Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says StudyA study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. 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. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.
(The Washington Post) — Three rockets, apparently fired by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, landed in the U.S. Embassy complex within Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone late Tuesday, amid rising tensions with Iran in the waning days of the Trump administration.
A U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of a formal statement, said initial reports indicated there had been no injuries to U.S. personnel or damage to American facilities. Another rocket reportedly landed elsewhere in the zone, and the Iraqi army said in a statement that another three fell outside the area, killing a young child and wounding five Iraqi civilians.
The attack came as President Donald Trump has consulted with top members of his national security team about a possible strike on Iran following reports of a sharp expansion in its uranium enrichment program. The government in Tehran has said it has no intention of building a nuclear weapon.
In a meeting Thursday, advisers cautioned against a preemptive strike, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Since his legacy is to have pulled the United States out of regional wars, Trump was advised he should resist starting a new conflict in a region where he has ordered U.S. troop withdrawals.
Trump agreed, the official said. “No orders have been given. … There’s no imminent threat of preemptive strikes against Iran for their nuclear or missile programs.”
But the president emphasized that any killing of an American that could be “tied back to instructions from Iran” would spark an immediate U.S. response, the official said. The president was “extraordinarily forceful,” the official said. If the Iranians kill Americans, the U.S. response will be swift and painful, the official said.
Responding to accounts of the White House meeting, first reported by the New York Times, an Iranian government spokesman said Tuesday that any U.S. attack on Iran would bring a “crushing” response.
Spokesman Ali Rabiei, streaming on an official government website, said that it was unlikely that the United States “would want to cause insecurity in the world and the region.”
The attack came less than an hour after acting defense secretary Christopher Miller announced that the U.S. military would withdraw another 500 troops from Iraq, decreasing the number to 2,500 by Jan. 15, days before President-elect Biden takes office.
In remarks to reporters outside the White House, national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the remaining U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan – where the number is also coming down to 2,500 – would “defend our embassies and the other agencies of the U.S. government.” “By May,” he said, “it is President Trump’s hope that they will all come home safely and in their entirety.”
Beyond Trump’s desire to fulfill his campaign promise to end foreign wars before his term expires, it is unclear why troops are being brought home at a time of particular tension in the Middle East.
In recent days, U.S. intelligence has been monitoring potential threats by Iran to U.S. forces in the region, people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. Current and former officials have expressed alarm that Iran might try to provoke military conflict in Trump’s final days in office.
Biden was briefed Tuesday on global threats, presumably including Iran, by national security experts, including former diplomats and military officials. But he continued to be denied official briefings from current intelligence and defense officials as Trump refused to allow his administration to formally begin the transition process.
“We are going to focus on readiness for whatever may come,” Biden, in Wilmington, Del., told the group of experts as the virtual meeting began, “and that’s why I have asked you all to brief me on what you see as the biggest challenges we face and how to make sure that our diplomacy, our military” is prepared “to meet these crises.”
“You know that I’ve been unable to get the briefings that ordinarily would have come by now,” he said. “And so I just want to get your input on what you see ahead. And, to state the obvious, there’s no presidential responsibility more important than protecting the American people.”
Briefers at the session included retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and of the U.S. Central Command during the Obama administration; retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and retired Adm. William McRaven, both of whom served as head of the Joint Special Operations Command; former deputy CIA directors Avril Haines and David Cohen; and a number of other former senior diplomats and defense officials.
Biden also spoke by telephone Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government has opposed the president-elect’s plans to try to reengage diplomatically with Iran. Biden has said he will consider reentering the Iran nuclear deal that Trump exited in 2018, provided Tehran returns to compliance with its terms, including strict limits on enriched uranium.
Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is due to visit Israel this week.
In Iraq, the rocket attack appeared to mark the end of a unilateral truce declared in October by Iranian-backed militias operating there.
Since late 2019, the armed groups have repeatedly targeted facilities and personnel linked to Western interests in Iraq. Those previous attacks resulted in the deaths of six Iraqis, three U.S. servicemen and one Briton, and brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war.
A Telegram channel linked to the militias said Tuesday that the Ashab al-Kahf group had fired six rockets into the area in Baghdad. Another post showed the face of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi militia leader killed alongside Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani in a Jan. 3 drone strike ordered by Trump.
The administration has also threatened to withdraw all personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, citing security concerns, a move that critics say would only deepen Iranian influence in Iraq.
Loveluck reported from Baghdad. The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan in Wilmington and Missy Ryan and Shane Harris in Washington contributed to this report.
Honduran authorities transfer residents affected by IotaThe residents affected by Hurricane Iota were evacuated to a shelter in the Olympic village in Tegucigalpa.Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters
At least 26 people are dead in the wake of powerful Hurricane Iota, which is still delivering heavy rain and winds to Central America.
