East Coast Still Unprepared For Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

East Coast Earthquake Preparedness

By By BEN NUCKOLS

Posted: 08/25/2011 8:43 am EDT

WASHINGTON — There were cracks in the Washington Monument and broken capstones at the National Cathedral. In the District of Columbia suburbs, some people stayed in shelters because of structural concerns at their apartment buildings.

A day after the East Coast’s strongest earthquake in 67 years, inspectors assessed the damage and found that most problems were minor. But the shaking raised questions about whether this part of the country, with its older architecture and inexperience with seismic activity, is prepared for a truly powerful quake.

The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.

In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.

At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.

A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.

Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.

The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.

Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.

“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.

“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.

“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.

Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.

At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.

“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”

Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.

The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.

The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.

The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.

In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.

At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”

Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.

Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.

“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”

The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.

Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.

A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.

“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”

An earthquake similar to the one in Virginia could do billions of dollars of damage if it were centered in New York, said Barbara Nadel, an architect who specializes in securing buildings against natural disasters and terrorism.

The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.

Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.

It’s a different story with the city’s older buildings. The 18th- and 19th-century structures in Boston’s Back Bay, for instance, were often built on fill, which can liquefy in a strong quake, Woodworth said. Still, there just aren’t many strong quakes in New England.

The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.

People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.

In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.

Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.

“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.

“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”

___

Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report.

The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Image result for pakistan india war nuclearIndia may wage war against Pakistan, columnist portrays post BJP- defeat scenario

Only effect the assembly election results will have is to reduce lynching of Muslims a bit

Haider AliDecember 12, 2018

NEW DELHI – Indian leaders might resort to the option of a war with Pakistan and the nuclear deterrence will not bar the leaders, an Indian judge-turned columnist has predicted.

In his latest piece, the former Supreme Court judge, Markandey Katju has dished in on the scenario that is developing after the defeat of Bharatiya Janata Party in heartland states, dropping hints of dark days ahead.

“Also, a war with Pakistan on some issue is bound to whip up communal passions, and our leaders may well resort to that option too. The fact that both countries have nuclear weapons will not deter desperate men,” Katju wrote.

Markandey Katju, who retired in 2011, stated that India was bound to witness widespread communal riots and incidents in the coming months.

The former judge commented: “BJP thrives on communal riots, for that is the only way the party knows for increasing its votes from its ‘captive’ upper caste Hindu vote bank, which, at 20 per cent of the population, is clearly insufficient to win many seats.”

Painting a bleak picture for India, the writer continued that BJP will not give up power easily, and the coming Lok Sabha elections will be like the historical wars for the Delhi Sultanate ‘in which no holds were barred and rivers of blood flowed as rivals sought to claim the throne’.

Katju also expressed a mistrust in the entire political class of the country, taking on the chin, the electoral process currently underway.

“So whether Congress wins elections or BJP wins, it matters little. Our politicians have no genuine love for the country, but are only interested in power and self,” he wrote in The Week In.

He opined that the only effect the assembly election results will have is to reduce lynching of Muslims a bit saying, it was wrong to assume that such incidents will be totally eliminated.

“India is still a semi-feudal society, and as I have repeatedly pointed out, communalism is always latent in it, only awaiting some catalyst to bring it to the surface,” stated Katju.

He continued that today, most Hindus in India were communal, and so are most Muslims, stressing the need for a fully industrial society to tackle the ‘poison of communalism’.

More Children Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

The sister of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed is comforted as she mourns during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 12, 2018.

Gaza boy, 4, dies from Israeli fire: Palestinian medics

Nidal al-Mughrabi

REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA

Relatives of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 12, 2018.

REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA

GAZA (Reuters) – Hundreds of Gazans on Wednesday attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after being hit by Israeli shrapnel at a border protest last week, according to Palestinian medical officials.

Wrapped in a Palestinian flag, the body of Ahmed Abu Abed was carried on people’s shoulders as mourners threw flowers into the procession in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.

Reuters footage from the protest last Friday showed the boy being carried by a medic into a field hospital not far from the border after being injured.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said he „was hit by shrapnel from Israeli gunfire“.

„There was one piece of bullet shrapnel in the eye that settled at the bottom of the brain, that was the most serious of all, and that what most likely killed him,“ Mohammad Abu Hilal, director of emergency department at Khan Younis hospital, told Reuters.

Gaza’s health ministry, run by the Islamist militant group Hamas, said more than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since March at border protests demanding an end to an Israeli-led blockade of the coastal strip.

Israel’s military said it did „everything possible to avoid harming children,“ and accused Hamas of endangering the lives of civilians by orchestrating the protests.

„The Hamas terrorist organization cynically uses Gaza residents, especially women and children, as human shields and places them at the forefront of the violent riots, terrorist attacks and the terror of arson, demonstrating their contempt for human life,“ the military statement said.

Hamas denies the allegation and Palestinians accuse Israel of using excessive force against protesters.

The boy’s father, Yasser Abu Abed, who suffered a leg injury, said they were among a hundred other protesters nearly 300 metres (1,000 feet) from the fence when Israeli forces opened fire. „We did not expect anything bad would happen as things were calm,“ he said.

(Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Russian Doomsday Nuclear Plan (Revelation 16)

Russia’s „Dead Hand“ Nuclear Doomsday Weapon is Back

Russia has a knack for developing weapons that—at least on paper—are terrifying: nuclear-powered cruise missiles, robot subs with 100-megaton warheads .

