New York Quake Overdue (The Sixth Seal) (Rev 6:12)

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Won-Young Kim, who runs the seismographic network for the Northeast at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said the city is well overdue for a big earthquake.

The last big quake to hit New York City was a 5.3-magnitude tremor in 1884 that happened at sea in between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook. While no one was killed, buildings were damaged.

Kim said the city is likely to experience a big earthquake every 100 years or so.

“It can happen anytime soon,” Kim said. “We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

New York has never experienced a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, which are the most dangerous. But magnitude 5 quakes could topple brick buildings and chimneys.

Seismologist John Armbruster said a magnitude 5 quake that happened now would be more devastating than the one that happened in 1884.

Forebodings of War Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Image result for gazaForebodings of war?

Less than a month before Israelis go to the polls, warnings of war appear – but Israel’s Left still supports creating a Palestinian state.

The security situation became a more central issue in Israeli politics this week due to a number of new terrorist attacks and attempted attacks. A car ramming attack took place near Elazar. One Israeli youngster was severely wounded, his sister, moderately so. The IDF thwarted an infiltration attempt from Gaza killing five armed Palestinian terrorists. Several rockets were fired from Gaza. Arson that began in Lebanon while the wind was blowing toward Israel spread fires close to Israels Northern border.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reacted by saying that Israel will embark if needed on a wide scale campaign in the Gaza Strip irrespective of the upcoming elections. He said so at Ben Gurion airport on his way to Ukraine for a two day trip.

In reaction to an earlier lethal terrorist attack, Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked said that the government should act to stop the transfer of payments to convicted terrorists by the Palestinian Authority. She and another prominent candidate of her list, Naftali Bennett also asked the government to annex the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements.

Shaked came out strongly against a report in the Haaretz daily. It claimed that she had offered Netanyahu assistance in obtaining immunity from prosecution in return for him to allow her to become a candidate for Likud in the elections. She said that she never spoke to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit about criminal probes of politicians especially not about Netanyahu.

Many election polls have so far been published. If one does not take into account MK Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu – neither the government nor the combined opposition parties have a majority. Yet there seems to be hardly any compelling reason to cause voters from either block to switch sides.

This stimulates the competition between the Likud and Blue and White who will receive the most seats. In the April elections both ended up with 35 MKs. Neither of them approaches this figure in any of the current polls. That is particularly bad for the Likud as it has absorbed the Kulanu party led by Moshe Kahlon which gained an additional four seats in April.

While the efforts to draw people in from the opposite camp seem to have failed, there are claims that the two big parties are trying to draw voters away from their potential allies. For the Likud that means that the right-wing Yamina is a target. The Democratic Union list leader, Nitzan Horowitz has accused Blue and White that it aims to draw away his voters.

The Ynet site published that Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz had hired a firm to find out who was leaking confidential information from his list. The site reported that a leading person from the Yesh Atid party which is part of the Blue and White list was the culprit. This story once again raises the question whether the Yesh Atid component of Blue and White and the factions led by Gantz and MK Moshe Yaalon will stay together after the election.

Likud Labor and Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz has resigned from the cabinet. The Attorney General had announced his intention to indict him on charges of fraud and breach of trust. Katz will remain an MK and is expected to be re-elected in the September elections.

State Attorney Shai Nitzan has recommended to Mandelblit to indict Interior Minister and leader of the haredi Shas party Aryeh Deri for tax crimes, fraud, money laundering and obstruction crimes. Deri has an earlier criminal record.

Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, has stated that if his list would join a center-left coalition, it would ask for a freeze on settlement construction except for major settlement blocks, close to the pre-1967 green line. It would also insist on peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as an immediate priority for the government, with the aim of the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Horowitz suggested about Gaza that it was a small enclave with millions of people who have no other option than to throw missiles at Israel and carry out terrorist acts. The list’s third candidate, former IDF deputy chief of staff Yair Golan, has said that Israel should cooperate with Hamas to stabilize the security situation for the residents of southern Israel.

Parties can pool excess votes, not required for their seats. This may enable one of them to get an extra seat. Yisrael Beytenu and Blue and White have entered in such a surplus-vote sharing agreement. It has also become known that Yisrael Beytenu leader Liberman has met before the municipal elections in Jerusalem in 2013 with the since then deceased leader of the radical ultra-orthodox faction rabbi Shmuel Auerbach. This in order to gain support for Liberman’s candidate for the mayoralty Moshe Lion. Liberman is running the current campaign of his party expressing major opposition to the haredim.

