The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12) 

by , 03/22/11

filed under: News

New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.

Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.

There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigationrates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.

John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.

The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.

Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”

Via Metro and NY Daily News

Images © Ed Yourdon

Iran Deal was implemented only by Iran

(MENAFN – AzerNews) By Trend

Iranian MP: JCPOA was implemented only by Iran


The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the 5 + 1 group was implemented only by Iran, said Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee Mojtaba Zonnour,  Trend  reports citing Mehr news agency.

According to Zonnour, one of the important goals of the JCPOA was Iran’s commitments and the commitments of the other side. However, the other side did not fulfill its commitments.

Zonnour added that another important goal of the agreement was the lifting of sanctions against Iran.

The MP said that at present, sanctions are imposed on Iran.

“Currently, Iran has reduced its obligations and suspended the implementation of some of them, as the other side has not taken steps within the framework of the agreement,” he said.

Zonnour said that in general, it can be concluded that there is nothing left of the JCPOA.

In January 2016, JCPOA was launched between Iran and the P5+1 group (US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) in connection with Iran’s nuclear program. In May 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the deal and imposed sanctions against Iran in November of the same year.

In order to preserve the agreements reached as part of the JCPOA, the European signatories of the deal stated in January 2019 that a financial mechanism for maintaining trade with Iran called INSTEX was formed.

On May 8, 2019, Iran announced that it had ceased fulfilling its commitments regarding the sale of over 300 kilograms of uranium, as stated in the deal, basing its decision on the other signatories having not fulfilled their obligations. On July 7, Iran announced that it will not be fulfilling its commitments regarding the enrichment of uranium at 3.67 percent and the reconstruction of the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility as stated in the deal.

On Sept. 5, Iran announced that it will enrich uranium using next-generation centrifuges and will not mix it with the enriched uranium residues as part of the third step of reducing commitments in JCPOA.

On Nov. 5, 2019, Iran announced that it took the fourth step in connection with reducing its commitments to the nuclear agreement. So, uranium gas is being pumped to the centrifuges at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

Iran took the last fifth step in reducing the number of its commitments within JCPOA. Iran no longer faces any restrictions on its nuclear program.

The US imposed new sanctions on Iran in November 2018. Over the past period, the sanctions affected Iranian oil exports, more than 700 banks, companies and individuals.

Khamenei Incites Palestinians Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Iran’s Khamenei calls to “arm” Palestinians

The Ayatollah’s tweets, which came after midnight, included claims that compromise by the Palestinians would not reduce “cruelty.”

Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei called for the West Bank to be “armed” and compared the Palestinians there to Hamas in Gaza. “The only thing that can reduce Palestinian hardships is the hand of power,” he tweeted on Tuesday morning. Iran appears to be calling for Palestinian attacks on Israel.

The Ayatollah’s tweets, which came after midnight, included claims that compromise by the Palestinians would not reduce “cruelty,” that he alleged was being caused by Israel. He called Israel “evil” and a “wolf-like entity.” He also called the US “satanic,” one of several increasingly extremist, threatening, hateful and far-right tweets that the Iranian leader put out in recent days.


The West Bank must be armed, just as Gaza. The only thing that can reduce the Palestinians’ hardships is the hand of power. Otherwise, compromise won’t reduce a bit of the cruelty of this usurping, evil, wolf-like entity.#FlyTheFlag


4:39 PM – May 18, 2020

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Iran claimed that the “Zionist regime” was based on “oppression, lies, deception, bloodshed, massacre and trampling human rights.” He claims Israel lives by suppressing others. He also asserted that the “world of Islam needs unity.” He said that God’s “wrath” would now come against the US policy regarding Palestinians and slammed US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the century.”

Iran has sent militias and fighters to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen and been accused of a vast array of human rights violations, including keeping prisoners in solitary confinement, taking western academics as hostages, murdering poor Kurdish workers, hanging innocent people, suppressing homosexuals and religious minorities and persecuting groups across the Middle East.Iran has been pushing its latest events around “Quds Day,” which it hosts every year, hoping to distract from failures at home by claiming to support the Palestinian cause. Iran has funding Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and recently worked with the Palestinian PFLP to infiltrate Israel. Iran is currently under sanctions from the US and trying desperately to fund its economy by shipping gasoline to Venezuela while also trying to keep a stranglehold on Iraq’s economy and support the Assad regime’s war in Syria.

