Series of small quakes shake before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

Series of small quakes shake near South Carolina capital

The Associated PressDec 28, 2021 / 06:10 AM ESTSouth Carolina NewsPosted: / Updated: Dec 28, 2021 / 06:10 AM EST

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A series of mild earthquakes have shaken homes and residents in central South Carolina. 

The U.S. Geological Survey says three quakes Monday in Kershaw County near Elgin registered magnitudes of 3.3, 2.5 and 2.1. 

The first earth-shaker rattled window panes and disrupted wildlife but apparently did not cause injuries or major damage. As the earthquake rumbled, with a sound similar to a heavy construction vehicle, it shook homes, caused glass doors and windows to clatter in their frames and prompted dogs to bark. 

People reported feeling tremors throughout the Columbia area and as far away as Lexington, about 40 miles southwest of the epicenter.

Death toll climbs to 63 in deadly Pakistan IS mosque attack: Daniel 8

Funeral for suicide bombing in Pakistan - AP FILE.jpeg
People attend the funeral prayers for the victims of Friday’s suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, Saturday, March 5, 2022. The Islamic State says a lone Afghan suicide bomber struck inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar during Friday prayers, killing dozens worshippers and wounding more than 190 people. (AP Photo/Muhammas Sajjad)

Death toll climbs to 63 in deadly Pakistan IS mosque attack

  • By KATHY GANNON and RIAZ KHAN Associated Press
  • Mar 5, 2022 Updated Mar 5, 2022
  • Comments

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Officials vowed Saturday to hunt down and arrest the masterminds behind a deadly mosque attack in Pakistan a day earlier claimed by an Islamic State affiliate. The assault killed 63 people and wounded nearly 200.

IS said in a statement the lone suicide bomber was from neighboring Afghanistan. He shot two police guarding the Shiite Muslim mosque in northwest Peshawar before entering inside and exploding his device, it said. The attack took place as worshipers knelt in Friday prayer. The IS affiliate, known as IS in Khorasan Province, is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban rulers in Afghanistan, who have been fighting IS, condemned the attack. IS has proven to be the Taliban’s greatest security threat since sweeping into power last August.

“We condemn the bombing of a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan. There is no justification for attacking civilians and worshipers,” Taliban Deputy Minister for Culture and Information Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted. He refused to comment on the IS claim that the suicide bomber was Afghan.

The death toll was likely to continue to rise, said Asim Khan, spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital. At least four of 38 patients still hospitalized are in critical condition, he said.

Late into Friday night and early Saturday, Pakistanis buried their dead amid heavy security, with sniffer dogs deployed. Police carried out body searches of mourners who were then searched a second time by security provided by Pakistan’s Shiite community.

Hundreds of mourners crying and beating their chests attended funeral prayers for 13 victims late Friday and for another 11 on Saturday at Peshawar’s Kohati Gate. The coffins were covered with shrouds, some with Quranic sayings. They were lined up on open ground, made visible by bare light bulbs.

“These were human beings and worshipers inside the mosque, and they were brutally killed at a time when they were busy praying to God,” Hayat Khan told The Associated Press late Friday night as he buried a relative.

One of the police officers who was shot outside Kucha Risaldar mosque died immediately and the second died later from his wounds, police officials said.

Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a statement that three investigation teams were established to study forensic evidence and closed-circuit TV footage to track down the attack’s organizers.

An investigator involved in the case told The Associated Press that the footage has revealed the attacker arrived at the site in a motorized rickshaw along with two other people, who are being sought. Sketches have been made of the individuals, he said asking not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media..

A spokesman for the provincial government, Mohammad Ali Saif, told reporters the rickshaw driver had been apprehended and the search was ongoing for the accomplices.

In CCTV footage seen by the AP the lone attacker concealed his bomb beneath a large black shawl. The footage showed the bomber moving quickly up a narrow street toward the mosque entrance. He fired at the police protecting the mosque before entering inside.

Within seconds, there is a powerful explosion and the camera lens is obscured with dust and debris. The crudely made device was packed with ball bearings, a deadly method of constructing a bomb to inflict maximum carnage because it sprays deadly projectiles over a large area. The ball bearings caused the high death toll, said Moazzam Jah Ansari, the top police official for Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is the capital.

Immediately after the bombing, Pakistan’s minority Shiites slammed the government for lax security arrangements demanding greater attention to their safety.

