The Dominance Of The Scarlet Woman (Revelation 17:4)

CNN/ORC poll: Clinton tops Trump on presidential traits

SONY DSC

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the respective front-runners in the race for the Democratic and Republican nominations for president, wind up leading their respective parties into the general, voters nationwide think Clinton would most likely win in the November election, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.

The poll also finds Clinton would start the general election contest with an edge over Trump on several potential presidential qualifications, with the former secretary of state widely seen as better able to handle the responsibilities of being commander in chief, more in touch with the middle class and more often aligned with Americans’ views on important issues.

Overall, 56% say they think Clinton would win a match-up between the two leading candidates in November while 42% say Trump would take it. Democratic voters are more convinced that Clinton would win (87% say she would) than Republicans are about Trump (75% say he would win), and Republican voters who aren’t currently backing Trump are particularly skeptical of his chances. Among that group, 40% say Clinton would win, 57% Trump, vs. 92% of Trump supporters who think he would win in November.

An earlier release from the same survey found Clinton ahead of Trump in a hypothetical general election match-up, 53% to 41% among registered voters.

The new poll also asked which of the two candidates was better described by a range of potential presidential attributes. On those, 55% say Clinton would make a better commander in chief vs. 36% for Trump, and 51% see Clinton as more in touch with middle-class problems vs. 36% for Trump.
The margin is narrower when voters are asked which of the two agrees with you on the issues that matter most to you, though Clinton still holds a significant lead, with 48% choosing Clinton and 40% Trump. The two are about even, however, when voters are asked who is a strong and decisive leader.
There are steep divides on each of these questions by gender, race and education, with women, non-whites and those with college degrees more apt to choose Clinton in each positive statement tested, but little of the age gap that defined the presidential elections that brought Barack Obama to the presidency and is currently prevalent in the Democratic nomination fight.

The poll also finds some doubts about the front-runners. Asked whether Trump or Clinton is better described as “a person you admire,” Clinton has a 15-point lead over Trump, yet nearly one-quarter of voters say they admire neither candidate.

And 17% say neither is honest and trustworthy, though Clinton has a 5-point edge there among those who do choose a candidate. Asked who would be more likely to change their position on issues for political reasons, 47% say Clinton, 42% Trump, 6% say both do, but the share offering that neither would do that drops to 3%.

None of the remaining presidential candidates, including Clinton and Trump, is particularly well-liked. Not one of the five are viewed favorably by a majority of voters. Bernie Sanders and John Kasich are the only two with net positive reviews.

Sanders notches the highest overall favorability among registered voters, with 48% viewing him positively vs. 45% unfavorably. That’s a steep drop since last month, when 60% of registered voters overall had a positive take on the Vermont senator. Sanders has seen his ratings slip among registered Democrats and Republicans during that time, and independents’ impressions of him are now evenly divided.

Both of the two front-runners — Clinton and Trump — are viewed unfavorably by a majority of registered voters nationwide, with 57% having a negative take on Clinton and 65% on Trump. Most say they have an unfavorable take on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as well, 56% say so. Views of Kasich divide 43% favorable to 32% unfavorable, with 25% unsure about the Ohio governor.

Within their own parties, the candidates are generally more highly regarded. Among Democrats, 73% have a positive take on Clinton, 71% Sanders. Among Republicans, 63% see Trump favorably, 60% Cruz and 49% Kasich (that’s down 10 points since February).

Amid this slate of unpopular candidates, the parties themselves aren’t faring well.

The Republican Party’s unfavorable rating is at its highest level since the partial government shutdown in 2013, when it notched its worst ratings in CNN/ORC and CNN/Gallup polling dating back to 1992. Just 34% of adults in the new poll have a positive view of the party, 61% negative. Among registered Republicans, the view is rosier, 66% have a favorable impression, but that’s still down from 73% favorable in January.

More have a positive take on the Democrats, 50% overall, with 45% saying they have an unfavorable view. That’s up slightly since January, when 45% had a positive view.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone March 17-20 among 1,001 randomly selected adult Americans, including 925 registered voters. The results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, and it is larger for subgroups.

The Storm Of The Antichrist Is Coming (Revelation 13:18)

Calm before the storm at Baghdad protest camp

Supporters of prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr shout slogans during a protest against corruption in Baghdad. — Reuters
Supporters of prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr shout slogans during a protest against corruption in Baghdad. — Reuters

BAGHDAD — Sitting in the shade near the protest tents, Raad Al-Haeri watched as convoys of armored SUVs ferried politicians and diplomats in and out of Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The 27-year-old scrapes together around $400 a month working odd jobs and has the spare time to join the thousands of supporters of cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr in their protest against corruption.
“When you see those MPs driving their huge armored cars getting salaries of $12,000 or whatever it is, you don’t feel good. These people are stealing Iraq’s money,” he said.

