The History of Earthquakes In New YorkBy Meteorologist Michael Gouldrick New York State PUBLISHED 6:30 AM ET Sep. 09, 2020 PUBLISHED 6:30 AM EDT Sep. 09, 2020New York State has a long history of earthquakes. Since the early to mid 1700s there have been over 550 recorded earthquakes that have been centered within the state’s boundary. New York has also been shaken by strong earthquakes that occurred in southeast Canada and the Mid-Atlantic states.
Earthquakes in the northeast U.S. and southeast Canada are not as intense as those found in other parts of the world but can be felt over a much larger area. The reason for this is the makeup of the ground. In our part of the world, the ground is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been put together. If one piece shakes, the whole puzzle shakes.In the Western U.S., the ground is more like a puzzle that hasn’t been fully put together yet. One piece can shake violently, but only the the pieces next to it are affected while the rest of the puzzle doesn’t move.In Rochester, New York, the most recent earthquake was reported on March 29th, 2020. It was a 2.6 magnitude shake centered under Lake Ontario. While most did not feel it, there were 54 reports of the ground shaking.So next time you are wondering why the dishes rattled, or you thought you felt the ground move, it certainly could have been an earthquake in New York.Here is a website from the USGS (United Sates Geologic Society) of current earthquakes greater than 2.5 during the past day around the world. As you can see, the Earth is a geologically active planet!Another great website of earthquakes that have occurred locally can be found here.To learn more about the science behind earthquakes, check out this website from the USGS.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. military said Wednesday that two people sustained minor injuries after at least 14 rockets pummeled an Iraqi base that houses U.S. troops and other international forces.
“At approx. 12:30 PM local time, Ain Al-Assad Air Base was attacked by 14 rockets. The rockets landed on the base & perimeter. Force protection defensive measures were activated,” wrote U.S. Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, in a statement Wednesday.
Marotto added that all U.S. forces were accounted for and that damage was still being assessed on the base.
It was not immediately clear if those injured were U.S. troops, civilians or coalition forces. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for Wednesday’s rocket attack, though the assault is part of a recent wave aimed at U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
The U.S. has previously blamed Iran-backed militias operating in Iraq and Syria for carrying out such attacks.
President Joe Biden last week ordered U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups. It was the second time Biden ordered a military response in the region amid fragile diplomatic overtures surrounding the revival of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
But unlike the February strike, the June 27 action targeted infrastructure in both Iraq and in Syria. Iraq’s military issued a rare condemnation, calling the U.S. strikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security.”
Iran has denied U.S. accusations that it supports attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.
The rocket attacks come amid the Biden administration’s broader revaluation of U.S. foreign policy interests in the Middle East and Central Asia, as it withdraws U.S. troops from Afghanistan and seeks to engage diplomatically with Iran.
Observation and communication satellites and systems are increasingly vulnerable to attacks. All three countries are fielding stealth and hypersonic nuclear delivery systems designed to evade detection. The risks of a false alarm or a political miscalculation has always haunted the nuclear landscape, and they do even more today.
Last week, legislation was introduced in the US House of Representatives to address the misguided nuclear modernization strategy the US is currently employing and chart a safer, more cost-effective course for our modernization efforts — one that is predicated on deterrence rather than dominance.
As long as nuclear weapons exist, we must have a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. However, simultaneous modernization efforts across all three legs of the nuclear triad exceed that scope and are an unnecessarily costly and risky way to achieve our deterrence requirements.
The current US nuclear modernization strategy includes the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the B-21 bomber, the Columbia-class submarine, the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) air-launched cruise missile, the sea launched nuclear cruise missile, and new nuclear warheads.
The ICBM leg of the triad deserves special attention. The total price tag to procure the GBSD is projected to be at least $95 billion, and up to $264 billion when accounting for total life-cycle costs. A pause in the GBSD will help defray short-term costs for the Air Force and will also defer a long-term expenditure.
Additionally, the W87-1, the warhead that is being designed for the GBSD, will cost at least $12 billion to build — and is not part of the estimated GBSD procurement cost of $95 billion. To build new warhead cores for the W87-1, the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) is expanding plutonium pit production, which will cost at least another $9 billion through the late 2020s according to the Congressional Budget Office.
We do not need a new ICBM to provide a robust deterrent. The existing Minuteman III (MMIII) ICBM — which the GBSD is scheduled to replace — can serve until 2040 with one more life extension.
Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, then-Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, noted in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee that we have ”one more opportunity” to conduct life extension on the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, indicating the technical feasibility of extending the Minuteman III missile.
Other independent experts have confirmed the feasibility of a MMIII life extension. In fact, the Air Force intends to do just that. It will upgrade and extend the life of existing MMIII missiles while it is replacing others with the GBSD. The swap out plan is an admission that the life extension is possible and has already been factored into the existing plan.
Maintaining and upgrading the current Minuteman III missile is not only technically possible — it is also cost-effective. According to a 2017 CBO report, it would cost $37 billion less to maintain the MMIII than developing and deploying the GBSD through 2036.
It’s clear that replacing the Minuteman III for the GBSD is a wasteful and costly undertaking that is not in our national security interest. That’s why we are supporting the “Investing in Commonsense Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) Act of 2021,” which was introduced in the US House of Representatives last week by Congressman Garamendi.
This bill will simply pause the development of the GBSD, and the associated W87-1 nuclear warhead, and life extend the Minuteman III until 2040 — something that is both technically feasible and more cost-efficient. This extension provides time for arms control negotiations and additional debate on the utility of a ground-based system, which may make this program unnecessary.
This legislation will help deescalate the modern nuclear arms race and prevent the unnecessary spending of billions of taxpayer dollars. That’s why nine members of Congress joined Garamendi’s “ICBM Act” as original cosponsors, and it’s why 12 policy experts and arms control associations have joined us in endorsing the legislation.
The “ICBM Act” will strengthen our national security and save billions of tax-payer dollars by:
Prohibiting the use of funds for the GBSD program and W87-1 warhead modification program for fiscal years 2022 through 2031;
Extending the service life of the Minuteman III missiles until at least 2040, and requiring use of nondestructive testing methods and technologies similar to those used by the Navy for Trident II D5 SLBMs; and
Transferring back to the Air Force all unobligated funds for the GBSD program, and transferring unobligated funds for the W87-1 warhead modification program from the National Nuclear Security Administration to the Treasury.
As a former US secretary of defense, governor of California, and current chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, we have an intimate understanding of this issue and the urgency with which we must address it.
We have visited the launch sites. We have met the young Air Force captains who sit in the buried bunker ready to turn the launch keys for atomic bombs capable of destroying a city three times the size of Hiroshima. It sobers the mind and underscores the need to chart a new course for our modernization strategy before we cross a line from which we cannot return.
Bill Perry is the former US secretary of defense who served under President Bill Clinton. Jerry Brown is the former governor of California and is currently the executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. John Garamendi is the US Representative for California’s 3rd Congressional District and chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.
Popular support for Muqtada al-Sadr, progeny of the famous Sadr political dynasty, is on the ascendant in Iraq. Leader of the main opposition Shia faction, Sadr is also no stranger to the corridors of power within the country. A man of many facets, dogmatic and pragmatic by turns. By John Davison & Ahmed Rasheed.
By Francois Murphy, Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed
VIENNA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Tuesday, a move that could help it develop a nuclear weapon and that three European powers said threatened talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran’s steps, which were disclosed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and which Tehran said aimed to develop fuel for a research reactor, also drew criticism from the United States, which called them an “unfortunate step backwards.”
The deal imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme to make it harder for Tehran to develop fissile material for nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. After Trump withdrew, Iran began violating many of the restrictions.
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Tehran has already produced a small amount of uranium metal this year that was not enriched. That is a breach of the deal, which bans all work on uranium metal since it can be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb.
“Today, Iran informed the Agency that UO2 (uranium oxide) enriched up to 20% U–235 would be shipped to the R&D laboratory at the Fuel Fabrication Plant in Esfahan, where it would be converted to UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) and then to uranium metal enriched to 20% U–235, before using it to manufacture the fuel,” an IAEA statement said.
Britain, France and Germany said on Tuesday they had “grave concern” about Iran’s decision, which violates the nuclear deal, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Iran has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,” they said in a joint statement issued by Britain’s foreign ministry.
“With its latest steps, Iran is threatening a successful outcome to the Vienna talks despite the progress achieved in six rounds of negotiations,” they said, and urged Iran to return to the talks in the Austrian capital, which began in April and adjourned on June 20. No date has been set for a next round.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington was not setting a deadline for the talks, but noted “that as time proceeds Iran’s nuclear advances will have a bearing on our view of returning to the JCPOA.”
