are among a small handful countries with nuclear arsenals. India joined the nuclear club long before Pakistan, in 1974, prompting Islamabad to follow suit.
Pakistan covertly developed its own nuclear capability in the 1980s, when it was an ally of the U.S. in the first Afghan war against the Soviet Union.
It did not conduct any nuclear tests, however, until India carried out a series of tests in 1999. Only three weeks later, Pakistan conducted six successful tests in the remote Chaghi district near the Afghanistan-Iran border, stoking fears of a nuclear war between the longtime rivals.
According to Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India currently possesses 80-100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan holds 90-110.
A number of international think tanks blame China for assisting Pakistan’s nuclear program, claiming that Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal will cross the 200-mark within the next five years.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Sixth Seal Long Overdue (Revelation 6)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting


The Big One Awaits
By MARGO NASH
Published: March 25, 2001
Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.
Q. What have you found?
A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.
Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?
A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.
Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?
A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.
Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.
A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.
Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?
A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.
Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?
A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.
MARGO NASH
Photo: Alexander Gates, a Rutgers geologist, is mapping a part of the Ramapo Fault, site of previous earthquakes. (John W. Wheeler for The New York Times)

The Shia Horns Continue to Support One Another (Daniel 8)

 
Trade continued to flow over the border between Iraq and Iran at the Beshmakh crossing in Iraq’s eastern Sulaymaniyah governate on Thursday, despite recently reintroduced US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Authorities at the crossing claimed that the “borders of the Beshmakh crossing have been trading with the Islamic Republic of Iran since 2007. This international crossing was formally established and since then the trade movement has continued.”
The US reinstated all the sanctions it had previously lifted as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, on Monday.
The sanctions target Iran’s oil, banking and shipping industries and the Trump administration has also promised to institute harsh penalties for any other states that continue to conduct trade with the country.

Rising Terrorism Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)


A Palestinian protester from Birzeit University throws stones during clashes with Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 2, 2018. AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File
Rising Terrorism in West Bank Overshadows Optimism Around Gaza-Israel Deal
Commanders describe a mixture of lone-wolf attacks, local independent groups and terror cells receiving orders from Hamas leadership in Lebanon and Gaza
In the territories, the Palestinians seem to be having difficulty reconciling themselves to Netanyahu’s absolute conviction that the conflict regarding the occupation is over and done. Appearing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier this week, the head of the Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, warned about the possibility of a steep increase in terrorism in the West Bank. Within the past several days, two Israelis were lightly injured by gunfire in the West Bank, on a bus north of Ramallah, and two stabbing attempts were foiled.
Separate visits to two regional brigade commanders in the West Bank within a week paint a similar picture. The number of rock-throwing incidents has been on the rise, as have the number of attempted terrorist attacks and the number of intelligence warnings of attacks in the planning stages.
Particularly in the northern West Bank, a cycle of revenge has developed that is far from over. Two Israeli citizens were shot to death in the Barkan industrial zone last month and a Palestinian woman was killed by a rock thrown at her car, apparently by young Israelis, which prompt additional acts of revenge.
The fact that the Barkan killer has not yet been apprehended is causing unease among extreme right-wing activists. The Shin Bet and the Israeli army have been investing tremendous resources in trying to catch the terrorist, but to no avail so far. The criticism in the media over the failure to apprehend him is presented rather strangely, suggesting that if only the top brass would only get up an hour earlier, as industrious reporters do, the whole thing would long have been resolved.
Brigade commanders report a combination of lone-wolf attackers, some motivated by serious personal problems and others inspired by terrorist attacks committed by others. There are also reports of independent cells and a growing trend of terrorist cells funded and directed from Hamas command centers in Lebanon and Gaza.
Temple Mount in Jerusalem along the lines of the rioting that followed the installation of metal detectors there in 2017; a series of clashes between Palestinians and West Bank settlers; or instability caused by an open leadership struggle within the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas’ attempts to launch a terrorist campaign in the West Bank are divorced from efforts at coming to an arrangement with Israel over long-term calm on the Gaza border. The main obstacle that the Islamist movement faces in the West Bank is a dearth of engineers who can assemble explosives. Once they have built up adequate knowledge to produce deadly devices again, the threat of suicide attacks will resurface.
Surprisingly, a certain level of optimism is prevailing in Gaza. After the fuel funded by Qatar arrived in the Strip, a temporary arrangement was agreed upon that will make it possible to transfer tens of millions of dollars from Qatar for infrastructure projects and to pay salaries to government employees in Gaza. At present, Hamas is exerting control over the demonstrations along the border fence with Israel and is restraining other violence. If this positive momentum can be maintained for this Friday's border demonstrations, perhaps the prospect exists of putting the events of the past several months behind us.

