Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquake in Delaware Rattles Region, but No Major Damage Is Reported

Nov. 30, 2017

The day that New York (sort of) shook.United States Geological Survey

A magnitude-4.1 earthquake centered in Delaware reverberated along the East Coast on Thursday afternoon — an unusual occurrence in the region that caught people from Virginia to New York off guard.

The United States Geological Survey placed the quake’s center about six miles northeast of Dover, Del.

A spokesman for the Dover Police Department said that as of about 5:30 p.m. the agency had not received any reports of property damage or injuries in connection with the quake.

The spokesman, Mark Hoffman, said that at his home about three miles south of the city, the shaking was enough to disturb Christmas lights and stockings, but not violent enough to scare his children.

“Everything seems to be status quo so far, so we’re thankful,” he said in a telephone interview. “So far it felt like we’ve escaped anything major.”

The U.S.G.S. by about 6:15 p.m. had downgraded the shaking to “Intensity VI.” The prominent seismologist Lucy Jones warned on Twitter that that level of shaking “throws things off shelves and can damage poorly built structures.”

As of about 6 p.m., more than 6,500 people reported having felt it. Maps provided by the U.S.G.S. indicated that light to weak shaking occurred as far south as Virginia and as far north as Connecticut. Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains experiences earthquakes infrequently, the federal agency said.

Perhaps as a result, people along the East Coast took to Twitter on Thursday to express their shock and amazement.

“Ok so I’m not going crazy!” one woman in northern Delaware said.

“Still feeling seasick,” added a New Yorker. “Sure made our #Brooklyn building sway!”

Although earthquakes are less frequent east of the Rockies than in say, California, they do happen and can sometimes cause harm.

In 2011, for example, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake cracked the Washington Monument and damaged the National Cathedral. The Washington metropolitan area suffered mostly minor damage to homes, schools, office buildings and other businesses — but the shaking rattled nerves along the coast.

Matt Sedacca contributed reporting.

Indian Point shuts down again before the Sixth Seal

Indian Point reactor automatically shuts down again, feds investigating

Thomas C. ZambitoUpdated 22

Indian Point officials say no radiation was released during the shutown

This is the second time in four months that a component in the generator failed, forcing a shut down
Unit 3 shut down after a generator failed on the non-nuclear side of the power plant.

Show Caption
One of Indian Point’s two nuclear reactors automatically shut down early Friday when a generator failed, prompting an inquiry by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This is the second time in four months that Indian Point’s Unit 3 shut down after an issue with a generator on the non-nuclear side of the pressurized water reactor.

This aerial view of the Indian Point nuclear power station, located in Buchanan, N.Y. and taken …more

Spencer Ainsley

A spokesman for Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, said no radiation was released during the shutdown. “Engineers are investigating to more fully understand the cause of the shutdown before the unit is returned to service,” spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

SHUTDOWN: Indian Point reactor back up and running after six-day shutdown

LEAKS: Nuclear Regulatory Commission says Indian Point must resolve leak issue in reactors

WASTE: Nuclear waste stranded at Indian Point

In both shutdowns, a component in the electrical generator system failed.

Indian Point’s second reactor, Unit 2, was functioning at 100 percent of its capacity.

NRC’s resident inspector for Indian Point visited the plant shortly after being notified of the shutdown, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

“He traveled to the control room, where he observed shutdown activities and independently verified plant safety conditions,” Sheehan said. “No immediate safety concerns were identified.”

The NRC will continue monitoring repairs and plans to restart the unit. It took six days to restore power following the November shutdown.

Nappi said officials will try to determine whether there are any common issues between the two shutdowns.

During a test of Indian Point’s emergency warning system Wednesday, two of 172 sirens – one in Putnam County, the other in Rockland County — failed to sound. Both sirens have since been repaired.

Entergy has plans to shut down Indian Point by 2021.

Preparing for Nuclear Armageddon (Revelation 18)

The nuclear arsenals of China and the U.S.: Plans for a future armageddon

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer January 27, 2017

A quick run-down of they have now, and what they’ll get in the coming decades.

In both Beijing and Washington D.C., nuclear weapons and their delivery systems have become particularly big news lately. In China, the DF-41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is already driving in the streets of Manchuria. Stateside, President Trump has just received a briefing at the Pentagon on America’s nuclear plans.

Here’s a quick run-down of the nuclear systems of both countries—and what they are planning to obtain in the next 25 years:

Both nations have intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) buried inside fortified underground missile silos. China’s workhorse ICBM is the massive, 183-ton DF-5, which has a range of over 7,450 miles and the capacity to carry 3.2 tons—as either be a 5 megaton “city buster” hydrogen bomb, or, more recently, 3 to 8 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) nuclear warheads, that can each individually strike a different target. While powerful, the DF-5 uses liquid fueled engines, requiring a lengthy fueling process before launch, making it vulnerable to a first-strike attack. The US’s LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM, of which 440 are based in Midwestern silos, is much smaller and carries only three nuclear warheads. However, its solid-fueled engines make it far more survivable, since it can be launched in mere minutes.

