Islamic Republic of Iran

The Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017, Story 1: Trump To Trash Iranian Nuclear Agreement If Congress Does Not Act — Videos — Story 2: Trump’s Timid Tiny Targeted Tax Temporary Cut –Videos — Story 3: Consumer Sentiment Hits Thirteen Year High — Videos —

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Image result for President Trump DECERTIFIES the Iran Nuclear Deal

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Story 1: Trump Administration Does Not Certify Iran Nuclear  Agreement If Congress Does Not Act — Videos —

John Bolton on Breitbart News Daily (10/16/2017)

Trump addresses strategy on Iran nuclear deal (full speech)

President Trump DECERTIFIES the Iran Nuclear Deal | Full Speech 10/13/17

Trump on North Korean nuclear threat, Iran nuclear deal

Benjamin Netanyahu commends Trump’s decision on Iran

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Terrorist Training Camps in Iran operated by IRGC

IRGC- IRANIAN DEADLY REVOLUTIONARY GUARD

Iran’s IRGC warns US against “terrorist” labelling

Is ruthless general Iraq’s hidden hand?

Is this Iranian the most powerful man in Iraq? – Newsnight

What we know about Iran’s Quds Force

IRGC commander: Iran able to target US interests anywhere in world

How Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Financial Empire Funds Terrorism

Iran’s revolutionary guard explained

Iran Defense Min: US, Israel dare not attack, they would have if they could

World War 3: ‘Only two North Korea options – ELIMINATE Kim Jong-un or eliminate weapons’

Sen. Bob Corker: Donald Trump Has ‘Publicly Castrated’ Rex Tillerson | The Last Word | MSNBC

Gingrich: ‘The Alligators Are Really Unhappy’ That Trump Is ‘Draining the Swamp’

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Condoleezza Rice on Tillerson, North Korea, Iran deal

John Bolton on Iran, North Korea, and Pres Trump.

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President Trump DECERTIFIES the Iran Nuclear Deal | Full Speech 10/13/17

Donald Trump decertifies Iran nuclear deal

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The Iranian Revolutionary Guard

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Trump decertifies Iran nuclear deal, slaps sanctions on IRGC in broadside at ‘radical regime’

President Trump announced Friday he will decertify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying he believes the “radical regime” has committed multiple violations of the agreement as he kicked a decision over whether to restore sanctions back to Congress.

“I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification,” Trump said during a speech at the White House. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakthrough.”

Friday’s announcement does not withdraw the United States from the Iran deal, which the president called “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, the agreement will be terminated,” he said. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of Trump’s speech, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the president will use the Congressional Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to decertify the agreement, which was negotiated over 18 months by the Obama administration.

Congress could then decide to restore sanctions, do nothing or make changes to the law. Trump is pressing Congress to work to fix the deal’s “flaws.”

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: WHAT IS IT?

In making his decision, Trump said, “Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.” Among other alleged violations, Trump said Iran failed to meet expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges and intimidated international inspectors into not using their full authority.

The president also slammed sunset provisions in the deal itself, complaining that the U.S. got a “weak inspection” in exchange for a “short-term” delay in Iran’s nuclear progress.

Trump, meanwhile, announced plans to take action against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, authorizing the Treasury Department to impose targeted sanctions against “its officials, agents, and affiliates.”

“Execution of our strategy begins with a long overdue step of imposing tough sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Trump said. “The revolutionary guard is the Iranian supreme leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia.”

In his broadside against the Iranian regime, the president said it “remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” accusing it of providing assistance to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah and other terrorist networks.

The president accused Iran of developing missiles that threaten American troops and allies and imprisoning Americans “on false charges.”

“Given the regime’s murderous past and present, we should not take lightly its sinister vision for the future,” Trump said. “The regimes two favorite chants are ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’”

The president did not designate the IRGC a terrorist group, something that had been rumored ahead of the announcement. In the run-up to the decision, Iranian officials threatened consequences if that occurred.

“If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world,” IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said Sunday, according to Reuters.

The National Resistance Council of Iran, an offshoot organization of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), praised Trump’s move in support of the de-certification.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), welcomed the new U.S. policy to “condemn the IRGC’s gross violations of human rights” in Iran.

“The regime’s deadly meddling in the region and concessions made to it in the course of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) have been disastrous, and for which the people of Iran and the region have paid heavily,” Rajavi said in a statement provided to Fox News.

“The IRGC is a prime means of suppression, execution, and torture in Iran, spreading terrorism throughout the world, war mongering and massacre in the region, the drive for acquiring nuclear weapons, and the increase in the proliferation of ballistic missiles,” she said. “If the IRGC had been recognized as a terrorist entity earlier and dealt with accordingly, the current situation in the region in general, and Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Afghanistan in particular, would have been totally different.”

Trump had been facing a Sunday deadline to notify Congress whether Iran is complying with the accord.

Republicans are calling for new legislation that addresses the “flaws” of the agreement.

“Lawmakers need to do now what we couldn’t do two years ago: unite around an Iran strategy that truly stops Iran’s nuclear weapons program and empowers the United States and our allies to combat the full spectrum of Iran’s imperial aggression,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a statement.

Democrats accused the president of making matters worse. Former Obama administration official Ben Rhodes, who helped sell the Iran deal, said the president is “provoking” a crisis with his speech.

“Hard to overstate how irresponsible it is for Trump to risk blowing up Iran Deal by demanding rest of world justify his campaign rhetoric,” Rhodes tweeted.

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez, Mike Emanuel and Perry Chiaramonte and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/13/trump-to-decertify-iran-nuclear-deal.html

Trump says he has decided to decertify Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal.

“Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification,” Trump said at a White House event as he unveiled a tougher strategy against Tehran.

Trump’s move does not pull the United States out of the agreement, formally known as the JCPOA. (Reporting by James Oliphant; Writing by Tim Ahmann and Makini Brice; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-4978524/Trump-says-decided-decertify-Iran-nuclear-deal.html#ixzz4vS0Hglgq

Bolton: ‘Unfixable’ Iran Deal Must Be Abandoned

Image: Bolton: 'Unfixable' Iran Deal Must Be Abandoned
Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton (Alex Brandon/AP)

By Brian Freeman   |   Monday, 16 Oct 2017 03:27 PM

 Arguments over the Iran deal have been dominated by peripheral issues, and obscured the fact there are no real “fixes” that can be made to turn it into a good agreement, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton wrote in a Monday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

Now that President Donald Trump has announced the U.S. will stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, while refusing to certify under American law the deal is in the national interest, Congress will have to decide what next step to take, with many offering proposed changes.

Bolton insisted it should be remembered for those who say the agreement must be preserved because Iran is not violating the deal “it is neither dishonorable nor unusual for countries to withdraw from international agreements that contravene their vital interests.”