Unwrapping Armageddon (Revelation 16)


Unwrapping Armageddon: The Erosion of Nuclear Arms Control
Conn Hallinan11.10.18
World News /10 Nov 2018
The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF) appears to be part of a broader strategy aimed at unwinding over 50 years of agreements to control and limit nuclear weapons, returning to an era characterized by the unbridled development weapons of mass destruction.
Terminating the INF treaty—which bans land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of between 300 and 3,400 miles— is not, in and of itself, a fatal blow to the network of treaties and agreements dating back to the 1963 treaty that ended atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. But coupled with other actions—George W. Bush’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 and the Obama administration’s program to upgrade the nuclear weapons infrastructure— the tapestry of agreements that has, at least in part, limited these terrifying creations, is looking increasingly frayed.
“Leaving the INF,” says Sergey Rogov of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, “could bring the whole structure of arms control crashing down.”
Lynn Rusten, the former senior director for arms control in the National Security Agency Council warns, “This is opening the door to an all-out arms race.”
Washington’s rationale for exiting the INF Treaty is that the Russians deployed the 9M729 cruise missile that the US claims violates the agreement, although Moscow denies it and the evidence has not been made public. Russia countercharges that the US ABM system—Aegis Ashore—deployed in Romania and planned for Poland could be used to launch similar medium range missiles.
If this were a disagreement over weapon capability, inspections would settle the matter. But the White House—in particular National Security Advisor John Bolton—is less concerned with inspections than extracting the US from agreements that in any way restrain the use of American power, be it military or economic. Thus, Trump dumped the Iran nuclear agreement, not because Iran is building nuclear weapons or violating the agreement, but because the administration wants to use economic sanctions to pursue regime change in Teheran.
In some ways, the INF agreement is low hanging fruit. The 1987 treaty banned only land-based medium range missiles, not those launched by sea or air —where the Americans hold a strong edge—and it only covered the U.S. and Russia. Other nuclear-armed countries, particularly China, India, North Korea, Israel and Pakistan have deployed a number of medium range nuclear-armed missiles. One of the arguments Bolton makes for exiting the INF is that it would allow the US to counter China’s medium range missiles.
But if the concern was controlling intermediate range missiles, the obvious path would be to expand the treaty to other nations and include air and sea launched weapons. Not that that would be easy. China has lots of intermediate range missiles, because most its potential antagonists, like Japan or US bases in Asia, are within the range of such missiles. The same goes for Pakistan, India, and Israel.
Intermediate range weapons—sometimes called “theater” missiles—do not threaten the US mainland the way that similar US missiles threaten China and Russia. Beijing and Moscow can be destroyed by long-range intercontinental missiles, but also by theater missiles launched from ships or aircraft. One of the reasons that Europeans are so opposed to withdrawing from the INF is that, in the advent of nuclear war, medium-range missiles on their soil will make them a target.
But supposed violations of the treaty is not why Bolton and the people around him oppose the agreement. Bolton called for withdrawing from the INF Treaty three years before the Obama administration charged the Russians with cheating. Indeed, Bolton has opposed every effort to constrain nuclear weapons and has already announced that the Trump administration will not extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) when it expires in 2021.
START caps the number of US and Russian deployed nuclear weapons at 1,550, no small number.
The Bush administration’s withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty in 2002 was the first major blow to the treaty framework. Anti-ballistic missiles are inherently destabilizing, because the easiest way to defeat such systems is to overwhelm them by expanding the number of launchers and warheads. Bolton—a longtime foe of the ABM agreement—recently bragged that dumping the treaty had no effect on arms control.
But the treaty’s demise has shelved START talks, and it was the ABM’s deployment in Eastern Europe—along with NATO’s expansion up to the Russian borders—that led to Moscow deploying the cruise missile now in dispute.
While Bolton and Trump are more aggressive about terminating agreements, it was the Obama administration’s decision to spend $1.6 trillion to upgrade and modernize US nuclear weapons that now endangers one of the central pillars of the nuclear treaty framework, the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
That agreement ended the testing of nuclear weapons, slowing the development of new weapons, particularly miniaturization and warheads with minimal yields. The former would allow more warheads on each missile, the latter could increase the possibility of using nuclear weapons without setting off a full-scale nuclear exchange.
Nukes are tricky to design, so you don’t want to deploy one without testing it. The Americans have bypassed some of the obstacles created by the CTBT by using computers like the National Ignition Facility. The B-61 Mod 11 warhead, soon-to-be-deployed in Europe, was originally a city killer, but labs at Livermore, CA and Los Alamos and Sandia, NM turned it into a bunker buster, capable of taking out command and control centers buried deep in the ground.
Nevertheless, the military and the nuclear establishment—ranging from companies such as Lockheed Martin and Honeywell International to university research centers—have long felt hindered by the CTBT. Add the Trump administration’s hostility to anything that constrains US power and the CTBT may be next on the list.
Restarting nuclear testing will end any controls on weapons of mass destruction. And since Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires nuclear-armed powers to eventually disarm their weapons of mass destruction, that agreement may go as well. In a very short time countries like South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia will join the nuclear club, with South Africa and Brazil in the wings. The latter two countries researched producing nuclear weapons in the 1980s, and South Africa actually tested one.
The demise of the INF agreement will edge the world closer to nuclear war. Since medium range missiles shorten the warning time for a nuclear attack from 30 minutes to 10 minutes or less, countries will keep their weapons on a hair trigger. “Use them or lose them” is the philosophy that impels the tactics of nuclear war.
In the past year, Russia and NATO held very large military exercises on one another’s borders. Russian, US and Chinese fighter planes routinely play games of chicken. What happens when one of those “games” goes wrong?
The US and the Soviet Union came within minutes of an accidental war on at least two occasions, and, with so many actors and so many weapons, it will be only a matter of time before some country interprets a radar image incorrectly and goes to DEFCON 1—imminent nuclear war.
The INF Treaty came about because of strong opposition and huge demonstrations in Europe and the United States. That kind of pressure, coupled with a pledge by countries not to deploy such weapons, will be required again, lest the entire tapestry of agreements that kept the horror of nuclear war at bay vanish.

