Hamas vows to trample outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Palestinian gunmen and civilians gather around an ambulance following a raid by Israeli troops on the West Bank's Jenin refugee camp, January 26, 2023. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Hamas vows to respond ‘soon’; Islamic Jihad says it’s ready for ‘next confrontation’

By AFPToday, 2:55 pm

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi vows that “the resistance is everywhere and ready and willing for the next confrontation,” after nine Palestinians, including several terrorists linked to the group, were killed during an IDF raid in Jenin earlier today.

The IDF said it thwarted a major imminent attack being planned by the group.

Saleh al-Arouri, deputy leader of Hamas, vows that Israel “will pay the price for the Jenin massacre.”

“Our resistance will not break, and our response will come soon.”

Stakes rise as the Iranian Horn Nukes Up: Daniel 8

FILE - International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi gives a news conference at the Vienna Airport upon returning from Tehran, Iran, in Vienna, Austria, March 5, 2022. Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build "several" nuclear weapons if it chooses, the United Nations' top nuclear official is now warning. But diplomatic efforts aimed at again limiting its atomic program seem more unlikely than ever before as Tehran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine and as unrest shakes the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, File)

Analysis: Stakes rise as Iran can fuel ‘several’ atom bombs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build “several” nuclear weapons if it chooses, the United Nations’ top nuclear official is now warning. But diplomatic efforts aimed at again limiting its atomic program seem more unlikely than ever before as Tehran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine and as unrest shakes the Islamic Republic. 

The warning from Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in response to questions from European lawmakers this week, shows just how high the stakes have become over Iran’s nuclear program. Even at the height of previous tensions between the West and Iran under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran never enriched uranium as high as it does now. 

For months, nonproliferation experts have suggested Iran had enough uranium enriched up to 60% to build at least one nuclear weapon — though Tehran long has insisted its program is for peaceful purposes. While offering a caveat on Tuesday that “we need to be extremely careful” in describing Iran’s program, Grossi bluntly acknowledged just how large Tehran’s high-enriched uranium stockpile had grown. 

“One thing is true: They have amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons, not one at this point,” Grossi said. 

The Argentine diplomat then referred to Benjamin Netanyahu’s famous 2012 speech to the United Nations, in which the Israeli prime minister held up a placard of a cartoon-style bomb with a burning wick and drew a red line on it to urge the world to not allow Tehran’s program to highly enrich uranium. While the 2015 nuclear deal drastically reduced Iran’s uranium stockpile and capped its enrichment to 3.67%, Netanyahu successfully lobbied then-President Donald Trump to withdraw from the accord and set up the current tensions.

“You remember there was to be this issue of the breakthrough and Mr. Netanyahu drawing things at the U.N. and putting lines — well, that is long past. They have 70 kilograms (155 pounds) of uranium enriched at 60%. … The amount is there,” Grossi said. “That doesn’t mean they have a nuclear weapon. So they haven’t proliferated yet.” 

But the danger remains. Analysts point to what happened with North Korea, which had reached a 1994 deal with the U.S. to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The deal fell apart in 2002. By 2005 and wary of U.S. intentions after its invasion of Iraq, Pyongyang announced it had built nuclear weapons. Today, North Korea has ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads that are capable of reaching the U.S.

Iranian diplomats for years have pointed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s preachings as a binding fatwa, or religious edict, that Iran wouldn’t seek an atomic bomb. However, Iranian officials in recent months have begun openly talking about the prospect of building nuclear weapons.

Talks between Iran and the West ended in August with a “final text” of a roadmap on restoring the 2015 deal that Iran until today hasn’t accepted. 

Iran’s mission to the U.N., responding to questions about Grossi’s remarks, insisted in comments to The Associated Press on Thursday that Tehran “is prepared to stick to its commitments within the framework of the (deal) provided the other parties do the same.”

“The Iranian nuclear program has never been about making nuclear weapons and enriching has nothing to do with deviating from it,” the mission said, despite Iran accelerating its enrichment after the deal’s collapse.

Iranian state television separately quoted Mohammad Eslami, the head of the country’s civilian nuclear program, as saying Tehran would welcome a visit by Grossi to the country.

As Iran’s rial currency plunges further to historic lows against the dollar amid its crises, Iranian officials including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also have made unsupported claims about American officials agreeing to their demands or frozen money abroad being released. 

At the State Department, the denials about Iran’s claims have grown more and more pointed. 

“We’ve heard a number of statements from the Iranian foreign minister that are dubious if not outright lies, so I would just keep that broader context in mind when you point to statements from the Iranian foreign minister,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday in a response to a question. 

Price and others in President Joe Biden’s administration say any future talks with Iran remain off the table as Tehran cracks down on the months-long protests after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained in September by the country’s morality police. At least 527 people have been killed and over 19,500 arrested amid the unrest, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the protests.

Another part of the Americans’ exasperation — and increasingly of the Europeans as well — comes from Iran arming Russia with the bomb-carrying drones that repeatedly have targeted power plants and civilian targets across Ukraine. It remains unclear what Tehran, which has a strained history with Moscow, expects to get for supplying Russia with arms. One Iranian lawmaker has suggested the Islamic Republic could get Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to replace its aging fleeting comprised primarily of pre-1979 American warplanes, though such a deal hasn’t been confirmed. 

Such fighter jets would provide a key air defense for Iran, particularly as its nuclear sites could increasingly be eyed. Israel, which has carried out strikes to halt nuclear programs in Iraq and Syria, has warned it will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb. 

The U.S. and Israel also launched their largest-ever joint air, land and sea exercise this week with over 140 warplanes, an aircraft carrier group and nearly 8,000 troops called Juniper Oak. The Pentagon described the drill as “not meant to be oriented around any single adversary or threat.” However, it comes amid the heightened tensions with Iran and includes aerial refueling, targeting and suppressing enemy air defenses — capabilities that would be crucial in conducting airstrikes. 

For now, Grossi said there was “almost no diplomatic activity” over trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement he now describes as “an empty shell.” But he still urged more diplomacy as Tehran still would need to design and test any possible nuclear weapon.

“We shouldn’t give up,” he said. 

