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

East Coast Earthquake Preparedness


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

We Won’t Avoid Another Hiroshima (Revelation 16)

Avoiding another Hiroshima

Madeleine K. Albright

The nuclear age dawned on 16 July 1945—75 years ago this month—when the U.S. military detonated an atomic weapon deep in the New Mexican desert. In his diary 1 week later, President Harry Truman wrote: “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.” The world would soon witness, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the unprecedented devastation these new instruments of war could cause. Almost immediately, a global effort began to keep them under control. This effort was, until recently, led by the United States. Now that early progress is in jeopardy, and the world risks heading down a dark and dangerous path toward what experts bloodlessly call a “nuclear exchange.”

President Truman issued the first international nonproliferation proposal on 15 November 1945, when he joined with the leaders of the United Kingdom and Canada in calling for the elimination of atomic weapons and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Eight years later, President Dwight Eisenhower echoed this call in his “Atoms for Peace” speech. President John F. Kennedy stressed similar themes in his push to ban atmospheric nuclear tests.

Foremost among preventive measures, however, was the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, negotiated by President Lyndon Johnson, ratified by President Richard Nixon, and eventually signed by every country except Israel, India, and Pakistan. This agreement was based on a grand bargain: that the nuclear haves (United States, USSR, United Kingdom, France, and China) would eliminate these weapons over time, while everyone else pledged not to build or acquire them. For more than a quarter century, the pact held. Dozens of countries that could have developed nuclear arms refrained from doing so.

But with memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki fading, countries—including the United States—have begun to reconsider the logic of nonproliferation. When I was Secretary of State in the late 1990s, India and Pakistan crashed into the nuclear club. In the years that followed, North Korea forged ahead with its own program despite international disapproval. Iran agreed in 2015 to strict limits in exchange for sanctions relief, only to see the United States withdraw from the deal in 2018. Tehran has since resumed uranium enrichment.

A breakdown in efforts by the United States and Russia has further set back the cause. The U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 began a trend away from negotiated arms reduction and toward unilateral moves. With the dissolution of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year, only one agreement remains in place limiting the size of American and Russian nuclear forces—and that treaty, known as New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), is set to expire next year.

Against that backdrop, both the United States and Russia are placing a renewed emphasis on the role of nuclear weapons in their military strategies, with the United States deploying new types of bombs following a wholesale modernization effort by the Russian military. Some officials are even embracing the folly that a nuclear war can be won.

Late last year, as part of the Aspen Ministers Forum, I met in Vienna with other former foreign ministers from more than a dozen countries. I came away deeply troubled by the possible worldwide consequences of an accelerating global arms race and the degradation of agreements on arms reduction and nonproliferation.

For the world to change course, the United States must restore its position as a supporter of negotiated disarmament and an architect of peace. The United States does not need every weapon in its nuclear arsenal. Nor does it have the money to pay for them without detracting from more urgent priorities. The estimated cost of modernizing the nuclear enterprise—about $50 billion per year—is almost five times the budget of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new U.S. administration can reduce such spending, supporting instead the goal of nuclear disarmament. U.S. leaders may not know how to arrive at this final destination, but there are obvious first few steps—extending current treaties, pursuing follow-on agreements, and using the full range of diplomatic tools to avoid conflict and escalation. Seventy-five years into the nuclear age, the United States must get off its current path and once again lead toward a nuclear weapons–free world.

America’s Futile Effort to Stop the Shi’a Horn

US bent on destroying Nuclear Deal, opposing Independent Iraq: Iran

Sputnik 8:46 PM | July 22, 2020

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi arrived in Tehran on 20 July and held several talks with Iranian officials on bilateral relations and international issues.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has told Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi that the United States is an enemy and doesn’t want an independent Iraq.

Khamenei continued on by saying that Iran will not interfere in the relations between Iraq and America. The supreme leader also said that Iran would strike America in response for the killing of top Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani.

On 20 July, the parties discussed regional security issues and the epidemiological situation caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stated that Tehran will continue to stand by Iraq in a bid to establish security in the country and in the region.

WHO chief blasts Pompeo over claim that he was ‘Bought by Chinese …

Prior to this, Yahya Al Eshaq, the head of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, said that the two negotiating parties would review ways to strengthen trade to $20 billion over the course of Al-Kadhimi’s visit to the Iranian capital. 

On 5 January, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel all foreign troops from the country, shortly after a US precision strike killed military commander Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad. On 3 January, an airstrike ordered by US President Donald Trump on the outskirts of Baghdad killed Soleimani, one of the most prominent military figures in Iran, and several other members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The assassination prompted Tehran to attack US bases in Iraq. About the same day, Iranian forces, expecting a retaliatory strike from the US, mistakenly downed a Ukrainian passenger jet, which fatally crashed with 176 people on board.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Tehran earlier today to hold talks with Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on the 2015 nuclear deal, bilateral relations, and the crisis in Syria.

