India’s Nuclear Capability (Revelation 8)

By: Express Web Desk

| New Delhi |

Updated: June 3, 2018 8:32:21 pm

The surface-to-surface missile was launched with the help of a mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal. (Representational)

As India successfully test-fired the indigenously developed nuclear-capable Long Range Ballistic Missile Agni-5, it moved a step closer towards joining the exclusive club of countries with ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km), alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK. Coming on the back of China deploying missiles in Tibet Autonomous Region bordering India, the move is sure to rattle a few nerves in Beijing, which has previously criticised New Delhi over the Agni 5.

Sixth success for Agni-5

The surface-to-surface missile was launched with the help of a mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal at 9.48 am. This was the sixth trial of the Agni-5, which has the farthest reach among all Indian missiles. At present, India has in its armoury the Agni series — Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.

The first test of Agni-5 was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second on September 15, 2013, the third on January 31, 2015, and fourth on December 26, 2016. The last test was held on January 18, 2018. All the five earlier trials were successful.

Agni-5 specifications

Agni-V is capable of striking even the northernmost parts of China. Geographically, the missile’s cover space ranges from all of China in the East to all of Europe in the West. The missile is able to travel faster than a bullet and can carry with it at least a 1,000 kg of nuclear weapon.

Agni II, Agni 2, Agni II test fired, India test fires Agni II, Agni-II missile, DRDO, India's surface to surface missile, indian missile, Indian missile test, India news, indian express newsAt present, India has in its armoury the Agni series — Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range. (File)

The three-stage missile is about 17 metres long and weighs 50 tonnes. The first rocket engine equipped with the missile lifts it to a height of about 40 km. The second stage pushes it to about 150 km. The third stage takes Agni-5 to about 300 km above the Earth and the missile finally reaches a height of about 800 km.

Most advanced of India’s missiles

Agni-5 is also the most advanced among Indian missiles with new technologies in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. Navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) ensure that the missile reaches the target point within few meters of accuracy.

The missile has been programmed in such a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it will turn towards the earth and continue its journey towards the intended target with an increased speed due to gravitational pull. The path has been precisely directed by the advanced onboard computer and inertial navigation system.

As the missile enters the earth’s atmosphere, the atmospheric air rubbing the skin of the missile during the re-entry phase raises the temperature beyond 4,000 degrees Celsius. However, the indigenously designed and developed carbon-carbon composite heat shield continues to burn sacrificially, protecting the payload and maintaining the inside temperature below 50 degrees Celsius.

How does India compare to China and Pakistan in missile tech

However, the capabilities of the Agni-5 pale in comparison to China’s ICBM – the CSS-10 Mod 2, which has a range in excess of 11,200 km and can reach most locations within continental United States. Moreover, China is also developing the DF-41 ICBM, which will be able to carry up to 10 maneuverable nuclear warheads, each weighing 100 to 200 kilo tonnes to a megaton size. The missile range is expected to be between 12,000-15,000km, and thus, will be capable of reaching every corner of the Earth.

Coming to its north-western neighbour, Pakistan’s ICBM strength is limited to the Shaheen III and Ghauri missiles that have a range of 1,700 km and 2300-2700 km respectively. However, the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences reported in March that in an unprecedented deal, China had sold Pakistan a powerful tracking system that could speed up the development of multi-warhead missiles.

(With PTI inputs)

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The Antichrist Shakes Up The Iraqi Government

Muqtada al-Sadr. Photo: AP

In an official statement issued by his office on Sunday, Sadr warned the Iraqi people will not tolerate the mismanagement of utilities.

“If our [electoral] victory is the beginning for revenge from the Iraqi people, I will not allow that [to happen],” Sadr said.

“I am sure that denying water and electricity to the people will not cause them to kneel,” Sadr said.

“We give the government a few days to look into the issue of water and electricity, or allow us to work to regain our rights,” the Shiite cleric Sadr added.

A special session is expected in the Iraqi parliament later on Sunday to discuss the water crisis.

