Tropical Cyclone “Trevor” to make landfall over Queensland, Australia

Tropical Cyclone

Tropical Cyclone “Trevor” formed March 18, 2019, in the Coral Sea and is now a Category 1 system on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale. Forecast models take Trevor over Queensland as Category 3 system on March 19 and 20. At the same time, another powerful system might form near the coast of Western Australia and make landfall early next week.

Trevor is expected to move WSW today while strengthening and make landfall near Lockhart River, Queensland late Tuesday local time as a Category 2 system.

The system will then continue moving WSW into the Gulf of Carpentaria over the next couple of days.

This will likely be a protracted event that will see Trevor move slowly towards the NE coast of the state before making landfall, BOM Weather Services Manager, Dr. Richard Wardle said.

“It’s too soon to predict exactly how the system will progress, but models suggest the system may linger in the Gulf until the end of the week,” Wardle added.

Northern coastal waters are expected to see gales from today, with a warning current for gales from Orford Ness to Cape Flattery, including Coen and Lockhart River.

Gales will extend over the northeast tomorrow and strong gales with destructive winds in excess of 125 km/h (78 mph) are possible over the peninsula as the center of the system makes landfall late Tuesday.

Abnormally high tides are expected along the coast in the coming days, and heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is expected around the peninsula north of Cairns from Tuesday onwards.

A flood watch may be issued later today for northern peninsula catchments. Significant rainfall is unlikely in those areas recently affected by the flooding event in February.

QFES is urging people in the affected area to finalize their preparation for the cyclone impacts.

Check your emergency kit and make sure it’s stocked with essential items including food, water, dry clothes, medications, first aid supplies, important documents, valuables, a battery-powered or wind up radio and sleeping gear.

Get your property ready by securing large outdoor items like swing sets and trampolines. Smaller items including outdoor tables and chairs, barbeques and toys should be brought inside if possible.

If you live in areas likely to be impacted by flooding, elevate belongings.
Tape the inside of your windows in a criss-cross fashion using strong packing tape.

Withdraw enough cash to cover essential items such as food, water or petrol.

Ensure you have enough water stored in bottles, buckets or your bath in case water becomes restricted.
Charge your mobile phones.
Discuss your emergency plans with your family and friends. Identify a safe place to shelter when the cyclone hits and know where you will go and what you will take if you need to evacuate.
Consider what you will do to keep your pets safe. Find a place they can shelter and have food and water available.


Chilling World War III ‘wargames’ show US forces crushed by Russia and China

According to research organization RAND, should a major conflict arise in Russia and China’s ‘backyards,’ US forces would be crushed by a vast array of both conventional and cyber weapons. Based on a variety of wargame simulations, a clash with Russia in the Baltic states would result in the rapid defeat of U.S. forces and their allies. Simultaneously, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, while a massive military gamble for China, would also pose a huge challenge for U.S. forces in the area.

Scary World War III ‘wargames’ show U.S. forcescrushed by Russia and China in certain hot spots around the globe.

Research organization RAND has run dozens of wargames simulating major conflict scenarios in what it describes as Russia and China’s “backyards.” The wargames suggest that the U.S. forces in those locations would get attacked by a vast array of both conventional and cyber weapons.

RAND Senior Defense Analyst David Ochmanek discussed the simulations at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington D.C. last week. “In our games, where we fight China or Russia … blue gets its a** handed to it, not to put too fine a point on it,” he said, during a panel discussion. Blue denotes U.S. forces in the simulations.

“We lost a lot of people, we lose a lot of equipment, we usually fail to achieve our objectives of preventing aggression by the adversary,” Ochmanek added during the CNAS discussion.

Based on the wargames, a clash with Russia in the Baltic states would result in the rapid defeat of U.S. forces and their allies, Ochmanek told Fox News. “Within 48 to 72 hours, Russian forces are able to reach a capital of a Baltic state,” he said. On the other side of the world, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, while a massive military gamble for China, would also pose a huge challenge for U.S. forces in the area, according to Ochmanek.