Recently an arsonist tried to burn the Jewish tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Iran. Iran has claimed it is investigating the incident while its media claims the event was part of a Saudi-led “fake news” campaign. Recent reports from the New Yorker portray the Iranian regime as suffering unprecedented discontent at home. The regime recently buried one of its fighters who died in Syria. Iran has been hiring poverty-stricken Afghan Shi’ites to fight in Syria while not defending those same Shi’ites from brutal bombings in Afghanistan carried out by ISIS.

Iran’s regime uses Twitter and social media to incite hatred and violence and suppresses social media for its own citizens at home.

On Arms Control, NO Reason for Optimism

On Arms Control, Little Reason for Optimism

President Trump’s newly named envoy for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, gave a lengthy interview last week on the administration’s approach to nuclear arms negotiations. He stressed bringing in China, struck a pessimistic note about the sole treaty constraining Russian and U.S. nuclear forces, and offered no ideas for getting Moscow to discuss non-strategic nuclear arms.

Unfortunately, the interview reinforces the view that the Trump administration is unlikely to achieve a nuclear deal…or even develop a serious proposal.

Since late 2018, Mr. Trump has called for a trilateral nuclear negotiation involving Russia, China and the United States. Mr. Billingslea emphasized the need to get China in the game, terming the failure to include it a main flaw of the 2010 U.S.-Russia New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START.

Involving China in nuclear arms talks is a laudable ambition. The problem: Beijing has repeatedly stated that it will not take part. Chinese officials point out the large disparity in numbers compared to the nuclear superpowers. The United States maintains about 3800 nuclear warheads in its active stockpile, while Russia has some 4300; China has just over 300.

Despite that yawning gap, Mr. Billingslea seems to expect Beijing to negotiate because it “wants to be a great power.” He offered nothing that might entice the Chinese to reconsider their refusal (Chinese officials have long expressed concern about U.S. missile defense capabilities, but constraints on missile defense are off limits for the Trump administration).

The administration to date has offered no idea of what a trilateral agreement might look like. Are Washington and Moscow prepared to reduce their nuclear weapons to a total of 300? No. Are they prepared to accept an agreement that would legitimize a Chinese buildup to their levels? Again, no. Does anyone expect China to accept an agreement with unequal limits?

In Mr. Billingslea’s view, if Beijing will not play ball, Washington likely will not agree to extend New START, which expires in February 2021. He did not explain how New START’s end, which would leave Russian strategic nuclear forces unconstrained, would improve America’s position vis-à-vis China. In general, he did not sound like a fan of the treaty. For example, he criticized its verification measures for unspecified loopholes that Russia allegedly exploits. (For the record, the U.S. government has certified that Russia is in compliance with New START.)

Mr. Billingslea expressed concern about Russia’s large number of non-strategic nuclear arms. Getting to a negotiation that would cover all Russian nuclear weapons, strategic and non-strategic, is a desirable goal. However, Russian officials have said many times over the past decade that they would negotiate non-strategic weapons only when Washington addressed certain Russian concerns, such as missile defense and long-range conventional strike weapons. Mr. Billingslea offered nothing on either point.

He did, however, raise the five new nuclear systems that Russian President Putin announced in March 2018, calling on Moscow to simply “discard them.” Again, no suggestion of what the United States would be prepared to give in response.

Actually, Russian officials stated last year stated that two of the weapons systems—the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile and Avangaard hypersonic glide vehicle—are limited by New START. The other three systems are new kinds not constrained by the treaty, but it offers a mechanism for discussing them. That mechanism goes away if New START lapses.

Mr. Billingslea appears to believe the impact of COVID19 will give him a strong hand with his Russian counterparts. Perhaps; the effects of COVID19, including the fall in the price of oil, are painting a grim economic picture for Moscow. The virus, however, affects America as well: a multi-trillion-dollar deficit, nearly 15 percent unemployment and a deepening recession do not exactly put the U.S. budget in prime shape for an arms race.

Moreover, the Russian military has completed about 70 percent of its strategic nuclear modernization program; the U.S. military has just begun its modernization cycle.

