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.
By Anthony Galloway
January 21, 2021 — 3.45pm
The Morrison government has not signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which comes into effect on Friday.
North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles towards the sea in May 2019. KCNA/AP
The treaty, signed by 86 countries, bans signatories from testing, developing, producing, stockpiling or threatening to use nuclear weapons.
Government sources confirmed there was concern about how the treaty would affect Australia’s dealings with the United States, including intelligence sharing through the Pine Gap satellite surveillance base near Alice Springs, because it banned signatories from doing anything to assist a nuclear weapon state in its nuclear plans.
New Zealand, which is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing agreement with the US, Australia, Canada and Britain, has signed the treaty.
As a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, signed in 1968, Australia is already prohibited from manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australia shared the view of many other countries that the treaty “will be ineffective in eliminating nuclear weapons”.
“Australia is committed to the goal of a peaceful, secure world free of nuclear weapons, pursued in an effective, pragmatic and realistic way,” the DFAT spokesman said.
“Our long-held focus is on progressing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament through a progressive, practical approach that engages all states, especially nuclear weapon states, in the process”.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue.”
Ambassador Kelly Craft accompanied the tweet with a photo of herself in the U.N. General Assembly Hall where the island is banned. She carried a handbag with a stuffed Taiwan bear sticking out of the top, a gift from Taiwan’s representative in New York, Ambassador James Lee.
Taiwan and China separated amid civil war in 1949 and China says it is determined to bring the island under its control by force if necessary. The U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but is legally required to ensure Taiwan can defend itself and the self-governing democratic island enjoys strong bipartisan support in Washington.
Tsai has sought to bolster the island’s defenses with the purchase of billions of dollars in U.S. weapons, including upgraded F-16 fighter jets, armed drones, rocket systems and Harpoon missiles capable of hitting both ships and land targets. She has also boosted support for Taiwan’s indigenous arms industry, including launching a program to build new submarines to counter China’s ever-growing naval capabilities.
China’s increased threats come as economic and political enticements bear little fruit, leading it to stage war games and dispatch fighter jets and reconnaissance planes on an almost daily basis toward the island of 24 million people.
Opinion by Editorial Board
Jan. 23, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. EST
PRESIDENT BIDEN’S opening moves to deal with Russia incorporate valuable lessons from the Cold War: that it is possible to engage Moscow when it’s in the interests of the United States while continuing to unreservedly question and confront behavior that is adversarial and harmful. These multiple tracks promise to bring common sense back into U.S. policy after four years of mystery and incoherence at the highest level.
Mr. Biden announced that the United States will propose to Russia a five-year extension of the New START accord limiting strategic nuclear weapons, which expires Feb. 5 and has a provision for such an extension. This is the last remaining bilateral treaty limiting nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty under President Donald Trump, whose policies toward Russia veered between his own affinity for President Vladimir Putin and more skeptical approaches in his administration. Extension of the New START accord, which limits both sides to 1,550 nuclear warheads on 700 launchers and has effective verification, is in the interest of both nations. Mr. Trump’s administration dithered on seeking an extension while trying unsuccessfully to lasso China into a multilateral negotiation, a worthwhile long-term goal that can be pursued later.
Mr. Biden should not fail to take advantage of the five-year extension to take stock of future threats, both nuclear and conventional, from Russia, China and elsewhere. Where it is in the interests of the United States, he ought to look for new arms control opportunities.
The president also ordered an intelligence assessment on four nettlesome aspects of Russian behavior: the recent SolarWinds cyber breach, interference in the 2020 election, the use of chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and reports that Russia placed bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The intelligence assessment will give Mr. Biden a chance to hold Mr. Putin and his government to account where necessary, and to protest in the strongest terms where appropriate. Each of these episodes demands a stronger U.S. response than Mr. Trump provided. In the case of Mr. Navalny, the question is not only the fate of the leading opposition figure who was target of an assassination attempt, but also Russia’s blatant disregard for an international treaty prohibiting the use of chemical weapons.
During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan managed to negotiate arms control agreements with the Soviet Union while also maintaining pressure in other areas, such as regional conflicts and human rights. Mr. Biden, who knows those years well, is right to adopt the multitask template for today. Russia has been repeatedly testing the West. The president’s order to the intelligence community also ought to include a report on the “Havana syndrome” harassment that injured and sickened U.S. officials abroad.
Mr. Trump’s overly personal approach to Mr. Putin was as simplistic as it was shadowy. Mr. Biden is starting on the right foot, announcing from the outset that he is prepared to engage on important business but also that he will not flinch at Mr. Putin’s unpleasant and dark arts.
