Near New York City, New York
1884 08 10 19:07 UTC
This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.
Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.
October 25, 2020 / 8:07 PM
By Jeff Berardelli
The 2020 hurricane season continues to overachieve, as tropical storm Zeta gets stronger over the Western Caribbean. The storm is expected to become a hurricane on Monday, taking a track similar to Hurricane Delta, striking near Cancun and then heading towards the Northern Gulf Coast.
Zeta is the 27th named system of the 2020 season, which is running over a month ahead of the record pace set back in 2005. That year featured 28 tropical storms, and the last did not form until the end of December. That puts 2020 well on track to either tie or break the all-time record for the number of named storms in the Atlantic in one season.
Tropical Storm Zeta!
The 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
12:01 AM · Oct 25, 2020
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On Sunday night, Zeta was slowly getting better organized just north of the coast of Honduras, south of Cuba. Maximum winds were near 50 mph and the pressure was steadily falling, indicating gradual strengthening. Computer models called for continued intensification because the system is located over the warmest pool of water in the hemisphere and upper level winds are becoming more favorable for development.
A reminder that #Zeta is over the warmest water in the Hemisphere. Shear is pretty strong on the outskirts of the storm envelope but there is a small area above the storm offering protection. Its enough for strengthening to a hurricane. Will be interesting to see just how much.
4:25 PM · Oct 25, 2020
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By Monday, the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center predicts Zeta will be a low-end hurricane, but it is not expected to be nearly as strong as Hurricane Delta just weeks ago. The system will make landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula near Cancun and Cozumel on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Like Delta, it will weaken briefly over land.
On Tuesday, as the system reemerges over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it will gain a little of its strength back, likely regaining hurricane intensity and staying that way until Wednesday morning as it moves north. But on Wednesday, it should run into strong upper level winds as it nears the Gulf Coast, where the official forecast calls for slight weakening at landfall Wednesday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center’s forecast cone shows landfall anywhere between southeast Louisiana and the western Florida Panhandle. This would be the 8th storm to make landfall along the Gulf Coast this season, with the highest concentration in Louisiana.
Here’s a map of the amount of time spent in the 5-day NHC forecast cones so far in 2020.
Louisiana has had a cumulative of THREE WEEKS in the cone this year!
And now we have TD 28 tracking toward the same area.
6:57 PM · Oct 24, 2020
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As of Sunday night, it appears Zeta will be a strong tropical storm or possibly a very low-end hurricane at landfall. The rule of thumb is that residents near the strike zone should always prepare for a category above what is forecast.
The 2020 season is the 5th season in a row with far above normal storm activity — the normal is 12 named storms. While science is not certain that the number of storms will increase because of human-caused climate change, signs do point in that direction. What is more certain is the number of intense storms will continue to increase as ocean temperatures continue to warm.
In the Atlantic Ocean, the chance that any given storm will be at major hurricane intensity (Category 3,4 or 5) is now twice as likely than it was in the 1980s, showing just how influential warmer ocean waters can be.
First published on October 25, 2020 / 8:07 PM
© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Jeff Berardelli is CBS News’ meteorologist and climate specialist.
7:25am, 25 Oct, 2020The United Nations announced Saturday that 50 countries have ratified a UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons triggering its entry into force in 90 days, a move hailed by anti-nuclear activists but strongly opposed by the United States and the other major nuclear powers.
As of Friday, the treaty had 49 signatories, and UN officials said the 50th ratification from Honduras had been received.
“This moment has been 75 years coming since the horrific attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the founding of the UN which made nuclear disarmament a cornerstone,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the nuclear ban treaty. “The 50 countries that ratify this Treaty are showing true leadership in setting a new international norm that nuclear weapons are not just immoral but illegal.”
Thailand, Mexico, South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Vietnam and the Vatican are among the countries that had already ratified the treaty.
The 50th ratification came on the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the UN Charter which officially established the United Nations and is celebrated as UN Day.
“Today is a victory for humanity, and a promise of a safer future,” Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said in a statement.
The United States had written to treaty signatories saying the Trump administration believes they made “a strategic error” and urging them to rescind their ratification.
New North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles. Photo: AFP
The US letter said the five original nuclear powers – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – and America’s Nato allies “stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions” of the treaty.
It says the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, known as the TPNW, “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament and is dangerous” to the half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global non-proliferation efforts.
