Wait, we can get the Sixth Seal? Revelation 6:12

Wait, we can get earthquakes in Western New York?

WEATHER BLOG

by: Christine GregoryPosted: May 28, 2021 / 12:40 PM EDT / Updated: May 28, 2021 / 02:34 PM EDT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The short answer to that is, yes! And Thursday evening was a prime example of that.

At approximately 8:41 P.M., residents from Livingston County reported feeling the light tremor. It occurred about 30 miles southeast of Batavia and rated a 2.4 in magnitude on the Richter scale. USGS confirms earthquake reported in Livingston County

We typically don’t think of New York state for having earthquakes, but they certainly are capable of having them. 

Upon my own investigation, there does appear to be an existing fault line right nearby where the quake happened that may have contributed to the light tremor, but it is not confirmed by official sources.

The Clarendon-Linden fault line consists of a major series of faults that runs from Lake Ontario to Allegany county, that are said to be responsible for much of the seismic activity that occurs in the region. It is a north-south oriented fault system that displays both strike-slip and dip-slip motion. 

Strike-Slip Fault

Dip-Slip Fault

Clarendon-Linden Fault System

Image courtesy: glyfac.buffalo.edu

This fault is actively known for minor quakes, but is said to not be a large threat to the area. According to Genesee county, researchers have identified many potential fault lines both to the east, and to the west of the Clarendon-Linden Fault.

According to the University at Buffalo, they have proof that upstate New York is criss-crossed by fault lines. Through remote sensing by satellite and planes, a research group found that “there are hundreds of faults throughout the Appalachian Plateau, some of which may have been seismically active — albeit sporadically — since Precambrian times, about 1 billion years ago.”

The state of New York averages about a handful of minor earthquakes every year. In Western New York in December of 2019, a 2.1 earthquake occurred near Sodus Point over Lake Ontario, and in March of 2016, a 2.1 earthquake occurred near Attica in Genesee county. 

For an interactive map of recent earthquakes from the USGS click HERE.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory 

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Will the Antichrist sideline Iran? Daniel

Moqtada al-Sadr

Will Iraq’s Sadr sideline Iran-backed factions from government?

The powerful populist cleric’s push to exclude Iran-backed factions from the government risks the ire of their heavily armed militia.

On track to form a national majority government

Shiite groups have held sway since Saddam was toppled

BAGHDAD – Iraq might for the first time in years get a government that excludes Iran-backed parties if a powerful populist cleric who dominated a recent election keeps his word, Iraqi politicians, government officials and independent analysts say.

But moves by the Shiite Muslim cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, to sideline rivals long backed by Tehran risks the ire of their heavily armed militia that make up some of the most powerful and most anti-American military forces in Iraq, they say.

The surest sign of Sadr’s new parliamentary power and his willingness to ignore groups loyal to Iran came on Sunday when his Sadrist Movement, together with a Sunni parliament alliance and Western-leaning Kurds, re-elected a parliamentary speaker opposed by the Iran-aligned camp with a solid majority.

Parliament must in the coming weeks choose the country’s president, who will call on the largest parliamentary alliance to form a government, a process that will be dominated by the Sadrist Movement whoever it chooses to work with.

“We are on track to form a national majority government,” Sadr said in a statement this week, using a term that officials say is a euphemism for a government made up of Sadrists, Sunnis and Kurds but no Iran-backed parties.

Sadr’s politicians, buoyed by their easy victory in parliament last week, echoed their leader’s confidence.

The Iran camp “should face reality: election losers can’t make the government,” said Riyadh al-Masoudi, a senior member of the Sadrist Movement.

“We have a real majority, a strong front that includes us, the Sunnis, most of the Kurds and many independents and can form a government very soon.”

Iraqi politicians and analysts say the rise of Sadr and political decline of the Iranian camp, long hostile to the United States, suits Washington and its allies in the region, despite Sadr’s unpredictability.

But excluding the Iran camp from government risks a violent backlash.

“If the Sadrists get their national majority government … those who oppose them will view this as splitting the Shiites and threatening their power,” Ahmed Younis, an Iraqi political and legal analyst, said.