 Such an example, he said, was President George W. Bush’s notice of withdrawal in 2001 from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, even though it was not clear Russia was violating it. What was important was the agreement was no longer strategically wise for the U.S.

Bolton said the Western powers’ collapse from their original insistence it would not even negotiate unless Iran agreed to suspend all enrichment-related activity was a grave error, because regardless of the treaty’s limits, “Iran benefits from continued enrichment, research and development by expanding the numbers of scientists and technicians it has with firsthand nuclear experience, [which] will be invaluable to the ayatollahs come the day they disdain any longer to conceal their real nuclear strategy.”

 

Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (H.R. 1191Pub.L. 114–17) is a bill that was passed by the US Congress in May 2015, giving Congress the right to review any agreement reached in the P5+1 talks with Iran aiming to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The bill passed in the Senate by 98 to 1 (only Tom Cotton voted against), and then passed in the House by a vote of 400 to 25 on May 14.[1] President Barack Obama had threatened to veto the bill, but eventually a version was arrived at that had enough support to override any veto and Obama did not try to veto it.

Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit, alleging that the law as an unconstitutional abrogation of the Senate’s Treaty Power. The lawsuit was dismissed for lack of standing.[2]

See also

References

 

Story 2: Trump’s Timid Tiny Targeted Tax Temporary — Postcard Propaganda — No Tax Returns With Fair Tax Less — Videos —

George Stephanopoulos GRILLS Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Trump’s Tax Plan

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Mnuchin Says Parts of Tax Plan Would Be Temporary

Treasury secretary hopeful a bill will be on president’s desk by December

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, speaks during the Institute of International Finance annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C, on Friday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, speaks during the Institute of International Finance annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C, on Friday. PHOTO: ZACH GIBSON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that some parts of a Republican plan to overhaul the tax code could be permanent while others would be temporary.

Mr. Mnuchin, speaking at a conference of international bankers, also said he expects Congress can have a bill to the president’s desk by the beginning of December, an aggressive timeline.

“There’s tax cuts that absolutely have to be permanent,” he said when asked whether the administration will be able to make tax cuts permanent. For example, moving to a territorial tax system, which would allow companies to repatriate their future foreign profits without paying U.S. taxes, would be very difficult to unwind, he said.

On the other hand, the current GOP proposal includes a provision that would allow businesses to immediately write off investments for at least five years with little certainty beyond that.

“That’s to incent people to invest money now and it’s a lot cheaper than giving it to them for 10 years,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

That is cheaper for the federal budget in the short run, but would do much less to improve the economy, according to the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. In an analysis earlier this month, the group estimated that temporary investment writeoffs would lead to less than one-quarter of the economic growth of the full and permanent provision that House Republicans had proposed last year.

GOP May Backpedal on State and Local Taxes
Republicans in Congress are considering tweaking their tax-overhaul plan to preserve some federal deductions for state and local taxes. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains what is next for tax reform. Photo: AP

The size of tax cuts, and the extent to which they are made permanent, will be constrained by Senate rules that limit the ability of Republicans to increase budget deficits. Those rules apply under the fast-track procedure that will let the GOP pass a tax plan without any Democratic votes.

The party faces the challenge of fitting its tax goals—more than $5 trillion of rate cuts over a decade—into a budget plan that will likely allow for $1.5 trillion in bigger deficits over a decade and no additional deficits beyond that 10-year window. Doing so would require eliminating or shrinking some cherished tax breaks and could force the GOP to make some tax breaks temporary, even if they plan on coming back later to extend them.

In 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush, Congress cut individual taxes and set a 2010 sunset date. Most of those cuts were extended permanently in 2013 by large bipartisan majorities and President Barack Obama.

That would be tougher to do this time around, because Republicans want to make business tax cuts permanent up front, to provide companies with certainty for decision-making.

A combination of permanent business tax cuts with temporary individual changes could be hard to sell to lawmakers and to voters. Republicans will likely consider pairing a permanent territorial tax system for businesses with a permanently higher standard deduction or child tax credit for individuals, said Rohit Kumar, a leader of PwC’s Washington National Tax Services.

“You want, at least, to have something of similar quality be made permanent on the individual side,” said Mr. Kumar, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.)

Mr. Mnuchin and other Trump administration officials have maintained the plan will generate enough economic growth to offset the costs of tax cuts, and may even reduce the deficit, a claim some tax analysts have said is very unlikely. Congressional Republicans’ schedule isn’t quite as aggressive as Mr. Mnuchin’s. The Senate is set to adopt its budget as soon as next week. Then, the House and Senate must agree on a budget.

After that, the House Ways and Means Committee plans to release a detailed bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said this week that he hopes the House will vote on a tax bill in November and said he would keep lawmakers in Washington until Christmas, if needed, to work through a final version with the Senate.

Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tim Scott of South Carolina told major donors, including billionaire David Koch, on Friday in New York that the effort to overhaul the tax code is proving slower than expected. The donors are part of a network of political and policy groups steered by the Koch brothers.

“I’m very concerned,” Mr. Perdue said about the ability to complete a tax bill on a timeline that has already slipped from November to December. “We have a ways to go yet, mainly on deductions. And mainly on the individual side.”

Both acknowledged the efforts are concentrated on swaying “three or four” Senate Republicans and then reconciling the Senate and House plans.

“Believing that we’re going to get this done by Thanksgiving is unrealistic,” Mr. Scott said. “By the time we get this issue, we’ll probably be bleeding into middle of December, and we’re going to use the backstop of Christmas, end of the year, to finish the process.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mnuchin-says-parts-of-tax-plan-would-be-temporary-1507903361

Story 3: Consumer Sentiment Hits Thirteen Year High — Videos —

Consumer sentiment in US surges to 13-year high

Good Question: How Is Consumer Confidence Measured?

What is the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index?

09: INDEX OF CONSUMER SENTIMENT

 

Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Unexpectedly Surges to 13-Year High

U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly surged to a 13-year high as Americans’ perceptions of the economy and their own finances rebounded following several major hurricanes, a University of Michigan survey showed Friday.

HIGHLIGHTS OF MICHIGAN SENTIMENT (OCTOBER, PRELIMINARY)

  • Sentiment index rose to 101.1 (est. 95), highest since Jan. 2004, from 95.1 in Sept.
  • Current conditions gauge, which measures Americans’ perceptions of their finances, jumped to 116.4, highest since Nov. 2000, from 111.7
  • Expectations measure increased to 91.3, highest since Jan. 2004, from 84.4

Key Takeaways

The jump in sentiment, which was greater than any analyst had projected, may reflect several trends: falling gasoline prices following a hurricane-related spike; repeated record highs for the stock market; a 16-year low in unemployment; and post-storm recovery efforts driving a rebound in economic growth.