The Likud has joined a court appeal from the far-right Otzma Yehudit party to the Supreme Court. They want to exclude the Joint Arab list from competing in the election. The Likud said that it was opposed to Knesset members who incite to violence or support terror, This is what one of the components of the joint Arab list – Balad – has done in the past.

Professor Manfred Gerstenfeld is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

The First Nuclear Winter (Revelation 8:6)

Regional nuclear war could trigger global cooling and famine

February 23, 2011

By Charles Q. Choi

A nuclear bomb explodes in a test on the Mururoa atoll in French Polynesia in the early seventies.

Photograph from AP

Even a regional nuclear war could spark “unprecedented” global cooling and reduce rainfall for years, according to U.S. government computer models.

Widespread famine and disease would likely follow, experts speculate.

During the Cold War a nuclear exchange between superpowers—such as the one feared for years between the United States and the former Soviet Union—was predicted to cause a “nuclear winter.”

In that scenario hundreds of nuclear explosions spark huge fires, whose smoke, dust, and ash blot out the sun for weeks amid a backdrop of dangerous radiation levels. Much of humanity eventually dies of starvation and disease.

Today, with the United States the only standing superpower, nuclear winter is little more than a nightmare. But nuclear war remains a very real threat—for instance, between developing-world nuclear powers, such as India and Pakistan.

To see what climate effects such a regional nuclear conflict might have, scientists from NASA and other institutions modeled a war involving a hundred Hiroshima-level bombs, each packing the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT—just 0.03 percent of the world’s current nuclear arsenal. (See a National Geographic magazine feature on weapons of mass destruction.)

The researchers predicted the resulting fires would kick up roughly five million metric tons of black carbon into the upper part of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.

In NASA climate models, this carbon then absorbed solar heat and, like a hot-air balloon, quickly lofted even higher, where the soot would take much longer to clear from the sky.

Reversing Global Warming?

The global cooling caused by these high carbon clouds wouldn’t be as catastrophic as a superpower-versus-superpower nuclear winter, but “the effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change,” research physical scientist Luke Oman said during a press briefing Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

Earth is currently in a long-term warming trend. After a regional nuclear war, though, average global temperatures would drop by 2.25 degrees F (1.25 degrees C) for two to three years afterward, the models suggest.

At the extreme, the tropics, Europe, Asia, and Alaska would cool by 5.4 to 7.2 degrees F (3 to 4 degrees C), according to the models. Parts of the Arctic and Antarctic would actually warm a bit, due to shifted wind and ocean-circulation patterns, the researchers said.

After ten years, average global temperatures would still be 0.9 degree F (0.5 degree C) lower than before the nuclear war, the models predict.

Years Without Summer

For a time Earth would likely be a colder, hungrier planet.

“Our results suggest that agriculture could be severely impacted, especially in areas that are susceptible to late-spring and early-fall frosts,” said Oman, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“Examples similar to the crop failures and famines experienced following the Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 could be widespread and last several years,” he added. That Indonesian volcano ushered in “the year without summer,” a time of famines and unrest. (See pictures of the Mount Tambora eruption.)

All these changes would also alter circulation patterns in the tropical atmosphere, reducing precipitation by 10 percent globally for one to four years, the scientists said. Even after seven years, global average precipitation would be 5 percent lower than it was before the conflict, according to the model.

In addition, researcher Michael Mills, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, found large decreases in the protective ozone layer, leading to much more ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth’s surface and harming the environment and people.

“The main message from our work,” NASA’s Oman said, “would be that even a regional nuclear conflict would have global consequences.” 

PUBLISHED February 23, 2011

Australia Will Join the Nuclear Weapons Club (Daniel 7)

Should Australia join the nuclear weapons club?

Insights Magazine

Australia has long been an advocate of nuclear disarmament and has been an active party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But, unlike New Zealand, it has not signed on to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In fact, its attitude has been very negative so far. If we believe it is possible to restore the world to a nuclear-weapon-free state, and that we must work towards this for the sake of generations to come, we must encourage the Australian government to sign on to this treaty and encourage like-minded governments to do the same, and to work together to persuade states with nuclear weapons to join together in renouncing them.

Elizabeth A Evatt AC, Lawyer and jurist: First Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia

The Australian Government is currently being urged to become a member of the nuclear-armed nations. Professor Hugh White is promoting a debate on Australia acquiring its own nuclear arsenal, despite our 45-year commitment to nuclear disarmament under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.