“They will do all they can to avoid losing that grip.”

Shiite groups have dominated Iraqi politics since the US-led overthrow of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. They span an array of parties, most with armed wings, but fall broadly now into two camps: those that are pro-Iran and those that oppose Tehran’s influence in Iraq.

The Shiite elite have shared control over many ministries, with Iran-aligned groups holding the upper hand until the recent rise of Sadr, the biggest winner in the Oct. 10 election which dealt a crushing blow to the Iran camp https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iraq-counts-votes-after-lowest-ever-election-turnout-2021-10-11.

For the first time post-Saddam, the Iran-aligned groups could see themselves in opposition in parliament.

‘Scary moment’

Events since the election have showed how dangerous the sharpening divide between Sadr and his Iran-backed opponents has become.

In November, protests opposing the election result by supporters of those parties turned violent and an armed drone attack blamed on Iran-linked factions struck a residence of outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, widely viewed as a close Sadr ally https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-seeks-cool-tensions-iraq-2021-12-22.

On Friday an explosion hit the Baghdad party headquarters of newly re-elected parliament speaker Mohammed Halbousi.

It was not immediately clear if this was linked to Halbousi’s election by parliament on Sunday or who was responsible. There was no claim of responsibility. One Iran-aligned group issued a warning this week after the parliament’s decision that Iraq could see a spiral of violence.

An Iraqi government official, who declined to be named, said he expected those in the Iran camp to use the threat of violence to get a place in government, but not to escalate into a full-scale conflict with Sadr.

Other observers, however, say Sadr’s insistence on sidelining Iran-aligned parties and militias could be a dangerous gamble.

“The question is, does he (Sadr) realise how potentially destabilising this is and is he ready for the violent push back?” said Professor Toby Dodge of the London School of Economics.

“The (Iran-backed) militias are increasingly overtly threatening violence, and Sadr is saying they cannot do this. It’s a scary moment.”

Halbousi’s election was viewed as an easy victory for the Sadrists. But the stakes will be higher in selecting a president and a prime minister.

Politicians on both sides of the Shiite divide show little sign they might soften their positions.

“The Sadrists … marginalizing parts of the Shiite political class could lead to boycotts of the government, protests in the street and armed violence,” said Ibrahim Mohammed, a senior member of the Iran-aligned Fatah political alliance.

A second Sadrist politician, who declined to be named on orders from his party, said: “We’re powerful, we have a strong leader and millions of followers who are ready to take to the streets and sacrifice themselves.”

The Russian Horn Prepares to invade Europe

Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘inevitable and imminent’

‘Only president Putin knows what he is going to do next, but next week would seem pivotal’

1 hour ago

Russian invasion of Ukraine is “inevitable and imminent”, a Conservative MP claimed last night.

It comes after suggestions from US officials that Russia had prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation to justify invading Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Kremlin was laying the groundwork for an attack through a social media disinformation campaign framing Kiev as the aggressor.

Speaking on Friday, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: “I am afraid an invasion by Russian forces is inevitable and imminent and we have allowed this to happen.

“We had the opportunity to place sufficient military hardware and personnel in Ukraine to make president Putin think twice about invading but we failed to do so.”

He added: “Only president Putin knows what he is going to do next, but next week would seem pivotal.

“He has negotiated himself into a corner and after Nato refused to bow to his threats seemingly only one option remains.”

Tweeting on Saturday, foreign secretary Liz Truss, who alongside other Nato members condemned Russia’s military build-up on the Ukraine border, has called on Moscow to “halt its aggression.”

She said: “Russia is waging a disinformation campaign intended to destabilise and justify an invasion of its sovereign neighbour Ukraine.

“Russia must halt its aggression, deescalate and engage in meaningful talks.”

On Friday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would not wait indefinitely for a Western response to its demands that both the US and Nato guarantee that the military alliance will not expand eastwards. He said he expects a written answer next week.

He added Nato’s deployments and drills near Russia’s borders pose a security challenge that must be addressed immediately.

“We have run out of patience,” Mr Lavrov said at a news conference. “The West has been driven by hubris and has exacerbated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”

Yesterday, the Russian ministry of defence shared footage of tanks and weapons being loaded onto trains. Moscow described the exercise as being part of an inspection drill to test long-distance artillery.

