The Ramapo: The Sixth Seal Fault Line (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for ramapo fault lineThe Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults 

 Map depicting the extent of the Ramapo Fault System in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region, but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage.Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

Babylon the Great Gives Life to Iran’s Nuclear Program

US set to extend Iran nuclear cooperation sanctions waivers

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration is poised to renew several waivers on U.S. sanctions against Iran that will allow Russian, European and Chinese companies to continue to work on Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities without drawing American penalties.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected to sign off on the waiver extensions Monday, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter. The officials said Pompeo had opposed extending the waivers that are among the few remaining components of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the administration has not cancelled.

However, the officials said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had prevailed in an internal debate on the subject last week by arguing that the coronavirus pandemic made eliminating the waivers unpalatable at a time when the administration is being criticized for refusing to ease sanctions to deal with the outbreak. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss the decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Last week, the administration slapped new sanctions on 20 Iranian people and companies for supporting Shia militia in Iraq held responsible for attacks on bases where U.S. forces are located. At the same time, however, it extended another sanctions waiver to allow energy-starved Iraq to keep importing Iranian power.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and has steadily reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been eased or lifted under its terms. The so-called “civilian-nuclear cooperation” waivers allow foreign companies to do work at some of Iran’s declared nuclear sites without becoming subject to U.S. sanctions.

Deal supporters say the waivers give international experts a valuable window into Iran’s atomic program that might otherwise not exist. They also say some of the work, particularly at the Tehran reactor on nuclear isotopes that can be used in medicine, is humanitarian in nature.

But Iran hawks in Congress have been pressing Pompeo to eliminate all the waivers, saying they should be revoked because they give Iran access to technology that could be used for weapons. The hawks most strenuously objected to the waiver that allowed work at Iran’s once-secret Fordow facility, which is built into a mountain.

Pompeo cancelled the Fordow waiver in mid-December but the others, which allow work at the Bushehr nuclear power station, the Arak heavy water plant and the Tehran Research Reactor, were last extended in late January for 60 days. Those waivers are to be extended for another 60 days.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Making Sense of the Antichrist: Fragmentation and Unstable Politics

Making Sense of the Sadrists: Fragmentation and Unstable Politics

Download Making Sense of the Sadrists: Fragmentation and Unstable Politics 

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Iraq’s Sadrist movement, led by populist Shi’i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has been at the heart of Iraqi politics since 2003. The movement’s political strategies have shifted dramatically during this time, encompassing militant insurgency, sectarian violence, electoral politics, and reform-oriented street protests. Consequently, despite their prominence, the Sadrists’ shifting positions mean they remain one of the most complex and frequently misunderstood movements in Iraq. This is further compounded by the near-total absence of engagement between the Sadrists and Western, particularly American, governments. As Sadr has changed his movement’s politics again, this time toward a counter-protest stance, U.S. policymakers are once more grappling with the dilemmas posed by a movement that is both powerful and obscure.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan organization that seeks to publish well-argued, policy-oriented articles on American foreign policy and national security priorities.

Benedict Robin-D’Cruz is a PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh specializing in Iraqi politics, Shi’i Islamist movements, and Iraq’s protest politics. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre.

The Saudi Horn Strikes at Iran

Saudi Arabia Says It Struck Yemen Missile Sites Where Iran’s Military Was Present

On 3/30/20 at 12:38 PM EDT

The Saudi-led coalition formed to fight the Houthi movement in neighboring Yemen has announced new airstrikes that targeted rebel missile sites and elite Iranian military personnel allegedly stationed at them.

Saudi Colonel Turki al-Maliki, head of the Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition, said that “legitimate military targets” of the Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, were struck in response to the Yemeni militia’s ballistic missile attack Saturday on Riyadh and other areas of the kingdom, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Maliki said the targets included sites used by the Houthis for storing and assembling various weapons such as missiles and drones, along with positions manned by experts of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Washington and Riyadh have accused Tehran of shipping advanced arms to the Houthis, a Zaidi Shiite Muslim group, but the two allies deny the charge.

Despite a five-year campaign, Saudi Arabia and its partners, including the United Arab Emirates, have struggled to oust the Houthi militia that captured Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa in early 2015 and has asserted control over other strategic areas.

Fighting has persisted despite repeated cease-fire attempts, leaving the country so ridden by conflict, disease and malnutrition that United Nations officials have described it as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Amid these deteriorating conditions, Yemen remains among the fewer than two dozen countries that have not yet reported any cases of the new coronavirus.

An image released March 30 by the Saudi-led coalition’s Joint Forces Command shows targets said to be used for storing weapons, and to which Iranian Revolutionary Guard experts were deployed, in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.Joint Forces Command/Saudi Ministry of Defense

While Yemen was just one country in which Riyadh and Tehran’s decades-long regional bout for influence was playing out, direct confrontation between the two rivals was rare. The stakes of their conflict have been raised, however, as President Donald Trump’s administration tightened its maximum pressure campaign to economically and politically isolate the Islamic Republic.

Last spring, Saudi ships were among the oil tankers targeted in a series of unclaimed attacks in the Gulf of Oman and, in September, two Saudi oil facilities were hit by a missile and drone attack claimed by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. blamed both incidents on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, whose Quds Force has established ties across the Middle East and beyond.

