Sixth Seal: New York City (Revelation 6:12)

(Source: US Geological Survey)

New York State Geological Survey

Damaging earthquakes have occurred in New York and surely will again. The likelihood of a damaging earthquake in New York is small overall but the possibility is higher in the northern part of the state and in the New York City region.Significant earthquakes, both located in Rockaway and larger than magnitude 5, shook New York City in 1737 and 1884. The quakes were 147 years apart and the most recent was 122 year ago. It is likely that another earthquake of the same size will occur in that area in the next 25 to 50 years. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in New York City would probably not cause great loss of life. However the damage to infrastructure – buildings, steam and gas lines, water mains, electric and fiber optic cable – could be extensive.

Earthquake Hazard Map of New York State

Acceleration of the ground during an earthquake is more important than total movement in causing structural damage. This map shows the two-percent probability of the occurrence of an earthquake that exceeds the acceleration of earth’s gravity by a certain percentage in the next fifty years.

If a person stands on a rug and the rug pulled slowly, the person will maintain balance and will not fall. But if the rug is jerked quickly, the person will topple. The same principle is true for building damage during an earthquake. Structural damage is caused more by the acceleration of the ground than by the distance the ground moves.

Earthquake hazard maps show the probability that the ground will move at a certain rate, measured as a percentage of earth’s gravity, during a particular time. Motion of one or two percent of gravity will rattle windows, doors, and dishes. Acceleration of ten to twenty percent of gravity will cause structural damage to buildings. It takes more than one hundred percent of gravity to throw objects into the air.

Another Man Shot Outside the Temple Walls (Rev 11:2)

On 13 April 2019, Mohammed Hadayed, 18, a resident of Al-Naser village in north Rafah district, lost his life after he was shot with live fire in the back. At the time of the incident Hadayed was in a car with his father on the way home back from their farm. The shooting took place about a kilometer away from the fence with Israel in east Rafah.

Al Mezan has collected an affidavit from Hadayed’s brother, Bahaa, 22. The following is an extract from the affidavit:

“My father, Majed Hadayed, 55, has been selling water to farmers in agricultural areas near the fence in east Rafah for about six years. This is his job, and he goes daily to those areas and is occasionally accompanied by my brothers. People there are acquainted to them. At approximately 2:05am on Saturday, 13 April 2019, my father and Mohammed went to a farm that is about 800 meters away from the fence, near the Sofa military site. At 2:55am, my father called me, told me Mohammed had been in shock, and would go to the Gaza European Hospital. I rushed to the Hospital and met my father there. Following medical diagnosis, doctors told us Mohammed was shot with two live bullets in the back. The doctors tried to revive him, but he died 20 minutes after arrival at the hospital. My father told me that on their way to the hospital, they moved past a checkpoint of a Palestinian armed faction without stopping. At about 200 meters past that checkpoint, my father heard sounds of shooting, so he stopped the car and watched two armed men in uniform approach him. One man shouted at him for not stopping at the checkpoint as the armed men had instructed, but my father said he had not heard them. At that moment, my father noticed Mohammed went into shock but did not realize he had been wounded. He drove to the Hospital and only there learned Mohammed was wounded.”

“The police came to my father and listened to his testimony of the incident,” Bahaa added. “They have launched an investigation into the incident as my brother’s body was taken for forensic assessment at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on the order of the public prosecutor.”

Al Mezan expresses deep concern by this incident and demands that a complete and credible investigation is launched into it, and following the law in ensuring accountability and deterring this type of incidents and causing such grave harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Antichrist considers banning video games, citing a decline in society

A woman plays the Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) game on a Samsung Electronics Co Galaxy Note 9. Bloomberg

Iraq is considering banning video games, citing a decline in society

Mina AldroubiApril 14, 2019

Iraq is considering blocking online multiplayer computer games due to an increasing obsession that has triggered fears of violence, crime and a decline in society.

The cultural parliamentary committee submitted on Saturday a draft law that seeks to ban electronic games, in particular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and the Blue Whale that was reported to be an online “suicide game”.

“The committee is concerned about the obsession over these electronic games that ignite violence among children and youth. Its influence has spread rapidly among Iraq’s society,” the head of the committee, Sameaa Gullab, said during a press conference in Baghdad.

