Friday, December 31, 2010


News Links, January 1, 2011

-- Global economic meltdown --
China may buy debt of Hungary
'We Must Strengthen the Euro': Germany's Merkel
"Bundesbank figures from this month show Germans continue to hoard old notes and coins worth some 6.9 billion euros ($9.1 billion), even though they can be exchanged at no cost in any of the central bank's 47 branches across the country."
Chinese Yuan at New High, More Strength Seen
Euro has 1-in-5 chance of lasting decade: UK think-tank
To help the poor, get rid of their cash, but...
India's Poor Reel Under Microfinance Debt Burden
European Sovereign Debt Crisis in Pictures; PIIGS Spreads to Germany at or Near Record Levels
The Shadow Banking System: A Third Of All The Wealth In The World Is Held In Offshore Banks
Canadians Spend Like Crazy Americans

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
Protests intensify in Bolivia over gasoline prices
Photo: Demonstrators in La Paz burn toll booth
The 16 brewing conflicts to watch for in 2011 (Foreign Policy)
Ivory Coast looks like the place for first crisis of 2011
Turkey Flexes Economic, Political Muscle In Iraq
Russian police detain 130 in anti-government protests
France braces for annual New Year's car torchings by disaffected youth
U.S. Navy signs contract for 20 Littoral ships
Greek Burdens Multiply With Illegal Immigrants Finding Back Door to Europe

-- Energy/resources --
Copper Rises to Record on Speculation Supply Shortage Will Become Worse
Russia Starts Oil Pipeline to China as Putin Attempts to Diversify Exports
11 hours power cut daily in Nepal
UAE: Power shortages set to create sparks in FNC
Buenos Aires: Blackouts, petrol shortage and cash woes as New Year's approaches
Australia: We're paying more to be left in the dark
"One million minutes were lost to blackouts last financial year because of equipment failures in the state's decaying and ageing power network."
China pledges more support for Uganda's oil and infrastructure
Canada LNG terminal to change Asian energy landscape
Time running out for India to solve Iran oil fee issue
"India's millions of oil consumers are concerned as the country could face another fuel crisis as Iran said it will not sell oil to India, unless payments for such sales are guaranteed by the Reserve Bank of India."

-- Got food? --
OJ prices to squeeze your wallet
Florida agriculture loses at least $273M in December freeze; corn, bean prices skyrocketing
SKorea: Fresh food prices grow fastest in 16 years
India's food price inflation hits a 10-week high of 14.44 per cent
Commodity price surge sets stage for global food crisis in new year
Corn heads for biggest annual gain in 4 years

-- Environment/health --
Australia Floods to Worsen in East As Cyclone Looms in West
Why do we need to recontrol whooping cough?
Japan's Population Drop Hits 100,000 For 1st Time
Although population decline is anathema to politicians and economists, it is the best thing that can happen to a country at this time. -- RF

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
Report: Cyber-Spies to Wage Non-Stop Assaults on Defense Firms in 2011

-- China --
Chinese power plants stage brownouts as inventories run down
"Already down to mere days of thermal-coal inventory, a manager at a power plant in Anhui Province has been left completely empty-handed without a single thermal-coal contract for 2011."
Inflation puts brakes on manufacturing growth
Reservoirs dry up as drought parches E China
China orders land hoarding freeze as prices rise
Hu Jintao Visits Poor Beijing Families, Vows to Narrow China's Wealth Gap
China to Stop Subsidies to Vehicle Buyers in Rural Areas Starting Jan. 1
New Year's Eve - China's Worried about Food, Energy, and Its Inflation
The note at the bottom in italics is most interesting. -- RF
China Expands Program for Exporters' Earnings
China Extends Subsidies for Energy-Efficient Cars

-- UK --
Public sector job cut notices to arrive 'like confetti' after New Year
Flu outbreak piles pressure on 'critical care' units
Official! December coldest for 120 years

-- US --
Budget woes force state parks to delay maintenance
Buckle your seatbelts. Airfare hikes ahead!
LMAO: US Government Fails Audit--GAO Can't Render Opinion On Bogus US Financial Statements
US gas prices pass $3 mark. Will anything stop them from climbing higher?
"The recent rise in gas prices, analysts say, is largely due to decreased production both in the United States and abroad."
Duh! -- RF
Price of oil rises 30 percent in 2010; gasoline prices could hit $4 a gallon in 2011
Montague grand jury indicts 10 in oil thefts
Economic slump means more crime on farms
Think Housing Is in Recovery? Think Again
Career Shift Often Means Drop in Living Standards
Ground beef recall: 34,000 pounds of contaminated beef in six states
Pension Crisis to Take Center Stage in '11: Paterson
Retirement account fantasy and middle class erosion – 1 out of 3 Americans has zero dollars in a retirement account
Chicago's Daley Says Pension-Overhaul Law Will Bring Record Tax Increase
2011: A Brave New Dystopia
"Free Rent" for Young Adults: A Sign of the Economic Times
Credit Default Swaps PIIGS vs CINN Group (California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey)

