Tensions Increase Along Pakistan India Border (Revelation 8)

Seven die in Pakistan-administered Bhimber sector on line of control as tensions rise between neighbours
Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian police earlier this month
Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian police earlier this month. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images
The incident happened in the Bhimber sector of the line of control, a brief statement by Pakistan’s army said. “Pakistani troops, while responding to Indian unprovoked firing, targeted Indian posts effectively,” it added.
Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry condemned what it described as “continuous unprovoked” firing and said the army was responding in a “befitting manner”.
The LOC is the ceasefire line between the two countries, which have fought three conflicts over Kashmir, a Muslim majority state that joined India after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. The two nuclear armed neighbours are embroiled in an increasingly acrimonious diplomatic standoff.
Pakistan has lodged several complaints with India over what it says is the targeting of civilians living on its side of the LOC. It has said at least 25 people have been killed in recent weeks.
The first attack, on the Pathankot airbase in Indian Punjab, took place in January shortly after hopes for peace in south Asia had been stoked by the surprise visit of the Indian prime minister to Lahore on Christmas Day.
Nineteen soldiers died during the second assault on a base near the town of Uri in Indian Kashmir in September.
India responded with an unprecedented series of raids across the LOC, which it described as “surgical strikes” against “terrorist launch pads”, although Pakistan vigorously denied the claim.
Pakistan has criticised India’s attempts to impose order on Kashmir, which has resulted in scores of casualties among protesters.
This month Islamabad named eight Indian diplomats who it accused of spying.
Earlier, Delhi announced the expulsion of a Pakistani diplomat it said was running a spy ring.

Why the US, Russia, and China are Three of the Ten Horns (Daniel 7:7)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida U.S. November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Donald Trump in Florida earlier this month.
Trump has called communist China a “currency manipulator,” threatened to impose stiff tariffs on Chinese imports, and accused the country of inventing the idea of climate change to hurt US businesses.
Xi, in turn, told Trump “facts have shown that cooperation is the only correct choice” for the United States and China, according to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.
In the phone call that Trump made to Xi, the two men agreed to maintain close communications and to meet at an early date.Trump, Putin talk about better relations
Despite the optimistic tone, analysts believe the relationship between Trump and Xi could grow tense if Trump follows through on his campaign promises, including a vow to impose a 45 percent tax on Chinese imports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Trump Monday to offer congratulations. Trump’s transition office said the president-elect “is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia.’’
The Kremlin said Putin also expressed Russia’s readiness to ‘‘establish a partner-like dialogue with the new administration on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and noninterference in domestic relations,’’ the Associated Press reported.
‘‘During the call, the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues, and the historical US-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years,’’ it said.
In its statement on the phone call, the Kremlin added that both Putin and Trump agreed that the US-Russian ties are in ‘‘extremely unsatisfactory’’ condition now.
It said that Putin and Trump agreed to continue phone contacts and to plan a personal meeting in the future.
Trump said during the presidential campaign that he wants to be friends with Russia and join forces in the fight against the Islamic State, yet he outlined few specifics as to how he would go about it.
President Obama began his presidency with a goal to ‘‘reset’’ ties with Russia, but they eventually plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Throughout the campaign, the Kremlin insisted that it had no favorites and rejected the claims of interference in the US election.
Russia’s state-controlled media, however, made no secret of their sympathy for Trump.
In China, foreign policy experts appear to be nervous about the prospect of a trade war.
In an editorial on Sunday in Global Times, a newspaper known for its nationalistic views, said that trade would be “paralyzed” if Trump imposed the tariff he has touted.
The article threatened a “tit-for-tat” response, saying that sales of American cars, airplanes, iPhones, and soybeans would suffer and that China could limit the number of students who go to the United States to study.
“Making things difficult for China politically will do him no good,” the editorial said. “Trump, as a shrewd businessman, will not be so naive.”
Trump is a longtime critic of US trade policies with Asian countries, and his pledge to rethink security commitments in Japan and South Korea has created uncertainty in the region.
China, as a rising superpower, sees both benefits and potential dangers in Trump’s leadership. Some analysts believe his focus on domestic issues might allow China to exert more influence in Asia and the Pacific.
Others worry that he may abandon international agreements, such as a landmark accord on climate change reached last year.
Li Yonghui, dean of the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said in an interview that Trump’s emphasis on domestic affairs might help ease tensions between the two countries.
But he added that Chinese leaders needed to prepare for the possibility that Trump might increase pressure on Beijing, for example, by imposing more restrictions on trade.
“He’s very different from the Obama administration when it comes to issues like trade and economics,” Li said. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty.”

