Conclusion to Economic Consequences of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:15) 15 JANUARY, 2016 BY ANDREW THE PROPHET

Scenario Earthquakes for Urban Areas Along the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States: Conclusions
New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation

The current efforts in the eastern U.S., including New York City, to start the enforcement of seismic building codes for new constructions are important first steps in the right direction. Similarly, the emerging efforts to include seismic rehabilitation strategies in the generally needed overhaul of the cities’ aged infrastructures such as bridges, water, sewer, power and transportation is commendable and needs to be pursued with diligence and persistence. But at the current pace of new construction replacing older buildings and lifelines, it will take many decades or a century before a major fraction of the stock of built assets will become seismically more resilient than the current inventory is. For some time, this leaves society exposed to very high seismic risks. The only consolation is that seismicity on average is low, and, hence with some luck, the earthquakes will not outpace any ongoing efforts to make eastern cities more earthquake resilient gradually. Nevertheless, M = 5 to M = 6 earthquakes at distances of tens of km must be considered a credible risk at almost any time for cities like Boston, New York or Philadelphia. M = 7 events, while possible, are much less likely; and in many respects, even if building codes will have affected the resilience of a future improved building stock, M = 7 events would cause virtually unmanageable situations. Given these bleak prospects, it will be necessary to focus on crucial elements such as maintaining access to cities by strengthening critical bridges, improving the structural and nonstructural performance of hospitals, and having a nationally supported plan how to assist a devastated region in case of a truly severe earthquake. No realistic and coordinated planning of this sort exists at this time for most eastern cities.
The current efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) via the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to provide a standard methodology (RMS, 1994) and planning tools for making systematic, computerized loss estimates for annualized probabilistic calculations as well as for individual scenario events, is commendable. But these new tools provide only a shell with little regional data content. What is needed are the detailed data bases on inventory of buildings and lifelines with their locally specific seismic fragility properties. Similar data are needed for hospitals, shelters, firehouses, police stations and other emergency service providers. Moreover, the soil and rock conditions which control the shaking and soil liquefaction properties for any given event, need to be systematically compiled into Geographical Information System (GIS) data bases so they can be combined with the inventory of built assets for quantitative loss and impact estimates. Even under the best of conceivable funding conditions, it will take years before such data bases can be established so they will be sufficiently reliable and detailed to perform realistic and credible loss scenarios. Without such planning tools, society will remain in the dark as to what it may encounter from a future major eastern earthquake.Given these uncertainties, and despite them, both the public and private sector must develop at least some basic concepts for contingency plans. For instance, the New York City financial service industry, from banks to the stock and bond markets and beyond, ought to consider operational contingency planning, first in terms of strengthening their operational facilities, but also for temporary backup operations until operations in the designated facilities can return to some measure of normalcy. The Federal Reserve in its oversight function for this industry needs to take a hard look at this situation.
A society, whose economy depends increasingly so crucially on rapid exchange of vast quantities of information must become concerned with strengthening its communication facilities together with the facilities into which the information is channeled. In principle, the availability of satellite communication (especially if self-powered) with direct up and down links, provides here an opportunity that is potentially a great advantage over distributed buried networks. Distributed networks for transportation, power, gas, water, sewer and cabled communication will be expensive to harden (or restore after an event).
In all future instances of major capital spending on buildings and urban infrastructures, the incorporation of seismically resilient design principles at all stages of realization will be the most effective way to reduce society’s exposure to high seismic risks. To achieve this, all levels of government need to utilize legislative and regulatory options; insurance industries need to build economic incentives for seismic safety features into their insurance policy offerings; and the private sector, through trade and professional organizations’ planning efforts, needs to develop a healthy self-protective stand. Also, the insurance industry needs to invest more aggressively into broadly based research activities with the objective to quantify the seismic hazards, the exposed assets and their seismic fragilities much more accurately than currently possible. Only together these combined measures may first help to quantify and then reduce our currently untenably large seismic risk exposures in the virtually unprepared eastern cities. Given the low-probability/high-impact situation in this part of the country, seismic safety planning needs to be woven into both the regular capital spending and daily operational procedures. Without it we must be prepared to see little progress. Unless we succeed to build seismic safety considerations into everyday decision making as a normal procedure of doing business, society will lose the race against the unstoppable forces of nature. While we never can entirely win this race, we can succeed in converting unmitigated catastrophes into manageable disasters, or better, tolerable natural events.

