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.
BERLIN (Reuters) – NATO allies received a reassuring message from Germany’s incoming government on Wednesday when they scoured its policy plans: Berlin will remain part of NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement.
While such a move might have been popular among some Germans, it would have revealed a rift within NATO at a time when the alliance’s relations with Russia are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War.
WHAT IS NATO’S NUCLEAR SHARING?
As part of NATO’s deterrence, the United States has deployed nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey – all NATO allies that do not have their own nuclear weapons. In the case of a conflict, the air forces of these countries are meant to carry the American nuclear bombs.
WHAT EXACTLY IS GERMANY’S ROLE?
Around 20 U.S. nuclear bombs are estimated to be stored at the German air base of Buechel, in a remote area of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The base is also home to a squadron of Tornado fighter jets belonging to the German air force, the only German jets fitted to carry the nuclear bombs.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE TORNADO FIGHTER JETS?
The German air force has been flying the Tornado jets since the 1980s, and it has become increasingly expensive to maintain them and difficult to find spare parts to keep the plane in the air. The German defence ministry plans to phase out the jet between 2025 and 2030.
Germany’s new coalition said it will purchase a replacement early in the legislative period. Without this move, Berlin would simply drop out of nuclear sharing when the last Tornado retires around 2030.
WHAT WERE THE CONCERNS OF SOME NATO ALLIES?
The new German government will be led by the Social Democrats, a party that has some lawmakers who would like to get rid of U.S. nuclear weapons on German soil. The Greens, who are part of the coalition, also have some lawmakers who take that view. There was concern among NATO allies that these lawmakers might prevail with their opposition to nuclear sharing.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED HAD GERMANY DROPPED OUT?
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the alliance’s nuclear sharing “our ultimate security guarantee” on a visit to Berlin last week, and added he counted on Germany to remain committed to the agreement.
Nuclear sharing also gives a country like Germany a seat at the top table, in the form of NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group, where relevant issues are discussed in the alliance.
Stoltenberg said that U.S. nuclear weapons might be moved further east if Germany dropped out of the nuclear sharing deal – a move that would anger Russia.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by William Maclean and Toby Chopra)
Washington had six minutes to decide whether to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike.
Thankfully for humankind, there were no missiles and no mistaken retaliation.
Computer software at the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) had confused a training scenario with a real attack. A recently installed early warning radar system, combined with new US satellites, confirmed that no Russian missiles were inbound.
This was only one of several close calls during the Cold War, the terrifying superpower standoff which is back in the news following US President Joe Biden’s November summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which the American leader said he hoped that “both sides could avoid veering into conflict”.
The following day, Russia revived the Cold War tactic — never used in anger — of shooting down satellites by carrying out a test, drawing international condemnation.
As China-US competition heats up, both sides — along with France, Russia, North Korea and India — are modernising their nuclear arsenals.
The US accuses China of building up its nuclear stocks, aiming for 1,000 warheads by 2030, something China denies.
Meanwhile, the US is also upgrading some weapons in its arsenal of 3,750 nuclear warheads, working on new fuses that maximise explosive power.
On November 2, France’s Maj Gen Frederic Parisot said that Paris is working on a nuclear-armed cruise missile that could fly at Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound.
Anything above Mach 5 is classed as hypersonic.
That follows India’s work on the potentially nuclear capable Brahmos II hypersonic missile and China’s reported test of a nuclear missile on October 16.
Are we in a new Cold War?
Renewed nuclear weapon development follows the collapse of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 2019, after the US and Nato accused Russia of multiple breaches.
INF — which mainly focused on controlling the range of nuclear weapons — was credited with the first big reduction in nuclear arms, paving the way for more treaties including New Start, which limits US and Russian active warheads at 1,550 each from a combined Cold War peak of 70,000.
Moscow and Washington are already working on a successor agreement to New Start, which is due to expire in 2026. But more tension lies ahead: on November 23, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that US aircraft had been practicing a nuclear attack on Russia.