And finally... Super Grandma to the Rescue

Thursday, December 30, 2010


News Links, December 31, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Japan's New Budget Gives A New Meaning To The Word "Unsustainable"
The Present: On the Brink of Disaster
A very grim assessment from the Daily Reckoning, but the situation is actually much worse, as factors such as peak oil, crumbling infrastructure, too many people hankering after extravagant lifestyles, and peak complexity are not taken into account. -- RF
New Look for Mecca: Gargantuan and Gaudy
End Game: The Euro As a Concept Is Finished
Estonia, The Last Passenger on the Titanic
Covered Bonds Hit Record $356 Billion
As Irish ECB Borrowings Surge, The Country's Bank Run Picks Up Speed
More than Y82 tril in banknotes kept at Japanese households, businesses
Everyone is building up a cash position. -- RF
More Chinese companies buying out Japanese companies, turning around falling fortunes
China continues using its barrel of cash to buy up Japan. -- RF
Nakheel gets Dubai government cash to repay $750m sukuk

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
Venezuela's Chavez devalues bolivar currency again
Bolivians in streets to protest fuel hikes
Bolivia's Morales scrambles to stem crisis over massive fuel price hike
Blast outside Athens court building, no injuries
Iran halts oil sales to India
Iran Currency Gridlock May Raise Oil Import Costs For Refiners in India
On U.S. request, India shuts payment route for Iran oil imports
US withdraws Venezuela envoy's visa
Countless Juarez residents flee 'dying city'
Once A Mexican Tourist Town, Now No Man's Land
North Korea Boosts Special Forces, Deploys New Battle Tanks
Russia calls on Koreas to stop "muscle flexing"
Mexican drug traffickers set up new cells in Central America
India interested in Apaches
EU Could End China Arms Embargo In Early 2011

-- Energy/resources --
Desire Petroleum in Falklands oil setback
Palm Oil Ends 2010 at Highest in 15 Years on Vegetable Oil Supply Outlook
Buenos Aires swelters amid heat wave, power outages
SKorea government aims to prevent power shortage as winter sets in
Central China to face 8 mln kw electricity shortage in Jan 2011, State Grid
Japanese prefecture aims for fuel-cell 'Silicon Valley'
The Japanese are inveterate believers in hi-tech solutions. -- RF
Why Natural Gas is Setting Up for a Big Short
Leviathan Gas Discovery Could be The Mother of All Resource Curses
Arabs Supplied 78% of Japan Crude Oil Needs in November

-- Got food? --
Soybeans Advance, Reversing Losses, as Argentina Drought Concerns Persist
What Is in Fast Food? A Newly Discovered Reason to Avoid Fast Food
Ethanol Rises to Eight-Week High as Corn Extends Rally

-- Environment/health --
Zebra mussels, scourge of the Great Lakes, invade Texas
Queensland Floods Hit Mines, Crops, May Cost Billions
Tokyo scorchers up nearly 50-fold

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
Lone-Wolf Plots Alter U.S. Anti-Terrorism Strategy
US terrorist watch list: One tip now enough to put name in database, officials say
How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA
Internet groups fear UN could threaten cyberspace
Espionage Act 'threatens every left wing activist,' son of executed US communists declares
Is A Police State Worth Fighting For? (Daily Reckoning)

-- China --
2011: For China, it's the year of living dangerously
China Preparing for War 'In Every Direction'
Beijing's bomb shelter hoteliers protest against closure
VoIP decision means Skype now illegal

-- UK --
Britain could be heading for coldest winter in 300 years
Union leader says 2011 will be 'horrible' year
Winter flu at highest level for a decade
NI swine flu cases have 'more than doubled'
London fears new wave of gang deaths
Charity chief warns cuts could 'kill off' Big Society

-- US --
Marc Faber: Treasurys Are A "Suicidal Investment"
Veterans Of Recent Wars Confront Grim Employment Landscape
Two new rules will give Constitution a starring role in GOP-controlled House
New Years Prediction (II): The U.S. Economy in 2011 (pessimism from Robert Reich)
Blast Levels Detroit-Area Store, Kills 2 Employees
This might be another case of a deteriorated and leaking gas line. -- RF
Ashton Kutcher In Men's Fitness: Preparing For Armageddon
Makes some good observations, but his Rx is all wrong. -- RF
So, We're Getting Meaner! What's It To Ya?
Factory farms massing in Missouri, Kansas, new report says
US M-2 Money Supply Up $4.9 Billion Last Week
Must See: Howard Davidowitz Destroys The Recovery Illusion, Debunks The Consumer Renaissance
Should Cash-Strapped States Be Allowed to Declare Bankruptcy?
Jobless 'Improvement' May Be Deceiving
In 2011 The Baby Boomers Start To Turn 65: 16 Statistics About The Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Drop Your Jaw
Budget crisis threatens future of US science
Gas prices: Bracing for more pain at the pump