By Post Editorial Board
President Biden is eager to reengage with Iran and return to the nuclear deal. Yet the murderous regime has no interest in changing its ways. It is boosting its nuclear-weapon development and its network of deadly militias across the Middle East in its continued drive for hegemony.
Biden said during the campaign he’d rejoin the nuclear deal “as a starting point for follow-on negotiations” if “Iran returns to strict compliance,” working “to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal’s provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” such as Iran’s ballistic-missile program, human-rights abuses and “destabilizing activity.”
That was always naïve, and Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, confirmed it Friday: “There cannot be any renegotiations,” he wrote in Foreign Affairs. “Iran’s defense and regional policies were not up for discussion,” since the West won’t withdraw from the region and stop selling arms to its allies.
Zarif proudly declared, “Iran has significantly increased its nuclear capabilities,” and indeed, the International Atomic Energy Agency revealed this month in a confidential report that Iran took a crucial step in December, starting an assembly line to make uranium metal, a key nuclear-weapon component prohibited by the nuclear deal. France, Germany and Britain jointly warned of the “grave military implications,” noting that the metal “has no credible civilian use.”
Earlier this month, Tehran said it was producing 20 percent enriched uranium, far above the 3.67 percent agreed to in the nuclear deal, crossing what even the appeasing Europeans have considered a red line. The IAEA said in November that Iran had accrued a low-enriched uranium stockpile 12 times that allowed under the accord. Iran kept the agency from visiting for months last year and promises to bar inspectors permanently if US sanctions aren’t lifted by Feb. 21.
Nor is the problem just nukes. Tehran’s multiday military exercises this month included tests of ballistic missiles and bomber drones aimed at, Iranian state TV said, a “hypothetical enemy missile shield” and “hypothetical enemy bases.” Some missiles landed just 100 miles from the USS Nimitz, their debris flying after they exploded. One missile touched the water 20 miles from a commercial vessel.
Newsweek recently reported that Iran is delivering “suicide drones” (advanced unmanned aerial vehicles) to its Houthi proxies in Yemen. With a 2,000-kilometer range, they can hit Israel, Saudi Arabia, even American targets in the region.
All this should be a wake-up call for the new president, but Biden looks to be sticking to appeasement. His choice for CIA director, William Burns, played a key role in the Obama administration’s 2013 secret talks with Tehran that led to the 2015 nuclear deal. And Biden is reportedly looking to make Robert Malley his special envoy to Iran.
Malley was pushed out of the 2008 Obama campaign after news broke that he’d met with members of the terrorist group Hamas, but he became the Middle East director for President Barack Obama’s National Security Council. Last year, he actually condemned the killing of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
A dozen former Iranian hostages and human-rights activists sent a letter to Biden’s secretary of state designate urging him not to put Malley in the administration, as it “would send a chilling signal to the dictatorship in Iran that the United States is solely focused on re-entering the Iran nuclear deal, and ignoring its regional terror and domestic crimes against humanity.”
That was exactly the Obama-era approach, and Biden seems bent on repeating that deadly mistake.
Fatima Ahmed and Tajjalla Munir*
The South Asian sub-continent had remained turbulent since two nation-states Pakistan and India had been carved out by the British in 1947. Since partition, the relations of Pakistan and India had been contentious mainly because of the disputed region of Kashmir. Both archrivals have fought three wars over Kashmir and their relations have been mired with hostility and distrust ever since. The relations between the two states grew more sensitive when both acquired nuclear weapons. With nuclear weapons, nuclear deterrence was achieved and it led to strategic stability in South Asia. This strategic stability doesn’t rule out the occurrence of conflicts between the two archrivals. The small clashes can easily get out of hand and can disturb strategic stability. The recent example of the Pulwama attack in February 2019, illustrates this point of view. The world saw that due to the attack on Pulwama, the blame game started by India, and in few days tensions escalated and Pakistan and India were standing at the brink of nuclear war.
Nuclear deterrence is the only factor that provides strategic stability in the region but the presence of nuclear deterrence is not always helpful in ensuring peace. It somehow retains space for small conflicts and the threat of escalation of these conflicts is always present. The best example of this was a crisis between both states that happened in the second month of 2019.
