Thursday, March 31, 2011


News Links, April 1, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Swaziland on brink of total economic collapse
China's coming collapse (Canadian Business Magazine)
"The Middle Kingdom's prosperity is an illusion. And when China finally falls, we'll all feel the pain."
China's ghost cities and the biggest property bubble of all time
Includes must-see gobsmacking video report. Watch this if you want to see the roots of China's next revolution. -- RF
Spanish caja merger collapses
Greece May Need to Break Taboo on Selling Land to Slash Debt
Stricken Portugal 'lacks the cash to meet debt payments'
Brazil's Lula to Portugal: Don't take bailout
"Silva, who left office in January, said: 'The IMF won't resolve Portugal's problem, like it didn't solve Brazil's.'"
The Return of the Class System
Part of the polarization of the population into the super-rich elites and the dirt-poor serfs. Are you a member of the peerage or the peonage? -- RF
Zurich Financial Expects $500 Million of First-Quarter Catastrophe Claims
U.S., France Signal Openness to Greater Role for China's Yuan
India census: population goes up to 1.21bn
Japan's Manufacturing Plummets Post-Quake
Irish Bank Stress Tests May Not Reveal All
Ireland's Black Thursday: Bank of Ireland faces nationalisation
€70bn to bail out Irish banks
Bondholder Haircut From Ireland May Shut Italy, Spain Funding
Gold Heads for Longest Quarterly Winning Streak Since 1979 on Haven Demand
Gold will become money again
Chinese and Indian gold and silver demand skyrocketing
Effects of Japan Disaster on Global Supply Chain Still Unknown
Vietnam Looks to Slash Public Spending
Harry Dent: "Major Crash" Coming for Stocks, Commodities Already Topping Out
European Inflation Unexpectedly Accelerates to Fastest Since October 2008
South Korean Inflation Accelerates to 29-Month High, Adding Rate Pressure
Daily Austerity Watch (3/31/11) — Potugal, US Budget

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Piracy In The South China Sea: Lessons From Gulf Of Aden – Analysis
US set to give arms to Libyans
Gates: Somebody else should arm Libyan rebels
U.S. Gunships Will Be 'on Standby' in NATO's Libya War
Revealed: Gaddafi envoy in Britain for secret talks
More Gaddafi aides leave Libya, says Al Jazeera
U.S. Military Deploys Drones Above Fukushima, Libya
China Hedges Over Whether South China Sea Is a 'Core Interest' Worth War
Philippines steps up presence in South China Sea
Russia Detains 150 Anti-Government Protesters In Moscow, St. Petersburg
Bahrain steps up arrests of activists: opposition
Kuwait cabinet quits to avoid ministers' grilling
Thousands demonstrate in Yemeni capital

## Energy/resources ##
Saudi struggles to maintain daily crude output quota
Saudi Government's Break-Even Oil Price Rises $20 In A Year
Saudi Arabia's 'Special Brew' Oil Gives Traders Headache
World helium reserves are running out, Nobel laureate claims
Loss of 5,000 technical staff seen by 2014
"The loss of 5,000 experienced petrotechnical professionals (PTPs) from the global upstream industry can be expected by 2014, a survey by Schlumberger Business Consulting, the management consultancy arm of Schlumberger, indicates."
Still more vital skills lost to industrial/technological society. -- RF
Gas rationing and industrialisation (Bangladesh)
Crude oil climbs toward $107 per barrel
Nuclear Industry Will 'Double Down' On Safety, Energy Secretary Chu Says
Technocrat babble. -- RF
Mexico's proven oil and gas reserves fall in 2010
Hundreds protest Russia-backed nuclear project in Bulgaria

## Got food? ##
Food Commodities Surge Seen Swamping Consumers With Inflation
Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Will
The title says it all. Start your garden now, if you haven't already. -- RF
Japan's Post-Tsunami Wheat Demand Sustained as Grain Sought for East Coast
Japan will likely have to buy much food to compensate for domestic production losses due to the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation, thereby further pressuring international markets. And did I mention that you should take up gardening? -- RF
Exports, Ethanol, Expectations to Keep Corn Prices High: Trader
15 Food Stocks Hit by Commodity Inflation

## Environment/health ##
Volunteers work to repair wetlands damaged by Gulf oil spill
Japan nuclear crisis: Fukushima 50 'expect to die'
Wind turbines 'hit' bat populations (UK)
Wind turbines are killing many thousands of bats contributing to a population decline that may be costing farmers millions of pounds, say researchers.
New wave of superbugs: When the drugs don't work

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Samsung laptops shipping with secret spyware: report
Government mulls UK net controls
South Africa has crippling shortage of skilled toolmakers
Many Data Centers Unprepared for Disasters: Industry Group
Kuwait: Iran involved in spy ring

