Indian Point Nuclear Reopens Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

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Indian Point Unit 2 back in service after month long outage

Posted: Apr 22, 2018 7:26 AM MDT Updated: Apr 22, 2018 7:26 AM MDT

BUCHANAN (AP) – Indian Point Unit 2 nuclear power plant has returned to service after a month-long scheduled outage for refueling and maintenance.

The refueling outage that ended Saturday was the last before the plant is permanently shut down by April 30, 2020.

Plant operator Entergy says workers completed hundreds of inspections and tests during the shutdown of Indian Point 2 that started March 19.

The power plant and its companion reactor Indian Point 3 will be permanently shut down under a settlement with New York state. Indian Point 3 will be turned off by the end of April 2021.

The Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan generates the equivalent of a quarter of the power used by New York City and Westchester County.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

North Korea Prepares to Make a Deal

Satellite images from DigitalGlobe and 38 North on May 7 show support buildings at the Main Administrative Area have been taken down at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site.North Korea monitors claim nuclear test site dismantling has begun

(CNN)Satellite images appear to show North Korea is shuttering its nuclear test site, according to analysts from North Korean monitoring site 38 North.

Analysis published Monday claims photographs taken May 7 show some of the buildings at the site have been razed. Some rails for the mining carts, which are needed to dig tunnels, have also been removed, the 38 North piece claims.
Some key facilities remain intact and the tunnel entrances remain open, however. The authors speculate that may be because they’ll be blown up in front of members of the international media later this month.

Satellite imagery from Digital Globe and 38 North no activity at the Command Center support area of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced over the weekend it would invite journalists to watch the site’s shuttering as early as May 23.
The 38 North analysis was written by a former International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear chief inspector and long-time North Korea defense analyst.
Analysts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) shared with CNN satellite images that appear to show the North Koreans taking down facilities at Punggye-ri.

If accurate, the analysis of the images appears to show that North Korea has taken concrete steps to dismantle the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. The country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, pledged last month to refrain from conducting nuclear tests and close Punggye-ri, which is located fewer than 100 miles from North Korea’s border with China.
The country also vowed to stop testing missiles without notifying the international community Saturday.
The move is another notable step in North Korea’s diplomatic charm offensive, which comes after a year of constant weapons testing and heated rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.
Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the heavily militarized border that divides the two Koreas in late April and will hold a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it is monitoring the developments at Punggye-ri closely, deputy spokesman Lee Jin-woo said at a news conference.
“North Korea has announced the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, so we assess that they will do preparatory work according to the planned schedule,” he said.
In their findings published Friday, the analysts at CNS speculated that Pyongyang may be trying to remove sensitive information form the site. In the same piece, the authors also reported the construction of a new structure at the end of April, but at a different site that has been involved in the production or modification of launchers for its long-range ballistic missiles.
Some in the international community believe Kim’s commitment to close Punggye-ri is a welcome development. Last month, President Trump called the North’s decision to suspend missile and nuclear tests “very good news.”
But it’s also possible North Korea no longer needs the site. After a half dozens tests over a period of more than a decade, some experts believe that Pyongyang is far enough along in its nuclear weapons development that it no longer has to detonate bombs underground to move its program along.
Others have speculated that the tests have significantly damaged the underground facility. Chinese geologists claimed in a study the cavity caused by last September’s nuclear test collapsed shortly after the detonation, causing a powerful tremor.
That test was the country’s most powerful to date, believed to be more than ten times more powerful than its test the previous year.
However, analysts say the last five nuclear tests were all conducted using the same tunnel, and that although that tunnel may be damaged beyond repair, the North Koreans could dig others for potential future tests.
38 North observed late last year what it described as “significant tunneling operations” at a portal that has yet to be used.

Shia Leader and Antichrist About to Win

 

The Sairoon Alliance of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr is set to win Iraq’s parliamentary elections in a remarkable comeback after being sidelined for years by Iranian-backed rivals.

With over 91 percent of votes counted in 16 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, Iran-backed Shia militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s Fatah (Conquest) Coalition was in second place, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) Coalition once seen as the frontrunner, came in third.

Sadr’s bloc did not run in the remaining two provinces, Kurdish Dohuk and the ethnically-mixed oil province of Kirkuk. The results there, which may be delayed due to tensions between local parties, will not affect Sadr’s standing.