Friday’s attack in Peshawar’s congested old city was the worst in years in Pakistan. The country has seen renewed militant attacks after several years of relative quiet that followed military operations against militant hideouts in the border regions with Afghanistan.

The attacks have mostly been carried out by the Pakistani Taliban since last August when the Afghan Taliban swept into power and America ended its 20-year involvement in Afghanistan. The Pakistan Taliban are not connected to the new Afghan rulers. However, they are hiding out in Afghanistan and despite Pakistan’s repeated request to hand them over, none have yet been found and expelled.

The Islamic State affiliate, often referred to as IS-K, is an enemy of the Afghan Taliban and has carried out successive operations against them since coming into power last year. Pakistani security officials have insisted IS has little presence in Pakistan, yet in their statement claiming responsibility for the mosque attack, IS vowed to carry out more attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Islamic State fighters are constantly targeting Shiites living in Pakistan and Afghanistan despite the intense security measures adopted by the Taliban militia and the Pakistani police to secure Shi’a temples and centers,” said the IS statement carried on its Amaq News Agency site.

———

Gannon reported from Peshawar Associated Press writers Tameem Akhgar in Islamabad and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed.

Antichrist calls on Iraqi government to increase food aid to the poor and support farmers

Muqtada al-Sadr speaks at Friday prayers in Kufa, 100 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, May 13, 2011. (Photo: Alaa al-Marjani/AP)
Muqtada al-Sadr speaks at Friday prayers in Kufa, 100 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, May 13, 2011. (Photo: Alaa al-Marjani/AP)

Sadr calls on Iraqi government to increase food aid to the poor and support farmers

 Dler S. Mohammed   2022/03/05 18:36

Iraq Muqtada al-Sadr Iraqi Governemnt Iraqi Parliament

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The populist Sadrist Movement leader and politician Muqtada al-Sadr called on the Iraqi government to increase the number of food items on the country’s national ration cards, fix food prices, and support local agriculture and farmers.

“The poor people are still poor, and the prices are constantly rising,” Sadr tweeted on Saturday. “Therefore, urgent solutions are needed.”

Sadr argued that the global increase in food prices isn’t an adequate excuse for not finding a quick solution to this problem. 

“The government should increase the food items on the ration card and ensure it reaches the poor people, particularly those in the villages and other countryside areas,” Sadr tweeted. “To activate the role of the economic security, fix prices, and severely punish those who don’t abide by these procedures.”

Sadr emphasized that the government must support local farmers as soon as possible and support the poor by allocating food baskets, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. 

“As we said before, the government should ensure the citizens get their portion of kerosene according to a strict system,” Sadr tweeted.

“The Iraqi parliament and government should implement these suggestions.”

Obama-Biden’s Dangerous Iran Deal

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., February 24, 2022. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Biden’s Dangerous Iran Deal

By THE EDITORS

March 4, 2022 6:30 AM

What’s brewing in Vienna will be, as former national-security official Richard Goldberg puts it, “The New Worst Deal in History.” Under the direction of Biden’s Iran envoy Robert Malley, American negotiators in Vienna are poised to grant Iran an unfettered path toward a nuclear program and further destabilization of the region.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden made an “unshakeable commitment” to block Iran from a bomb through a return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, which President Trump had pulled out of while imposing stiff new sanctions on Iran. The problem then and now is the same — the JCPOA never prevented Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, it allowed it to continue ballistic-missile development, and it ignored Iran’s status as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. The deal’s billions in sanctions relief (to say nothing of the ransom payments) have funded the brutality of the regime and its proxies.

The original JCPOA was inherently a deeply destructive concession; a return to the JCPOA would be an utter capitulation. Knowing Biden was desperate for a deal, the mullahs played hard to get, refusing to sit down with American negotiators. Consequently, Malley and the administration have used intermediaries, and — breathtakingly in light of current events — Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov has played a leading role in the talks. How comforting to learn that, pursuant to a Russian proposal in January reportedly extended with the knowledge of the American delegation, Iran would reap the benefits of sanctions relief by parking the uranium it has been enriching with Moscow.

One of the main failures of the original Iran deal was that even if the regime followed all of its provisions, it would remain on a long-term glide path to nuclear weapons, as the deal’s restrictions began to sunset within ten years of its 2016 implementation. But given Iran’s advancements since the original deal, Tehran is currently enriching uranium at up to 60 percent purity, producing uranium metal, and hiding stockpiles of fissile material from the IAEA. As a result, the Islamic Republic has a breakout time of under six months.All Our Opinion in Your Inbox

The original JCPOA capped enrichment at 3.67 percent. Mohammad Eslami, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said that even if Vienna ends up again in a JCPOA-style deal, Iran will continue to enrich at up to 20 percent — the threshold for being considered highly enriched and a crucial hurdle in the path to nuclearization.