The request was submitted based on Article 59 of the constitution, she said.

Iraq’s 2005 constitution enshrines freedom of press and publication unless they “violate public order or morality.”

“We are proposing to parliament to block and ban all games that threaten social security, morality, education and all segments of Iraqi society,” Ms Gullab said.

Iraqi media reported incidents of suicide and divorce related to the games during the last year. In depth reporting by local media on the craze has announced it has led to nearly 40,000 divorces worldwide and more than 20 cases in Iraq.

“This issue requires immediate action by the authorities to ban this negative phenomenon through passing this draft legislation,” she said.

The draft law will now be revised by parliamentary speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi.

Iraq is facing a “youth bulge”, a demographic term applied to countries where the vast majority of the population is young, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Iraq’s young people makes up around 60 per cent of the country’s nearly 40 million population, and 17 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women are unemployed, according to World Bank figures.

PUBG has more than 400 million players across the world. It was developed by South Korean company Blue Hole and is based on a first-person shooter battle for survival format.

The game allegedly inspired an Iraqi teenager, 17, to commit suicide in January, Iraq’s Independent Human Rights Commission said in a statement.

The boy’s family said his death was a “wake up call for the dangers that Iraqi children are being exposed to”.

The development comes after Iraqi populist cleric, Muqtada Al Sadr, called for tighter government control to combat the “addiction”.

“It saddens me to see our youth are brainwashed by PUBG,” Mr Al Sadr said on Twitter.

“Iraq’s society is deteriorating as its youth are occupied by the fighting in PUBG’s battlefields,” he stressed.

Numerous Fatwas have been issued across the county, saying that wasting time on the game is “un-Islamic”.

But teenagers in Baghdad consider playing the game as a way to keep them indoors and away from violence outside.

“I have been playing PUBG for sometime now, I like it because it keeps me at home and away from trouble outside,” Hassan Ahmed Ali, 21, told The National.

Mr Ali says that parliament needs to consider a substitute for Iraqi youth to “keep us occupied”.

PUBG is banned in Nepal and in the state of Gujarat in India over its association with violence.

Updated: April 14, 2019 06:11 PM

The War Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

IDF troops face Palestinian protesters over the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip on March 30, a year after they began the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations. (photo credit:” AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

THE GAZA QUANDARY: WAR LOOMS ON THE HORIZON

By YOSSI MELMAN

This war is looming on the horizon and may break out very soon – in a matter of weeks or in the summer.

Regardless of the elections results this month and the subsequent slow and complicated political negotiation to form Israel’s 35th government in its 71 years since independence, the most important task that government will face will be to prevent a new war in Gaza. This war is looming on the horizon and may break out very soon – in a matter of weeks or in the summer.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) under the new Chief of Staff (COS) Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi is preparing itself for such an eventuality. Actually, all the war plans are ready. If a new round of violence erupts, it would the fourth war between Israel and Gaza in the last 10 years.

On the Israeli side, it will be an all-out ground offensive, using tanks, armored carriers, secret operations by special forces, with massive air bombardment and fire by gunboats from the sea. The Israeli forces will probably use targeted killing tactics.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) will respond by launching a few thousand rockets, which they have amassed since the last war in the summer of 2014. Since Gaza is under joint siege by both Israel and Egypt, preventing the smuggling of weapons from Sinai, most of the rockets are self-produced by Hamas and PIJ engineers and manufactured locally.

In the last few weeks, a few rockets were launched from Gaza, reaching Tel Aviv and 30 kilometers north of it. Hamas explained that they were launched “by mistake” or activated by lightning, which ignited and launched the rockets. Whether this is a genuine explanation or just a lie, it has demonstrated that Hamas’s rockets, even though they are not very accurate, have a range of up to 150 kilometers. They can reach and hit Israel’s major cities, including Beersheba in the south, Jerusalem in the east, Tel Aviv and its surroundings, as well as Ben-Gurion International Airport, and further north. Undoubtedly, they can inflict heavy damage on the Israeli home front.