Iraq has been blighted by power outages and a worrying drop in water reserves, provoking a number of protests in southern and central parts of the country.

The water crisis has spread in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as climate change and dams built by Turkey and Iran slow the flow of rivers into the country to a trickle.

There are growing fears up to seven million people could be displaced due to the dramatic fall in water resources.

Kurdistan and Iraq will need to prioritize water management as the resource is under increasing threat.

KRG officials have said the Region has ample water resources – with lakes, rivers, and groundwater – but admit they have a management problem and water is not adequately stored, conserved, or protected from pollution.

Sadr is continuing to hold talks with Iraqi and Kurdish political leaders to establish the next Iraqi government. He is uniquely placed to apply pressure on interim leaders who want a place in a future cabinet.

Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”

That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.

His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

The Saudi Horn Approves of US Withdrawal from the Iran Deal

The US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal has been well received in many capitals.

By INU Staff

INU – The US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal has been well received in many capitals. The signatories of the Iran nuclear deal do not live in the region, so the positive reception to the US withdrawal by countries in the Middle East is not surprising. Their perception of Tehran is that it is most immediate security threat to the stability of the region.

The consensus in the region if that the regime should under no circumstances possess or acquire material required for the production of nuclear weapons. Countries in the Middle East very concerned over the prospect of the regime building a nuclear arsenal.

The regime’s destabilizing behavior affects global order more at this time than at any other point since 1979, especially regarding rights of navigation and ballistic missile proliferation.

Tehran now threatens the rights of navigation in Bab Al Mandeb and Hormuz. Not only do the nations of the GCC use these channels, but the rest of the world’s commercial fleets do as well. US-led coalition ships have been targeted in Yemen. Bab Al Mandeb links the Mediterranean and The Red Sea to The Arabian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Malacca Straits transit which stretches to Indonesia, Australia, Asia and the Western Pacific.

Another concern is Iran’s ballistic missile program. In fact, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was never targeted by ballistic missiles from Yemen before Iran became involved in the country. It has been proven that missiles used by Houthis were smuggled as disassembled parts into Yemen, where operatives of the IRGC then reassembled and fired them into The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The way forward, should Tehran continue with its current behavior in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq should predicate any trade or commercial activities by multinational corporations with the regime, on an end to missiles proliferation, and Iran’s behavior in Iraq, the in Damascus, and the in Lebanon.

Casual indifference to Iran’s behavior will not last. There must be immediate suspension of all nuclear related activities, which must be verified by inspection teams, and a complete cessation of all ballistic missile proliferation. As well, the removal of all sectarian and proxy assets from Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, the severing of all ties to terrorist groups is necessary.

The people of Iran continue protesting against the clerical regime, and deserve to live as free people.

The Antichrist Will Lift Up The Poor


BAGHDAD—The sprawling Sadr City slum helped deliver a surprising victory in Iraqi elections for cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the son of the man who gave the Baghdad neighborhood its name. Now, Mr. Sadr’s alliance faces a tough task: Carrying out his lofty promises of change for the urban poor.

Home to more than 3 million people—about one-third of the capital’s population—Sadr City is an extreme example of the economic ills that plague Iraq. Uncollected garbage fills the roadsides, children hawk goods to earn extra cash, and water and electricity outages are routine among the ramshackle settlements.

Six of Mr. Sadr’s allies from Sadr City won seats in the May 12 election that over half of Iraqis skipped. The results of the vote reflected disillusionment with a political class that is blamed for neglecting places like Sadr City while enriching itself.

“I have put my last hope in God and Moqtada al-Sadr ,” said Abbas Moslem, who is 29, and who said his Sadr City takeout restaurant hadn’t received electricity for four days. “There is no work or employment.”

For Sadr City, it is a rare moment of political power—and a remarkable change from the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, when the slum was a battleground. Back then, U.S. forces faced fierce resistance in Sadr City from Mr. Sadr’s Mahdi Army militias and considered capturing Mr. Sadr , whose fiery speeches were seen as inciting violence against coalition forces.