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


News Links, December 30, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Tunisian president says job riots 'not acceptable'
Population Changes Accelerate Global Economic Shift Toward Asia
WSJ has become the biggest Silver advocate
"From local coin shops to online wholesale vendors, silver buyers across the US and around the globe are buying silver as a new currency, not as some speculative investment."
Early anti-euro voice has not flinched, says euro will fail
The Perils Of Ignoring Inflation
A short and sweet roundup of how inflation could have shattering impacts. -- RF
Italy's debt costs approach red zone
German Inflation Unexpectedly Accelerates to Reach Highest Rate Since 2008
Stoneleigh and Max Keiser on Canadian Housing Bubble: "Expect Enormous Comeuppance, Tremendous Sense of Denial, Ireland-Like Dynamics, 90% Price Drops
Japan's Perpetual Motion Debt Machine
Space info center in Tokyo closes due to gov't spending cuts
Lull before the storm: What's coming in 2011

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
India, Russia sign $30B mega defense deal
Commander: US Can't Seal Afghan-Pakistan Border
Drug gang 'threatens Guatemala war'
Angry passengers "involved" in fights at Moscow's airport
Passenger Outrage Rises as Winter Storm Snarls U.S. Air Travel
These two articles are a preview of the widespread and serious unrest we'll see as the world economy and services continue to deteriorate. -- RF
Armored car sales jump as drug war batters Mexico
Tunisia struggles to end protests
South Korea says it will prepare for unification with North
China's Anti-Aircraft Carrier Missile 'Closer to Completion'

-- Energy/resources --
OPEC Not Likely to Stand in the Way of $100 Oil
Oil Poised to Rally Past $97 on Bullish Flag Breakout: Technical Analysis
Oil Juggernaut Unleashed
"The illusion underlying the OPEC statements, however, is that the current price rise is completely under their control."
China's rare earths export cut raises trade concerns
Rare Earths Rally On Chinese Quota Cut
Oil Industry's Spending to Rise in Hunt for Energy
"The global oil industry, far from chastened by the catastrophic spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, is planning record spending next year, including a large amount for deep-water development."
Renewable and fossil electricity generation costs compared
The really important take-home message here is implicit. Fossil fuel energy is cheaper than renewable energy... but the former is already too expensive to kick-start the global economy and allow individuals and governments to pay off their debts. Get it? -- RF
Must read: Has innovation hit a brick wall?
Here we can clearly see two features of industrial civilization's decay. First, complexity is peaking. Second, because energy is the driver of technological advance (not the other way around!), energy decline is making it progressively harder to develop new technologies. Even if we invest more money in R&D, each currency unit is mobilizing a smaller and smaller amount of energy. -- RF
Power, gas outages return (Pakistan)
Saudi Electricity's Clients to Increase to 7.9 Million by the End of 2016

-- Got food? --
India Boosts Subsidies to Cool Food Prices
India releases 5mn tons of grains to PDS
It's either cheap food or food riots. Governments know what they must do, and they're quickly approaching the make-or-break point. -- RF
Salmonella Pops Up In Sprouts, Cilantro And Parsley (US)

-- Environment/health --
Australian Downpour Spreads South, Cuts Off Towns
Rising rivers prompt evacuations in Australia
Strip Mining Sites Rarely Redeveloped, Despite Supporters' Claims

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
Osama bin Laden is dead
But the author's got it wrong on who has the biggest interest in keeping UBL "alive." -- RF
Next On Cyber Command's Agenda: Working With Private Sector
Web attack takes Anonymous activists offline
In the middle of Europe, a democracy introduces press censorship
Obscene, threatening comments posted at anti-TSA website traced to Homeland Security servers

-- China --
China's Real-Estate Frenzy
"Rising property prices and a torrid pace of lending are signals of an inflationary bubble."
China to continue property tightening in 2011: report
China auto shares mixed as tax-incentive expiry looms
Shenzhen gridlocked with highest traffic density
China Buys Majority Stake in Israeli Agrichemical Company
"China is the world's largest consumer of food, and it is importing larger quantities all the time."
China hopes to double value of yuan to dollar over 10 years
China May Need More Affordable Homes Than Targeted, ISI Says
China Says Booming Economy Fueling Military Might
Outlook for 2011 China Car Sales Dims
Students say high-speed rails too costly
Disasters challenge China's water supplies