The IDF’s goal will be to carve up the Gaza Strip, which is a relatively small enclave squeezed between Israel and Egypt. Its total size is 365 sq km (140 sq mi) – 10 km in width from the Israeli border to the Mediterranean – and 66 km in length.

Israel has completed construction of only half of its underground barrier with Gaza and an above-ground fence with electronic sensors and intelligence equipment. The other half will be finished in early 2020. But it is already assumed that most of the underground tunnels, which Hamas dug as its strategic weapon to infiltrate and shock Israel, have been exposed and destroyed by the IDF.

 

Nevertheless, even without the tunnels, Hamas, PIJ and the other small renegade Salafist Islamic groups present in Gaza can provide strong opposition to the superior military machine of Israel and inflict blows on its advancing troops.

According to the war plans, once Gaza is carved up – a maneuver which shouldn’t take more than 4-5 hours – the IDF will seal and encircle entire neighborhoods and villages, and engage in urban warfare moving from house to house to kill as many enemy combatants as possible, confiscating their weapons and destroying military bases and arms workshops. Such a battle in one of the most densely populated areas in the world (Gaza’s population is estimated to be almost 2 million) would be highly risky and costly to the civilian population and to combatants on both sides.

In the last war in 2014, Israel’s casualties were 68 soldiers and six civilians. On the Palestinian side, the figures are less precise. Some 2,500 Palestinians were killed – roughly half of them civilians and half combatants – some 11,000 homes were destroyed and about 400,000 people escaped from their homes. War game simulations conducted by the IDF and independent think tanks estimate that in the next war casualties on both sides will be much higher.

The main question, however, is what will be the exact instructions of the new government to the armed forces. Will the cabinet instruct the IDF to topple the Hamas regime? If it succeeds, and that is a big if, Hamas’s ideology is not going to disappear; so who will replace Hamas and form a new regime in Gaza?

The Palestinian Authority(PA)? It’s very unlikely that it will agree to be persuaded by Israeli army bayonets to go back and rule Gaza. An Arab international regime? The probability is low. Egypt, which ruled Gaza from 1948 to 1967, refused to take Gaza under its wings after signing its peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Nowadays, it is even more stubborn about not wanting to govern this almost ungovernable place.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that in his meetings with Arab leaders – not only from Egypt and Jordan, with whom Israel has peace treaties, but also from the rest of the Sunni world (I assume he was referring to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia) – he raised this possibility, but his counterparts rejected it on the spot.

Under such circumstances, if Israel conquers Gaza and topples Hamas, it will have only two real options. One is to withdraw and leave behind scorched earth, which will turn the area into a local version of al Qaeda or ISIS in the style of Somalia – with warlords, terror groups and chaos.

The other option looks no more promising. Israel will have to reinstate its military rule and administration to feed the people, and take care of their education, health services and daily needs. Not to mention that Israeli right-wing extremists will demand that the government rebuild Jewish settlements and colonize Gaza. This was the situation from 1967 for almost 40 years when, in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to launch his “disengagement plan,” in which Israel withdrew its troops, dismantled all settlements and handed over Gaza to the PA. A year and half later, Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody military coup against the PA.

Yet the war scenario is not inevitable. It’s not God’s will. It can be avoided. It depends on the new Israeli government that is formed.

The main reason that Israel and Hamas have found themselves in a new war of attrition since March 2018 is that both sides are not ready to compromise. There are a few serious problems separating the two sides from reaching a sensible agreement.

Israel demands that Gaza be demilitarized. Hamas refuses.

Israel requires as a precondition for a deal that the remains of two IDF soldiers and two citizens, who are most probably alive, will be returned. Hamas agrees but demands in return that Israel release from its prisons hundreds of its prisoners whom Israel calls terrorists and refuses to free.

Hamas also demands that the Israeli-Egyptian siege be lifted and that all available Arab and international money be transferred to them to increase the supply of electricity (today Gaza has electricity for 8-10 hours a day), make water drinkable, build new roads and sewers, open workshops and reduce unemployment, which is currently at a level of 50%.

No serious efforts have been made to break the deadlock. Both sides are entrenched in their positions. From the summer of 2014 to March 2018, the status quo prevailed and both sides of the border were relatively tranquil.