Price said the United States found it “worrying” that Iran was continuing to violate the agreement “especially with experiments that have value for nuclear weapons research.
“It’s another unfortunate step backwards for Iran,” he said.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to the IAEA, noted the agency’s report on Iran’s latest violation of the 2015 deal as well as the Biden administration’s decision to maintain the Iran sanctions reimposed by Trump, also violations of the accord.
“The only way out of this vicious circle is resumption of #ViennaTalks without delay and full restoration of #JCPOA,” he wrote on Twitter.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna, and Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed in Washington;Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Jonathan Landay and Simon Lewis in Washington and David Milliken in London;Writing by Francois Murphy and Arshad MohammedEditing by Sonya Hepinstall and Leslie Adler)
Outside of the Gaza Strip, a balloon symbolizes childhood and freedom. However, for Israelis who live near the coastal enclave, seeing a balloon floating in the sky evokes images of Hamas, the US-designated terrorist group that rules the Palestinian territory.
Incendiary balloons and kites have been used by Hamas for the past few years as part of its terror campaign against Israeli citizens. These attacks are not used to target military assets, but, rather, are meant to inflict harm on Israeli civilians, cause property damage and destroy the surrounding ecosystem.
While they may look like children’s toys, the rudimentary weapons contain elements ranging from oil-soaked rags to explosives. Accordingly, the balloons, and previously kites, effectively function as long-distance Molotov cocktails that are launched at Israel from a distance. And while the Israel Defense Forces are able to intercept many of them, many have nevertheless penetrated Israeli territory.
A History of Exploding Balloons
The terror tactic was first implemented in 2018 during Palestinian riots along the Gaza border. Hamas claimed it was a response to the US Embassy move to Jerusalem. However, there were riots taking place several weeks before the mission’s relocation. Gazans were strongly encouraged by terrorist leaders to storm the border fence and attack Israel soldiers. Leaving no stone unturned, the riot organizers also went online, calling on Palestinians via social media posts to bring concealed weapons and kidnap or kill Israeli soldiers and civilians.
According to Jewish National Fund Director of Communications Stefan Oberman, incendiary objects from Gaza have over the past three years set fire to over 12,000 acres of land in the so-called Gaza Envelope, the populated areas of southern Israel within seven kilometers of the shared border.
That is an area larger than Manhattan.
And while they are low-tech, the attacks have destroyed vast tracts of farmland and endangered the lives of Israelis. To date, no fatalities have been reported.
Even during the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which ended an 11-day conflict in May, the latter has demonstrated that it does not intend to abandon its use of exploding balloons and kites any time soon.
These attacks have caused millions of dollars worth of damage in Israel, destroying agricultural land as well as causing a decrease in local tourism and other economic activity.
The appeal of the incendiaries is that they are extremely easy to create and launch. Explosive devices are also inexpensive to manufacture in comparison to the rockets used by Gaza’s various terrorist groups.
How Media Cover the Exploding Balloons Story
On June 16, Hamas violated the current truce by launching incendiary balloons into Israel. The media depicted this development as a response to the Jerusalem Day march that occurred the same day. However, the balloons were launched well before the march took place. Israel responded to this violation of its sovereignty by conducting air strikes against Hamas military sites in Gaza.
Hamas retaliated the next day by sending more terror balloons that ignited twenty fires.
Yet, media reports tended to downplay the destructive nature of these attacks. For example, an article from Reuters shortly after Israeli retaliatory strikes in Gaza included this tweet about the Jerusalem Day March.
Reuters labels all of the marchers at the event as “far-right nationalists.” But while there were isolated incidents of parade-goers chanting “death to Arabs,” they were quickly condemned by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as well as other Israeli political leaders.
Moreover, participants in the march walked through the streets of Jerusalem in a way that purposefully avoided the Muslim Quarter in the Old City. This decision to change part of the march’s route was made by the Israeli government so as to keep the peace.
Additionally, even though the march has long been a part of the annual Jerusalem Day festivities, it was cut short this year due to a Hamas rocket barrage. The Reuters article does not mention this fact, which gives the impression that the event was simply held as a “provocation.” In truth, it is part of a holiday that commemorates Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, during which the Israel Defense Forces captured the eastern part of Jerusalem that had been occupied for nearly 20 years by Jordan. Between 1948 and 1967, the Jordanians had desecratedmany Jewish buildings and holy sites.
The article further claimed that “the overnight violence follows a march in East Jerusalem on Tuesday by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the ruling militant group in Gaza.”