“The TPNW is and will remain divisive in the international community and risk further entrenching divisions in existing non-proliferation and disarmament fora that offer the only realistic prospect for consensus-based progress,” the letter said. “It would be unfortunate if the TPNW were allowed to derail our ability to work together to address pressing proliferation.”
Threat of nuclear conflict hangs over 75th anniversary of Nagasaki attack
Fihn has stressed that “the non-proliferation Treaty is about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and eliminating nuclear weapons, and this treaty implements that. There’s no way you can undermine the Nonproliferation Treaty by banning nuclear weapons. It’s the end goal of the Nonproliferation Treaty.”
The NPT sought to prevent the spread of nuclear arms beyond the five original weapons powers. It requires non-nuclear signatory nations to not pursue atomic weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five powers to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee non-nuclear states’ access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has supported the nuclear weapons ban treaty, calling it “a very welcome initiative”.
“It is clear for me that we will only be entirely safe in relation to nuclear weapons the day where nuclear weapons no longer exist,” he said. “We know that it’s not easy. We know that there are many obstacles.”
He expressed hope that a number of important initiatives, including US-Russia talks on renewing the New Start Treaty limiting deployed nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers and next year’s review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, “will all converge in the same direction, and the final objective must be to have a world with no nuclear weapons”.
The treaty was approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly on July 7, 2017 by a vote of 122 in favour, the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. Among countries voting in favour was Iran. The five nuclear powers and four other countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons – India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – boycotted negotiations and the vote on the treaty, along with many of their allies.
Beatrice Fihn (right) and Setsuko Thurlow accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. File photo: AFP
Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, who has been an ardent campaigner for the treaty, said: “When I learned that we reached our 50th ratification, I was not able to stand.”
“I remained in my chair and put my head in my hands and I cried tears of joy,” she said in a statement. “I have committed my life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty.”
Washington(CNN) — New satellite images obtained by CNN indicate Russia is preparing to resume test flights of its nuclear-powered cruise missile at a previously-dismantled launch site near the Arctic Circle, according to experts who have analyzed the photos.
The images, captured by Planet Labs in September, show high levels of activity at a site known as Pankovo, previously used by Russia to test its Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, according to Michael Duitsman and Jeffrey Lewis, researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Russia appeared to pause testing of the missile after 2018, when it dismantled the launch site but “the new satellite photographs indicate that the pause is over,” they added.
“The activity and new construction are consistent with a resumption of test flights of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile,” Lewis and Duitsman wrote in a new report, noting that the images show Russia has rebuilt the site’s launch pad and reveal “large numbers of shipping containers at two support areas, including the probable missile checkout building.”
Russia conducted at least one test flight of the nuclear-powered cruise missile from the same site near the Arctic Circle in November 2017. It reportedly carried out multiple other tests in the months that followed, though none were considered to be successful, according to Lewis and Duitsman.
In March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a video of a nuclear-powered cruise missile test, which allowed open-source researchers including analysts at the Middlebury Institute to identify the location, they added.
Two US officials told CNN that they are aware that Russia has been preparing to test missiles as part of its advanced weapons program.
Earlier this month, the Kremlin said it successfully test-fired a hypersonic cruise missile from a naval ship in the White Sea. And on Tuesday, Russia’s Ministry of Defense posted a video of Oniks cruise missile launch conducted from a military base in the Arctic.
MoD did not respond to CNN’s request for comment about whether there is an upcoming test of the Burevestnik missile.
Evidence that Russia may now be preparing to resume testing of its nuclear powered cruise-missile comes as Washington and Moscow are working to extend the New START treaty, a key arms control agreement that is set to expire in coming months.
Russia says it’s willing to freeze nuclear arsenal to extend arms treaty with US
The top US negotiator, Marshall Billingslea, suggested in a tweet Friday that talks between the two countries had reached an impasse.
But on Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it is willing to agree to freeze its nuclear arsenals in order to extend New START if the US does not pose any other requirements — an offer that the State Department spokesperson welcomed with urgency saying the US is “prepared to meet immediately to finalize a verifiable agreement.”
Trump has been urging his national security team to secure a nuclear deal with Russia before the November election, sources familiar with the efforts tell CNN. He had initially wanted to bring China into the deal, but China has repeatedly rejected partaking in any discussions.
While Russia has previously stated that its nuclear-powered cruise missile is not covered by the New START treaty, failure to extend the agreement could lead to the emergence of an arms race between the two countries, according to Lewis.
