Fault lines left over from the creation of the Appalachian Mountains can still lead to earthquakes locally, and many faults remain undetected. According to the USGS, few, if any, earthquakes in New England can be linked to named faults.
While earthquakes in New England are generally much weaker compared to those on defined fault lines, their reach is still impressive. Sunday’s 3.6 was felt in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Hampshire.
USGS Community Internet Intensity Map
While M 3.6 earthquakes rarely cause damage, some minor cracks were reported on social media from the shaking.
According to the USGS, moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the region every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt roughly twice a year.
S Korea’s next leader faces escalating N Korean nuke threat
Yoon Suk Yeol takes office as South Korea’s president Tuesday amid heightened animosities over North Korea’s nuclear program
By HYUNG-JIN KIM and KIM TONG-HYUNG Associated Press
May 7, 2022, 9:05 PM
SEOUL, South Korea — During his election campaign, South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol had tough words for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying he would teach his rival some manners and sternly deal with his provocative missile tests with a strengthened alliance with the United States.
But as he takes office Tuesday for a single five-year term, the conservative Yoon must now confront an increasingly belligerent Kim, who openly threatens to use atomic bombs and is reportedly preparing for his first nuclear test explosion since 2017, part of an effort to build warheads that specifically target South Korea.
North Korea has a history of trying to rattle new governments in Seoul and Washington to gain leverage in future negotiations. But if Kim orders a nuclear test, Yoon would be left with very limited options to deal with Kim at the start of his presidency.
There’s skepticism among experts over whether Yoon, despite his rhetoric, can accomplish something meaningfully different from outgoing President Moon Jae-in while North Korea continues to reject talks and focuses instead on expanding its nuclear and missile programs despite limited resources and economic difficulties.
“North Korea has the initiative. Regardless of whether conservatives or liberals are in power in South Korea, North Korea is pressing ahead with (missile tests) under its own weapons development timetable before it tries to tip the balance later,” said Park Won Gon, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University. “North Korea will now continue its provocations, but there are no ways to stop it.”
Moon championed engaging North Korea and once shuttled between Pyongyang and Washington to arrange the now-stalled nuclear diplomacy. Even after North Korea urged Moon not to meddle in its dealings with Washington and insulted him, Moon still worked to improve relations and shied away from hitting back at the North.
Yoon has described Moon’s appeasement policy as “subservient” and accused him of undermining South Korea’s seven-decade military alliance with the United States. To neutralize North Korea’s nuclear threats, Yoon said he would seek a stronger U.S. security commitment and enhance South Korea’s own missile strike capabilities, though he remains open to dialogue with the North.
During a rally before the March 9 election, as he slammed Moon for failing to strongly criticize Kim’s repeated missile tests, Yoon said that if elected, “I would teach (Kim) some manners and make him come to his senses completely.”
Yoon has faced criticism that some of his policies are unrealistic and largely rehash past policies that failed to persuade North Korea to denuclearize.
For example, Yoon said he would push for economic cooperation projects linked to progress in denuclearization steps by the North. Two past South Korean conservative presidents offered similar proposals from 2008 to 2017, but North Korea rejected the overtures.
Yoon said he would seek to establish a trilateral dialogue channel among Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington, but experts see little chance North Korea, which destroyed an unoccupied South Korean-built liaison office on its territory in 2020, will accept that idea now.
“The U.S.-South Korea alliance could flourish, but North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program will further advance and that could elevate tensions on the Korean Peninsula to maximum levels. It’s hard to expect any meaningful progress in inter-Korean relations,” said Yang Moo Jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies.
Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University in South Korea, said a policy of linking incentives to denuclearization “has reached its limits and will eventually never appeal to North Korea” because Pyongyang is highly unlikely to abandon a nuclear program that has reached such strength.
During his confirmation hearing last Monday, Yoon’s nominee for foreign minister, Park Jin, told lawmakers that North Korea “appears to have no intentions of denuclearizing voluntarily.” He said the best option to stop North Korean provocation would be using a combination of pressure and dialogue to convince Pyongyang to opt for a path toward denuclearization.
After test-launching a dozen missiles potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, South Korea or Japan this year, Kim recently said his nuclear weapons won’t be confined to their primary mission of deterring war if his country’s interests are threatened. Park, the professor, called Kim’s comments “dangerous” because they suggest North Korea could use its nukes even in an accidental border clash or if it misjudges Seoul’s military moves.
Recent satellite photos show North Korea is restoring a previously closed nuclear testing facility in possible preparation for its seventh atomic explosion. Experts say that test is related to North Korea’s push to manufacture warheads small enough to be mounted on tactical short-range missiles targeting South Korea, citing some of the North’s recent tests of such weapons. Nam said a nuclear test would make it extremely difficult for the Yoon government to try to resume talks with North Korea.
Kim seems to be trying to use his weapon tests to force the West to accept his country as a nuclear power so he can try to negotiate sanctions relief and security concessions from a position of strength. Experts say Kim is able to push forward his weapons programs because the U.N. Security Council cannot impose new sanctions while its veto-wielding members are divided. The U.S. is involved in confrontations with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and with China over their strategic rivalry.