Jihad Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)


Hamas, Jihad Call for Armed Resistance in West Bank
The Hamas and Palestinian Jihad movements called for adopting armed resistance in the West Bank to confront the Israeli settlement project.
“This option will remain present by our people’s will,” said Hamas in a statement.
The Jihad for its part noted that this option is a normal response to settler crimes.
Both movements' stances were announced after two settlers were injured in an attack near Ramallah. Two Israelis were lightly injured Wednesday during a shooting attack near a Jewish settlement in the central West Bank, the Israeli army said.
The army said the two were on a bus that was fired upon on Route 466 near Beit El, north of Ramallah and were injured by glass after a window shattered due to gunfire. Israeli troops were searching the area for suspects, it added.
The Israeli army closed the roadblocks there, deployed units on the outskirts of the town and began combing to find the gunmen. Recent escalations have raised Israeli fears after a Palestinian attacker killed Israelis in an industrial area in October and carried out stabbing crimes later.
Hamas hailed the shooting attack on the settler bus near Ramallah and Israel’s failure to detain the attacker, Ashraf Naalowa, from last month’s operation.
“Palestinians in all West Bank’s cities are now imposing heroic feuds in the face of the occupation," Hamas said.
It stressed that the confrontations fought by the people in Nablus and the Jenin camp against the occupation forces is a message to the leaders of the enemy and settlers that people support the resistance and its choice to defeat the Israeli occupation.
“Our enemy leaders must understand our people’s message. No security for their project, and that they must leave our beloved land,” Hamas stressed, adding that persistence of settlers to loot their land will only be met by the resistance’s escalation.
Jihad also blessed the escalation in the resistance’s operations in the West Bank, considering it a normal response to the Israeli army and settler crimes.
It considered this escalation a proof of the failure of arrest and prosecution policies adopted by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people in the West Bank.
“These operations form a unit in the confrontation against occupation and against terrorism and aggression,” the movement stressed.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal


Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years
Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com
BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.
A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.
So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.
Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.
If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.
So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.
“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”
One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.
The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.
Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.
The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.
“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”
Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.
“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.
The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.
Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.
Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.
There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.
Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