The Sixth Seal: Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

Eastern Quakes: Real Risk, Few Precautions

1989 San Francisco Earthquake
1989 San Francisco Earthquake
Published: October 24, 1989
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California. Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

Trump Win Encourages Jihad

ISIS or Daesh?
Supporters of Islamic State and Taliban commanders say that Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims will play perfectly into their hands and will help them bring new fighters into their fold, especially the disenfranchised youth in the West.
Abu Omar Khorasani, an IS commander in Afghanistan told Reuters, “This guy is a complete maniac. His utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands.”
During his campaign, Trump talked tough against terrorist groups and said that he would defeat radical Islamic terrorism. So far, he has not outlined a specific plan to combat terrorist groups such as Islamic State, Taliban and al-Qaeda, which hold a wide variety of political views.
In a statement, Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said: “He does not differentiate between extremist and moderate Islamist trends and, at the same time, he overlooks (the fact) that his extremism will generate extremism in return.”
The cleric’s political reform movement strictly opposes radical groups like IS (Daesh) and al-Qaeda and has not promoted or launched attacks on the West, according to Reuters.
The US has seen attacks inspired by extremist groups in the recent past. In June, at least 49 people were killed at a gay club in Orlando by a gunman who swore his allegiance to Isis and around 14 people were killed in San Bernardino, California at a social services agency in December 2015.
“Our leaders were closely following the U.S. election but it was unexpected that the Americans will dig their own graves and they did so,” Islamic State’s Khorasani said and described Obama as moderate infidel who at least has a little brain unlike Trump. Al-Qaeda has not yet commented on Trump’s victory.
According to analysts, even if Trump tones his comments down after assuming office in January, the statements he made during the campaign are enough fuel their propaganda machine.
Mathew Henman, head of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre said: “Militants will still use those quotes. The key thing militant groups, particularly Islamic State and al Qaeda, depend on for recruitment purposes is convincing Muslims in the Western world that the West hates them and won’t ever accept them as part of their society.”
“If he does what he warned in his election campaign, I am sure it will provoke Muslim Ummah (community) across the world and jihadi organizations can exploit it,” a senior Taliban commander in Afghanistan said, according to Reuters.

Pakistan And India Before WW3 (Revelation 8)