Hamas felt that Israel led by Netanyahu sanctioned the status quo and refused to negotiate. To break it, Hamas launched a war of attrition using incendiary kites sent to burn fields in Israel, mass marches and violent demonstrations, with occasional sniper fire and the launching of rockets. Israel retaliated by firing live ammunition at the protesters as well as heavy air force strikes, killing some 250 Palestinians. An IDF soldier and one foreign worker were also killed.

As a result, there have been vicious cycles of violence and counter violence, with sporadic ceasefires brokered by Egyptian intelligence. Until recently, this writer believed that the deadlock and lack of progress was mainly a result of Netanyahu’s lack of a policy. But new information points to the contrary. Netanyahu does have a very coherent policy based on a clear vision. Critics within his own Likud party described his consent to transfer $15 million (soon to be increased to $40 million) monthly from Qatar to Hamas as “protection” money and “a surrender to terrorism.”

Netanyahu replied that everyone who opposes a Palestinian state should support his policy of appeasing Hamas by showering it with Qatari money. So far, the Israeli prime minister hasn’t officially backed down from his 2009 commitment to a two-state solution.

But in his ideology, worldview and strategy, it’s clear that Netanyahu has done everything possible to prevent a unified Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and in Gaza. In his election campaign, he vowed to annex settlements in the West Bank if he wins. His actions bear witness to it. He refuses to negotiate with the PA and is trying to weaken it. While giving money to Hamas, he deprives the PA of half a billion shekels ($140 million) of its own money held by Israel tax authorities.

Netanyahu’s policy has been to divide and rule. He wishes to separate the Palestinians into two geographic entities and regimes and to create a wedge between them. By doing so he hopes to “kill” the notion of a Palestinian state, regardless of the heavy price the citizens of southern Israel pay for living in the shadow of instability and frequent outbursts of   violence. More worrisome is that Netanyahu is ready to enslave the future of Israel to fulfill his dream and vision.

If the next government does not reverse course, the fourth Gaza war will break out soon.

Why We Need to Worry About Bolton (Revelation 16)

John Bolton will become President Trump’s national security adviser in April. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Why conservatives are worried about John Bolton

Bolton’s approach to war is preventive, and I think it’s extremely dangerous.”

By Sean Illing on March 23, 2018 2:50 pmOn Thursday, President Trump announced that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster would be stepping down in April and that John Bolton, an extreme hawk and former ambassador to the UN, would replace him.

Liberals and Democrats do not like Bolton, and for rather obvious reasons. Among other things, he has advocated for preventive war with Iran and North Korea, championed — and still defends — the disastrous war in Iraq, wrote the foreword to a book by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, two prominent counter-jihadists, and has generally become the most hardline defender of military force on the American right.

But how is Bolton viewed in conservative circles? Is he aligned with mainstream Republicans, or is he too extreme?

I reached out to Tom Nichols, a professor of national security studies at Harvard and the Naval War College and the author of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, to find out.

Nichols is a conservative who previously advised Republican Sen. John Heinz (who died in 1991) on defense and security affairs. I wanted to know what he thought of Bolton, and if he’s as worried as people on the left are.

A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.

Sean Illing

What was your initial reaction to Bolton’s appointment?

Tom Nichols

I don’t think anyone can be surprised. This is one of the few moves that Trump has been telegraphing for months. I’ve been dreading it, but I figured it was going to happen sooner or later, and not because of who Bolton is or what he believes but because he’s on television a lot, and the president appears to watch a lot of television.

To be clear, what Bolton believes and what the president ran on are diametrically opposed. So it’s not like Trump has found his soulmate in Bolton. At some point, you run out of options and serious people willing to take the job, so, naturally, Trump turns to someone on TV.

Sean Illing

It may strike some readers as odd to hear that Trump’s campaign vision and Bolton’s worldview are diametrically opposed.

Tom Nichols

Bolton’s philosophy is to extinguish all threats to the US by extending military force at will. Trump ran on “America First” and called the Iraq War stupid, whereas Bolton continues to defend the Iraq War and believes that we should stomp out danger wherever we think it will appear. So you’re either an isolationist guy, or you’re an elephant roaming the field stomping on every mouse that scares you, and Bolton is the latter.