## Japan ##
Woes Could Linger for Japan's Jobless
Tepco: worries grow over cost and nuclear future
TEPCO claims could top $132 bln on Japan nuclear crisis -analyst
Fukushima clean-up will take decades and cost billions
Tokyo Electric Investors May Be Wiped Out After Nuclear Crisis
Moody's slashes ratings on Tepco
Financial woes escalate for embattled TEPCO
Pressure mounts on Japan to widen nuclear exclusion zone
High radiation found outside evacuation zone, but no plans to widen it
The logic of mega-economics. What are you going to do with all those people and all the contaminated land? Tell them everything is OK, keep them working and consuming and paying taxes. -- RF
Video: Dr. Michio Kaku says three raging meltdowns under way at Fukushima
Radiation in Ocean waters rises
Japan Reviewing Water Tests Showing Iodine at 10,000 Times Limit
Japan nuclear crisis: evacuees turned away from shelters
Victims of Minamata disease were treated the same way, despite the non-contagious nature of the affliction. It's an irrational response, but unfortunately human nature to reject the "unclean." -- RF
Entomb? Cement pumps flown in to nuke plant
"Same company that helped seal in Chernobyl is sending equipment"
Dispatches From Japan (Forbes)

## China ##
China military policy paper lays out worries about U.S.
Dark clouds loom for airlines

## UK ##
Universities in Wales hit by 5% budget cuts
Digital radio switchover in 2015 'dead in the water'
New Yemen warning to Britons by Foreign Office
"The UK has urged Britons to leave Yemen while commercial airlines are still flying as it warned of a possible 'rapid deterioration in security'."

## US ##
1.8 million 'distressed' homes in shadow inventory
Nevada's boom and bust leaves 167,000 empty houses
"Housing Is Dead": Bubble Still Bursting Here and Abroad, Says Harry Dent
Muni bonds headed for worst quarter in 10 years
UPDATE 1-JPMorgan's Dimon sees a hundred municipal defaults
"JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon predicted on Wednesday that a hundred municipalities could default, echoing a warning from bank analyst Meredith Whitney that rocked the tax-exempt bond market."
Bill Gross Says Treasuries Have Little Value, Echoing Buffett
Gross calls U.S. budget a Greek tragedy
States Hit the Gas for Road Funding
Ohio poised to limit collective bargaining. Will such moves save money?
Fukushima warning: US has 'utterly failed' to address risk of spent fuel
"Nuclear utilities in the US have over decades accumulated some 71,862 tons of spent fuel in more than 30 states – the vast majority of it sitting today in pools that are mostly full."
I hope it's not just journalists who are learning from Fukushima. Hot nuke wastes — not to mention operating reactors — are a mega-disaster is the making. -- RF
Missouri Drops Extended Unemployment Benefits
Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet Hits Record High As Bank Buys More Bonds
$5 Fees May Be Coming to an ATM Near You
Debt, Deleveraging and Demographics Mean Great Depression Ahead, Dent Says
Market Ignores Festering Problems, Reality Looms
New York Cabbies Fare Badly as Gas Prices Soar

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


News Links, March 31, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
The euro credit death spiral
The Collapse of Globalization
When Gold Becomes Money Again
Dubai World in 'new phase of growth', says chairman
Ministry to downsize free economic zones (SKorea)
Korean President Shoots Down Airport Plan
Dimon: U.S. debt default would be 'catastrophic'
Canada faces shortage of tech workers
Still another indication of the building shortage of people in high-tech professions needed to maintain industrial/technological society. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
China builds higher fences over fears of instability in North Korea
"China is reinforcing fences and has stepped up patrols along its border with North Korea as concerns mount that crippling food shortages could increase instability in the secretive Stalinist state."
Israel considering annexing West Bank settlements
Assad to address protester demands on TV
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest
Libyan Foreign Minister to Defect
NATO Chief: Clearly No Military Solution to Libya War
Rebels retreat from Libya oil port under attack
President Obama Authorizes Covert Help for Libyan Rebels
Hundreds of thousands take to Yemen streets again
Yemen crisis intensifies with factory explosion
Solution for Piracy 'Scourge' Remains Elusive

## Energy/resources ##
Global Refining Capacity (TOD)
"In the main, the refining capacity in the OECD countries is in a mature state, with refineries aging and struggling to achieve the necessary returns for re-investment. This is particularly relevant for Europe and Japan where refining margins have been poor for decades... One thing for certain, the next few years are going to be challenging for refining. Many refiners struggle to make money currently as refining margins slide back to $2-5 per barrel. My own refinery model clearly demonstrates this phenomena and finished product prices will have to rise substantially."
Emergency plan for WA fuel rations (Australia)
Nuclear reactor breakdowns cost S. Korea 333 billion won
Two-thirds of oil and gas leases in Gulf inactive
Energy Output From Shale Rock Could Match 20th Century Oil Boom
But maybe not. -- RF
Venezuelan exports of crude oil sink by 16.2 percent in February
Strike halts Bolivia silver mine, exports - union
Unpaid bills blackout government offices (India)

## Got food? ##
Organic Farmers Sue, Seek Protection From Monsanto
Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags
Peak Oil and Depopulation

