Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Revelation 6:12) Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers

New York Times


Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”

The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.

“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.

Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.

“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”

Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”

He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.

The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.

A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.

“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.”

Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”

Indian Point Complacency Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

No Need For Indian Point Seismic, Flood Evaluations: NRC

Prior compliance with NRC post-Fukushima requirements and the nuclear plants‘ limited operating life are two of the reasons.

Oct 10, 2017 2:56 pm ET

CORTLANDT, NY — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided to allow Entergy to defer seismic and flooding evaluations of Indian Point. Those evaluations are part of a series of new requirements imposed on the nation’s nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

The NRC required all U.S. nuclear power plants to perform a new evaluation of their seismic and flooding risks. Based on information developed during an initial assessment, plant owners might have had to conduct further evaluations and possibly make modifications to the facilities.
However, in January Entergy announced its intention to permanently shut down the two operating reactors at Indian Point, Units 2 and 3, in 2020 and 2021, respectively. (For stories about community issues, sign up for Patch’s daily newsletter, news alerts and updates.)

Subsequently, the company asked for a deferral of remaining seismic and flooding evaluations/changes in light of work that was already performed and the limited operational timeframe for the plant. On May 10, 2017, Entergy requested a deferral of the remaining seismic responses, including seismic probabilistic risk assessments (SPRAs) and spent fuel pool evaluations. On July 24, 2017, the company requested a deferral of the remaining flooding responses.

The NRC has concluded that the deferral of the remaining seismic and flooding evaluations/changes at the Indian Point nuclear power plant – until after the facility is permanently shut down — is acceptable and poses no immediate safety concerns, said spokesman Neil Sheehan.

Among other things, this is based on:
Indian Point’s compliance with NRC post-Fukushima requirements on Mitigating Strategies for Beyond Design Basis events and enhanced spent fuel pool instrumentation. With respect to the former, the plant has acquired FLEX equipment, including portable pumps and generators, that allow it to respond to an event involving the loss of off-site power and on-site backup power. NRC inspectors are scheduled to conduct inspections in these areas before the end of 2017.

The results and pertinent risk insights of the partially completed Indian Point 2 and 3 seismic probabilistic risk assessments (SPRAs), which were audited by NRC staff as supplemented by the staff’s independent seismic risk analysis of these sites.

The expedited seismic evaluation process (ESEP) information for the plant, and the NRC staff assessment of the ESEP submittal

The seismic design margin existing in nuclear power plants

Information regarding the seismic capacity of the plant’s spent fuel pools.

The NRC staff considered Indian Point submittals which indicated that the impact to the site from the re-evaluated flooding hazards is limited and the site is able to cope with it. Interim actions to address the re-evaluated hazards have been implemented by the company, as documented in the flooding hazard re-evaluation report and have been inspected by the staff.

The limited timeframe for continued operation of Indian Point 2 and 3

If Entergy decides to continue to operate the units beyond 2020 and 2021, respectively, the company would need to provide the seismic and flooding information by the deferral dates approved by the NRC staff.

British Pharma Funds the Antichrist

Astrazeneca was last night accused of funding a terrorist militia responsible for killing British soldiers in Iraq.

The Cambridge-based pharmaceuticals giant is one of several firms being dragged into a US court over allegations it bribed health officials who were aligned with Jaysh al-Mahdi, one of the most violent insurgent groups in Iraq.

Lawyers representing the families of US soldiers killed and wounded in the Iraq war claim Astra paid cash to win lucrative drug contracts. However, the money was then used to buy weapons and explosives that were deployed against British and US troops. The claims, filed in a federal court in Washington, relate only to US troops but could pave the way for similar litigation in the UK.

Accusations: Astrazeneca is one of several firms hit by allegations it bribed health officials who were aligned with Jaysh al-Mahdi, one of the most violent insurgent groups in Iraq

Ryan Sparacino, of Washington law firm Sparacino & Andreson, told the Mail: ‘Many coalition lives were destroyed because Astrazeneca made corrupt payments to Jaysh al-Mahdi terrorists in order to boost profits.’

Astra is named along with parent companies and subsidiaries of General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche Holding. They deny any wrongdoing.

The civil lawsuit accuses the companies of violating the US Anti-Terrorism Act and seeks damages. It is not expected that either side will present arguments in court for at least a year.

Claims brought by the families of US soldiers cover the deaths and injuries inflicted by Jaysh al-Mahdi between 2005 and 2009.

The group, also known as the Mahdi Army, was formed by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in response to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US and UK forces. In 2004 it took control of parts of the country’s second-largest city, Basra, which was the main area where British troops were based during the subsequent occupation.

Bribes paid by Astra and other drug companies to Iraq’s health ministry helped fund the militia’s activities, court papers claim.

The ministry was effectively controlled by Jaysh al-Mahdi, they say. Goods allegedly sold to Iraq include an anti-psychotic drug, hospital equipment, a birth control injection and a breast cancer drug.

An Astrazeneca spokesman said: ‘We are focused on bringing life-saving medicines to patients, and are disheartened anyone would suggest we have any connection to terrorism-related activity.

‘We take all allegations of bribery extremely seriously, and we intend to vigorously defend against them.’

Too Late to Reverse the Iran Deal

Iran, EU and Russia defend nuclear deal

Iran, US allies in Europe and Russia have defended the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran and said they would stick by it, after US President Donald Trump threatened to terminate the agreement.

Trump said in a Washington speech that he would not certify that Iran is complying with its agreement with six world powers and the European Union, despite a determination by the UN’s nuclear watchdog that Tehran is meeting the deal’s terms

The Republican president threw the issue to the US Congress, which has 60 days to decide whether to reinstate US sanctions. He warned that if „we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated“.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will remain committed to the multinational deal as long as it serves the country’s national interests.
Trump’s decision to decertify the deal will isolate the United States, as other signatories of the accord remained committed to it, Rouhani said in a live television address. The deal was not renegotiable, he said.