___

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jon Gambrell, the news director for the Gulf and Iran for The Associated Press, has reported from each of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Iran and other locations across the world since joining the AP in 2006. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

The Quakes Preceding the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6:12

East Coast Quakes: What to Know About the Tremors Below

By Meteorologist Dominic Ramunni Nationwide PUBLISHED 7:13 PM ET Aug. 11, 2020 PUBLISHED 7:13 PM EDT Aug. 11, 2020

People across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic were shaken, literally, on a Sunday morning as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in North Carolina on August 9, 2020.

Centered in Sparta, NC, the tremor knocked groceries off shelves and left many wondering just when the next big one could strike.

Items lie on the floor of a grocery store after an earthquake on Sunday, August 9, 2020 in North Carolina.

Fault Lines

Compared to the West Coast, there are far fewer fault lines in the East. This is why earthquakes in the East are relatively uncommon and weaker in magnitude.

That said, earthquakes still occur in the East.

According to Spectrum News Meteorologist Matthew East, “Earthquakes have occurred in every eastern U.S. state, and a majority of states have recorded damaging earthquakes. However, they are pretty rare. For instance, the Sparta earthquake Sunday was the strongest in North Carolina in over 100 years.”

While nowhere near to the extent of the West Coast, damaging earthquakes can and do affect much of the eastern half of the country.

For example, across the Tennesse River Valley lies the New Madrid Fault Line. While much smaller in size than those found farther west, the fault has managed to produce several earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 in the last couple hundred years.

In 1886, an estimated magnitude 7.0 struck Charleston, South Carolina along a previously unknown seismic zone. Nearly the entire town had to be rebuilt.

Vulnerabilities

The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.

Seismic waves actually travel farther in the East as opposed to the West Coast. This is because the rocks that make up the East are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of years older than in the West.

These older rocks have had much more time to bond together with other rocks under the tremendous pressure of Earth’s crust. This allows seismic energy to transfer between rocks more efficiently during an earthquake, causing the shaking to be felt much further.

This is why, during the latest quake in North Carolina, impacts were felt not just across the state, but reports of shaking came as far as Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 300 miles away.

Reports of shaking from different earthquakes of similar magnitude.

Quakes in the East can also be more damaging to infrastructure than in the West. This is generally due to the older buildings found east. Architects in the early-to-mid 1900s simply were not accounting for earthquakes in their designs for cities along the East Coast.

When a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia in 2011, not only were numerous historical monuments in Washington, D.C. damaged, shaking was reported up and down the East Coast with tremors even reported in Canada.

Unpredictable

There is no way to accurately predict when or where an earthquake may strike.

Some quakes will have a smaller earthquake precede the primary one. This is called a foreshock.

The problem is though, it’s difficult to say whether the foreshock is in fact a foreshock and not the primary earthquake. Only time will tell the difference.

The United State Geological Survey (USGS) is experimenting with early warning detection systems in the West Coast.

While this system cannot predict earthquakes before they occur, they can provide warning up to tens of seconds in advance that shaking is imminent. This could provide just enough time to find a secure location before the tremors begin.

Much like hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms, earthquakes are a natural occuring phenomenon that we can prepare for.

The USGS provides an abundance of resources on how to best stay safe when the earth starts to quake.

South Korea Horn ponders whether to ‘go nuclear’:Daniel 7

South Korea’s Yoon ponders whether to ‘go nuclear’

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, on a sales mission to the pivotal United Arab Emirates (UAE), enlarged on his country’s success as a major exporter of arms worldwide. He proudly watched over the signing of agreements with the UAE that should amass $6.1 billion for South Korean industry. The UAE has already agreed to invest $3.5 billion for a Korean missile system for defense against Houthi forces in control of north Yemen and plans to invest another $30 billion in South Korea’s economy.

The size and sophistication of South Korea’s arms industry means the South can defy the North’s mounting threats. The South need not rely on its American ally for any but the most high-tech weapons. All the South does not possess is a nuclear program. Yoon has said he would like to consider the South’s emergence as a nuclear power, but the Pentagon insists the U.S. will always provide a “nuclear umbrella” lest Kim Jong Un were so foolish as to press the button on a missile carrying a nuclear warhead southward.

As doubts arise, however, about whether the U.S. would rush to South Korea’s rescue in a nuclear war, pressure intensifies for the South to “go nuclear.” Who can be sure the Americans would live up to their treaty obligations? And should South Korea go on as a military dependency of the United States when it’s already a massive arms producer, capable of meeting most of its military needs?

In the web of alliances and “commitments,” one great question is, what is China doing or likely to do? China now has so many internal issues and problems, including the spread of COVID-19, that President Xi Jinping is in no position to invade the independent island province of Taiwan as he has threatened. The Chinese, however, are fabricating ever more warheads and China’s missiles can deliver nukes to targets anywhere in the region.

In North Korea, Kim also has been talking about firing tactical nukes. He can do nothing, however, without Xi’s endorsement. It’s hard to believe that Xi would go along with Kim’s dream of attacking America’s northeast Asian allies — South Korea and/or Japan — when China does a roaring business with both of them, as well as the U.S. As far as the Chinese are concerned, Kim can order missile tests and maybe another nuclear test, but that’s about it.

Yoon must always watch out for Japan as much as China. It may seem heartening to Americans that Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has initiated a new “strategy for defense” against Japan’s enemies, near and far. The cognoscenti in the White House, Pentagon and State Department are delighted that Japan at last is committed to picking up its share of the load, planning to increase defense spending from 1 percent to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, which topped $5.4 trillion for 2022. In five years, Japan’s military budget could double its current level of about $47.2 billion.

Koreans, however, may not be so thrilled to see Japan rising again militarily. Memories of Japanese colonial rule over Korea burn deep in the Korean psyche. South Korea may find common cause with Japan against North Korea, but we can be sure that many South Koreans will look with misgivings on an immense Japanese military build-up. Their thinking is, who can trust the Japanese, years from now, while fighting off the North Koreans, to stay away from South Korea?

Against this background, South Korea’s deal with the UAE shows the South’s rising strength as a military power. Yoon predicts the South’s arms exports, now seventh in the world, will rank fourth in four years. South Korean arms sales shot up to about $18 billion last year, thanks to a deal with Poland for the sale of planes, tanks and artillery pieces.

