Pakistan and Iran Align ( Daniel 8)

https://i0.wp.com/media4.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2015_15/968926/supreme_leader_e207910f496eae5c4faea3686422c399.jpgPakistan welcomes Khamenei’ stance on occupied Kashmir | Pakistan

Web Desk
July 6, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has welcomed recent statement of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, on Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said.
Addressing a weekly media briefing here Thursday, Zakaria said the Muslim Ummah is worried about the human rights violations by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. The secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has also denounced atrocities in IoK.
Earlier this week, Iranian Supreme Leader called upon the Judiciary of his country to pursue issues like occupied Kashmir legally and adopt official position on such international issues.
Ayatollah Khamenei made these remarks at a meeting with high ranking members of Iran’s judiciary including Chief Justice, Sadeq Amoli Larijani.
The spokesman also termed the recent inclusion of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in the Global Terrorist Watchlist by the US government as ‘unjustified’.
Zakaria also termed US Senator John McCain’s recent visit to Pakistan as positive, saying the republican senator, who heads the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, “praised Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism, Taliban and other militant networks”.
He emphatically stated that there is no organized presence of any terror outfit including TTP, Jamaat-ul Ahrar, Daesh and Al-Qaeda on Pakistani land.
He claimed that as result of effective counter terrorism operations the remaining Taliban have escaped to Afghanistan, adding that the ‘Haqqani Network’ operates out of Afghanistan, not Pakistan and that many leaders of the group have been killed in Afghanistan.
He said the allegations about presence of Haqqani network in tribal areas are mere rhetoric.

Pakistan and India Increase Nukes

nuclear_war_india_pakistanPakistan, India expanding nuclear arsenals as global stockpiles decrease: report – World

Dawn.com

Although global nuclear stockpiles witnessed a drop in 2017 compared to last year, Pakistan and India continue to expand its military fissile material production capabilities on a scale that may enable a significant increase in weapons inventories over the next 10 years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said in a publication titled “Trends in world nuclear forces, 2017”.

At the beginning of this year, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea all possessed approximately 4,150 operationally deployed nuclear weapons, the Sipri report said.
World nuclear forces, January 2017. ─ Sipri Fact Sheet.
Russia possesses the greatest number of nuclear warheads with 7,000, followed by the US with 6,800. Both have reduced their stockpiles over the past decade, albeit at a slowing rate, the report claimed.
The arsenals of other countries are considerably smaller, but all are either developed or deployed new weapons systems or intend to do so, according to the report. Pakistan and India both, for instance, are working on developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.

Pakistan

As of January 2017, Pakistan was estimated to possess a stockpile of up to 140 warheads, according to the Sipri report. This showed a marked increase from the 120–130 warheads estimated in the research institute’s data for 2016.
Pakistan has been expanding its main plutonium production complex at Khushab, Punjab, which consists of four operational heavy-water nuclear reactors and a heavy-water production plant, as well as constructing a new reprocessing plant at another site.
Thehave predicted that the size of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile will increase significantly over the next decade, although estimates of the increase in warhead numbers vary considerably depending on assumptions about Pakistan’s production capabilities.
While aircraft constitutes as Pakistan’s most developed nuclear payload delivery system, recently the government has focused on expanding its capabilities to nuclear-capable land-based ballistic and cruise missiles.
Pakistan currently deploys two types of road-mobile short-range ballistic missiles and has developed two types of medium-range ballistic missiles. The Shaheen-III missile ─ a longer-range variant under development ─ will be capable of striking targets throughout India.
A short-range nuclear-capable missile has also been developed with the apparent use intention of being used in tactical nuclear roles and missions.
“Their purpose is to offset India’s superior conventional forces in limited conflict scenarios.”
“Pakistan has acknowledged that it is seeking to match India’s nuclear triad by developing a sea-based nuclear force,” the report adds, acknowledging that there has been “considerable speculation” that the sea-based force will initially consist of nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles deployed on submarines or on surface ships.