The advance in the main gauge spanned age and income subgroups as well as partisan views, according to the report. Almost six out of every 10 consumers thought the economy had recently improved in early October, the university said.

Not all measures in the survey showed big gains: the share of consumers reporting improved finances held steady at about half, while the proportion expecting gains in their financial situation fell slightly to 40 percent.

Official’s Views

“While the early October surge indicates greater optimism about the future course of the economy, it also reflects an unmistakable sense among consumers that economic prospects are now about as good as could be expected,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said in a statement. “Indeed, nothing in the latest survey indicates that consumers anticipate an economic downturn anytime soon — which contrarians may consider a clear warning sign of trouble ahead.”

Other Details

  • 83 percent of respondents saw buying conditions for household durables as favorable, most in more than a decade; positive vehicle-buying attitudes at 75 percent, highest since 2004
  • Consumers saw inflation rate in the next year at 2.3 percent after 2.7 percent the prior month
  • Inflation rate over next five to 10 years seen at 2.4 percent after 2.5 percent in September

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-13/consumer-sentiment-in-u-s-unexpectedly-surges-to-13-year-high

A:There isn’t a difference between consumer confidence and consumer sentiment. Both terms are used to refer to the degree of confidence consumers feel about the overall economy and their personal financial state. Consumer confidence or sentiment dictates the level of spending that consumers will engage in. A high level of consumer confidence means that consumers, generally feel good about their financial condition, especially their ability to obtain and keep jobs. If consumer confidence is relatively high, then consumers are going to increase the amount of money that they spend. On the other hand, if consumer confidence is relatively low, then consumers are going to spend less.

Consumer confidence is measured by two indexes: the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) and the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI). The CCI is a survey conducted by a not-for-profit research organization for businesses that distributes information about management and the marketplace. This organization is sometimes known as the Conference Board.The Conference Board usually surveys 5000 households from the country’s nine census region. The survey usually covers five major sections:

  1. Current business conditions
  2. Business conditions for the next six months
  3. Current employment conditions
  4. Employment conditions for the next six months
  5. Total family income for the next six months.

The MCSI is a telephone survey conducted by the University of Michigan. The purpose of the survey is to collect information about consumer expectations regarding the overall economy. The MCSI also covers five sections:

  1. Personal financial situation now and a year ago
  2. Personal financial situation one year from now
  3. Overall financial condition of the business for the next twelve months
  4. Overall financial condition of the business for the next five years
  5. Current attitude toward buying major household items.

For more, read Consumer Confidence: A Killer Statistic.

Read more: What’s the difference between consumer confidence and consumer sentiment? http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/consumer-confidence-sentiment-difference.asp#ixzz4vRn0gPtk
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The Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos — Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

Trump: China has told its banks to stop doing business with North Korea

North Korea: Trump signs new order to widen sanctions

Trump hints at ending US trade with all North Korea partners | Time To Play Trump Card

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China Pulls Trade From North Korea! Russia RESPONDS BY Increasing Trade by 73%!

John Bolton calls for ‘sweeping’ set of sanctions on China

United Nations funding mechanism needs to be changed: John Bolton

John Bolton: We are at a ‘crisis point’ with North Korea

Trump administration undercuts his message on North Korea

Former CIA Director James Woolsey: North Korea Has Been Able To Hit Power Grid For Years | CNBC

Ralph Peters on North Korea: China will never help us

Peters: People don’t understand how desperate North Korea is

China getting away with ‘trade murder’: Ralph Peters

What Are Economic Sanctions?

Chinese sanctions will help US trade deficit, but could backfire: Andrew Peek

Gordon Chang: China understands the effects of US sanctions

Lou Dobbs : Is China helping North Korea create nuclear missiles? : 5/30/2017

Gordon Chang: NKorea is forcing the United States to act

Trump unplugging Chinese banks will end China’s economy: Gordon Chang

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What Is Life Really Like In North Korea?

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Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

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Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017, Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them –Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos — Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos — Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour and Wind Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

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Image result for president trump addresses the united nationsThe earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

 

NASA News, Sep 19, 2017

 

Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them — Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos —

Image result for trump destroy north koreaImage result for trump at united nations

Image result for rocket man kim jung un

Image result for rocket man kim jung unImage result for rocket man kim jung un

Donald Trump says U.S. will ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if they are forced to defend themselves

President Trump addresses the United Nations (entire speech)

Trump calls Kim Jong-un ‘rocket man’ in UN speech

PRESIDENT TRUMP ADDRESSES UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY 9/19/17 | Fox News September 19, 2017

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Elton John – Rocket Man

Kim Jong-Un IS ‘The Rocket Man’

 

Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

 

Trump On North Korea: ‘Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission’

President Donald Trump‘s first address to the United Nations General Assembly was marked by tough talk for North Korea and Iran.

The president referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the United States is forced to defend itself or allies against the North’s aggression.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said Tuesday. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

The UN secretary general warned UN members Tuesday morning that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War, and that fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

At the Pentagon, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked about the president’s new nickname for Kim Jong Un.

“We’re dealing with the North Korea situation through the international processes, and we will continue to do so with Secretary Tillerson leading the effort,” he said. “We will hopefully get this resolved through diplomatic means.”

Trump also slammed the Iranian government, calling it an “economically depleted rogue state” whose chief export is violence.

Questioning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump said the world cannot allow the “murderous regime” to continue its destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles. He added world leaders “cannot abide” by the agreement if it “provides cover” for Iran to eventually build its nuclear program.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that scrapping the deal would be a big mistake.

“I think that it’s better than nothing,” he said.

Iran’s president hasn’t given any specifics about how the country would react to a withdrawal.

“Given that Mr. Trump’s reactions and actions and policies are somewhat unpredictable, we have had long thought and discussions about our reactions,” President Hassan Rouhani said.

During his more than 40-minute inaugural address to the UN General Assembly, Trump said that he will “always put America first” and the U.S. can no longer be taken advantage of in its dealings around the globe.

Trump said he will “defend America’s interests above all else.” He says the U.S. will “forever be a great friend to the world,” including its allies, but the U.S. can no longer be taken advantage of and get nothing in return.

But Trump said that UN member states should unite to face global dangers, and rallied other countries to do their part in solving global issues, including sharing the burden of fighting terrorism.

“We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity… but each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value,” Trump said. “Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.”

“To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said. “It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

The president talked tough on terror saying “it is time to expose and hold responsible” nations that provide funding and safe harbor to terror groups. He says all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and “the Islamic extremist that inspires them.”

“We will stop radical Islamic terrorism, because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world,” said the president.

The leaders of Russia and China, among others, were not in attendance. Trump did not mention Russia in his speech, but he will meet with Russia’s foreign minister and host a reception for UN leaders Tuesday night.

After his address, Trump went to a luncheon where he gave a toast, admittedly calling himself a critic of the UN for years.