Just as Russia’s war against Ukraine fueled Polish fears of a Russian invasion, so too the belligerence of Iran, across the Persian Gulf, led the UAE to look for South Korean weapons to buttress its strategic position in the maelstrom of Middle East rivalries. The concern is not just Iran but also Iran’s support of the Houthis in North Yemen and subversive groups everywhere.

It’s not just the UAE’s geographic position, however, that gives it such importance in the region. The UAE ranks as the world’s seventh largest oil producer, after six much larger countries — America, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iraq and China — and is the source of 10 percent of South Korea’s oil imports. In a crisis, South Korea could rise to the UAE’s defense and the UAE could increase its oil shipments to South Korea.

By far the most significant visible element in the UAE-South Korean relationship is a $20 billion nuclear power complex that South Korean companies are building under the aegis of the Korea Electric Power Corporation. When completed, it will provide the UAE with one-fourth of its electric power. At home, Yoon has said South Korea must build more nuclear power plants and reopen those that his predecessor, Moon Jae-in, shut down. They’re badly needed to fulfill the South’s needs. Appropriately, the Korean-made plant in the UAE is named Barakah, “blessing from God.”

If the Koreans can make nuclear power plants, nuclear warheads should be next for defense against North Korea and China, without whose support the North could not survive. But could Japan and South Korea fight as allies? In response to intimidation by China and Russia in the form of intrusions into Japan’s air defense identification zone and threats from North Korea, the Japanese will be acquiring hundreds of Tomahawk missiles and more warplanes, including drones, from the U.S.

All this puts South Korea in a difficult position. Spurred on by the Americans, the South Korean and Japanese navies have conducted joint exercises and are exchanging intelligence information. As long as Japan refuses concessions on so many other differences springing from the era of Japanese rule over Korea, however, Koreans will look with suspicion — if not alarm — on the prospect of Japan’s renaissance as a major military power.

That’s all the more reason for Yoon to want to consider the nuclear option: If “they” have them, why not “us”? Looking far ahead, it’s not hard to imagine a war in which North and South Korea fire tactical nukes against one another in a battle to the death on both sides.

Donald Kirk has been a journalist for more than 60 years, focusing much of his career on conflict in Asia and the Middle East, including as a correspondent for the Washington Star and Chicago Tribune. He currently is a freelance correspondent covering North and South Korea. He is the author of several books about Asian affairs.

The Merchants Will Hide in the Rocks: Revelation 6

Nuclear test

You Might Survive a Nuclear Blast—if You Have the Right Shelter

The escalating risks of Russia’s war in Ukraine have led scientists to study the unthinkable and model the aftermath of nuclear detonation.

Ramin SkibbaJan 25, 2023 8:00 AM

In a flash, a nuclear warhead unleashes the destructive power of hundreds of kilotons of TNT. The resulting inferno, and the blast wave that follows, instantly kill people directly in their path. But a new study finds that some people two to seven miles away could survive—if they’re lucky enough to find just the right kind of shelter. 

Dimitris Drikakis, a fluid dynamics researcher at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, led the study both to illuminate the ongoing risks of nuclear escalation and to examine how one might have a chance at survival if the unthinkable should come to pass. “People have forgotten the devastating impacts nuclear war can have. But now we’re seeing the discussion starting again, and there’s a debate about the potential for nuclear war in Ukraine,” says Drikakis. “I think this kind of study raises awareness within the wider population that nuclear explosions are not a joke.”

His grim research comes just as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that it has ticked the Doomsday Clock forward, to 90 seconds until an apocalyptic midnight, citing the increasing nuclear tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Scientists and artists developed the metaphorical clock to communicate risks posed by global, human-caused problems including climate change, but the dangers of nuclear war have been a major focus since its inception.

Drikakis combed through scientific research on what the aftermath of nuclear weapon use would look like, and he spotted a gap: There’s little knowledge of the effects on humans indoors in the “moderate damage zone” a few miles from the epicenter, far enough away that buildings might not get blown to bits. He and his colleague Ioannis Kokkinakis focused on this area and published their work in the Physics of Fluidsjournal last week.

Since no one’s going around testing nukes on buildings these days, this kind of research employs computer simulations. Drikakis and Kokkinakis simulated the blast effects of a 750-kiloton warhead—like the hundreds of larger bombs in Russia’s arsenal—delivered by an intercontinental ballistic missile, which would detonate about 3 kilometers above a metropolis. They studied how the supersonic shock waves would propagate through a three-room concrete structure situated in the moderate damage zone and assumed that the concrete was strong enough to withstand the 3 to 5 pounds per square inch of pressure from the blast wave.

This is a 3D illustration of the simulated air blast and generated blast wave 10 seconds after the detonation of a 750 kiloton nuclear warhead above a typical metropolitan city; the radius of the shock bubble at ground level is 4.6 kilometers.Courtesy of  I. Kokkinakis and D. Drikakis/University of Nicosia

Their research shows that, if a nuke were ever detonated in a modern city, some people in the surrounding areas would make it. They might have about five to 10 seconds after the initial flash to get to safety. If they happened to be in a thick concrete structure with few openings, like in a bank or a subway, they might survive if they used that limited time to run into the corner of a back room with few openings.

Being in an enclosed space matters because, the researchers find, the blast winds following the initial fireball can be even more dangerous and deadly than the blast itself. These winds push outward behind the shock wave, and anyone facing the brunt of them could be slammed against a wall at high speed. The winds are especially dangerous if a person is near a door or window or in a corridor or an opening to a room. Winds quickly funnel through such areas, throwing people and furniture around—it’s like a storm let loose in a building. 

(If you are wondering whether you could copy the Indiana Jones move in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, surviving a nuclear blast by jumping inside a fridge, Drikakis says that mightbe possible. But it’s also possible the strong wind would hurl the fridge with Indy inside.)

Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, a scientist-in-residence and nuclear physicist at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, points out that if multiple buildings happen to lie between the structure you’re in and the incoming blast wave, that shadowing effect can lessen the airspeed and forces involved. Those in a basement might avoid the worst blast effects too. “A lot of people have a nihilistic point of view that there’s nothing we can do about it,” but that’s not the case, he says. 