## Environment/health ##
Rationing of health services across Europe is inevitable
Health Experts Predict Physician Shortage (US)
"Healthcare experts predict number of physicians available to Americans might drop by an estimated one-third, of current number, by the year 2020, according to a March report in Article Dashboard."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
BBC website and iPlayer service knocked offline for hour
"The BBC has apologised after its entire internet empire - including the BBC News website and iPlayer catch-up service - was shut down for almost an hour."
U.S. Army seeking cybersecurity pros
NSA to Investigate Nasdaq Hack
TelePacific Communications' network outage: cyberterror?
Billions Lost Due to IT Network Outages in 2010: Survey (US)
"As might be expected, power outages ranked as the No. 1 cause of business disruptions, with one-third of businesses reporting that this cause also prompted their most recent disruption."
Widespread power outages return to plague Venezuela

## Japan ##
Fukushima units 1 through 4 to be decommissioned
Stricken nuclear plant faces staffing difficulties
Japan considers unusual fixes to contain radioactive leak
Workers to spray resin over debris at Fukushima nuclear plant
Radioactive iodine 3,355 times legal limit found in seawater
Tepco's Damaged Reactors May Take 30 Years, $12 Billion to Scrap
Where will Japan get the 30 years and $12 billion? -- RF
Tokyo Electric says $24 billion loans not enough
"Tokyo Electric Power has secured $24 billion in bank loans but said that would not be enough to keep running and pay for Japan's worst nuclear disaster, adding to expectations the government will step in to bail out the stricken company."
Here's a preview of how electric utilities around the world can go belly-up. And what will happen to all their hot nukes? -- RF
High radiation outside Japan exclusion zone: IAEA
Radiation-Threatened Fukushima Accuses Government of Information Blackout
Tokyo Sees Its Lights Go Dim, And Lifestyles Change
Japan Avg Regular Gasoline Price Up 6th Wk, Still 29-Mo High
American Airlines to Suspend Two Japan Flights
Japan considers limiting electricity use by major firms to overcome shortage

## China ##
China becomes world's fastest-growing business jet market
Authorities concerned by lavish office buildings

## UK ##
Strikes over privatised prisons could lead to troops running them
Funds slashed for hundreds of arts groups
UK protest group spreads to US

## US ##
Toyota rationing parts to dealers to avert hoarding
Some states may downsize legislatures
11.4% of all U.S. homes are vacant
Real Estate Crash Catches Up to Cities as Property Taxes Slide
"The strain may mean credit-rating cuts this year for local-government debt, which trades in the $2.93 trillion municipal bond market, Moody's Investors Service said in a report this month."
Proposed settlement would force banks to allow short sales for delinquent homeowners
Budget Talks in California Break Down
Obama seeks one-third drop in oil imports
"Skunked": Bill Gross On How "The U.S. Will Likely Default On Its Debt"
Gas prices fuel big rise in spending
U.S. Inflation Expands Beyond Food and Fuel
American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century
Rusty & Crumbling Infrastructure

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


News Links, March 30, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
European Banks Challenged by Basel III Versus Solvency II
Air-Traffic Growth Slows on Political Turmoil, Japan Quake
Global Shipping Industry the Latest Casualty of Japans Nuclear Disaster
Thailand Plans More Rate Moves as Risk 'Tilted' to Inflation, Prasarn Says
Filthy rich and getting richer
Could Peru Threaten Global Economic Recovery?
Toyota restricts orders from US dealers to preserve supply of some parts; Honda to cut output
Honda To Begin Cutting N American Production Wednesday
Meltdown: Devastating Demand Destruction (Automatic Earth)
Irish Stress Tests May Leave Government in Control of All Country's Banks
Daily Austerity Watch 3.29.11 — Government Shutdown Looms, Portugal, NY
Massive Raw Gold Shortage in China - Supply and Demand Crunch Looms

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
President: Yemen is "a ticking time bomb"
Gaddafi's Army, Libyan Rebels, Square Off For Showdown
NATO Allies Look to Tripoli to Topple Qaddafi in Libyan Endgame
US To Purchase Oil From Libyan Rebels, Thereby Funding "Flickers" Of Al Qaeda
Dire food, medicine shortages in Libya conflict zone
Syrian government resigns: state television
Syria mobilizes thousands for pro-Assad marches
Is China Militarizing the Silk Road?
Saudi Women Inspired by Fall of Mubarak Step Up Equality Demand
Saudi prints 1.5 million copies of anti-demo edict
Poll: Mexicans think cartels are winning drug war
The World's Largest Arms Importer is Now India, not China

## Energy/resources ##
As Canadian Oil Moves South, Americans Push Back
The pipelines feeding China's burgeoning economy
Was a Nuclear Renaissance Possible Before the Japan Disaster?
Short answer: No. -- RF
AP IMPACT: Long blackouts pose risk to US reactors
MUST READ: Excellent companion piece to this article from yesterday. As the risk of grid failure spreads across the globe, operating nuke plants and their hot spent fuel are time bombs waiting to trash the planet. -- RF
High oil prices not a panacea for Gulf economic woes
"A high oil price is of course good for the Gulf economies, but anyone who thinks it is a cure-all for all economic problems there is mistaken. The cost of oil is factored into everything. Fuel is used to import foodstuffs and building materials. The higher the oil price, the higher those fuel costs, the higher the prices at market."
Petrobras Sees Oil Price Rising in Coming Years Amid Middle East Unrest
Oil price in China surpasses US, reaches world medium level
The Peak Oil Crisis: Edging Towards Recession (Tom Whipple)
Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050: study

