Prepare for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

PALISADES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Many are still shaken from a 4.1 earthquake that was felt along the East Coast on Thursday.As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, while seismic activity doesn’t happen often in this region, it isn’t as unusual as you might think.

Surveillance video shed light on the shaking caused by Thursday’s earthquake centered near Dover, Delaware.

“I saw the fence right in front of us shake,” one man said.

“It was very brief, but it was very intense,” a woman added.

The earth moved hundreds of miles away.

“I was surprised that people felt it this far north,” said one man.

The seismograph at Lamont Doughtery Earth Observatory, just north of the city, came to life around 4:48 p.m.

Seismologist Won-Young Kim says earthquakes happening here are nothing new. He showed Murdock a map of three fault lines that run right through Manhattan – one at 125th Street.

“That’s a major break,” he said.

There’s one at Dykman Street and one that runs through Midtown and Gramercy. Thankfully, they’re all considered inactive.

However, you might recall back in 2001, a quake measuring 2.6 on the Richter scale centered near Long Island City woke folks from their slumber.

“The ground jumped. It gave a good bolt,” one man said.

In 1985, a 4.0 magnitude quake was centered in Ardsley, Westchester County. Sarah Buff of Harlem, remembers it well.

“My mom was like kind of hysterical,” she said.

In 1884, a 5.0 quake struck Far Rockaway.

What about something stronger?

“I do wonder, yes,” said one woman.

Like a quake similar to the 8.2 that devastated parts of southern Mexico in September.

“I think it would be devastating,” another woman said.

Kim’s colleague, Heather Savage, said it’s highly unlikely we’ll experience anything like that, because of where we sit on the North American tectonic plate.

“You see the plate boundary is out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” she explained.

It’s called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. On the West Coast, it’s the San Andreas Fault, where ‘the big one’ is much more likely to occur.

But something smaller could happen anytime. Experts cannot predict

Another Reason Why New York Will Be Our Fukushima

AIM protest at Cuomo residenceGovernor must reveal risks of fracked gas pipeline near nuclear storage: View

Sr. Bette Ann Jaster says the governor must make public the results of a risk assessment for a fracked-gas pipeline that runs by Indian Point. Video by Nancy Cutler/lohud Wochit

Testing the Consequences of the Bowls of Wrath (Revelation 15)

See What A Nuclear Bomb Would Do To Your Hometown

The recent and terrifying false missile alert in Hawaii has everyone asking, “What if it happened here?” While statistically, your hometown is probably not a nuclear target, historian Alex Wellerstein’s NUKEMAP shows you what it would look like.The effect of a nuclear explosion depends on many factors, such as the size of the bomb, what it’s targeting, and what the wind is like. NUKEMAP lets you experiment with all kinds of nuclear scenarios using stats for different known nuclear weapons, mapping out which areas would be burnt to a crisp, and which would just be blanketed with radiation.

You can get an estimate of the death count, how many local schools and hospitals would go down, and how today’s weather would affect the fallout. You can use NUKEMAP’s sister site MISSILEMAP to choose from current and historical missile launch sites.

While you can use this tool to imagine, say, a French bomb taking out Sydney, most places in the world are unlikely to ever be nuclear targets outside of an all-out global nuclear annihilation (in which case some of us might rather burn up in the first attack instead of struggling on after the apocalypse). A 2015 panel of nuclear experts estimated that the highest current nuclear risks are in India, Pakistan, the Middle East and the immediate surroundings of North Korea.

Australia is highly unlikely to be on any rogue nations’ hit list – we’re too remote and unimportant for that – but what about our allies in the USA? Those living in the continental US aren’t in range of any successfully tested North Korean missiles. Last May The Washington Post said even an attack on Hawaii would be “a stretch”.

An attack on the US from a country with global capability – and minus longterm allies, that’s just Russia or China – would likely target the US’s own nuclear strongholds, which are mostly located in sparsely populated areas for exactly this reason. But other key military targets are near population centres; the Pentagon, pictured above as the epicentre of a strike from a Russian ICBM, is right in the middle of Washington, DC.

To avoid retaliation for an attack like that, any strike on the US or its allies would need to take out the entire US nuclear arsenal, including the missiles deployed on submarines in secret locations. Since this is nearly impossible, there’s good news for most people: While several countries theoretically could blow up your city, none of them especially want to.

NUKEMAP [Alex Wellerstein via Digital Trends]

Trump Will Help Build the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

 February 20 at 6:00 AM
For Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the reactors are a matter of international prestige and power, a step toward matching the nuclear program of Shia rival Iran while quenching some of the kingdom’s domestic thirst for energy.
For the Trump administration, the contest poses a thorny choice between promoting U.S. companies and fighting nuclear proliferation. If the administration wants to boost the chances of a U.S. consortium led by Westinghouse, it might need to bend rules designed to limit nuclear proliferation in an unstable part of the world. That could heighten security risks and encourage other Middle Eastern countries to follow suit.