“The arms control framework that secured the post-Cold War has completely disintegrated. If and when the New START treaty expires in a few months, there will be no limits on US and Russian nuclear forces for the first time in fifty years. In its place is a burgeoning arms race as Russia develops one doomsday weapon after another to defeat US missile defenses,” he told CNN.
Trump’s national security adviser calls Putin response to arms control talks a ‘non-starter’
“The United States and Russia seem to be stumbling into a new arms race. This is one of a number of dangerous and destabilizing weapons right out of science fiction that Russia is developing to defeat US missile defenses,” Lewis added, referring to the nuclear-powered cruise missile.
For now, however, nuclear-powered cruise missile development is a way Russia can skirt the terms of New START and achieve intercontinental range that can pose a challenge to national missile defenses, according to Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert and associate professor at MIT.
“A nuclear powered cruise missile gives a low-flying, radar-evading, nuclear-capable missile intergalactic range that can pose a challenge to national missile defenses,” he told CNN, adding that indications Russia may be preparing another test show “how much our missile defenses drive their developments and how scared they are of them, not today, but tomorrow.”
They are also highly controversial “because it’s crazy to put an unshielded nuclear reactor on a missile to power it,” Narang added, noting that the consequences of testing this type of weapon can be catastrophic if something goes wrong.
That appeared to be the case in 2019 when, Russian state media said, five nuclear agency workers were killed in an explosion at a military test site in northern Russia.
The blast was detected by seismic stations and occurred during tests on a liquid propulsion system involving isotopes, the Russian Defense Ministry said. In other words, the test most likely had some nuclear dimension. And the reflexive secrecy of Putin’s government has only further fueled speculation about the cause of the accident.
At the time, Lewis told CNN that satellite imagery suggested that the incident might have been related to the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile.
CNN’s Ryan Browne, Kylie Atwood and Mary Ilyushina contributed to this report
Palestinians carry placards during a protest to condemn the normalization of ties between Israel and Sudan, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, October 24, 2020. A deal was announced in Washington by President Donald Trump. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI
The Islamist movement Hamas, the governing authority of the Gaza Strip, also denounced Macron’s words, as did Islamic Jihad.
Hundreds of Jaffa residents gathered Saturday night to protest in front of the residence of French Ambassador to Israel Eric Danon, setting trash cans on fire, Ynet reported, adding that a stone was also thrown at a bus.
The fires reportedly occurred following dispersal of the protesters, though no one was hurt, according to Ynet.The protests were sparked by French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments where he refused to condemn cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad after the beheading of a French school teacher.
Protesters, holding up banners written in Arabic, called for the defense of the Prophet Muhammad at the rally which began after evening prayers in Jaffa.
The prophet “is the most sacred thing in Islam, and he who attains his honor, reaches a whole people,” said Amin Bukhari, a protester accusing the French president of playing the “far-right wing” game, reported the French newspaper Le Figaro.
“Moses must be respected among the Jews, Jesus Christ must be respected as well – he is also our prophet – and we must respect the prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him,” added Bukhari.
The Islamist movement Hamas, the governing authority of the Gaza Strip, also denounced Macron’s words, as did Islamic Jihad.
“Insulting religions and prophets is not a matter of freedom of speech but rather promotes a culture of hatred,” Hamas said in a statement, adding that it wants “to prevent consequences” that these statements could have.
For its part, the Islamic Jihad – Gaza’s second largest armed group, after Hamas – argued that “offending” Islam, and its Prophet Muhammad, was a “redline” that “could not be tolerated.”
In Khan Yunnis in the Gaza Strip, demonstrators burned photos of Macron and called for the defense of both the prophet and Islam, according to Le Figaro.
Macron spoke Thursday during a tribute to Prof. Samuel Paty, beheaded by an Islamist assailant after showing his students drawings of Muhammad to teach them what is freedom of speech.
Since then, calls for a boycott of French products have increased in several countries in the Middle East, after the stir aroused by the words of the French president, who promised not to “renounce to the cartoons” of the Prophet Muhammad.
Representation of prophets is strictly prohibited by Sunni Islam; ridiculing or insulting the Prophet Muhammad is punishable by death in some Muslim countries.Aaron Reich contributed to this report.