The Antichrist Deceives Christians (Revelation 13)

Thursday, January 14, 2016 11:00 pm.
Pascale Warda
Chaldean Christian politician Pascale Warda has welcomed this call. Mrs Warda has asked all Iraqi citizens to support the reinstatement of the rights of the Christians owners – a cause that is also supported by several civil society groups in Iraq.
Many Christian homes have been stolen, with the collusion of corrupt officials, who put themselves at the service of individual frauds and organized groups of fraudsters.
The ‘legalized’ theft of the properties belonging to Christian families was closely linked to the mass exodus of Iraqi Christians, following the US-led military intervention to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Opportunists took possession of homes and property which had been left empty, in the hops that none of the owners would come back to reclaim their property.
MPs and Christian associations have long appealed to the local administrative institutions, asking them to cancel the false certifications.
Muqtada al-Sadr is the leader of the Sadrist Movement, the party to which at least 30 Iraqi lawmakers belong. He was also the founder of the Mahdi Army, the militia – officially disbanded in 2008 – created in 2003 to fight the foreign forces in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Source: Fides

The US Military Under Obama’s Helm (Ezekiel 17)

Embarrassment on the high seas: Iran’s humiliation of US sets the toneUS Navy sailors kneeling with their hands on their head as Iranian forces board their boat

Analysis: The release of images depicting American sailors on their knees with their hands over their heads only days before removal of sanctions is part of an intra-Iranian struggle between moderate and the hawkish Khamenei; it also shows that while it won’t seek unnecessary provocations, it also won’t pass up an opportunity to embarrass the West.
Ron Ben-Yishai
First, Washington’s response to the incident testifies to the fact that Obama and his administration will not allow anything to get in the way of implementing the nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement is in a few days supposed to reach a critical point when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announces that Iran has met all the basic conditions placed by the other partners in the agreement, thus permitting the removal of sanctions that the West put in place when Iran refused to stop enriching uranium and progressing towards a nuclear bomb.
Nothing could serve the national Iranian interest better than the removal of sanctions, which little oil the country can sell has reached an unprecedented low price.
Iran needs sanctions removal like people need oxygen, and it’s reasonable to assume that it will not do anything to sabotage implementation of the agreement and relations with the Americans, who are the leading power in moves to remove the sanctions. But Obama’s United States behaves as though it is the one who needs the sanctions to be removed, not Iran.
Fact: About two weeks ago the Iranians tested ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The ban on holding such tests is part of the UN Security Council’s decision that validated the nuclear agreement, but Iran doesn’t care about the UN and the world powers. Not only did it carry out the test, it also showed off an underground site to store and fire long-range ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.
This was a violation – even if not blatant – of the UN’s decision. The Obama administration has already prepared a list of sanctions, but the president himself instructed the National Security Council, the Defense Department and the Pentagon to halt the process lest, God forbid, something happen to the nuclear agreement. This in itself is not a good sign for us, as it means the US will ignore violations of the Iranian nuclear agreement if they are not too over-the-top.
An intra-Iranian struggle
Back to the incident in the Persian Gulf. In about three weeks, another significant event is to occur: elections in the Iranian parliament. It will then become clear if the moderate, pragmatic camp led by President Rouhani can gain strength, or if the conservative, radical camp led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards emerges victorious.
The camp led by Khamenei and the Guards see the nuclear agreement as an American plot to collapse the ayatollah regime from within via penetration of Western culture and increased influence of American culture, whose values are opposed to the Islamic Revolution’s values. Khamenei sees the nuclear agreement as an insidious step and an obvious Western scheme that must be foiled.
The Revolutionary Guards don’t want President Rouhani to deprive them of their monopoly over the Iranian economy. When Iran opens up to the world, and particularly to the West, private and foreign entrepreneurs will be able to do what is currently controlled by the Guards.
On the other hand, they want the removal of sanctions, because a deterioration of the economic situation in Iran could endanger their rule. They will hence not interfere with President Rouhani’s and Foreign Minister Zarif’s charm offensive, but will also not miss any opportunity to humiliate the Americans and show them that Iran has not given in to them and that the nuclear agreement is only a necessity they are forced to recognize for a set period of time.
Apology or half apology
All this was reflected in the incident involving the sailors and how it concluded. Those who stopped the American patrol boats were small, speedy boats belonging to the Revolutionary Guards. They did not miss the opportunity to photograph the American sailors in humiliating positions of surrender, and some demanded an apology from the United States as a condition for their release.
In contrast, Foreign Minister Zarif was all sweet talk when his US counterpart John Kerry called him and asked him to release the sailors immediately. Kerry, who did his military service in Vietnam as an officer on a patrol boat similar to the one captured by the Iranians, is apparently well-aware of what occurred, but he admitted the American boats penetrated Iranian territorial waters. Such a statement is a kind of apology and an admission of guilt on the part of the United States.
In this way, Kerry hoped, everyone would come out satisfied, but it was the Revolutionary Guards who got the last word. Their hatred for Americans and Rouhani outweighed any other considerations. They distributed the video of the humiliated American sailors and their captors treating them humanely and in this manner they killed two birds with one video clip regarding international opinion.
In the end the Revolutionary Guards released the Americans without receiving a formal apology, and it can be assumed that the motive for this was the recent burning of the Saudi embassy, which raised the ire of the Sunni Muslim world and part of the West.
Even the timing was important. The incident took place ahead of Obama’s State of the Union address – the last one before the next presidential election – in which he spoke of the nuclear deal with Iran as one of the main achievements of his presidency.
Donald Trump, the fiery and uncouth nominee for the Republicans’ presidential candidate, was quick to grasp the opportunity and presented the incident in the Persian Gulf as proof of the Obama administration’s weakness in the international arena. For us, what happened yesterday, especially the way the current ruling Iranian regime provoked the Americans through video images, should be deeply concerning.

