History Says Expect The Sixth Seal In New York (Revelation 6:12)

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According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.

A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.

Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.

There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan’s 125th St. – which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” explained Skyes after the study was published.

He adds: “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”

Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

“I would expect some people to be killed,” he notes.

The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale. (ANI)

 

Decommissioning of Indian Point Plant Not In Time (Revelation 6:12)

Request Made to Accelerate Decommissioning of Indian Pt. Plants

November 26, 2019 By Rick Pezzullo

The owners of the Indian Point nuclear power plants and their chosen successors have requested approval to speed up the decommissioning process.

Entergy Corporation and Holtec International, through their affiliates, announced last week they had jointly filed a License Transfer Application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, requesting approval for the transfer of the NRC licenses for Indian Point to Holtec after the last unit in Buchanan permanently shuts down by April 30, 2021.

Holtec plans to initiate decommissioning at Indian Point, following regulatory approvals and transaction close, as much as 40 years sooner than if Entergy continued to own the units.

“Holtec’s plan to accelerate the decommissioning schedule provides the potential for site redevelopment decades sooner than if Entergy continued to own the facility, which is good news for the local community,” said Chris Bakken, Entergy Executive Vice President Nuclear Operations and Chief Nuclear Officer. “Holtec plans to begin the decommissioning process promptly upon taking ownership, and as part of the agreement between the companies, will provide job opportunities for more than 300 of our current employees who want to remain in the region and continue to work at the site.”

The companies asked the NRC to approve the License Transfer Application by November 2020 to facilitate a timely transaction closing targeted for May 2021, which will benefit the community, employees and other interested stakeholders.

“This key regulatory filing is an important first step to beginning a new future for Indian Point and the local community,” said Holtec’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kris Singh. “By beginning decommissioning earlier, Holtec will be able to maintain and create new jobs and work towards releasing the plant site earlier so it can be repurposed and generate replacement tax revenue on an earlier schedule.”

In January 2017, Entergy, which purchased the Indian Point nuclear power plants more than 16 years ago, announced, to the complete surprise of local leaders, its plan for the early and orderly shutdown of Indian Point by April 30, 2021 as part of a settlement with New York State and Riverkeeper.

Holtec’s plan for decommissioning will result in the release for re-use of portions of the site in the 2030s, with the exception of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation – the area where spent nuclear fuel is safely stored in dry casks until the U.S. Department of Energy transfers the spent fuel offsite. As part of its plan, Holtec expects to move all of the Indian Point spent nuclear fuel into dry casks within about three years following facility shutdown in 2021.

Holtec has a pending application with the NRC for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in New Mexico, which could eventually store spent nuclear fuel from Indian Point and other U.S. nuclear power plants.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said he and federal representatives are demanding answers on what exactly Holtec has planned for the site.

“In Westchester, we have residents who rightfully demand clear-eyed answers as to what the next steps Holtec have for the plant in our backyard. Further, we have a workforce already here with the expertise – and on the job experience – needed to safely work on this nuclear power plant,” Latimer stated. “The decommissioning process must not be taken lightly nor seen as strictly for profit. I am concerned about how Holtec’s plans will impact both the on-site, knowledgeable workforce and efforts to ensure that the cleanup is undertaken while abiding by the highest environmental standards.”

In addition to the federal filing, Entergy and Holtec filed a petition with the New York Public Service Commission requesting a ruling disclaiming PSC jurisdiction or abstaining from review of the proposed transaction, or, in the alternative, an order approving the proposed transaction.

Iran To Give An Extra 2 Billion Euros To Military From OBAMA’S Fund

Iran To Give An Extra 2 Billion Euros To Military From Reserve Fund

Radio Farda

President Hassan Rouhani’s administration announced Tuesday that two billion euros ($2.22 billion) will be taken from Iran’s National Development Fund and given to the military, boosting its budget by 8 percent in the next Iranian calendar year.

Iran is in the grip of a deep recession with a 9 percent contraction this year and faces serious problems with earning hard currency for vital imports.

Last month, the government raised the price of gasoline, sparking mass protests that were crushed with killing at least 208 protesters and possibly many more. Security forces have jailed 8,000 protesters.

The Rouhani government’s announcement is seen as a possible reaction to hardliners in Iran complaining that the budget of the military has slightly decreased in the proposed budget.

It is not clear if the decision to take 2 billion euros from the country’s savings was made by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who in the past has ordered the government to give more money to the military.

Last year, Khamenei ordered a 1.5 billion euro increase, which was approved in the parliament without any discussion.