Chinese MFA had also claimed to be in talks with five nuclear powers
Col Vinayak Bhat (Retd)A recent interview of a Chinese foreign ministry official by a Russian newspaper on the need to control arms race concealed more than it revealed. The interview of FU Cong, director-general of the department of arms control and disarmament, published in ‘Kommersant’ on October 15, makes one thing clear China will not lift the veil of secrecy surrounding its nuclear programme.
FU Cong has had talks with India and Pakistan earlier this year, but refused to share figures of nuclear warheads it possesses. China, however, refuses to participate in talks with the United States and Russia without achieving parity with them in numbers.
The Chinese MFA had also claimed to be in talks with five nuclear powers, obviously not including India and Pakistan, but later hastily retracted the words from its site. So does China really want a world without nuclear arms? India Today OSINT team tries to get the answer to this pertinent question.
Conventional missile power
The US Department of Defence (DoD) Report on Chinese Military Power 2020 indicates that the People’s Liberation Army has become the largest conventional missile power in the world.
The PLA has more than 1,250 land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missiles. These are ground-launched ballistic missiles (GLCMs) and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with a range between 50 and 5,000 kms.
Such a wide range of conventional missiles may serve dual purposes for Beijing. While the US is considering converting nuclear warheads into conventional ones, PLA, on the other hand, is planning to convert conventional warheads into nuclear ones. And it won’t be very difficult for China to convert its conventional missile force to a large nuclear force within a short timeframe.
China, just like Russia, has achieved technological advancements in the hypersonic field. PLA has already deployed DF-17 missiles with hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) mount DF-ZF that was displayed during the National Day Parade in Beijing on October 1 last year.
DF-17 is the first fully operational hypersonic weapons system in the world with a total range of more than 4,000 km possibly even 5,000 km. The speed of Chinese HGV is likely to be between 5 and 10 Mach, making it impossible to intercept by present ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems in the world.
The risks will be multiplied manifold if China plans to put nuclear warheads on these systems. If deployed in South China Sea’s reclaimed islands or on Hainan islands, they could well be used to block sea lines of communications (SLOCs). Deployment of hypersonic weapons will also certainly affect strategic stability.
Submarine construction at Huludao
The new facility at Huludao, as indicated earlier by India Today OSINT team, would be able to construct anything up to 10 or more submarines simultaneously. This facility is supposedly fully operational and ready to begin construction of Type 94 and Type 96 submarines with possibly JL-3 missiles.
JL-3 missiles are intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) expected to carry multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs). The solid-fuelled missile could carry these MIRVs directed at separate targets over a range of more than 12,000 km.
The first Type 96 submarine with new JL-3 missile systems is likely to be launched anytime soon and runs the risk of shattering the fragile strategic balance in the region.
Recently, a video shot by a possible aircraft enthusiast went viral on Twitter and other social media, showing the PLAAF new bomber aircraft H-6N carrying a new type of missile under its belly.
The H-6N aircraft was to carry an air-launched derivative of DF-21D anti-ship version named CH-AS-X-13, but it was observed carrying a missile more akin to an air-breathing missile fitted with a possible hypersonic glide vehicle mount at the front.
The video was possibly shot at the northern end of Neixiang airbase, an
active airbase with newly built underground and overground storage systems. The underground facility has at least three 50-metre wide entrances/exits, which will possibly have strong automated entry systems.
The new construction of overground storage and checkout facilities, created along with barracks similar to PLARF architecture, suggests pretty strongly that this base would be a nuclear base for PLAAF. The new H-6N fielding at this base indicates that the new missile observed in the video would most probably be carrying a nuclear warhead.
China’s missile force has seen exponential growth in the last five years. The risk of a nuclear conflict is clearly increasing with missiles such as DF-26 carrier-killers with a range of 4,500 km expanding at a phenomenal rate, with at least four units deployed with dual-use thermo-nuclear and conventional warheads.
New weapon systems in PLAAF and expected JL-3 systems on future submarines increase the risks, necessitating their management. FU Cong’s words and PLA’s deeds only indicate that China is buying time to build up enough arsenal to equate itself with the US before coming to the negotiating table.
The international community must pressurise China into joining treaties and agreements that could be bilateral or multilateral to control expansion or proliferation of missiles. China must become more transparent about its nuclear weapons and undertake confidence-building measures (CBMs) with its neighbours.
Until China joins various transparent multilateral arms control agreements or undertakes CBMs, the world will always doubt its intentions and so-called ‘no first use’ policy.