Regional tensions soared in January when the U.S. killed Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, setting off a new wave of unrest in Iraq, as well as an Iranian missile strike on facilities hosting U.S. and allied troops there. Iran has since vowed to expel U.S. forces from the region, including from Saudi Arabia, where Trump ordered the first deployment to the kingdom in 16 years as part of an expanding U.S. military presence now threatened by the coronavirus.

While the U.S. has reported the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world at more than 144,000, Iran too has been heavily afflicted with about 41,500 reported instances. Saudi Arabia has registered just over 1,400 cases but the Pentagon has begun restricting troops movements across its commands in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from further spreading through its ranks.

While the U.S. has said it would offer humanitarian assistance to Iran as they both battled COVID-19 cases at home, the State Department has since expanded sanctions against Tehran, which has accused Washington of waging “economic terrorism” since leaving a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal. Iran has sought a diplomatic solution to tensions with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, but its armed forces have continued to tout their warfighting prowess.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s outstanding achievements and successes in the fields of defense and military have brought the country to a point of deterrence that our enemies are recoiling in strategic horror and desperation,” the Iranian armed forces’ general staff said Monday in a statement commemorating the founding of the Islamic Republic 41 years ago, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

The China Nuclear Horn Refuses to Negotiate with Trump

China is Willing to Negotiate on Nuclear Arms, But Not on Trump’s Terms

President Trump announced to the world in a March 5 tweet that he would propose “a bold new trilateral arms control initiative with China and Russia.” China immediately rejected the idea the very next day. It would be wrong, however, to infer that Chinese leaders are opposed to nuclear arms control. They are not. They are just not interested in what Trump appears to be offering.

There are good reasons for China to suspect Trump’s motives. He used China as a scapegoat when withdrawing from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, for example, and he may be using this vague new initiative to justify allowing the New START Treaty to expire. China was not a party to either agreement. Walking away from treaties with Russia and blaming China for it is unlikely to encourage Chinese leaders to come to the negotiating table.

Trump premised his announcement of this new initiative with a questionable claim that China will “double the size of its nuclear stockpile” before the end of the decade. That sounds ominous, but in fact China has only about 300 warheads and barely enough plutonium to get to 600. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia each possess more than 6,000 warheads. Any new agreement based on parity among the three states would require steep U.S. and Russian cuts even if China did indeed double its arsenal.

China certainly would welcome major U.S. and Russian reductions. But there is no sign either nation is willing to make them. On the contrary, Trump and President Putin have announced ambitious nuclear modernization programs that dwarf China’s. Since neither of the two countries are planning to reduce their arsenals, it is difficult for Chinese leaders to understand what Trump wants to discuss. Neither the president nor his aides have provided a tentative agenda or cited desired outcomes.

Despite Trump’s apparent failure to engage China, if he or his successor wants to bring China to the negotiating table, there is a path to follow. Below are four steps the United States can take to convince Chinese leaders to negotiate on nuclear arms.

Step 1. Pursue International, not Multilateral, Negotiations

There is a marked difference between international and multilateral negotiations, and it matters to China.

Chinese leaders perceive multilateral agreements negotiated by a few powerful nations, including bilateral agreements such as New START, as hegemonic—or dominant—behavior. Since the beginning of the nuclear arms race, China has opposed allowing decisions about nuclear weapons to be made without the participation of non-nuclear weapons states.

Conversely, Chinese leaders see international agreements negotiated in the United Nations, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, as more inclusive and equitable. Their outcomes are more stable.

In the past, Chinese communist leaders were skeptical of international nuclear arms control agreements. They described the Partial Test Ban Treaty as an attempt to “consolidate the nuclear monopoly.” They believed its true motivation was to prevent non-nuclear weapons states, such as China at the time, from joining the nuclear club.

Chinese communist leaders’ views on nuclear arms control evolved after their government obtained a seat at the United Nations in 1971. Familiarity with the organization led to a better understanding of how it works, who it represents, and what it does. China joined the NPT in 1992 and signed the CTBT in 1996. The test ban treaty was the first international nuclear arms control agreement China had a hand in writing. It was an empowering experience that made China willing to take the next step and negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, or FMCT, that would ban the production of uranium and plutonium for use in making nuclear warheads.

The entry into force of the CTBT and the FMCT would prevent China from developing new types of nuclear warheads and producing the fissile material it would need to further expand its small stockpile. Working with China in the United Nations to complete those two treaties is the most effective way a U.S. president can verifiably cap the size and sophistication of China’s nuclear arsenal.

Step 2. Accept Mutual Vulnerability

Accepting mutual vulnerability sounds defeatist. But all it means is that no one can win a nuclear arms race. The United States cannot prevent China from being able to retaliate and deliver some number of nuclear weapons if the United States should ever choose to use nuclear weapons first during a war.

Unfortunately, the United States refuses to acknowledge its vulnerability to Chinese nuclear retaliation. From China’s point of view, that means the United States is still seeking invulnerability.

China maintains a comparatively small nuclear force. It has about 300 nuclear warheads and enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce several hundred more. The United States has around 6,000 nuclear warheads and enough weapons-grade plutonium to make about 5,000 more. China’s small nuclear force encourages U.S. war planners to imagine they could wipe it out at the beginning of an armed conflict.

Chinese war planners calibrate the size of their nuclear arsenal based on their assessment of whether such a disarming first strike is likely. The more the United States appears to invest in trying, the larger China’s numbers will become. U.S. dreams of invulnerability also encourage China to develop less vulnerable nuclear forces, including mobile missiles and submarine-based missiles.

