After several delays and repeatedly ignored warnings, the federal government is starting to recognize the threat posed to national security by an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, event.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, has begun taking steps to protect the nation’s power grid from at least the natural version of an EMP by proposing new regulation standards addressing the impacts of a geomagnetic disturbance, or GMD.
The regulations are coming almost a year after Congress passed the Secure High-Voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage, or SHIELD, Act to “protect the critical infrastructure, electric power grid, communications and transportation, banking and finance, food and water.”
The Act was passed to attempt to protect the electric power grid from a GMD generated by a blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun, which could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid and leave over 130 million people without power.
From Aug. 28 until Sept. 2, 1859, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun. This solar storm generated a stream of electrically charged particles that headed directly for Earth. The particles were traveling at disturbingly fast speeds. Observed by the British astronomer Richard Carrington, the particles made it to Earth in just 17 hours, a journey that normally took three to four days.
The resulting geomagnetic storm caused aurorae to be seen around the world, even over the Caribbean. The light generated from the storm over the Rocky Mountains was so bright that it woke up gold miners, who began making breakfast, thinking it was morning.
Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases shocking telegraph operators. Telegraph poles started sparking, and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire. Some telegraph systems continued to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies. Telegraph operators said that the lines were running on “celestial batteries.”
A similar phenomenon is feared to manifest itself next year when the current solar storm cycle reaches its peak.
Tens of thousands of people marched through London and other British cities on Saturday in protest against spending cuts by Prime Minister David Cameron's struggling coalition government.
Marchers carried signs reading "No cuts" and "Cameron has butchered Britain," condemning the austerity measures introduced by Cameron's Conservative-led coalition in a bid to reduce Britain's huge deficit.
Scotland Yard did not provide an estimate for the turnout on the three-mile (4.8-kilometre) march route but organisers said police had told them that around 100,000 people attended.
Hamas is getting stronger in the West Bank, but is focusing its activities on indoctrinating Palestinians in its extremist ideology and creating social assistance programs, an IDF source said Sunday.
The West Bank branch of Hamas is focused on Da’wa – social aid programs mixed with indoctrination – in order to build up its base of supporters, the source from the Judea and Samaria Division added.
In Gaza, however, the prisoners have joined Hamas’s efforts to channel funds to its cells in the West Bank, particularly in the area between Nablus and Jenin. Millions of shekels in terror financing have been seized by security forces in the first half of 2012.
A moderate earthquake was widely felt as it rattled a central California coastal area, but authorities say it didn't cause any damage.The U.S. Geological Survey says nearly 6,700 people reported on its website feeling the magnitude 5.3 quake after it struck shortly before midnight Saturday near King City, about 90 miles southeast of San Jose.USGS geophysicist Don Blakeman said the temblor struck in a "seismically active area" near the San Andreas Fault. The quake was followed by at least four aftershocks that were greater than magnitude 2.5.