Russia and China have amassed large inventories of precision-guided cruise missiles and ballistic missiles that can reach hundreds of miles and strike military targets, the researcher said. Set against this backdrop, U.S. military outposts and aircraft carriers in the contested regions could face a potential devastating barrage of missiles.

In RAND’s wargames and analysis, Russia, and particularly China, unleash so many missiles that they overcome U.S. defenses. “They send salvos that are so great that we cannot intercept all the missiles,” Ochmanek said.

The researcher notes that the key “domains of warfare” are contested from the start of hostilities. The U.S., he explains, should not assume air and maritime superiority over the battlespace. American space assets could also face attacks, while U.S. command and control systems could be targeted by electromagnetic and cyber weapons.

To combat these threats, U.S. forces could ramp up their deployment of so-called ‘standoff’ missiles that can be fired from large distances, such as cruise missiles, according to Ochmanek, along with highly robust reconnaissance systems and jam-resistant communications.

“For a sustained investment of an additional $8 billion a year between 2020 and 2030, the U.S. Air Force could buy the kit needed to make a difference,” he said, noting that similar sums would be required for the Army and Navy.

President Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget plan proposes$750 billion for defense, up 5 percent from fiscal 2019.

America’s posture is also key when it comes to challenging potential adversaries such as Russia, according to Ochmanek. “It’s putting more combat power back into Europe, and putting it on Europe’s eastern flank,” he said.


The U.S. National Defense Strategy, which was released by the DoD last year, cites the restoration of “America’s competitive edge by blocking global rivals Russia and China from challenging the U.S. and our allies,” as one its key goals.

“Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department, and require both increased and sustained investment, because of the magnitude of the threats they pose to U.S. security and prosperity today, and the potential for those threats to increase in the future,” the strategy explains.

Jordan’s King Abdullah Meets Pence, Discusses Peace Plan

Amman officials have said in the past they would only support a peace plan that includes creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital

Jordanian King Abdullah met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Monday, as the Trump administration continues preparations for the release of its Middle East peace plan.

Abdullah is visiting Washington this week to discuss several strategic issues, among them the peace plan, which could be presented shortly after Israel’s April 9 Knesset election. The king was not on Trump’s official public schedule for Monday, but Pence and Trump were supposed to have lunch together an hour before the vice president’s bilateral meeting with the Jordanian leader.

The White House readout of the meeting said Pence and King Abdullah met “to discuss the bilateral relationship, the fight against ISIS, and regional dynamics.

6 Christians Killed, 470 Flee in Congo Attack

(Open Doors USA) — Six Christians, including three women and a 9-year-old child, have died in an attack in the largely Christian village of Kalau near the city of Beni in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The attack that sent almost 500 Central Africans fleeing for their lives lasted four hours from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

According to field sources, the attackers–part of the Allied Democratic Forces–pretended to be security agents when they arrived in the village. By the time they reached the village center, some youths became suspicious and raised the alarm. Militia then fired indiscriminately at villagers. The ADF was created in 1995 by Ugandan Muslim rebels to oppose the government after they were forced out of Uganda by the army.

A nurse in the Nyankunde hospital in Beni told Open Doors by phone that the attackers then proceeded toward the house of the village head. When they shot dead the guard dogs, the gunfire sent people running. Two villagers attempting to flee were killed.

World War 3 Coming? Israel On Brink Of War With Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran All At The Same Time

On Thursday, rockets were fired at Tel Aviv for the first time since 2014, and Israel responded by hammering Hamas with airstrikes. This latest exchange has brought Israel closer to another war with Hamas than ever. But as you will see below, Israel is also on the brink of war with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. And on top of everything else, the most pivotal election in Israel in many years is on April 9th. If more rockets are fired at Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot afford to look weak because that could cost him a lot of votes in this very tight election. But he must walk a very fine line, because a military response that is seen as too harsh could potentially spark a major regional conflict.

Everyone knows that Israel is simply not going to tolerate rockets being fired at Tel Aviv, and so it was quite a shock to learn what had happened on Thursday. The following comes from the Jerusalem Post…

The Israeli military confirmed that two rockets were fired towards central Israel on Thursday evening, with at least two loud explosions heard in the Gush Dan region.