Unlike the former Soviet Union, China is not overly concerned about the huge disparity in nuclear forces. Chinese leaders do not appear to believe a massive U.S. nuclear first strike is likely. But they are very worried about a highly accurate conventional first strike that could threaten China’s nuclear weapons. The United States currently deploys very large numbers of precision-guided conventional munitions on China’s periphery. As the quantity and quality of those munitions increase, so does the level of China’s anxiety about the survival of its nuclear weapons.

This concern encourages China to add to its small nuclear force. At the same time, the Trump administration is increasing the already overwhelmingly superior U.S. nuclear force. If the goal is to stop China from building more nuclear weapons, it would be much more effective, and far less expensive, to look for ways to assure Chinese leaders that unless China uses nuclear weapons first, the United States will not attack China’s nuclear forces in the event of war. If the U.S. goal is instead to seek invulnerability to Chinese nuclear retaliation, Chinese leaders will continue to enlarge their arsenal.

Step 3. Take No-First-Use Seriously

China is serious about not using its nuclear weapons first in an armed conflict. In a statement after its first nuclear test in 1964, the Chinese government declared it will “never at any time and under any circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons.” It also stated that China did not develop nuclear weapons because it intends to use them, stating, “China’s aim is to break the nuclear monopoly of the nuclear powers and to eliminate nuclear weapons.”

That logic is hard for many Americans to understand. But it is the same logic that underpins the Non-Proliferation Treaty. U.S. commentators frequently overlook it, but the NPT requires nuclear weapons states to disarm. The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to eliminate their nuclear weapons because they were afraid many other nations, such as China, would acquire them.

Chinese leaders see no-first-use as prerequisite for elimination. They believe the only legitimate purpose of nuclear weapons is to free a country from the fear of being attacked with nuclear weapons. From China’s point of view, any nation that imagines nuclear weapons can be used to fight and win wars can never be genuinely committed to nuclear disarmament.

U.S. officials in successive administrations have not considered China’s no-first-use pledge to be credible, and they have spent the last several decades testing China’s resolve during bilateral discussions. For example, they have asked what China would do during a war if the United States did something like blow up the Three Gorges Dam, destroy Chinese nuclear power plants, or take out China’s nuclear weapons with high-tech conventional bombs. Regardless, China regularly reaffirms its commitment to what it deems a core principle.

China has never required other states to commit to no-first-use as a precondition for negotiations. But a U.S. no-first-use commitment would dramatically alter U.S.-China nuclear relations for the better. It would greatly increase Chinese confidence in U.S. intentions. And it would cost the United States next to nothing, since there is no imaginable circumstance that would require the United States to use nuclear weapons first.

Step 4. Discuss Limits on Missile Defense

When the United States and the Soviet Union finally realized that no one could win a nuclear arms race, they decided to talk. Negotiators quickly discovered that limiting offense was impossible without limiting defense as well, since an effective way to counter defenses is to build more offensive weapons. That is why on the same day President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev signed the first Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, or SALT, agreement, they also signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile, or ABM, Treaty, which put strict limits on missile defenses. Unfortunately, the Bush administration pulled the United States out of the treaty in 2002.

Limiting missile defense is even more important to China today than it was to the former Soviet Union. The huge disparity between U.S. and Chinese nuclear forces and China’s vulnerability to a U.S. conventional first strike make even a marginally effective U.S. missile defense system appear to be a problem because it would be more effective against a small retaliatory strike following a U.S. first strike. It is not unreasonable for Chinese leaders to worry that a U.S. president who believes the United States is protected from Chinese nuclear retaliation might be more willing to risk using nuclear weapons against China first. Investing in more offensive missiles, and new missile types that might defeat the U.S. defense system, are understandable Chinese responses to U.S. missile defense expansion.

There is no existing proposal for international negotiations on missile defense. But there is a proposal in the United Nations for negotiations to prevent an arms race in outer space. Since long-range missile defense interceptors also can be used to attack satellites in orbit, missile defense is a topic that should be discussed in such negotiations. The United States refuses to consider such a treaty despite serious concerns about space security. Some observers think it is because talks at the United Nations on this topic would lead to international discussions on missile defense. The United States should embrace rather than avoid that opportunity. Joining UN discussions on missile defense would significantly increase Chinese confidence in U.S. intentions to negotiate on nuclear weapons.

The Bottom Line

The first two steps listed above are prerequisites for getting China to the nuclear negotiating table. The Chinese leadership’s distaste for multilateral rather than international negotiations is deeply rooted in Chinese communist ideology and unlikely to change. And if the United States is unwilling to accept vulnerability to Chinese nuclear retaliation, what is there to discuss? What is the point of negotiating with a more powerful nuclear rival that believes that it is invincible?

The next two steps are not required but are highly recommended. Why does the United States insist on maintaining the option to use nuclear weapons first? It is difficult to imagine an answer that would not undermine Chinese confidence in U.S. intentions. And negotiations that begin with a refusal to discuss the age-old battle between offense and defense are unlikely to get very far. China, despite considerable progress, still sees itself as scientifically and technologically inferior to the United States. Chinese leaders understand that a reliable defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles is still out of reach, but they worry about an unforeseen breakthrough.