In December 2019, Russia announced that its Avangard nuclear missile was operational, capable of flying on an unpredictable path after re-entering the earth’s atmosphere and detaching from a rocket at Mach 20.
The weapon “would be counted under New Start automatically”, said Michael Klare, senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association.
“China and Russia appear to be seeking a relatively small number of long-range, nuclear-armed hypersonic weapons that can be used to evade US anti-missile defences,” Mr Klare told The National.
Unlike traditional ballistic missiles which travel on a fixed arc through the upper atmosphere, hypersonic weapons travel closer to the contours of the Earth, below the point where early warning radars could easily detect them.
That cuts the time available to identify and respond to a launch, potentially putting not only world powers, but also smaller nuclear-armed countries, such as Pakistan and India, on higher alert.
Satellites could detect the launch of a hypersonic missile — but Russia, China and the US are believed to be reworking Cold War technology to shoot satellites down.
Cold war redux
But not everyone is worried that technology is making things more dangerous.
“I think that there is a lot of hyperbole about new nuclear delivery vehicles that is complicating the narrative on Russian and Chinese military modernisation,” said Aaron Bateman, a former US Air Force intelligence officer who has worked with John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “In short, I don’t see hypersonic weapons as a fundamental game-changer.”
“They offer certain operational advantages that could also make a conflict situation more dangerous. But I don’t think there is enough information in the public sphere at present to come to firm conclusions about China’s alleged test of a FOBS-like system,” he says, referring to the a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), a Soviet-era concept the US claims China has worked on.
A FOBS nuclear weapon was designed by the Soviets to go into orbit, “brake” and then re-enter the atmosphere, attacking the US from the Southern Hemisphere, where radar coverage was thin.
“US missile defence is already ineffective for a large-scale nuclear attack, so FOBS is largely unnecessary,” Mr Bateman added.
“Are we in a more dangerous strategic arms situation now than before? In short, I would say that the fundamental difference today is the fact that we have two capable military competitors and our understanding of their intentions is [at the very least] as limited as our understanding of Soviet intent during the Cold War,” he said, referring to China and Russia.
That limited understanding of intentions not only applies to nuclear weapons but also to conventional military operations, including recent naval exercises in contested parts of the pacific by Russia, China, the US, Japan, Australia and the UK.
Exercise or nuclear attack?
The dangerous line between training and war was illustrated by 1983’s exercise Able Archer, which followed a large-scale military manoeuvre called Autumn Forge, which Nato described as “a nuclear release command post-exercise”.
Nato set November 11, 1983, as the date for a fictional apocalypse.
Eighty US Pershing II missiles were “launched” at Europe at the time and were able to reach targets in Russia in only six minutes — four minutes shorter than the flying time it would take about 350 Russian SS-20 nuclear missiles to hit Western Europe.
With Russia and the US able to attack with submarine-launched missiles and ground-based missiles firing over the Arctic, the theoretical nuclear exchange could have killed an estimated 288 million people in Russia and the US in the initial blasts, with millions more dying in Europe.
Two billion more were expected to die as harvests failed around the world, the so-called nuclear winter.
On paper, Able Archer was completed without incident.
Unknown to Nato — and revealed by a KGB defector in 1985 — Russia wasn’t sure Nato was simply on a training scenario and so was on maximum alert, expecting a nuclear first strike around November 8.
Seventy SS-20 missile launchers, each with three nuclear warheads, were on standby, as were nuclear-armed Russian bombers.
Mr Klare worries that in the current atmosphere of high tension in the Pacific, the risk of conflict could be elevated by new hypersonic weapons that could be fitted with either conventional or nuclear warheads, raising the risk that a sudden clash could escalate due to fears of a nuclear launch, something called “warhead ambiguity”.
“Yes, we have to worry about a hypersonic arms race, as the major powers — the US, China, and Russia — are all racing to add new hypersonic weapons to their arsenals and justifying advances by the others to secure funds for such endeavours.”