Shown are the contours of the maximum airspeed attained during the first 10 seconds after the blast wave enters the window; overpressure equals 5 pounds per square inch.Courtesy of  I. Kokkinakis and D. Drikakis/University of Nicosia

But let’s be honest: Most people, even in the moderate damage zone, won’t survive. Hardly anyone lives or works in nearly windowless reinforced-concrete buildings, nor in the vicinity of a concrete bunker. (Even people at a bank would have to get into the vault to be in the safest place; people in a subway would get the most benefit in a station that’s very deep underground.) Most people live in timber-frame or other less-armored buildings. 

This shouldn’t be construed as a way to be safe in a nuclear explosion, says Dylan Spaulding, an earth scientist and nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Strong structures made of concrete with metal reinforcement and designed for seismic safety would survive the pressures the team modeled, he says, but those pressures would be enough to destroy most traditional, wood-framed houses and brick structures without reinforcement.

And he points out that the blast wave is only part of the story. While it is the main source of danger in a non-nuclear explosion—like the one that rocked Beirut in 2020, which was caused by a large quantity of flammable ammonium nitrate stored at the city’s port—nuclear weapons also throw out ionizing radiation and heat, followed by radioactive fallout. 

Radiation exposure through the skin or inhalation can have many health effects, including skin burns, organ damage, and cancer. The range of radiation exposure could extend tens of miles from the epicenter, so people who survive the blast could later be felled by the radiation. 

Drikakis’ example focused on what’s called a “strategic” nuke deployed on an ICBM, but there are also “tactical” nukes, which are dropped by a plane onto a battlefield and which can blow up on the ground. Such explosions play out differently but can be as deadly and destructive, potentially exposing more people to lethal radiation doses, Spaulding says. 

Russia and the US also possess so-called low-yield nukes, which have 5 to 10 kilotons of yield and are a little smaller than the 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima. These would still inflict massive devastation and cross a dangerous red line, possibly escalating a conflict to the use of larger weapons.

Humanity’s most destructive weapons have been used in war only once, when the US demolished Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, with two atomic bombs at the end of the Second World War in 1945. Together they killed more than 100,000 Japanese civilians and injured many more. And Spaulding points out that along with experiments conducted at the Nevada Test Site, they offer some of the only real-world evidence about the kinds of structures that can survive an atomic blast, and how well.

But last year Russian president Vladimir Putin insinuated that nukes are not off the table in his attack on Ukraine. While NATO leaders have not used such threatening rhetoric, the international organization conducted nuclear exercises in October, simulating dropping B61 nuclear bombs. US president Joe Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review the same month abandoned a “no first use” policy he previously supported. One could imagine nuclear risks in other conflicts too, like the possibility of North Koreausing a nuke against South Korea, or Pakistan and India using them against each other.

The world’s arsenals add up to about 12,700 warheads, according to an inventory by the Federation of American Scientists. That’s fewer than their peak of around 70,000 near the end of the Cold War, thanks to arms reduction treaties. But some of those pacts have since been dissolved, and the dangers never went away, as the Doomsday Clock’s metaphor illustrates.

This is not a game, Drikakis says. The risks of a devastating nuclear strike are all too real, he says: “We have to maintain peace by understanding the risks of not maintaining the peace.”

Israel army kills nine Palestinians outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

INTERACTIVE - Israeli forces raid Jenin
(Al Jazeera)

Israel army kills nine Palestinians, including elderly woman

At least 20 others were injured with live ammunition during a large-scale raid on Jenin refugee camp.

Israeli troops have killed at least nine Palestinians in one of the deadliest days in the occupied West Bank since Israeli raids intensified at the start of last year.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 20 others were wounded with live ammunition in the raid on the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, which Palestinians have described as a “massacre”. Four of them were in critical condition.

The dead included an elderly woman, according to Palestinian officials. She was identified as Magda Obaid by the Jenin hospital authorities.

Israeli forces, who withdrew from Jenin after the killings, said they were looking into reports of the woman’s death.

Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade – an armed militia affiliated with the Palestinian political party Fatah – said the dead included one of its fighters, Izz al-Din Salahat.

According to the health ministry, another person, Saeb Azriqi, 24, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital.

It said the situation on the ground was very difficult, with injured people continuously reaching hospitals, as it accused Israeli forces of obstructing ambulances and medics.

Palestinians inspect a damaged house following an Israeli raid in Jenin
A damaged house following the Israeli raid in Jenin [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

“There is an invasion that is unprecedented … in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries,” Wissam Baker, head of Jenin public hospital, told Al Jazeera.

“The ambulance driver tried to get to one of the martyrs who was on the floor, but the Israeli forces shot directly at the ambulance and prevented them from approaching him,” Baker continued.

Israeli forces also fired tear gas canisters towards the hospital, affecting the children’s division, Baker said. It caused suffocation injuries to children and others, he said.

Israel’s army denied deliberately firing tear gas at the hospital. “No one shot tear gas on purpose at a hospital,” an army spokesman said. “But the activity was not far away from the hospital and it is possible some tear gar entered through an open window.”

PM Shtayyeh seeks UN intervention

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh released a statement calling on the United Nations and all international human rights organisations to “intervene urgently to provide protection for Palestinian people and stop the bloodshed of children, youth and women”.

Saleh al-Arouri, a prominent leader of the Hamas movement governing the blockaded Gaza Strip, said the “response of the resistance will not be delayed”.

Al Jazeera’s Youmna el-Sayed, reporting from Gaza, said Palestinian factions, including Hamas, announced a day of mourning and declared a state of alert.

“They called on the international community to hold the ‘occupation criminals’ accountable for their crimes and finally called out on the people in Gaza to go out in the streets and show their rage against the massacre committed in Jenin,” el-Sayed said.

Israeli operation

Justifying the operation, the Israeli military said special forces had been sent into Jenin to detain Islamic Jihad fighters suspected of planning and carrying out “multiple major terror attacks”.

Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and besieged the camp in the early hours with undercover forces, dozens of armoured vehicles and snipers. Armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters soon broke out.

The military added that several Palestinian fighters had been shot after they opened fire.

“During the operation, the security forces operated to surround the building in which the suspects were located. Two armed suspects were identified fleeing the scene and were neutralised by the security forces,” Israeli officials said in a statement.

No injuries were reported among the Israeli forces.

