US Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for TowersNew York TimesBy SAM ROBERTSJULY 17, 2014Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.”Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”
By Jackie Salo
November 8, 2020
A 3.6-magnitude earthquake shook Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning, officials said — startling residents across the Northeast who expressed shock about the rare tremors.
The quake struck the area about five miles southwest of the community in Buzzards Bay just after 9 a.m. — marking the strongest one in the area since a magnitude 3.5 temblor in March 1976, the US Geological Survey said.
With a depth of 9.3 miles, the impact was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.
“This is the strongest earthquake that we’ve recorded in that area — Southern New England,” USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Providence Journal.
But the quake was still considered “light” on the magnitude scale, meaning that it was felt but didn’t cause significant damage.
The quake, however, was unusual for the region — which has only experienced 26 larger than a magnitude 2.5 since 1973, Caruso said.
Around 14,000 people went onto the USGS site to report the shaking — with some logging tremors as far as Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 100 miles away.
“It’s common for them to be felt very far away because the rock here is old and continuous and transmits the energy a long way,” Caruso said.
Journalist Katie Couric was among those on Long Island to be roused by the Sunday-morning rumblings.
“Did anyone on the east coast experience an earthquake of sorts?” Couric wrote on Twitter.
“We are on Long Island and the attic and walls rattled.”
Closer to the epicenter, residents estimated they felt the impact for 10 to 15 seconds.
“In that moment, it feels like it’s going on forever,” said Ali Kenner Brodsky, who lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards conducted an overnight ground forces drill near the Iraqi border in the southwest of the country, state television reported on Friday.
It said tank divisions, drone units and paratroopers participated in the annual drill – dubbed the “Great Prophet” – that followed week-long celebrations marking the 42nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Islamic Republic has recently conducted several military exercises as it seeks to push the United States to return to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Last month, Iran tested surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and short-range naval missiles, as well as a wide range of domestically produced drones.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who took office last month, has said Washington will rejoin the deal that his predecessor Donald Trump abandoned “if Iran resumes strict compliance” with the agreement, which imposed strict curbs on Tehran’s uranium enrichment activities in return for a lifting of sanctions.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump reinstated tough sanctions when he abandoned the accord in 2018. Iran has said Washington must rejoin the deal before it resumes compliance.
By Lawrence J. Haas, opinion contributor
February 12, 2021 – 09:45 AM EST
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill
“If they want Iran to return to its commitments,” Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, declared this week about the 2015 global nuclear agreement, “the United States must lift all sanctions in practice.”
Hours later, President Biden told CBS News that he will not lift sanctions until Iran agrees to abide by the agreement’s restrictions on uranium enrichment, enriched stockpiles, and related activities.
To be sure, the dueling statements may overstate the clash between Washington and Tehran over the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — from which President Trump withdrew in 2018 and which Tehran has begun to violate in increasingly brazen fashion.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif quickly walked back Khamenei’s absolutist demand, and U.S. officials are mulling whether to propose small concessions from each side to set the stage for new talks over Iran’s nuclear program.
Nevertheless, Iran’s nuclear progress of recent weeks — combined with the emerging political dynamics in and between Washington, Tehran, Jerusalem, and Europe — could leave the issue where it has lingered for years: with Tehran working both out front and clandestinely to build the architecture of a nuclear weapons program, and Washington and its allies desperate to find a peaceful way to stop it.
The coming weeks could well determine whether these parties resume their dispute of nearly two decades over Iran’s nuclear program or find some way — with or without the assent of all parties — to resolve it.
As U.S. officials know all too well, Tehran has made important progress of late on the nuclear front. “The time that it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is down to, we think, a few months,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC, adding that the time could shrink to “a matter of weeks” if Iran further ignores the restrictions on its nuclear work.
Tehran is now enriching uranium at 20 percent purity, which far exceeds the allowable 3.5 percent and which is a modest step away from 90 percent, weapons-grade purity. The regime has announced that it will begin to restrict short-notice international inspections of suspected nuclear sites, install 1,000 new enrichment centrifuges at its Natanz facility, and start producing uranium metal (which also can be used to make nuclear weapons). Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that international inspectors found radioactive material at two Iranian nuclear sites last fall that, they suspect, might indicate that Iran performed work on nuclear weapons.
U.S. and Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear program have long extended beyond the fissile material of a bomb to the related infrastructure, such as ballistic missiles on which Iran might mount a bomb. Here, too, Tehran’s progress of late has raised concerns in Washington and Europe.
Iran and North Korea resumed cooperation over the last year on long-range missile projects, an independent panel told the United Nations in a secret report. That Pyongyang displayed an ICBM in October that, Bloomberg reported, “appeared to be the world’s largest road-mobile missile and capable of carrying multiple warheads” was only more troubling.
Beyond its nuclear progress, Tehran may have other reasons not to rush back to comply with the JCPOA. With Iran holding presidential elections in June, some Iran watchers expect Khamenei to resist Biden’s call to revive the JCPOA and then negotiate a 2.0 version in hopes that a more conservative Iranian president will replace the “moderate” Hassan Rouhani, who is not seeking re-election.
Biden, too, will be driven by his political calculations and constraints. In seeking to revive and then extend the JCPOA, he’ll have strong backing in Europe, which clashed mightily with Trump over the latter’s “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions to force Tehran to the negotiating table.