On September 17th, the latent tension between South Asian heavyweights India and Pakistan escalated into overt hostility after an attack on an Indian Army base in Uri, part of the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir. Mourning the deaths of 18 soldiers, the Indian public called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to strike back. India eventually retaliated on September 29th with “surgical strikes” on terror launch pads inside the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir. These strikes resulted in the deaths of “38 terrorists and Pakistani soldiers.” Relations between India and Pakistan have since degenerated to new lows since the conclusion of the 1999 Kargil War.
India and Pakistan have had tense relations since the violent partition of British India in 1947. After both countries gained independence, despite initial diplomatic efforts, competing territorial claims over Kashmir soon characterized and challenged their relationship. Surgical strikes and border conflicts such as those that followed recent Uri attacks have only aggravated this already tense relationship. Indian national sentiment has slowly been growing impatient with the forced diplomatic alliance; the public reaction to the Uri attacks embodies this burgeoning unease.
The Modi government has been under immense public pressure to respond to the Uri attacks with force. An astounding 63% of the Indian populace voiced their support for a military response. Conscious of this popular sentiment, Delhi broke its long-standing silence on covert operations and decided to go public about the surgical strikes. The Indian government used these surgical strikes to showcase its military capabilities and to deter Pakistan from future actions.
However, the full report of the strikes highlighted how the Indian military demonstrated reasonable caution as they recognized the risk associated in appeasing national sentiment. They did not express plans to further these attacks into Pakistan and ensured their intelligence was detailed and based on specific sources. The report shines on the reality that while playing into nationalistic narratives and satisfying some local electorates may offer temporary relief, immediate military, economic and political reactions in the name of solidarity are detrimental to larger diplomatic efforts and will not promote a return to peace or normalcy.
Even if India decides to pursue an armed conflict, it has few military options at its disposal. It could potentially carry out a surgical strike on the Pakistani army or an attack on supposed terrorist training camps inside Pakistan. However, for the past 15 years, India has been following strategic military restraint, unwilling to risk a complete breakdown in relations with Pakistan. Jan Zalewski, a senior analyst at global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, argued in favor of this course, pointing out that a miscalculation could make the situation worse. Even as the war of attrition between Pakistan and India shows no sign of stopping, the government’s top priority will be to prevent the escalation of tensions. This is especially imperative because the two nations are the only nuclear states engaged in a permanent state of conflict. Pakistan has refused to pledge to no-first-use and has continued to develop nuclear weapons, raising a red flag for the Indian military. In response, the recent Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Programme has only exacerbated tensions. This dynamic nuclear status prevents military response from being a viable solution. Rising nationalism challenges this logic, and suggests that the diplomatic cut-off between the countries may make the situation even worse.
Even if India decides to pursue an armed conflict, it has few military options at its disposal.
With the possibility of overt or even covert war out of the question, people are searching for alternative means of action, calling for the termination of Indo-Pak trade, suspension of inter-country cricket matches and deportation of Pakistani artists such as Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, who have movies that are scheduled to be released soon in India. The far-right political party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has been one of most prominent voices in these efforts, demanding a ban on Pakistani artists in India. In response to these threats, Fawad Khan has left India, waiting until the situation comes under control. MNS vice-president Shalini Thackeray called on MNS activists to forcefully stop the filming of any Bollywood film that involved Pakistani actors, with no clarification on the extent of force that should be used. The joint police commissioner of the Mumbai Police, fearing the outbreak of violence, was forced to set up protective measures for these film sets. The Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) also passed a unanimous vote in their general meeting to “henceforth, not to work with any artists, singers or technicians from Pakistan until the situation of hostilities between Pakistan and India subsides.”
Even areas of erstwhile cooperation between the nations have fallen victim to the spike in tensions. The two countries have always regularly competed as major cricket rivals, but Anurag Thakur, the chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, announced that India and Pakistan would not be involved in a joint cricket series in the near future. In the world of media, “Zee Zindagi,” a channel popularized by its exclusive broadcasts of Pakistani shows, has joined the anti-Pakistani rhetoric by removing all Pakistani shows from its lineup. Telecast networks in Pakistan have made similar moves, with the Pakistani Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PERMA) announcing that all Indian channels would be banned from October 15th onwards. Cinemas in Karachi and Islamabad have already stopped screening Indian movies until “the situation improves and normalcy returns.” While there are some who understand that such bans will not help the situation, a large part of the society agrees with this ban, citing it as an example of a non-violent act of unity.
The economic relations between India and Pakistan also play a role in the current tensions. There have been calls in India for the dissolution of business ties with Pakistan or a complete ban on Pakistani exports. Granted, the Uri attacks will hamper the speed of the bilateral trade liberalization process, which has been stalled since the violence in 2013 at the Line of Control. However, during previous hostilities, trade relations have largely continued as usual: The response to the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001 consisted only of partial sanctions. Trade continued through the Mumbai-Karachi sea-route. Bilateral trade also did not drop after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, which had been orchestrated by terrorists from Pakistan. In fact, trade expanded during the partial sanctions as Pakistan reduced the number of Indian banned goods from 6,000 to 1,209 and India reduced duties on Pakistani goods. None of these cases were examples of betrayal to national solidarity, but rather were reflective of rational economic expertise and emotional restraint. Additionally, a full trade ban would have worse consequences for the Indian economy than the Pakistani one, highlighting just how much India has to lose if it continues its belligerent line. While such an extreme outcome as trade bans are unrealistic, India can pursue similar partial economic sanctions as it had done in 2001, forming a cost-benefit analysis to determine which policies are more advantageous.
Amid the recent tensions and anti-Pakistani rhetoric, India withdrew from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit that was to take place in Islamabad this November. This is the first time that India has withdrawn from a SAARC summit, and Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan quickly followed India’s footsteps, cornering Pakistan diplomatically. This move does not bode well for India-Pakistani relations or general South Asian relations. Signs of tension and discord go against the strategic interests of all SAARC nations. The similarities between Indo-Pak relations and the Cold War have led certain experts to discuss similar solutions, such as a bilateral treaty modeled after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which led to the removal of nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.
Although calls for severing cultural ties may not seem very significant, their rhetoric has huge symbolic consequences. Banning Pakistani artists would only serve to increase the national anti-Pakistani sentiment that has gained popularity since the 2008 terror attacks. In associating art with politics, Indians are intentionally accusing Pakistani artists of siding with their government’s actions, a widely inaccurate charge that misrepresents and ignores their different identities and opinions. Although cricket matches may be suspended temporarily, there is a possibility that cricket series could cease to take place if tensions are sustained by hostile sentiment. Cultural ties between India and Pakistan such as cricket and film have also helped to diffuse political tensions when they got too high, a social deterrent to political and military feuds. Without this safety net, Indians are unwittingly laying the groundwork for a second Cold War. Ignoring the Uri attacks or the border conflicts is not a sustainable solution, but neither is rejecting a diplomatic approach. Although Delhi’s previous restrained policy might not satisfy the renewed nationalistic fervor, sustained conflict and non-diplomacy will only worsen the Indo-Pak deadlock.