A few steps away, behind coils of razor wire and rows of anti-riot police, VIP traffic through one of the main gates of the Green Zone continued as usual.

Sadr’s followers set up protest camps on Friday at several entrances to the restricted zone, which houses Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s office, parliament and foreign embassies, including the huge US mission.

They have vowed to stay until the expiry of a deadline Sadr gave Abadi to present names for a cabinet of technocrats meant to replace party-affiliated politicians they accuse of perpetuating a system based on nepotism and patronage.

The protest camps were not authorized but no incident has been reported so far and the demonstrators even bonded with the security forces.

But the mood could change in a week when the deadline expires as Sadr has threatened that his supporters will storm the Green Zone if their demands are not met.

“I sit here and struggle to buy bread. They still don’t understand that we are ready to die here and go into the Green Zone if Sayyed Moqtada asks us to,” said Raad.

As the protesters wait for orders from Moqtada Sadr from his base in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf, clips of his speeches aired by his Al-Taif TV channel play on a giant screen.

“There’s a good atmosphere here, it’s a big family. We meet friends we haven’t seen in a long time,” said Mohammed Mahmud, a 29-year-old from Zafaraniya, a large southern neighborhood of Baghdad. “It’s well organized and we are provided with food.”

Meanwhile, Hossam Jabbar “the teaman” lines up dozens of paper cups of heavily sweetened tea for the constant flow of protesters.

“Some Sunnis say the Shiites have it good because they are ruling but I want to say we are like dead, we are the worst off,” said Jabbar, wagging a finger while holding his kettle in the other hand.
“Only the parties have benefited, those politicians only represent themselves, not the Shiites,” he shouted, to cheers from the little crowd that gathered at his stand.

Many protesters are prepared to see Abadi as an exception in his party and and think he is sincere about reform.

They see no reason for him to oppose their movement, which they see as handing him a political victory he could never achieve alone. “If he implements our demands, he will liberate himself from his corrupt political bloc, it will be a big achievement for him,” said Ali Hashem, a 40-year-old Baghdad city council employee who took three days off to join the protest. “If he doesn’t, he’s either too weak or one of them.”

Hashem said Abadi already had strong support from top Shiite cleric Ali Al-Sistani and many foreign allies. “We can give him the street.”

Don’t Forget About the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Don’t forget about earthquakes, feds tell city

Although New York’s modern skyscrapers are less likely to be damaged in an earthquake than shorter structures, a new study suggests the East Coast is more vulnerable than previously thought. The new findings will help alter building codes.

By Mark Fahey
July 18, 2014 10:03 a.m.

New York Earthquake Hazard

New York Earthquake Hazard

The U.S. Geological Survey had good and bad news for New Yorkers on Thursday. In releasing its latest set of seismic maps the agency said earthquakes are a slightly lower hazard for New York City’s skyscrapers than previously thought, but on the other hand noted that the East Coast may be able to produce larger, more dangerous earthquakes than previous assessments have indicated.

The 2014 maps were created with input from hundreds of experts from across the country and are based on much stronger data than the 2008 maps, said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. The bottom line for the nation’s largest city is that the area is at a slightly lower risk for the types of slow-shaking earthquakes that are especially damaging to tall spires of which New York has more than most places, but the city is still at high risk due to its population density and aging structures, said Mr. Petersen.

“Many of the overall patterns are the same in this map as in previous maps,” said Mr. Petersen. “There are large uncertainties in seismic hazards in the eastern United States. [New York City] has a lot of exposure and some vulnerability, but people forget about earthquakes because you don’t see damage from ground shaking happening very often.”

Just because they’re infrequent doesn’t mean that large and potentially disastrous earthquakes can’t occur in the area. The new maps put the largest expected magnitude at 8, significantly higher than the 2008 peak of 7.7 on a logarithmic scale. The scientific understanding of East Coast earthquakes has expanded in recent years thanks to a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia in 2011 that was felt by tens of millions of people across the eastern U.S. New data compiled by the nuclear power industry has also helped experts understand quakes.

“The update shows New York at an intermediate level,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “You have to combine that with the exposure of buildings and people and the fragility of buildings and people. In terms of safety and economics, New York has a substantial risk.”

Oddly enough, it’s not the modern tall towers that are most at risk. Those buildings become like inverted pendulums in the high frequency shakes that are more common on the East Coast than in the West. But the city’s old eight- and 10-story masonry structures could suffer in a large quake, said Mr. Lerner-Lam. Engineers use maps like those released on Thursday to evaluate the minimum structural requirements at building sites, he said. The risk of an earthquake has to be determined over the building’s life span, not year-to-year.

