Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Two More Large Earthquakes, Another Massive Hurricane Hits Land, Antibiotic Resistance And Hepatitis Outbreak In Los Angeles County

The Ring of Fire is heating up: M6.1 earthquake strikes off New Zealand just hours after M7.1 earthquake near Mexico 

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off of New Zealand on Tuesday night, just hours after the deadly M7.1 earthquake killed at least 119 people in Mexico.

A M6.1 earthquake hit 256km W of Auckland Island, New Zealand on September 20, 2017. This was the second powerful quake within 7 hours on the “Ring of Fire” zone in the Pacific Ocean after that M7.1 near Mexico City.
Now 12 hours later, a M6.1 earthquake hit Honshu, Japan on September 20, 2017. That’s the third powerful quake within less than 24 hours to hit the Ring of Fire at total different places around the globe.

The underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 magnitude struck in the remote Southern Ocean south of New Zealand on Wednesday.
The quake, at a shallow depth of 10km, was recorded 211km west of the sub-Antarctic Auckland Island, off New Zealand’s South Island.
There were no tsunami warnings issued immediately after the quake.
Just seven hours before, a deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City. At least 119 people were killed and the numbers are growing every hours:
Part of Colegio Enrique Rebsamen, an elementary school in Mexico City, collapsed following the powerful M7.1 earthquake:
Emergency workers applaud after rescuing a person trapped underneath the rubble of a building collapsed by the earthquake in Mexico:

 Puerto Rico's governor is calling the storm "the biggest and potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century."
Maria, which has left at least two people dead in the Caribbean, is forecast to "remain an extremely dangerous Category 4 or 5 hurricane" as it approaches Puerto Rico early Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Maria could bring life-threatening flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous regions in Puerto Rico, as well as a 6-to-9-foot storm surge in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
As of 3 a.m. Wednesday, Maria's maximum sustained winds had decreased to 160 mph, but it remained a Category 5 storm. Maria's maximum sustained winds were as high as 175 mph during the day Tuesday. It was 35 miles west of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and 70 miles southeast of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. The storm was expected to reach the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning.
The last time Puerto Rico was hit by a Category 5 storm was in 1928.

Hurricane Maria made landfall near the city of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, at around 6:15 am Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, battering the densely populated eastern side of the island with torrential rains and 155 mph gusts as hundreds of thousands of people hunkered down in one of the island's 500 storm shelters in hopes of riding out the second major hurricane to impact the island within two weeks.
Category 4 Maria slammed the island with winds of 155 mph, just 2 mph short of category 5 status.

The island's governor has said the hurricane will likely cause "catastrophic" damage to the island's power grid and infrastructure, much of which has yet to be repaired following Hurricane Irma, which didn't make landfall in Puerto Rico, but passed close enough to cause $1 billion in damage. As Bloomberg points out, Maria is the fourth major hurricane and 13th storm in the Atlantic this season that’s wreaked havoc from Texas to the Caribbean and left dozens dead.

According to the NHC, the storm made landfall around 6:15 a.m. The NHC has instituted hurricane watches and warnings for many of Puerto Rico's neighboring islands.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques
* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
* Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Saba
* St. Maarten
* Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border of
the Dominican Republic and Haiti
* Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
* Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is saying Maria is "potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit" the U.S. territory in a century. Rossello said up to 25 inches of rain could fall in some areas and he urged anyone in a flood-prone, mudslide-prone or coastal area to leave.

"We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history," Rossello said. "Although it looks like a direct hit with major damage to Puerto Rico is inevitable, I ask for America’s prayers," he said. "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."

The NHS expects the storm to cross Puerto Rico on Wednesday and then move just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic later in the night and on Thursday. Maria had earlier battered the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island nation of Dominica on Tuesday, devastating the island, according to the island's governor, Roosevelt Skerrit.

The powerful earthquake has struck off the coast of Japan near Fukushima, 281km ESE of Kamaishi, Japan at a very shallow depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).
Details about the consequences of the M6.1 quake is not known yet. There are however no tsunami warnings or advisories in effect.
This is the third large earthquake within 24 hours to hit different places around the world (Mexico and New Zealand) along the ‘Ring of Fire’. Where are we heading now? Cascadia? More volcanic eruptions?