Children Shot Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Link to video and photo content here
Save the Children urge for an end to violence at border which has seen 948 children hit by live ammunition and for support for those who have been wounded.
While early signs are that an agreement could bring relative calm to Gaza, months of violence leave behind almost 1,000 Palestinian children shot and maimed by live ammunition. As they struggle in a crippled health system, it is vital to support these children in recovering from their physical and mental wounds and ensure no further children are injured, Save the Children warns.
To date more than 5,100 Palestinian children have been injured since the protests began, according to the UN. In total, it says 24,362 Palestinians have been injured and 228 killed since 30th March. In the same period 40 Israelis have been injured and one soldier killed.
Even for the most seriously injured, there is little chance they can leave Gaza to get the treatment that could, in some cases, save their limbs. The WHO reports that less than a quarter of people injured in the protests have been permitted to leave Gaza for treatment.
Rami*, 13, was with a group of children at the protests when he was shot with what appeared to be an exploding bullet.
The bullet carved a hole in his leg and he was rushed to a field hospital where the doctors wanted to amputate before his father intervened.
Rami has now had surgery 11 times and doctors don't know if he will ever walk again.
Rami said, “They started to shoot at us, and then there was (tear) gas. I ran away, I found my brother. We were about to leave to go home… they shot me. I fell, my brother started to cry and say: ‘I can’t rescue you’.”
“They bandaged both legs, and I was bleeding. They took me to hospital and the doctor said to sign for my leg to be amputated. My father argued with the doctor until the head of the department came and said that there’s a chance to save the leg.
“I want to walk, to be able to go to school, to play football and play with my friends. I always wanted to be a football player and I still want to.”
Rami’s family explained how they tried to get him medical care in Israel but their requests have been refused so far. They cannot afford the basic medication to prevent further infection. Save the Children and its partners are providing Rami with mental health support to help him deal with the traumatic experiences and are ensuring he gets the antibiotics he needs.
According to a recent report, 460 Palestinians will be in need of long-term limb reconstruction following the recent mass demonstrations, requiring up to seven surgeries and extensive treatment for up to two years. More than 80 of them may be children. The numbers are expected to increase. Since 30th March there have been 15 amputations on children.
Ibrahim Abu Sobeih, Save the Children’s Program Manager in Gaza, added:
“Many injured children are not only facing physical injuries but also psychological implications for their mental health. They need adequate support to recover from their traumatic experiences. They need to learn to walk again, to move, but also to live.”
“Already before the recent events, we were deeply concerned about the psychological impact of prolonged exposure to extreme violence and the blockade on the children of Gaza. If left untreated, the symptoms of anxiety and depression could have long term physical and psychological damage.”
Yet hospitals in Gaza are overstretched. Some 8,000 pre-scheduled surgeries, including critical cases, have been postponed. Since the start of 2018, 462 health workers have been injured and three killed in violence at the perimeter, putting a further strain on Gaza’s health system. Gaza’s central medical store is already out of 40% of essential medicines, with a further 47% at less than one month’s supply.
Maher
Maher* is 11 years old. He was at a demonstration with friends when he was shot in the arm. He kept the bullet the doctors removed.
“A helicopter dropped (tear) gas all over the place and we got separated. While I was standing there in the gas, I felt something in my arm. I got shot.
“I looked around, then I screamed and felt a lot of pain. No one came to help because they were afraid of being shot and gassed too.”
“Now I cannot play with my friends as before, I can’t hold the ball as they can do, because it hurts.”
“What did I do to the soldiers? I didn’t go there to throw stones, I went to the protest like everyone else, holding my flag. I didn’t think it would be so dangerous.”
Tom Krift, Save the Children’s Regional Director for the Middle East, said:
“The Israeli government must end the use of sniper fire and live ammunition against children in Gaza. The killing and wounding of children is never acceptable, all parties must ensure that children are not targets. We strongly urge all protests to remain peaceful.”
“The long-standing blockade has created a fuel shortage which makes it harder for hospitals to function and for injured children to get the medical care they need. It puts the lives of hundreds of children at risk.”
“There are encouraging signs that the reported agreement may help stop further child casualties. To prevent more of Gaza’s children from having their lives shattered by bullets all sides must redouble their efforts to find a peaceful solution and tackle the long-term causes of this conflict.”
“In line with international humanitarian and human rights law, we are calling for an end to the blockade. Lifting it will be essential to allow health services to re-establish health care that can save lives and prevent long term disability. It will also be a vital step towards achieving durable peace that enables reconstruction and recovery.”
Notes to editors
Save the Children partners conduct emergency field visits to injured children to provide psychosocial support and help ensure children get counselling to start to recover from their experiences.
In a survey carried out before the protests Save the Children found that a generation of children in Gaza are on the brink of a mental health crisis, and that fresh violence could destroy their last vestiges of resilience.