Iota made landfall Monday night in Nicaragua, and though the storm is dissipating, the threat for heavy rain continues. The rainfall is expected to cause mudslides and life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding.
In Nicaragua, at least 16 people died, including 12 of whom died in a landslide in Matagalpa, state-run Radio Nicaragua reported. Vice President Rosario Murillo also said two children died while trying to cross a river on Monday.
In Bilwi, Nicaragua, there are “falling trees, electricity poles, roofs of houses that were blown up in the air and a hotel that lost its entire roof,” SINAPRED’s Director Guillermo González said.
More than 114,000 homes have no power and over 47,000 are without water, the government said.
In Honduras, at least five people have died and over 61,000 people are living in shelters, according to the Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras (COPECO).
In Colombia, at least two are dead, while six others are wounded and one person is missing, said President Iván Duque.
Residents remove debris from their houses destroyed by the passing of Hurricane Iota, in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Nov. 18, 2020.Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters
One woman was killed in Panama, officials said. One person has died in Guatemala and another person died in El Salvador, government officials said.
In Honduras, the government has issued a red alert throughout the country and ordered the closure of main highways through Wednesday.
Iota made landfall about 15 miles from where Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 just 13 days earlier.
Aid workers in Central America were still discovering the extent of damage from Eta when Iota hit, said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Iota is now the strongest hurricane to hit Nicaragua in November on record.
“We’re running out of superlatives for this Atlantic hurricane season. It’s record breaking in every sense of the word. We are currently, with Iota, on the 30th named tropical storm,” Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization, said at a U.N. news briefing in Geneva.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., a storm system in the West helped to spread wildfire in Reno, Nevada, where more than a dozen homes were damaged yesterday.
Thankfully, the forward progress of the fire has been stopped while winds gusted 50 to 60 mph in the Reno area yesterday and, with dry conditions, it was easy for the fire to spread.
The highest wind gust on Tuesday was in Nevada of up to 110 mph in the mountains.
On Wednesday, there are wind, snow and fire alerts that have been issued from California to Missouri.
Gusty dry winds are expected again for the West and into the Plains.
But, at the same time the storm that is bringing all the wind, it is also dumping feet of snow in California’s Sierra Nevada Range and rain will continue from northern California to Oregon and Washington.
But, at the same time the storm that is bringing all the wind, it is also dumping feet of snow in California’s Sierra Nevada Range and rain will continue from northern California to Oregon and Washington.ABC News
In the East, the coldest air of the season is here with freeze warnings and a frost advisory from Alabama to the Carolinas and Virginia where temperatures in the Southeast are at or below freezing for the first time this year.
In the Northeast, New York City is under a freeze warnings as temperatures drop to freezing in the five boroughs where wind chills are down into the 20s and even the teens.
In the Northeast, New York City is under a freeze warnings as temperatures drop to freezing in the five boroughs where wind chills are down into the 20s and even the teens.ABC News
This chilly, winter-like air mass will not last too long in the Northeast or Midwest and, by tomorrow and into Friday, temperatures are expected to quickly rebound into the 60s and even the 70s for some.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has fired up advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges that it had installed underground at its Natanz site, in the latest breach of its nuclear deal with major powers, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog obtained by Reuters on Wednesday showed.
Natanz is Iran’s main uranium-enrichment site and the one that U.S. President Donald Trump recently asked for options on attacking, according to a source who confirmed a New York Times report.
The deal states that Iran can only accumulate enriched uranium with first-generation IR-1 machines and that those are the only centrifuges it can operate at its underground plant at Natanz, apparently built to withstand aerial bombardment.
An International Atomic Energy Agency report last week showed Tehran had installed a cascade, an interlinked cluster, of advanced IR-2m machines underground at Natanz, having moved them from an above-ground plant where it was already enriching uranium with advanced centrifuges in breach of the deal.
Last week’s report said it had not fed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, the feedstock for centrifuges, into that cascade.
“On 14 November 2020, the Agency verified that Iran began feeding UF6 into the recently installed cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz,” the IAEA report to member states dated Tuesday said.
Iran has breached many restrictions imposed by the 2015 deal on its atomic activities, including on the purity to which it enriches uranium and its stock of enriched uranium. These breaches came in response to Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018 and the reimposition of U.S. sanctions against Tehran that had been lifted under the accord.
Last week’s IAEA report said Iran had also begun installing a cascade of IR-4 centrifuges at the underground plant but not a planned third cascade of IR-6 machines. It is also operating 5,060 IR-1 machines at the underground plant.