-- UK --
Jobless total 'will reach 2.7 million'
Britons to spend first five months paying tax
Police demand new powers to stop and search terror suspects
Water rationed in Northern Ireland as engineers battle leaks
Northen Ireland water shortage hits thousands of households
Law change call after 'dramatic' rise in dangerous dogs
Flu cases 'up 50% in past week'

-- US --
FDIC: 2010 Worst Year For Bank Failures Since 1992
Ambulance fees increasing across USA
Blessings of an Amish Christmas
iPad could replace documents in Florida city
Increasing dependence on electronic documents will backfire when the power goes out. -- RF
Housing Setting New Lows in 10 Markets That Received Government Boost
More States Seeking to Follow Arizona's Push for Tougher Immigration Rules
Native American group sues to block California's big solar projects
Sign of the times? Los Angeles Events: Depression-Era Double Features
Support builds in fight to dim light pollution
Streetlights going out will solve the problem. -- RF
U.S. foreclosures jumped in the third quarter
Another Bank of America Horror Story?
Baby Boomers Fear Outliving Medicare: Poll
Fed Can't Prop Up Stock Market Forever
Pension "Armageddon" in Pittsburgh; State Threatens Takeover of City Pension Plan
Student debt crisis threatens US economy
The Wealthy Drove Holiday Spending

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


News Links, December 29, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
China banking goes underground on tightening
Shanghai Stocks Fall on Inflation Concerns, Extend Worst Slide Since July
Mumbai Developers to Cut Record Home Prices as Sales Decline, IIFL Says
Vinashin to Get Interest-Free Loans From Government to Fund Workers' Pay
The China syndrome -- a building bubble this way bloweth
25,000 new planes needed by 2029
Many U.S. companies are hiring ... overseas
Japan finmin Says Japan May Intervene Again on Yen
Japan CEO Leads `Best People' to China as Japan Growth Ebbs
Incredible shrinking Japan Airlines: JAL to fire about 170 pilots, flight attendants
Food, Fuel Inflation Hits India; Primary Price Index Up 15%, Credit Expansion Up 23%

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
China moving toward deploying anti-carrier missile
Overstretched Jakarta's future as Indonesia's capital is in doubt
Japan and China have also considered relocating their capitals. But everything they are trying to escape would follow. -- RF
No police in Mexico town after last officer kidnapped
U.S. dominates Middle East arms market
Vladimir Putin rewards new pro-Russian government in Kyrgyzstan
US still acts like an 'empire' with Latin America, says Brazil's President Lula
Farewell to the days when Latin America was the US backyard. Latin America is starting to march to the beat of its own drummer. -- RF
Maliki: No U.S. troops in Iraq beyond 2011
South Korea Declares North Korean Regime Enemy After Shelling
European anarchists grow more violent, coordinated
New German airports chief calls for passenger 'profiling'

-- Energy/resources --
China Further Cuts Rare Earth Export Quotas by 11% In First Round for 2011
9 Signs That The Price Of Oil Is About To Soar Beyond $100 A Barrel
Copper Hits Record High on Weaker Dollar, Supply Fears
Japan's oil imports in November up 10.8%
Russia to build 10 emergency services centers in the Arctic
Heat Wave Means Lights Out For Argentines As Demand Soars

-- Got food? --
US Food Trends: Canning, men cooking, local
B.C. ranchers frustrated by food shortages, soaring price of hay

-- Environment/health --
Australian Floods Force Evacuations, Threaten Crops

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
S.Korea schools get robot English teachers
Education in the waning days of industrial civilization. -- RD
Ten things Web users should fear in 2011
North American Integration Back on the Front Burner
But energy decline will put downward pressure on attempts at integration. Localization is the trend of the future. -- RF
They're spending $50 billion. You'll be paying.

-- China --
Skyscrapers reflect the height of success
Skyscrapers around the world will become symbols of all that was wrong with industrial civilization. -- RF
Risk looms despite good harvest
Sinopec Group 2010 Sales May Rise 41% to $296 Billion, China Daily Reports
Japan sets up preparatory body for joint cultural events with China

-- UK --
NI thaw leaves thousands without mains water supply; 'unprecedented' leaks, empty reservoirs
Fears for petrol prices as oil hits two-year high
Snowproofing rail network could spark passenger revolt because of cost
Elderly poverty: 'Living like something from Dark Ages'