Having lost most of its oil exports due to U.S. economic sanctions, Iran’s currency has dropped more than 15 percent just in the last 20 days. The devaluation brings on inflation and rising prices working class people cannot afford.

The National development fund was established by saving 36 percent of the country’s oil income annually, but this year all the oil income needs to be spent, according to Fars news agency.

Why we should fear the nuclearized Saudi Horn (Daniel 7)

Why we should fear a nuclearized Saudi Arabia

A dangerous loop has been established between Iran and its Middle Eastern neighbors – Arab countries that feel threatened will step up nuclear activity, which in turn will make it more difficult to rein in the Islamic Republic.

In Saudi Arabia there are two nuclear research centers – one operates in the open, while the second stays in the shadows, and most of its activity is secret. This year, satellite images showed that Saudi Arabia has built, for the first time, a factory to manufacture long-range surface-to-surface missiles as well as a research nuclear reactor. The kingdom has also recently discovered that it owns large deposits of uranium.

In October 2019, outgoing US Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirmed that talks about American aid for Saudi Arabia’s nuclear project were moving ahead. Perry noted that the two sides intended to sign a “123” agreement, but Riyadh announced it was unwilling to commit to not enriching uranium. Uranium enrichment can be used for the legitimate purpose of fueling a research reactor and providing power, but also as a source of fissile material for nuclear weapons, as it has in the military projects underway in Pakistan and Iran.

The kingdom’s interest in nuclearization is nothing new, nor is the concern that in certain circumstances and conditions it could turn toward nuclear weapons. That fear became more strongly based in March 2018, when Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said publicly – and explicitly – for the first time that if Iran acquired military nuclear capabilities, the Saudis would follow suit without delay. Indeed, the main motivation in developing nuclear capability, even if not at a military level, is security. However, it’s not clear whether bin Salman was referring to Saudi Arabia developing its own nuclear weapons, or buying them, or joining forces with Pakistan or some other entity.

The way the Saudis see things, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal only increased Tehran’s aggression, rather than stopping its long-term nuclear aspirations. Worse, the dynamic of escalation Iran has created with the US this past year could lead to an even better deal for Iran, or even the US leaving the Iranian nuclear issue unaddressed.

It’s possible that a dangerous nuclear loop has been established between Iran and its neighbors: Iran’s nuclear efforts are motivating the states that feel threatened by Iran to nuclearize, and attempts by Saudi Arabia and Turkey to nuclearize do nothing to convince Iran to stop its nuclear program. At some point, Iran and its neighbors’ progress on nuclear infrastructure and knowledge could pass the point of no return.

In addition, recent years have seen more and more civil nuclear projects in the region, projects that are not intended for military use and which the international community sees as legitimate. These projects are slowly creating a new reality in which nuclear capabilities are spreading slowly, making knowledge and capabilities more common. Thus, one legitimate step after another could lead to the taboo nuclear barrier. Which is why it is not in Israel’s interest for Saudi Arabia to develop its civil nuclear project, even though Jerusalem and Riyadh have common goals and – according to reports – the two countries are working together on strategic issues.

Taking a broader look, it could be said that Israel has an interest in preventing even Arab countries that cooperate with Israel, whether openly or in secret, from nuclearizing. This is because of the concern over a regional dynamic of nuclearization (which could push Iran to step up its own nuclear work); concern over dissemination of nuclear information; and concerns about a future change to the alignment of regional players or changes to friendly nations – for example, if a regime were to fall.

When we take all these factors into account, it appears that it would be best for Israel if the US were to help Saudi Arabia with its nuclear program, but insist that the latter comply with the “gold standard.” In particular, Saudi Arabia’s uranium enrichment capacity must be held in check, and a precedent in which the US and the international community help a Middle Eastern entity transition into uranium enrichment must be avoided.

Gaza 2020: the Palestinian territory has reached the point of no return (Revelation 11)

Gaza 2020: Has the Palestinian territory reached the point of no return?

In 2012, a United Nations report painted a bleak picture of the Gaza Strip and the conditions facing its Palestinian inhabitants.

Its economy was sluggish, its healthcare system beleaguered and its natural resources dwindling. But darker days were to come, the UN predicted. 

By 2020, Gaza’s population would surpass two million. Peak demand for electricity would soar by more than 50 percent, the report projected, and the territory’s coastal aquifer could be damaged beyond repair. The UN called for a massive injection of resources, including thousands more doctors and nurses, a doubling of electricity capacity and at least 440 new schools.

It is now almost 2020. The UN’s projections about Gaza’s ballooning demands have proven largely accurate – but the delivery of essential services has failed to catch up. 