Across central Mexico, rescue workers including soldiers and volunteers worked late into the night Tuesday to free the living who were still trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings following Mexico's deadliest earthquake in more than 30 years.
The death toll from the 7.1 magnitude quake – which bizarrely occurred on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that left 5,000 dead – has climbed to 248, with more than half of those deaths occurring in the Mexican capital city.  It also comes two weeks after another powerful quake left nearly 100 dead in Mexico CityThe quake was unusually close to Mexico City, located just 60 miles south of the capital in Chiautla de Tapia, a small town in neighboring Puebla state, according to Mexico’s seismological service.

More are feared dead, including possibly dozens of teachers and schoolchildren feared buried in the rubble of a Mexico City school, one of hundreds of buildings that was destroyed by the quake, according to Reuters
Additionally, several buildings collapsed in the chic neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa in central Mexico City, where many foreigners live. In Condesa, rescue workers scrambled to find eight to 10 people believed trapped under the debris of a building that collapsed near Mexico Park, one of the city’s most famous parks. Hundreds of volunteers formed a human chain to help clear rubble and bring food and water to rescue workers.
Mexico was also hit earlier this month by Hurricane Katia, which killed two. Even the Popocatépetl volcano southeast of the city sent a large cloud of ash into the sky on Tuesday. “This is too much. It’s like we’re cursed or something,” said Marcos Santamaría, a 62-year-old retiree.
Philippines and the United Nations have offered to support the recovery effort. At least 30 second-grade students are still missing, along with eight adults.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a video message released late Tuesday that the initial focus of rescue efforts must be to find people trapped in wrecked buildings, according to the Associated Press. 
"The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people."
Pena Nieto added that, as of late Tuesday, 40% of Mexico City and 60% of Morelos state had no electricity.
Dust-covered and exhausted from digging, 30-year-old Carlos Mendoza said two people were pulled alive from the ruins of a collapsed apartment building in the Roma Sur neighborhood during a three-hour period.
"When we saw this, we came to help," he said, gesturing at the destruction. "This is ugly, very ugly."
In Condesa, rescue workers scrambled to find eight to 10 people believed trapped under the debris of a building that collapsed near Mexico Park, one of the city’s most famous parks. Hundreds of volunteers formed a human chain to help clear rubble and bring food and water to rescue workers, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

A powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Japan near Fukushima.
Details of the extent of the damage have not yet emerged regarding the quake which hit 281km South East of Kamaishi. 
The depth of the earthquake, which struck at 2.37am local time, was measured at 10km.  
A similar earthquake back in 2011 killed 15,894 people and injured 10 more when a tsunami, landslides and fires broke out as a result.
But experts are predicting today's quake should pass by without causing any harm.
In June, five workers at a nuclear research facility in east Japan were exposed to radioactive material on Tuesday after a bag that contained it burst, the plant's state-run operator said.
Japan's nuclear industry has been in tatters in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, with parts of the public deeply skeptical about the safety of atomic energy.

Japan shut down all of its atomic reactors after a powerful earthquake in March 2011 spawned a huge tsunami that led to meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
It became the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
Since then, just a handful of reactors have come back online due to public opposition and as legal cases work their way through the courts.
However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has aggressively promoted nuclear energy, calling it essential to powering the world's third-largest economy.
Much of the public remains wary of nuclear power after the disaster at Fukushima spewed radiation over a large area and forced tens of thousands to leave their homes, with some unlikely to ever return.  

Concern about growing global antibiotic resistance has come to a head: The World Health Organization is now warning that the world is running out of antibiotics.
There aren’t enough truly new antibiotics being developed, especially for the most concerning antibiotic-resistant infections, according to a WHO report released Tuesday. 
The United Nations health agency has aired its concerns about antibiotic resistance, which makes it more difficult to treat infections, for some time. Some of the group’s latest moves included updating guidelines for treating sexually transmitted infections and cautioning that just three antibiotics are being developed to treat gonorrhea, a “fairly grim” situation
But the latest WHO report takes a broad and prospective look at antibiotic development, and what it describes is not a pretty picture. 
“Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. Without more investment in research and development, “we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery.”
Public health officials have long been concerned about antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria mutate and become immune to a given antibiotic. Overuse or incorrect use of antibiotics are key contributing factors, as is antibiotic use in animals that are then consumed by humans. 
But drug development is lagging behind, especially for drug-resistant tuberculosis and other infections the WHO has designated as high priority, the U.N. health agency said. 
Of 51 new products in development for antibiotic-resistant infections, the WHO believes that only eight are innovative and add value to current options. And because drug development is a drawn-out process, most of it unsuccessful, current efforts could result in only about 10 new approvals in the next five years, the report said.
Even then, “these potential new treatments will add little to the already existing arsenal” because most of the products being developed today are essentially versions of existing antibiotic classes, the report said. Thus, most products usually can’t work against many current types of resistance, and will only be helpful in the short term.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has declared a local outbreak of hepatitis A.

