The Sixth Seal Is Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

Is New Jersey overdue for major earthquake?
Devin Loring, @DevinLoring
17 hours ago

One of the most noticeable earthquakes in New Jersey measured a 5.30 on the Richter scale — a moderate quake – and was felt throughout Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

But that was in 1783, before colossal bridges connected New Jersey and New York, and cities were pre-skyscraper and modern infrastructure.

What would happen if New Jersey was rocked by a strong, or even moderate, earthquake today?
New Jersey may well soon find out. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said 10 years ago that we’re due for at least a moderate earthquake.

The region is not really well prepared for any level of shaking,” said Vadim Levin, an associate professor in the earth and planetary sciences department at Rutgers University. “The population density is so extremely high. … Look at earthquake-related disasters. They don’t link to the large size of earthquakes, but the confluence of how close they are to people.”

There are earthquakes in Jersey?

It has been over 200 years since New Jersey experienced that historic quake in 1783, and almost 100 years since Asbury Park experienced a quake – in 1927 – that toppled chimneys and knocked items off shelves

That means New Jersey is overdue for an earthquake, at least according to a brochure published by the NJDEP, in 2005.

The agency’s data indicates that intense quakes are likely to happen in New Jersey every 100 years or less.

“Long overdue for how long, that’s the question,” said Levin. “Once in ten generations is very difficult to study. That’s the biggest challenge (because) we live inside a stable plate.”

A “stable plate,” describes New Jersey’s tectonics. Here, the Earth’s crust “fits together and doesn’t deform very much,” Levin said.
Despite the stability of New Jersey’s crust, earthquakes are felt throughout New Jersey frequently.

In fact, earlier this month, a light earthquake was very noticeable to residents in and around Morristown. It was felt as far south as Jackson, and as far north as Suffern, New York.


The big one

Researchers don’t really understand why earthquakes happen on the East Coast, especially because in New Jersey, small earthquakes happen over a diffuse area and do not form an easily identifiable zone of action, Levin said.

“What makes us slightly more nervous these days is the recent Virginia earthquake,” Levin said. “That event was rather large, there was serious damage, and of course, no prior history of such events recorded.”

In 2011, the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Maine, in Michigan and Illinois, and in Canada according to the United States Geological Survey.

“That (2011 earthquake) damaged a nuclear power plant — not severely, only to the extent that it had to shut down operations,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

It points out the issue of fragility on our infrastructure,” Lerner-Lam said. “The resiliency or vulnerability of our bridges, tunnels, power lines, pipelines, is a very important feature of the overall vulnerability of the metropolitan region.”

What makes East Coast quakes all the more unpredictable is that quakes here differ from those on the West Coast, where they are more frequent. Because the earth on the East Coast has different properties than the west, shakes from quakes are transmitted farther here than they are in California, Levin said.

Getting protection

Standard homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies typically do not cover earthquake damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Only 7 percent of homeowners that responded to an Institute survey in 2014 said they had earthquake insurance.

Only about 2 percent of homeowners in the Northeast have earthquake coverage, the survey revealed.

Levin said he declines to have earthquake coverage, saying hurricanes and flooding are a much greater risk in New Jersey.

“If an event is extremely unlikely, how much money is worth investing in safeguarding from it?” Levin said.

Although there is no reliable way to predict a major earthquake, let’s just say experts don’t think whole cities will crumble or be consumed by the ocean, as depicted by Hollywood.

“I’m planning to take my class to see ‘San Andreas.’ Oh my God, that’s such overkill,” Levin said.

Devin Loring; 732-463-4053; dloring@gannettnj.co

The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

India-Pakistan nuclear war in the near future is possible

Periodic grandstanding about nuclear capabilities are not uncommon between India and Pakistan. We are quite used to the nuke bluster. However, there have been subtle changes in their respective positions over the last few months or so.

There are new weapons, delivery platforms and, importantly, more proactive doctrines regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

The doctrines have not, perhaps, changed in actuality, but when higher-ups in the decision-making process wonder aloud and in public about reconsidering their stand on the first-use policy, it is worth taking note.

The N-armed nations have roughly 120-130 nuclear warheads each and enough delivery systems to deploy these warheads.

They do not share much bonhomie, having fought at least four wars and engaged in dozens of skirmishes. Some analysts opine that India may be considering a relook at its nuclear doctrine to allow a first strike against neighbouring Pakistan.

Both countries have tested weapons specific to their avowed doctrine in the recent past.

Pakistan tested a missile that they claimed could evade interceptor missiles which India tested at least twice.

And as India tested its home-made n-powered submarine, Pakistan claimed it has tested its own SLBM, there were some suggestions that it was a failed test. However, that isn’t the focus, the intent is.

India’s Chief Of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat recently spoke about the plan for a fast, localised conventional invasion of parts of Pakistan.

Add it to the fact that the Indian Army did carry out a covert cross-border strike, although not aimed at Pakistan’s armed forces, it indicates a rearrangement of the basic strategic plan to deal with adverse situations.