According to the IDF, although the Iron Dome missile defense system was activated, there were no interceptions as both rockets fell in open territory.

It was the first time sirens were activated in Tel Aviv since the last war with Gaza in 2014 and several Israelis were treated for shock.

It was inevitable that there would be a substantial response from the Israeli military, and airstrikes were conducted very rapidly. According to Fox News, a Hamas naval base was one of the primary targets…

The strikes were occurring in Khan Younis, roughly 15 miles south of Gaza City, according to The Associated Press. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

A Hamas naval base was targeted, the outlet reported, citing Palestinian media.

Originally, Hamas had seemed to deny responsibility for the rocket attacks, but the IDF later confirmed that they were fired by Hamas…

We can confirm that the rockets fired from #Gaza at #TelAvivearlier tonight were launched by the Hamas terrorist organization.

If Hamas doesn’t fire any more rockets, this will probably be the end of it for now.

But with Hamas, things are never truly over.

Meanwhile, Israel is also on the brink of war with Hezbollah in the north.

In recent days, Israel has been dealing with massive tunnels that Hezbollah has constructed for the purpose of rapidly moving military forces into northern Israel. So far, five tunnels have been discovered, but there are probably a lot more.

We are being told that the tunnels are absolutely enormous. Reportedly, they are large enough “to move heavy military equipment”…

For the first time since 1973, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confronts the very real prospect of a sizable incursion. Years of fighting alongside Russian and Iranian forces in Syria have transformed Hezbollah into a formidable military force capable of launching such a raid, relying on coordinated infantry, artillery, and even armor and drones. This represents a major leap from Hezbollah’s small hit-and-run tactics in the 2006 Lebanon war.

The tunnels are integral to this new threat. Built in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibiting Hezbollah’s rearmament in this area, they are reportedly wide enough to move heavy military equipment and large troop units.

Hezbollah’s leadership continues to threaten Israel with a new war, and it has been estimated that they have built up an arsenal of approximately 150,000 missiles for the next conflict.

Israel is roughly the same size as New Jersey. Just imagine what would happen if 150,000 missiles were suddenly fired at towns and cities all over New Jersey, and you will have some idea of what Israel is potentially facing.

Of course the Israeli military is far superior to Hezbollah’s forces, but if Israel has to fight Hamas and Hezbollah simultaneously that would be a real challenge.

And then there is Syria. After eight years of civil war, you would think that Syria would have had enough fighting by now.

Unfortunately, as I pointed out in a previous article, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad just threatened to attack Israel if the Israelis do not leave the Golan Heights. The following comes from the Jerusalem Post…

Syria vowed to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights, World Israel News reported on Thursday.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad submitted an official warning to the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Kristin Lund, in what seemed to be an attempt to prevent official US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.

Can you imagine the stress that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be going through right now? A major election is less than a month away and he is literally fighting for his political life, and meanwhile several of Israel’s neighbors appear to be preparing for war with his nation.

And Iran appears to be eager for a fight too. A few weeks ago, a top Iranian general threatened to completely wipe Israel off the map…

Asked by a reporter in Tehran about Israeli threats to strike Iranian forces deployed in Syria, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted by Iranian news outlets as saying, “Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map. And it seems that, considering the evil that Israel is doing, it is bringing itself closer to that.”

He added: “We announce that if Israel does anything to start a new war, it will obviously be the war that will end with its elimination, and the occupied territories will be returned. The Israelis will not have even a cemetery in Palestine to bury their own corpses.”

And Netanyahu also seems to anticipate that a conflict with Iran is coming. The following comes from NBC News…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu startled Iranians and even the White House on Wednesday with a strident call for Israeli-Arab action against the government in Tehran that was translated by his office as urging “war with Iran.”

Although Israeli officials tried to soften the reference by altering the English translation, the provocative comment was likely to further the perception that Israel, its Gulf Arab neighbors and the United States are interested in using military action to topple the government of Iran.

I have been warning that a major war is coming in the Middle East for a long time, and now we are closer than ever.

Let us hope for peace, but as we have seen in the past, any peace in the region is always just temporary.

Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are all fundamentally committed to the complete and total destruction of the state of Israel and nothing is going to change that. War is coming at some point, and it is going to be extremely bloody.