Reporting by Francois Murphy, editing by Louise Heavens and Gareth Jones
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed broad sanctions targeting Iran, blacklisting a foundation controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and taking aim at what Washington called Iran’s human rights abuses a year after a deadly crackdown on anti-government demonstrators.
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a virtual speech, on the occasion of the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, in Tehran, Iran November 3, 2020. Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES./File Photo
The sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department, which also targeted Iran’s intelligence minister, are the latest action to reinforce the “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran pursued by President Donald Trump’s administration. They come little more than two months before Trump is due to hand over power to Joe Biden after losing a Nov. 3 election.
The department imposed sanctions on what it described as a key patronage network for Khamenei. It said it blacklisted the Bonyad Mostazafan, or the Foundation of the Oppressed, which is controlled by Khamenei, in a move also targeting 10 individuals and 50 subsidiaries of the foundation in sectors including energy, mining and financial services.
The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of those targeted and generally bar Americans from doing business with them. Anyone who engages in certain transactions with these individuals and entities runs the risk of being hit with U.S. sanctions.
The charitable foundation – an economic, cultural and social-welfare institution – has amassed vast amounts of wealth to the detriment of the rest of the Iranian economy and controls hundreds of companies and properties confiscated since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, insiders say.
The Treasury Department in a statement accused Khamenei of using the foundation’s holdings to “enrich his office, reward his political allies, and persecute the regime’s enemies.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement: “The United States will continue to target key officials and revenue-generating sources that enable the regime’s ongoing repression of its own people.”
‘SIGN OF DESPERATION’
Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, called the new sanctions “a sign of desperation” by Trump’s administration.
“These latest attempts to continue a failed policy of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran and its citizens will fail, just as all other attempts have,” Miryousefi said.
The head of the blacklisted foundation, Parviz Fattah, tweeted: “The struggle of the declining U.S. government cannot impact the foundation’s anti-sanction activities and its productivity.”
Fattah, who was among those blacklisted on Wednesday, described Trump as “a loser and disturbed person.”
U.S.-Iranian tensions have risen since Trump two years ago abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and restored harsh economic sanctions designed to force Tehran into a wider negotiation on curbing its nuclear program, development of ballistic missiles and support for regional proxy forces.
President-elect Biden, set to take office on Jan. 20, has said he will return the United States to the nuclear deal, if Iran resumes compliance.
Some analysts have said Trump’s piling-on of additional U.S. sanctions appeared to be aimed at making it harder for Biden to re-engage with Iran after taking office.
“The administration is clearly, and I think transparently, trying to raise the political cost for Biden to re-engage with Iran and lift the nuclear deal sanctions,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst with Eurasia Group.
Rome said Wednesday’s move could embarrass the supreme leader, dissuade non-U.S. companies from dealing with the charitable foundation even if sanctions are eventually lifted, and put the Biden administration in the potentially difficult position of justifying why they did so.
The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi and accused his ministry of playing a role in serious human rights abuses against Iranians, including during last year’s protests.
The U.S. State Department also designated two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials, accusing them of involvement in the killing of nearly 150 people in the city of Mahshahr during last year’s crackdown. The action bars them and their immediate families from traveling to the United States.
The 2019 crackdown may have been the bloodiest repression of protesters in Iran since the 1979 revolution.
Reuters reported last year that about 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15, 2019. The toll was provided to Reuters by three Iranian Interior Ministry officials.
Iran’s Interior Ministry has said around 225 people were killed during the protests, which erupted after state media announced that gas prices would rise by as much as 200% and the revenue would be used to help needy families.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement urged other nations to take action against Iran for its human rights abuses.
Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Arshad Mohammed in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Mary Milliken, Will Dunham and Howard Goller
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A Russian Army Mi-28 helicopter launches rockets during military exercises at the Raevsky range in Southern Russia on September 23.
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images
Your move, nato.
By Rufaro Manyepa • November 17
Russia’s military budget is a well-kept secret. But between 2005 and 2018, military expenditure doubled to around $180 billion, according to Michael Kofman of the Center for Naval Analyses think tank. That amounts to about 4 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product, and three times more than Britain spends on its military. What has all this money purchased?
The Russian Federation Special Forces landed in Pakistan for joint military exercises on November 5 aimed at sharing experiences in counter-terrorism. The two began holding joint exercises in 2016, and have highlighted the growing military cooperation between these two nations.
But even next to Pakistan, which is a nuclear power in its own right, one can’t help but see how the Russian military forces “dazzle” after years of reform. It’s come a long way since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“No army in the world is in as wretched a state as ours,” lamented Sergei Shoygu, Russia’s defense minister in 1994. Today, the army is transformed, in large part thanks to a lot of money.