Yoon’s possible overdependence on the U.S. alliance may cause Seoul to further lose voice in international efforts to defuse the North Korean nuclear issue while giving Pyongyang less reason to engage in serious talks with Seoul, said Lim Eul-chul, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. He said Seoul would need to create wiggle room for nuclear diplomacy and lure Pyongyang to talks with a flexible carrots-and-sticks approach.
How to boost the South Korea-U.S. alliance to better deal with North Korean nuclear advancement will likely top the agenda when Yoon meets President Joe Biden in Seoul on May 21.
Yoon has promised to seek a tougher U.S. extended deterrence, a reference to Washington’s ability to use military and nuclear forces to deter attacks on its allies. But some experts question whether such a security commitment can effectively protect South Korea from aggression from North Korea because the decision to use U.S. nuclear weapons lies with the U.S. president.
“Historically, it’s true the extended deterrence has never been enforced. In some sense, it’s like a gentlemen’s agreement,” Park, the professor, said. “Even if we succeed in institutionalizing that to the maximum level, that still doesn’t guarantee an automatic U.S. involvement” in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula.
Home » World » On Victory Day, Putin May Be… On Victory Day, Putin may be tempted to escalate war with Ukraine to nuke level Pranay Sharma 8 May 2022 8:24 PM Russian artillery vehicles roll during a dress rehearsal for the May 9 Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Saturday. (Photo Credit: AP/PTI) News CIA director William Burns says there is no evidence that Russia will use nuclear weapons The ongoing Ukraine conflict has raised apocalyptic visions of nuclear options being exercised Ukraine president Zelenskyy has said that he is convinced Russia is ready to use nuclear arms Narrative After 10 weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seems to be running out of steam Neither side seems to be willing to sit down at the table and discuss making peace With no decisive victory in sight, Putin could think of “other means” to win the war Debate The nuclear-weapon states talk about peace but increase stockpiles They are spending billions of dollars on upgrading nuclear arsenals Weapon states have studiously ignored UN calls for disarmament CIA director William Burns has said that although there is “no practical evidence” that Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in the current Ukraine conflict, the US should “stay very sharply focused” on the potential nuclear threat regardless. “We don’t see, as an intelligence community, practical evidence at this point of Russian planning for the deployment or even potential use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Burns said at the conference in Washington DC on Saturday, repeating a similar assessment he made at the beginning of April.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has evidently learned how to stop worrying and love the bomb.
The day before his invasion of Ukraine began, Mr. Putin implied a threat that Russia would use nuclear weapons in response to any interference. He said, “… anyone who tries to interfere with us … must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never before experienced in your history.” He added that Russia remains “one of the most powerful nuclear powers” with “certain advantages in a number of the latest types of weapons,” meaning the hypersonic missiles he revealed in 2018.
Days later, Mr. Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces on special alert.
If that was all we’d heard from Mr. Putin’s regime, it would concerning, but not terribly so. There have been, however, repeated rumors that U.S. intelligence officials had concluded that Russia might use chemical or tactical nuclear weapons (those of far smaller explosive yield than strategic weapons) in Ukraine.
Palestinian media outlet Gaza Now News tweeted shortly after the attack, while also posting a graphic photo of blood spilled by one of the victims.
“The unclean blood of settlers today on the anniversary of the occupation of Palestine. Picture of the year 2022.” The account has since been removed.
Other Palestinian social media posts showed cartoons referencing the attack by including axes in the imagery.
Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanou praised the attack, saying that it was “a heroic and qualitative operation that constitutes a severe blow to the occupation and its security system, in the context of responding to the crimes of the occupation and the settlers’ incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Israel is “paying the price for its crimes and its racist policy against our people, and our people will not tire or get bored until the occupation is swept away,” he said. “Our people will continue their struggle and defense of al-Aqsa Mosque by all means and tools, and its strikes will reach the Zionists and the herds of settlers wherever they go and settle down.”
WASHINGTON — The war in Ukraine has led some military experts to rethink the conventional wisdom on nuclear weapons, a reconsideration rooted in an acknowledgment that as frightening as the prospect of nuclear war is, a policy predicated on these fears has given the Kremlin too much license in Ukraine.
Mainstream thinking about nuclear war has been guided by two related realities: that atomic weapons are immensely destructive and that if used once, they will be used repeatedly in a series of back-and-forth strikes that will only compound the devastation until there is nothing much left to devastate.
Those were the lessons of Proud Prophet, an intensive 1983 simulation conducted by the U.S. government at the National Defense University in which dozens of security agencies and military commands took part.
Proud Prophet began with what was expected to be a limited nuclear strike by the Soviet Union, only to quickly slip from the grasp of the combatants. “The result was a catastrophe that made all the wars of the past five hundred years pale in comparison,” Yale historian Paul Bracken wrote. “A half-billion human beings were killed in the initial exchanges and at least that many more would have died from radiation and starvation.”
Given the diligence with which the simulation was conducted, Proud Prophet offered chilling evidence that however a nuclear war began, it could end only in annihilation.