White proposed that Australian nuclear weapons “would be aimed at cities, they would be aimed to impose massive damage on an adversary to deter them from using nuclear weapons against us.”  In response, human rights lawyer Diana Sayed drew attention to the devastating humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, noting that such a course of action “would trigger a nuclear arms race in our region… The fact that Australia would be entertaining this thought is unfathomable and unconscionable to me and it goes against everything in international law”.

This debate is a dangerous distraction from the difficult yet crucial task of eliminating nuclear weapons. The next step Australia must take is to reject the flawed notion of nuclear deterrence and join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Nuclear weapons are never a legitimate means of defence.

During August the new ICAN report, featuring contributions from international legal experts, faith groups, parliamentarians, unions, poets and lawyers has been launched around Australia,  In Newcastle the report was introduced on Sunday 4th August following the annual  Hiroshima Service of Commemoration, organised by Christians for Peace. Local churches are giving strong support to signing the Treaty.

In the Foreword to the ICAN Report, Gillian Triggs, the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission writes:

The danger of nuclear war is growing. The more we learn about the catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, the worse it looks. Nine nations possess some fourteen thousand nuclear weapons.1 Eighteen hundred of them stand poised and ready to launch within minutes. As long as they exist, nuclear weapons pose the most acute existential threat that human beings have created for ourselves and for all species with whom we share planet Earth.

Humanity has made substantial progress towards eliminating other indiscriminate and inhumane weapons – chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. Evidence of the indiscriminate and unacceptable consequences of these weapons provided the necessary motivation to outlaw them.

In a statement entitled, Seeking a Just and Peaceful World, which is contained in the Report, the Rev. Rob Floyd, Associate General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia, declares:

“The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has a long commitment to working for a world free from nuclear weapons.  As a proud member of ICAN, we have continued to call upon our political leaders to work towards a ban on nuclear weapons.

The UCA believes that God in Jesus came to make peace. As Christians, we are called by God to love our neighbours and to work for an end to violence and fear in our world.

The destructive power of nuclear weapons threatens all life on this planet. We believe that reliance upon nuclear weapons to attain peace and security is entirely contrary to God’s creative will for the world.

In our recent 2019 statement, Our Vision for a Just Australia,we called on the Australian Government to sign the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty as part of Australia’s contribution to a just and peaceful world.

It is the first Treaty to comprehensively outlaw nuclear weapons and sets out a pathway for their total elimination.  We maintain that reliance on weapons for peace and security can never achieve a just and lasting peace. Rather, we seek to build a world transformed by hope, peace and justice where the sacredness of all life is protected.

In a letter to then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in 2015, the Uniting Church Assembly highlighted the urgency of a ban on nuclear weapons. ‘To ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again, they must be eliminated. To eliminate them, they must be banned.’

Rev. Floyd concludes, “We continue to pray that those who seek security in nuclear weapons may discover that genuine security can only be achieved through non-violent means.”

ICAN, founded in Melbourne in 2007. Now an international movement, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its work in developing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Report urges the Australian Government to continue the established tradition of our country’s support for similar UN Treaties.  We have been leaders in the banning of biological weapons (1972), chemical weapons (1993), land mines (1997), and cluster munitions (2008). It is time to join over 130 nations which have already given their support to the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Doug Hewitt is a member of Christians for Peace Newcastle

How Israel is Trying to Provoke an Iran-US War

Why is Israel striking pro-Iran outfits in Iraq?

Israel is using Iraq as a staging ground for its proxy battles with Iran – and Iraq can do nothing to stop it.

A string of airstrikes over the past month targeting facilities run by pro-Iran Shia militias fighting under the umbrella of the quasi-official Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) has really stirred the hornet’s nest in Iraq.

Previously untouched and unscathed, the PMF enjoyed total freedom to move, set up checkpoints, run their own detention camps, and got a taste of the national defence budget and the largely US-supplied armoury.

Now, senior Iraqi Shia militant leaders are in a panic because they are being targeted by an old and largely untouchable enemy – Israel.

Drone strikes are probably Israeli

The airstrikes appear to carry all the hallmarks of a sophisticated Israeli drone campaign.

The first attack occurred a month ago at the al Shuhada military base near Amerli in Iraq’s northern Salahuddin governorate. Reports suggest that an armed drone struck an Iranian ballistic missile shipment heading to Syria that was being concealed in trucks used to transport refrigerated food. One Iraqi and two Iranians were said to have been killed in that strike.