North Korea Threatens To Wipe Out The US

UNITED NATIONS — Jan 13, 2016, 4:50 PM ET
North Korea called it a hydrogen bomb and said the test “scientifically proved the power of the smaller H-bomb,” though the United States and others expressed skepticism that Pyongyang actually tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time. Nonetheless, whatever the North detonated underground will likely push the country closer toward a fully functional nuclear arsenal, which it still is not thought to have.
A Security Council diplomat said Wednesday that the U.N.’s most powerful body is working on a resolution that imposes tougher sanctions on North Korea to reflect the claim that it tested a more powerful hydrogen bomb, which is “a step change” from its three previous atomic test.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations have been private, said all 15 council members agree that North Korea should be denuclearized, and this will be reflected in a new resolution.
North Korea’s U.N. mission circulated a report from the country’s news agency saying the Jan. 6 test wasn’t to “threaten” or “provoke” anyone but was indispensable to build a nuclear force “to cope with the U.S. ever-more undisguised hostile policy” toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name.
It said North Korean scientists and technicians “are in high spirit to detonate H-bombs … capable of wiping out the whole territory of the U.S. all at once as it persistently moves to stifle the DPRK.”
Former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Siegfried Hecker, one of the world’s top experts on North Korea’s nuclear program, said last week he did not believe it tested “a real hydrogen bomb,” and that “North Korea is still a long way off from being able to strike the U.S. mainland.”
North Korea’s U.N. mission claimed Wednesday that its successful nuclear bomb test showed that it could now “wipe out” the United States, as the U.N. Security Council grappled with a response to the underground blast.
It said North Korean scientists and technicians “are in high spirit to detonate H-bombs … capable of wiping out the whole territory of the U.S. all at once as it persistently moves to stifle the DPRK.”
Former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Siegfried Hecker, one of the world’s top experts on North Korea’s nuclear program, said last week he did not believe it tested “a real hydrogen bomb,” and that “North Korea is still a long way off from being able to strike the U.S. mainland.”
But Hecker, who has visited the North seven times since 2004, said in an interview with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, that the most worrisome result of the test is that North Korea “will have achieved greater sophistication in their bomb design.” He added that “at this point, what makes their nuclear arsenal more dangerous is not so much explosive power of the bomb, but its size, weight and the ability to deliver it with missiles.”
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
The Security Council last approved sanctions against North Korea three weeks after its third nuclear test on Feb. 12, 2013. That resolution was largely negotiated by the United States and China, North Korea’s traditional ally.
South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye called Wednesday for Chinese help to launch what she calls the “strongest” international sanctions on North Korea over the nuclear test.
The council diplomat said the United States, which is leading the current negotiations, is consulting closely with China but also with other council members, including Japan.
The diplomat said a new resolution isn’t expected immediately, likely not in less than three weeks.

Economic Consequences of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Scenario Earthquakes for Urban Areas Along the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States
New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation

New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation

If today a magnitude 6 earthquake were to occur centered on New York City, what would its effects be? Will the loss be 10 or 100 billion dollars? Will there be 10 or 10,000 fatalities? Will there be 1,000 or 100,000 homeless needing shelter? Can government function, provide assistance, and maintain order?