“To the potential — the great, great potential — of the United Nations. Thank you all for being here,” he said.

More: UN General Assembly Street Closures

In his first appearance at the United Nations on Monday, Trump made a call for sweeping reforms.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said.

The U.S. is the UN’s largest contributor, paying at least 25 percent of the operating budget. The president encouraged other nations to consider joining in, reviewing the UN’s spending and efficiency.

“I think the main message is ‘Make the United Nations great,’ not again, ‘Make the United Nations great.’ Such tremendous potential and I think we’ll be able to do this,” Trump said.

“Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations can solve many of these vicious and complex problems,” Trump said. “The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.”

North Korea was a major conversation point in Monday’s phone call with China’s president. Trump also met with French President Emanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused on Iran.

Dinner with Latin American leaders was centered around trade and instability in Venezuela, which Trump addressed during his speech Tuesday.

“The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing, their Democratic institutions are being destroyed,” Trump said. “This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch. As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country and restore their democracy.”

Trump accused its President Nicolas Maduro of stealing power from elected representatives to preserve his “disastrous rule.”

There is no sign that Trump will falter on his choice to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord unless it is renegotiated, which will likely be a major topic this week.

Trump On North Korea: ‘Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission’

Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos —

Image result for richter scale

Raw: Mexico Quake Death Toll Continues to Rise

Powerful earthquake strikes Mexico

RAW VIDEO: Terrified Mexicans Run From Crumbling Buildings – Mexico Earthquake

Powerful 7.1 Earthquake Strikes Mexico | Los Angeles Times

Survivors Describe Aftermath of 7.1 Mexico Earthquake

*BIG QUAKE* Rocks Mexico – Large 7.1 South of Mexico City – Buildings Collapsed

Mexico 7.1 Earthquake: ‘Absolutely Horrific Images’ | MSNBC

Major Earthquake Hits Mexico City. 7.1 Magnitude!

People fill into streets after Earthquake hits Mexico

More info and Footage on Mexico City Earthquake!

BREAKING NEWS: Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake Hits Central Mexico. #Breaking #Mexico #EarthQuake

MEXICO CITY HIT BY MAGNITUDE 7.1 EARTHQUAKE ( REAL FOOTAGE )

[youtub3e=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOvM4dQ5kM4]

Special Report: Deadly Earthquake Hits Central Mexico | NBC News

LIVE 🔴 Mexico 7.1 Earthquake 🔴 LIVE COVERAGE Hurricane MARIA Tracking CATEGORY 5 UPDATES 24/7

Crisis in Mexico’s MEGACITY

 

Mexico City hit by deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake on anniversary of 1985 disaster

Rescuers search through rubble after the city is struck on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed thousands of people.

Rescuers frantically try to move rubble after the 7.1 magnitude quake
Image:Rescuers frantically try to move rubble after the 7.1 magnitude quake 

A major earthquake has struck central Mexico, with reports that at least 134 people have been killed and thousands forced on to the streets.

Panicked workers fled from office buildings and clouds of dust rose up from the crumbling facades of damaged buildings after the 7.1 magnitude quake struck.

The tremors came hours after preparation drills were held on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people in the city.

Police try to clear the area around a collapsed building in Mexico City
Image:Police try to clear the area around a collapsed building in Mexico City

At least 30 people had died in the capital, while there were reports of people trapped in collapsed and burning buildings and local TV footage showed rescuers frantically trying to dig into rubble with pickaxes.

Speaking minutes after the earthquake struck, resident Georgina Sanchez sobbed: “I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZO_UM9lvbH/embed/?cr=1&v=7&wp=538#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A314.25000000000006%7D

Gala Dluzhynska said she was taking a class with 11 other women on the second floor of a building in the fashionable Alvaro Obregon street area when window and ceiling panels fell as the building began to tear apart.

She said she fell in the stairs and people began to walk over her, before someone finally pulled her up.

“There were no stairs anymore. There were rocks,” she said.

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017
Image:Firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers have come together in an effort to rescue survivors

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred near Raboso in Puebla state, 76 miles (123km) southeast of Mexico City.

A civil protection official in Puebla said two people had been killed after a school collapsed, while Mexico state’s governor confirmed eight deaths, including a quarry worker killed by a rockslide and another victim hit by a falling lamppost.

Officials asked people not to smoke in the streets of Mexico City – which has a population of 20 million – warning of possible ruptured gas pipes.

Mexico City International Airport suspended operations, while electricity and phone lines were down in parts of the capital.

“We got out really fast, leaving everything as it was and just left,” said Rosaura Suarez, as she stood with a crowd on the street.

Alfredo Aguilar, 43, said the quake was “really strong – buildings started to move”.

He added that he saw a woman fainting as “people started to run.”

Rescuers display a placard reading 'Silence' as they hurry to free possible victims out of the rubble of a collapsed building after a quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017
Image:Rescuers call for ‘Silence’ as they try to find victims in the rubble

The earthquake came less than two weeks after an 8.1 magnitude tremor in southern Mexico killed at least 98 people.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto was on a flight to Oaxaca – one of the areas hardest hit by the previous quake – on Tuesday.

He tweeted that he would be returning to Mexico City as soon as possible to deal with the emergency.

http://news.sky.com/story/mexico-city-hit-by-71-magnitude-earthquake-on-anniversary-of-1985-disaster-11043859

 

At least five dead’ after 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico City – shaking buildings and sending people fleeing into the street

  • Tremor hit hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake
  • Horrifying images coming out of country’s capital show rubble and chunks of buildings strewn across roads
  • Local resident Georgina Sanchez said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985’

At least five people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico leaving buildings shaking and sending people fleeing into the street.

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people.

At least five people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico leaving buildings shaking and sending people fleeing into the street.

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people.

Horrifying images coming out of the country's capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets

This car was left crushed under falling debris during the 7.1-magnitude earthquake

Hospital patients who were evacuated from wards were taken outside in their beds as a safety precaution

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: 'I'm so worried. I can't stop crying. It's the same nightmare as in 1985'

Rescuers are seen working through piles of debris in Mexico City with the help of bystanders

Rescuers are seen working through piles of debris in Mexico City with the help of bystanders

In the capital Mexico City, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Traffic came to a standstill as masses of workers blocked streets while clouds of dust rose from fallen facades.

Office workers were also seen hugging each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Panic in Mexico City as 7.1 earthquake hits capital

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of a devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985

Locals are pictured clearing debris from the earthquake which left dozens of buildings collapsed - with metal and concrete sent falling to the ground

Clouds of dust rose from fallen facades following the dramatic tremor which sent panic throughout the capital city's 20million inhabitants

The impact of the quake ripped buildings to pieces with materials torn from structures by the force of the tremor

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

Lazaro Frutis, a 45-year-old who escaped an office building before it crumpled to the ground, said: ‘We ran outside thinking all was going to collapse around us.