What’s the catch for Iran? Absolutely nothing. The Islamic Republic would be flooded with billions from frozen assets and dropped sanctions to finance its destabilizing activities across the Middle East. In fact, to show its diplomatic goodwill, the Biden administration has overlooked Iran’s violation of its oil sanctions and granted sanction waivers on Tehran’s gas trade with Iraq and its civil nuclear program.

Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department official, reported that the Biden administration is planning to lift terrorism sanctions. It was irrational of Obama to cordon off Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism from its nuclear-weapons activities, but at least that meant terrorism-related sanctions remained in effect, despite the JCPOA. During his nomination hearing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the U.S. had to do “everything possible . . . including the toughest possible sanctions,” to deal with Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Now, as the Iranians capitalize on a weak White House desperate for a deal, anything goes.

This would include lifting sanctions on thugs including Brigadier General Hoseein Dehghan, who led Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces in Lebanon during the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut. Noronha even reports that negotiations include the potential removal of the IRGC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations, and the consequent lifting of sanctions imposed against it.

The Islamic Republic is a consistent sponsor of terrorism and force for the instability of the region. It has continually supported the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis. It has armed Hezbollah with thousands of rockets and missiles to menace Israel. The IRGC orchestrated Iran’s brutal operations in Iraq and Syria and continues to support terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. But instead of holding Iran accountable, the Biden administration would not only remove the stigma of the terrorism designation but reward it with billions to underwrite its activities. Indeed, as a general matter, besides temporary limits on its nuclear work, the agreement Biden is reportedly contemplating imposes no restrictions on what Iran may do with its windfall — not on terrorism, support for terrorist proxies, ballistic-missile development, hostage-taking, and the rest of its atrocious menu.

That’s not even the White House’s greatest delusion; they seem to believe this weaker version of the JCPOA will be a springboard for a “longer and stronger” deal. But we’ve played all our cards, and Iran isn’t likely to return to the negotiating table after scoring a deal as sweet as this one.

Earthquakes: Matthew 24

The Gateway Arch is seen, Thursday, March 3, 2022 in St. Louis. The Arch was built in the mid-1960s to withstand a strong earthquake, but many other structures in the central U.S. are not. That's concerning because the active New Madrid Fault is centered in southeastern Missouri, and experts say there's up to a 10% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake or greater in the region within the next 50 years. (AP Photo/Jim Salter)

Experts: Central U.S. needs to be ready for quake

Posted Thursday, March 3, 2022 6:54 pm

The Gateway Arch is seen, Thursday, March 3, 2022 in St. Louis. The Arch was built in the mid-1960s to withstand a strong earthquake, but many other structures in the central U.S. are not. That’s concerning because the active New Madrid Fault is centered in southeastern Missouri, and experts say there’s up to a 10% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake or greater in the region within the next 50 years. (AP Photo/Jim Salter)

AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Experts have warned for decades that a large swath of the central U.S. is at high risk for a devastating earthquake. They know that overcoming complacency is among their biggest hurdles.

Hundreds of emergency managers, transportation leaders, geologists and others devoted to earthquake preparedness gathered Thursday in St. Louis for the annual Missouri Earthquake Summit to discuss the latest information on risks, preparedness strategies and recovery planning.

Large and devastating earthquakes in the U.S. are most commonly associated with the West Coast — for good reason since the worst quakes in recent years, including the massive 1989 quake in the San Francisco area that killed 63 people and injured nearly 3,800 — have mostly been in the West.

But the New Madrid (MAH’-drid) Fault Line centered near the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid produced three magnitude 7.5 to 7.7 earthquakes that rang church bells as far away as South Carolina, caused farmland to sink into swamps and briefly caused the Mississippi River to flow backward.

Those quakes happened in late 1811 and early 1812. Though the fault line still produces about 200 small earthquakes each year, people within the region have heard warnings for so long about the next Big One that, for many, it goes in one ear and out the other.

“Because it hasn’t happened, and with people’s busy everyday lives, it kind of falls into the background,” said Robbie Myers, emergency management director for Butler County, Missouri, in the heart of the New Madrid zone.