“This is likely cover for the units being moved towards Ukraine,” Rob Lee, a US-based military analyst, said.

On the same day, a major cyberattack was launched on Ukraine – targeting more than a dozen government websites – with suspected Russian hackers sending a warning to Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst”.

“As a result of a massive hacking attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists are already working on restoring the work of IT systems,” a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

On Friday morning, Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, condemned the cyberattack and said the bloc would support Kiev. 

“We are going to mobilise all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this cyberattack. Sadly, we knew it could happen,” he told reporters at a gathering of EU foreign leaders in Brest, France.”

“It’s difficult to say [who is behind it]. I can’t blame anybody as I have no proof, but we can imagine,” he added.

The Chinese Nuclear horn continues to grow Daniel 7

Spectators wave Chinese flags as military vehicles carrying DF-41 nuclear ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019. 

China pledges to continue to ‘modernize’ nuclear arsenal, calls on US, Russia to make greater cuts

China says it will agree to reduce nuclear warheads once the US and Russia ‘drastically’ diminish stockpiles

January 04, 2022

China on Tuesday said it would keep modernizing its nuclear program in the name of “safety” but called on the United States and Russia to make greater cuts to their arsenal stockpiles. 

“China will continue to modernize its nuclear arsenal for reliability and safety issues,” Fu Cong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department said Tuesday, first reported the South China Morning Post

Fu Cong, the director general of the Foreign Ministry's arms control department, attends a press conference on nuclear arms control in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. 

Fu’s comments come one day after the five states recognized under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the U.S., Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China, who are also the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council — issued a joint pledge to lower the risk of nuclear war.    

The P5 affirmed that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and that “nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.”

While the U.N. permanent member nations hold the greatest number of nuclear arsenals, nations like India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have known stockpiles as well.

The U.S. and Russia have been working to reduce their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War when there were roughly 60,000 nuclear weapons between the two superpowers.

According to data from the Arms Control Association, Russia has the largest nuclear arsenals in the world with more than 6,255 warheads on hand. The U.S. comes in second with 5,550 warheads.

China ranks a distant third with 350 nuclear warheads.

Department of Defense report in November found that China may be ramping up its nuclear capabilities and could have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027 and reach 1,000 warheads by 2030. 

China’s arms control director general denied the report Tuesday and said the country’s nuclear force could not be determined by satellite photos.

“On the assertions made by U.S. officials that China is expanding dramatically its nuclear capabilities, first, let me say that this is untrue,” Fu said.

Fu reiterated China’s stance that Beijing will not enter into an agreement with Washington or the Kremlin to reduce its nuclear warhead capabilities until the U.S. and Russia have drastically diminished their stockpiles. 

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Fu Cong, center, the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, attends a press conference on nuclear arms control in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

“We will be happy to join if they have reduced to our level,” Fu said. 

“The two superpowers need to … drastically reduce their nuclear capabilities to a level comparable to the level of China, and for that matter to the level of France and the U.K., so that other nuclear states can join in this process,” he added. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Obama’s Iran nuclear deal is about to end

US: Only ‘a few weeks left’ to save Iran nuclear deal, we’re eyeing ‘other options’

US: Only ‘a few weeks left’ to save Iran nuclear deal, we’re eyeing ‘other options’

Secretary of State Blinken says negotiations ‘very short on time’ as Iranian program advances toward ability to produce a weapon

By AFP and TOI staff14 January 2022, 5:36 am

There are only “a few weeks left” to save the Iran nuclear deal, and the United States is ready to look at “other options” if negotiations fail, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

Talks to restore the 2015 accord between Tehran and world powers — United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany — began last year but stopped in June as Iran elected ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi.Advertisement

The talks resumed in November.

“We have, I think, a few weeks left to see if we can get back to mutual compliance,” Blinken said in an interview with US public radio station NPR.

“We’re very, very short on time,” because “Iran is getting closer and closer to the point where they could produce on very, very short order enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon,” he said.