Baghdad, Iraq – A mosque pulled down by tractors, angry protesters setting buildings on fire, and police arrests: despite their relatively small-scale, recent events across a few cities in Iraq were enough to startle the country over the last month, and all were linked to a controversial Muslim scholar – Mahmoud al-Sarkhi.
The trigger in the latest round of what has become an increasingly tense intra-Shia leaders’ dispute was an otherwise uneventful Friday sermon in early April, when Ali Masoudi, a representative of al-Sarkhi, who is a former student of the late prominent Shia scholar Mohammad Sadiq al-Sadr, demanded the demolition of shrines, or graves of Shia imams, across Iraq.
“We should follow the teachings of the Prophet [Muhammed] and Imam Ali and not build any structures on the graves,” Masoudi passionately told a group of people attending the sermon.
The demand was unsurprisingly dismissed by the majority of Iraqi Shia Muslims, but then came the fiery response: furious protesters, mostly supporters of Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr, the son of Sadiq al-Sadr and currently the biggest political player in Iraq, took to the streets and burned down some of al-Sarkhi’s offices in a number of cities, including Babil, Karbala, and Basra.
The Iraqi security forces soon arrested a number of al-Sarkhi’s followers. Babil governorate, where al-Sarkhi’s movement is based, promptly moved to close all of the leader’s offices, and one of al-Sarkhi’s mosques in the governorate was torn down.
Moqtada al-Sadr himself also issued a warning to al-Sarkhi that unless the scholar disavowed the representative who called for the destruction of the shrines, he would resort to “legal and customary methods”, according to a note al-Sadr posted on Twitter, although it is unclear whether al-Sadr would follow through with his threats.
In the weeks following the controversial sermon, al-Sarkhi has become the subject of widespread discussions in Iraq, igniting debates on his ideology and what threats he could pose to the now overall stable Iraqi security.
Despite the criticism towards al-Sarkhi’s demand to demolish graves, some experts are voicing their concern over how the government’s response has run the risk of further stoking violence and conflict in a deeply scarred country.
“The state has been reactive instead of proactive over the past few years, and none of [the reactions were] about taking the initiative to fight sectarianism,” Ruba Ali al-Hassani, a UK-based sociologist who studies Iraq, told Al Jazeera. “Instead of launching arrests of al-Sarkhi’s people, there should have been more restorative and correctional efforts.”
For al-Sarkhi, this is not the first time he managed to grab attention. This time, however, it coincided with a chaotic government formation process that has been definitively stalled by intra-Shia political division.
“He realises that Shias, in general, are passing through a very chaotic period with low confidence in all religious political parties and movements,” Munqith M Dagher, the founder of the Iraq-based Independent Institute of Administration and Civil Society Studies, told Al Jazeera. “Accordingly, this is the best time to find more followers who are hating the current players and welcome any different voices.”
A figure who first emerged following the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Sarkhi had a rather low profile and would periodically re-emerge in the public discourse with at times controversial claims, and sometimes violent clashes with either US or Iraqi security forces.
Initially fighting alongside the once-formidable Mehdi Army, a now-disbanded paramilitary group led by Moqtada al-Sadr, against the US forces during the early days of the Iraq war, al-Sarkhi soon parted ways with al-Sadr.
Building on his staunch resistance towards both American and Iranian influence in Iraq, al-Sarkhi has so far accumulated a modest following in the tens of thousands.
“Unlike Moqtada, who changes his position every five days, al-Sarkhi has remained committed to rejecting the US and Iranian influence in our country,” Hassan, an al-Sarkhi follower living in Karbala told Al Jazeera, referring to the sometimes changing nature of Moqtada al-Sadr’s political stances.
“He may have some opinions that I don’t completely agree with, but I think he is the one who actually cares about Iraq and the people,” he added.
Al-Sarkhi has repeatedly voiced his opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq. During Iraq’s 2019 mass demonstrations, for example, al-Sarkhi’s movement reportedly encouraged protesters to set fire to the Iranian consulate in Karbala, which turned out to be one of the most dramatic nights of the entire protests.
He even rejected Ali al-Sistani, the most revered scholar among Iraqi Shia Muslims, based on his claim that al-Sistani had too much Iranian influence behind him. However, some experts say his rejection of Iran has often overstepped its boundary.
Al-Sarkhi has also faced criticism for his role during the rise of ISIL (ISIS) in 2014. At the time, al-Sistani had issued a fatwa, a religious decree, to call on all able Iraqis to take up arms to fight against the armed group that seized a vast swath of land in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
To most people’s surprise, al-Sarkhi refused to answer the fatwa, and instead called for conversations and negotiations with ISIL, despite the crimes committed by the group, and the failure of diplomatic efforts to reach out to them.
“Even now, many are questioning his stance towards ISIS,” al-Hassani said. “Even as someone who works on peacebuilding, I wouldn’t agree to negotiate with ISIS when the group was going on a killing rampage.”
His controversial claims, however, rarely caused any big issues to Iraqi security and, according to experts and common Iraqis who spoke with Al Jazeera, his relatively small following will unlikely constitute an actual threat in the future, despite the controversy generated recently.