“If a structure is going to exist for 100 years, frankly, it’s more than likely it’s going to see an earthquake over that time,” said Mr. Lerner-Lam. “You have to design for that event.”

The new USGS maps will feed into the city’s building-code review process, said a spokesman for the New York City Department of Buildings. Design provisions based on the maps are incorporated into a standard by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which is then adopted by the International Building Code and local jurisdictions like New York City. New York’s current provisions are based on the 2010 standards, but a new edition based on the just-released 2014 maps is due around 2016, he said.

“The standards for seismic safety in building codes are directly based upon USGS assessments of potential ground shaking from earthquakes, and have been for years,” said Jim Harris, a member and former chair of the Provisions Update Committee of the Building Seismic Safety Council, in a statement.

The seismic hazard model also feeds into risk assessment and insurance policies, according to Nilesh Shome, senior director of Risk Management Solutions, the largest insurance modeler in the industry. The new maps will help the insurance industry as a whole price earthquake insurance and manage catastrophic risk, said Mr. Shome. The industry collects more than $2.5 billion in premiums for earthquake insurance each year and underwrites more than $10 trillion in building risk, he said.
“People forget about history, that earthquakes have occurred in these regions in the past, and that they will occur in the future,” said Mr. Petersen. “They don’t occur very often, but the consequences and the costs can be high.”

The Pakistan Nuclear Terror (Daniel 8)

High risk of theft of Pakistan nuclear weapons: U.S. report
 
PTI

In Pakistan, a modest but rapidly growing nuclear stockpile must be protected against some of the world’s most capable terrorist groups, in an environment of widespread corruption and extremist sympathies

With Pakistan moving towards tactical nuclear weapons, there is an increasingly higher risk of nuclear theft, a U.S. think-tank report has warned ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit here later this month.

“Overall, the risk of nuclear theft in Pakistan appears to be high,” said the report ‘Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?’ released by the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School.

“The trend seems to be toward increasing risk, as Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal expands and shifts toward tactical nuclear weapons, while adversary capabilities remain extremely high,” it said.
Over the longer term, the possibilities of state collapse or extremist takeover cannot be entirely ruled out, though the near-term probability of such events appears to be low.

The report comes a week after a top American diplomat had raised a similar concern.

“We’ve been very concerned about Pakistan’s deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons,” U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rise E Gottemoeller told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.
“Battlefield nuclear weapons, by their very nature, pose security threat because you’re taking battlefield nuclear weapons out to the field where, as, you know, as a necessity, they cannot be made as secure,” Gottemoeller had said.

In Pakistan, a modest but rapidly growing nuclear stockpile, with substantial security measures, must be protected against some of the world’s most capable terrorist groups, in an environment of widespread corruption and extremist sympathies, said the Harvard Kennedy School.

By some estimates, the Strategic Plans Division, which manages Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, has 25,000 troops available to guard Pakistani nuclear stocks and facilities.

Pakistani officials report that sites are equipped with extensive barriers and detection systems, that the components of nuclear weapons are stored separately (though that may be changing as Pakistan moves toward tactical nuclear weapons intended to be rapidly deployed to the field), and that the weapons are equipped with locks to prevent unauthorised use.

“Pakistan has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, and is shifting toward tactical nuclear weapons intended to be dispersed to front-line forces early in a crisis, increasing the risks of nuclear theft in such a crisis,” it said.PTI

Yellowcake For The End (Revelation 17:4)

New Report: Time to Ban All Production of Highly Enriched Uranium 
23 March 2016
Earl Lane

FRANK VON HIPPEL, AUTHOR OF A NEW REPORT ON HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM, SPEAKS AT THE 15 MARCH MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL PANEL ON FISSILE MATERIALS. | EARL LANE/AAAS

There is enough highly enriched uranium on hand to fuel non-weapon uses of the fissile material for a century, a nonproliferation specialist told a gathering at AAAS, and he urged a ban on new production for both civilian and military use.

“Why make more?” asked Princeton University physicist Frank von Hippel. He said emerging technologies make it feasible to phase out virtually all non-weapon uses of highly enriched uranium, or HEU, in the next several decades, including its use in research and naval reactors.

There are compelling reasons to end production of the material, said von Hippel, author of a new report on HEU that was unveiled at a 15 March meeting of the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), an independent group of arms control and nonproliferation experts from 17 countries. Panel members met at AAAS, with the help of the association’s Center for Science Diplomacy, to discuss key issues underlying the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. on 31 March and 1 April 2016.