Perhaps the most terrifying was a Cold War doomsday system that would automatically launch missiles—without the need for a human to push the button—during a nuclear attack.

But the system, known as „Perimeter“ or “Dead Hand,” may be back and deadlier than ever.

This comes after the Trump administration announced that the United States is withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated the once-massive American and Russian stockpiles of short- and medium-range missiles. Donald Trump alleges that Russia has violated the treaty by developing and deploying new, prohibited cruise missiles.

This has left Moscow furious and fearful that America will once again, as it did during the Cold War, deploy nuclear missiles in Europe. Because of geographic fate, Russia needs ICBMs launched from Russian soil, or launched from submarines, to strike the continental United States. But shorter-range U.S. missiles based in, say, Germany or Poland could reach the Russian heartland.

Viktor Yesin, who commanded Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces in the 1990s, spoke of Perimeter/Dead Hand during an interview last month in the Russian newspaper Zvezda [Google English translation here]. Yesin said that if the United States starts deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will consider adopting a doctrine of a preemptive nuclear strike. But he also added this:

Zvezda: „Will we have time to answer if the flight time is reduced to two to three minutes when deploying medium-range missiles near our borders? In this version, all hope is only on Perimeter. And for a retaliatory strike. Or was Perimeter also disassembled for parts?

Yesin: „The Perimeter system is functioning, it has even been improved. But when it works, we will have little left – we can only launch those missiles that will survive after the first attack of the aggressor.“

It is not clear what Yesin meant when he said the system has been “improved,” or even exactly what he meant by “functioning.” Perimeter works by launching specially modified SS-17 ICBMs, which transmit a launch signal to regular nuclear-tipped ICBMs in their silos.

David Hoffman, author of “The Dead Hand,” the definitive book on Perimeter, describes Perimeter in this way:

“Higher authority” would flip the switch if they feared they were under nuclear attack. This was to give the “permission sanction.” Duty officers would rush to their deep underground bunkers, the hardened concrete globes, the shariki. If the permission sanction were given ahead of time, if there were seismic evidence of nuclear strikes hitting the ground, and if all communications were lost, then the duty officers in the bunker could launch the command rockets. If so ordered, the command rockets would zoom across the country, broadcasting the signal “launch” to the intercontinental ballistic missiles. The big missiles would then fly and carry out their retaliatory mission.

There have been cryptic clues over the years that Perimeter still exists. Which illustrates one of the curiosities of this system, which is that the Soviet Union kept its existence secret from the American enemy whom it was supposed to deter.

What is unmistakable is that Perimeter is a fear-based solution. Fear of a U.S. first-strike that would decapitate the Russian leadership before it could give the order to retaliate. Fear that a Russian leader might lose his nerve and not give the order.

And if Russia is now discussing Perimeter publicly, that’s reason for the rest of us to worry.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Creative Commons. 

Babylon the Great Asks for Iran to Stop Ballistic Missiles

FILE PHOTO: People walk near an Iranian-made missile during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran Feb

U.S. wants U.N. to ban nuclear ballistic missile work by Iran

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 1:12 p.m. CST

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States will push the U.N. Security Council to toughen its stance to prevent Iran from working on ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and carrying out test launches, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

Pompeo also told the Security Council an arms embargo on Iran should not be lifted in 2020 and called on the council to establish „inspection and interdiction measures, in ports and on the high seas, to thwart Iran’s continuing efforts to circumvent arms restrictions.“

„Iran is harboring al Qaeda, supporting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, arming terrorists in Lebanon, facilitating illicit trade in Somali charcoal benefiting al-Shabaab, and training and equipping Shia militias in Iraq,“ Pompeo said during the meeting on the implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Russia and China – which are council veto powers along with the United States, France and Britain – are unlikely to support the measures proposed by Pompeo. In February Russia vetoed an attempt by the West to have the Security Council call out Tehran in a resolution on Yemen.

Without naming countries, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused some council members of using Wednesday’s meeting „to discuss the so-called regional behavior of Iran, which they depict as though it were the only source of all the woes in the Middle East.“

„What they do not voice is any kind of a substantive proposal on this topic and sometimes we’re left with the impression that the only goal is to further escalate anti-Iran hysteria and to demonize Iran,“ Nebenzia told the council.

A 2015 U.N. resolution „called upon“ Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Some states argue that the language does not make it obligatory.

The United States wants the council to toughen that measure, Pompeo said, to reflect language in a 2010 resolution that left no room for interpretation by banning Iran from „activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.“

„This Security Council has a responsibility to protect citizens of the Middle East, Americans traveling through the Middle East, Europeans who are now at risk from Iranian missiles,“ Pompeo told reporters after the meeting.

The United States, Britain and France have accused Tehran of flouting the current U.N. restrictions on Tehran’s missile program by carrying out ballistic missile launches. Iran says the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Tehran’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Eshagh al-Habib accused Washington of an „addiction to sanctions and warmongering,“ saying Iran was in compliance with its commitments under a 2015 international nuclear deal, which the Trump administration withdrew from in May.

„What we heard today was another series of lies, fabrications, disinformation and deceptive statements by the U.S. It is not unprecedented,“ al-Habib told the council.

Most U.N. sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in January 2016 when the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under the nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions.

The U.N. sanctions and restrictions on Iran are contained in the 2015 resolution, which also enshrines the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. European powers have been scrambling to salvage the deal.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)