China is willing to negotiate on nuclear arms, but the United States cannot expect to dictate the terms. There is no need for what President Trump calls “bold new” initiatives. There already is a formidable set of essential tasks waiting to be addressed. If Trump really wants to do something to avoid a new nuclear arms race, pressing the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and starting negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty are two bold initiatives he can accomplish right now.

Preparing for Mass Quarantines Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Fearing Gaza virus spread, Hamas preps for mass quarantines

Terror group racing to build two large isolation facilities; Israel coordinating with World Health Organization to provide hundreds of test kits, medical equipment

By AgenciesToday, 11:44 am

When Nima Amraa returned to the Gaza Strip from neighboring Egypt earlier this month, she was surprised to learn she was being placed in a makeshift quarantine center set up by the ruling Hamas terror group.

But her initial jitters turned to fear when two fellow travelers in another facility tested positive for the coronavirus — the first cases to be confirmed in Gaza.

“Once there were cases of the virus spreading, we started to feel afraid and disappointed,” Amraa, a 30-year-old journalist, said by phone from quarantine, where she has spent a week and a half sleeping in a room with five other women and sharing a bathroom.

The virus found a way into Gaza, even though the Mediterranean enclave has been largely cut off from the world by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized control of it from the Palestinian Authority 13 years ago. Israel says the blockade is in place to prevent Hamas importing weapons and other military supplies.

Yet the terrifying possibility of an outbreak in one of the world’s most crowded territories — 2 million people squeezed into an area twice the size of Washington, DC — does not seem to have registered fully. Many in Gaza seem to accept Hamas assurances that the threat is contained.

In the meantime, Hamas is racing to build two massive quarantine facilities — hoping to prevent the disease from spreading and overwhelming Gaza’s already shattered health system.

The construction was ordered after photos surfaced from makeshift centers — mostly schools — showing people celebrating birthday parties with visiting relatives, food being delivered by volunteers and groups of people smoking water pipes together.

A Palestinian health worker sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus in a gymnasium in Gaza City, March 15, 2020. (Khalil Hamra/AP)

Amraa said it was immediately clear that the school where she was placed was not prepared to house so many people.

“I was worried after seeing that we will sleep on mattresses on the floor and we will be six in one room,” she explained. “We eat together and there is no isolation.”

She said she and her roommates take precautions, such as avoiding direct contact and keeping their beds two meters apart from each other. But that might not be enough to keep the virus from spreading. Last week, seven Hamas security guards who were in the facility housing the first two cases became infected themselves.

“We have been very clear on how the quarantine facilities should look like and offer in terms of facilities and services and support,” said Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, the World Health Organization’s director in the Palestinian territories. “But this is obviously easier said than done in Gaza, where there is substantial shortage in almost everything.”

Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, the World Health Organization director in the Palestinian territories, (L), listens to Palestinian doctors during a tour of the Limb Reconstruction Center at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis City, southern Gaza Strip, March 5, 2020. (Adel Hana/AP)

Although movement in and out of Gaza has been heavily restricted since 2007, it is not cut off altogether. The first two virus cases were men who had returned from a religious conference in Pakistan, part of a wave of hundreds of returnees who were placed into quarantine.

No one knows how much farther the virus has spread. Only 20 percent of the roughly 1,700 people in quarantine have been tested.

Gaza’s people live mainly in densely populated cities and refugee camps. The health care system is in shambles — a result of the blockade, three wars between Hamas and Israel and chronic under-funding due to infighting between Hamas and the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Gaza has only 60 breathing machines — and all but 15 are already in use, according to the WHO. The agency has been assisting local health officials and has been working with Israeli authorities, who have no direct contact with Hamas, to import desperately needed equipment and supplies from international donors.

Most people infected by the virus experience only mild symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within a few weeks. But the virus can cause severe illness and death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems. High rates of obesity, smoking and stress-related disorders appear to make Gaza’s population especially vulnerable.

Members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, spray disinfectant in the streets of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during a campaign aimed at slowing down the spread of the novel coronavirus, March 26, 2020. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas has sought to beef up its quarantine efforts in recent days, opening 18 additional facilities in clinics and hotels and declaring them off-limits. It also has banned weekly street markets and shut down wedding halls, cafes and mosques and extended quarantine periods by a week.

After seeing images of the makeshift facilities, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, ordered the group’s military wing to build two new quarantine centers.

Situated on the territory’s northern and southern borders, they will be able to hold 1,000 people. The group expects them to be ready within a week.

The public seems to have been calmed by Health Ministry claims that all virus patients are held in quarantine centers. Despite the shutdown orders, people still walk the streets and congregate around small coffee kiosks and noodle shops.

That could change if cases begin to spread.

Last Friday, the crew for a Turkish TV station caused a panic after entering the field hospital where the nine infected people are being treated. The crew subsequently left the facility and broadcast a report the next day.

Hamas quickly put the crew members into quarantine and suspended the head of its media office for allowing them access to the facility.

Elsewhere, people still held wedding parties in their homes after wedding halls closed.

Dr. Yahia Abed, an epidemiologist, said the public’s apparent lack of commitment to safety precautions is worrisome and that anyone who might have been exposed to the virus must go into full and enforceable isolation.

“If, God forbid, people hid the fact that they had contact with the infected, this will be very dangerous for an area like Gaza. The epidemic will spread,” said Abed, a public health professor at Al-Quds university near Jerusalem.