In February 2019, Indian paramilitary forces were targeted by a terrorist attack. More than 40 soldiers died in the attack and the Indian authorities were quick to blame Pakistan on this incident. Prime Minister of Pakistan openly stated that, if Indians could provide any actionable evidence that terrorists are linked with Pakistan they will utilize all necessary resources to bring the perpetrators to justice. But Indian authorities did not provide any evidence and they were adamant to Punish Pakistan for what they call support of terrorism in Indian occupied Kashmir. On the night of February 26, Indian fighter jets intruded Pakistan’s air space and claimed to destroy a terrorist camp. But later it was revealed that there was no causality in Pakistan. Pakistan responded the next day by engaging a target inside Indian occupied Kashmir next and in a subsequent dog fight, India lost one of its fighter planes and the pilot was captured by Pakistan. After this India planned to hit the target with conventional missiles and Pakistan also promised to do the same. This readiness by both states to strike the target with missiles in each other’s territory brought the region to the brink of nuclear war. However, Pakistan released Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman as a “peace gesture” which played an important role in diffusing tension. Although the nuclear war was averted by taking some rational decisions from both sides this crisis demonstrated the fact of the fragility of peace between India and Pakistan. It also created fear in the minds of the international community that any upcoming crisis, maybe our luck will be not sufficient enough to avert nuclear war in South Asia.
When two nuclear-armed neighbors are involved in continuous rivalry or they have longstanding disputes between them, there is always a fear that any crisis between them could escalate and soon get out of control. The main threat that is associated with escalation is that the crisis could turn into a conflict that could bring nuclear weapons into the theater of war. There are two major types of strategic thinkers about this issue, one is those who are optimistic about the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence while others are pessimists. Both these groups brought their research from cold war times. But it is not necessary that theories that were successful during the cold war may also succeed in the South Asian context because of many structural and technical differences. Leaders of both states have adopted the policy of brinkmanship, during many crises that occurred in the subcontinent. This policy brought with it dangers of escalation during the time of crisis. As Thomas C Schelling said, “Brinksmanship involves getting onto the slope where one may fall in spite of his own best efforts to save himself, dragging his adversary with him”.
After the advent of nuclear weapons, cyber weapons are the most destructive thing that we can imagine in this contemporary world. Nuclear weapons can lead to tangible damage. In the age when the world has become a global village, cyber weapons pose a threat to international peace. Cyberspace provided the fifth domain in the area of armed conflict. Previously, they were air, land, sea, and space. Nuclear weapons are generally used for deterrence purposes and they are mostly used or considered as last option weapons, cyber-attack on the other hand can be materialized when there is no apparent conflict between two states. Due to the deep enmity between Indian and Pakistan, it will always a threat that both countries can target each other in cyberspace. When a cyber-attack is launched against India and Pakistan, they will blame each other but the perpetrators of this attack could be the third party. That could be state-sponsored cyber-attack or even non-state actors and individuals could carry out such endeavors. This has already happened, when a cyber-attack targeted some websites in India. Initially, Pakistan was made responsible for these attacks but later it was revealed that the offensive was done by a third party. It was due to insecurity and doubt present in both states about each other’s intentions or capabilities. While initially cyber-attacks can be very limited in scope but there are fair chances that it could escalate which could result in a conflict with the use of conventional weapons. Therefore in modern times, cyber weapons pose a great threat to the peaceful relations between India and Pakistan. That will ultimately lead to regional instability.
*Fatima Ahmed and Tajjalla Munir are Research Scholar at COMSATS University Islamabad.
On Friday, reports surfaced that Twitter had appeared to suspend an account belonging to Iran’s vehemently anti-Israel supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Screenshot of the image tweeted by an account associated with Iran’s Supreme LeaderCredit: @khamenei_site Twitter account
But @khamenei_site wasn’t the authoritarian leader’s real account.
The reason for the suspension was that the account had tweeted a photo calling for “revenge” against former President Donald Trump. Along with a photo showing Trump golfing beneath the shadow of a military airplane, the tweet read “Revenge is inevitable. Soleimani’s killer and the man who gave the orders must face vengeance.”
As president, Trump ordered the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the senior Iranian general who commanded a force that had supported terrorist groups across the Middle East.
But Twitter said it suspended the account because it was fake, Reuters reported. Khamenei’s main account, with more than 880,000 followers, was still active.
Twitter told The Associated Press that it had suspended the fake account for violating the platform’s “abusive behavior policy” as well as its “manipulation and spam policy.”
Officials in Israel and the United States have drawn attention to Khamenei’s active account as debates over moderation on Twitter have escalated, and particularly as the platform has restricted and then suspended Trump’s account for inciting violence.
At a hearing last year in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, an Israeli activist asked why a Khamenei tweet calling for Israel’s elimination was allowed, given that a label had been appended to tweets by Trump. A Twitter official responded that “foreign policy saber-rattling on military and economic issues are generally not in violation of Twitter rules.”
Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s press secretary, said the statement spoke to Twitter’s “overwhelming, blinding bias against conservatives and against this president.”