Palestinians hurl rocks at an Israeli army bulldozer, during confrontations in the occupied-West Bank
Palestinians hurl rocks as Israeli forces launch a large-scale raid and besieged the camp [Zain Jaafar/AFP]

Jenin is among areas of the northern West Bank where Israel has intensified raids over the past year, in an attempt to crack down on growing armed Palestinian resistance.

Aleef Sabbagh, a political analyst specialising in Israeli affairs, said Thursday’s operation in Jenin “should be understood as a signal – it is the first shot in a coming, larger Israeli operation”.

“The lack of a response – neither Arab nor international – over what Israel is doing, is encouraging it to continue with its raids and killings,” Sabbagh told Al Jazeera.

“The targeting of ambulances and hospitals, preventing aid to wounded people, the field executions – even the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh – there has been no accountability. If there is no real, strong response, Israel will continue to do what it wants without punishment.”

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran correspondent covering the occupied Palestinian territories for more than 25 years, was shot dead in May last years while she was covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp.

No one has yet been held accountable for her killing.

Al Jazeera’s Senior Political Analyst Mawan Bishara said that “in the international arena, combating ‘terrorism’ has a magical sound to it. It’s able to justify anything and everything even when it’s totally incorrect”.

While Israel justifies its actions on security grounds, the Palestinians “see that as a cynical ploy aimed at humiliating the Palestinian authority,” the analyst said.

The raid took place in the so-called Area A, under Palestinian administrative and police control according to the terms of the Oslo agreement. “These young people of the refugee camp are just trying to protect themselves, it’s not like they’re going out in Israel and shooting at Israelis,” Bishara added.

The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in January has risen to at least 29 people, including five children. At least 15 of those killed were from Jenin.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in such raids in 2022, many of them civilians.

Russia Warns the German nuclear horn: Daniel 7

Russia warns it will treat uranium shells in German Leopard 2 tanks as ‘dirty bombs’

By Jack Newman For Mailonline 09:46 EST 26 Jan 2023 , updated 09:46 EST 26 Jan 2023

A Kremlin official has warned that will consider the use of any depleted uranium weapons in their new tanks as nuclear ‘dirty bombs’.

The West finally agreed to arm with dozens of state-of-the art tanks yesterday, modernising the attritional warfare seen on the battlefield in the past 11 months.

Konstantin Gavrilov, head of Russia’s delegation on the OSCE forum on security cooperation, claimed that Ukraine could arm their German-supplied Leopard 2 tanks with ‘uranium core armour-piercing’ shells.

The ammunition known as the ‘Silver Bullet’, which was used by the US in the Gulf War and during Allied bombing in Kosovo and Yugoslavia, uses dense depleted uranium or spent uranium fuel to penetrate the thick steel of enemy tanks.

A Leopard 2 main battle tank fires during exercises in Germany. Russia claims the tanks could be armed with uranium-core shells
A Leopard 2 main battle tank fires during exercises in Germany. Russia claims the tanks could be armed with uranium-core shells 

Depleted uranium is less radioactive than the isotopes used in nuclear bombs, but months after the end of Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia, Italian soldiers were diagnosed with leukaemia linked to the Silver Bullet.

On hitting a tank or bunker, they disintegrate, with up to 40 per cent of the uranium, which is still radioactive, turning into fine powder. 

The weaponry is largely discontinued and there is no evidence the Leopard 2 tanks are armed with the dangerous shells.

But that has not stopped Russia alleging the West is planning to deploy them on the battlefield against Putin’s troops.

Gavrilov said: ‘We warn Western sponsors of the Kyiv military machine from encouraging nuclear provocations and blackmail. 

‘We know that the Leopard 2 tank, as well as the Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, are armed with uranium-core armor-piercing projectiles, the use of which leads to contamination of the area, as happened in Yugoslavia and Iraq. 

‘If Kyiv is supplied with such shells for NATO heavy military equipment, we will consider this as the use of dirty nuclear bombs against Russia with all the ensuing consequences.’

Vladimir Putin meets with Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Boroda at the Kremlin today
Vladimir Putin meets with Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Boroda at the Kremlin today 
A crater of an explosion is seen next to a destroyed house after a Russian rocket attack in Hlevakha today
A crater of an explosion is seen next to a destroyed house after a Russian rocket attack in Hlevakha today 

Russia has throughout the war accused the West and Ukraine of colluding to use nuclear weapons against Kremlin forces, without evidence.

They claimed last year that Ukraine was preparing a ‘dirty bomb’ which disperses radioactive material upon explosion.

The comments are the latest in Russia’s sabre-rattling threats following the ‘game-changer’ decision to supply Ukraine with the tanks. 

Gavrilov said Germany was ‘simply forced’ by the US and NATO to give its tanks under the threat of international isolation after chancellor Olaf Scholz finally relented.

The Kremlin claims the West is now ‘directly involved’ in the Ukraine war and Russia has already hit back with a barrage of missile strikes in Ukraine.

The  and send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, 14 Leopard 2 tanks, and give allies permission to send their own supply. 

Today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: ‘European capitals and Washington constantly give statements that sending various types of weapons, including tanks, in no way means their involvement in hostilities. We strongly disagree with this. In Moscow, this is perceived as direct involvement in the conflict and we see that this is growing.’

Putin is also furiously retaliating by raining missiles down on Ukraine as an air raid was issued over the whole country in the early hours of this morning. 

Defending forces said they shot down all 24 drones fired from Moscow including 15 around Kyiv, with no reports of any damage so far, as civilians sheltered in subway stations amid the blitz.

Missiles seen over Kyiv amid Russian fury at German tank deal

A missile flies over Kyiv this morning as Vladimir Putin retaliated against the West for its tanks deal
A missile flies over Kyiv this morning as Vladimir Putin retaliated against the West for its tanks deal 

‘The first Russian missiles have been shot down,’ Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s office said.

Russia has targeted critical infrastructure with missile and drone strikes since October, causing sweeping blackouts and other outages during the bitter winter.

Despite the generous Western package, there are fears that Ukraine won’t be able to actually use the tanks on the front line for months, potentially after Russia’s anticipated spring offensive.

The promised M1 Abrams tanks from the US are not even in supply at the moment and will take months to arrive before training can even commence, senior officials have said.