‘The worst thing is, we don’t know about our families or anything.’

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

The earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

The earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people. Locals are pictured helping a woman during today's incident

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people. Locals are pictured helping a woman during today’s incident

Office workers huddle as major earthquake shakes Mexico City

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, was caught up in the quake and said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

Mexico City’s international airport suspended operations with personnel checking the structures for damage. It is not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

Earlier this month, an 8.1 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Chiapas killing at least 98 people.

Streams of smoke were seen streaming from piles of collapsed buildings in the capital Mexico City

Streams of smoke were seen streaming from piles of collapsed buildings in the capital Mexico City

Mexicans were left shocked as the quake struck just hours after emergency drills

The hardest-hit area was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable.

The remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses on to pavements to spend another anxious night sleeping outdoors.

Members of the ‘Topos’ (Moles) specialised rescue team dug through piles of debris looking for folk’s loved ones and hoping to find some that were still alive.

People fled for their lives after the earthquake struck the capital Mexico City

People fled for their lives after the earthquake struck the capital Mexico City

Today's quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said

Soldiers of the Army and Navy also joined in on the search and rescue, hoping to locate the bodies still missing in the wreckage.

Pena Nieto declared three days of national mourning when he first broke numbers on the deaths associated with the earthquake

The epicenter of the earthquake was 123km southwest of the town of Pijijiapan.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4900334/Strong-7-4-quake-hits-Mexico-anniversary-deadly-1985-tremor.html#ixzz4tA0OWmRB

 

Mexico City airport suspends operations following 7.1 magnitude earthquake

MGN
By Associated Press |
 
MEXICO CITY (AP) – The Latest on the strong earthquake that hit Mexico City (all times local):

2:55 a.m.

Mexico City’s international airport says it has suspended operations due to the magnitude 7.1 quake that shook the central part of the country.

The airport says in a tweet that airport personnel are checking the structures for damage. It’s not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2:45 p.m.

Mexican television stations are showing dramatic images a several story building collapsing following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rattled the center of the country. It was unclear if people were inside the building.

Numerous other buildings collapsed or suffered serious damage across central Mexico in Tuesday’s quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

2:20 p.m.

Mexican television stations are broadcasting images of collapsed buildings in heavily populated parts of the city following Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Televisa broadcast images of a plume of smoke rising from one large structure.

One of the collapsed buildings is a large parking garage alongside a hospital.

There are no immediate reports on casualties.

___

2:10 p.m.

Puebla Gov. Tony Gali says buildings have been damaged in his state in central Mexico by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

Gali said on his official Twitter account that “we will continue reviewing” damages and urged people to follow emergency procedures.

“What we have reports of is material damage … we have no reports of deaths so far,” tweeted Puebla Interior Secretary Diodoro Carrasco.

He said the towers of some churches have fallen in the city of Cholula, which is famous for its many churches.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2 p.m.

On Mexico City’s main boulevard, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic, filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Office workers hugged each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, had been in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

1:50 p.m.

Buildings have been seriously damaged in Mexico City after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico.

Local television stations broadcast images of collapsed facades and streets filled with rubble.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

___

1:35 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it calculates the earthquake that struck central Mexico as magnitude 7.1

It says the epicenter was near the town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

Mexico’s seismological agency calculated its preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said its center was east of the city in the state of Puebla.

Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/UPDATE-Buildings-collapse-following-71-magnitude-earthquake-in-Mexico-445804783.html

Richter magnitude scale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Richter magnitude scale (ML, also Richter scale) assigns a magnitude number to quantify the size of an earthquake. The Richter scale, developed in the 1930s, is a base-10logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude, as recorded on a standardized seismograph at a standard distance.

As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater than an earthquake that registered 4.0 at the same distance. As energy release is generally proportional to the shaking amplitude raised to the 32 power, an increase of 1 magnitude corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times that released by the lesser earthquake.[1] This means that, for instance, an earthquake of magnitude 5 releases 31.6 times as much energy as an earthquake of magnitude 4.

The Richter scale built on the previous, more subjective Mercalli intensity scale by offering a quantifiable measure of an earthquake’s size.[2]

In the United States, the Richter scale was succeeded in the 1970s by the moment magnitude scale. The moment magnitude is currently used by the US Geological Survey to describe magnitudes for all earthquakes.[3]

Development

In 1935, seismologistsCharles Francis Richter and Beno Gutenberg of the California Institute of Technology developed a scale, later dubbed the Richter magnitude scale, for computing the magnitude of earthquakes, specifically those recorded and measured with the Wood-Anderson torsion seismograph in a particular area of California. Originally, Richter reported mathematical values to the nearest quarter of a unit, but the values later were reported with one decimal place; the local magnitude scale compared the magnitudes of different earthquakes.[1] Richter derived his earthquake-magnitude scale from the apparent magnitude scale used to measure the brightness of stars.[4]

Richter established a magnitude 0 event to be an earthquake that would show a maximum, combined horizontal displacement of 1.0 µm (3.9×10−5 in) on a seismogram recorded with a Wood-Anderson torsion seismograph 100 km (62 mi) from the earthquake epicenter. That fixed measure was chosen to avoid negative values for magnitude, given that the slightest earthquakes that could be recorded and located at the time were around magnitude 3.0. The Richter magnitude scale itself has no lower limit, and contemporary seismometers can register, record, and measure earthquakes with negative magnitudes.

{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} (local magnitude) was not designed to be applied to data with distances to the hypocenter of the earthquake that were greater than 600 km (370 mi).[3] For national and local seismological observatories, the standard magnitude scale in the 21st century is still {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L}. However, this scale cannot measure magnitudes above about {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} = 7,[5] because the high frequency waves recorded locally have wavelengths shorter than the rupture lengths[clarification needed] of large earthquakes.

Later, to express the size of earthquakes around the planet, Gutenberg and Richter developed a surface wave magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}) and a body wave magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{b}}}M_\text{b}).[6] These are types of waves that are recorded at teleseismicdistances. The two scales were adjusted such that they were consistent with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} scale. That adjustment succeeded better with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale than with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{b}}}M_\text{b} scale. Each scale saturates when the earthquake is greater than magnitude 8.0.

Because of this, researchers in the 1970s developed the moment magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}). The older magnitude-scales were superseded by methods for calculating the seismic moment, from which was derived the moment magnitude scale.

About the origins of the Richter magnitude scale, C.F. Richter said:

I found a [1928] paper by Professor K. Wadati of Japan in which he compared large earthquakes by plotting the maximum ground motion against [the] distance to the epicenter. I tried a similar procedure for our stations, but the range between the largest and smallest magnitudes seemed unmanageably large. Dr. Beno Gutenberg then made the natural suggestion to plot the amplitudes logarithmically. I was lucky, because logarithmic plots are a device of the devil.