Extending an arms embargo against Iran would lead to the dismantling of the JCPOA, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in the course of talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

The Iranian minister also highlighted that Moscow has been opposing Washington’s “destructive” and “very dangerous” actions against the JCPOA within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and in the United Nations Security Council.

“This lead to the fact that the role of Russia and the role of China in preserving the JCPOA become very prominent, and all the international community is recognising it”, Zarif said.

Lavrov, for his part, stressed that any attempts to make the arms embargo against Iran indefinite are illegitimate, adding that such actions by the United States will not be successful. 

“The UN Security Council did not impose an arms embargo in the full sense of this word against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Security Council introduced a permissive regime for the supply of certain types of weapons to Iran, this regime is applied for a limited period of time, this period expires in October, and any attempts to somehow take advantage of the current situation, to extend this regime, and then introduce an indefinite arms embargo, have no legal grounds, neither political nor moral”, Lavrov underlined.

Earlier, Lavrov affirmed that chances to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, still exist, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif 

“We view this meeting as an important stage in the joint efforts that the remaining members of the JCPOA are now taking to preserve this most important achievement of multilateral diplomacy. We consider the line that our American colleagues took to completely unravel this important document to be destructive, as has been the case with other documents on non-proliferation. Nevertheless, we are confident that chances for the JCPOA to return to a stable course still remain, at least we, like our Iranian friends, are doing our best to this end”, Lavrov said at the beginning of the meeting.

He added that China and the remaining European members of the deal seem to be willing to preserve the agreement as well.

Iran’s Foreign Minister arrived in Moscow earlier in the day. The last visit of an Iranian minister to Russia was in mid-June. The meeting comes days after the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, marked its fifth anniversary on 14 July.

The JCPOA agreement has been in crisis since May 2018, when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it and reintroduced sanctions on Tehran. Now, Washington is seeking to extend the UN arms embargo on the country, which is set to expire in mid-October. Russia and China oppose the move, arguing that the arms embargo is to be lifted five years after the deal’s adoption, under the JCPOA.

Antichrist paying price of shift in Iraqi Shia politics

An Iraqi worker walks past a poster bearing the picture of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, at the premises of Al-Ataa hospital, in Sadr City, Baghdad. (DPA)

An Iraqi worker walks past a poster bearing the picture of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, at the premises of Al-Ataa hospital, in Sadr City, Baghdad. (DPA)
Zarif’s visit lifted the veil on the second act in the drama of the transformation in Iraq’s Shia power balances.
Wednesday 22/07/2020

BAGHDAD – The Shia political scene in Iraq is witnessing a gradual shift in the balance of power and influence, andreligious leader Muqtada al-Sadr and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki are the ones paying most of the price of this shift, as Iran seems to have decided to abandon them and look for replacements.

For years now, Sadr has monopolised the power and unique capabilities to overturn the political balances in the Shia arena, but his role seems to have shrunk during the current phase of political life in Iraq. Sadr spent months wavering between identifying with the demands of the protest movement that erupted in October 2019 and opposing them.

Sadr controls over 50 seats in parliament and usually has a say over who gets to become prime minister and who does not. But in the case of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and the formation of his government, Sadr’s role was minimal

Another problem with Sadr is that his Shia partners have little confidence in his positions because they know that these positions can change in the blink of an eye.

Iran has in the past resorted to using Sadr as a political firefighterof sorts to absorb the anger of the Iraqi street against the successive governments that were controlled by Tehran’s allies in Iraq, but observers say that he can no longer play that role since he and his Sadrist movement have lost the trust of demonstrators and supporters from the poor and marginalised groups, who not long ago used to represent his strongest base

As for Maliki, he is still paying the price of losing the premiership in 2014 by continuing to lose the seats he used to control in parliament, while his political star continues to wane.

Between 2014 and 2018, when his colleague and rival in the Dawa Party, Haider al-Abadi, was in office as prime minister , Maliki lost about three quarters of his political weight. Still, Maliki remained influential enough during that period to almost topple Abadi’s entire government after he succeeded through parliament in bringing down some of its ministers.

Now in the era of Kadhimi’s government, Maliki seems to have lost all of his influence on the political scene in Iraq to the extent that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flatly ignored him during his last visit to Baghdad.