-- US --
Number Of Uninsured Americans Soars To Over 50 Million
Together again: More retirees moving in with children
The New Faces of Poverty
"Families are living in motels, food pantries are emptying, and outreach agencies are running out of their funds."
Cyber Corps Enlists FSU Students To Protect National Security
Baby boomers near 65 with retirements in jeopardy
You Can Thank Transfer Payments For Boosting The U.S. GDP Recovery
"This was not a free lunch, however. The author estimates that the national debt was increased by over half a trillion dollars more than without the 'excess.'"
US Gas Prices Top $3 a Gallon in Latest Week
Report: Americans using 8% less gasoline than 2006 peak, will never go up again
Still digging out from storm, airlines facing rising fuel costs raise fares on many US routes
Food prices expected to rise in 2011: Higher commodity, energy costs are driving prices up
Consumer confidence slips as home prices decline
Police fatalities jump 37 percent in 2010
Debt at every turn: New governors attack state debt
$5 A Gallon Gas Forecast Has Ex-Shell Exec Making Headlines
Roubini: 'Housing Prices Can Only Move Down'
November home sales moved barely above the worst crash readings
Almost Everything Is A Crime In America Now: 14 Of The Most Ridiculous Things That Americans Are Being Arrested For
With food safety bill, U.S. government will spend nearly $1 million per person to prevent food-borne illness deaths
"Food safety" is getting to be an oxymoron. -- RF
American Cities That Are Running Out Of People
Indiana Bill Would Allow Cities to Declare Bankruptcy; Gary, Lake Station, Georgetown Likely Candidates; Hands Tied in Rhode Island

Monday, December 27, 2010


News Links, December 28, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Price of Silver Soaring
More U.S. Job-Hunters Try Australia
Asia's Bond Risk Increases, Credit-Default Swap Prices Show
AIG at 52-week high as new credit facilities arranged
Indian Banks Raise Nearly $1 Billion to Fight Cash Crunch
China invites South Africa to join BRIC group
Japan's auto production declines 6.7% in November
Japan deflation continues

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
Strike called over massive Bolivia fuel price rises
Pakistan considers defense budget increase
China Is Poised To Rise - And Things Could Get Violent
On the importance of geography. -- RF
Analysis: Could North Korea be headed for collapse?
The ghost in the free market economy myth: slavery (PDF)

-- Energy/resources --
Are Canada's Oil Sands Too Dirty for the US?
Palm Oil Advances on Expectation Demand to Gain in Asia Amid Supply Drop
The touch and feel of record cotton prices
New methods urged to access global oil reserves
Former Shell Oil president sees $5 gasoline in US by 2012

-- Got food? --
The Economist Speculates on the Future of Vertical Farming
Urban farming 2.0: No soil, no sun
Lack of cheap energy will kill vertical farming. -- RF

-- Environment/health --
Why Is It So Cold? Should the Big Freeze Alter Our Approach to Climate Change?
Summer snow, floods in weird Australia weather
Panel challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear
Is dispersant still being sprayed in the gulf?
Queensland Declares Disaster Situation in Areas as Floods Inundate State

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
Service Outages: The Challenge For Facebook, Twitter, And Skype
"There is a vocal minority of scientists who believe the Internet will become so overloaded with traffic that it will have large outages, or may even collapse in some parts of the world."
Another challenge is finding the electricity to power the rapidly growing numbers of data centers and computers. Economies in the information age have become so dependent on the internet that major outages will have devastating impacts. -- RF
Germany plans news cyber-warfare defence centre
Suspect package disarmed at Greek embassy in Rome
Report Strengthens Suspicions That Stuxnet Sabotaged Iran's Nuclear Plant
Hackers Watch a World Collapsing Into Chaos
Train crash carrying gifts for Kim Jong-un crashes, sabotage suspected
India put on high-alert for terrorism
Targeted by 'Anonymous,' Bank of America website sees intermittent outages

-- China --
China makes fresh pledges to keep prices in check and ensure abundant commodities
Facing threat to food supply, China invests in water conservation

-- UK --
Chickens, the productive pet, win a role in the new good life
We'll manage without butlers or servants, say Prince William and Kate Middleton
Even the royals are getting into austerity. -- RF
Big freeze presents old problem for modern boilers
Post office closures 'growing trend', says CWU
Survey: Parents question value of degrees

-- US --
Conservative chorus calling for states' right to declare bankruptcy
The Next 442 Banks That Could Fail
Rescued Banks Teeter Towards Collapse
Your tax dollars at work. -- RF
Strapped Cities Hit Nonprofits With Fees
Desperation is mounting. They are looking for money everywhere. -- RF
What's the Real Federal Deficit?
The Coming Economic Propaganda Blitz
Bills come due for holiday shopping binge
Consumer Spending Back to Normal? Not So Fast
US public schools are going broke, yet some spend like a kid in a candy store
Baby boomers near 65 with retirements in jeopardy
Monetary Revolution Begins With Competing Currencies
Real Estate Spin Continues by Mainstream Media