Details

The Richter scale was defined in 1935 for particular circumstances and instruments; the particular circumstances refer to it being defined for Southern California and “implicitly incorporates the attenuative properties of Southern California crust and mantle.”[7] The particular instrument used would become saturated by strong earthquakes and unable to record high values. The scale was replaced in the 1970s by the moment magnitude scale (MMS, symbol Mw); for earthquakes adequately measured by the Richter scale, numerical values are approximately the same. Although values measured for earthquakes now are {\displaystyle M_{w}}M_{w} (MMS), they are frequently reported by the press as Richter values, even for earthquakes of magnitude over 8, when the Richter scale becomes meaningless. Anything above 5 is classified as a risk by the USGS.[citation needed]

The Richter and MMS scales measure the energy released by an earthquake; another scale, the Mercalli intensity scale, classifies earthquakes by their effects, from detectable by instruments but not noticeable, to catastrophic. The energy and effects are not necessarily strongly correlated; a shallow earthquake in a populated area with soil of certain types can be far more intense in effects than a much more energetic deep earthquake in an isolated area.

Several scales have historically been described as the “Richter scale”, especially the local magnitude{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} and the surface wave {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale. In addition, the body wave magnitude{\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b}, and the moment magnitude{\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}, abbreviated MMS, have been widely used for decades. A couple of new techniques to measure magnitude are in the development stage by seismologists.

All magnitude scales have been designed to give numerically similar results. This goal has been achieved well for {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L}{\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}, and {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}.[2][8] The {\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b} scale gives somewhat different values than the other scales. The reason for so many different ways to measure the same thing is that at different distances, for different hypocentral depths, and for different earthquake sizes, the amplitudes of different types of elastic waves must be measured.

{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} is the scale used for the majority of earthquakes reported (tens of thousands) by local and regional seismological observatories. For large earthquakes worldwide, the moment magnitude scale (MMS) is most common, although {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} is also reported frequently.

The seismic moment{\displaystyle M_{o}}M_o, is proportional to the area of the rupture times the average slip that took place in the earthquake, thus it measures the physical size of the event. {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w} is derived from it empirically as a quantity without units, just a number designed to conform to the {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale.[9] A spectral analysis is required to obtain {\displaystyle M_{o}}M_o, whereas the other magnitudes are derived from a simple measurement of the amplitude of a specifically defined wave.

All scales, except {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}, saturate for large earthquakes, meaning they are based on the amplitudes of waves which have a wavelength shorter than the rupture length of the earthquakes. These short waves (high frequency waves) are too short a yardstick to measure the extent of the event. The resulting effective upper limit of measurement for {\displaystyle M_{L}}M_L is about 7[5] and about 8.5[5] for {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}.[10]

New techniques to avoid the saturation problem and to measure magnitudes rapidly for very large earthquakes are being developed. One of these is based on the long period P-wave;[11] the other is based on a recently discovered channel wave.[12]

The energy release of an earthquake,[13] which closely correlates to its destructive power, scales with the 32 power of the shaking amplitude. Thus, a difference in magnitude of 1.0 is equivalent to a factor of 31.6 ({\displaystyle =({10^{1.0}})^{(3/2)}}=({10^{1.0}})^{(3/2)}) in the energy released; a difference in magnitude of 2.0 is equivalent to a factor of 1000 ({\displaystyle =({10^{2.0}})^{(3/2)}}=({10^{2.0}})^{(3/2)}) in the energy released.[14] The elastic energy radiated is best derived from an integration of the radiated spectrum, but an estimate can be based on {\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b} because most energy is carried by the high frequency waves.

Richter magnitudes

Earthquake severity.jpg

The Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs (adjustments are included to compensate for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquake). The original formula is:[15]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-\log _{10}A_{\mathrm {0} }(\delta )=\log _{10}[A/A_{\mathrm {0} }(\delta )],\ }M_\mathrm{L} = \log_{10} A - \log_{10} A_\mathrm{0}(\delta) = \log_{10} [A / A_\mathrm{0}(\delta)],\

where A is the maximum excursion of the Wood-Anderson seismograph, the empirical function A0 depends only on the epicentral distance of the station, {\displaystyle \delta }\delta . In practice, readings from all observing stations are averaged after adjustment with station-specific corrections to obtain the {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} value.

Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; in terms of energy, each whole number increase corresponds to an increase of about 31.6 times the amount of energy released, and each increase of 0.2 corresponds to a doubling of the energy released.

Events with magnitudes greater than 4.5 are strong enough to be recorded by a seismograph anywhere in the world, so long as its sensors are not located in the earthquake’s shadow.

The following describes the typical effects of earthquakes of various magnitudes near the epicenter. The values are typical only. They should be taken with extreme caution, since intensity and thus ground effects depend not only on the magnitude, but also on the distance to the epicenter, the depth of the earthquake’s focus beneath the epicenter, the location of the epicenter and geological conditions (certain terrains can amplify seismic signals).

Magnitude Description Mercalli intensity Average earthquake effects Average frequency of occurrence (estimated)
1.0–1.9 Micro I Microearthquakes, not felt, or felt rarely. Recorded by seismographs.[16] Continual/several million per year
2.0–2.9 Minor I to II Felt slightly by some people. No damage to buildings. Over one million per year
3.0–3.9 III to IV Often felt by people, but very rarely causes damage. Shaking of indoor objects can be noticeable. Over 100,000 per year
4.0–4.9 Light IV to VI Noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over. 10,000 to 15,000 per year
5.0–5.9 Moderate VI to VII Can cause damage of varying severity to poorly constructed buildings. At most, none to slight damage to all other buildings. Felt by everyone. 1,000 to 1,500 per year
6.0–6.9 Strong VIII to X Damage to a moderate number of well-built structures in populated areas. Earthquake-resistant structures survive with slight to moderate damage. Poorly designed structures receive moderate to severe damage. Felt in wider areas; up to hundreds of miles/kilometers from the epicenter. Strong to violent shaking in epicentral area. 100 to 150 per year
7.0–7.9 Major X or greater[17] Causes damage to most buildings, some to partially or completely collapse or receive severe damage. Well-designed structures are likely to receive damage. Felt across great distances with major damage mostly limited to 250 km from epicenter. 10 to 20 per year
8.0–8.9 Great Major damage to buildings, structures likely to be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in extremely large regions. One per year
9.0 and greater At or near total destruction – severe damage or collapse to all buildings. Heavy damage and shaking extends to distant locations. Permanent changes in ground topography. One per 10 to 50 years

(Based on U.S. Geological Survey documents.)[18]

The intensity and death toll depend on several factors (earthquake depth, epicenter location, population density, to name a few) and can vary widely.