## Got food? ##
Number of the Week: Food Inflation Foments Political Unrest
"100%: The increase in antigovernment protests associated with a 10% rise in global food prices"
Bumper U.S. crop planting may tame high food prices
Farmers may plant a lot, but what happens after that will have more to do with determining the harvest. Can insect pests and disease be controlled? Will the weather cooperate? Will fuel prices stay within an affordable range? -- RF
Rising Corn Acreage Failing to Meet U.S. Feed, Ethanol Use
"U.S. corn planting will expand to cover the second-largest area since World War II this year and still fail to meet demand for feed and ethanol, driving prices to their highest in at least 34 years."
Organic farming just as productive as conventional, and better at building soil, Rodale finds
Study: Organic chicken carries significantly lower salmonella risk
North Korea 'on a knife edge' as aid agencies appeal for food donations

## Environment/health ##
Traces of Japanese radiation detected in 13 US states
US Government Responds to Nuclear Accident by Trying to Raise Acceptable Radiation Levels and Pretending that Radiation is Good For Us
US government tightens lid on GoM dolphin death probe

## Japan ##
Tokyo Electric nationalization eyed by some in Japan govt: media
This will help speed both the government and Tepco on their way to bankruptcy. -- RF
Plant workers scramble to prevent radioactive water from leaking
Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor
TEPCO says damage possible to reactor pressure containers
Japan Electricity Losses: Summer Without Air Conditioning?
Japan to Expand West-East Power Grid Links to Reduce Shortages After Quake
"The ministry wants the conversion capacity to be added within two years, while utilities have said in discussions it may take longer."
Kan eyes Y2-3 tril extra budget for post-quake reconstruction
"In the face of deteriorating public finances, some cabinet members, including Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, have shown reluctance to fund the envisaged extra budget only through government debt issuance, and the situation has intensified talk of a possible tax hike."
Radiation scare hits steel sales

## China ##
Men 'donned telecom uniforms to steal cable'
"Thieves wore telecom company uniforms to avoid suspicion while stealing kilometers of cable across the city, police said yesterday."

## UK ##
Disposable income falls for first time in 30 years
Seven out of 10 voters fear that Libya 'will become another Iraq'
Budget cuts hit police with more than 2,000 officers forced to retire
Japan radioactivity found in UK

## US ##
Tax the Super Rich now or face a revolution (Paul Farrell)
Utah: Forget dollars. How about gold?
Student Loan Defaults On The Rise
Students Allegedly Swear at, Threaten, and Physically Assault Teachers
Maine Town Declares Food Sovereignty, Inspiring a Movement
Strong corporate profits amid weak economy - What's up with that?
Home prices falling in most major U.S. cities
Treasury Places $35 Billion in 5 Year Notes; US Now $64 Billion Away ($35 Billion Tomorrow) From Debt Ceiling Breach
Indiana Subaru plant slowing output due to shortage
Postal Service Proposes Easier Path to Closing U.S. Offices
34,000 Tylenol bottles recalled for musty smell
ERCOT details February power outages

Monday, March 28, 2011


News Links, March 29, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Crises Nudge Debt Loads to Brink (WSJ)
Euro economists expect Greek default, BBC survey finds
S&P Warns May Downgrade Portugal Again As Early As This Week
Kenya Inflation May Accelerate on Food, Oil, Central Bank Says
IMO chief warns global trade at risk from disruption to shipping lanes
Price Inflation Strikes South America, Too, IMF Warns
Fringe prices out of reach
"Australia is in a housing affordability crisis, with even the last bastion of cheap housing - new suburbs on city fringes - moving beyond the reach of most first home buyers."
If Fed Keeps Printing, Dollar Will Be Worth Less Than Toilet Paper, Says Peter Schiff
The world's third-largest bank is bust
Heightened Demand from China and Asia Rather than Speculation Leading to Gold's Nominal Record Highs
Status of disaster-hit automakers in U.S. and Japan
Mideast leads global rise in house prices in 2010
Buffett Warns: The Dollar Will Decline
U.S. sells 2-yr debt at highest yield since April
Why The European Union Is Doomed

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
NATO Begins to Execute Libya No-Fly Zone: General
Libya: rebels claim to have captured Gaddafi's home town Sirte
Global powers must offer Gaddafi exit route: analysts
Italy says it might take Gaddafi
Brutal crackdowns chill the 'Arab Spring'
Italy migrant influx intensifies on Lampedusa island
Italians block port in protest over migrants
Syria protests: Tear gas in Deraa as army takes Latakia
Virtual war a real threat
Israel's Security Is Now Being Threatened On Multiple Fronts
Bin Laden 'seeks to join Arab revolts'
Boo! -- RF
Fresh Protests in Bahrain Strain Businesses, Markets
Egypt gas pipeline to Israel attacked