The agreement, negotiated by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, eased sanctions on Tehran in returns for strict limits on its nuclear program.

Trump’s stance put him at odds with key US allies, including Britain, France and Germany who, along with Russia and China, negotiated the deal with Iran alongside the European Union.

In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Washington could not unilaterally cancel the agreement.
„We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working,“ said Mogherini, who chaired the final stages of the landmark talks. „This deal is not a bilateral agreement.

„The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will continue to be, in place,“ Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.

The leaders of Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement warning the United States against taking decisions that could harm the nuclear deal such as re-imposing sanctions.
The three leaders also said they shared US concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional destabilising activities and were ready to work with Washington to address those concerns.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he had spoken with Rouhani by telephone and assured him of France’s commitment to the deal, but that Tehran must strictly comply with it.
Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no place in international diplomacy for threatening and aggressive rhetoric, and said such methods were doomed to fail, in a statement issued after Trump’s speech.

The ministry said Trump’s decision to de-certify the deal would not have a direct impact on implementation of the agreement but that it ran counter to its spirit.

The head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was complying with the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, under the world’s „most robust nuclear verification regime“.

„The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,“ Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA said in a statement.

Trump received support from Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, all of which oppose what they say are Iran’s expansionary moves in the Middle East.
„President Trump has just created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism,“ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement.

Trump Confronts the Iranian Nuclear Horn

US President Donald Trump is expected to set out a more confrontational strategy towards Iran, accusing it of pursuing „death and destruction“.

It is thought he will focus on its non-nuclear activities, particularly those of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), accused of supporting terrorism.

The new strategy calls for stricter enforcement of the 2015 nuclear deal.

He is expected to refuse to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the deal.

Official sources have told the Associated Press Mr Trump will say Iran is living up to the letter of the agreement but also that the deal is fatally flawed.

While he may not ask for sanctions to be re-imposed, he may urge Congress to approve tough new requirements for Tehran to continue to benefit from sanctions relief.

Mr Trump is under pressure at home and abroad not to scrap the seven-country deal under which Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the partial lifting of sanctions.

If he did decertify it, it would not mean pulling out of the deal but it would open up a path under which Congress could eventually halt US compliance with the deal.

During last year’s election campaign, Mr Trump pledged to throw out the agreement concluded under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Analysis: Trump tries to ‚fix‘ Iran deal

Barbara Plett Usher, BBC News, Washington

President Trump has called the Iran nuclear accord the „worst deal ever negotiated“, and threatened to tear it up.

It looks, though, as if he will first try to „fix“ it. He is expected to tell Congress that Iran is not meeting certain conditions set by US law; that the deal’s benefits are too meagre, for example, to justify continued sanctions relief.

Then it would be up to lawmakers to decide whether to re-impose sanctions.

Mr Trump is unlikely to advocate they do so now. Even critics of the deal fear this would isolate the US and weaken its credibility, because Iran is complying with the agreement.

Republicans have suggested they could use decertification as leverage to get the changes they want.

Why is Trump speaking now?

Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Inara), Congress requires the US president to certify every 90 days that Iran is upholding its part of the nuclear agreement.

Mr Trump has already recertified it twice and has a deadline of Sunday to make his latest report back.

Refusal to recertify would give Congress 60 days to decide whether to pull out of the nuclear deal by re-imposing sanctions.

What is Trump likely to announce?

At a speech earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump called Iran „a terrorist nation like few others“ and said his Iran announcement, which will be made in the White House, would be „very interesting“.

A strategy paper released by the White House highlights calls for neutralising Iran’s „destabilising influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants“.

The US, it says, will work to revitalise traditional alliances and regional partnerships as „bulwarks against Iranian subversion“.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionPresident Trump and Iran’s President Rouhani traded insults at the UN

Efforts will be made to deny funding for the Iranian government and the IRGC’s „malign activities“ and counter threats from ballistic missiles „and other asymmetric weapons“.

The nuclear deal does not cover the missile development programmes, and last month Iran successfully tested a new-medium range missile with a 2,000km (1,200-mile) range.

The IRGC’s „gross violations of human rights“ will be highlighted to the rest of the world,“ the strategy paper says.

„Most importantly, we will deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.“


What will Trump do about the deal?  What do other key players say?

Foreign leaders, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, have urged Mr Trump to keep the deal.

„We also have to tell the Americans that their behaviour on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA,“ German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned in a newspaper interview.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that US withdrawal from the nuclear deal would „damage the atmosphere of predictability, security, stability and non-proliferation in the entire world“.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt said a US withdrawal from the deal would show it could not be relied upon and could have ramifications elsewhere, for example on efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

The IAEA and Congress currently both agree Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement.

What is Iran’s position?

The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said on a visit to Russia that a US withdrawal from the deal would signal its end.

He warned that the collapse of the deal could result in global chaos, Russian media report.

What is the nuclear deal?

Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it is designed to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

It lifted some sanctions that stopped Iran from trading on international markets and selling oil.

The lifting of sanctions is dependent on Iran restricting its nuclear programme. It must curb its uranium stockpile, build no more heavy-water reactors for 15 years and allow inspectors into the country.

Who are the Revolutionary Guards?

Set up shortly after the 1979 Iranian revolution to defend the country’s Islamic system, they provide a counterweight to the regular armed forces.

They are a major military, political and economic force in Iran, with some 125,000 active members, and oversee strategic weapons.

They have been accused of supporting Shia Muslim militants in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.