A great deal of this money has been spent on innovative military equipment. Just last month, Russia state-owned defense corporation Rostec released footage of its new combat exoskeleton, the Stormer.
Экзоскелеты от Ростеха
12:57 PM · Sep 30, 2020
“The exoskeleton is hidden beneath the clothes and gear,” says Russian news agency tass. “It allows for easily carrying up to 60 kilograms of combat equipment and weapons, while its own weight is 6 kilograms.”
This is the sort of equipment the Pentagon has unsuccessfully pursued for the last four decades. Meanwhile, Russia is looking to adopt futuristic armored suits as its military’s stock combat outfit by 2025.
Much more money has been spent on the 600 new planes, 840 helicopters and 2,300 drones Russia has added over the last decade, according to Julian Cooper of the University of Birmingham. This overhaul has not only increased the sheer size of Russia’s military weapons stockpile, it has also vastly improved the machinery itself.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (iiss), 99 percent of Russian armor was over three decades old in 2007. Today, 27 percent has been modernized. The same goes for Russia’s warplanes, going from 3 percent modern to 71 percent modern in that time.
However, the Economist noted that Russia’s “most important investments were in precision missiles like the land-based Iskander, sea-launched Kalibr and air-launched Kh-101, putting in range targets across Europe.”
Such missiles would allow Russia to accurately strike targets in Europe. According to Dmitry Stefanovich of a Moscow-based research institute, 10 years ago Russia only dreamed of being able to strike Syrian targets from the Caspian Sea. “Now it’s a reality,” he said.
Much more, in a European war, these missiles could also threaten areas west of the Rhine, past Germany and the Netherlands, into Belgium and France.
In a direct conflict with European powers, Russia would be ready for battle much more quickly than nato. The Economist stated that Russia could mobilize and arm 100,000 soldiers to a European hotspot within 30 days. It would take nato more than that time to assemble even half that number.
The ascendancy of the Russian military is taking away nato’s peace of mind. Even the advantages Europe currently has are slowly being eroded. According to the iiss, a long conflict would see nato ultimately outgun Russia. And so, Russian President Vladimir Putin has invested in a Russian blitz through hypersonic gliders, radioactive torpedoes and nuclear-powered cruise missiles capable of circling the Earth indefinitely.
This is all without even considering Russia’s partnership with other Asian states. As with Pakistan, Russia is the powerful focal point of ever strengthening military ties between other Asian states such as China and India.
Russia is the eminent military force though. According to Michael Kofman, Russia and China have similar weapons and troops, but because of actual Russian military experience, the difference between the militaries is “night and day.”
In Syria, Russia has been able to perfect and experiment with cyberattacks and drones, test precision strikes and unmanned vehicles, while measuring its air defense against hostile drone swarms.
Russia is perfectly placed to lead a powerful military alliance in Asia, one that poses a significant threat to Europe. And Bible prophecy says that it will.
Revelation 9:16 speaks of an army numbering 200 million troops. Where such a large army come from? It would have to come from Asia. This can only be describing the Asian military behemoth which the Bible calls “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12).
“Current events show this Asian army is taking shape already,” Mr. Flurry writes. “You can see it in Putin’s growing authoritarianism, and also in his outreach to other Asian powers. Russia has supplied China with many military armaments over the last decade or so; it also helped the Chinese go nuclear. For many years the Russians have been allied with China, at least to some degree.
But there will also be other powers involved.”
Hence the joint military exercise with Pakistan, the multibillion-dollar trade pacts with China and India, even the warmer ties being fostered with Japan.
Europe is waking up to the fact that it would be woefully unprepared for conflict with Russia. Mr. Flurry writes that this growing European fear will result in a reaction that will lead to the fulfillment of another Bible prophecy, one that will trigger World War iii.
Fear of Russia will “cause 10 leaders in Europe to unite in a sudden and dramatic way” as the only way to safeguard against an aggressive and dangerous Russia.
Mr. Flurry writes:
The same Bible that accurately prophesies a powerful prince of Russia also prophesies that an Asian superpower will do battle in a final world war—primarily against a German-led Europe… War is coming between Russia and China and a German-led Europe—war on a scale that is hard to imagine! Millions and even billions of people will be killed. Nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction are going to impact every nation on Earth!
But the Bible also prophesies that at the end of all of these wars, the world is going to see the greatest event ever in the universe: the Second Coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ! As Christ Himself said, if He didn’t return, there would literally be no flesh saved alive (Matthew 24:22; Moffatt). But before humanity annihilates itself, He will return and stop all this madness!
Please request your free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’ to prove these prophecies for yourself, from the Bible, and to gain full understanding of these events and the wonderful hope that lies beyond.