## Energy/resources ##
Is loss of electricity a risk for spent nuclear fuel?
MUST READ. Sooner or later, all countries will face long-term/permanent blackouts, which means a dearth of electricity for cooling reactor cores and spent fuel. And that time will likely come sooner than later. With hot reactor cores and pools of spent fuel cooking all over the planet, Fukushima will be the least of our worries. There will be nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We have created a monster. -- RF
Thailand May Increase the Price of Diesel as Oil Fund Shrinks, Korn Says
"Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said the nation may need to curb diesel subsidies as funding runs out, a challenge to the government's efforts to quell inflation and build support ahead of elections this year."
Saudis seek massive boost in oil drilling capacity: Report
China Warns Against South China Sea Oil Exploration
"China warned against any oil exploration without its consent in waters it claims in the South China Sea, after the Philippines announced plans for possible drilling."
Coal Plays in the Wake of Nuclear Power Debasement
S.Korea to rank 1st in nuclear plant density by 2024
Saudi Arabia Needs $80 Billion to Invest in Power Sector
"Saudi Arabia needs 300 billion riyals ($80 billion) investment in power sector over the next 10 years and it needs to add up to 30 giga watts of capacity over the next 20 years, a senior government official said on Monday."

## Got food? ##
U.S. Farmers Head Into Key Stretch for Harvests
"'The stage is set for very serious disruptions, should weather disasters happen,' said Keith Collins, the former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 'It seems clear to me that the chance of a more widespread global food crisis has increased.'"
Fukushima May Abandon Rice Planting as Soil Tainted by Radiation
"Rice production in Fukushima and neighboring Ibaraki and Miyagi prefectures amounted to 1.22 million metric tons last year, representing 15 percent of Japan's total output."
Tsunami-flooded rice paddies to hinder harvest
"More than 20,000 hectares of rice paddies in three Tohoku region prefectures were flooded with saltwater from the March 11 tsunami, leaving farmers with the tedious process of desalination before being able to resume planting."

## Environment/health ##
Drug Resistant Superbugs Hit U.S. Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Measles 'out of control' in DR. Congo: MSF

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Increased computerization means increased vulnerability
The danger of going paperless
Calgary airfield blackout left planes circling

## Japan ##
Stalled trains and fuel shortages hamper recovery
Communications meltdown at Fukushima operator Tepco
Japan says high radiation due to partial meltdown after quake
"This is far beyond what one nation can handle - it needs to be bumped up to the U.N. Security Council. In my humble opinion, this is more important than the Libya no fly zone."
Chernobyl Cleanup Survivor's Message for Japan: 'Run Away as Quickly as Possible'
Limited access at Japan quake-hit ports
Kan Told to Decentralize Japan on Tokyo Annihilation Danger
Sheer idiocy. But it will never happen, anyway. -- RF
Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant
Radiation Found Outside Japan Reactor, Signaling Meltdown
Rainwater banned at water purification plants
Complete Chronological Analysis Of Fukushima Reactor 1 - 3 Data
Debate Begins on Tepco's Future
"Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co. hit a 34-year low Monday as speculation grew about a possible government takeover of the company, which faces multibillion-dollar losses from its nuclear disaster."
30% cut in lawmakers' salaries eyed to help quake reconstruction
Tohoku disaster may bring automakers to their knees

## China ##
China battles with a growing addiction to internet games
In China, microblogging sites become free-speech platform
World Views on China's rise flipping
Good jobs more difficult to find

## UK ##
Take-home pay down 5% in real terms since 2009, says study
Shortage of RAF pilots for Libya as defence budget cuts bite

## US ##
Budget sparring intensifies as both parties brace for government shutdown
Japan's nuclear crisis looks a lot like our financial crisis
Radioactive rainwater recorded eastern US
Voters Push Back Against Property Tax Hikes
Disposable income falls as prices jump, data show
Austerity Daily 3.28.11 — Government Shutdown, NY Deal
Idaho Senate approves Medicaid overhaul bill that proposes massive state cuts
Thousands of Marin, Sonoma, Solano county residents lose power
Massive water rate hike for Las Vegas?
More Shortages Likely Due to Japan Crisis

Sunday, March 27, 2011


News Links, March 28, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Automakers face paint shortage after Japan quake
As Japan Shutdowns Drag On, Auto Crisis Worsens (CNBC)
Japan car output likely to be halved in March
Portugal nearer bailout as sovereign debt yield escalates
A Nation of Dropouts Shakes Europe
Superyacht owners trade up amid industry recovery
The rich get richer... you get what Patty shot at. -- RF
Airlines cut capacity as Arab unrest takes toll
Chinese inflation goes global
Daily Austerity Watch — 3.25.11 Portugal, NYC Pensions