Unemployment has reached nearly 50 percent, the per-person ratio of doctors and nurses has dropped, more than two-thirds of households are food insecure, and just three percent of Gaza’s aquifer water is safe to drink, according to official statistics and aid agencies.

Michael Lynk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told MEE: “The prediction of unliveability has already arrived. The common measuring stick used by the UN or any other international organisation to be able to evaluate how people live is human dignity, and Gaza has been without human dignity for years now.”

Surviving in Gaza

Since Hamas rose to power in Gaza in 2007, Israel has blockaded the coastal enclave, with severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods. Fuel shortages, power cuts, contaminated water and crumbling infrastructure have been compounded by repeated Israeli offensives. The most recent war, in the summer of 2014, killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and devastated tens of thousands of homes.

During the early years of the siege, Israel calculated the minimum number of calories that Palestinians in Gaza would need to survive (the information came to light following a successful legal fight by the Israeli NGO Gisha). These figures were then used to determine how much food aid should be trucked in, essentially keeping the territory on life support.

It was going to keep Gaza hungry but not starving, and that continues to be … the Israeli strategy towards this,” Lynk said.

“As long as Gaza doesn’t revolt; as long as there isn’t another periodic pounding of Gaza, using among the most sophisticated armaments that the world has; as long as Gaza stays off headlines in the world, the world is not going to do very much to change this.”

Haidar Eid, an associate professor at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, described Israel’s policy towards Palestinians in the enclave as “genocidal”.

“They are a constant reminder of the original sin committed in 1948,” Eid told MEE, referencing the Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians that accompanied Israel’s founding. “Israel wants to punish them for their resistance, for not being subservient subjects, and make them give up on their internationally guaranteed right of return.”

Decline for Palestinians

Other observers have noted how, long before the 2020 deadline, the Israeli siege had already produced untenable conditions throughout Gaza. Restrictions on fishing zones – reduced to 10 nautical miles from 15 earlier this year – impede people’s livelihoods. Import bans prevent critical goods, such as fuel and cooking gas, from entering the territory. And routine blackouts make daily life a struggle, with power sometimes available for just a few hours a day.

For some of the hardest-hit Palestinians, relief is impossible. This past September, Israel approved fewer than two-thirds of applications for patients to leave the territory for medical reasons. Some were interrogated as a prerequisite for permit approval – a practice denounced by human rights groups, such as Physicians for Human Rights, who point to Israel’s history of coercing patients into becoming collaborators in exchange for needed hospital care.

The “de-development” of health services means that basic technology often isn’t available in Gaza, while drugs and medical personnel are in short supply, noted Gerald Rockenschaub, head of the World Health Organization’s office for the occupied Palestinian territories.

“It’s not an abrupt decline; it’s a chronic decline,” he told MEE. “The system is always very close or on the brink of collapse.”

International aid to the densely populated territory, while preventing a total shutdown, has created humanitarian dependence rather than fostering development in Gaza, experts note. At the same time, funding cuts this year by the Trump administration to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, have deepened the crisis.

“There is a development abyss in the Gaza context,” Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, told MEE, noting that it has been felt acutely in the health and education sectors.

Schools are running double – and even triple – shifts to accommodate the growing youth population. Meanwhile, hospitals have been stretched beyond their capacity, especially as the Great March of Return protests, which began in 2018, have resulted in thousands of injuries.

Yet, while humanitarian assistance is little more than a quick-fix solution, analysts say, weaning the territory off of this aid will be a complex and difficult process.

“You can’t just say, ‘OK, tomorrow no more food, no more support. You go elsewhere.’ There is no ‘elsewhere’ in Gaza … People are dependent on humanitarian [aid],” McGoldrick said.

“We have to switch that to something which is more sustainable, and certainly something much more dignified than what we have right now.”

Palestinians: ‘Alive for lack of death’

Kamel Hawwash, a British-Palestinian professor based at the University of Birmingham, told MEE that to the people of Gaza, the UN’s 2020 prediction has long since come true. He said that many cite the Arabic saying: “We are alive for lack of death.”

Israel’s policy is one of containment, Hawwash said, and at the end of the day, “Israel wants to keep ‘quiet’ in Gaza. If Hamas provides it, then fine. If it doesn’t, then [Israel] attacks the strip.”

Israel has also reportedly been encouraging Palestinians to leave Gaza permanently, aiming to further reduce their presence on the ground. Earlier this year, a government source reportedly acknowledged that “attempts have been made” to persuade other nations to take them in, adding that Israel would assist with transportation.