However, a limited but strong response may be linked to not provoking a Pakistani retaliation, possibly with nuclear weapons.

The very idea that Pakistan would respond with a nuclear strike against India is not beyond comprehension.

In fact, Pakistan can use smaller, tactical nuclear weapons in advance or in anticipation of an Indian action.
The problem with this type of strategic doctrine is that there is glaring scope of miscalculation by each side. A scaled conventional conflict could easily escalate into a full-blown nuclear war — it is not a doomsday prediction, it is a definite possibility.Global geopolitics is not helping the scenario.

As India races to counter China and Pakistan tries to keep up with the aggression, and with the US being closer to India than ever before, there are doubts whether Washington will likely broker peace between India and Pakistan in the future.

Guided by simple logic, if Pakistan must have any chance of winning a war against India, it will use its nuclear weapons — almost all of it.

If India wishes to counter it in any way, it has got to be preemptive, simply because any n-tipped missile in the subcontinental theatre would take barely 10 minutes to start hitting targets, irrespective of who launches them.

So no side can technically afford to go second. A scary scenario.

There is no immediate threat, but along with a strong Indian response — guaranteed in the event of cross-border terror adventurism — factors like non-state actors and the rising pitch of rhetoric can lead to disaster.

Even a limited nuclear exchange between the neighbours would affect some 50 lakh people and kill close to 20 lakh directly and in the famines that may follow.

Russia Advances Its Nuclear Triad

Russia increases nuclear sub fleet, combat patrols reach Soviet-era levels

“The Yasen-M class nuclear-powered submarine cruisers are some of the most advanced battleships that amassed all cutting-edge submarine shipbuilding technologies,” Admiral Vladimir Korolev, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, said as the most advanced Russian nuclear attack submarine, Kazan – the second submarine of the Yasen-M class – was launched in the northern Russian port of Severodvinsk.

Kazan was laid down in 2009 and is expected to be accepted by the Russian Navy in 2018 following sea trials. The admiral said four more submarines of the same class – Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Perm – are now being built at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk and one will be launched as early as in 2019 while the seventh and last vessel of this project, Ulyanovsk, would be laid down in the summer of 2017.

All the vessels are expected to be built by 2023, according to Korolev.

Yasen-M class submarines are to replace the older Russian attack submarines of the Akula-class forming the backbone of the Russian Navy’s conventional submarine force. They are considered to be counterparts to the US nuclear-powered Seawolf and Virginia class submarines.

The lead vessel of the project, K-560 Severodvinsk, was laid down in 1993 but construction was completed only in 2010 due to budgetary constraints. It was accepted by the Russian Navy in 2014.

The Yasen-M class vessels are 120 meters long, have a submerged displacement of 13,800 tons and can travel up to 31 knots (57 kph) while submerged. They are also designed to dive to a maximum depth of 600 meters.

The submarines carry ten 533mm torpedoes and have eight vertical launching systems equipped with four Onyx and Kalibr supersonic cruise missiles each. Each ship is designed to operate independently for up to 100 days.

One of the most interesting features of the new design is a large spherical sonar system which occupies its entire bow, which required that torpedo tubes be slanted and placed behind the main control compartment.

“We are creating a group of nuclear-powered submarines that will carry out missions in all regions of the global ocean and ensure Russia’s security,” Korolev said at the Kazan launch ceremony, as cited by TASS.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who also attended the launch, said the new vessels would help Russia to “firmly and confidently defend its interests on the global stage.” He also emphasized the necessity of dialog in international relations adding that “this dialog should be maintained with a firm and confident voice,” referring to the importance of the nation’s defense capabilities.

Korolev also said that Russian submarines have reached Soviet Union-era levels in terms of the combat patrols as the vessels had spent some 3,000 days at sea in 2016, adding that “it is an excellent level.”

“Last year, we returned to the level we had before the post-Soviet era in terms of the days at sea. Russia’s submarine fleet has spent 3,000 days at sea,” the admiral said.

He went on to say that Russia also plans to launch another state-of-the-art submarine this summer – a nuclear-powered ballistic missile cruiser named Knyaz Vladimir.

The vessel is the fourth submarine of the Borei class. With a submerged displacement of 24,000 tons, this 170-meter long vessel is designed to carry six 533mm and six 324mm torpedos, Onyx and Kalibr cruise missiles as well as 16 Bulava ballistic missiles with an operational range between 8,000 and 8,300 kilometers.

According to the former head of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy, Knyaz Vladimir is even more advanced in terms of low noise, better weapon control systems, and higher maneuverability as compared to the first three vessels of the Borei class which are now used by the Russian Northern and Pacific Fleets.

Russia’s growing state-of-the-art submarine fleet is apparently generating anxiety among the US military. In June 2016, Vice Admiral James Foggo III, commander of the US 6th Fleet, wrote in the June issue of the US Naval Institute’s magazine that “an effective, skilled, and technologically advanced Russian submarine force is challenging” NATO’s maritime dominance.