Moment Russian missile is seen soaring over Ukraine

An air raid alert was issued over the whole of Ukraine early this morning as defence units shot down a stream of incoming missiles
An air raid alert was issued over the whole of Ukraine early this morning as defence units shot down a stream of incoming missiles 
Defending forces said they shot down all 24 drones fired from Moscow including 15 around Kyiv, with no reports of any damage so far
Defending forces said they shot down all 24 drones fired from Moscow including 15 around Kyiv, with no reports of any damage so far 
People gather in a subway station being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv today
People gather in a subway station being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv today 
Ukrainian civilians wait in subway stations underground while Russia pounded Kyiv with missiles
Ukrainian civilians wait in subway stations underground while Russia pounded Kyiv with missiles 
Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm
Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm 
Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm
Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm 
Fighting has re-intensified in Bakhmut after the tank deal ramped up the war following a period of relative calm
Fighting has re-intensified in Bakhmut after the tank deal ramped up the war following a period of relative calm 

The modern tanks need to be procured, then the US will begin a ‘comprehensive training programme’ for Ukrainian soldiers, which will also need spare parts and will require significant maintenance once deployed.

Germany and European Leopard 2 tanks will likely arrive sooner but will still require training as Kyiv forces have become accustomed to their Soviet-era tanks used so far in the war.

Germany’s tanks would probably be ready in three or four months, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said. 

The fact that Leopard 2, M1 Abrams and Challenger tanks will all be arriving in the coming months, each needing separate parts and training, will complicate matters for Ukraine. 

Brad Martin, director of the RAND Institute for Supply Chain Security, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘Unfortunately, it does mean that each of these capabilities is going to need their own supply chains because they are different, their parts are different, the maintenance requirements are different.

‘I don’t know that it’s such a large challenge that it can’t be met but all things being equal it would be better to have common systems but they’re working with what they have.

‘The United States has a number of Abrams tanks and some of them would have to be refurbished in order to be exported… it’s certainly true that they’re not sitting there ready to go, work will have to be done to get any of them ready to be deployed.

Germany will initially send 14 Leopard 2s to Ukraine, and aims to provide 80 tanks overall
Germany will initially send 14 Leopard 2s to Ukraine, and aims to provide 80 tanks overall 
The US is sending dozens of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks to help with their war-effort
The US is sending dozens of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks to help with their war-effort 

How the day unfolded as US and Germany send tanks to aid Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier is seen on his way to frontlines with their armoured military vehicles as strikes continue
A Ukrainian soldier is seen on his way to frontlines with their armoured military vehicles as strikes continue 

Germany's 55-ton Leopard 2 tank combines aspects of firepower, protection, speed and maneuverability - making it adaptable to many types of combat situations
Germany’s 55-ton Leopard 2 tank combines aspects of firepower, protection, speed and maneuverability – making it adaptable to many types of combat situations 

‘A lot of this is rather complicated sophisticated stuff and it takes time to learn how to deal with this, training is going to be a very big issue.

‘Supply chains and the acquiring of spare parts take time, and those two things together will be a challenge.’ 

Western countries have made ‘no clear indication’ of how many tanks will be given to Ukraine, an advisor to the country’s defence minister has said.

Yuriy Sak told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We need 300 to 400 tanks for this to be a game changer.

‘This tank coalition consisting of different countries, we have no clear indication of how many tanks each country will provide. We have communicated to our partners that this is the number that we need.

‘If you want missile terror to stop you need to receive the weapons that will allow us to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.

‘The sooner we defeat Russia on the battlefield using Western weapons the sooner we will be able to stop this missile terror and restore peace.’

Zelensky has praised the US and German commitments to send tanks and urged allies to provide large quantities of tanks quickly.

‘The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support,’ he said in a nightly video address on Wednesday. ‘We have to form such a “tank fist”, such a “fist of freedom”.’

Ukraine has been seeking hundreds of modern tanks to give its troops the firepower to break Russian defensive lines and reclaim occupied territory in the south and east. Ukraine and Russia have been relying primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

The promise of tanks comes as both Ukraine and Russia are expected to launch new offensives in the war.

Maintaining Kyiv’s drumbeat of requests for more aid, Zelensky said he spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and called for long-range missiles and aircraft.

Ukraine’s allies have already provided billions in military support including sophisticated U.S. missile systems.

The United States has been wary of deploying the difficult-to-maintain Abrams but had to change tack to persuade Germany to send to Ukraine its more easily operated Leopards.

Biden said the tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia and that they were needed to help the Ukrainians ‘improve their ability to manoeuvre in open terrain’.

Germany will send an initial company of 14 tanks from its stocks and approve shipments by allied European states.

The Abrams can be tricky, but the Leopard was designed as a system that any NATO member could service and crews and repair specialists could be trained together on a single model, Ukrainian military expert Viktor Kevlyuk told Espreso TV.

‘If we have been brought into this club by providing us with these vehicles, I would say our prospects look good.’

Russia reacted with fury to Germany’s decision to approve the delivery of the Leopards.

‘This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation,’ said Sergei Nechayev, Russia’s ambassador to Germany.

Pledges to Ukraine from other countries that field Leopards have multiplied with announcements from Poland, Finland and Norway. Spain and the Netherlands said they were considering it.

A view shows a Puma infantry fighting vehicle during firing practice, at armoured infantry training area Altengrabow, Germany, today
A view shows a Puma infantry fighting vehicle during firing practice, at armoured infantry training area Altengrabow, Germany, today 
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius is seen a day after finally agreeing to supply tanks to Ukraine
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius is seen a day after finally agreeing to supply tanks to Ukraine 

How human wave attacks and slaughter ‘won’ Battle of Soledar

Britain has offered 14 of its comparable Challenger tanks and France is considering sending its Leclercs.

The Kyiv government acknowledged on Wednesday its forces had withdrawn from Soledar, a small salt-mining town close to Bakhmut in the east, that Russia said it captured more than a week ago, its biggest gain for more than six months.

The area around Bakhmut, with a pre-war population of 70,000, has seen some of the most brutal fighting of the war.

Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces were attacking in the direction of Bakhmut ‘with the aim of capturing the entire Donetsk region and regardless of its own casualties’.

The Russian-installed governor of Donetsk said earlier that units of Russia’s Wagner contract militia were moving forward inside Bakhmut, with fighting on the outskirts and in neighbourhoods recently held by Ukraine.