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Syria: feared militia kills up to 21 people as protests continue
Hillary Clinton hints at strained US ties with Pakistan
Pentagon spends billions to fight roadside bombs, with little success
Taliban insurgents abduct police recruits in eastern Afghanistan
Yemeni Militants Seize Weapons Factory
Yemen Is 'Time Bomb' Nearing Tribal Civil War, Four-Way Split, Saleh Says
Sarkozy warns Arab rulers about Libya precedent
"French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned all Arab rulers that they risk Libya-type intervention if they cross a certain line of violence against their own people. The president told press at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday (24 March) that UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorising air strikes on Libya has created a legal and political precedent on the 'responsibility to protect.'"
Libyans queue for petrol as oil shortage fears rise

## Energy/resources ##
How the "Peaceful Atom" Became a Serial Killer
Rebels say Qatar ready to market east Libyan oil
Iran minister says OPEC oil output not to be increased yet
Indonesia Unlikely to Meet Oil Production Target -Executive
India's elusive $150 billion nuclear-energy market
Taiwan will expand water rationing to more areas

## Got food? ##
Meat Inflation Accelerates as Demand Grows for U.S. Beef, Pork

## Environment/health ##
Radiation in six U.S. states likely from Japan

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Microsoft Shuts off HTTPS in Hotmail for Over a Dozen Countries

## Japan ##
Radiation spike inside Japan nuclear plant 'inaccurate'; 100,000, not 10 million
What a relief! I can sleep soundly tonight. -- RF
Radiation-contaminated water likely came from reactor core
Fukushima International Emergency: What Is The Solution?
More Obstacles Impede Crews In Japan Nuclear Crisis
Fukushima crisis could stretch into 'months, years'
Anxiety grows over Japan's food and water supply
Food Contamination Set to Rise as Japan Fights Radiation Crisis at Reactor
Tsunami-hit rice farmers face challenges in Japan
Fukushima agriculture put on hold (link in Japanese)
All farmers in the state of Fukushima have been told to put off planting anything, and even to refrain from plowing, because that could disturb and spread radioactive debris on the soil. The implications for agricultural production are big. Since I myself grow rice and vegetables, I know that you can wait only so long before it's too late. Farmers are tightly bound to nature's cycle, and if you miss your planting window, there's a reduced harvest, or none at all. -- RF
Japan Cows Barred From Grazing as Damaged Plant Leaks Radiation
Govt to urge shorter work days / Longer holidays, production moves also considered to save power
Hoarding and Panic Buying Grip Japan

## China ##
China's workforce 'dries up'
Sinopec to Cut Costs, Expand Overseas Operations as Refining Profit Drops
China Construction Bank's 2010 Profit Rises 26% as Interest Margins Widen
Urbanization 'threatens food security'
Peking University clamps down on radical thought

## UK ##
Government will not change deficit-cutting strategy because of Saturday's march

## US ##
Drug shortages alarm, perplex medical staff
Unpaid jobs: The new normal?
"Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm."
Parties again approach brink of government shutdown
Meredith Whitney: US towns and cities are still too indebted
"Controversial US investor Meredith Whitney is sticking by her claim that cash-strapped local authorities in America will default on 'hundreds of billions of dollars' of their debt."
And she's absolutely right. Another "meltdown" is in the works. -- RF
Bonds: A future of lousy returns?
If you don't lose your shirt. -- RF
Americans Begin To Admit Social Security Trouble
The Life Span of U.S. Reactors

Saturday, March 26, 2011


News Links, March 27, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Two ways for the US to go broke
US Finances Rank Near Worst in the World: Study
"The Dollar Has Never Been at Greater Risk," Says Howard Davidowitz
Buffett Says Avoid Long-Term Bonds Tied to Eroding Dollar
Pakistan Holds Key Rate at 14% After Inflation Slows to Lowest in 7 Months
14%! That's dynamite, and their inflation rate is still almost 13%. But we'd all better get ready for roaring inflation in fuel and food. -- RF
China's central bank recommends gold for value preservation
Lear Capital: Could an Ounce of Gold Be Worth Trillions One Day
Ford to idle Belgian plant for 5 days

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Six dead in port city as Syrian crisis grows
Live Blog Libya - March 26 (Al Jazeera)
More US forces join the Nato mission in Libya
U.S., NATO Consider Arming Libyan Opposition: Report
NATO deal leaves U.S. still commanding Libya strikes
Libyan Rebels Retake City Near Key Oil Port as Coalition Increases Strikes
Yemen's President Saleh 'negotiating' departure
Mexico drug violence fuels exodus
Soaring prices stoke discontent in Sudan
Hundreds of Saudi Shi'ites protest in east
Israel to Deploy 'Iron Dome' Anti-Rocket System

## Energy/resources ##
Germany stages anti-nuclear marches after Fukushima
Iraqi oil minister claims Iraq can become world's largest oil producer at 10-12 mbpd
Seems highly unlikely given the investment needed to replace the rusting pile of junk that is Iraq's oil infrastructure, continuing political instability, and the ongoing global economic collapse. -- RF
US Navy scrambles for piece of Arctic pie
Earth Hour comes early in Metro (blackout in Philippines)
Mexico oil output slips

## Got food? ##
North Korea, Normally Coping With Chronic Hunger, Faces Massive Food Shortage
China will not see food shortage, says government official