According to the top US diplomat, Tehran has made nuclear advances that “will become increasingly hard to reverse because they’re learning things, they’re doing new things as a result of having broken out of their constraints under the agreement.”Advertisement

The 2015 deal offered Iran much-needed relief from sanctions that crippled its economy, in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

But then-US president Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018 prompted Tehran to break its commitments.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has backed a return to the deal, with Washington indirectly taking part in the European-brokered negotiations on reviving the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After months of stalled talks, hosted in Vienna, Washington recently reported modest but still insufficient progress.

Reviving the accord “would be the best result for America’s security,” said Blinken. “But if we can’t, we are looking at other steps, other options” with allies including in Europe and the Middle East.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in the briefing room of the State Department in Washington, January 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Blinken has previously raised implicit threats of military action.

The other options have been “the subject of intense work as well in the past weeks and months,” he said. “We’re prepared for either course.”Advertisement

The Biden administration has been stepping up criticism of Trump and blaming the former president for the current Iran situation as negotiations appear headed to a close. Both State Department spokesperson Ned Price and White House spokesperson Jen Psaki in recent days have attacked Trump for pulling the US out of the 2015 deal.

Iranian officials have recently expressed more optimism than other parties to the talks about the possibility of reaching an agreement, but international leaders, as well as Israeli officials, are increasingly convinced a deal is on the way.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, however, said Tuesday that talks are proceeding so slowly that they are unlikely to lead to any agreement “within a realistic timeframe.”

Britain, France and Germany said last month that the window for concluding a deal was “weeks, not months,” due to the speed of Iran’s nuclear enrichment.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the countries negotiating with Iran must stand firmagainst its progress on its nuclear program.

Hashed intimidation attempt suspected in Baghdad blasts targeting offices of Antichrist allies

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr speaks after preliminary results of Iraq’s parliamentary election were announced in Najaf, Iraq October 11, 2021. (Reuters)

Hashed intimidation attempt suspected in Baghdad blasts targeting offices of Sadr allies

BAGHDAD – 

Only two injuries and some material damage were reported after blasts hit the Baghdad headquarters of parties allied to the Sadrist Movement, Friday and Thursday, in incidents where analysts saw clear warnings from pro-Iran Shia parties to rival Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he will not be able to form a government without their consent or rule at their expense.

An explosion from a hand grenade hit the headquarters of Iraqi parliament speaker Mohammed Halbousi’s Taqaddum party in Baghdad, early on Friday, wounding two guards, police sources said.

There was no claim of responsibility but a source in the Baghdad police told Anadolu Agency that “unidentified gunmen targeted the building of Taqaddom Coalition”, headed by Parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi, in the Adhamiyah neighborhood, northern Baghdad.

Iraq’s parliament, newly elected after an October 10 general election in which the powerful Shia populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner, voted to reinstate Halbousi for his second term as speaker on Sunday, against the wishes of the pro-Iran Framework Alliance parties.

Similar blasts targeted a building of Azm Alliance, headed by Sunni leader Khamis Khanjar, in Baghdad. Another explosion hit a buildng near the the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), another ally of the Sadrist Movement.

Besides the reported injuries, the targeted buildings sustained damages.

During the last elections, the Sadrist  Movement won about a fifth of the seats, 73 out of the legislature’s total 329, while the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Iranian Hashed al-Shaabi, won only 17 seats, sharply down from the 48 seats the used to control in the outgoing assembly.

Taqaddom Coalition came second with 37 seats, while the Azm Alliance garnered 14 seats.

Iraqi affairs experts say the Alliance Framework parties are wary of Sadr forming a new government excluding the pro-Iran Shia forces and possibly attempting to fully integrate the Hashed Shaabi militias into the regular army or cut its funding.

Iraq’s post-election period since the October 10 vote has been marred by high tensions, violence and allegations of vote fraud, as pro-Iran political parties refused to concede their loss in the ballot to the Sadrist Movement.

Iraq’s top court, Thursday, provisionally suspended the newly-appointed speaker of parliament, while judges consider an appeal by two pro-Iranian party deputies claiming his re-election by other lawmakers was unconstitutional.

