Monday, March 07, 2011


News Links, March 8, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Greece debt rating cut to "highly speculative" by Moody's
Asian nations on subsidy spree as inflation begins to hit
"As prices of food and fuel reach historic highs, Asian nations with a wary eye on Middle East uprisings are doling out subsidies that experts warn are storing up trouble for the future."
Watch out for a hard landing in China
"A hard landing this year is likely."
Hidden Debt Makes Governments Insolvent: Albert Edwards
"His biggest worry is government debt and unfunded liabilities and he is convinced that default is on the cards across the developed world."
China Adding to $1 Trillion of U.S. Debt Caps Rise in Rates
Kan in `Crisis' as Maehara's Fall Deepens Japan Finance Dilemma
No matter which way the budget funding battle goes, it's bad news for Japan. If the funding bills are not passed, the government will be critically short of cash and could not pay public employees, for a start. Japan would be like the Soviet Union in its final days. But if the bills do pass, it only buys time and means the crushing national debt gets even bigger. -- RF
Gold Approaches Record on Mideast Violence; Spot Silver Hits 31-Year Peak
Deutsche Bank Held A Call On The Oil Market -- Here's What Was Said
Scary Chart: Bottom About to Fall Out of the Dollar?
Oil, Gold Rise and Silver Surges to Record
Flat-Earth European Central Bank misreads oil spike again, and kicks Spain in the teeth
India is facing a huge infrastructure deficit

## Libya ##
Arab media says Gaddafi looking for exit deal
Gaddafi 'Unlikely' to Leave Libya Despite Report: US
Libya: Obama says Nato weighing military action
Barack Obama raises pressure on Gaddafi as no-fly zone gains support
America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels (The Independent)
"Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi"
Libyan buildup focuses on Malta (Al Jazeera)
"The Mediterranean island has become the focus of military preparations for a possible no-fly zone over Libya."
Libyan Rebels Are Losing Ground, And Now Oil Is Above $106
Libya: Jihadis and criminals roaming streets
Libya could split, says Liam Fox, as regime hits rebels hard
UN sends mission to Tripoli

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
The Saudi Handout that Wasn't
Very interesting read. But the writer's prescription should have been implemented decades ago. At this point it is too late in the game. And the game is nearing the endgame. It's virtually assured that the Al-Sauds will not give up their perks willingly. Which means... -- RF
Iran's opportunity in the Persian Gulf (Stratfor via Forbes)
Ivory Coast: Clashes and looting amid political crisis
China says U.S. must stop Taiwan arms sales
Bahrain prince warns against protest escalation
Yemen opposition vows "escalation" against president
Algeria: thousands of police march for higher pay
Jordan media protest state meddling, urge freedom
Is Syria the next domino?
Minister insists Islam 'does not belong in Germany'
"Chancellor Angela Merkel's newly appointed Interior Minister has reignited an already-heated immigration debate by insisting that Islam "does not belong" in Germany – a country with a resident population of four million Muslims."
Suez Canal workers threaten hunger strike in Egypt
Tunisia names new government, scraps secret police
Israel Considers Military 'Upgrade'
"Israel may need to boost military spending and could seek as much as an additional $20 billion in U.S. security assistance over the coming years to help it manage potential threats stemming from popular upheavals in the Arab world, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday."
The Real U.S. National Security Budget: $1.2 trillion
Japan protests over Chinese chopper that neared warship in vicinity of disputed gas fields
Second battle of Okinawa looms as China's naval ambition grows
"Pacific island is home to 34 US military bases and focus of escalating tension between Japan and China"
Battling piracy: Somalia's red tide
"The pirates are winning."

## Energy/resources ##
Oil may hit $200 if unrest spreads to Saudi - SocGen
BP: Deep Water Oil Output In Angola, US Fell 15% In 2010
W&T Offshore's mature assets dry up, sees lower output
Italy moves to reduce renewable energy handouts
Even less money for renewables. If all the money pumped into the crumbling edifice of nuclear power had been invested in renewables, there would be a good cushion to mitigate the shock of collapse. But now there will be much more suffering and countless more deaths that could have been prevented. -- RF
Oil supply fears slow down Spain
"In a bid to decrease oil consumption, drivers in Spain are being encouraged to go slow."
Crude Rises to 29-Month High on Concern Libya Supply Disruptions to Spread
Oil Prices Ease on Gaddafi Report After Nearing $107
A Look at the New Field of Deep Sea Mining
Lazard: We Are "Approaching Oil Price Levels That Might Spur An Extraordinary OPEC Meeting"
OPEC ministers talking informally, see no need to meet
Nearly 3% of global gas supply at risk, Goldman says
Japan, South Korea say no plans to release oil from reserves

## Got food? ##
Food, Not Oil, Bigger Threat to Global Inflation?
Wheat Planting Falls to Four-Year Low in Russia Amid Export Ban
"Russia's ban on grain exports means the country's farmers will plant the fewest wheat fields in four years, another sign that global prices will keep rising."
Farming is the new hipster occupation of choice (US)
Does India need more supermarkets?
No. Modern supermarkets just increase dependency on the cold chain, which will surely collapse. Here is an article which shows one of the consequences of cold chain breakdown. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Cyber attack on France targeted Paris G20 files
The new cyber arms race
North Korea Jams GPS in War Game Retaliation
Google cranks up the Consensus Engine
"Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results."

## China ##
China Economic Change: Government Promises Overhaul
Land available for 10 million new 'affordable homes'
China takes stricter methods to stifle demonstrations
China Deputizes Smart Phones to Spy on Beijing Residents' Real-Time Location

## UK ##
Libya: Lord Mandelson defends ties with 'less savoury' countries
"Britain's economy will suffer if it refuses to do business with "less savoury" countries, Lord Mandelson claimed in an impassioned defence of Labour's dealings with Libya."
Timber prices up as power plants boost biomass use
"Government subsidies to encourage power companies to burn wood are distorting the market for timber and forcing up prices in manufacturing and construction industries, Channel 4 News has learned."
Power production with wood makes about as much sense as ethanol from corn. And it shows the futility of using biomass to power industrial civilization. -- RF
Police chiefs: we will lose 28,000 staff
Britain at risk from big satnav crash, say experts

## US ##
UTC unit sees crisis in U.S. space industrial base
Here's a hugely important story, on two levels. First, it's another indication of the decline of industrial society. Second, it confirms what I've been saying about space exploration programs being on the decline. Keep watching for the day when the ISS is uninhabited. -- RF
Broke Town, U.S.A. (NYT)
Fed Officials Signal Little Need Now for Further Bond Purchases
Federal Reserve's Lockhart: Oil shock could lead to QE3
Motorists illegally detained at Florida tolls - for using large bills!
Fragile Consumer Credit Recovery Fizzles As Government Is Responsible For $25 Billion Of $5 Billion Increase, Revolving Credit Drops
Rising food costs could force U.S. eatery overhaul
Currency bill backers want alternative to 'paper dollar' (Utah)
Invest in Toothpaste and Toilet Paper (CNN Money video)
United scraps expansion plans because of oil
"United Continental Holdings Inc. is scrapping plans to add flights this year, and says it will drop unprofitable routes because of rising fuel prices."
The Sixteen States That are Killing Their Pensions

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