Putin ‘isn’t suicidal’ says Stubb as he talks nuclear weapons
While Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with nearly 6,000 warheads, the UK has its own weaponry that could help deter the Russian threat. Currently, Britain has a stockpile of 195 warheads, but it plans to boost this to up to 260 at a maximum cap in what would be the first increase since the Cold War. This comes as Putin sent a horror warning to the West by putting his nuclear forces on “high alert”.
And a Russian MP has even warned Prime Minister warned Boris Johnson that the UK is now a “prime target” for Moscow given London’s unwavering military and political support for Kyiv.
The Russian lawmaker said last week: “Great Britain is a prime target for that (nuclear strike). It is an island nation, which would minimise the damage to the continent.”
Putin has also been unveiling some terrifying weapons that could cause chaos in the West, such as the “Satan 2”, which was test-fired earlier this month.
But the UK has some mighty weapons of its own.
Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons programme, is operated by the Royal Navy and has four Vanguard-class submarines armed with Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles.
The UK is boosting its nuclear arsenal to deter a Russian attack (Image: Getty )
The UK has four Vanguard submarines which can carry 8 warheads each (Image: Getty )
Made by US company Lockheed Martin, these weapons are a three-stage, solid-fuel, inertially-guided missiles with a range of 4,000 nautical miles.
The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago It happened before, and it could happen again. By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake. The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society. While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive. According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged. The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed. A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston: “There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.” The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society. An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755. The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day. The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed. “I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.” The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death. “It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.” The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage. There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake. According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society. In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God. “It is becaufe we broke thy Laws, that thou didst shake the Earth. … O what a Day the Scriptures say, the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell; O turn to God; lest by his Rod, he cast thee down to Hell.” Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.” There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake. Well, sort of. In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.” It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake. In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.” If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Joly appeared before the Senate foreign affairs committee Thursday afternoon to answer questions about the federal government’s response to Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
Since then, Russian officials have issued varying degrees of nuclear threats and Joly was asked by the committee how seriously Canadians should be taking those threats of a potential nuclear conflict.
“I think that we have to be ready for all scenarios, and I think at the same time that it won’t be the last time Russia makes threats in light of the fact that Ukrainian forces are resisting way more than they thought,” Joly responded.
“Clearly, their invasion is a failure and will continue to be a failure, and we won’t stop our efforts until Ukraine wins. When I mean Ukraine wins, what I mean is Russian forces leave Ukraine,” she added.
“That is why we need to make sure we work with allies on this and we prepare for different types of scenarios.”
Russia has retreated over recent weeks following what officials are increasingly billing as a failure to seize and control key areas of Ukraine including the capital city of Kyiv.
But the retreat is seeing a shift in focus on the eastern region of Donbas, and a regrouping of Russian forces ahead of what is expected to be a major military push in the coming days and weeks.
That anticipated advance comes as May 9 approaches — a major date celebrated as ‘Victory Day’ in Russia to commemorate the former Soviet role in defeating the Nazis during the Second World War.
Zelenskyy says world should prepare for Russia to use nuclear weaponsZelenskyy says world should prepare for Russia to use nuclear weapons – Apr 16, 2022
Joly pointed to the date during the committee as a factor in the rapid scale-up in military weaponry being sent or pledged to Ukraine by NATO allies, including Howitzer missiles and armoured vehicles from Canada over the past week.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week escalated his rhetoric against Western countries supporting Ukraine, suggesting the military support equates to a “proxy war.”
“The danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it,” Reuters cited Lavrov as saying in a transcript of his comments issued by Russia. “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby decried what he called Lavrov’s “escalatory rhetoric.”
“It’s obviously unhelpful, not constructive, and certainly is not indicative of what a responsible (world power) ought to be doing in the public sphere,” Kirby said. “A nuclear war cannot be won and it shouldn’t be fought. There’s no reason for the current conflict in Ukraine to get to that level at all.”
That report also cited CIA Director Bill Burns as saying: “Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low yield nuclear weapons.”
Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on November 18, 2021 [Karar Essa/Anadolu Agency]April 29, 2022 at 3:38 pm
The Iraqi Sadrist movement, led by Muqtada Al-Sadr, yesterday denied media reports claiming it had held political meetings with the Coordination Framework forces to discuss forming the next government.