The health agency said the declaration was issued after the most recent new cases of the disease appear to have been locally acquired.

So far, 10 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed among the high-risk homeless population in Los Angeles County, according to a press release from the department.

Four of the confirmed cases were in individuals who had been in San Diego and Santa Cruz. Three other cases were identified in a health facility in Los Angeles County. Two of those cases appear to have been acquired locally, according to the health department.

"Public Health has been proactively preparing for an outbreak for some time and is working diligently to prevent spread in local communities. Our priorities are to keep all our residents both safe and well informed of the situation," said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer, Los Angeles County.

"Vaccination is the best protection against Hepatitis A. With this in mind, our outreach teams and clinics are offering free vaccine to persons who are homeless, active drug users, and those who provide services and support to those individuals."

According to the LA County health department, a person can get hepatitis A if they come into contact with an infected person's feces through contaminated food or objects. Other modes of transmission include certain sexual practices, sharing equipment related to illicit drug use, and consumption of food or water contaminated with the virus.

Israel Sets Sights On Hezbollah As Syrian War Winds Down, Kissinger's Admission About ISIS

As Syrian war winds down, Israel sets sights on Hezbollah

With President Bashar Assad seemingly poised to survive the Syrian civil war, Israeli leaders are growing nervous about the intentions of his Iranian patrons and their emerging corridor of influence across the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is agitating against Iran in global forums like this week’s U.N. General Assembly. The Israeli military is holding war games targeting the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, and generals are issuing tough threats in hopes of avoiding what could be another ruinous Israeli entanglement in Lebanon, this time with Iranian advisers and troops on Israel’s doorstep.

Israel has long identified Iran as its biggest threat, citing its suspect nuclear program, development of long-range missiles and hostile rhetoric. But gains by Syrian troops and their Iranian-backed allies have given those concerns new urgency.

Israel fears the establishment of a Shiite “corridor,” with land links from Iran to Lebanon, allowing the movement of fighters and weapons across the region. At the heart of those fears is Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that battled Israel to a stalemate in a monthlong war in 2006. The group has greatly beefed up its arsenal of rockets and missiles since then, and after years of fighting in Syria, is more battle-tested than ever.

In his U.N. address Tuesday, Netanyahu warned that Iran was spreading a “curtain of tyranny and terror” across the region, and said Israel would defend itself.

“We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria or in Lebanon for use against us. And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border,” he said.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, the commander of the exercise, Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman, said that despite Hezbollah’s gains, the balance of power has greatly shifted in favor of Israel since 2006.

“If Hezbollah’s capabilities have grown linearly, ours have grown exponentially, in intelligence, in targets and in the ability to attack,” he said. If fighting resumes, “the damage to Hezbollah will be severe, mortal and comprehensive.”

He said he was pleased with the performance of his troops, and said the two-week drill should send a powerful message of deterrence.

Russia, which is waging an air campaign on behalf of Assad, and Iran and Hezbollah, which have fighters on the ground, have provided crucial support and are expected to play a major role in postwar Syria.

“The vector is quite clear right now, with the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the Shiite militias gradually regaining control of large swaths of the country,” said Chagai Tzuriel, the director general of the Israeli Intelligence Ministry.

Israel has said any permanent presence of Iranian or Hezbollah troops along the Syrian border with Israel would be crossing a “red line,” hinting that it would be willing to take military action if needed. Tzuriel warned of a “regional conflagration.”