Iraqi politician Ghaleb Shabandar said that Maliki’s office leaked news of Maliki’s disappointment and anger at not being seen by Zarif. So the leader of the State of Law Coalition is hinting now that he will be boycotting Iran from now on, But Shabandar said that, in reality, it was Iran that had dropped Maliki given that he had lost his popularity.

It is true that the Sadrist members of parliament voted in favour of the decision obligating the previous government led by Adel Abdul-Mahdi to work on removing US forces from Iraq, but right now, anti-American rhetoric is not among the priorities of the two Shia leaders (Sadr and Maliki), who also prefer not to talk about Iraqi-Saudi relations.

Zarif’s visit lifted the veil on the second act in the drama of the transformation in Shia politics in Iraq. Instead of seeing Sadr and Maliki, the Iranian official chose to meet two other Shia political leaders, Hadi al-Amiri and Ammar al-Hakim.

Amiri’s newfound political weight comes from the fact that he leads Al-Fateh Alliance, a parliamentary bloc that includes political representatives of the most important Iraqi militias loyal to Iran.

When Iran wants to express its political positions inside Iraq, it turns to Al-Fateh Alliance, whose hardline rhetoric is in line with the vision of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) regarding the future of US forces in Iraq and the ongoing escalation against Saudi Arabia. Observers believe that, for Iran, Amiri is the natural replacement for Maliki.

Hakim, on the other hand, is a different story. The leader of the Al-Hikma Movement rocketed to fame and importance with Kadhimi’s appointment as prime minister. He personally backed Kadhimi’s nomination and spent hours convincing the other Shia forces to support him, arguing for “the necessity to protect the state from collapsing.”

In one way or another, influential Shia forces believe that Kadhimi is Hakim’s man. Not only did the latter fight tooth and nail for the former’s nomination, he also went so far as to engineer a parliamentary alliance of 42 MPs to back him up, especially after Sadr and Amri distanced themselves from Kadhimi’s appointment, and Maliki bluntly opposed it.

Unlike Amiri, Hakim wants to leave the issue of the presence of American forces on Iraq’s soil to the discretion of executive authorities and military leaders who are in a better position to determine Iraq’s security needs. With respect to relations with Saudi Arabia, the leader of Al-Hikma Movement is strongly in favour of strengthening Iraqi-Saudi relations in particular and opening up to the Gulf in general.

Observers believe that the rise of Amiri and Hakim at the expense of Sadr and Maliki in Iraqi Shia politics reflects Iran’s need to deal with clear political positions in Iraq regarding opposing or supporting the current government, the future of American forces in Iraq, and the file of relations with the Gulf states.

Indeed, both Amiri and Hakim provide clear positions on the main Iraqi files that occupy the minds of policymakers in Tehran, as the first stands clearly on the Iranian side, while the second supports a government that wants close relations with the Gulf states, the United States, and the West.

In light of the difficulties Tehran faces in dealing with the rest of the world, and the crisis of its chronic relations with the United States and many countries in the region, it must have come to the conclusion that dealing with Amiri and Hakim in Iraq will allow it to keep all of its channels open, as the need for any of them may suddenly arise.

Iran Threatens Babylon the Great With Reciprocal Blow

Ayatollah Khamenei Hints Iran Yet to Strike ‘Reciprocal Blow’ Against US Over Soleimani Killing

The January 3 drone strike assassination of Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad brought Iran and the US to the brink of war, with Tehran responding with missile strikes on two US bases in Iraq, causing traumatic brain injuries among over 100 US troops.

Iran has yet to deal a retaliatory counterblow to the US for the assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has indicated.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and will definitely strike a reciprocal blow to the US,” Khamenei said, speaking to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Tuesday, his remarks quoted by Tasnim.

“The US crime in assassinating Gen. Soleimani and [Iraqi militia commander] Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is an example of the US presence [on Iraqi soil]. They killed your guest in your home, and they blatantly confessed to this crime. This is not a trivial matter,” Khamenei added.

The supreme leader did not clarify what form Iran’s “reciprocal blow” would take. Days before the January 8 ballistic ‘Operation Myartyr Soleimani’ missile strikes on the Ayn al-Asad and Erbil military bases containing US troops, Khamenei vowed “harsh retaliation” against Washington over the commander’s killing, which other Iranian officials described as an “act of war.”

Last week, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharvand revealed that the US had sent a message to Iran via the Swiss ambassador in Tehran urging the country not to respond militarily to the assassination, with this request said to have been “rejected immediately.”

Earlier this month, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard concluded that Soleimani’s killing was “unlawful,” and a direct violation of the UN charter.