Sunday, December 26, 2010


News Links, December 27, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
ECB Set to Become World's Largest Junk Bond Fund (WSJ)
Margin Debt Soars to Highest Levels Since September 2008
Vietnamese small businesses forced to seek capital on black market
Japan's 10-Year Bonds Rise Most Since October Before Consumer Prices Data
Vietnam's bad debt hits 2.5 pct in 2010 -report
Vinashin's Default a Symptom of Vietnam's Growth Mania
Frugality and Excess to Mark 2011
Irish government takes control of Allied Irish

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
South Korean and Chinese defence chiefs to meet in Feb
South Korea predicts North Korea will ramp up attacks in 2011
Turkey's apology demand is "chutzpah": Israeli Finance Minister
Pakistan suicide bomber was woman covered in burqa
This will be great ammunition for those advocating burqa bans. Will they advocate bikinis? -- RF

-- Energy/resources --
Huge Amount of Oil Available, But…
Excellent presentation, especially because it deals with the relationship between expensive oil and loan defaults. Here is one of the key factors behind the rising tide of bad debt around the world. -- RF
U.S. uranium mill needs Asian funds: Exec
Iraq invites foreign firms to build 3 power plants
"More than seven years after the US-led invasion, Iraq's national grid still only supplies a few hours of power each day. Intermittent electricity is one of the public's top complaints."
Nigeria LNG Plant on Bonny Island Shut Down Over Power Outage
Power outages stop everything else. Duncan was right. -- RF
Anglo American fights Rio Tinto in global race for coal reserves
Rare earth metals mine is key to US control over hi-tech future
While rare earths are important, the decisive factor in developing and maintaining advanced technologies is cheap and abundant energy. -- RF

-- Got food? --
India finmin: No country can feed 1.15-billion people
Foreclosures wreaking havoc on citrus farming
Corn, Soy May Rise as Dryness Threatens South American Crops

-- Environment/health --
Small Beetles Massacre The Rockies' Whitebark Pines

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
2010: The Year in Downtime

-- China --
Life in Beijing's Cellars
Wow! They literally are "ant tribes"! -- RF
China's Wen: confident on inflation after rate rise
China Rate Increases in 2011 May Be Front-Loaded as Inflation Accelerates
China 2011 Inflation Growth Likely At 4%-5% - Report
China's Land Sales May Top $302 Billion This Year, People's Daily Reports

-- UK --
Britain's inflation is supposed to fall, but...
NHS faces more cuts to avoid £10bn shortfall, report warns

-- US --
16 Shocking Facts About Student Debt And The Great College Education Scam
16 US Cities Facing Bankruptcy If They Don't Make Deep Cuts In 2011
Small Alaska towns fear coal strip-mining
Health system challenges mount as boomers turn 65
US home-grown terrorists 'a global threat', warns congresswoman
U.S. tackles rising veteran homelessness
Pensions Eat 70% of Decatur, Illinois' Budget; New York City's $76 Billion Shortfall; Houston Mayor Wants Pension Benefit Cuts
'Homeland' security coming to hotels, malls

Saturday, December 25, 2010


News Links, December 26, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Singapore Inflation Quickens to 22-Month High, Putting Pressure on Policy
A house built on sand. With only 697 square km of land, of which just 1.47% is arable, and a population of 4.7 million, Singapore is going to go splat like a bug on the windshield when global trade goes south. It will be a perverse monument to cheap energy and globalization. -- RF
German Bunds Rise for First Week in Two Months as Region's Debt Woes Grow
China Raises Interest Rates by 25 Basis Points in Bid to Curb Inflation
Russia Raises Deposit Rates on Inflation Worries
Russia Adds 13 Investment Banks to Advise on $59 Billion Asset Sales Plan
Euro Falls for Third Week as Credit Rating Downgrades Fuel Debt Concerns
Japan auto market sour in November as subsidies end
Japan to spend Y75 bil for Okinotori maintenance to protect EEZ

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
Brazil uses its peacekeeping troops to pacify Rio de Janeiro
Yemen to expand anti-terror forces to fight al Qaeda

-- Energy/resources --
Gas prices jump in Canada, highest level in two years
$90 Oil In A Weak Economy Is Telling Us Something – Deustche Bank Sees Oil Spikes By 2012
Nippon Yusen to Triple India Capesize Fleet on Demand for Coal, Iron Ore
World economy can withstand $100 oil price: Kuwait
An absurd statement. The world economy can't withstand $80 oil, as growth is strangled, there is no recovery, and bad debt keeps accumulating. -- RF
Global stockpiles of oil 'really high'
If there is a glitch in production, "really high" stockpiles will disappear in a matter of days. -- RF
Decades before Arctic gas economical to ship

-- Got food? --
Corn prices 'to set record in 2011 - by a margin'