The Merchant of Merchants (Revelation 18)

White House aides’ finances revealed in disclosure documents

BBC News

Documents released by the White House have revealed millions of dollars in assets held by its senior staff.

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, have assets valued between $240m and $740m (£191m- £590m).

That includes a stake in Trump International Hotel, which earned Ms Trump between $1m and $5m last year.

The financial disclosure documents also detail salaries of several other high-profile figures in the administration.

Ethics regulations require such financial disclosures for staff working in the White House. The documents show income and assets at the time they started working for the US government – before any assets were sold or disposed of.

Neither President Donald Trump or Vice-President Mike Pence were part of the disclosure release, which came late on Friday.

The documents, which US media have uploaded online, list asset values within a range, rather than giving precise figures.

Among the revelations are:

Ivanka Trump’s business empire is worth more than $50m, and the value of her stake in Trump International Hotel is between $5m and $25m, according to the filing of her husband, Jared. Ms Trump only recently became a formal White House employee, and may file her own disclosure form later.

Jared Kushner’s disclosure document runs to 54 pages, detailing positions held at 267 organisations, many of which he has since divested himself of. In the previous year, he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from real estate and other assets.

Steve Bannon, now a senior White House adviser, was paid $191,000 in consulting fees by conservative media outlet Breitbart, in addition to at least $1m in other employment income.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, was paid $260,000 for his role as chief strategist and communications director at the Republican National Committee, and holds several real estate assets.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign chief turned advisor, earned more than $800,000, mostly for consulting services, including Mr Trump’s campaign.

Gary Cohn, head of the White House National Economic Council and a former Goldman Sachs president, has assets worth at least $230m – but potentially more, as many of his assets are simply listed as worth “over $1m”. The White House said Mr Cohn resigned from all his positions at Goldman Sachs.

In a briefing before the release, White House officials stressed that “these are not the current holdings that everyone has today. These are the holdings that everybody had at the time when they came into office”.

Potential conflicts of interest may have already been eliminated.

“These are incredibly successful individuals, very high net worth, very sophisticated, complex asset structures, numerous sub-LLCs [limited liability companies], trusts and other items, all of which have to be worked through,” the White House official said, adding that every staff member had a “sit-down” about their assets.

Image caption Donald Trump’s cabinet and senior aides are estimated to be worth $12bn

Reuters news agency quoted a White House official as saying about 25% of Mr Trump’s White House were classified as having “extremely complex” filings, indicating they were very wealthy.

They appeared much wealthier than officials in previous administrations, including Barack Obama’s White House, US media reported.

Bloomberg estimates that Mr Trump’s cabinet and senior staff are worth some $12bn.

A list of Trump’s potential conflicts of interest

Kushners end talks with Chinese firm
Ethics concerns swirl around Trump team
Since his election in November, the president’s own business empire has been scrutinised by ethics experts – who say it poses major conflicts of interest.

Fears have been raised that interest groups or foreign governments might stay at the luxury Trump hotel in Washington in a bid to win the administration’s favour.

Mr Trump’s two oldest sons now control his extensive assets, but watchdogs have complained that the arrangements are insufficient to avoid conflicts.

The Office of Government Ethics has urged the president either to divest fully, or to set up a blind trust for his assets.

Mr Trump has also refused to release his tax returns, breaking with a long-held tradition.

Antichrist Calls For New Government 

Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Head of the Independent High Electoral Commission in Iraq (IHEC) says the parliament’s decision to question him over alleged misuse of power are politically motivated and without legal bases.

Sarbast Amedi told Rudaw he will attend the parliament’s questioning session on April 17, but he warned that the move was to harm the standing of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) which nominated Amedi for the post.

“The Commission is basically the only important post that the KDP still holds. As an independent candidate, I was appointed as part of the KDP share of the seats [in the commission]. This is why they want to target this post,” he said.

The IHEC which is seen as an independent polling body, has members that are affiliated with nearly all political parties in Iraq, including several Kurdish members.

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has in the past cast doubt on the independence of the commission and stated that “no elections are free and fair under the current IHEC.”

The United Nations however has shown solid support for the IHEC in the past and reiterated its position after protesters marched towards the commission office in February this year.

Iraqi protesters have gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square nearly all Fridays after prayers over the past months, to demand the dissolution of the IHEC while the country prepares for crucial parliamentary and provincial elections .

The demonstrators, many of them ardent supporters of al-Sadr, have called on the parliament to dissolve the IHEC which they have accused of corruption and partisanship.

Lawmaker Rasoul al-Taei of Al-Ahrar block affiliated with al-Sadr said in a statement last July that “the MPs who signed the request are collecting evidence and documents for dossiers to prove [individual] corruption and that the commission’s head and council members are not professional [experts].”

He also said “this cannot overlook the possibility that the commission’s council members are subordinate to well-established political parties, based on which the commission’s executive council was formed.”

No official charges have so been filed against Amedi.