“ MY BIGGEST FEAR IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WAS, ‘WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE COMPETENT?’”

Sean Illing

The word neocon is being tossed about a lot, but Bolton isn’t really a neocon because he doesn’t seem to care about promoting democracy abroad; he just wants to use American power to advance American interests, including waging preventative wars.

Tom Nichols

You’ve got it exactly right: Neocons are about using American force not just for interests, but to establish certain values and changes around the world.

I don’t think Bolton is a neocon because he doesn’t seem to care about democracy promotion; he’s an advocate of preventive war, which means acting way in advance to stomp out a perceived threat — that’s significantly different than preemptive war, which is about neutralizing an imminent threat.

Bolton’s approach to war is preventive, and I think it’s extremely dangerous.

Sean Illing

How is Bolton viewed in conservative foreign policy circles?

Tom Nichols

The hard right doesn’t like him because he’s not really an isolationist. The Bush-era people thought highly enough of him to make him UN ambassador, but nothing else. He’s developed this reputation as a master in-fighter, someone who can navigate the bureaucracy. But for a master in-fighter, he sure has been kept out of power for the last 20 years.

As far as I can tell, his reputation is that he’s a brilliant guy, but very strange in his views and more extreme than most conservatives. His threshold for going to war is much, much lower than most people on the right.

Sean Illing

The national security adviser’s job is to ensure that the president hears the views of the entire national security establishment, in order to help him or her make the best decision. An ideologue like Bolton seems like the worst person to have in that role, mostly because he’s likely to filter out facts and views that don’t align with his worldview.

Tom Nichols

In fairness, the NSA is almost always someone with an agenda. We’ve had very few truly honest brokers in this position, in part because the job is so loosely defined. Basically, the NSA position is whatever the president wants it to be. But if part of the job is to be the gatekeeper among all the competing institutional interests around the president, then Bolton is a terrible choice.

Sean Illing

Does Bolton’s appointment make war with North Korea or Iran more likely?

Tom Nichols

I think he’ll want to go to war, but I’m not convinced that he’ll succeed. Washington’s a big place with a pretty strong bureaucracy, and there’s an entire defense department that Bolton won’t control. Also, the Trump White House is chaotic. My biggest fear in the early days of the Trump administration was, “What would happen if all these people were competent? What happens if Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon turn out to be smart and effective?

But they were all swallowed by the chaos of the administration, and got very little done. So I’m not convinced that Bolton is going to magically bring all this coherence to the West Wing. What he will be able to do is snuff out a lot of dissenting voices because of his proximity to the president, and that is certainly a concern.

Sean Illing

I guess the major worry is that nearly all of the so-called “adults in the room” have been purged. Defense Secretary James Mattis is the only man left standing at this point. That might increase Bolton’s influence.

Tom Nichols

Yes, that worries me. But I think a lot depends on who would replace Mattis in the event that he leaves. Historically, when there’s a clash between the defense secretary and the NSA, the defense secretary wins. The NSA is not in anyone’s chain of command, so he can’t start a war or order a strike. He’s merely an adviser to the president, and so his influence is constrained at an institutional level.

So people don’t need to panic right now. There might come a time when we should panic over what Bolton is telling the president, but I think it’s too early for that now. Concerned? Yes. Panicked? No.

Let’s wait and see if Bolton is actually able to accomplish anything.

[Author’s note: Nichols is speaking here in a personal capacity, and not as a representative of the US government or the Naval War College.]

Earthquake Felt in New York Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Minor earthquake in New York felt in Delaware Valley | 6abc.com

PHILADELPHIA — A minor earthquake was recorded Tuesday off the South Shore of Long Island, New York.

And even though the quake had a low impact, a handful of people from our area say they felt it.

A map shows the areas impacted by the earthquake when it struck yesterday morning just before 7:30 a.m.

The little boxes on the map represent where the quake was felt.

A few people in Delaware, and around Trenton and Philadelphia, reported feeling slight shaking.

Experts say these types of earthquake happen from time to time on the East Coast but there is no reason for concern.