As tension rises, Japan and the US are looking into building a constellation of 1,000 small satellites to monitor possible hypersonic missile launches.
“There are no arms control negotiations under way between the US and China or any three-way talks: China claims its nuclear arsenal is much smaller than those of the US and Russia, and so it will not participate in arms limitation talks until both those countries reduce their arsenals substantially,” he said.
“One possibility for progress in this area is the ‘strategic stability dialogue’ now under way between the US and Russia.”
“These talks will consider issues to be addressed in a successor to New Start, including the impact of new military technologies, such as hypersonics, that bear on the nuclear balance between the two countries.”
Any talks including China cannot come soon enough.
The Natural Resources Defence Council has calculated that a US attack on China with 789 nuclear warheads would kill 320 million people in the initial blasts, or about one quarter of China’s population, in 368 population centres.
A similar attack on the US with 124 warheads would also kill about one quarter of America’s 330 million citizens.
“Many arms control advocates have called for talks between the US and China, but so far this has not occurred,” Mr Klare says.
In March, the armed forces had conducted the successful test launch of the nuclear-capable Shaheen 1-A medium-range ballistic missile.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday, November 25, 2021, conducted a successful flight test of the Shaheen-1A surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
“The test flight was aimed at re-validating certain design and technical parameters of the weapon system,” the army said in a statement.
However, the army did not share any technical detail of the missile.
The flight test was witnessed by Lieutenant General Nadeem Zaki Manj, Director General Strategic Plans Division; Lieutenant General Muhammad Ali, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command and the scientists and engineers of strategic organisations.
Congratulating scientists and engineers on the successful conduct of the flight test, Manj appreciated their technical prowess, dedication and commitment, the statement said.
President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and senior army leadership also congratulated the scientists and engineers on this achievement.
Sunday’s murderous attack, in which Eliyahu David Kaye was murdered, was perpetrated by a Hamas political wing member. It took place just a few days after two Border Guard policemen were brutally knifed by a teenaged terrorist from eastern Jerusalem.
Just hours after Kaye was murdered and four other Israelis were wounded, one seriously, Hamas organized a celebratory rally in one of the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. Hundreds of terrorism supporters cheered what they called the “heroic” attack.
Gal Berger, Arab affairs correspondent for Israel’s state-owned Kan TV/radio network, has researched Jerusalem’s emotionally-charged Damascus Gate. Berger compiled an impressive list showing that during the five months beginning this past May 21, nearly every single day featured one or more reports on Damascus Gate in PA Telegram accounts.
That is to say, this Jerusalem hot spot and site of many Palestinian terrorist attacks is being very carefully kept in the news for every possible incident that could somehow be construed as an Israeli provocation. Hamas, in turn, takes advantage of the “events” to pour fuel on the fire.
The most blatant finding of his daily documentation, Berger wrote, was “undoubtedly the obsession in these groups regarding any report or development that happens at Damascus Gate.” These include not only notable events such as disturbances, but even routine police requests for an ID card there or policemen descending the Gate’s well-known steps into the Old City. Not surprisingly, religious Jews simply passing through on their way home or to the Western Wall are often immediately termed “Israeli provocations” – and emotions are aroused accordingly.
Berger conjectures that Hamas “takes advantage of what goes on at the Damascus Gate, fans the flames, and tries to strengthen them – and mainly, rides atop the existing reality” of strong Arab emotions about the area.
It is well known that at least twice over the past several months, Hamas has sought to fight Israel’s actualization of its sovereignty over its capital by initiating violence. The first time was the traditional Jerusalem Reunification Day march this past June. Hamas threatened that if the planned route was not changed and distanced from the Temple Mount, it would respond militarily. Israeli authorities in fact changed the route, and still, Arabs threw rocks and attacked policemen during the march, and released incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Jewish towns and fields. Israel retaliated by attacking Hamas installations, but Hamas boasted: “We proved our deterrence ability against Israel. We forced the occupation to change the route of the march, to change civilian air routes, and to reinforce its Iron Dome deployment.”