The head of the Sadrist parliamentary bloc, MP Hassan Al-Adhari, described in a statement the media reports as false, adding that “the purpose of these continuous lies is to destabilise the tripartite alliance, and we tell them that it is a solid alliance that will not be shaken by such allegations, and we call on them not to repeat them in the future.”
The tripartite alliance, also known as Enkath Watan, consists of the Sadrist bloc, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Sovereignty Coalition.
In early April, Muqtada Al-Sadr gave the Coordination Framework forces 40 days to form the government without his participation.
The Coordination Framework forces include the State of Law coalition, the State Forces Alliance, the Victory Alliance, the Al-Fateh Alliance, the Ataa Movement and the Virtue Party.
The landmark nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers in 2015 seemed to have so much potential. But it has been experiencing a steady decline since President Donald Trump stuck a knife in it in 2018 and quit while Iran was in full compliance. Iran has since busted out of the deal’s restrictions and advanced its nuclear program to near breakout status while talks with the Biden administration have stalled.
AS TIME GOES BY WITHOUT EVEN A MEETING, THE APPETITE FOR COMPROMISE FOR PARTIES TO THE IRAN DEAL SEEMS TO BE DIMINISHING, WHICH COMES WITH ITS OWN RISKS.
The current Iranian negotiators want to show that they have gotten more from Washington than their predecessors in the Rouhani administration, who negotiated the deal. However, Iranians of all stripes also fear that even if the agreement is restored, its shelf life will be almost as short as the original. If a Republican is elected president in 2024 — especially if it is Trump — the next US administration is likely to withdraw from the deal again. So the argument in Iran goes: Is it worth reducing our nuclear leverage for economic gains that will be ephemeral? Especially when we have gotten used to “maximum pressure” and managed to get around sanctions by increasing its oil imports to China and all manner of goods to our neighbors?
US officials acknowledge privately that the Biden administration has not clamped down on Iranian evasion of US secondary sanctions to the extent it might have. This is partly an acknowledgment that the US blew up the deal, not Iran. Of course, the US could go after Iranian oil exports to China and middlemen in the United Arab Emirates more forcefully if the agreemet dies. But when much of the world is trying to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels, the attraction of sanctions enforcement against Iranian oil is less obvious. That, in turn, gives Iran less incentive to compromise.
The Biden administration has sought some kind of assurance from Iran that it will not target former Trump officials for their role in assassinating Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s external branch, in 2020. Blinken told the Senate on Apr. 26, “Iran knows what it needs to do” to satisfy US concerns. Iranians have so far refused to provide this, but the Raisi government has sought improved relations with its Arab neighbors, including archrival Saudi Arabia, and has supported a ceasefire in Yemen. Some sort of vanilla statement about a need for the region to resolve its conflicts peacefully might assuage US concerns.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Still, as time goes by without even a meeting — the last sessions in Vienna were in mid-March 2022 — the appetite for compromise seems to be diminishing. There is a sense that, given domestic constraints and the much more compelling crisis in Ukraine, the parties to the Iran deal are willing to live with an extended limbo that requires no gestures on either side that would cause them to lose face.
Of course, inaction is not without risks. As Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association pointed out recently in a Twitter thread, “Limbo is not sustainable — I would flag two risks that are increasing the longer Biden waits: 1) Iran crosses nuclear threshold that poses an intolerable risk to the US & 2) Iran’s research activities significantly reduce the nonproliferation value of the accord.”
Momentum is a precious commodity in diplomacy that, once lost, is very hard to recover. Just as the JCPOA, for all its imperfections, was much better than no deal. It’s time for the negotiators to return to the table and reseal the deal.
Barbara Slavin is the Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council.
The man was identified as Ahmad Mohammad Massad, 18, from the nearby village of Burkin, the Palestine News Agency, WAFA, reported. Ibn Sina Hospital head Jani Abu Jokha said he had been shot in the head, the report said.
Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised Massad as a martyr who had previously served time for security offenses.
American tourists bring unexploded bomb shell to Israeli airport
“We strengthen the hands of the resistance fighters and the youth who heroically confronted the terrorism of the occupation and its continuous attacks,” Hamas said in a statement. “We call upon the youth throughout the occupied cities and villages to support Jenin and to stand united and continue confronting the occupier until it is defeated.”