Minor earthquakes occur every day and hour. On the other hand, great earthquakes occur once a year, on average. The largest recorded earthquake was the Great Chilean earthquake of May 22, 1960, which had a magnitude of 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale.[19]The larger the magnitude, the less frequently the earthquake happens.

Beyond 9.5, while extremely strong earthquakes are theoretically possible, the energies involved rapidly make such earthquakes on Earth effectively impossible without an extremely destructive source of external energy. For example, the asteroid impact that created the Chicxulub crater and caused the mass extinction that may have killed the dinosaurs has been estimated as causing a magnitude 13 earthquake (see below), while a magnitude 15 earthquake could destroy the Earth completely.[citation needed] Seismologist Susan Hough has suggested that 10 may represent a very approximate upper limit, as the effect if the largest known continuous belt of faults ruptured together (along the Pacific coast of the Americas).[20]

Energy release equivalents

The following table lists the approximate energy equivalents in terms of TNT explosive force – though note that the earthquake energy is released underground rather than overground.[21] Most energy from an earthquake is not transmitted to and through the surface; instead, it dissipates into the crust and other subsurface structures. In contrast, a small atomic bomb blast (see nuclear weapon yield) will cause only light shaking of indoor items, since its energy is released above ground.

Approximate magnitude Approximate TNT equivalent for
seismic energy yield
Joule equivalent Example
0.0 15 g 63 kJ
0.2 30 g 130 kJ Large hand grenade
1.5 2.7 kg 11 MJ Seismic impact of typical small construction blast
2.1 21 kg 89 MJ West fertilizer plant explosion[22]
3.0 480 kg 2.0 GJ Oklahoma City bombing, 1995
3.5 2.7 metric tons 11 GJ PEPCON fuel plant explosion, Henderson, Nevada, 1988
3.87 9.5 metric tons 40 GJ Explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1986
3.91 11 metric tons 46 GJ Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb
6.0 15 kilotons 63 TJ Approximate yield of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (~16 kt)
7.9 10.7 megatons 45 PJ Tunguska event
8.35 50 megatons 210 PJ Tsar Bomba—Largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested. Most of the energy was dissipated in the atmosphere. The seismic shock was estimated at 5.0–5.2[23]
9.15 800 megatons 3.3 EJ Toba eruption 75,000 years ago; among the largest known volcanic events.[24]
13.0 100 teratons 420 ZJ Yucatán Peninsula impact (creating Chicxulub crater) 65 Ma ago (108 megatons; over 4×1029 ergs = 400 ZJ).[25][26][27][28][29]

Magnitude empirical formulae

These formulae for Richter magnitude {\displaystyle \textstyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}{\displaystyle \textstyle M_{\mathrm {L} }} are alternatives to using Richter correlation tables based on Richter standard seismic event ({\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} }=0, A=0.001mm, D=100 km). Below, {\displaystyle \textstyle \Delta }\textstyle \Delta  is the epicentral distance (in kilometers unless otherwise specified).

The Lillie empirical formula:

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-2.48+2.76\log _{10}\Delta ,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-2.48+2.76\log _{10}\Delta ,}

Where {\displaystyle A}A is the amplitude (maximum ground displacement) of the P-wave, in micrometers, measured at 0.8 Hz.

For distances {\displaystyle D}D less than 200 km,

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.6\log _{10}D-0.15,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.6\log _{10}D-0.15,}

and for distances between 200 km and 600 km,

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+3.0\log _{10}D-3.38,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+3.0\log _{10}D-3.38,}

where {\displaystyle A}A is seismograph signal amplitude in mm and {\displaystyle D}D is in km.

The Bisztricsany (1958) empirical formula for epicentral distances between 4˚ to 160˚:[30]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=2.92+2.25\log _{10}(\tau )-0.001\Delta ^{\circ },}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=2.92+2.25\log _{10}(\tau )-0.001\Delta ^{\circ },}

Where {\displaystyle \tau }\tau  is the duration of the surface wave in seconds, and {\displaystyle \Delta }\Delta  is in degrees. {\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} } is mainly between 5 and 8.

The Tsumura empirical formula:[30]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=-2.53+2.85\log _{10}(F-P)+0.0014\Delta ^{\circ }}M_\mathrm{L} = -2.53 + 2.85 \log_{10} (F-P) + 0.0014 \Delta^{\circ}

Where {\displaystyle F-P}F-P is the total duration of oscillation in seconds. {\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} } is mainly between 3 and 5.

The Tsuboi, University of Tokyo, empirical formula:

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.73\log _{10}\Delta -0.83}M_\mathrm{L} = \log_{10}A + 1.73\log_{10}\Delta - 0.83

Where {\displaystyle A}A is the amplitude in micrometers.

See also

References

Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

Hurricane Maria is Crazy Powerful. Puerto Rico Bracing!

Cat 5 Hurricane Aimed at Puerto Rico

Bob Henson discusses the path of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria could be the worst ever for Puerto Rico, meteorologist says

Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico British Virgin Islands Dominica Dominican Republic Guadeloupe 9/19

Rep. Luis Gutierrez on Category 5 Hurricane Maria Barreling Toward Puerto Rico

Live Now Hurricane Maria Category 5 Trash Guadeloupe & Dominica With High Speed Winds (Sep 19, 2017)

CATEGORY 5 ~ HURRICANE MARIA HITS DOMINICA ( Pray for the Dominican republic)

Puerto Rico Faces Hurricane Maria After Irma’s $1 Billion Damage

 
 
  • Governor warns flood-zone residents their lives are in danger
  • Island orders rationing of already scarce basic necessities

Two weeks ago, Puerto Rico was spared a devastating hit when Hurricane Irma ripped up the Caribbean. This time, it may not be so lucky.

 The bankrupt island, already contending with the aftermath of a storm that left as much as $1 billion of damage and hundreds of thousands still without power, faces even more upheaval with Hurricane Maria set to hit as soon as Tuesday night. The government ordered rationing of basic necessities, including water and batteries, although those items were already gone from some San Juan store shelves as residents prepared for what could be the worst storm for the U.S. territory in decades.

Hurricane Maria heading west on Sept. 19.

Source: NOAA

“If you are in a flood zone or in a wood house, your life is in danger,” Governor Ricardo Rossello said during a press conference Monday in San Juan. “There has never been an event like this in our history in the last 100 years. Our call is for all citizens to move to a safe place.”

 Puerto Rico is facing an active hurricane season with little financial ability to navigate a natural catastrophe. It filed for bankruptcy in May after years of economic decline and borrowing to fill budget gaps. A series of defaults have effectively left it unable to raise money in the capital markets. And its aging government-owned electric utility, the Electric Power Authority, is also operating under court protection from creditors. Puerto Rico’s emergency fund stood at about $32 million before Irma passed through.