Deadly earthquake-triggered landslide hits Lombok, Indonesia

Deadly earthquake-triggered landslide hits Lombok, Indonesia

A shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.5 km hit Mount Rinjani, Indonesia at 07:07 UTC (14:07 local time) on March 17, 2019, triggering deadly landslide at the Tiu Kelep Waterfall in Bayan district. The quake hit at a depth of 23.6 km (14.7 miles).

Indonesian authorities are reporting M5.8 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles) followed by M5.2 aftershock at 07:09 UTC.

According to a statement released by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, the quake caused a large landslide at the Tiu Kelep Waterfall in Bayan district, killing several people and trapping about 40.

“There were about 40 tourists affected by the landslide. Most of the victims were Malaysians and domestic tourists,” the administration spokesman said in a statement.

The Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency and the North Lombok Health Agency dispatched four ambulances to the scene, as well as medical and rescue personnel to aid and relocate victims.

At 12:35 UTC, the spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster management agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said 2 people were killed and 44 injured. 32 homes collapsed and 499 were damaged.

United Nations Appoints Iran to Global Women’s Rights Commission

A group “dedicated to … gender equality and the empowerment of women” puts the Iranian regime in a position of power over women’s rights.

UN Watch‘s Hillel Neuer reported that the United Nations appointed Iran to serve on the Global Women’s Rights Commission. As he noted in his tweet, the appointment came “a day after the regime sentenced women’s rights lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh to 38 years prison & 148 lashes.”

Neuer compiled a list of global abuse allegations this particular commission is charged with monitoring and posted them on his website. They include:

-Arbitrary arrests of women
-Deaths and torture of women in custody
-Forced disappearances or abductions of women
-Discriminatory application of punishments in law based on sex, including corporal and capital punishment
-Violation of the rights of women human rights defenders to freedom of expression and assembly
-Threats or pressure exerted on women not to complain or to withdraw complaints
-Impunity for violations of the human rights of women
-Stereotypical attitudes towards the role and responsibilities of women
-Domestic violence
-Forced marriage and marital rape
-Virginity testing

Yes, a day after the regime sentenced women’s rights lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh to 38 years prison & 148 lashes … …

The website for the UN Commission on the Status of Women says that the group “is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” It also states:

The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

To describe this turn of events as appalling is an understatement. Iran’s human rights abuse record is lengthy, and women’s rights in the country are severely limited, as this 2017 State Department document noted in detail.

Plus, as Neuer pointed out, Iran’s appointment to this commission came on the day the country handed down a sentence of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes to human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh for her work on behalf of oppressed Iranian women:

Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on Facebook on March 11, 2019, that his wife has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes (five years for one case and 33 years for a second case involving a combined total of nine charges). In January 2019 Khandan was also sentenced to six years in prison.

During a brief phone conversation with her husband, Sotoudeh insisted that her sentence is 38 years in prison and 148 lashes and should be reported in its original form regardless of whether it is later reduced.

“I don’t know how many years she got for each of the charges because my conversation with Nasrin only lasted a few minutes and we didn’t get to the details,” Khandan told CHRI. “I only know that the biggest sentence was 12 years for [encouraging people to] ‘corruption and prostitution.’”

According to the New York Times, her husband has run afoul of the Iranian government, too:

Mr. Khandan, her husband, was sentenced to six years in January for illicitly posting updates about his wife’s case on Facebook, but he has yet to be imprisoned on that charge, Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, which is based in New York, told The New York Times last week.

Also, on the same week Iran was given this seat, the UN General Assembly president warned at a “Women in Power” summit that the political power of women worldwide was in “serious regression”:

There has been a “serious regression” in the political power of women across the world in recent years, UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa told delegates to the annual summit of women activists at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

The former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs who leads the 193-member world body, pointed out that in 2015 it would have taken 30 years to close the gender gap, but now, she told the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), if current trends continue, gender parity will not be reached for “107 years”.

If the current trend of the United Nations appointing oppressive regimes like Iran to positions of power within their organization continues, women around the world will be waiting a whole lot longer for that gender parity