-- Environment/health --
The BP Oil Spill's Long-Term Threat to Bluefin Tuna
Matt Simmons said that there isn't enough money in the world to clean up the Gulf of Mexico. The more we read about this disaster, the more it appears he was right. -- RF

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
'Jihadist' issues Christmas bombing threat

-- China --
Aluminum Smelters in China May Face Winter Power Shortage, Macquarie Says
Beijing to cut car registrations to ease gridlock
China auto shares sputter as car policy unveiled
China to Raise Water Spending by 10% to $30 Billion in 2011, Daily Says
Outlook 2011 & the Next Decade: China: Is The Smart Money Right?
A barrage of bad news about China's situation. Although China may hold together longer than the US, all hell is going to break loose when these problems come to a head. -- RF
China Energy Shortages And Their Impact On Your Business
Got a factory in China? Better read this. -- RF
China to Seek to Curb Hot Money Inflows, State Council Researcher Ba Says
China Targets 11% Industrial Output Growth in 2011, Down From 15% in 2010

-- UK --
Fuel bills rocket 20% this winter as price rises and cold spell combine to add £100 a quarter

-- US --
Missouri Guard to train inmates for emergencies
Burglary team stripping vacant L.A. buildings bare
Most College Students Want Tuition Money For Christmas
New Face Of Homelessness: The American Family
The Municipal Debt Bomb is Ticking: When Will It Explode?
Bottom line: Elliott Wave stands with Meredith Whitney. -- RF
Charting 2010, Part 1: The Key Jobs Chart(s) Of 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010


News Links, December 25, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Vietnam's Inflation Rate Climbed to a 22-Month High in December of 11.75%
China Trade Minister Sees 'Chronic' Euro Debt Problem
Dry Bulk Shippers Raising Cash to Diversify
Japan homeless getting younger and younger
FY11 JGB Issuance To Hit Record Y169tln
Japan Approves Budget Proposal
"Debt-servicing costs and social security payments—which are generally seen as unlikely to drive economic growth—account for roughly 55% of the total expenditure."
It's a grim situation from which there is no hope of escape. Japan's default, which is virtually assured, will send a devastating economic tsunami around the world. -- RF
As Germany Ends Draft, Fears Of A Labor Shortage
Euro zone addicted to 'financial heroin,' BMO warns

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
U.S. defends permits for deals in sanctioned nations, including Iran (gasp!)
Pentagon Put on the Spot over Manas Fuel Supply Deception
Russia buys warships from French
Pakistan checkpoints attacked by 150 militants
Medvedev reiterates Russia's claim to 4 disputed islands

-- Energy/resources --
Oil Consumers Wary as Some OPEC Members Target $100 Before Cairo Meeting
No output signal from OPEC as oil heads to $100
Oil Prices Will Reach $100 a Barrel, Libya's National Oil Chairman Says
OPEC to Cut Crude Oil Exports First Time Since October, Oil Movements Says
China and India's Growing Energy Rivalry
Paris Charles de Gaulle Cuts Flights 50% on Antifreeze Shortage
End the Ethanol Insanity
Shell Pushes Forward To Drill Well In Arctic
Kuwait: 32% increase in oil exports to China

-- Got food? --
Sugar May Reach 40 Cents as Weather Hurts Global Crops, Thai Miller Says
Mexico buys corn futures to ensure tortilla prices remain flat
Russia basic food cost rises sharply in 2010

-- Environment/health --
Uncertain future for Hungary sludge victims
Hong Kong's 2010 Pollution Level Is Worst on Record

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
US Homeland Security is alerting airlines to be on the lookout for a potential new "terror tactic" involving thermoses.

-- China --
China-Africa trade hits record high
China lends Bolivia $251m to fund satellite
China worried about higher reliance on imported oil
Frustration Builds Over High Food Prices In China
China tries to keep farm prices down
China Fails to Complete 91-Day Treasury Bill Sale, Traders Say
China Central Bank absorbing substantial amounts of gold without disrupting market
China's 2011 money supply back to normal level

-- UK --
The Year in Review: Austerity
Oil Rises in London as Snowstorm Returns, Inflation Spurs Commodity Demand
Scotland set for sub-zero Christmas
Intensive care flu cases double in a week

-- US --
Unfunded N.J. pension liability grows to $53.9B
Midwest farmland prices soar due to strong prices
Nearly 25 percent of US army applicants fail entrance exams
The JP Morgue Whistleblowers Are Back
Econ-101 with Dr. Ron Paul
The census-social security connection
ACLU calls anti-terrorism agency map placement 'disturbing'