Workers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, at the main market in Gaza City, March 19, 2020. (Adel Hana/AP)

One factor in the small number of cases so far could be the lack of testing.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian issues, said it has coordinated the delivery of hundreds of coronavirus testing kits by the World Health Organization, as well as protective equipment, medicine and disinfectant.

Israel, along with most Western nations, considers Hamas a terrorist group. But it likely fears the fallout from a catastrophic outbreak would spill over the frontier.

Qatar, which provides extensive humanitarian aid to Gaza, has also stepped in, pledging $150 million in aid and providing furniture, clothes and electrical appliances for the quarantine centers.

The Gaza Health Ministry says it urgently needs more than $20 million to stave off the collapse of the health system if there is a major outbreak.

Rockenschaub said there’s still time to improve quarantine procedures in Gaza. “The issue is to move quickly and mobilize support to get them on the way to meet the right international standards,” he said.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns of Payback (Daniel 8:4)

Iran’s supreme leader warns of ‘harsh retaliation’ in wake of US strike that killed general

March 29, 20203 Min Read

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei paid a condolence go to Friday to the widow of Qassem Soleimani — hours after the supreme leader warned of a “harsh retaliation” in opposition to the US for killing his high ­general.

The ayatollah sat subsequent to a framed {photograph} of the slain commander of the elite Quds Power, a subset of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as he consoled the grieving lady in Tehran.

In the meantime, crowds took to the streets in the capital and different cities to protest Washington’s “crimes” hours after a drone strike took out Soleimani on the airport in Baghdad, Iraq, together with a number of others.

Chanting “Dying to America” and holding up posters of Soleimani, 62, the lots stuffed the streets of Tehran after Friday prayers.

“Soleimani’s blood spilled, the nation’s outrage in opposition to the enemy sparked!” the demonstrators chanted in footage aired by the state-run Islamic Republic Information Company.

The demonstrators, many of them aged, took half in the processions, some displaying portraits of the supreme leader.

The axis of any evil is America. The motto of faith and the Koran is dying to America!” they yelled in unison. “Oh, leader of our revolution, condolences, condolences.”

In Kerman in southeastern Iran — the place Soleimani was born — a large procession of black-clad mourners chanted non secular slogans, in line with The Washington Submit. Elsewhere, a gaggle of males ripped holes out of a US flag earlier than setting it ablaze.

“This was a great transfer, so that the entire world would understand who the terrorist is. The entire world discovered that out,” Ali Bakhshi, an aged cleric, advised Agence France-Presse.

“The expensive leader of the revolution reply to them [the US] very intelligently and exactly. And the nation of Iran will resist,” he added.

Khamenei warned that the Islamic Republic will hit again on the US for killing Soleimani, calling him the “worldwide face of resistance” and declaring three days of public mourning. He additionally appointed Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s deputy, to interchange him as head of the Quds Power.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani referred to as the killing a “heinous crime” and vowed that his nation would “take revenge.”

Iran’s Supreme Nationwide Safety Council additionally issued an announcement threatening retaliation for the strike, saying it had made “applicable choices” that would maintain Washington liable for “all of the results of this strategic mistake.”

“Extreme revenge awaits the criminals who smeared their soiled fingers with the pure blood of Gen. Soleimani,” the assertion mentioned. “These cowardly acts will increase the need of the Islamic Republic to be extra energetic in its resistance and to carry a swift defeat” to the enemy.

Dozens of green-clad members of the Guards additionally took half in a mournful procession. “I feel America has taken a giant threat and can get its response as effectively,” a Guards member who solely gave his surname as Qasemi advised AFP.

State information company IRNA mentioned related demonstrations broke out in the cities of Arak, Bojnourd, Hamedan, Hormozgan, Sanandaj, Semnan, Shiraz and Yazd.

NYC earthquake risk: the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

Updated May 16, 4:31 AM; Posted May 16, 4:00 AM

Rubble litters Main Street after an earthquake struck Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines the differences between the effect of an earthquake in the West vs. one in the East. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – While scientists say it’s impossible to predict when or if an earthquake will occur in New York City, they say that smaller structures — like Staten Island’s bounty of single-family homes — will suffer more than skyscrapers if it does happen.

„Earthquakes in the East tend to cause higher-frequency shaking — faster back-and-forth motion — compared to similar events in the West,“ according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published on its website recently „Shorter structures are more susceptible to damage during fast shaking, whereas taller structures are more susceptible during slow shaking.“


The report, „East vs West Coast Earthquakes,“ explains how USGS scientists are researching factors that influence regional differences in the intensity and effects of earthquakes, and notes that earthquakes in the East are often felt at more than twice the distance of earthquakes in the West.

Predicting when they will occur is more difficult, said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist and the central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va.

„One of the problems in the East Coast is that we don’t have a history to study,“ he said. „In order to get an idea, we have to have had several cycles of these things. The way we know about them in California is we dig around in the mud and we see evidence of past earthquakes.“

Yet Pratt wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a high-magnitude event taking place in New York, which sits in the middle the North American Tectonic Plate, considered by experts to be quite stable.

„We never know,“ he said. „One could come tomorrow. On the other hand, it could be another 300 years. We don’t understand why earthquakes happen (here) at all.“

Though the city’s last observable earthquake occurred on Oct. 27, 2001, and caused no real damage, New York has been hit by two Magnitude 5 earthquakes in its history – in 1738 and in 1884 — prompting many to say it is „due“ for another.