The issue is a test of President Trump’s foreign policy and his self-professed bargaining prowess. Trump, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have made pilgrimages to Riyadh to cozy up to the young crown prince and win big contracts for U.S. firms. Yet little has come to fruition.

Now, as Mohammed prepares to visit the United States in March, the Saudi deadline looms for Westinghouse, which is winding its way through bankruptcy and is eager to find customers for its much-praised AP1000 design. Without a diplomatic deal, Westinghouse and a South Korean group, which uses U.S. parts and technology and would be bound by the same rules, could be sidelined in favor of Russian or Chinese state companies.

The key rules governing nuclear sales to Saudi Arabia are spelled out in a document known as a 123 agreement, named after a section in the 1954 Atomic Energy Act.

The United States has 123 agreements with 23 countries, Taiwan and Euratom, a group of 27 nations. Terms vary. Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to the tightest restrictions. The agreements with India and Japan give more leeway. Most allow countries using U.S. nuclear materials to ask for case-by-case consent — running up against long-standing U.S. concerns about proliferation.

The U.S. proposed 123 agreement for Saudi Arabia, dating to the George W. Bush administration, would impose strictest limits on uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent fuel, both of which could be used to produce material for nuclear bombs.

Saudi Arabia has argued that it should be free to mine and enrich its own uranium deposits, as long as it abides by the international Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bars the diversion of materials to a weapons program. The China National Nuclear Corp. has signed preliminary agreements with the Saudis to explore nine potential uranium mining areas. Former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal told Reuters in December that Saudi Arabia would “have the same right as the other members of the NPT, including Iran.”

Mohammed, who harbors ambitions for an invigorated, more diverse Saudi economy, invited foreign firms to submit proposals last fall. In mid-November, executives from the world’s five leading nuclear reactor design and construction firms — including the Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse — made presentations to Saudi officials.

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy and natural resources minister, told Reuters on Dec. 20 that he aims to sign contracts by year’s end.

The push to provide nuclear power to Saudi Arabia has divided U.S. policymakers.

Henry Sokolski, the executive director of the nonprofit Nonproliferation Policy Education Center who served in President George H.W. Bush’s Pentagon, asked, “How do we feel about the stability of the kingdom? The reactors are bolted to the ground for a minimum of 40 years and a maximum of 80 years. That’s enough for the whole world to change.”

But others say that if the United States doesn’t build the reactors, then Russia’s Rosatom or the China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Group will, providing fewer safeguards against proliferation and eroding U.S. diplomatic strength in the region.

“I would prefer to have America’s nuclear industry in Saudi Arabia than to have Russian or China’s, so I think it’s useful that we’re reengaging with the Saudis. We should try to get the best restraints on enrichment and reprocessing, including a ban for some significant length of time, say 20 or 25 years,” said Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former State Department adviser for nonproliferation and arms control. “We should show some flexibility.”

Why the Saudis want more energy

The need to build nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, isn’t obvious. The kingdom says it wants to curtail the burning of oil to generate electricity at home. Doing so would free up more oil for exports, the kingdom’s main source of revenue.

Saudi electricity consumption doubled between 2005 and 2015. During the peak summer months, when temperatures soar past 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the kingdom burns about 700,000 barrels of oil a day for air conditioning. Add industrial and transportation use, and Saudi Arabia’s domestic crude consumption has neared 3 million barrels a day, more than a quarter of its total output.

Solar is another option. The Saudis could also tap its plentiful supplies of natural gas, much of which is flared and wasted.

Prestige, parity and the gold standard

Prestige is another lure for Saudi Arabia. Its smaller oil-rich neighbor, the United Arab Emirates bought four South Korean-model nuclear reactors now under construction.

“If ever there was a place that could take care of own energy needs without nuclear, it’s the UAE,” said F. Gregory Gause, a professor of international affairs at Texas A&M University. “I think it becomes a prestige thing, like international airports.”

But the UAE also signed a 123 agreement in January 2009 that is called the gold standard. It agreed not to enrich or reprocess — although a passage says it could reconsider if others in the region start doing so. It plans to buy uranium from the United States and ship spent fuel to Britain or France for reprocessing.

For Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s gold standard set a high bar. “During the Obama administration, we were at an impasse,” said Gary Samore, a former White House arms control coordinator now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “We wanted them to make a commitment similar to what Abu Dhabi did. We never overcame that issue in our negotiations.”

Now the Saudis have a new reason to press for concessions: The nuclear deal Obama and other allies reached with Iran allows Tehran to continue enrichment within strict limits for commercial use and with intrusive inspections. Trump has called it “the worst deal ever.” The Saudi government noted that some clauses will expire after 15 years.