Von Hippel cited concerns since the late 1970s about the nuclear proliferation risk associated with widespread use of HEU to fuel civilian reactors. There also is increasing concern that terrorists could make an improvised nuclear device if they were to get their hands on several tens of kilograms of HEU. The atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima contained about 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of the material. It was a simple, gun-type assembly in which one piece of the uranium metal was fired at another to make a supercritical mass and generate a nuclear explosion.

As the Cold War ended, Russia and the United States drastically reduced their huge nuclear-warhead stockpiles, which released stocks of HEU far in excess of their foreseeable needs. By the end of 2014, they had down-blended a combined 663 tons of the material to make low-enriched uranium (LEU) for use in power-reactor fuel. But Russia and the United States still have about 700 tons of surplus HEU remaining from their retired Cold War nuclear weapons, von Hippel says, and much of that could be devoted to non-weapon uses as they are being phased out.

“Even as current rates of use,” he writes in his report, “there remains enough HEU from excess Cold War nuclear warheads to satisfy non-weapon needs for a period on the order of a century.”
New HEU currently is being produced only by India, Pakistan, Russia, and probably North Korea, the report says. Russia’s production is for non-weapons purposes. India’s production is, at least in part, for use in nuclear submarines. Pakistan’s HEU is for weapons, as is any produced by North Korea.
By the end of 2014, the remaining global stockpile of HEU was about 1,370 metric tons of HEU, of which about 300 tons are in about 10,000 operational warheads and associated working stocks. “Since HEU can be recycled efficiently from old into new weapons, unless the weapon stockpiles grow again, little additional HEU will be needed for weapons,” the report says.

Non-weapon uses of HEU consume an estimated total of about seven tons of the material each year. Here is the breakdown, according to the report:

Fuel for naval and icebreaker propulsion reactors (4 tons): As of late 2015, there were more than 150 nuclear-powered submarines and ships that use HEU as fuel in their propulsion reactors. More than half belong to the United States: 10 aircraft carriers and 73 submarines. Russia has 42 submarines, seven research submarines, two cruisers and six icebreakers powered by HEU.

Fuel for tritium isotope production (1 ton): There are two tritium production reactors in Russia. Tritium is used to “boost” the fission chain reaction in nuclear weapons with a burst of fusion neutrons. France shut down its two HEU-fueled tritium production reactors in 2009. The United States currently gets its tritium from a single reactor that uses low-enriched uranium.
Fuel for breeder reactors (1 ton): Russia uses HEU in a prototype plutonium breeder reactor—a reactor designed to “breed” more nuclear fuel than it consumes. That reactor, the BN-600, is projected to be retired between 2020 and 2025.

Fuel for research reactors (0.7 ton): There are 99 operating research reactors that use HEU for fuel, 53 of them in Russia. About 60 of the 99 use very little HEU and do not require refueling.
Neutron “targets” for medical radioisotope production in reactors (0.04 – 0.05 ton): HEU “targets” are used in small reactors for production of medical isotopes such as molybdenum-99, which decays to technetium-99m. That isotope is widely used as a biochemical tracer for organ scans. Most of the molybdenum-99 production is concentrated in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, South Africa, and Australia.

Elimination of HEU for nuclear naval propulsion in the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and India will be the most difficult to accomplish, von Hippel said. France already has changed to low-enriched uranium for its nuclear submarines and nuclear aircraft carrier, and Russia is transitioning its nuclear-powered icebreakers to LEU fuel. China is believed to be using LEU in its nuclear submarines.

In 2014, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Naval Reactors suggested for the first time that it might be possible over 20 to 25 years to develop LEU fuel for United States naval propulsion reactors. “The task is challenging because the United States has moved to lifetime cores in its nuclear submarines,” von Hippel writes. “Congress has asked for a plan for the necessary research and development. If the United States moved to LEU, so could the United Kingdom with which the United States shares propulsion-reactor design information.”

Eliminating HEU for other non-weapons uses should be easier. Within the next 20 years, virtually all HEU-fueled research reactors will be converted or retired, von Hippel said. “A road away from HEU-fueled nuclear reactors and the use of HEU targets for medical isotope production is open,” he writes in his report. “It is only necessary for governments to decide to take it.”

The International Panel of Fissile Materials is calling for inclusion of non-weapons production of HEU in a long-sought treaty that would ban military production of the material. That proposed treaty, called the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, would bar production for weapons of both HEU and plutonium, the other main component of nuclear weapons. It was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 and the Geneva-based U.N. Conference on Disarmament agreed in 1995 to begin negotiations on the pact. But the formal negotiations have never been held, stalled by various objections—in recent years by Pakistan, which does not want to be locked into an inferior position relative to India.