## Environment/health ##
Gaps in U.S. radiation monitoring system revealed
Playing God With The Environment
Geoengineering means the use of mega-technologies whose consequences are ultimately unknowable and uncontrollable. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
It's Tracking Your Every Move and You May Not Even Know
FCCI Contractor Warns Of Cloud Pitfalls
Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air cancel dozens of flights after computer outage

## Japan ##
Anti-nuclear protests take place in Japan (includes video)
Secrecy shrouds operations at crippled Japanese nuclear plants
U.S. Naval Barges Bring Fresh Water To Assist With Cooling At Japan Nuclear Plant
Radiation from Fukushima exceeds Three Mile Island
Plant water highly radioactive / 3 emergency workers suffered exposure levels near 1-year limit
Fears Of Radioactive Seawater Grow Near Nuke Plant Despite Efforts
Tokyo Residents Grapple With Shortage of Life's Basics
Chip Maker Runs at Half Speed
Gas seen topping 160 yen a liter / Distributors freeze wholesale prices, but cost of imported oil rising
Carmakers eye running factories in rotation to cut power use

## China ##
China says Japan crisis won't deter expansion of its domestic nuclear power industry

## UK ##
Up to 500,000 protestors attend anti-cuts demo
TUC protest march: anarchists on the rampage in London
"Anarchists went on the rampage in central London as hundreds of thousands of people marched in protest at government cuts."
Warning Of 'Food Price Riots In The UK'

## US ##
Flawed housing data might mask depth of woes
Do US nuclear plants have defective parts? NRC finds reporting flaws.
US Economy Is 'Fairly Healthy': Goldman's Hatzius
What planet is this guy living on? -- RF
Emergency plans in Louisville raise eyebrows
US Banks in 'Cash for Keys' Foreclosure Talks

And finally...
Woman, 92, Goes Ballistic After Being Denied Kiss
Procrastination day put off till tomorrow

Friday, March 25, 2011


CNIC Press Conference Video

Video of Citizens Nuclear Information Center press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo, March 25. Includes English interpreting. View here.


News Links, March 26, 2011

List is short due to power outage.

## Global economic meltdown ##
Our growth economy: a system designed to crash (David Korten)
If there is so much money, how come everyone is going bust? Read on! -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Troops Open Fire as Protests Explode Across Syria

## Energy/resources ##
Hiroshima to Fukushima: The Illusion of Control

## Japan ##
Nuclear Crisis in Japan Level 6
Death toll from Japan quake, tsunami tops 10,000
Fukushima Dai-ichi status and slow burning issues (TOD)
Fukushima: Daiichi operator missed safety checks for 10 years before fiasco
Fukushima's Dominant Impacts Will be Socio-Economic, Dwarfing the Health Effects
Judging by this summary, I suspect that even the socio-economic impacts have been underestimated. -- RF
'Voluntary' evacuation set for 20 to 30 km
A nice way of telling someone that their ass is in a sling. -- RF
Fresh water injected into No. 1 and 3 reactor cores
Injuries point to fuel rod damage in No. 3
"Radiation in basement water 10,000 times above normal"
Cold shutdown still far away as workers struggle to control No. 1 reactor
Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels (New Scientist)
Tepco Sees 8.5mn-Kilowatt Power Shortage This Summer
"TOKYO (Nikkei)--Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) said Friday that its power output is expected to fall about 8.5 million kilowatts short of demand this summer, an estimate that some have blasted as way too optimistic."
'Drastic' ideas eyed for power crisis
Aeon To Boost Imports Of Bottled Water, Food
"TOKYO (Nikkei)--Aeon Co. (8267) will import massive amounts of bottled water, food and everyday goods to deal with shortages following the earthquake and tsunami, President Motoya Okada said at a news conference on Friday."

## US ##
Southern California layoff fight like a mini-Wisconsin
Border battle over illegal immigration shifts to beaches
California employers could be hit with big tax bill for jobless benefits, auditor warns

Thursday, March 24, 2011


News Links, March 25, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Moody's Cuts Ratings on 30 Spanish Banks After Country Downgrade
Nissan CEO Says Supply Shortage 'Serious' as Toyota Delays Model
European Carmakers May Be Forced to Idle Plants as Japan Supplies Dry Up
IMF Prepares For "Threat To International Monetary System"
A Look At The Margin Squeeze And Inflation Risk That's Threatening The Economy
Euro's Collapse Is Not Unthinkable: Warren Buffett
Portugal Is Said to Require as Much as $99 Billion in Any European Bailout
"Hard Choices" for Policymakers as Europe's Debt Crisis Flares Up … Again
The Dollar Will Collapse Within 3-4 Months (Phoenix Capital Research via Zero Hedge)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Russia To Revamp Air Defense With S-400, Pantsir-S Systems
Pakistan suicide bomber targets police station
Taliban stop cell phone signals in key Afghan province
Syria moves to crush growing protests
Gaza Rocket Attacks Strike Deeper Inside Israel
Rocket strikes paralyze part of Israel
"Rocket attacks on Israel by Gaza militants persisted on Thursday, with 16 projectiles in all fired until late noon. Later in the day, a few Grad rockets struck the central Israeli town of Yavne, some 25 km south of Tel Aviv."
NATO Will Take Over Libya War 'On The Fly'
Turkey backs NATO command of Libya operations
US: No Timeline for Libya War
Riot erupts at Iraq detention centre
Mexican cartels move to Central America
European states finally agree to space station extension
Just watch. There's going to be progressively less enthusiasm for funding the ISS. -- RF
Russia's military space activity increases
For the Satellite Industry, Lines Blur Between Military and Commercial Markets
Meanwhile — just as I have predicted — space will increasingly become the province of the military. -- RF