Analyst Kevlyuk said losing Bakhmut would not change much in terms of the tactical scheme of things but that he was more concerned by Russian efforts to regroup and concentrate resources in the Luhansk region.

Donetsk and Luhansk make up the Donbas region. Russian forces control nearly all of Luhansk, while Russians and their proxies say they control about half of Donetsk.

Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.

The 11-month war has killed thousands of people, driven millions from their homes and reduced cities to rubble.

A Lack Of Vigilance Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

           

Faults Underlying Exercise Vigilant GuardStory by: (Author NameStaff Sgt. Raymond Drumsta – 138th Public Affairs Detachment
Dated: Thu, Nov 5, 2009
This map illustrates the earthquake fault lines in Western New York. An earthquake in the region is a likely event, says University of Buffalo Professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.
TONAWANDA, NY — An earthquake in western New York, the scenario that Exercise Vigilant Guard is built around, is not that far-fetched, according to University of Buffalo geology professor Dr. Robert Jacobi.
When asked about earthquakes in the area, Jacobi pulls out a computer-generated state map, cross-hatched with diagonal lines representing geological faults.
The faults show that past earthquakes in the state were not random, and could occur again on the same fault systems, he said.
“In western New York, 6.5 magnitude earthquakes are possible,” he said.
This possibility underlies Exercise Vigilant Guard, a joint training opportunity for National Guard and emergency response organizations to build relationships with local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
The exercise was based on an earthquake scenario, and a rubble pile at the Spaulding Fibre site here was used to simulate a collapsed building. The scenario was chosen as a result of extensive consultations with the earthquake experts at the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), said Brig. Gen. Mike Swezey, commander of 53rd Troop Command, who visited the site on Monday.
Earthquakes of up to 7 magnitude have occurred in the Northeastern part of the continent, and this scenario was calibrated on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake which occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in 1988, said Jacobi and Professor Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director.
“A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in this area is not an unrealistic scenario,” said Filiatrault.
Closer to home, a 1.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 2.5 miles from the Spaulding Fibre site within the last decade, Jacobi said. He and other earthquake experts impaneled by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada in 1997 found that there’s a 40 percent chance of 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurring along the Clareden-Linden fault system, which lies about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, Jacobi added.
Jacobi and Filiatrault said the soft soil of western New York, especially in part of downtown Buffalo, would amplify tremors, causing more damage.
“It’s like jello in a bowl,” said Jacobi.
The area’s old infrastructure is vulnerable because it was built without reinforcing steel, said Filiatrault. Damage to industrial areas could release hazardous materials, he added.
“You’ll have significant damage,” Filiatrault said.
Exercise Vigilant Guard involved an earthquake’s aftermath, including infrastructure damage, injuries, deaths, displaced citizens and hazardous material incidents. All this week, more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been training at several sites in western New York to respond these types of incidents.
Jacobi called Exercise Vigilant Guard “important and illuminating.”
“I’m proud of the National Guard for organizing and carrying out such an excellent exercise,” he said.
Training concluded Thursday.

2023 Doomsday Clock ticks to closest-ever position to midnight

2023 Doomsday Clock ticks to closest-ever position to midnight

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 10:19AM

about:blank

The Doomsday Clock is ticking and it’s never been closer to catastrophe.

CHICAGO — The Doomsday Clock has been set to its closest time to midnight in its history, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced Tuesday.

The clock has now been set to 90 seconds to midnight, with the war in Ukraine, increased nuclear escalation influencing the decision. The climate crisis and the breakdown of global norms and institutions needed to deal with biological risks such as COVID-19 were also cited.

The clock is a metaphor for how close humanity is to self annihilation. The stewards of the clock meet annually to discuss re-setting the clock based on current world events.

The Doomsday Clock was previously set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2020.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality,” Rachel Bronson, PhD, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said. “Ninety seconds to midnight is the closest the Clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the Clock.”

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board with the support of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors are responsible for setting the Doomsday Clock.

The Doomsday Clock statement about the change said in part, “Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks. And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict-by accident, intention, or miscalculation-is a terrible risk. The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high . . .. Russia has also brought its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites, violating international protocols and risking widespread release of radioactive materials. Efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency to secure these plants so far have been rebuffed.”

The Doomsday Clock is located at the Bulletin offices at the University of Chicago.

Preparing for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Scenario Earthquakes for Urban Areas Along the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States
NYCEM

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

At this time, no satisfactory answers to these questions are available. A few years ago, rudimentary scenario studies were made for Boston and New York with limited scope and uncertain results. For most eastern cities, including Washington D.C., we know even less about the economic, societal and political impacts from significant earthquakes, whatever their rate of occurrence.

Why do we know so little about such vital public issues? Because the public has been lulled into believing that seriously damaging quakes are so unlikely in the east that in essence we do not need to consider them. We shall examine the validity of this widely held opinion.

Is the public’s earthquake awareness (or lack thereof) controlled by perceived low SeismicitySeismicHazard, or SeismicRisk? How do these three seismic features differ from, and relate to each other? In many portions of California, earthquake awareness is refreshed in a major way about once every decade (and in some places even more often) by virtually every person experiencing a damaging event. The occurrence of earthquakes of given magnitudes in time and space, not withstanding their effects, are the manifestations of seismicity. Ground shaking, faulting, landslides or soil liquefaction are the manifestations of seismic hazard. Damage to structures, and loss of life, limb, material assets, business and services are the manifestations of seismic risk. By sheer experience, California’s public understands fairly well these three interconnected manifestations of the earthquake phenomenon. This awareness is reflected in public policy, enforcement of seismic regulations, and preparedness in both the public and private sector. In the eastern U.S., the public and its decision makers generally do not understand them because of inexperience. Judging seismic risk by rates of seismicity alone (which are low in the east but high in the west) has undoubtedly contributed to the public’s tendency to belittle the seismic loss potential for eastern urban regions.

Let us compare two hypothetical locations, one in California and one in New York City. Assume the location in California does experience, on average, one M = 6 every 10 years, compared to New York once every 1,000 years. This implies a ratio of rates of seismicity of 100:1. Does that mean the ratio of expected losses (when annualized per year) is also 100:1? Most likely not. That ratio may be closer to 10:1, which seems to imply that taking our clues from seismicity alone may lead to an underestimation of the potential seismic risks in the east. Why should this be so?