Mobile ICBMs, carried on dedicated carrier trucks, can be launched in any open space; their mobility makes them more survivable and harder to find compared to their larger, silo-bound brethren. America does not have any known mobile ICBMs, but China has two solid-fueled variants: the DF-31A and DF-41. The three-stage DF-31A, with an estimated range of over 6,835 miles, has a payload of three to five 150 kiloton MIRV warheads, making it powerful enough to strike most of the continental USA from Chinese territory.

The 9,320-mile-range DF-41 ICBM is one of the world’s most lethal missiles. Weighing about 80 tons, it is carried and launched by a 12X12 all-terrain truck, and can also be launched from rail. Its payload of 12 MIRV nuclear warheads can be augmented with decoys and jammers to confuse enemy sensors, letting the actual warheads slip past missile defenses. Currently, a Chinese Rocket Force brigade of 10-12 launchers is forming in northeastern China, near the Russian border. (Ironically, the DF-41 poses little threat to Russia there since its large minimum range makes it impossible to hit most Russian territory from its current position)

In the future, the USAF Strategic Command hopes the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM can replace the Minuteman III, which is likely to remain only silo-based. China is likely to continue with advanced derivatives of the DF-31 and DF-41 missiles; further iterations would likely have increased accuracy, more sophisticated decoys to spoof missile defense systems, and hypersonic gliders.

America has a clear lead in nuclear-capable bombers with its stealthy B-2 and venerable B-52 bombers. While both bombers can carry nuclear gravity bombs, the AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile is the primary nuclear strike weapon for the B-52. The 1,490-mile-range ALCM carries a 150 kiloton (adjustable) W80 nuclear warhead and has some stealth characteristics. Similarly, China’s only bomber, the H-6K (less than half the size of the B-52), also uses stand-off attack, in the form of the nuclear capable CJ-20 cruise missile. However, the combined combat radius of the H-6K (2,175 miles) and CJ-20 range (1,243 miles) are too short to reach continental US territory.

Both nations are focusing on new stealth bomber programs. The USAF plans to receive the first B-21 Raider stealth bomber in the 2020s, while China is anticipated to fly the larger H-20 stealth bomber in the same timeframe. The B-21 is believed to be a highly networked, twin-engine aircraft, about two thirds the size of the 200-ton B-2, while the H-20 has been floated in defense circles as a four-engined, 200-ton bomber with global reach.

The B-21 will be armed with the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile for long-range nuclear strike missions. It will be a stealthy cruise missile, with AI and enhanced electronic warfare capabilities to survive enemy air defenses. Meanwhile, China’s GS-6A stealth cruise missiles could be the basis for a nuclear capable version.

SSBNs are the last, and most secretive, leg of the nuclear triad. Currently, the US Navy has a combination of the stealthy Ohio SSBNs and three stage, solid fueled Trident II D5 missiles. Ohio SSBNs can hide anywhere in the oceans until directed to launch their 24 Trident II missiles, the D-5 can carry up to 12, 100 kiloton W76 warheads or reach a range of over 12,000km. While latest Chinese SSBN, the Type 094A and its 12 6,213-mile range JL-2A missiles, can attack parts of the continental USA from Chinese home waters, the PLAN still has a long ways to establish a credible naval nuclear deterrent, as its submarines are not as stealthy.

Capable as they are, the Ohio SSBNs are due to be replaced by the Columbia SSBN, of which the first will enter service in 2031. Compared to the Ohio the Columbia will carry only 16 missiles, but have quieter electrical propulsion and pump-jet propulsion. For its part, China will likely field a follow on to the Type 094A, the prospective Type 096 SSBN, which is expected to be stealthier than the Type 094A. The Type 096 may also carry a newer missile to replace the JL-2.

While the world’s nuclear powers, through the Nonproliferation Treaty, have committed to the ultimate goal of global nuclear disarmament, the reality is that they will keep and continue to build nuclear arsenals of warheads and delivery platforms for the foreseeable future. And while the nuclear arsenal of the future may resemble today’s weapons in the shape of missiles, bombers, and submarines, advance in fields like robotics, hypersonic propulsion, and missile defenses could transform the deadly science of nuclear weapons.

Iranian Hegemony Spreads (Daniel 8:4)

McMaster: Iran Is Growing Network of Proxy Forces In Syria, Yemen and Iraq, National Security Adviser Warns

By Katherine Hignett On 2/17/18

Iran is cultivating a network of proxy forces and militias in countries like Syria, Yemen and Iraq that could turn against their own governments, National Security Adviser HR McMaster has warned.