Now, Mr. Sadr is a political kingmaker. He formed an alliance with Iraqi communists for the recent elections, and the alliance won 54 seats in the 329-seat Iraqi parliament—more than any other bloc.

But the alliance is far short of a majority, and Mr. Sadr ’s promises to address economic woes and enact a sweeping overhaul of Iraq’s political system are running into barriers as he tries to form a government—a process that could take months. Mr. Sadr isn’t trying to become prime minister himself, preferring to remain above the political fray as a cleric.

His coalition, known as Sairun, must partner with political parties that don’t want to give up their privileges. Talks to form a government could produce a weak prime minister who can neither make sweeping changes nor tackle the country’s economic problems, analysts said.

Many Iraqis want the kinds of changes Mr. Sadr is calling for, but are skeptical. Mr. Sadr is part of the political establishment he railed against. The former governor of Baghdad, who was from Mr. Sadr ’s political bloc, was unseated after being accused of corruption, which he denied.

The biggest test facing Mr. Sadr and his allies is managing the expectations of their followers, said Jassem al-Helfi, a Sadr City native and a leading member of the Iraqi Communist Party who is involved in the negotiations to form a government.

“How can we convince our supporters that reform will not happen instantaneously?” Mr. Helfi said.

Mr. Sadr and his family are closely associated with Sadr City, where the rundown streets are decorated with pictures of the gray-bearded Mr. Sadr in his trademark black robe and turban—and of his father, Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, who was murdered in 1999 for his opposition to Saddam Hussein.

The neighborhood in eastern Baghdad was developed in 1959 by Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qassem, who overthrew the country’s monarchy. It was called Revolution City but quickly became known for endemic poverty.

Saddam Hussein renamed it after himself when he seized power, but his Sunni-dominated regime otherwise neglected the predominantly Shiite area, which became a stronghold of opposition to his dictatorship.

“Because it’s poor and deprived, it has always opposed the state,” said Kareem Mtashar, who works for local authorities in Sadr City.

Today Sadr City reflects Mr. Sadr’s attempts to reinvent himself. Still a staunch critic of the U.S., Mr. Sadr has rebranded the Mahdi Army as the “Peace Companies” and indicated a willingness to support the current U.S.-backed prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, though it isn’t clear who will emerge as Iraq’s next leader.

Billboards in Sadr City display Mr. Sadr’s tweets rejecting sectarianism. Mr. Sadr has demanded that independent technocrats run government ministries, which would end the practice of divvying up posts among Iraq’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish groups and milking them for patronage and kickbacks.

Mr. Sadr’s followers fill the gap left by the state with the “Martyr’s Office,” which acts as a kind of shadow government in Sadr City, providing aid to the most needy, mediating disputes and helping citizens deal with government agencies through personal contacts.

His followers were on the forefront of protests over Iraqi corruption in 2016 that resulted in demonstrators storming the country’s parliament—an expression of political anger that resonated in the recent election.

Since his victory, Mr. Sadr has met with figures from across Iraq’s political spectrum but said little beyond cryptic tweets.

“God willing, we are embarking upon a new phase to build Iraq and a fatherly, democratic and technocratic government,” he said in a news conference after the election. Mr. Sadr didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

Iraq’s leaders face daunting challenges, including rebuilding areas devastated by the war against Islamic State and preventing the group’s resurgence. Iraq needs more than $80 billion to fix the damage, the World Bank says, but is struggling to attract foreign investment.

A government backed by Mr. Sadr is even less likely to follow recommendations from the International Monetary Fund to rein in public spending and close the budget deficit. Mr. Sadr’s political allies helped block an effort by Mr. Abadi to cut electricity subsidies, which cost the Iraq state around $10 billion a year.

Mr. Sadr’s followers say they remain focused on helping the country’s poor. According to Mr. Abadi’s office, the country’s poverty rate is about 30%.

“We are going into battle to regain the rights of those people,” said Alaa al-Rubaye, one of the six Sairun candidates from Sadr City who won seats in the next parliament.

—Ali Nabhan contributed to this article.