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a man who dares not travel in many parts of the globe due to fears of arrest, has made one of the most stunning admissions of his career to date.
In an article for CapX, a British online news website founded by the Centre for Policy Studies, Kissinger warned against defeating ISIS because doing so could lead to an “Iranian radical empire.” He warned:

“In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be regarded as your friend no longer applies. In the contemporary Middle East, the enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy. The Middle East affects the world by the volatility of its ideologies as much as by its specific actions.”
Unsurprisingly, Kissinger, a documented war criminal, displayed a complete disregard for international law while expressing his major concerns. Kissinger said:
“The outside world’s war with Isis can serve as an illustration. Most non-Isis powers — including Shia Iran and the leading Sunni states — agree on the need to destroy it. But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? A coalition of Sunnis? Or a sphere of influence dominated by Iran?”
Considering the majority of the territory belongs to Syria (and/or Iraq), perhaps it should not even be a question of who should inherit the land after ISIS’ downfall. If there are concerns that Syria will become an Iranian client state, perhaps the U.S. should have considered that before they targeted Syria for regime change in a short-sighted attempt to undermine Iran in the first place. It is only because the U.S. carried out this strategy – and continues to carry out this strategy – that Iran has emerged as a significant benefactor in the Syrian conflict. Nevertheless, Kissinger cautioned:

“The answer is elusive because Russia and the NATO countries support opposing factions. If the Isis territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.”
To the 94-year-old, there is nothing more threatening than a dominant Iran, even when compared to the violent global jihad phenomenon that is ISIS. Contrary to popular neoconservative-propagated belief, Iran is widely regarded as one of the most stable countries in the region. It is also one of the most heavily engaged entities fighting ISIS, a terror group the Trump and Obama administrations had previously made the number one enemy.
Objectively speaking, despite its abundant flaws, Iran is a natural ally in the fight against ISIS and radical jihad. However, as the truth comes to light from official statements of the ruling elite, in the eyes of the powers-that-be, ISIS has become a natural ally of the United States in its bid to undermine the Iranian government.

Death Toll Rises To 226 From Mexico Earthquake, New Zealand Hit By 6.1 Magnitude, L.A. Rocked By 3.6 Earthquake

The Latest: Death toll rises to 226 from Mexico earthquake

The latest on the strong earthquake that hit Mexico City (all times local):
12:55 a.m.
Mexico's civil defense agency says the death toll has risen to 226 from Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake that knocked down dozens of buildings in Mexico City and nearby states.
The official Twitter feed of agency head Luis Felipe Puente said early Wednesday that 117 people were confirmed dead in Mexico City, and 55 died in Morelos state, which is just south of the capital. It said 39 are dead in Puebla state, where the quake was centered.
Twelve people died in Mexico State, which surrounds the capital, and three in Guerrero state. The count does not include one death reported by officials in Oaxaca state.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

12:45 a.m.
The Philippines says the powerful earthquake that rocked central Mexico has badly damaged its embassy in Mexico City, but the staffers were unhurt and there are so far no reports of casualty among the 60 members of the Filipino community in Mexico City.
It is also offering its sympathy to Mexico following Tuesday's powerful earthquake that killed at least 149 people and collapsed dozens of buildings in the capital and nearby states.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella says: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Mexico, especially the bereaved families, who were hit and affected by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake."
Philippine Ambassador to Mexico Eduardo de Vega says he and the embassy staff rushed out of the building when debris started falling and they all escaped unhurt. The Philippine Embassy occupies the first two floors of an eight-story office building in Mexico city's Cuauhtemoc neighborhood.

11:55 p.m.
Mexico's president has issued a video statement urging people to stay calm in the aftermath of the powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake that toppled dozens of buildings in Mexico City and in nearby states.
President Enrique Pena Nieto said in the message issued late Tuesday night that many people will need help, but the initial focus has to be on finding people trapped in wrecked buildings.
In his words, "The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people."
Pena Nieto said that as of late Tuesday 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of Morelos state have no electricity.
The earthquake occurred just two weeks after a magnitude 8.1 tremor in the south of the country caused more than 90 dead and caused buildings in Mexico City to sway for more than a minute. Tuesday was also the 32nd anniversary of the devastating 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in the capital.

An undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck in the remote Southern Ocean south of New Zealand on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The quake, at a shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles), was recorded 211 km (140 miles) west of the sub-Antarctic Auckland Island, off New Zealand's South Island, the USGS said.
There were no tsunami warnings issued immediately after the quake.
The quake was felt strongly in the capital Wellington but no damage to buildings has been reported.
Train services were briefly disrupted in the area.
Two smaller quakes — a 4.7 and 5.0 magnitude — were also recorded off the New Zealand coast.