Dealing with these complex arms control questions will take time, but Mr. Billingslea’s appointment comes late in the game—well into the fourth year of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Given the White House’s inept response to COVID19, a U.S. economy in crisis and polls showing Mr. Trump trailing former Vice President Biden, how much incentive will the other side’s negotiators have to deal with an administration that could be out the door come January?

So, any arms talks will be hard. Mr. Billingslea’s interview brings to mind one wag’s depiction of the ideal arms control treaty:

• Article I. The United States can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, without restriction of any kind.

• Article II. The Russians can’t.

A nice agreement, but hardly negotiable. Officials in Moscow and Beijing will read Mr. Billingslea’s interview and see nothing to give them reason to negotiate.

Trump accusations HAVE doomed the nuclear test ban treaty

Will the Trump administration’s accusations doom the nuclear test ban treaty? – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Imagine that the United States and Russia had both ratified the treaty some 20 years ago and that this issue came up after many years of peaceful implementation. The two sides would have first been encouraged to resolve this concern among themselves. Treaty membership would also have come with the ability to request assistance from the technical secretariat of the treaty’s monitoring organization, or even the full weight of the executive council, the treaty’s highest decision-making body. International inspectors can’t stop a treaty violator, but they can make a violator lose face and standing, forcing it to unconvincingly obfuscate its transgressions.

If the hypothetical US attempt to resolve the compliance issue failed, the United States could have requested an on-site inspection. If Russia had nothing to hide, it would have allowed it. But if Russia did have something to hide and tried to foil the investigation, a breach of the treaty would have been established in the minds of many other governments. From the US perspective, this would be a much better diplomatic starting point than relying on its own—mostly unshareable—national assessments. It is much easier to marshal a sustained diplomatic offensive to rectify bad behavior when evidence is widely shared and neutral third parties can be convinced.

Additionally, state parties are free to reach further agreements under the treaty. For instance, the United States and Russia, if both were parties, could agree to mutual visits falling short of on-site inspections. They could decide on close monitoring of nuclear test sites. They could agree on the notification and monitoring of permitted activities, such as subcritical testing. Because the United States has not ratified, these options are not on the table. But it’s not too late.

As the coronavirus crisis shows, we need science now more than ever.

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Iran to Expel America From the Shi’a Horn

Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei rules out talks with US | USA News ...

Iran Supreme Leader says Americans will be expelled from Iraq and Syria

by Reuters

Sunday, 17 May 2020 19:13 GMT

May 17 (Reuters) – Americans will be expelled from Iraq and Syria, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, renewing Iran’s demand for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from the Middle East.

Iran almost got into a full-blown conflict with the United States when a U.S. drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Tehran to retaliate with a missile barrage against a U.S. base in Iraq days later.

Khamenei said Americans’ actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria had led to them being hated, according to a transcript of a speech to students published on his website.

“The Americans won’t stay in Iraq and Syria and will be expelled,” Khamenei said.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had instructed the U.S. Navy to fire on any Iranian ships that harass it at sea, but said later he was not changing the military’s rules of engagement.

After Trump’s statement, the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said that the Islamic Republic would destroy U.S. warships if its security is threatened in the Gulf.

(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Heavens)

Terror Continues Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Pandemic Slows — but Doesn’t Stop — Hamas’ Terror Industry

Hamas members wear protective gear as a precaution against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, April 13, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa. – Hamas in the Gaza Strip has remained highly active in its efforts to plot and implement terror attacks in the West Bank. Its operatives have been working in the past few months to orchestrate attacks, and while there has been a reduction in the number of incidents during the height of the coronavirus outbreak, this is mainly due to the fact that the territories have been in lockdown.

Nevertheless, the virus and its knock-on effects have not influenced Hamas leaders at headquarters in the Gaza Strip, who continue to try to recruit operatives around the clock in the West Bank for attacks.

“They haven’t stopped trying to conduct terror attacks in the West Bank, and Israel hasn’t stopped foiling them,” Reuven Erlich, director of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, said

Last month, the Shin Bet made an announcement that signified how constant the threat remains, albeit submerged from view for the most part. The agency stated that it broke up a Hamas terror cell that was plotting a series of bombing attacks in Jerusalem, including targeting the landmark Teddy Stadium. Other plots eyed Israel Defense Forces’ positions, as well as attacking roads near Ramallah with remote-controlled explosives. The terror suspects were arrested.