India

By the onset of 2017 India was estimated to have a nuclear arsenal of up to 130 weapons, the report stated, and this represented an increase in the country’s nuclear stockpile from the 110–120 warheads estimated in the Sipri nuclear data for 2016.
The article goes on to note that India is moderately expanding the size of its nuclear weapon stockpile as well as its infrastructure for producing nuclear warheads.
“It [India] plans to build six fast breeder reactors, which will significantly increase its capacity to produce plutonium for weapons,” reads the report. India plans on expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities with the construction of a new “un-safeguarded” gas centrifuge facility, the report claims.
“India’s expanded centrifuge enrichment capacity has been motivated by plans to build new naval propulsion reactors, but the potential excess capacity could also signify its intent to move towards thermonuclear weapons by blending the current plutonium arsenal with uranium secondaries.”
India continues to maintain focus on developing the Agni family of land-based nuclear-capable ballistic missiles ─ flight tests of a new road-mobile, canister-launched ballistic missile, the Agni-V, is reported to have a near-intercontinental range and possess the capability of reaching targets throughout China.
The Agni-V is expected to be inducted into service in 2017.
India continues to develop the naval component of its triad of nuclear forces in pursuit of an assured second-strike capability.

US Prepares to Fight Korea

https://i0.wp.com/newsinfo.inquirer.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/10/files/2017/07/north-korea-missile-620x413.jpgU.S. prepared to use force on North Korea ‘if we must’: U.N. envoy

By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS

UNITED NATIONS The United States cautioned on Wednesday it was ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program but said it preferred global diplomatic action against Pyongyang for defying world powers by test launching a ballistic missile that could hit Alaska.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that North Korea’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” and the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.
“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction,” Haley said. She urged China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to rein in Pyongyang.
Speaking with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis underscored the “ironclad commitment” of the United States to defending Japan and providing “extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.
Mattis’ assurances to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada came during a phone call to discuss the North Korean test, the statement said.
Taking a major step in its missile program, North Korea on Tuesday test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
North Korea says the missile could carry a large nuclear warhead.
The missile test is a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.
He has frequently urged China to press the isolated country’s leadership to give up its nuclear program.
Haley said the United States would propose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea in coming days and warned that
if Russia and China did not support the move, then “we will go our own path.”
    She did not give details on what sanctions would be proposed, but outlined possible options.
“The international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” Haley said.
Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbor and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.
“Much of the burden of enforcing U.N. sanctions rests with China,” Haley said.
The United States might seek to take unilateral action and sanction more Chinese companies that do business with North Korea, especially banks, U.S. officials have said.
China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, told the Security Council meeting that the missile launch was a “flagrant violation” of U.N. resolutions and “unacceptable.”
“We call on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension,” Liu said.
TENSIONS WITH U.S.
The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and the past six decades have been punctuated by periodic rises in antagonism and rhetoric that have always stopped short of a resumption of active hostilities.
Tensions have risen sharply after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests last year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the ICBM test completed his country’s strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs, the state KCNA news agency said.
Pyongyang will not negotiate with the United States to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
“He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased … as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day,’” KCNA said, referring to the missile launch on July 4.
Trump and other leaders from the Group of 20 nations meeting in Germany this week are due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons program, which it has pursued in defiance of Security Council sanctions.
Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy said on Wednesday that military force should not be considered against North Korea and called for a halt to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
He also said that attempts to strangle North Korea economically were “unacceptable” and that sanctions would not resolve the issue.
The U.S. military assured Americans that it was capable of defending the United States against a North Korean ICBM.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis noted a successful test last month in which a U.S.-based missile interceptor knocked down a simulated incoming North Korean ICBM.
“So we do have confidence in our ability to defend against the limited threat, the nascent threat that is there,” he told reporters. He acknowledged though that previous U.S. missile defense tests had shown “mixed results.”
The North Korean launch this week was both earlier and “far more successful than expected,” said U.S.-based missile expert John Schilling, a contributor to Washington-based North Korea monitoring project 38 North.
It would now probably only be a year or two before a North Korean ICBM achieved “minimal operational capability,” he added.
Schilling said the U.S. national missile defense system was “only minimally operational” and would take more than two years to upgrade to provide more reliable defense.
(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)

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 Destroyed

The Sixth Seal: NY City Destroyed

If 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 Seismicity, Seismic Hazard, or Seismic Risk? 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.