Los Angeles was rocked by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake just before midnight Monday night, with its epicenter about 13 miles from the shaky city center.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that some parts of the northwest of Los Angeles experienced “moderate” shaking, while much of the area experienced “light” or “weak” tremors.

Around two hours later, early Tuesday morning, another, weaker quake of magnitude 2.6 hit further down the San Andreas fault, just outside Ocotillo Wells, a rural town near the Salton Sea about 100 miles east of San Diego.
There was plenty of chatter about the quake on Twitter, though not all of it was alarmed:

You know you grew up in CA when you wait for the #earthquake to impress you before you'll get out of bed to duck & cover.

Jokes aside, Californians have been a little jumpy since Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, announced in 2016 that the southern part of the San Andreas Fault “looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go.”
The fault runs about 750 miles, mostly along the California coast, but it also passes directly under San Francisco and to the east of Los Angeles.
Matthew Blackett, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Natural Hazards at Coventry University, wrote near the time that there is a “suggestion that [a major earthquake] is imminent and, given the amount of stress that might actually have accumulated, when it arrives it will be the ‘Big One.’”
Researchers believe that such catastrophic temblors occur roughly every 100 years, but the last truly "big one" was the 1857 quake — an earthquake that was so strong that soil liquefied, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Blackett said a recurrence would most likely to be of a magnitude of somewhere between 7.0 and 8.0, and could unleash a “great amount of destruction.”

Netanyahu Slams Iran Deal In Fiery UN Speech, Brings 'Swagger' To UN Address, Egypt's Sissi Makes Impromptu Plea At UN For Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Netanyahu slams Iran deal in fiery UN speech, urges world to 'fix it or nix it'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly condemned the Iran nuclear deal in a speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, warning that the accord will pave the way for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons if it is not scrapped or altered.
After praising Donald Trump’s address earlier in the day from the same podium, in which the US president called the Islamic Republic a “murderous” regime and the nuclear deal an “embarrassment,” Netanyahu said the 2015 accord strengthened Iran’s nuclear program and posed a grave threat to the entire world.
“Imagine the danger of hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a vast Iranian Islamist empire, with the missiles to deliver them anywhere on earth,” he said.
Netanyahu singled out for criticism the deal’s so-called sunset clause, which will lift limitations on Iran’s nuclear program when the accord expires in over a decade.
“When that sunset comes, a dark shadow will be cast over the entire Middle East and the world, because Iran will then be free to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, placing it on the threshold of a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that the failure of past agreements meant to limit North Korea’s nuclear program showed that the Iran pact “will turn out exactly the same way.”
In light of the deal’s flaws, the prime minister said, the nuclear accord must be ripped up or radically amended.
“Change it or cancel it,” he said. “Fix it or nix it.”
“Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability,” he added. “Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation. But above all, fixing the deal means getting rid of the sunset clause.”

Netanyahu also warned of Iran’s ballistic missile development and growing military expansion in the Middle East, and said that instead of curbing its regional ambitions, the nuclear deal had only strengthened them.

“Many supporters of the nuclear deal naively believed that it would moderate Iran. It would make it a responsible member, so they said, of the international community,” he said. “I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations, one after the other. And that’s precisely what Iran is doing today.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an accomplished veteran of United Nations General Assemblies, a reliably eloquent orator, whose team devotes immense time and effort to formulating his annual appearances at the global podium. Unlike some of his Israeli prime ministerial predecessors, his English is flawless. He never stumbles over his words. He never mangles those carefully constructed sentences.
And so it was on Tuesday, at the Assembly’s 72nd session. The difference, this time, was in the prime minister’s air of assurance.
He has never been short of self-belief. But Netanyahu spoke not as the embittered outsider protesting the world body’s history of anti-Israel bias, not as the friendless target of our region’s aggressors, and not as the exasperated lone voice despairing at his peers’ refusal to interpret current affairs with his wisdom. 

Netanyahu spoke, rather, with the ultra-confident mien of a national leader who believes the tide of history is turning toward him and his country.

One key factor in that dramatically elevated level of confidence, of course, is the change of US presidency since the last such gathering. Where president Barack Obama championed the Iranian nuclear accord, pushed a reluctant Netanyahu relentlessly for compromise with the Palestinians, and voted an extremely discomfiting resolution through the United Nations Security Council, President Donald Trump shares his horror at the nuclear deal, has made no public demands of Netanyahu regarding the Palestinians, and is determined to reform the UN’s anti-Israel obsessions.
Another major cause of the prime minister’s undisguised sense of growing vindication, as he made plain in his speech, is the simple fact that he is finding a friendly welcome among numerous countries around the world that are gradually recognizing how much of a powerhouse Israel has become in areas central to their national well-being — innovation, technological advances, intel, counter-terrorism and more.