Reports indicate that Sairoon – an alliance between the Sadrist Movement and Iraq’s Communist Party – won more than 1.3 million votes, gaining 54 of a 329-seat parliament.

Saturday’s election was the first since the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, but the turnout fell far short of previous elections with only 44.52 percent of registered voters participating. Turnout is 15 percent lower than that of 2014.

Commenting on the results, Rend al-Rahim, a former Iraqi ambassador to the United States told Al Jazeera: “The ascendancy of the list sponsored by al-Sadr shows that anti-establishment sentiment and anti-corruption have driven the choice of most voters.”

But according to Rahim, Sadr’s rise to victory was also based on emotionally-driven voting.

“None of the lists had an electoral programme that outlined priorities and a plan of action. All used vague terms to lure voters. Many of the lists also used populist and demagogic tactics that played on the emotions of voters.

“The success of Sairoon and Fatah clearly show that voters were ideologically and emotionally driven,” said Al-Rahim.

Move away from Iran, US?

Unlike Abadi, a rare ally of both the US and Iran, Sadr is an opponent of both countries, which have wielded influence in Iraq since a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and thrust the Shia majority into power.

Sadr has led two uprisings against US forces in Iraq and is one of the few Shia leaders to distance himself from Iran.

He has instead sought to broaden his regional support, meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah last year.

Because Sadr did not stand as a candidate and therefore cannot head the government, he appears set to play kingmaker.

Even Sadr’s bloc might not necessarily form the next government, as the other winning blocs would have to agree on the nomination.

In a 2010 election, Vice President Ayad Allawi’s group won the largest number of seats, but he was blocked from becoming premier for which he blamed Tehran.

In a similar fashion, Iran has already publicly stated it will not allow Sadr’s bloc to govern.

Ali Akbar Velayati, top adviser to the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, warned in February that he would “not allow liberals and communists to govern in Iraq”, a reference to the Iraqi Communist Party.

According to Al-Rahim, “All we know is that Sadr will not form a coalition with Maliki. Everything else is wide open”.

Former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who led Iraq between 2006 and 2014, headed the State of Law Coalition for 2018 election. For years, Maliki’s Shia-led army and police acted as a sectarian militia against Iraq’s Sunni communities.

On his part, Sadr said in a statement that he would be willing to work with a number of parties, among those Amar al-Hakim’s Hikma (Wisdom) Coalition, the Sunni al-Wataniyya Coalition and the Kurdish parties Goran and Komal.

He did not, however, mention Maliki’s State of Law Coalition or the Fatah Coalition, both of which are aligned with Iran.

Despite being third in the running, Abadi could still potentially remain prime minister after a coalition government is formed.

“We are ready to work and cooperate in forming the strongest government for Iraq, free of corruption,” Abadi said, referencing the issue that has been at the forefront of most voters’ minds.

Fears and apathy

Supporters of Sadr celebrated during the early hours of Monday in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as early results from Saturday’s elections indicated that the Sairoon Alliance was on course for victory.

“Bye, bye Maliki. Iran is out. Iraq is free,” chanted the crowds as they sang, danced and set off fireworks while carrying Sadr’s picture and waving Iraqi flags.

But these feelings were not shared by residents of other Iraqi provinces.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from the majority Sunni province of Nineveh, Ahmed al-Ubaidi, 31, said: “I worry that Sadr’s Sairoon Coalition or Ababdi’s Nasr bloc will ally with either Maliki’s State of Law bloc or Amiri’s Fatah bloc. Both are sectarian and pro-Iran.

“I hope government formation negotiations will ensure that Maliki is not part of any government this time,” added Ubaidi.

While Sadr and Amiri both came in first in four of the 10 provinces where votes were counted, Mosul voted for Abadi.

For Rahim, this indicates the cross-sectarian nature of the majority Sunni province. “The higher than average turnout and support for the list led by PM Abadi in Nineveh indicates that at least in Mosul province there is renewed hope for a better future and an acknowledgement of the role of Abadi and the Iraqi army in liberating Nineveh,” added Al-Rahim, who also served as a senior fellow for Iraq for the US Institute for Peace.

Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr visited his father’s grave after the parliamentary election results were announced, in Najaf, on May 14 [Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters]

Many voters had complained that most of the candidates running were part of the same political elite and many who they blamed for corruption and unemployment, with many across Baghdad’s Sunni neighbourhoods telling Al Jazeera they voted for “new faces as they were looking for change”.

Still, the majority of Iraqis did not vote, partly due to a boycott campaign spearheaded online by activists.

“Participation levels were quite low because many of us weren’t convinced that the election could bring change,” Ali Mahdi, a Shia resident of Baghdad, told Al Jazeera.

Saif Al-Haity, a 34-year-old journalist from the Sunni-dominated Anbar agreed: “The boycotters were more than those who voted. This has definitely had an impact on results.”

Additional reporting by Bakr al-Ubaidi from Baghdad.

Iran About to Resume Uranium Enrichment (Daniel 8:4)

“If our interests are not preserved, we will pull out of the deal and will resume our enrichment to 20 percent, or any level that we desire to,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht as saying. Under the terms of the deal, Iran is allowed to enrich uranium to around 4 percent.

More Fighting Outside the City Walls (Revelation 11:2)

 

BETHLEHEM — Thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip participated in massive demonstrations on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes when the state of Israel was established in 1948.

More than six million Palestinians, whether in the occupied Palestinian territory or in the diaspora, still call for the application of their internationally recognized right of return to their homes and villages in present-day Israel.

In the Gaza Strip, the weeks-long “Great March of Return” protest came to a climax, as the death toll reached 61 overnight — the youngest killed an identified as 8-month old girl who died of tear gas inhalation.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces suppressed protests largely with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and sound bombs, though some cases of live ammunition were reported.

‘We will never give up our right of return’

In the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, around 600 Palestinian protesters marched peacefully from the southern end of the city until they reached the Israeli separation wall and a permanent military base and watchtower on the northern end of the city.

Protesters waved palestinian flags and black flags with images of keys saying “return,” as they chanted slogans saying “America is the head of the snake,” and “Jerusalem is Palestinian, and will stay that way forever.”

Dozens of Israeli soldiers were deployed outside the wall, and almost immediately dispersed the protesters with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Protesters remained in the area for hours, as some youth burned tires and through stone at the soldiers.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 12 Palestinians in Bethlehem were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, while 33 others were treated for severe tear-gas inhalation.

Mondoweiss spoke to several posters, who expressed their frustrations with 70 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, and the ongoing killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

Azhar Abu Srour, a Palestinian refugee who was at the protest, spoke to Mondoweiss as she waved a Palestinian flag, as rubber-coated steel bullets whizzed on the main road behind her.

“I am here as a refugee, to demand my right of return to my homeland, Beit Nattif, which we were expelled from 70 years ago,” she said. “I am also here to protest against the massacre of our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza, who have been protesting for weeks, for this same basic right of return.”

Abu Srour expressed frustrations with the inaction of the international community on the Palestinian refugee issue, saying that “it has been 70 years, this issue should have been solved by now.”

“But even if it is for 70 more years, or 100 years, I will never give up this right, and neither will my children, or any future Palestinian generations of refugees, until we return back to our lands.”

Dozens injured in Hebron, Ramallah protests

Israeli forces heavily suppressed protests in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah for the second day in a row.

According to early afternoon reports from the Palestinian Red Crescent, 23 Palestinians were injured from tear gas inhalation, while 30 others were injured from rubber-coated bullets, two of which were reportedly hit in the face.

Meanwhile, local media reported that seven Palestinians had been hit with live ammunition during ramallah-area protests, including one who was shot in the back and reported to be in critical condition.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, at least one Palestinian was reported to have been injured with a live bullet in the Bab al-Zawiya area of the city, close to Hebron’s Old City.

Two Palestinians killed in northern Gaza

The Gaza Ministry of Health reported at 8 p.m. that two Palestinians had been killed during clashes east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the total death toll from Monday and Tuesday’s protests to at least 63 Palestinians.

One of the two slain Palestinians was identified as Nasser Ghorab, 51.

The ministry added that 417 people were wounded during Tuesday’s protests, with injuries ranging from live ammunition to tear gas.