The second attack occurred at the end of July, this time striking Iranian targets in Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border and just 40 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. Iranian “military advisors” and ballistic missiles that had just arrived in Iraq from Iran were targeted.

The third attack took place last week in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, with the al Saqr military base being the primary target, killing one person and wounding 29 others.

Al Saqr is in the southwest of Baghdad and is controlled by the Iran-backed PMF. ImageSat International, an Israeli satellite imagery analysis company, has said that the explosion was probably “caused by an airstrike”.

The latest and final strike happened on Tuesday night and was again in Salahuddin, but this time targeting a PMF arms depot at Balad Airbase 64 kilometres north of Baghdad. Footage from outside the base showed billowing clouds of black smoke rising into the air.

While Iraqi police speculated that the “mysterious” explosions were caused by faulty equipment and the extreme heat of an Iraqi summer, an Iraqi parliamentary fact-finding mission concluded that this was not the case and that an unidentified drone was responsible for the explosion. Media are now quoting US officials as confirming that Israel was behind at least the third strike.

The likelihood that the rest of these strikes are also Israeli is quite high. While PMF commanders have blamed both the US and Israel for the strikes, it is unlikely that the Pentagon has struck these targets.

After all, Washington provided extensive close air support to these militias that were operating as part of the federal police and other units infiltrated by Iran-sponsored outfits during the fighting against Daesh. In other words, the US facilitated and protected militants linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a military force it has now designated in its entirety as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

However, it is likely that the US was informed of Israeli intentions and simply stood aside and let the airstrikes take place. While not exactly the same, the United States was also aware of Israel’s Operation Opera in 1981 where it bombed Iraq’s light water Osirak nuclear reactor, ironically with Iranian intelligence assistance and cooperation. When it comes to its favourite ally’s “national security”, the White House will rarely say no to Israel.

Iraqi “countermeasures” will fail

These strikes are ultimately about Israel’s national security interests. Last year, Tel Aviv signalled that it considered Iraq as an elevated security risk and could target Iranian military assets in the country.

As Iran is continuing to use Iraq as a logistics hub and nexus to smuggle ballistic missiles from Iran to its proxies in Syria and Lebanon, it is unsurprising that Israel would rather strike earlier up the logistics chain rather than wait for these missiles to come closer to its borders in the Levant.

As a result of the strikes, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has revoked all licenses for foreign military aircraft to operate in Iraqi airspace without his direct and prior consent and has also ordered all munitions dumps to be moved outside of heavily populated areas.

The PMF’s deputy commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, blacklisted as a terrorist by the US, has also threatened to use military force against both American and Israeli assets.

Although national security chief Faleh al Fayyadh has walked back from Muhandis’ threats, Muhandis controls his own militia independently of the PMF and can, therefore, act unilaterally with the IRGC’s permission and support.

That said, Iraq is incapable of policing its own airspace, quite apart from the fact that the PMF lack’s the capability to stop any future attacks. It is clear Israel sought no permission to strike these targets in Iraq and would never do so even if Baghdad demanded it, much as it conducts airstrikes in Syria against other Iranian targets and ballistic missile shipments.

Also, the Iraqi government will find it impossible to enforce its own rules over its airspace as Iraq lacks its own early warning detection systems and its anti-air defences are sparse and lack the capability to intercept advanced unmanned and manned aircraft like those used by the Israeli Air Force and suspected of being used in these four separate attacks.

Iraq has relied almost exclusively on the United States for air defence and, without the White House’s cooperation, it is highly unlikely Iraq will be able to curtail Israeli designs.

Until Iraq gets out from under both the thumb of the United States and Iran, it can never enforce its own sovereignty. It also continues to leave itself open to attack by allowing – or being powerless to prevent – Iranian use of Iraq as a distribution hub to transport men, material, and cash to its proxies.

This means that, as long as Tehran continues to move military resources through Iraq, Israel will likely continue to strike targets as and when it deems necessary, and the US will do nothing to stop them.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT World.

We welcome all pitches and submissions to TRT World Opinion – please send them via email, to opinion.editorial@trtworld.com

Tallha Abdulrazaq is an award-winning academic and writer, with a specialism in Middle Eastern strategic and security affairs.

The New Cold War (Daniel 7)

What is Russia hiding after ‘Skyfall’ radioactive blast?