To check the assertion, let us make a back-of-the-envelope estimate. The expected seismic risk for a given area is defined as the area-integrated product of: seismic hazard (expected shaking level), assets ($ and people), and the assets’ vulnerabilities (that is, their expected fractional loss given a certain hazard – say, shaking level). Thus, if we have a 100 times lower seismicity rate in New York compared to California, which at any given point from a given quake may yield a 2 times higher shaking level in New York compared to California because ground motions in the east are known to differ from those in the west; and if we have a 2 times higher asset density (a modest assumption for Manhattan!), and a 2 times higher vulnerability (again a modest assumption when considering the large stock of unreinforced masonry buildings and aged infrastructure in New York), then our California/New York ratio for annualized loss potential may be on the order of (100/(2x2x2)):1. That implies about a 12:1 risk ratio between the California and New York location, compared to a 100:1 ratio in seismicity rates.

From this example it appears that seismic awareness in the east may be more controlled by the rate of seismicity than by the less well understood risk potential. This misunderstanding is one of the reasons why earthquake awareness and preparedness in the densely populated east is so disproportionally low relative to its seismic loss potential. Rare but potentially catastrophic losses in the east compete in attention with more frequent moderate losses in the west. New York City is the paramount example of a low-probability, high-impact seismic risk, the sort of risk that is hard to insure against, or mobilize public action to reduce the risks.

There are basically two ways to respond. One is to do little and wait until one or more disastrous events occur. Then react to these – albeit disastrous – “windows of opportunity.” That is, pay after the unmitigated facts, rather than attempt to control their outcome. This is a high-stakes approach, considering the evolved state of the economy. The other approach is to invest in mitigation ahead of time, and use scientific knowledge and inference, education, technology transfer, and combine it with a mixture of regulatory and/or economic incentives to implement earthquake preparedness. The National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) has attempted the latter while much of the public tends to cling to the former of the two options. Realistic and reliable quantitative loss estimation techniques are essential to evaluate the relative merits of the two approaches.

The current efforts in the eastern U.S., including New York City, to start the enforcement of seismic building codes for new constructions are important first steps in the right direction. Similarly, the emerging efforts to include seismic rehabilitation strategies in the generally needed overhaul of the cities’ aged infrastructures such as bridges, water, sewer, power and transportation is commendable and needs to be pursued with diligence and persistence. But at the current pace of new construction replacing older buildings and lifelines, it will take many decades or a century before a major fraction of the stock of built assets will become seismically more resilient than the current inventory is. For some time, this leaves society exposed to very high seismic risks. The only consolation is that seismicity on average is low, and, hence with some luck, the earthquakes will not outpace any ongoing efforts to make eastern cities more earthquake resilient gradually. Nevertheless, M = 5 to M = 6 earthquakes at distances of tens of km must be considered a credible risk at almost any time for cities like Boston, New York or Philadelphia. M = 7 events, while possible, are much less likely; and in many respects, even if building codes will have affected the resilience of a future improved building stock, M = 7 events would cause virtually unmanageable situations. Given these bleak prospects, it will be necessary to focus on crucial elements such as maintaining access to cities by strengthening critical bridges, improving the structural and nonstructural performance of hospitals, and having a nationally supported plan how to assist a devastated region in case of a truly severe earthquake. No realistic and coordinated planning of this sort exists at this time for most eastern cities.

The current efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) via the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to provide a standard methodology (RMS, 1994) and planning tools for making systematic, computerized loss estimates for annualized probabilistic calculations as well as for individual scenario events, is commendable. But these new tools provide only a shell with little regional data content. What is needed are the detailed data bases on inventory of buildings and lifelines with their locally specific seismic fragility properties.Similar data are needed for hospitals, shelters, firehouses, police stations and other emergency service providers. Moreover, the soil and rock conditions which control the shaking and soil liquefaction properties for any given event, need to be systematically compiled into Geographical Information System (GIS) data bases so they can be combined with the inventory of built assets for quantitative loss and impact estimates. Even under the best of conceivable funding conditions, it will take years before such data bases can be established so they will be sufficiently reliable and detailed to perform realistic and credible loss scenarios. Without such planning tools, society will remain in the dark as to what it may encounter from a future major eastern earthquake. Given these uncertainties, and despite them, both the public and private sector must develop at least some basic concepts for contingency plans. For instance, the New York City financial service industry, from banks to the stock and bond markets and beyond, ought to consider operational contingency planning, first in terms of strengthening their operational facilities, but also for temporary backup operations until operations in the designated facilities can return to some measure of normalcy. The Federal Reserve in its oversight function for this industry needs to take a hard look at this situation.

A society, whose economy depends increasingly so crucially on rapid exchange of vast quantities of information must become concerned with strengthening its communication facilities together with the facilities into which the information is channeled. In principle, the availability of satellite communication (especially if self-powered) with direct up and down links, provides here an opportunity that is potentially a great advantage over distributed buried networks. Distributed networks for transportation, power, gas, water, sewer and cabled communication will be expensive to harden (or restore after an event).

In all future instances of major capital spending on buildings and urban infrastructures, the incorporation of seismically resilient design principles at all stages of realization will be the most effective way to reduce society’s exposure to high seismic risks. To achieve this, all levels of government need to utilize legislative and regulatory options; insurance industries need to build economic incentives for seismic safety features into their insurance policy offerings; and the private sector, through trade and professional organizations’ planning efforts, needs to develop a healthy self-protective stand. Also, the insurance industry needs to invest more aggressively into broadly based research activities with the objective to quantify the seismic hazards, the exposed assets and their seismic fragilities much more accurately than currently possible. Only together these combined measures may first help to quantify and then reduce our currently untenably large seismic risk exposures in the virtually unprepared eastern cities. Given the low-probability/high-impact situation in this part of the country, seismic safety planning needs to be woven into both the regular capital spending and daily operational procedures. Without it we must be prepared to see little progress. Unless we succeed to build seismic safety considerations into everyday decision making as a normal procedure of doing business, society will lose the race against the unstoppable forces of nature. While we never can entirely win this race, we can succeed in converting unmitigated catastrophes into manageable disasters, or better, tolerable natural events.