Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Revelation 6:12)

New York Times


JULY 17, 2014

Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”

The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.

Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.

“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”

Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”

He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.

The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.

A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.

Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”

Pakistani vows nuclear response to India over Kashmir

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he addresses the Azad Kashmir parliament on Pakistan’s 72nd Independence Day in Muzaffarabad

Pakistan vows ‘fullest possible response’ to India over Kashmir

Friday, September 06, 2019 12:27 a.m. CDT

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan will make the fullest possible response to India’s actions in disputed Kashmir and the global community would be responsible for any “catastrophic” aftermath, Imran Khan, the prime minister of the Muslim-majority nation, said on Friday.

The rhetoric on the annual Defence Day remembrance of Pakistan’s fighters in a 1965 war with India underscores rising tension between the nuclear-armed foes after New Delhi last month revoked the autonomy of its part of disputed Kashmir.

“I have informed the world that Pakistan does not want war, but at the same time, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the challenges posed to its security and integrity,” Khan said in a statement on the website of state-run Radio Pakistan.

“We are prepared to give the enemy the fullest possible response. Failing, the world community will be responsible for the catastrophic aftermath,” he added.

This week Khan had said war between the South Asian neighbors was a risk, but Pakistan would not act first.

Khan has led a vigorous international diplomatic campaign seeking the support of the United States, former colonial power Britain and others to press India over the Himalayan region, but his Hindu-majority neighbor has ruled out outside involvement.

Pakistan will never abandon Kashmir, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told a defense function in the city of Rawalpindi.

“We are ready to give sacrifice for our Kashmiri brothers, will fulfill our duty till last bullet, last soldiers and last breath,” he said in a televised speech. “And we are prepared to go till any extent.”

India flooded the Kashmir valley with troops, restricted movements and cut off communication as Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew special rights for Kashmir on Aug. 5.

Indian-controlled Kashmir lost its right to frame its own laws and non-residents were allowed to buy property there in changes the government said would drive development and pull the region into line with the rest of the nation.

The neighbors have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Syed Raza Hasan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Antichrist threatens to ‘disown’ Iraqi government

Sadr threatens to ‘disown’ Iraqi gov’t after proposed militia air force announced

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said late Wednesday that he would oppose the federal government if it does not act against a recent disputed order by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias, also called the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), to form an air force branch of their own.

“If the government does not crack down, I declare my disownment” of it, Sadr tweeted, in an apparent response to a document circulated online earlier that day that was signed by PMF Deputy Chairman Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis that ordered the establishment of an “Air Force Directorate” for the militia groups.

Sadr did not mention Muhandis by name, but said that the move represented “a declaration of the end of the Iraqi government and a shift from a state that is controlled by law to a state of chaos.”

The firebrand cleric, the head of one of two leading coalitions in the Iraqi parliament, is an influential figure in national politics. He has long called for the integration of PMF militias into Iraq’s security apparatus.

This comes as a rift among the militia groups now highlighting their ultimate loyalties is becoming a greater issue on the national stage.

Muhandis, close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), named Salah Mahdi Hantoush as acting director the air force. Both men are designated as global terrorists by the US.

Following the order, the official PMF webpage said it had not sought the formation of an “airforce command” for its paramilitary groups. PMF chairman and Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyadh has previously disputed statements of Muhandis, although both have claimed to speak on behalf of the militias.

A source familiar with the issue stated on Thursday that the letter ordering the creation of the military force was an authentic PMF document but that Muhandis had made the decision “unilaterally,” meaning he had not consulted Fayyadh.

In late August, Muhandis claimed in a PMF statement that Israel was responsible for recent airstrikes on militia facilities in Iraq and said the US was also culpable, claiming its forces had transported four Israeli drones into the country.

Hours later, Fayyadh issued his own statement, saying Muhandis’ comments did not represent the official position of the Iraqi government.

Editing by John J. Catherine

More Fire Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

A firefighter attempts to extinguish the blaze caused by a rocket outside Sderot, September 6, 2019. Eliahu Hershkowitz

Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after five rockets launched – Palestinians –

Israel attacked several Hamas targets in Gaza after five rockets were launched from the Strip overnight Friday, the Israeli army said.

Israeli airforce and a tank targeted Hamas military positions near the border with Israel in the northern Strip.

Earlier Friday, the Gaza health ministry reported that two Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces during clashes near the Gaza border fence on Friday.

Ali al-Ashqar, 17, was shot in the head east of Jabalya, while 14-year-old Khaled Abu Bakr al-Rubaie was shot dead east of Gaza City. At least 66 were also wounded in demonstrations along the border, 38 from gunfire.

Palestinian protesters flee from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces near Bureij in the central Gaza Strip on August 30, 20 AFP

A few hours later, rocket sirens blared in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Five rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said.

One rocket fell in an open field outside the city, starting a conflagration and causing no casualties, the Israeli army said. Two women were treated for anxiety following the rocket sirens, the Sderot municipality said.

“Israel is stepping up attacks against nonviolent protesters and it will be held accountable for these crimes,” Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem said on Friday after the deaths were announced.