While earthquakes generally have to be Magnitude 6 or higher to be considered „large,“ by experts, „a Magnitude 5, directly under New York City, would shake it quite strongly,“ Pratt said.

The reason has to do with the rock beneath our feet, the USGS report says.


In the East, we have older rocks, some of which formed „hundreds of millions of years before those in the West,“ the report says. Since the faults in the rocks have had so much time to heal, the seismic waves travel more efficiently through them when an earthquake occurs.

„Rocks in the East are like a granite countertop and rocks in the West are much softer,“ Pratt said. „Take a granite countertop and hit it and it’ll transmit energy well. In the West, it’s like a sponge. The energy gets absorbed.“

If a large, Magnitude 7 earthquake does occur, smaller structures, and older structures in Manhattan would be most vulnerable, Pratt said. „In the 1920s, ’30s and late 1800s, they were not built with earthquake resistance,“ he said, noting that newer skyscrapers were built to survive hurricanes, so would be more resistant.

When discussing earthquake prediction and probability, Pratt uses the analogy of a baseball player who averages a home run every 10 times at bat and hasn’t hit one in the past nine games: „When he’s up at bat, will he hit a home run? You just don’t know.“

And though it would probably take a magnitude of 7 to topple buildings in the city, smaller earthquakes are still quite dangerous, he said.

„Bookshelves could fall down and hit you,“ he said. „People could be killed.“ A lot of stone work and heavy objects fell from buildings when a quake of 5.8 magnitude struck central Virginia in 2011, he noted, but, fortunately, no one was injured.

To be safe, Pratt encourages New Yorkers to keep a few days‘ worth of drinking water and other supplies on hand. He, himself, avoids putting heavy things up high.

„It always gets me nervous when I go into a restaurant that has heavy objects high on shelves,“ he said. „It’s unlikely you’ll get an earthquake. But, we just don’t know.“

Russia Upgrades Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Russia’s Plan To Modernize Its Nuclear Bombers Is Gaining Speed

Putin’s Russia has been modernizing its strategic nuclear bomber strike capability for two decades. Initially, this involved upgrading the Soviet legacy Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers plus a few newly produced Tu-160s[1] with more advanced nuclear missiles. Not surprisingly, strategic nuclear upgrades were given first priority.[2] Significantly, the Russians gave either nuclear only or dual capability (nuclear and conventional) with improved accuracy to all of its new long-range cruise missiles and, more recently, moved toward dual-capable hypersonic missiles.[3] These include the dual-capable Kh-555 cruise missile (an adaptation of the Cold War Kh-555), the new stealthy nuclear armed 5,000-km range Kh-102, and the new more accurate stealthy dual-capable 4,500-km range Kh-101, according to President Putin, the Russian Defense Ministry and Russian state media.[4] The officially announced nuclear capability of the Kh-101 long-range cruise missile is virtually ignored in the West, but this development is very important because it gives the Russians the ability to potentially deliver precision or near precision low-yield nuclear strikes. In 2018, Russia announced that it conducted a salvo launch of 12 Kh-101 from a Tu-160 bomber.[5] Today, Russia is reportedly developing the Kh-BD, reportedly a longer-range version of the Kh-101 and Kh-102 cruise missiles for its bombers.[6]

These new missiles substantially increase the strike radius of Russian bombers. Moreover, Russia also retained the Soviet Cold War nuclear systems – the nuclear Kh-55/AS-15 long-range air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), the reportedly now dual-capable (originally nuclear only) short-range Kh-15 (AS-16) and gravity bombs.[7] According to President Putin, “All of them [Tu-95 and Tu-160] must be able to carry both advanced cruise missiles and other powerful weapons.”[8]

In 2015, Russia announced a program to develop and deploy at least 50 much improved Tu-160M2 bombers (new engines with10% better performance or a 1,000-km range increase, new avionics, new electronic warfare equipment, new weapons, an active phased array radar, and a modestly reduced radar cross section).[9] Fabrication of the Tu-160M2 bombers reportedly began in 2018[10]; it is now being tested. Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov has said that the combat effectiveness of the Tu-160M2 will be two and a half times greater than that of its predecessor.[11] Reportedly, two to three Tu-160M2s will be produced each year.[12] Delivery to the troops reportedly will begin in 2021.[13]

It appears that hypersonic missiles will become almost the norm for Russian aircraft, the size of a long-range strike fighter or larger. In February 2020, Russian state media reported that the Tu-160 was being modified to carry the hypersonic Kinzhal (Kh-47M2) dual-capable aeroballistic missiles.[14] The implication of this development is that Russia’s airborne hypersonic missile strike capability will be extended to intercontinental range, probably, eventually, with multiple missile types.