Thursday, December 23, 2010


News Links, December 24, 2010

-- Global economic meltdown --
Vietnamese Seek Safety In Gold As Currency Wobbles
Vietnam Credit Rating Cut One Rank by S&P on Risks to Nation's Bank System
Vietnam has been largely off the radar, but economic problems are now becoming more apparent (cf. this story from yesterday). Vietnam also suffers from a chronic power shortage. -- RF
Has The Financial Collapse Of Europe Now Become Inevitable?
China launches new commercial debt product
China says willing to help euro zone return to economic health
China Money-Market Rate Rises to 3-Year High on Cash Shortage
China's Rising Cost of Living
Some foods cost more in China than in the US. There has got to be a lot of dissatisfaction. -- RF
China Is Waking Up to an Inflation Nightmare
Beijing's booming car ownership creates traffic nightmare
Beijing's traffic woes drive talk of relocating capital
EU Badly Needs Beijing Bond Backing
How riots can influence an economy
India and Currency Wars
Greek Parliament Passes 2011 Austerity Budget
Greek unions vow to step up protests over stringent austerity measures
Despite Greece's 2011 austerity budget, a financial chill deepens in Europe
Now is the winter of our discontent, baby! -- RF
2011: The Year of the Commodity Boom and Equity Collapse?
Hong Kong Yuan Deposits Hit $42 Billion
Flaherty Says Canada's 2011 Budget Will Have Additional Stimulus Measures
Bloomberg Sues ECB, Seeks Disclosure Of Secret Greek Swap Documents
Baltic Dry Index Drops Another 1.9%, Hits 1,795
Dubai May Sell More Assets as $20 Billion in Debt Comes Due in Next Year

-- Fault lines/flashpoints/military --
Summit lets Turkey flex its diplomatic muscles
Russia: Unstable Economy and Political Crisis
Parcel bombs hit embassies in Rome
Rome explosions at embassies linked to Italian anarchists
"Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told the news agencies that the attacks in Rome 'bear many similarities with the episodes that took place in November in Greece, which lead us to think the international track is the right one.'"
India police hunt men said to plan Mumbai attack
China speeds plans to launch aircraft carrier: sources
China Matches U.S. Space Launches for First Time
Man fined for insulting French flag -- first penalty under new decree
Venezuela Security Forces Break Student Protest

-- Energy/resources --
World Oil Production - Looking for Clues as to What may be Ahead
EIA's forecast is an energy fantasy land (Jeff Rubin)
Oil Might Near $150 a Barrel by Summer: Gulf CEO
Arab OPEC ministers to meet as oil price tops $90
Asian buyers still knocking on UK oil firms' doors
EU Exec Plans More Action On Unsustainable Biofuel
Anything on a large scale meant to prop up industrial civilization is unsustainable. -- RF
Latin America Fuel Theft Serious Problem
Asia's Exploding Economic Growth Churns Australia's Coal Industry
China Roots Spread in Latin America with New Deals
Chinese oil consumption jumps by 15pct as winter comes
New solar fuel machine 'mimics plant life'
Sounds great! But where will we get the energy to make the machines? -- RF
Smart money is long gold, silver, copper, oil and zero coupon treasuries (Forbes)
Trader Holds $3 Billion of Copper in London
Giant oil pipeline in the works from Alberta to the Gulf

-- Got food? --
China's ability to feed its people questioned by UN expert
African Farmers Displaced as Investors Move In
These farmland grabs will not come to a good end. Get ready for 21st-century "peasant uprisings." -- RF

-- Environment/health --
Flu kills 27 in Britain, spreading in Europe

-- Intelligence/security/internet --
Printing Ultra-Thin Circuits Into Banknotes Could Give Electronic Security to Paper Currency
What will give real security to paper money is to back it with gold. -- RF
Skype brings 10 million users back online, but millions more still without call service
As Internet 'hypergiants' proliferate, attacks on human rights increasingly common: study

-- UK --
Homeowners warned as heating oil thefts rise
Christmas jobs misery for public sector workers

-- US --
Delta, American May Have to Raise Fares as Oil Climbs Toward $100 a Barrel
Behind Census Figures Showing Boom in Nevada, a Story of Bust
293 Chicago area bridges 'structurally deficient'
Fed could have saved many smaller banks from collapse
Shadow Wars Get Big Bucks in Last-Minute Defense Bill
Some investors fear collapse of municipal bonds across nation
Invest In The USA? Why Bother?
"Always on the alert for new 'consumers' to sell stuff to, multinational corporations are no longer willing to invest in this dry husk called the United States of America."
Consumer Spending Back To Normal? Not So Fast
Gas pump prices rise above $3 national average
Budget pressures have led to slashed education programs and rising tuition at state universities
Alabama Town's Failed Pension Is a Warning
New Jersey: Mobile Police Guard Towers
Rep. Paul Pushes Fed To Be More Transparent
Money supply triple from here?
After Nearly Two Years Of Searching, TrimTabs Still Can't Figure Out Who Is Buying Stocks
Wealth gap widens

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