Prepa, the government-run utility, is still trying to restore power to hundreds of thousands of residents after its electrical infrastructure sustained as much as $400 million of the nearly $1 billion of damage from Irma. It was already in need of upgrades because it relies on oil to produce most of its electricity and the median plant age is 44 years, more than twice the industry average.

“We will not have sustainable electric infrastructure in the near future,” Rossello said. “We will be bringing in crews from outside of Puerto Rico to attend to these measures.”

Rossello’s administration has opened nearly 500 shelters throughout the island and may set up more. Water, batteries, baby food and generators were already scarce in San Juan by Monday evening and motorists waited at least half an hour in line to buy gasoline. Officials estimate the last time the island withstood such a powerful storm was in 1928 with Hurricane San Felipe.

“No matter what happens here in the next 36 hours, Puerto Rico will survive, we will rebuild, we will recover and with your support, we will come out stronger than ever,” Rossello said in a statement Tuesday.

Maria’s threat hasn’t rattled the bond market, given that Puerto Rico has already defaulted and is seeking to have some of its debts discharged in bankruptcy. While its securities were actively traded as the storm gathered force, Puerto Rico debt maturing in 2035 changed hands Tuesday at an average price of 56.7 cents on the dollar, the lowest level since Sept. 1, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The island is mostly insured by local firms, though has been seeking more international interest, according to a report published last year by the commonwealth’s commissioner of insurance’s office. Universal Insurance Group of Puerto Rico is the No. 1 provider of home coverage on the island, with almost 62 percent market share, according to data compiled by ratings firm A.M. Best. MAPFRE North America Group, ranked second with 22.5 percent of the market, is a unit of Spanish insurer Mapfre SA.

— With assistance by Sonali Basak

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/puerto-rico-faces-hurricane-maria-after-irma-s-1-billion-damage

Saffir–Simpson scale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saffir–Simpson scale
Category Wind speeds
Five ≥70 m/s, ≥137 knots, ≥157 mph,≥252 km/h
Four 58–70 m/s, 113–136 knots,130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h
Three 50–58 m/s, 96–112 knots,111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h
Two 43–49 m/s, 83–95 knots,96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h
One 33–42 m/s, 64–82 knots,74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h
Related classifications
Tropical storm 18–32 m/s, 34–63 knots,39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h
Tropical depression ≤17 m/s, ≤33 knots, ≤38 mph,≤62 km/h

The Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS), formerly the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale (SSHS), classifies hurricanes – Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms – into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds. To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 64 kn; 119 km/h) (Category 1). The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, contains storms with sustained winds exceeding 156 mph (70 m/s; 136 kn; 251 km/h).

The classifications can provide some indication of the potential damage and flooding a hurricane will cause upon landfall.

Officially, the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale is used only to describe hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Other areas use different scales to label these storms, which are called “cyclones” or “typhoons“, depending on the area.

There is some criticism of the SSHS for not taking rain, storm surge, and other important factors into consideration, but SSHS defenders say that part of the goal of SSHS is to be straightforward and simple to understand.

The scale was developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Robert Simpson, who at the time was director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).[1] The scale was introduced to the general public in 1973,[2] and saw widespread use after Neil Frank replaced Simpson at the helm of the NHC in 1974.[3]

The initial scale was developed by Saffir, a structural engineer, who in 1969 went on commission for the United Nations to study low-cost housing in hurricane-prone areas.[4] While performing the study, Saffir realized there was no simple scale for describing the likely effects of a hurricane. Mirroring the utility of the Richter magnitude scale in describing earthquakes, he devised a 1–5 scale based on wind speed that showed expected damage to structures. Saffir gave the scale to the NHC, and Simpson added the effects of storm surgeand flooding.

In 2009, the NHC made moves to eliminate pressure and storm surge ranges from the categories, transforming it into a pure wind scale, called the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (Experimental) [SSHWS].[5] The new scale became operational on May 15, 2010.[6]The scale excludes flood ranges, storm surge estimations, rainfall, and location, which means a Category 2 hurricane which hits a major city will likely do far more cumulative damage than a Category 5 hurricane that hits a rural area.[7] The agency cited various hurricanes as reasons for removing the “scientifically inaccurate” information, including Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Ike (2008), which both had stronger than estimated storm surges, and Hurricane Charley (2004), which had weaker than estimated storm surge.[8] Since removed from the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, storm surge predicting and modeling is now handled with the use of a computerized numerical model developed by the National Weather Service called “Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes” (SLOSH).

In 2012, the NHC expanded the windspeed range for Category 4 by 1 mph in both directions, to 130–156 mph, with corresponding changes in the other units (113–136 kn, 209–251 km/h), instead of 131–155 mph (114–135 kn, 210–249 km/h). The NHC and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center assign tropical cyclone intensities in 5 knot increments, and then convert to mph and km/h with a similar rounding for other reports. So an intensity of 115 knots is rated Category 4, but the conversion to miles per hour (132.3 mph) would round down to 130 mph, making it appear to be a Category 3 storm. Likewise, an intensity of 135 knots (~155 mph, and thus Category 4) is 250.02 km/h, which according to the definition used before the change would be Category 5. To resolve these issues, the NHC had been obliged to incorrectly report storms with wind speeds of 115 kn as 135 mph, and 135 kn as 245 km/h. The change in definition allows storms of 115 kn to be correctly rounded down to 130 mph, and storms of 135 kn to be correctly reported as 250 km/h, and still qualify as Category 4. Since the NHC had previously rounded incorrectly to keep storms in Category 4 in each unit of measure, the change does not affect the classification of storms from previous years.[5] The new scale became operational on May 15, 2012.[9]

Categories

The scale separates hurricanes into five different categories based on wind. The U.S. National Hurricane Center classifies hurricanes of Category 3 and above as major hurricanes, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center classifies typhoons of 150 mph or greater (strong Category 4 and Category 5) as super typhoons (although all tropical cyclones can be very dangerous). Most weather agencies use the definition for sustained winds recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which specifies measuring winds at a height of 33 ft (10.1 m) for 10 minutes, and then taking the average. By contrast, the U.S. National Weather ServiceCentral Pacific Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center define sustained winds as average winds over a period of one minute, measured at the same 33 ft (10.1 m) height,[10][11] and that is the definition used for this scale. Intensity of example hurricanes is from both the time of landfall and the maximum intensity.

The scale is roughly logarithmic in wind speed, and the top wind speed for Category “c” (c=1 to 4, as there is no upper limit for category 5) can be expressed as 83×10^(c/15) miles per hour rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 – except that after the change mentioned above, Category 4 is now widened by 1 mph in each direction.

The five categories are, in order of increasing intensity:[12]

Category 1

Category 1
Sustained winds Most Recent
33–42 m/s
64–82 kn
119–153 km/h
74–95 mph
Max 2017-09-14 1705Z.jpg