“The policy of targeting civilian civilians will not deter the Palestinian people from continuing to fight for their freedom, and the return of their land,” he added.

Palestinian protesters are seen demonstrating on the Gazan side of the border to mark the first anniversary of the ‘March of Return’ protests, Nahal Oz, Israel, March 30, 2019. AFP

A senior Hamas official has told Haaretz that the Gaza factions’ joint war room is currently considering if and whether to respond to the killing of the two youths. Other Palestinian factions in Gaza, including Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, have already released statements espousing Hamas’s view.

The events took place during the 73rd weekly ‘March of Return’ event, which sees thousands of Gazans congregate near the border fence with Israel to protest the ongoing blockade.

According to an official statement by the Israeli army, 6,200 people took part in this week’s event, entitled ‘Protecting the Palestinian Home Front.’

Friday’s demonstrations were particularly violent, the Israeli army said, with protesters throwing multuiple incendiary devices, and damaging the fence in several areas.

The IDF confirmed they arrested two unarmed Palestinians that had crossed the fence, and reported several others entering Israeli territory before returning immediately into the Strip.

The demonstrations frequently turn into violent confrontations with Israeli armed forces, with the IDF using often drastic crowd control measures to prevent incursions into Israeli territory. In recent weeks, the organizers, led by Hamas, have tried to restrain individual units in order to lower the number of casualties and injured.

Last week, Bader Adin Abu Mousa was killed in similar circumstances. 75 people were reported wounded, at least 42 by live bullets, during the demonstration, which brought 6,000 to the border fence.

The status quo in Gaza is fragile, with inhabitants facing ever dire circumstances. Earlier this week, Qatar announced it would cut the fuel subsidy it gives to Gaza by half, potentially plunging Gaza back into darkness for three more hours every day.

While Israel heads to the polls in an unprecedented second election in one year, Gaza’s political leadership seems increasingly worried about the situation in the strip, with some calling it a “volcano about to erupt.”

Last month, renewed border violence erupted in Gaza, sparked by several attempts by armed Gazans, previously associated with Hamas or Islamic Jihad, to cross the border fence and target Israeli soldiers.

The Ignorance of Our Foreign Policy Makers

Iranian Moderates vs. Hardliners: A Myth That Won’t Die


SEPT. 6 2019

When world leaders gathered at the G7 conference in August, the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani mentioned his willingness to meet with his American counterpart. Shortly thereafter, Amir Taheri received a late-night phone call from a contact claiming that, if President Trump would take up the offer, he could hand a major victory to the “moderates”—led by Rouhani—over the “hardliners”—ostensibly led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Taheri explains how this unsubstantiated interpretation of Tehran’s politics is as old as the Islamic Republic itself:

Weeks after the mullahs seized power in 1979, the Carter administration identified Mehdi Bazargan, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s first prime minister, as “the man with whom we can work.” After he was kicked out, attention was turned to more ephemeral figures. . . . With Khomeini supposedly too old to last long, these were the men who would shape Iran’s Thermidor, emerging from the reign of terror. Fariba Adelkhah, then a young researcher in Paris, and later an ardent apologist for the Islamic Republic, even wrote a book bearing the title Iranian Thermidor. She is now a hostage in Tehran held by the very men she had so passionately defended in the French media.

Both President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair told me at different times that they had identified “men with whom we can work” in Tehran and that the key to success was getting rid of Khamenei and his “hardliners.”

Western analysts and their imitators inside Iran missed two crucial points. The first was that, like most revolutionary regimes, the Khomeinists had no mechanism for reform in the direction desired by the Iranian middle classes and the Western powers. Thus, even if its leaders tried to introduce reforms, they would be doomed to failure. . . . The second point Western powers ignore is that Iranians today are divided into two broad camps. . . . One camp consists of those, perhaps even a majority today, who are disillusioned with the Islamic Revolution and seek ways of [bringing it to an end] as soon as possible. . . . In the second camp, we find all those who, for different reasons, are still committed to the Khomeinist revolution.

Thus if Trump, or anyone else, wishes to make a deal with the present regime in Tehran, the man they should talk to is Khamenei, not Rouhani, an actor playing the president. [T]hat fact was demonstrated [when] Khamenei ordered Rouhani to eat humble pie and publicly recant his [offer of] a summit with Trump.

More Injuries and Deaths Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Two dead and 76 injured during Gaza protests | The Jerusalem post


Palestinians protest next to the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, as it is seen from its Israeli side March 30, 2019. (photo credit:” AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Over 6000 Palestinians gathered along the border. Seventy six people were injured, forty six from live ammunition, according to Palestinian Health Services.

Two Palestinians were killed during massive protests along the Gaza border Friday evening. Reports say the first casualty is 17-year-old Ali Sami Al-Ashqar was killed east of Jabalia City. The second has been identified as 14 year old Khalid Al-Raba’i, a resident of the Ashati refugee camp. He was killed east of Gaza City.

Around 6200 Palestinians gathered along the border. Sixty six people were injured in the ensuing clash with IDF forces, forty six from live ammunition, according to Palestinian Health Services.