For Gaza to emerge from its current predicament, Hawwash said, the intra-Palestinian rift between Fatah and Hamas must be mended and the Israeli siege must end, allowing stability to take root.

“Clearly, if the refugees who make up 80 percent of the population were to return to their homes – as they are entitled under international law – then Gaza could be liveable and prosper.”

A successful political process could pave the way for a more development-oriented strategy in Gaza, McGoldrick said, potentially attracting new investments in water-supply systems, industrial zones and job creation.

He called the blockade “the biggest inhibitor to development” while acknowledging that the 2020 deadline of unliveability was in itself “an artificial creation” of the UN.

“That doesn’t mean anything to any Palestinian … People are just trying to get through the day, surviving day by day,” he said.

Yet, with the continuing population growth, service reduction and soaring unemployment, Gaza may be approaching a point of no return.

Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, told MEE: “The term ‘unliveable’ … is meant as an alarm bell for the international community, but that bell has been ringing for a long time.”

The warning, she said, has been ignored amid international indifference and humanitarian interventions that merely serve as a substitute for human rights.

“Without the unencumbered movement of people and goods,” Roy said, “Gaza will be condemned to continued ruination.”

 

Escalation Expected After Iran Crosses the Redline (Revelation 6:6)


A senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were gathering pace and becoming more sophisticated, pushing all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation.

His warning came two days after four Katyusha rockets struck a base near Baghdad international airport, wounding five members of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service.

It was the latest in a spate of rocket strikes in the past five weeks on military installations hosting members of the U.S.-led coalition whose objective is to defeat Islamic State insurgents. The official said the attacks were jeopardizing the coalition’s ability to combat Islamic State insurgents.

Tension between the United States and Iran has ramped up in the region over U.S. economic sanctions that are hitting Tehran hard. The two sides have traded blame over attacks on oil installations, militia arms depots as well as military bases hosting U.S. forces.

“We’re used to harassing fire,” said the military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But the pace of (that) was (previously) pretty episodic … (Now) the level of complexity is increasing, the volume of rockets being shot in a single volley is increasing and is very concerning to us.”

The official added: “There is a point at which their actions change things on the ground and make it more likely that some other actions, some other choices made— by somebody, whether it’s them or us — will escalate unintentionally.”

The military official said Iranian-armed militias were approaching a red line where the coalition would respond with force, and “no one will like the outcome.

There have been no claims of responsibility for any of the attacks. However the U.S. military official said intelligence and forensic analyses of the rockets and launchers pointed to Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militia groups, notably Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH).

Iraqi paramilitary groups have in turn accused the United States and Israel of bombing their weapons depots and bases.

Most of Iraq’s Shiite militia groups are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella that has allies in parliament and government. They report to the prime minister but have their own command structure outside the military.

The military official said Iraq’s Shite-led government had not taken action over the incidents. “It’s very concerning to me. … That it’s acceptable that we’re getting attacked by elements that are supposedly being brought in under the heel of the Iraqi government as part of its security forces.”

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned last month under pressure from mass anti-government protests. He is currently carrying out his duties in a caretaker capacity.

Militia groups used a converted flatbed truck to launch a barrage of 17 rockets on the Qayyara military base south of Mosul on Nov. 8, the U.S. military official said.

He said the incident caused no major damage or loss of life, but the technique was replicated in attacks on both Balad and Ain Al-Asad air bases last week, using rockets large enough to cause significant damage to living compounds and runways at Ain Al-Asad.

Friday’s attack near Baghdad airport was with significantly larger 240-millimeter rockets not known to have been used in Iraq since 2011.

Why would Israel reportedly have missiles that reach beyond Iran (Daniel 8:8)


Last Friday, Israel’s Defense Ministry laconically announced that it had carried a test launch of a “rocket engine propulsion system.”Foreign reports claimed that the test was of a surface-to-surface Jericho missile. Though the Defense Ministry said that the test was planned in advance, it was hard to ignore the timing and not to interpret it as a warning and threat directed at Iran. Indeed, its foreign minister, Javad Zarif, complained in a tweet that while Western democracies accuse his country of secret intentions to develop nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them them, Israel is actually the only country in “Western Asia” (in his words) that possesses nuclear weapons and develops missiles for delivering them.

Killing Palestinians isn’t Israel’s goal. Killing Palestine is. Listen

In the background are reports that Iran has deployed missiles in Iraq, 400 kilometers from Israel, and Yemen, 2,000 kilometers away. A letter sent by Germany, France and the U.K. to the UN secretary general accused Iran of having the capability to develop missiles equipped with nuclear warheads in violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime.  According to the letter, a MTRC breach occurs when a missile can carry a 500-kilogram warhead with a range of 300 kilometers. Last April, Iran was seen testing the Shahab-3 missile, which fits such a definition. But the Jericho has similar capabilities, based on foreign reports.