23.08.2019

After an explosion at a Russian missile-testing site led to a surge in radiation, five monitoring stations went offline. This did not happen by chance, experts say.

Concern is growing that the Russian authorities are covering up the scale of the explosion at a military site outside Severodvinskon August 8. It emerged this week that five local monitoring stations had gone offline in the aftermath of the accident. This was reported by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), a Vienna based independent group which operates an international network of radiation monitoring stations. The CTBTO funds the stations in Russia, which are run by the country’s Defense Ministry.

The data recorded by these stations is automatically shared with the CTBTO and other members of the organization in accordance with an agreement signed by 184 countries to ban all nuclear testing, which Russia has ratified. However, because countries such as North Korea and Iran have refused to ratify it, the agreement has yet to become binding, a spokesperson for the CTBTO told DW.

The military site near the White Sea’s closed waters

The route of the radiation clouds

At first, Russia attributed the problem with the radiation monitoring stations to an error in their communication system. But later the country’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said that handing over the data from the stations to the CTBTO is a “completely voluntary” activity.

Experts interviewed by DW were convinced that the shutdown of the stations was directly connected to the blast outside Severodvinsk and that the Russian government was concealing information on the incident.

Lassina Zerbo, the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary, was one of the first to link the failure of the stations to the explosion. In a tweet, Zerbo published a map of how the radioactive clouds could have dispersed, based on weather conditions in the days after the blast. According to the model he outlined, the clouds would have travelled almost exclusively over Russian territory.

Which monitoring stations went offline

There are seven radiation monitoring stations in Russia working with the CTBTO. “The fact that four or five of them went offline can indicate that these stations were deliberately switched off because they were the ones which encounter air mass approaching from Sveverodvisnk,” said Michael Schöppner, a scientist with the Institute for Safety/Security and Risk Sciences (ISR) based in Vienna and working closely with CTBTO.

Two of the stations that went offline are located in the towns of Dubna and Kirov in the European part of Russia. The others are those in Peledui and Bilibino in the country’s far East and the one in Zalesovo in the Altai Region. According to the CTBTO, two of the stations, Peledui and Bilibino, have since come back online.

“The pattern is fairly suspicious: The stations most likely to detect the plume based on CTBTO’s modeling are down,” tweeted Jeffrey Lewis, a scientist at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

His projections maintain that contact only remained with the stations in the far eastern part of the country, where there were no chances of recording heightened levels of radiation. “Making guilty parties act guilty is an under-appreciated aspect of verification,” Lewis wrote on Twitter.

‘Not a second Chernobyl’

After the explosion, the radiation level in some parts of Severodvinsk increased 16-fold, according to the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, Roshydromet. Schöppner admitted that this sounds alarming, but, he told DW, doesn’t pose any threat.

“If the information that the maximum level of radiation did not reach more than 2 micro Sieverts an hour is correct, then this won´t be harmful to human health,” he said. “This is a smaller dose of radiation than you get per hour on a trans-Atlantic flight.”

The dose of radiation a passenger receives while flying from Frankfurt to New York amounts to 32 to 75 micro Sieverts. The amount of radiation an employee at Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom is exposed to — according to official data — totals 1.65 micro Sieverts an hour. The spike of the radiation level that followed the blast “was apparently a minimum increase in radiation levels which won’t have a negative effect on the local population. This absolutely wasn’t a second Chernobyl,” Schöppner said.

Is Russia hiding evidence?

What’s more, he went on, any device using radioactive materials leaves a radioactive imprint. “If an expert knows which isotopes were measured in which proportion, he can tell what kind of a nuclear accident it was,” he told DW.

Russian authorities released no information on whether a cruise missile was being tested at the Nyonoksa test side outside Severidvinsk. But staff at the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov say it could have either been a rocket with a mini-reactor, Burevestnik, or a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), also known as a “nuclear battery.”

According to experts at the James Martin Center in Monterey, a failed Burevestnik (which NATO refers to as Skyfall) cruise missile testcaused the blast near Severodvinsk. Anne Pellegrino, an expert at the center, suggested that by switching off the monitoring stations, Russia was trying to prevent information about the accident from leaking.

“It appears that Russia stopped transmitting data collected at radionuclide stations to the CTBTO in the days after the incident. The assumption being that it did not want others to have access to potential information about a radiation release at Nyonoksa,” she told DW.

It is likely that the stations continued to record data but didn’t pass on the results to the International Data Center, Pellegrino added.