Addressing the annual Munich Security Conference Saturday, he said the time had come to “act against Iran.”

Iran is feeding increasingly powerful weapons to these proxies, he told the conference, saying: “What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable, as Iran seeds more and more … destructive weapons into these networks.”

Growing Western concern

The U.S. is not alone in concerns about Iran’s activities. On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed concern about the use of Iranian-linked ballistic missiles in Syria and Yemen. He called for new negotiations akin to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in which the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China and Germany agree to reduce economic sanctions if Iran limited its nuclear energy program.

Macron told reporters: “I want a new cycle of negotiations with regional parties and the permanent members of the Security Council, like we did for the nuclear deal, but widening it to regional countries so that we can reduce and eradicate this insecurity.”

President Trump has famously ridiculed the agreement, however. In July 2015 he tweeted the deal “had to be stopped.” During his presidency he has continued to mock the agreement, threatening to withdraw U.S. support.

Syrian chemical weapons

During this speech, McMaster also stated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was still using chemical weapons in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. “Public accounts and photos clearly show that Assad’s chemical weapons use is continuing,” he told the conference. “It is time for all nations to hold the Syrian regime and its sponsors accountable for their actions and support the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

The Iran and Pakistani Horns (Daniel 8:4)

Iranian leadership for unbreakable ties with Pakistan

The Nation

Senior official says Khamenei, Rouhani regard bilateral ties top priority

Mashhad – Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani regard Pak-Iran ties as the top priority and have directed the foreign ministry to work on achieving the goal, a senior Iranian official said.

Dr Mohammed Ajam, minister counsellor of the Iranian foreign ministry, told The Nation that Tehran was making all efforts to remove misunderstandings between the two Muslim-majority nations.

“We believe Pakistan is under the US pressure not to come too close to Iran. Pakistan should not link Pak-Iran ties to Pak-US relations. Pakistan is a sovereign country and can have equally good ties with several countries,” he maintained. He said: “Iran and Pakistan share interests. If and when our leadership is invited to visit Pakistan , we will not delay it (the visit). The rehbar (the Supreme Leader) and the president think Iran-Pakistan ties should be the top priority. We always work to retain friendship with Pakistan . This is in accordance with the directions of the top leadership .”

On Friday, President Rouhani, who is on a visit to India, urged all Muslims to set aside internal disputes. “Iran wants unity, independence and support for the East. The enemies of Islam want to represent Islam as a religion of violence. Islam is not a religion of violence. Islam is a religion of moderation, Islam is a religion of kindness,” he said.

Pakistan has lifted sanctions against Iran after the country’s nuclear deal with world powers. In 2016, Pakistan was active to ease Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions after the latter executed 47 people on terrorism charges including Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia religious leader, and Fares Al-Shuwail Al-Zahrani, a convicted Al-Qaeda leader.

Nimr’s execution had spurred Iranian demonstrators into ransacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran, prompting several Saudi allies to break off diplomatic ties with Iran.

Pakistan and Iran are hoping to complete the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project soon to resolve Pakistan’s energy crisis. The IP pipeline project – also called Peace Pipeline – is aimed at constructing a pipeline from Iran’s South Pars fields in the Persian Gulf to Pakistan ‘s major cities of Karachi and Multan.

The pipeline can carry 110 million cubic meters of gas a day. Iran will initially transfer 30 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan , but will eventually increase the gas transfer to 60 million cubic meters per day.

Pakistan and Iran are economic partners. This cooperation lasted throughout the cold war, with Iran supporting Pakistan in its conflicts with arch-rival, India. In return, Pakistan supported Iran militarily during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

Recent difficulties have included disputes over trade and political position. While Pakistan ‘s foreign policy maintains balanced relations with Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the European Union, Iran tends to warn against it and raised concerns about Pakistan’s alleged backing of the Taliban during the fourth phase of civil war in Afghanistan in the last years of the 20th century. Iran was concerned after former army chief Raheel Sharif’s appointment as the head of the Saudi Arabia-led military alliance but Islamabad assured Tehran that the coalition was not anti-Iran.

Iran has been a respected, popular, and favoured nation among Pakistanis, with 76 percent of Pakistanis viewing their western neighbour positively, making Pakistan the most pro-Iran nation in the world.

Dr Mohammed Ajam said that Iran and Pakistan had hosted millions of Afghan refugees and must try to resolve the Afghanistan issue together.

“There are around three million Afghans living in Iran. More than half of them are illegal. We have been deporting thousands of Afghans annually who enter illegally and start working here,” he said.

Dr Ajam said that misunderstandings between Iran and Pakistan exist but “they can be removed with sincere efforts. Out leadership is for unbreakable friendship with Pakistan .”