The move impacts the workings of parliament, as lawmakers cannot meet without the speaker.

One of the parliament’s first tasks must be to elect the country’s president, who will then name a prime minister tasked with forming a new government

Despite Halbousi’s suspension, the clock has not stopped ticking on the 30-day deadline to elect a new president that began at the parliament’s inaugural session, the court said.

In multi-confessional and multi-ethnic Iraq, the formation of governments has involved complex negotiations ever since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled President Saddam Hussein.

Moqtadar al-Sadr, the head of the winning formation that bears his name, has vowed to form “a majority government” instead of the traditional consensus-based cabinet.

Parliament only met Sunday for the first time in three months since the polls, where the new members held a swearing-in ceremony and elected the speaker.

It opened to furious arguments between rival factions of Shia lawmakers as members of the pro-Iran Framework Alliance claimed to have enough seats to be the leading bloc in parliament. The Sadrists rejected their implausible claim.

Iranian nuclear horn is even hotter Daniel 8

Iran’s nuclear program runs hotter

Talks between Iran’s government and world powers over the future of Iran’s nuclear program continue. The US and Iran are still not communicating directly; Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia are shuttling between them.

The good news is that they’re all still talking. The bad news is that, after eight rounds of negotiations, the main players haven’t agreed on anything that would constitute a breakthrough. 

Even the good news isn’t that great. No, Iranian officials haven’t yet exited the room in anger, but they have good reason to just keep talking, according to Eurasia Group’s Henry Rome — even if they have no intention of working toward a deal. Negotiations, Rome warns, “provide political cover to advance the nuclear program.” 

They make it harder for the US and Europe to dial up new pressure on Iran or for Israel to target its nuclear facilities and scientists. They give Russia and China a reason to defend Iran’s position. 

They also protect (what’s left of) Iran’s economic stability by ensuring sanctions don’t immediately get tighter. And perhaps, Tehran may reason, the Americans might improve their offer. 

Iran’s (mis?) calculation

But Iran’s government, now led by Ebrahim Raisi, a president more openly hostile than his predecessor toward the West, may feel it has little more to lose by continuing to say no. 

After all, Iran’s “resistance economy” have survived tough sanctions before, and the government believes that new protests inside Iran against economic hardship can be contained — or, if necessary, crushed. 

And what if Donald Trump becomes US president again in three years? Won’t he just tear up whatever Iran has signed, just as he withdrew the US from the last nuclear agreement? 

Maybe. But revival of the nuclear pact, according to Rome, “is the best option for Iran’s economic stability.” 

A new deal could free up $100 billion in frozen foreign reserves. It would allow Iran to sell much more oil at market prices. It would draw new trade and investment into the country. 

That’s a plus for Iran’s cash-poor government and for its long-suffering people. Without an agreement, Iran faces the indefinite extension of US sanctions, which might one day trigger public unrest that Iran’s security forces can’t contain. 

Escalating tensions

The Biden administration — focused for now on COVID, domestic political headaches, inflation, China, and Vladimir Putin — is well aware that Iran’s willingness to talk may not offer hope for a breakthrough. US and European officials have said publicly that a deal must come within “weeks, not months.” That deadline could be extended, but only if genuine progress offers credible hope for an agreement. 

In short, if there’s no deal by late spring, it will be time for all sides to brace for trouble. A breakdown of talks will persuade the Biden administration to squeeze Iran’s economy still harder. Iran could accumulate enough highly enriched uranium for several bombs, set more advanced centrifuges spinning, and advance closer to a nuclear weapon than ever before. 

If so, warns Rome, Israel may be ready to come back off the sidelines “with cyberattacks and sabotage inside of Iran against military, economic, and nuclear sites, aimed at degrading Iranian capabilities and destabilizing the government.” Israel might also conduct military exercises that put the Middle East — and global oil markets — on edge. 

The risk of military conflict, deliberate or accidental, can’t be ignored. In fact, Eurasia Group sets the likelihood of direct Israeli and/or US airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities in 2022 at 20 percent. Given the stakes, that’s a frighteningly high number. In short, there’s a reason this story features in Eurasia Group’s report on Global Top Risks for 2022.