In February 2020, state-run Sputnik News reported, “All the existing [Tu-160] aircraft are set to be upgraded to the advanced ‘M’ and ‘M2’ versions, while a number of Tu-160M2 planes are expected to be produced from scratch.”[15]

Today, the subsonic Tu-95 Bear H bomber is essentially a strategic cruise missile carrier. The Tu-95 carries the same long-range dual-capable cruise missiles as the Tu-160. The two versions of the legacy Tu-95 could carry either six or 16 Kh-55 long-range nuclear cruise missiles.[16] By hook or by crook, Russia managed to obtain 40 former Soviet Tu-95MS16 and 28 Tu-95MS6 bombers.[17] These are being extensively modernized, a process that is still continuing. Russian Tu-95MS bombers are being fitted with improved engines.[18] According to the Commander of Russia’s Long-Range Aviation Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash, “The complex will be equipped with such advanced systems as: inertial, astroinertial systems, satellite navigation systems, near-navigation radio-technical systems, air signal systems, onboard defence complex, electronic warfare complex.”[19] The Russian Defense Ministry has said that six modernized Tu-95MS will join the strategic bomber fleet in 2020.[20] In February 2020, state-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that the “latest MSM modification [of the Tu-95]…is recognizable by the pylons under the wings for suspending eight Kh-101s. Six more Kh-55s are stored in a fuselage launcher. Thus, the Tu-95MChS reportedly can carry 14 cruise missiles, two more than the Tu-160.”[21] The underwing launchers can also carry the Kh-102. Its maximum load of Kh-555 is also reported to be 14 missiles.[22]

Russia is reportedly developing the KH-MT, a “ram-jet powered hypersonic design apparently intended for internal carriage [on the Tu-95MSM bomber].”[23] This makes more sense than arming them with the Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missile because the subsonic speed of the Tu-95 would reduce the range of the Kinzhal. The range of the Kinzhal depends upon the speed at which it is launched. This is not true for powered hypersonic missiles.

Since 2007, Russia has used both the Tu-160 and the Tu-95 for purposes of nuclear intimidation by routinely flying these aircraft into U.S., NATO and Japanese air defense identification zones.[24] They have been used to launch cruise missile strikes against targets in Syria with the conventional version of Russia’s long-range nuclear capable missiles (Kh-101 and Kh-555).[25] This includes the ridiculous Tu-160 flights all the way around NATO to deliver missiles that could have been launched from Russian territory soon after bomber takeoff.[26] A senior Russian official once threatened to fly a Tu-160 over the territory of a NATO nation.[27] In April 2015, the U.K. press reported that two Russian Tu-95 bombers flying over the English Channel were carrying at least one “nuclear warhead-carrying missile, designed to seek and destroy a Vanguard [strategic ballistic missile] submarine.”[28] According to Russia’s state media, starting in a 2003 Indian Ocean exercise, Russia began to use its heavy bombers in a nuclear strike anti-ship role in conjunction with Russian Naval forces.[29] The publicity given to the nuclear elements of these and other Russian exercises is intended to intimidate. If President Putin gets mad, his default mode is always nuclear threats.

Russia has also upgraded the legacy supersonic Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber with improved dual-capable long-range missiles (reportedly the Kh-555, the Kh-101) and the nuclear capable near hypersonic 1,000-km range Kh-32, the upgraded Kh-32M and the planned upgrading of 30 Tu-22M3M bombers with new engines, new avionics and new weapons.[30] The Backfire reportedly has the capability to carry eight Kh-101.[31] Testing of the improved Backfire has been announced. The legacy Soviet nuclear capable Kh-22 is reportedly still operational on the Backfire.[32] The Backfire bomber will also reportedly carry up to four Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. The Backfire bomber is now not classified as a heavy bomber subject to limitations under the New START Treaty. Yet, the upgrades being reported in Russian state media would make it a heavy bomber under the New START Treaty. Failure to declare it as a heavy bomber would be a violation of the New START Treaty. This will be discussed below.

In an unclassified 2017 report, the Defense Intelligence Agency stated that, “The LRA [Long Range Aviation] has an inventory of 16 Tu-160, 60 Tu-95MS, and more than 50 Tu-22M3 bombers.”[33]

In 2009, Russia announced the development of the subsonic stealth cruise missile carrying Pak-DA bomber.[34] It is rumored to be powered by “a radically new type of engine.”[35] In 2019, Deputy Defense Minister Aleksey Krivoruchko said that the bomber would be operational in 2027.[36] In January 2020, Izvestia reported that three protypes are under contract and that flight testing of the bomber will begin in 2023 and “mass production” of the bomber will begin in 2027.[37] By “mass production,” the Russians usually mean something like we would call low rate production. Reportedly, the Pak-DA can carry “30 tonnes of nuclear weaponry.”[38] The Pak-DA is likely to carry the same cruise missiles as the other Russian bombers, but the whole purpose of giving the aircraft stealth capability is to penetrate air defenses and launch direct attacks or launch limited range missile attacks. There is no need for stealth if the aircraft will only carry 4,500-5,000-km or more range cruise missiles. Thus, it is reasonable to expect that Pak-DA will also carry gravity bombs, short-range and hypersonic missiles. Because it is sub-sonic, it is not a good candidate for the Kinzhal. It is more likely to carry a powered hypersonic missile. Russian state media have reported it will carry hypersonic missiles.[39]

The Russians claim that the Pak-DA will be cheaper than the Tu-160,[40] but this is very unlikely since stealth aircraft have to be built with extreme attention to tolerances. In addition to its bomber role, TASS says it will also function as a “command center or reconnaissance plane.”[41]