The earthquake threat received the most attention more than three decades ago when climatologist Iben Browning predicted a 50-50 chance of a big earthquake on a specific day — Dec. 3, 1990. His prediction drew scores of journalists and onlookers to New Madrid to see — nothing.

Still, experts believe there is a 7-10% chance of a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake in the next 50 years within the New Madrid zone, and a 25-40% chance of a smaller but still potentially devastating magnitude 6.0 quake. The Midwestern risk is “similar to the chances in California,” said Thomas Pratt, Central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program.

In addition to thousands of deaths, bridges crossing the Mississippi River could fall, major highways including Interstate 55 could buckle, and oil and gas pipelines could break, causing nationwide disruptions, experts said.

Matthew Clutter, a Federal Emergency Management Agency operational planner, said a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the New Madrid zone could displace nearly 850,000 people in up to eight states. With roads and bridges compromised, emergency aid might be cut off from the impacted areas due to road and bridge damage.

“If all eight states are affected there’s going to be a fight for resources,” Clutter said.

Memphis, Tennessee, is within the zone. St. Louis, Indianapolis and Little Rock, Arkansas, are close enough for concern. All told, about 45 million people live within the area that would be most impacted.

Some communities have been more proactive than others in their preparations.

In Memphis, the Interstate 40 bridge into the city received a $260 million retrofit to protect against a strong earthquake. Building codes were upgraded a decade ago to require stricter construction standards with earthquake risk in mind.

In St. Louis, designers say the 29-story apartment tower overlooking Busch Stadium that opened in 2020 would sway rather than collapse.

in the event of a big quake. It’s the same engineering protection built into St. Louis’ most prominent landmark. The Gateway Arch, completed in the 1960s, would sway up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) if an earthquake rumbles.

Meanwhile, a new St. Louis bridge over the Mississippi River that opened in 2014 was built with foundations all the way into bedrock to keep it steady and standing in the event of a quake. The region’s busiest river crossing, the Poplar Street Bridge, has been retrofitted for extra protection.

Still, most homes and commercial buildings within the region aren’t earthquake ready.

“Many places in the region have no building codes, and very few of the existing building codes require earthquake-resistant design,” according to a fact sheet from the American Geosciences Institute.

Emergency managers from the city, county and state level say they’re trying to raise awareness with residents.

“We always encourage people to look at their insurance coverage, look at things like your utilities, if you have a hot water heater, making sure it’s strapped,” said Sarah Russell, commissioner of emergency management for St. Louis.

The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance said the percentage of homeowners with quake insurance in the Missouri counties at the heart of the New Madrid zone dropped from 60.2% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2020. The agency blamed the skyrocketing cost of the insurance, which rose 760% in those counties over the 20-year period.

Will the Russian Horn Go Nuclear? Daniel 7

Russian leader Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of Russia's Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a big business lobby group, at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 2, 2022.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of Russia’s Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a big business lobby group, at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 2, 2022. MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Will Russia Go Nuclear?

Probably not, but that ultimately depends on factors out of our control, including Putin himself.

BY TOM Z. COLLINA

POLICY DIRECTOR, PLOUGHSHARES FUND

MARCH 4, 2022

President Joe Biden had a quick answer when he was asked on Monday whether Americans should be concerned about nuclear war. “No,” he said.

Well, not so fast. The question was motivated by Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s recent threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, where he is leading a brutal and unjustified war. Putin will probably not go nuclear, but that ultimately depends on factors out of our control, including Putin himself. Given the catastrophic consequences of atomic weapons, that should be deeply concerning.

Indeed, according to recent polling, 63 percent of Americans are worried about Russia launching a nuclear attack. And no wonder. Before the invasion even started, Russia test-fired nuclear-capable missiles as part of “planned” exercises as tension rose. Soon after the invasion, Putin reminded the world that Russia “remains one of the most powerful nuclear states” and he threatened “consequences you have never faced in your history” for “anyone who tries to interfere with us,” a clear nuclear threat to anyone who might come to Ukraine’s aid.

Then on Sunday, Putin told his top defense officials to put Russian nuclear forces on “special combat readiness,” a heightened alert status that could raise new dangers. The Biden administration did the right thing by not raising its alert levels in response, which could have led to Russian escalation. Instead, U.S. ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield rightly criticized Putin for “another escalatory and unnecessary step that threatens us all.”