Three other Palestinians, a 16-year-old and two 19-year-olds, were wounded and were in moderate and stable condition.
Israeli soldiers search at the scene of a terror attack on Dizengoff street, central Tel Aviv. 2 people were killed and several more injured in the attack, April 7, 2022. (credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)
The clashes between Palestinian gunmen and soldiers from the Duvdevan commando unit broke out after troops entered the Jenin refugee camp.
“During the operation in Jenin, Israel Defense Forces troops acted to quell a violent riot at the scene with dozens of Palestinians who opened fire, burned trash and hurled explosive devices at troops, who responded with gunfire,” the IDF said in a statement. No soldiers were wounded.
Hazem’s father later responded to the order, telling local Palestinian media: “Every Palestinian youth who raises a banner is called a terrorist. All the youths of Palestine are being targeted. We are not terrorists; we are defending our land and holy site.”
In another video, the former Palestinian Authority security officer is heard saying, “We are ready for you. We will ambush you. Inshallah, we will defeat them soon.”
Israeli security forces have been carrying out widespread arrests across the West Bank following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks in Israeli cities that claimed the lives of 14 people.
“There is not one spot in the West Bank where the IDF doesn’t operate,” Menashe Regional Brigade Deputy Commander Lt.-Col. Alon Hanuni told The Jerusalem Post.
“They influence their future, and they could be in a complicated place in terms of their lifestyle,” he said. “I am talking about the refugee camps. And if the enemy continues with what he is doing, they will suffer a lot more than they are suffering now. And they are not suffering; they are living comfortably. It’s all in their hands.”
To bring the current wave of violence to an end without further attacks, the IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police have been focusing their sights on the northern West Bank, the Palestinian cities of Jenin, Nablus, Hebron and Tulkarm and their surrounding villages.
The IDF has reinforced its presence in the West Bank by 12 battalions for a total of 25 battalions.
The redeployment allows the military to carry out offensive operations in the West Bank and deploy soldiers along the security fence to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel through holes in the fence.
The redeployment to the West Bank will last until the end of the year, Hanuni told the Post.
During a speech to Iranian university students Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke about a number of global developments.
Khamenei said, “Today, the world is on the threshold of a new world order.” He said that the era of a bipolar or mono-polar world is coming to an end and that under this new order, “the US is becoming weaker day by day.”
Khamenei said that the war in Ukraine must be viewed from this perspective, though he didn’t offer details. He did warn that the Islamic Republic of Iran should be prepared for this world order with soft and hard power to guarantee the interests of the country. Khamenei encouraged the university students to play an active role in these endeavors.
According to Khamenei, many university students in the West, meaning the US and Europe, are opposed to the colonial policies of their countries. He encouraged Iranian university students to develop “healthy relationships” among these anti-imperial activists and “introduce the Islamic Republic” to them. Khamenei did add that Iran should put a stronger focus on neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Khamenei’s view that the US is on the decline, a view he has previously shared, is not good news for the fate of the nuclear talks. Iran and the US are currently at a stalemate over reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the US exited in 2018. Iran wants the US to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Biden administration wants non-nuclear promises for making the move, which Iran refuses to do, arguing that all Trump era sanctions must be removed.
Despite the lack of progress on the nuclear negotiations, which would lift sanctions on Iranian oil and banking, Iranian officials have publicly claimed their economy is moving ahead. Ali Salehabadi, the head of Iran’s Central Bank, said today, “In the sale of oil we have reached good numbers and we have collected all of the money from the sale of oil.” He continued, “Therefore, even if there is no JCPOA, securing currency in the country will be done properly and we will not have any problems with the exchange market.”
The Guardian has reported that Iran has not received its money from the UK after the release of dual nationals Nazanin Ratcliff and Anoosheh Ashoori. However, Salehabadi said, “Our requests from the UK have been collected and we have also used that money.” When Iran released the dual nationals, the UK had agreed to release Iran’s blocked money of 400 million pounds. However, the UK had stipulated that Iran only be able to make humanitarian purchases through an intermediary.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced the May 20-24 trip Wednesday. Both allies host significant U.S. military contingents, and the trip comes as North Korea has escalated its nuclear missile testing and China has grown more assertive in the region.
Biden will meet separately with newly elected President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, Psaki said.