In December 2002, former Atomic Energy Minister and then-Director of the Sarov nuclear weapons laboratory, declared, “The scientists are developing a nuclear ‘scalpel’ capable of ‘surgically removing’ and destroying very localized targets. The low-yield warhead will be surrounded with a superhardened casing, which makes it possible to penetrate 30–40 meters into rock and destroy a buried target—for example, a troop command and control point or a nuclear munitions storage facility.”[42] This weapon would have great utility for Russia’s nuclear escalation strategy, which is initially based upon low-yield nuclear strikes. Reliable air delivery of this weapon would require a stealth aircraft. The Pak-DA is the only known manned Russian aircraft today that could have a true stealth capability. Thus, such a weapon is clearly a candidate for the Pak-DA.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn Grows Despite the Virus (Daniel 8:4)

Coronavirus Exposes Iran’s Priorities

And its clandestine agenda

By Warren Reinsch • March 28

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus. As of March 27, it had over 27,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 deaths. Satellite images released by the New York Times showing mass burial graves in the city of Qom, where the virus was first reported in Iran, have caused many to believe the numbers are much higher than reported. The nation is now facing a second wave of the outbreak. Iran’s response to the virus reflects the regime’s agenda.

Many hold Iran’s slow response to the virus accountable for the infection in other Middle East nations. Jonathan Spyer wrote for the Jerusalem Post, “Tehran’s relations with Beijing are of growing importance to the regime. Iran therefore preferred to downplay reports of the virus rather than risk offending its ally.” Iran did not cancel flights or suspend trade between the two nations.

To make matters worse, even after the first case was reported in Qom, it made no efforts at quarantine, instead allowing mass religious pilgrimages to the city. A hospital administrator in Tehran said, “If we had limited the travel of people in Qom, since the epicenter of the illness is in Qom, the spread would not have been so extensive.” Maps of the infected area show that the virus quickly spread to nearby provinces, and then to the rest of Iran.

Another reason Iran was slow to quarantine was because of the parliamentary elections on February 21. The Islamic regime wanted to ensure the elections would continue as planned, leading to a more hard-line parliament.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on March 3: “This disease is not serious; we have seen more disastrous calamities than this.” He claimed that the virus would only be a “fleeting event.” But as the infected numbers grew and the deaths increased, the mullahs were forced to revise their statements.

On March 22, Khamenei came out refusing United States help, claiming, “Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more.” He was echoing Chinese government spokesman Lijian Zhao, who tweeted earlier this month that it “might be U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.” Khamenei even claimed the virus was “specifically built for Iran using the genetic data of Iranians, which they have obtained through different means.”

Coronavirus: A Two-Edged Sword

Yoel Guzansky, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies, called coronavirus a double-edged sword. While Iran is struggling to deal with the deaths and contain its spread, the virus has also provided the nation with an opportunity.

“Iran’s leaders might be focused on dealing with the coronavirus, but on the flip side, they might also be taking advantage of it,” Israel Hayom wrote on March 18 (emphasis added). “[W]ith the world’s focus temporarily diverted, [the mullahs are] working secretly to advance their efforts to achieve nuclear capability.”

Iran has refused access to International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) inspectors in three potential nuclear sites. Earlier this month, newly appointed Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi called on Iran to allow inspectors access to these locations, but “it has refused to let inspectors visit. Clearly, Iran has something to hide” (ibid).

Guzansky told Jerusalem News Syndicate that “we should all be paying attention to what Iran is doing, especially now.”

While the world is hyperventilating over a fear of coronavirus, Iran has kicked its nuclear program into high gear. On March 3, the iaea announced that Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since November. The iaea reported that as of February 19, Iran had a total of 1,021 kilograms of enriched uranium, far more than the 300-kilogram limit set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. For comparison, a small nuclear bomb only requires about 50 kilograms. The first nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 only contained 64 kilograms of Uranium-235. Iran has far surpassed these limitations.

Iran’s ultimate goal—despite what news media report—is to build the bomb (for proof, read “Don’t Believe the Deniers—Iran Wants to Go Nuclear”).

Building a nuclear bomb requires enriching uranium to 90 percent concentration of U-235 atoms, as opposed to the more prevalent and less reactive U-238. In November last year, Iran announced that it had reached 4.5 percent uranium purity and that it intended to increase that to 5 percent. Enriching uranium from its natural state of 0.7 percent to 4 percent purity is 83 percent of the effort required to achieve 90 percent weapons-grade uranium. Iran has already passed this threshold.

Just two years ago, experts estimated Iran’s breakout time to build the bomb to be as little as 7 to 12 months. Some experts now believe its breakout time could be as little as two months.

The Push

The Prophet Daniel recorded a prophecy in the Bible describing Iran’s belligerent behavior and how it will lead to World War iii: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40).

Watch Jerusalem editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified radical Islamic extremism, led by Iran, as “the king of the south.” (For more information about Iran’s support of terrorism, strategy to control world trade, flirtation with nuclear weaponry, and its radical ideological beliefs, read his booklet The King of the South.)

“This is an ideology that embraces death,” Mr. Flurry writes in The King of the South. “The blatantly bold and aggressive foreign policy of Iran must lead to war. It will either conquer or be conquered.”

Iran is an extremely radical nation. Even in the midst of battling coronavirus, Iran has continued to push its aggressive agenda in the Middle East. Iran is pushing its nuclear program closer and closer to the realization of a nuclear bomb.

Despite being temporarily chastened by a rocky start to the year, the past few months have clearly showed just how determined Iran is to continue its quest for regional domination.

For more information, read The King of the South, by Mr. Flurry.