Several weeks before that, Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount and began attacking Jews in Jerusalem’s Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood. A few days later, Hamas terrorists fired thousands of rockets at Israel, killing 12.
That is to say: Hamas did not fire rockets at Israel in order to “protect” Jerusalem from Israel, but rather used the march and the Shimon HaTzaddik/Sheikh Jarrah events as a pretext to fire the missiles. Hamas has been piling up these deadly rockets by the thousands for many years, waiting for any excuse of controversy in Jerusalem to fire them at Israeli citizens.
Thus, we can say that any news that emanates from Hamas must be viewed as an attempt to chip away, or worse, at Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Especially now, when the Biden Administration is still considering opening an official consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Israel’s capital – both illegal and a logical absurdity – is it important to be on guard against every Hamas provocation.
The charter also arouses fanatic violent-religious emotions and beliefs among Muslims by insisting on the need to “establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for it contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque [the Temple Mount in Jerusalem], which is inseparably connected to the holy mosque of Mecca …”
Both Sides of Hamas
The terrorist who murdered Eli Kaye on Sunday near the Kotel was a member of the political wing of Hamas. Just two days before, Great Britain took a major step to define this branch of Hamas as a terrorist organization. (The military wing has long been outlawed in Britain as a terror gang, as in many other countries.)
If the proposal is legislated into law as expected, it will be a crime to belong to Hamas, to fly its flag, or to wear a uniform that implies support for Hamas. The punishment: up to 14 years in prison.
The explanation for the decision was a bit muddled, however. On the one hand, some sources said it was because Hamas had carried out hundreds of deadly attacks against Israel and fired thousands of rockets into its territory. However, it was also said that Britain fears for the safety of its own Jewish community, such that the decision is part of its fight against anti-Semitism. Hamas responded with scorn to this latter claim, saying it was a lie to claim concern for British Jews, and that the decision is clearly a “pro-Zionist” one.
As if there is a difference… Once again, the world struggles, and fails, to understand that there is no essential difference between Zionism – the movement to restore a national Jewish presence in the Holy Land – and Judaism. It is impossible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic, and vice-versa.
A Hamas spokesman said after Kaye was murdered, “The war for Jerusalem will continue until the conqueror is banished.” From our side, KeepJerusalem and all those who love Yerushalayim say: “History and the Jewish nation and religion are on our side, and we will never allow our holy capital to fall from our hands.”
The large-scale Hamas terror plot uncovered by the Shin Bet intelligence agency and broken up in recent weeks is “the most dangerous tactical-operational infrastructure I recall in recent years,” a senior former Israel Defense Forces officer has told JNS.
The Shin Bet announced on Monday that it had, together with the IDF, broken up the cell, which was being orchestrated by senior Hamas operatives overseas, including the head of Hamas’s West Bank terror operations, Salah Al-Arouri (who is also Hamas’s deputy chief).
Dangot linked the development to cracks that have appeared in the rule of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas.
He pointed out Hebron and its environment as a known ideological Hamas stronghold, and a Hamas activity hotspot, but added that Jenin and its environment have seen a spike of armed activity as well. The area is traditionally a Palestinian Islamic Jihad hotspot but also known for its opposition to Abbas’s rule from Fatah-affiliated militias like the Tanzim, Dangot stated.
“Hamas hasn’t budged one millimeter from its ideological commitment to Israel’s destruction, and it is implementing this gradually,” said Dangot. “Its military wing is building up force, and engages in rounds of fighting, like May’s conflict. Due to organizational problems, and secondary considerations created by Hamas’s sovereign rule over a population, the organization also opts for periods of calm, in line with its analysis of its interests at any given time.”
With Hamas’s home turf of Gaza facing limitations as a base for war with Israel, Hamas has reserved a strategic role for the West Bank, said Dangot. Beyond using it as a base for terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians and security forces, Hamas is committed to expanding its influence in the areas currently under P.A. rule, “step by step,” with the “objective of taking over the West Bank gradually and infiltrating the PLO,” he said.