But, while Trump worked in lockstep with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran and other issues, Biden and Netanyahu are already clashing over the JCPOA, which the latter believes is far too weak to constrain Iran’s nuclear aspirations. That Biden has not called Netanyahu since taking office does not bode well for hopes that they will find common ground on this challenge.
Nor, in Jerusalem, is Netanyahu alone in his fears. In a highly unusual move, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi denounced Biden’s plan to rejoin the JCPOA in anything like its current form and announced that he has directed the IDF to devise new plans to strike Iran’s nuclear sites if necessary.
Biden will be battling critics at home, too. By appointing Robert Malley, a lightning rod for conservatives, to negotiate with Tehran over its nuclear program, Biden raised fears on the right that his team will prove too accommodating to a regime that seems unalterably hostile to the West.
In the end, the question is whether the parties involved can sidestep their political constraints and make progress on a thorny issue that has plagued the region and wider world for all too many years.
Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, is the author of The Kennedys in the World: How Jack, Bobby, and Ted Remade America’s Empire, new from Potomac Books.
Xinhua · china.org.cn | February 12, 2021
Pakistan on Thursday conducted a successful training launch of a cruise missile with a range of 450 km, the Pakistani military said.
Pakistan on Thursday conducted a successful training launch of a cruise missile with a range of 450 km, the Pakistani military said.
An army statement said that Babur cruise missile is capable of engaging targets at land and sea with high precision.
“The missile was launched from a state-of-the-art Multi Tube Missile Launch Vehicle,” the army’s media wing the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement.
The training launch was witnessed by senior military and civil officials who praised the standard of training and operational preparedness of the Army strategic forces, “which was reflected by the proficient handling of the weapon system in the field and fulfilment of all laid down training parameters.”
President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and services chiefs congratulated the participating troops on conducting a successful training launch, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, Pakistan conducted a training launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi, which is capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 290 km. In January, Pakistan conducted a flight test of Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile which has a range of 2,750 km.
The so-called E3 European powers have urged Iran to reverse its decision to violate a landmark nuclear deal by producing uranium metal and avoid “noncompliant” steps before it’s too late.
Britain, France, and Germany issued the plea on February 12 following a call the previous day by Russia’s deputy foreign minister for Iran to “show restraint” as a new U.S. administration weighs possible paths to rejoining the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) from 2015.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi informed member states on February 10 that the UN atomic watchdog’s inspectors had confirmed this week that 3.6 grams of uranium metal had been produced at an Iranian nuclear facility in Isfahan.
“We strongly urge Iran to halt these activities without delay and not to take any new noncompliant steps on its nuclear program,” the E3 said in a statement. “In escalating its noncompliance, Iran is undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realize the objectives of the JCPOA.”
Ex-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2018 from the agreement and reimposed punishing sanctions against Iran, but President Joe Biden campaigned ahead of the U.S. elections in November 2020 on seeking a way to revisit that move.
The Biden administration has insisted that Iran move to full compliance with the JCPOA before Washington will return to the deal, but Tehran has rejected any preconditions.
U.S. and other intelligence sources have suggested Iran could be just months away from nuclear bomb-making if it chose to pursue such a weapon, given its return to some sensitive nuclear activities since Trump’s withdrawal.
Tehran has resolutely insisted it wants nuclear technology for a civilian energy program and not a weapon, although the IAEA and some Western governments point to a history of obfuscation and deceit by Iranian officials in the face of past concerns.
“We reiterate that Iran has no credible civilian justification for these activities, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,” the statement by the E3 repeated.
The nuclear agreement, which exchanged sanctions relief for curbs on technology, put a 15-year ban on Iran “producing or acquiring plutonium or uranium metals or their alloys.”
Russia — which along with the E3 and China is a signatory to the JCPOA — has sought to keep diplomatic channels open to Tehran as it cooperates on Syria, Libya, and on other problems in the region.
“We understand the logic of their actions and the reasons prompting Iran,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said of Tehran on February 11. “Despite this, it is necessary to show restraint and a responsible approach.”
The nuclear agreement — reached by Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain — put a 15-year ban on Iran “producing or acquiring plutonium or uranium metals or their alloys.”
Tehran has gradually breached the deal since the U.S. pullout by building up its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, refining uranium to a higher level of purity, and using advanced centrifuges for enrichment.
After the assassination in Iran of a top nuclear scientist in December 2020 that Tehran blames on Israel, Iranian officials signaled their intention to research uranium metal production.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.
France, Germany, UK warn Iran over uranium metal production.
The United Kingdom, France and Germany have together condemned Iran’s decision to produce uranium metal, which they said is in breach of commitments made by Iran to the international community.
The European trio, who are signatories to the deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), said in a joint statement on Friday that Iran’s move to produce uranium metal was a violation of the accord that endangers the chance to fully realise the deal, which aims to reduce international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear programme
“We strongly urge Iran to halt these activities without delay and not to take any new non-compliant steps on its nuclear programme. In escalating its non-compliance, Iran is undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realise the objectives of the JCPOA,” said the European trio in a statement.
Biden Refuses To Lift Sanctions
Joe Biden has warned that US sanctions on Iran will only be lifted only if it stops enriching uranium, and not simply to attract Tehran back to the negotiating table. The US president’s comments came as Iran’s supreme leader reiterated that Tehran would not return to full compliance with the nuclear accord it signed with world powers in 2015 until the US lifted all sanctions.