Many experts on Saudi Arabia say the kingdom wants its own program to deter or counterbalance Iran. “I think part of it is keeping up with the Iranians and trying to build up a nuclear infrastructure that could be turned into weapons capability,” Gause said.

Christopher Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security, said during his confirmation hearings that the Iran deal “has made it considerably more difficult to ask [for] gold-standard-type agreements.”

Friends and foes


The nuclear cooperation agreement tests the Trump administration’s efforts to cement ties with the crown prince. In addition to Trump’s May trade and diplomatic mission, Kushner visited again the week before the crown prince’s crackdown on opponents.

A week after Perry was sworn in as energy secretary, he got a visit from Saudi energy minister Al-Falih, who gave him a lifesize silver falcon with a golden beak. In November, Perry paid Al-Falih a return visit. Photos showed Perry barefoot on a sand dune and dressed in flowing traditional robes while gripping a sheathed sword.

But Congress could pose the real obstacle for Trump and the Saudis. Any proposed 123 agreement must be submitted to Congress. If Congress does nothing to block it, the agreement would come into force after 90 legislative days.

“We have a tendency to use nukes as a way of ingratiating ourselves with countries around the world and then we get into a negotiation of whether there are safeguards,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “I think ultimately it’s going to come back to haunt us.”

Revising the agreement’s terms also could stir up complaints linked to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

And Friends of Israel might object to providing nuclear technology to the Saudis.

“I think the Saudis are smart enough to realize that it will run into major, major storms here in Congress” if it tries to alter the 123 agreement, said Jean-Francois Seznec, a consultant on Mideast business and finance.

The Marshall Plan mirage


For a brief moment, it appeared that the Trump administration would sweep away roadblocks to American nuclear developers.

In 2015, retired Gen. Michael T. Flynn did work for ACU Strategic Partners to press for a “Marshall plan” for nuclear plants across the Middle East. In mid-2016, Flynn switched to advising IP3/Iron Bridge, which also sought a wave of Mideast nuclear construction.

When the newly elected Trump named Flynn national security adviser, Flynn instructed his staff to turn a memo written by IP3/IronBridge into a policy memo — an unusual step. Soon, however, Flynn was forced to resign and he is now cooperating with special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III on an investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Marshall Plan of nuclear power, however, was always a mirage.

The collapse in crude prices in 2014, domestic food and oil subsidies and the war in Yemen have weighed heavily on the Saudi budget. The rebound in oil prices helps, but Saudi financial reserves have plunged from $755 billion in 2013 to less than $500 billion today, according to the International Monetary Fund.



At the core of any U.S. nuclear proposal lies the weakness of the U.S. commercial nuclear business.

Westinghouse, a former Toshiba subsidiary, went bankrupt after losing billions of dollars acting as contractor for four reactors in the United States. Two reactors in South Carolina have been abandoned; two in Georgia remain under construction at twice the original cost, but now managed by the Southern Co.

In January, Brookfield Asset Management — a Canadian conglomerate involved in money management, real estate, oil and gas production, and more — bid $4.6 billion to buy Westinghouse. The main attraction is the refueling and maintenance services Westinghouse profitably provides existing reactors.

The sale of new reactors would be a bonus, but Brookfield isn’t counting on it. One thing Westinghouse will not do under Brookfield is take on construction risk again. So the U.S. group makes Fluor the contractor; the utility Exelon would train operators for the reactors, according to people who have met with Westinghouse.

In the end, the fate of the U.S. proposal will circle back to the political and diplomatic efforts to forge a 123 agreement.

Saudi Arabia “would like us to cave to some degree on some elements of the 123 agreement,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But, he added, “the fewer Mideast nuclear weapons states, the better. And the fewer nondemocratic nuclear states, the better. And the fewer states where I can’t predict 10 years down the road what their attitudes will be toward the United States, the fewer of those countries that have nuclear weapons the better.”

India Tests Another Nuclear Missile

NEW DELHI – India says it has successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads with a range of 2,000 kilometers.

According to media reports, the nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-II was fired from a mobile launcher from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast on Tuesday morning.

The test was carried out by the Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with logistic support provided by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Local media reports said that the entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the Bay of Bengal.

The 20-mt-long Agni-II ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tons and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of 2,000 km.

The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services. The missile is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes the Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities.

In January, India said it had successfully test-fired its longest-range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile. The home-grown missile had a strike range of 5,000 kilometers.

The latest missile tests are expected to fuel already heightened tensions between neighbors Pakistan and India.

Pakistan and India have routinely tested ballistic missiles since they first became nuclear capable respectively in 1998 and 1974.

Neither of the neighbors has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or other international regulatory pacts that restrict developing or testing nuclear weapons.

India considers the NPT as discriminatory, while Pakistan has indicated that it will not join the international treaty until its neighbor does.