After Trump’s trip to Israel in May, unprecedentedly early in a US president’s term, and the visit of India’s Prime Minister Modi in July, it was the icing on the cake, on the eve of this speech, for Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to agree to a first-ever public meeting with him — the rare, overt acknowledgement of an Israeli-Arab partnership, complete with smiling photographs, proof positive of Netanyahu’s oft-stressed conviction that the rest of the region is gradually warming to the Jewish state.

Quoting Isaiah describing Israel as “a light unto the nations, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth,” Netanyahu sounded like the leader of a superpower. For all its innovative prowess and astonishing resilience, Israel isn’t quite that. But for the first time in his lengthy prime ministership, Netanyahu feels himself utterly allied to the leader of a superpower, as the swagger of his speech made emphatically clear — and entirely unconcerned by any reservations others may have about that US president.

The United States is looking for support from its allies to persuade Iran to re-open talks on the nuclear deal, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday, pointing to the fact that it will expire as its biggest problem.
“The most glaring flaw is the sunset provision,” Tillerson told the Fox News television channel. “We all know this is merely a kick the can down the road agreement.”
Under the deal, limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment will begin to expire in 2025.
“It’s not a stiff enough agreement, it doesn’t slow their program enough and holding them accountable is difficult under the agreement, but most importantly the agreement comes to an end, and so we can almost start the countdown clock as to when they restart their nuclear weapons capability,” he said, drawing a parallel with North Korea where an agreement on dismantling its nuclear program collapsed in 2002.
“We do need the support, I think, of our allies, the European allies and others, to make the case as well to Iran that this deal really has to be revisited,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson is slated to meet with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday for a meeting of the so-called P5+1 on the nuclear deal, chaired by the European Union.
The comments came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the world community to fix the Iran nuclear deal by removing the sunset clause or to get rid of it and reimpose tough sanctions on Tehran.
Under the nuclear deal, Iran surrendered much of its enriched uranium, dismantled a reactor and submitted nuclear sites to UN inspection, while Washington and Europe lifted some sanctions.

Egypt’s president made an impassioned pitch for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, calling for both sides to take advantage of a “rare” opportunity to achieve the elusive goal Tuesday.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi broke from his prepared remarks to the UN General Assembly in classical Arabic to address Israelis and Palestinians informally in colloquial Egyptian Arabic, saying they should take advantage of an opportunity that “may not be repeated.”
Sissi called on the Palestinians to unite behind a common goal and to accept coexistence with Israel in peace and security.
He also reassured Israelis by citing Egypt’s long-established peace with their nation which has lasted over 40 years, saying that “amazing” step can be repeated with the Palestinians.
“Do not hesitate,” Sissi said, addressing the Israeli public. “We are standing with you to make this step a success.”
Sissi also called on US President Donald Trump to take advantage of an opportunity that could “write a new page of the history of mankind by establishing peace in this region of the world.”
The comments came a day after Sissi held his first public meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two leaders had “a comprehensive discussion about the problems of the region,” according to a readout provided by the Prime Minister’s Office. Sissi “expressed his desire to assist in efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the region,” it said.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has hinted that the US has secret weapons that could devastate North Korea without endangering the South Korean capital city of Seoul.
The North Korean crisis has proven frustrating to the American military: despite the enormous gap in power between the two nations, a military strike has been strongly discouraged because Seoul and its 25 million residents are only 35 miles from the border, well within range of North Korean artillery. Any military strike against the North could then be answered with a massive loss of life in the South."
But Mattis has hinted that the Pentagon has a few tricks up its sleeve that could prevent such a counterstrike. When asked during a Monday press conference, "is there any military option the U.S. can take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk?" Mattis responded in the affirmative.

"Yes, there are, but I will not go into details," said the retired four star general, who in the past had stated that war with North Korea would "involve the massive shelling of an ally's capital [Seoul], which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth."

"There are many military options, in concert with our allies that we will take to defend our allies and our own interests," Mattis went on to cryptically state.