Dangot argued that hints of the day after Abbas’s era have already appeared, ever since Abbas called elections in January this year – and that these hints were “greatly amplified when Abbas called off the elections” at the end of April.
Meanwhile, as a “sub-objective,” Hamas has marked out eastern Jerusalem as a branch for its terrorist activities, and the organization is continuously lighting “flames and instigating situations via Jerusalem residents, safeguarding the lava and ensuring that the flames never extinguish,” Dangot assessed.
This includes clashes at the Temple Mount, exploiting tensions around the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and strengthening the movement’s presence in eastern Jerusalem. These activities are all designed to signal to Palestinians that Hamas is looking after their interests and looking out for Jerusalem, a cause that forms a core aspect of Hamas’s call to arms, according to Dangot.
The West Bank, meanwhile, is experiencing a weakening of law and order, which is “strengthening Hamas’s capabilities,” he said. “Hamas identifies this trend and expands its influence, through incitement, through Al-Arouri’s activities, through the allocation of resources. Meanwhile, Hamas in Gaza plays the ‘arrangement game,’” Dangot said, referring to ongoing Egyptian-mediated talks to reach a more stable truce with Israel and find solutions for Gaza’s shattered economy.
“This is an illusion. I call this a temporary ceasefire at best. Hamas understands that it needs to lower its head vis-à-vis Egypt and Qatar, as it waits for the next opportunity,” Dangot warned.
In addition, he said the rioting that occurred in Israel during the May conflict represents “the most urgent problem that Israel must take care of – sovereignty and disturbances within its borders.”
Dangot said that a “small but problematic part of the Arab Israeli sector” exploited tensions, and saw a combination of criminal and nationalistic motives come together for unprecedented levels of violence inside Israel.
This is a more alarming situation than security challenges in the West Bank, he said, since in the latter arena, Israel maintains strong intelligence coverage and is able to effectively activate its force while sharing the common interest of stability with the P.A.
Internally, on the other hand, hostile elements are attempting to send arms into the Arab-Israeli sector, including from radical Shi’ite sources from Syria and Iraq, via Jordan and the West Bank into Israel.
“Israel has reached a junction,” said Dangot. “Internally, it must reestablish sovereignty and deal with pockets of resistance. This means arresting inciters, seizing weapons, and creating deterrence [against domestic security challenges] – this is the number one priority,” he stated. “This requires a new strategic concept, and building an appropriate force – in this case, a national guard with adequate resources. Structural changes should be made to the Israel Police as well, with the Southern District divided into two new districts. A peripheral district would receive small, rapid response forces, while greater forces could be focused around the city of Beersheba. This requires immediate attention. Even the Home Front Command’s units can be transferred to a national guard.”
Israel must not accept divisions between Hamas in Gaza and other arenas such as the West Bank and overseas, he argued.
“Hence, Israel has to respond. It must demonstrate how Hamas in Gaza, Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar is orchestrating terrorism, and take action against those who do so. This includes targeted strikes and strikes on weapons storage centers,” said Dangot.
He added, “We must not fear that this will upset the quiet in Gaza. What have we gotten from this quiet? It has not stopped Hamas’s force build-up. We are in a situation in which Hamas has much to lose with Egypt – hence it will count to three before acting [from Gaza].”
US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Kenneth McKenzie stated that a “variety of plans” have been prepared by CENTCOM to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, in an interview with TIME magazine on Wednesday.
US envoy visits Saudi Arabia, Bahrain for talks on Iran, Yemen
“Our president said they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon,” said McKenzie to TIME. “The diplomats are in the lead on this, but Central Command always has a variety of plans that we could execute, if directed.”
The commander warned that Iran is “very close” to nuclear breakout, although he believes that Tehran has not yet decided to manufacture an actual warhead. “I think they like the idea of being able to breakout,” added McKenzie.
The Institute for Science and International Security reported on Friday that Iran has enough enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. A second weapon could be produced in just over two months after breakout begins.