IEDs and Molotov cocktails were thrown towards IDF forces during the protests. Reports also say two grenades were also thrown at IDF jeeps near Han Younis.

Two Palestinians breached the northern border of Gaza, but were promptly caught and arrested by the IDF.

IDF spokesperson released a statement in response to the violence:

“Violent demonstrations during which around 6,200 protesters assembled in several locations along the Gaza border fence. The Demonstrations were of an especially violent nature which included a large amount of IEDs, grenades and Molotov cocktails being thrown towards IDF forces along the fence.”

“There is noticeable damage to the border fence in several locations, and there has been a rising number of attempts to approach the border fence. IDF forces recognized suspects crossing the border all through the strip, each quickly returning to Gazan territory. Two suspects that crossed the border fence in the north of the strip were arrested by IDF forces and brought to interrogation.”

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem tweeted in response. “Violating the blood of peaceful demonstrators in the marches of return and deliberately targeting them is a crime that the occupation bears all its repercussions.”

Sources in the Gaza Strip say the protest organizers, along with Hamas, have been urging restraint over the past few weeks ahead of the protest, telling Palestinians to not go near the fence or blow incendiary balloons in an attempt to lessen casualties.

Friday’s events marked week 73 of the weekly demonstrations near the border. Last week, 25 year old Palestinian Bader Adin Abu Musa was shot and killed near Han Younes during the protests.

Iran Goes Full Bore Nuclear (Daniel 8:4)

Drew Angerer—Getty Images North America—AFP

Rouhani Orders Lifting of All Nuclear R&D Limits

Iranian president’s announcement to further scale down commitments to 2015 deal follows U.S. imposing more sanctions on Tehran

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ordered all limits on nuclear research and development to be lifted, the country’s third step in scaling down its commitments to a 2015 deal with world powers.

His announcement came shortly after the U.S. hit the Islamic Republic with further sanctions, the latest in a series of punitive measures including an embargo on Iranian oil exports.

Iran and three European countries—Britain, France and Germany—have been engaged in talks to reduce tensions and save the nuclear deal that has been unraveling since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May last year. But late Wednesday, Rouhani made good on a declared intention to take another step away from the multilateral deal signed with the permanent five United Nations Security Council powers and Germany (P5+1).

“I, as of now, announce the third step,” he said on state television. “The atomic energy organization [of Iran] is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development,” he said. He referred to “expansions in the field of research and development, centrifuges, different types of new centrifuges, and whatever we need for enrichment.”

Iran in July abandoned two other nuclear commitments: to keep its stockpile of enriched uranium below 300-kilograms, and a 3.67-percent cap on the purity of its uranium stocks.

Rouhani had earlier on Wednesday told a cabinet meeting: “I don’t think that… we will reach a deal.” But the Iranian president had also said Tehran and the European powers had been getting closer to an agreement on a way to resolve burning issues. “If we had 20 issues of disagreement with the Europeans in the past, today there are three issues,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, meeting Trump last month in France, encouraged him to offer economic incentives for Tehran and dangled the possibility of a summit between the U.S. and Iranian presidents.

Trump made clear on Wednesday that he was still interested in meeting Rouhani when the Iranian leader visits New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly. “Sure, anything is possible,” Trump told reporters.

But Rouhani has already ruled out a summit without sanctions relief, and on Wednesday the Trump administration issued its third set of sanctions on Iran in less than a week.

In the latest salvo, the Treasury Department put on its blacklist a shipping network of 16 entities, 10 people and 11 vessels that it said was selling oil on behalf of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force.

The network sold more than $500 million worth of oil this spring, mostly to Syria, benefitting both President Bashar al-Assad and militant Lebanese allies Hezbollah, the Treasury Department said.

A U.S. official said that the move showed Washington’s position on relaxing sanctions—and warned that more would come. “We can’t make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers,” Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, told reporters.

Iran has said it will resume full compliance with the nuclear deal if it reaches a deal with France on a $15-billion credit line, which Tehran would repay once it resumes oil exports. The U.S. is currently trying to block such shipments with unilateral sanctions.

Hook stopped short of criticizing the credit line itself, saying there was no “concrete” proposal. Speaking days after a trip to France, deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi ruled out renegotiation of the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Returning to full implementation of the JCPOA is subject to receiving $15 billion over a period of four months, otherwise the process of Iran reducing its commitments will continue,” said Araghchi, quoted by the state news agency IRNA. Hawks in the Trump administration adamantly oppose any easing of pressure, saying their goal is not only to contain Iran’s nuclear program but to curb the clerical state’s influence across the Middle East.

Iran had long threatened to carry out a third set of nuclear countermeasures by Friday unless other parties to the deal offset the effect of U.S. sanctions in return for its continued compliance.

Tensions rose significantly in July since Iran took the first two steps away from the nuclear deal and seized a British-flagged tanker—the Stena Impero—in the Strait of Hormuz for “failing to respect international maritime rules.” But some members of the crew of this Swedish-owned tanker have been released, Stockholm said late Wednesday. “A part of the crew of the Stena Impero… has been released,” Sweden’s foreign ministry said in a message to AFP, without giving details of how many of the crew had been freed.