Iran issued an arrest warrant against US President Donald Trump and almost three dozen other persons accused of involvement in the Soleimani killing late last month, approving a request to put the US leader on Interpol’s red notice of wanted persons. An Interpol spokesperson said the agency would reject such a request if it was made, citing the prohibition to undertake “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”

Gen. Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds extraterritorial fighting force, was killed at Baghdad’s international airport on January 3 by a missile launched by a US Reaper drone. Iranian officials have since said Soleimani was in Baghdad to try to negotiate a reduction of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, secretary general of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia group and deputy chairman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Committee anti-Daesh (ISIS)* militia fighting force, was killed alongside Soleimani during the January 3 strike. In the days prior to the attack, the US accused Kata’ib Hezbollah fighters of targeting American servicemen in Iraq. The militia denied the claims, and Iraqi intelligence officials later said Daesh remnants may have been involved in those attacks. The US drone strike sparked anger in Baghdad, with parliament demanding an immediate US withdrawal from the country. Talks on the issue have since stretched out for months.

In his remarks Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei suggested that the US would like to see a weak Iraq. “They want a government like that of Paul Bremer – the American ruler of Iraq after Saddam [Hussein’s] downfall,” he said.

“Iran expects the decision of the Iraqi government, nation and parliament to expel the US to be pursued because the US presence causes insecurity,” Khamenei said.

* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

The Secured Nuclear Assets of the Pakistani Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan most improved country in nuclear assets security

WASHINGTON (Dunya News) – Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has ranked Pakistan as the most improved country in nuclear assets security, among the countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials, Dunya News reported on Wednesday.

On nuclear materials security, the 2020 NTI Index finds that most improved among countries with materials in 2020 is Pakistan, which improved its overall score by adopting new on-site physical protection and cybersecurity regulations, improving insider threat protection measures, and more.

Pakistan’s score improvement for regulatory measures is the second largest improvement for regulations in the Index since 2012.

Pakistan was the most improved country in the theft ranking for countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials, improving its overall score by 7 points.

The majority of Pakistan’s improvements are in the Security and Control Measures category (+25) because of its passage of new regulations. Pakistan also improved in the Global Norms category (+1).

Pakistan’s improvements in the Security and Control Measures category are significant because strengthened laws and regulations result in durable boosts in Pakistan’s score as well as provide sustainable security benefits.

Pakistan has steadily improved in the Security and Control Measures category over time with the passage of new regulations, improving by +8 in 2014, +2 in 2016, and +6 in 2018. Its score in 2014 improved owing to new regulations for on-site physical protection. In 2016, it passed new cybersecurity regulations. In 2018, it improved its insider threat protections. Its newest regulations mark a much larger shift. Compared with other countries’ score improvements in the Security and Control Measures category, Pakistan’s increase of +25 is the second-largest improvement of any country since the Index first launched in 2012.

NTI is a nonpartisan, nonprofit global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threats imperiling humanity. Founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner, who continue to serve as co-chairs, NTI is guided by a prestigious international board of directors. Ernest J. Moniz serves as co-chair and chief executive officer; Joan Rohlfing is president and chief operating officer.

Hamas and Abbas Join Forces Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Report: Hamas, Fatah to join forces against Israeli annexation plan

Palestinian officials say nothing on whether this would signal a rapprochement that would end the 13-year acrimony between the rival Palestinian factions.

Fatah and Hamas are set to cooperate on issues regarding Israel’s plans to apply sovereignty to part of the West Bank, Palestinian officials told Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper on Tuesday. They did not say whether this would signal a rapprochement that would end the 13-year acrimony between the rival Palestinian factions.

Senior Fatah and Hamas officials met in Gaza on Tuesday to discuss a joint rally they plan to schedule in the coming days, Saudi television outlet Al-Resalah reported.

“This will open a new era of relations between Hamas and Fatah,” said Hussam Badran, a senior Hamas official.

Hamas, designated as a terrorist group by the EU, ‎US, Israel, and several other countries, ousted Abbas’ Fatah-led government from ‎the ‎Gaza Strip in a military coup in 2007, ‎‎‎effectively ‎splitting the Palestinian territories into two ‎‎political ‎‎entities. All efforts made over the past ‎‎decade to ‎‎promote a reconciliation between the rival ‎‎Palestinian factions – the latest ‎‎brokered by Egypt ‎‎in late 2017 – have failed. ‎

Despite a possible speech by Mahmoud Abbas, many Palestinians remain deeply skeptical about the willingness of the two sides to reach an agreement.

Earlier this month, the rival movements pledged to “unite” against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

During a rare joint press conference, Fatah and Hamas, respectively in power in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, had said they wanted to “turn a new leaf,” but offered no details on how this may be done.