According to the investigation, they met during their studies at Birzeit University near Ramallah, where a Hamas student organization operates — the largest one in the West Bank. The organization, known as the Kutla Islamiya, is devoted to “resistance” to Israel, and is often used by Hamas to promote its ideology and for recruitment.

Tens of thousands of shekels were transferred to the cell’s members by a senior Hamas member, a resident of Ramallah, who is also an operative in the Kutla Islamiya at Birzeit University, according to the Shin Bet. “He was the liaison between the cell’s member and Hamas, and he has been in prior administrative detention due to the risk that he posed to the security of the area,” said the Shin Bet.

The break-up of the cell prevented a major series of armed attacks against civilians and soldiers, and is part of a long line of plots thwarted by Israeli security forces in recent months.

In 2019, the Shin Bet, together with the IDF, foiled more than 500 significant terror attacks, including bombings, shootings, and kidnappings, many of them planned by Hamas and many targeting Israeli cities.

At the same time, Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh threatened to kidnap more Israelis if a prisoner deal is not reached.

“A prisoner-exchange deal has a known price. Israel knows that. Either we will come to a respectable deal, or we will go to the other option, which is increasing our loot. Our arm is long,” Haniyeh said according to a YNet report.

Erlich noted that in Gaza itself, the security situation has been quiet with no border disturbances and isolated rocket incidents. He said two factors could end that. The first is the end of the pandemic era. The second potential route to escalation, he said, could be linked to a future outbreak of the disease in Gaza. In such a scenario, Hamas would face public pressure about its inability to care for critically ill patients, and in response, it could use violence to try to extort Israel to provide economic and medical assistance.

The Meir Amit Center has been releasing regular reports on how health authorities in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority have been working to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Erlich gave Gaza’s health authorities a good grade in their ability to avoid an outbreak thus far, citing very low infection numbers.

“In light of the fact that Gaza is highly crowded, has refugee camps and sewage flowing in the streets, Hamas’ performance up to now has been effective,” he said. “Why has it been able to stop the spread so far? Most importantly, because there are only two narrow entry points into Gaza. One is the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. And the second is the Erez border crossing with Israel, which has been almost completely closed from the start of the crisis. And Hamas has invested many resources in Rafah so that it can place all new arrivals in quarantine and monitor them,” he added.

The lack of  organized tourism and the fact that Gaza’s population is relatively young have also helped.

Still, Erlich warned, if the virus does begin spreading in the community, it could “very quickly spin out of control because of Gaza’s crowded conditions and because Gazans don’t always listen to instructions about social distancing and masks. In addition, Gaza’s health-care system is not prepared in terms of medical equipment, medicine, and ventilation machines for dealing with outbreak in Gaza. Hamas is always living with this dichotomy. It has managed to stop it, but if the virus spreads inside the Strip, that will become a big problem.”

As a result, Hamas has preemptively begun spreading a cover story as part of a messaging campaign, blaming Israel for Gaza’s medical shortages and accusing Israel of destroying the medical system in Gaza. The Meir Amit Center quoted senior Hamas figures — among them Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza — issuing threats, saying that if a shortage of ventilators and other medical equipment develops, Hamas will use force against Israel and “make six million Israeli settlers [sic] stop breathing.”

Erlich said this narrative was designed to distract from the fact that Hamas has chosen by itself to massively neglect Gaza’s civilian needs by investing most of its economic resources in military force buildup programs.

“Weapons, acquisitions, training, tunnel digging — these and other military activities are very expensive. Hamas has allocated very little to the medical system. This is the reason for the shortage, not Israel,” said Erlich. “If their budget had gone to civilian needs instead of military buildup, they would have a lot more money for medical needs. Israel would have helped them more; the international community would assist them more. Their situation could be completely different, and not only in the medical sector.”

“But due to their ideology of destroying Israel and conflict with it, they made their choice,” he said. “It projects onto everything else.”

Yaakov Lappin is a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in Israel’s defense establishment, military affairs, and the Middle Eastern strategic environment.