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

Mikhail Bushuev, Julia Lasica

More than 100 Palestinians Injured Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

A Palestinian man uses a slingshot to hurl stones during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces along the border  on Friday. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI

More than 100 Palestinians injured in Gaza border protests – UPI.com

Aug. 23 (UPI) — More than 100 Palestinians sustained injuries — at least two critically — after clashing with Israeli troops in protests at the Gaza-Israel border Friday, Gaza health officials said.

Palestinian news agency WAFA reported 127 people were injured, 54 by live bullets and 73 by rubber bullets or tear gas. Of those injured, two were in critical condition.

The injuries came after thousands of Palestinians gathered at the border for demonstrations. Hamas urged protesters to keep the protests peaceful and Israel Defense Forces told troops to restrain use of live fire.

Some Palestinians used slingshots to hurl stones, while IDF troops fired upon the demonstrators using live and rubber bullets, and tear gas.

The demonstrators were taking part in weekly Friday protests at locations along the border. The demonstrations, named the Great March of Return, call for the return of refugees to their homes and lands from which they were displaced in 1948.

The Gaza Health Ministry said more than 300 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds of thousands injured since the protests began March 30, 2018.

A Nuclear Race to the End (Revelation 8)

How the world stumbled into the start of a full-blown nuclear arms race

What will history remember of this latest unhinged period in the presidency of Donald Trump?

Will it be the disaster of this weekend’s G7 summit in France, which Trump’s bumptiousness will surely set off?

Or will it be his inane quarrel with the Danish prime minister over whether Greenland is for sale?

Or, perhaps, it will be his astonishing anti-Semitic smear that American Jews are being “disloyal” to Israel when they vote Democratic, and against him.

Actually, the winner this time will be “none of the above.” Instead, it will be something far more ominous.

Like so many bizarre moments in Trump’s reality show, most of his theatrics will be dismissed in history as mere distractions created to blind us to what really matters.

What really matters is the survival of the planet, and there have been events in recent days that indicate we now have genuine reason to worry.

In addition to the deepening climate crisis, the world appears — without much fanfare — to have stumbled into the start of a full-blown nuclear arms race that may make the Cold War of the last century a relic of a less threatening past.

That is what historians may remember from this moment in Trump’s presidency.

In both the United States and Russia, there are signs that uncontrolled global nuclear tensions have returned, and the risk of nuclear warfare in other dangerous parts of the world is at an all-time high.

Last Monday, the Pentagon confirmed that the U.S. had just tested a cruise missile that would have been banned in a 1987 nuclear arms treaty with Russia that recently collapsed after Washington withdrew from it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the U.S. test as evidence of “new threats” to Russia and promised that “we will react accordingly.”

But Putin has been having trouble himself dealing with the nuclear issue. In what some Russian media outlets are describing as “Putin’s Chernobyl,” he has been vague about a mysterious nuclear explosion inside Russia earlier this month.

Information is slowly leaking out about the failure of a top-secret missile test where at least five Russian nuclear scientists were killed, and record high radiation levels were experienced.

Similar to the American missile test, it was a dramatic sign that these two countries are now deeply involved in the development of advanced nuclear weapons.

But unlike the Cold War of the 20th century, there are now far more global nuclear dangers than simply these two historic rivals.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un successfully duped Trump during their face-to-face summits and is gradually building up his country’s nuclear arsenal, threatening South Korea and Japan.

India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed rivals, are threatening war if the explosive issue of Kashmir is not resolved.

And the Middle East — no longer restrained by the United States — is on the brink of a potential nuclear arms race involving Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.

The wider context for these new nuclear threats is that worldwide military spending last year underwent a boom — particularly by Trump’s America.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the U.S. in 2018 raised its military expenditure for the first time in seven years, spending almost as much on defence as the next eight countries on the list combined.

Trump’s administration has been particularly focused on ripping up any agreement concerning nuclear arms control.

The U.S. has pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and abandoned the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. This leaves only one major treaty — which expires in February 2021 — providing formal restraint on the world’s major nuclear arsenals.

The leaders of America’s military forces reportedly support extension of this treaty, but Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, does not. Bolton sees these international agreements as constraints on American power and says that it is “highly unlikely” the U.S. will continue with it beyond 2021.

That, of course, only applies if Trump is re-elected.

With the survival of the planet at stake — as the risks of climate change and nuclear warfare increase — that makes the 2020 U.S. presidential election an even more crucial moment in history.