Israel has an arsenal of sea, air and ground rockets and missiles for interception and offensive purposes, whose existence it acknowledges. For the sake of this article, let’s only focus on its land-based arsenal. It has short-range (up to 50 kilometers) rockets like the Tamuz, which have been occasionally used against targets in Syria and Lebanon.

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman advocated the creation of a missile command meant to extend the range of surface-to-surface projectiles to 200 kilometers, in order to improve the military’s firepower and to provide the Air Force with an additional tool. But the military, including former Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, objected to the notion and killed the initiative. The military has a long tradition of rejecting new ideas and “out the box” thinking. So, for example, the military, and especially the air force, opposed the creation of systems to protect civilian infrastructure, including the Iron Dome system.

The military has the Iron Dome’s interception missiles (with a range of up to 70 kilometers), David’s Sling (up to 200 kilometers, although its operational capabilities are still flawed), U.S.-made Patriots (up to 80 kilometers), and the Arrow 2 and 3 (over 300 kilometers). An Arrow 4 model, which uses multiple warheads, is reportedly under development. The Arrow 3 is a missile that flies above the atmosphere (according to foreign reports, at a height of over 100 kilometers) and is made for intercepting ballistic missiles far from Israel’s borders.

Yet Israel has never admitted that it possesses Jericho missiles. According to foreign reports, these missiles were developed from a French-made missile type. In 1957, Shimon Peres, then a senior Defense Ministry official, was present when France conducted a nuclear missile test in Algeria.

Since then, according to such reports, Israel has extended the Jericho’s range and given it the capability to carry nuclear warheads. The Jericho reportedly now has a range of 4,000 kilometers. It is thus the only ballistic missile Israel has. It also reportedly has the Shavit missile launcher, which sends satellites (mainly reconnaissance) into space.

One of the most interesting questions is why Israel has never launched the Jericho during military operations. The possibility was reportedly raised at least twice. The first time was early in the Yom Kippur War, when Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and some of his generals, including Rehavam Zeevi, reportedly panicked and spoke in apocalyptic terms of the “destruction of the Third Temple.” They debated the possibility, rejected outright by other generals and by politicians, of threatening to use a nuclear weapon. There were reports that Israel had armed and deployed nuclear-tipped Jericho missiles stationed in underground silos.

The second occasion, according to foreign reports, was during the Gulf War, in January 1991, the first night that Saddam Hussein ordered the firing of Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Fearing that Israel would fiercely retaliate and sabotage the U.S.-led coalition war, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney suggested to Israel that it respond in measure by launching conventional Jericho missiles at Iraq. Cheney used the biblical comparison of “an eye for an eye,” i.e. a missile for a missile. But Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, rejected the idea. American sources explained that at that time, that at the time the Jericho’s range was insufficient to hit Baghdad or other significant Iraqi targets.

But based on the foreign reports, the main reason the idea was rejected was that Jericho missiles are meant to serve as strategic weapons (similar to the submarines) as a nuclear last resort. Such an assumption makes sense. Foreign experts estimate that one Jericho missile, without its warhead, costs $10 million. It is a very expensive missile, and experts believe that Israel has dozens, or even up to 100, such missiles. Assuming that a Jericho missile can carry a one-ton conventional warhead, it seems useless to “waste” when a warplane can deliver a payload eight times heavier.

Thus, assuming that Israel will never use the nuclear weapons that most of the world believes it has (such a use would also mean the country’s demise), it is clear that the Jericho missiles’ sole purpose is deterrence – above all against Iran but also against Pakistan, located around 4,000 kilometers away, which is the exact range of Jericho. Not that Israel leaders think in such terms. Pakistan’s main enemy is India. But in Israel’s eyes, Pakistan is the only country that has an “Islamic bomb.”

In the past, Israel was very worried about Pakistan. Libya, under Muammar Gadhafi, gave millions of dollars to help Pakistan build the bomb. Pakistan ignored the request. Yet Dr. Abdul Khader Khan, the  “father of the Pakistani bomb,” was also the number one nuclear proliferator who helped Libya and Iran obtain nuclear know-how and technology. The concern about Pakistan remains at the heart of the Israel-India strategic partnership, which includes military intelligence. It was also reported in the past that the Mossad was monitoring Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. It is only reasonable that after Iran, Pakistan’s capabilities are of a high priority in Israeli security considerations.