## Energy/resources ##
Worst energy shortage expected in Pakistan this summer
Blackout hits thousands (Australia)
Iraq buys 50 diesel plants to ease power shortages
Venezuela's Guri Dam Reduces Capacity, El Universal Says
Malaysia faces looming water crisis
Obama administration can't wait to sell China all the coal it can burn
Saudi to boost crude burn for power generation in 2011
And that means less for exports. -- RF
OPEC may raise supply in June amid Libya crisis, PFC says
WTI is currently $105, and they are waiting until June? -- RF
BHP to invest billions in Australian iron ore, coal
The problems with Smart Grids
This is a good read, and should be very sobering to those people who believe that smart grids and windmills will prolong the lifetime of industrial civilization. -- RF

## Got food? ##
Worst Texas Drought in 44 Years Damaging Wheat Crop, Reducing Cattle Herds
Radiation could boost Japan's food imports
Global food scare widens from Japan nuclear plant
China as America's banker, America as China's farmer: Malthus was right
Corn consumption pace remains strong
Distribution of food stalls as Zimbabwe grain board lacks cash
Pakistan 'crop shortage' warning
India Food Inflation Returns to Double Digits
Sovereign wealth funds give support to silver price

## Environment/health ##
Pacific salmon run helps shape Canada's ecosystems
For at least a decade, anadromous fish researchers have been calling attention to this mechanism for returning nutrients to land. It's good to see it in the mainstream media. -- RF
For sheer deadliness, nuclear can't hold a candle to coal
So you thought coal was clean? -- RF
Factbox: Radioactive substances and their impact on health
Deadly 'Superbug' Infections on the Rise in L.A. County

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Anonymous' Operation Empire State Rebellion Releases "Civil Disobedience" Video #2
Controller fatigue an ongoing concern

## Japan ##
Japan's Power Supply Crisis: An Assessment – Analysis
A good overview of the situation. -- RF
Bottled water scarce after Japan's tap water shown unsafe for infants
Japan Mineral-Water Plants Run at Full Capacity
Radiation-contaminated tap water spreads to other states
Tokyo shoppers clean store shelves of basic goods
Three Japanese Refineries Remain Offline, an Industrial Info News Alert
Manufacturers left in limbo by rolling power outages
Japanese airports watching fuel stocks
Fukushima workers in hospital after radiation exposure
Dr. Helen Caldicott Says Japan Crisis Can Dwarf Chernobyl Disaster
Why is no one talking about how bad the Japan nuke disaster could be?
Imagine a large chunk of Japan made uninhabitable for thousands of hears. Is the electricity worth it? -- RF
More Fukushima workers hospitalized—what's next?
Troubled Plant Had High Rate of Problems, Records Show
Ship carrying MOX fuel headed for Japan in April: Greenpeace
Government considers widening evacuation zone
Kyushu Electric defers booting up 2 nuclear reactors
Japan detects radioactivity 30 km off coast

## China ##
China vows to ensure bumper grain harvest in 2011
Fast reactor readied for commercial use
China Official Hints at Strained Food Resources
Chinese view gold as real money and demand is exploding (Mineweb)
World's Biggest Property Bubble: China's Ghost Cities Revisited; 64 Million Vacant Properties
Farmland being lost to road, rail projects
China to speed up shale gas development

## UK ##
Price rises keep the shoppers away
State pension age 'rises' to 70 for anyone under 30
Another step on the road toward no "retirement." -- RF
Budget 2011: Cuts will be even deeper as inflation bites

## US ##
Property Taxes Reach the Breaking Point
US Family Income Down 18% Post-Crisis: Fed
Chu touts small module reactors as answer to nuclear hazards
Public Employees Rush to Retire
How the U.S. narrowly avoided its own Fukushima-style disaster in 1992
Camp Lejeune Marines To Libya To Strike At Qadhafi Forces
Two-thirds of alcohol wipes contaminated with bacteria
Yet another indication of the deteriorating pharmaceutical supply system. -- RF
Meredith Whitney Cuts Forecast for Morgan Stanley; Shares Lower
Federal Reserve to Begin Holding Press Conferences
For the Struggling U.S. Economy, the Hits Just Keep on Coming
Commercial Real Estate on Borrowed Time?
Yes, that time bomb is still ticking. -- RF
Postal Service: 7,500 workers, $20,000 buyouts
Federal budget pain taking a toll
House Lawmakers Draft Legislation To Defund Libya Operations

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