At this time, no satisfactory answers to these questions are available. A few years ago, rudimentary scenario studies were made for Boston and New York with limited scope and uncertain results. For most eastern cities, including Washington D.C., we know even less about the economic, societal and political impacts from significant earthquakes, whatever their rate of occurrence.
Why do we know so little about such vital public issues? Because the public has been lulled into believing that seriously damaging quakes are so unlikely in the east that in essence we do not need to consider them. We shall examine the validity of this widely held opinion.
Is the public’s earthquake awareness (or lack thereof) controlled by perceived low SeismicitySeismic Hazard, or Seismic Risk? How do these three seismic features differ from, and relate to each other? In many portions of California, earthquake awareness is refreshed in a major way about once every decade (and in some places even more often) by virtually every person experiencing a damaging event. The occurrence of earthquakes of given magnitudes in time and space, not withstanding their effects, are the manifestations of seismicity. Ground shaking, faulting, landslides or soil liquefaction are the manifestations of seismic hazard. Damage to structures, and loss of life, limb, material assets, business and services are the manifestations of seismic risk. By sheer experience, California’s public understands fairly well these three interconnected manifestations of the earthquake phenomenon. This awareness is reflected in public policy, enforcement of seismic regulations, and preparedness in both the public and private sector. In the eastern U.S., the public and its decision makers generally do not understand them because of inexperience. Judging seismic risk by rates of seismicity alone (which are low in the east but high in the west) has undoubtedly contributed to the public’s tendency to belittle the seismic loss potential for eastern urban regions.
Let us compare two hypothetical locations, one in California and one in New York City. Assume the location in California does experience, on average, one M = 6 every 10 years, compared to New York once every 1,000 years. This implies a ratio of rates of seismicity of 100:1. Does that mean the ratio of expected losses (when annualized per year) is also 100:1? Most likely not. That ratio may be closer to 10:1, which seems to imply that taking our clues from seismicity alone may lead to an underestimation of the potential seismic risks in the east. Why should this be so?
To check the assertion, let us make a back-of-the-envelope estimate. The expected seismic risk for a given area is defined as the area-integrated product of: seismic hazard(expected shaking level), assets ($ and people), and the assets’ vulnerabilities (that is, their expected fractional loss given a certain hazard – say, shaking level). Thus, if we have a 100 times lower seismicity rate in New York compared to California, which at any given point from a given quake may yield a 2 times higher shaking level in New York compared to California because ground motions in the east are known to differ from those in the west; and if we have a 2 times higher asset density (a modest assumption for Manhattan!), and a 2 times higher vulnerability (again a modest assumption when considering the large stock of unreinforced masonry buildings and aged infrastructure in New York), then our California/New York ratio for annualized loss potential may be on the order of (100/(2x2x2)):1. That implies about a 12:1 risk ratio between the California and New York location, compared to a 100:1 ratio in seismicity rates.
From this example it appears that seismic awareness in the east may be more controlled by the rate of seismicity than by the less well understood risk potential. This misunderstanding is one of the reasons why earthquake awareness and preparedness in the densely populated east is so disproportionally low relative to its seismic loss potential. Rare but potentially catastrophic losses in the east compete in attention with more frequent moderate losses in the west. New York City is the paramount example of a low-probability, high-impact seismic risk, the sort of risk that is hard to insure against, or mobilize public action to reduce the risks.
There are basically two ways to respond. One is to do little and wait until one or more disastrous events occur. Then react to these – albeit disastrous – “windows of opportunity.” That is, pay after the unmitigated facts, rather than attempt to control their outcome. This is a high-stakes approach, considering the evolved state of the economy. The other approach is to invest in mitigation ahead of time, and use scientific knowledge and inference, education, technology transfer, and combine it with a mixture of regulatory and/or economic incentives to implement earthquake preparedness. The National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) has attempted the latter while much of the public tends to cling to the former of the two options. Realistic and reliable quantitative loss estimation techniques are essential to evaluate the relative merits of the two approaches.
This paper tries to bring into focus some of the seismological factors which are but one set of variables one needs for quantifying the earthquake loss potential in eastern U.S. urban regions. We use local and global analogs for illustrating possible scenario events in terms of risk. We also highlight some of the few local steps that have been undertaken towards mitigating against the eastern earthquake threat; and discuss priorities for future actions.