But the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit made clear that “the Hamas terror organization attacked Israel by sending terror balloons into Israeli territory. These balloon attacks were carried out throughout the entire day. The attack began before the Jerusalem flag march, and continued for the whole day, both before and after the march.”
Other news sites also ignored these facts, with Forbes headlining an article, “Israel Strikes Gaza As Tensions Threaten To Unravel Fragile Ceasefire.”
The title Forbes chose to use implies that Israel struck first, without mentioning the Hamas balloons. The piece also refers to the marchers as all being “far-right,” and goes so far as to imply that the parade “threatened to upend a short-lived ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.”
Hamas’ Rationale For Using Exploding Balloons Co Opted by Media
During May’s conflict, Hamas justified its rocket barrage against Israel by citing Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque “protests.” The media often take the terrorist group at its word, ignoring the fact that Hamas has repeatedly attacked the Jewish state irrespective of what the government in Jerusalem was doing at the time.
In fact, there were multiple calls for violence by Palestinian politicians against Israel and unprovoked attacks against Jews weeks before Sheikh Jarrah made international headlines.
What also goes unmentioned by the media is the fact that the Palestinian Authority canceled what would have been the first presidential and legislative elections since 2005 and 2006, respectively. This increased tensions between the Mahmoud Abbas-led government in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
Many analysts have speculated that Hamas initiated May’s war in order to demonstrate its anti-Israel credentials and thereby increase its popularity among Palestinians.
And it worked.
According to a recent public opinion pollconducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, support for Hamas has increased dramatically while backing for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction dropped significantly. The poll found that if new Palestinian presidential elections were held, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would get 59 percent of the votes, compared to 27 percent for Abbas.
Hamas would also win in a parliamentary election, with more than 40 percent of respondents saying they would cast their ballots for Gaza’s rulers as opposed to 30 percent for the West Bank-based Fatah.
But instead of holding Hamas accountable, news organizations have repeatedly failed to provide much-needed context regarding the terror group’s history, tactics and stated desire to annihilate Israel and Jews everywhere.
The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, where this video was first published.
In its report, One War Older, Euro-Med Monitor documented the situation of children and women, the two most vulnerable groups in the Israeli besieged and blockaded narrow coastal strip. Children under 15 make up more than half Gaza’s population and 49 per cent are girls, the report says.
Euro-Med Monitor, which was founded in 2011, said that during the recent conflict Israel carried out “disproportionate attacks against densely populated residential neighbourhoods” where 75 per cent of the inhabitants were children and women.
Forty of the 248 Palestinians killed in Gaza were women and 66 were children, the report said. At least 470 children and 310 women were wounded, some of whom would have lasting disabilities, it added.
Among the 12 killed in Israel, one was a child and one a woman, Euro-Med Monitor stated. Israel’s official figure of those killed is 13, including three Asian workers, and 200 wounded.
The Euro-Med Monitor report is based on five weeks of field research by the organisation’s team, which “documented hundreds of cases of direct targeting of civilian homes”. The homes of 5,400 children were destroyed or severely damaged, while 72,000 children sought refuge in UN schools or with relatives. More than 4,000 remain displaced.
Some 400,000 children had difficulties accessing water due to damage inflicted by bombing of wells, groundwater sources, desalination plants and sewage treatment plants, the report said.
Euro-Med cited two examples of acute loss. Mutassin Khalifa (12) “saw the body of his brother Yahia, 15 years old, in pieces on the ground, after he was killed by an Israeli air strike” on May 13th. His mother Shaima said that Mutassin initially “lost consciousness” and “since that day he has been behaving strangely; suddenly screaming in anger, laughing, or crying all day for no reason. When he sleeps, he keeps shouting his brother’s name throughout the night”.
Mohammed al-Hadidi and his five-month old son Omar survived an Israeli bombing: “I cannot imagine what the world will look like for my child Omar when he grows up, knowing that he lost his mother and all his siblings in one night. How will a child who has lost all sources of safety in his life live?”
Euro-Med said that 91 per cent of children in Gaza suffered from some form of conflict-related trauma. Even before Israel’s bombing campaign, 33 per cent of Gaza’s children “needed support as a result of traumas caused by previous attacks”.
Its findings were issued shortly after the UN Security Council marked the 25th anniversary of the adoption on its agenda of protection of children in armed conflict.
An Israeli spokesman contacted by The Irish Times did not comment on the Euro-Med Monitor report.Real news has value