Soon after, Moscow’s ally Belarus approved a constitutional change that would allow Russian nuclear weapons to be based there—again. Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko said he could ask Russia to return nuclear weapons to Belarus if the West transfers nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania. (For what it’s worth, Russian state media confirmed that Lukashenko said this, then denied he said it.) Thus, we could have nuclear weapons back in Belarus, and possibly Ukraine, after they were removed 30 years ago.

So, is this just saber-rattling or a more serious reflection of Putin’s intensions?

It is not inconceivable that Putin could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine if he thought he might lose the war without them. A defeat in Ukraine would be a severe blow to Putin’s standing back home, one that he might fear could cripple his ability to survive as president. Putin also has reason to worry about increased economic sanctions from the West, which so far have sent the ruble crashing by almost 30 percent. At what point does a threat to Russia’s economy become a threat to Putin himself?

At the same time, Putin must be aware of the international backlash that using nuclear weapons in Ukraine would cause. A nuclear attack, depending on the size, could kill tens of thousands to millions of people in a country that has no nuclear weapons because it gave them back to Russia in 1994. The Bomb has not been used in combat for 77 years and its use now would be devastating not only to Russia’s already-low standing but to global peace and security. Yet Putin might not be deterred from going nuclear against Ukraine, because he may think he could get away with it. Washington, for example, would be highly reluctant to attack Russia with conventional or nuclear weapons for the obvious reason that Moscow might then attack the United States. 

Russia could also blunder into using nuclear weapons by mistake. Even if Moscow does not increase its alert levels, some of its forces are already ready to launch within minutes. A paranoid Putin who imagines signs of an incoming attack might give such an order. False alarms have happened before and are a particular concern in an age of cyberattacks where nuclear command-and-control systems in both the U.S. and Russia are vulnerable.   

What if Putin has become unstable? James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, said, “I personally think he’s unhinged. I worry about his acuity and balance.” In Russia, as in the Unites States, the president has unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons. This must change.

Russia bears full responsibility for its shockingly irresponsible actions. And yet there is much that both sides could have done to avoid this situation. Nuclear history is filled with missed opportunities. Thirty years after the Cold War, we still have excessive U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals on alert, ready to launch in a first strike. We must revive the political will to change these dangerous policies.

The United States and Russia, which together control 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, have downplayed their dangers for far too long, and now we are paying the price. If we can get out of this crisis without a nuclear bomb being used in anger, we need to refocus our energies on reducing nuclear risks. Should Americans be concerned about nuclear war? Unfortunately, yes. Ignoring it will not make us safer.

Tom Collina is director of policy at Ploughshares Fund and co-author, with former Defense Secretary William Perry, of the book “The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.” 

Nuclear threats from Russia and China will ‘become a reality’

Nuclear Threat: Should we be worried about Russia’s nuke move? on Feb 28, 2022. (Sky News/Screenshot via TheBL/Youtube)

US Admiral: Nuclear threats from Russia and China could ‘become a reality’

TheBL Staff a day ago 44 views

Admiral Charles Richard, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, warned on March 1 that the United States is facing two governments ready to deploy nuclear arsenals.

His statements came amid the backdrop of Russia’s readiness to conjure nuclear warheads in the invasion of Ukraine while it is under constraining sanctions from world powers.

Moscow’s behavior has somewhat indicated its close ally China’s potential actions in the face of international condemnation.

Richard told the House Armed Services Committee that “Today, we face two nuclear-capable near-peers who have the capability to unilaterally escalate a conflict to any level of violence in any domain worldwide, with any instrument of national power, and that is historically significant.”

He said it has become “imperative” for the United States to pay attention to countering both Russia and China. The hazards from both governments were still perceived as significant concerns just last year.

But he said that concern “has now become a reality.”

China last fall astonished expectations of its arms advances when it tested nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles. A situation in which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley referred to as a “Sputnik moment.”

There were also reports that China was building hundreds of additional nuclear silos. The Pentagon warned that China might develop 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030.

Richard was confident that the U.S. is still on track with its weaponry advances, saying that “The nation’s nuclear command and control is in its most defended, most resilient lineup that it’s ever been in its history.”

However, noting that the U.S. doesn’t know “the endpoint of where [China] is going,” he said it was critical to maintaining close supervision of the country’s arms development.

He said, “While I’m very confident we’re going to wind up with a very good strategy, I think it will need to be a question that we continue to ask ourselves as we see where China goes, as we see where others go. What are the overall capability and capacity that the United States requires in order to execute that strategy against a changing threat.”

“We’re going to have to ask that question much more frequently than we have in the past.”