Monday, April 18, 2011


News Links, April 19, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Is the People's Bank of China insolvent? (Forbes)
China Must Cut Foreign-Exchange Reserves, PBOC's Zhou Says
Moody's downgrades Irish banks' ratings to junk
Greek 10-Year Yields Nearly Hit 14% Amid Blast Of Rumors About Restructuring
For Greece, the Path to Restructuring Holds Pitfalls
Euro zone crisis escalates on Greek debt fears
"German government sources told Reuters in Berlin that they did not believe Greece, which sealed a 110 billion euro ($158 billion) bailout from the EU and IMF a year ago, would make it through the summer without a restructuring."
Hong Kong Canary Singing Commodities Boom Peaking in Aussie Mine: Real M&A
New land sales slump to lowest in a decade (Australia)
Inflation in China Poses Big Threat to Global Trade (NYT)
S.Korea mulls setting up bad bank for construction loans
Finland's Right Turn Spells Trouble for Europe
Factbox: Possible austerity measures in Portugal's bailout deal
LVMH Posts 17% Sales Jump
"Luxury-goods giant LVMH Mo√ęt Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA Monday reported a 17% jump in first-quarter sales, beating expectations and illustrating the durability of last year's brisk demand for high-end products ranging from handbags to pricey watches."
Egypt in Talks With IMF, World Bank on Loans, Radwan Says
Gold spikes to new record just $5 short of $1500 per ounce
Japan's disaster and the manufacturing meltdown (Foreign Affairs)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
As Yemenis run low on gas and food, revolution could take off
Libyan forces shell Misrata, 17 killed: rebels
"With NATO troops bogged down in Afghanistan, Western countries have ruled out sending ground troops, a position reinforced by the British prime minister on Sunday."
Libya conflict: EU awaits UN approval for deployment of ground troops
Misrata emerges as deadly test of NATO clout in Libya
Libyan Rebellion Halts Oil Exports - Funding Crunch Imminent
Yemen forces fire on Sanaa protest march, 22 hurt
Deadly car bombs hit Baghdad Green Zone
Hungarians protest against constitution, austerity
Iran calls for regional unity, hits out at Saudi Arabia
"The war of words between Iran, the largest Shi'ite Muslim-dominated country in the region and an arch foe of the United States, and the Sunni Gulf Arab monarchies which are allied to Washington, has intensified in recent days."
Saudi Arabia urges Iran to protect its diplomats
Syria vows to suppress 'armed revolt' as protesters dig in
Libya tumult fuels Algeria power struggle
"If Algeria does erupt, its energy exports could be disrupted, pushing up prices. The country has oil reserves of 12.1 billion barrels and gas reserves of 159.1 trillion cubic feet."
Mutiny spreading in Burkina Faso
Migrant train delay causes European diplomatic rift

## Energy/resources ##
Why I think Saudi oil production is now at capacity (Forbes)
Asian Demand for LNG to Test Regional Suppliers' Capacity
China regions face power shortage even before summer peak
Japan isn't the only Asian country that will be dealing with crippling power shortages this year. -- RF
Analysis: UK North Sea Drilling Activity, Production Decline
Emirates Airline to add fuel surcharge to all air fares
Russia and Ukraine fail to make progress on natural gas negotiations
Saudi Arabia's Gasoline Imports More Than Triple in February
"Saudi Arabia's imports of gasoline and jet fuel more than tripled in February from the previous month as domestic output declined, official data showed."
Asia's nuclear plants may be at risk
Rising electricity costs hit African data market

## Got food? ##
Prairie floods threaten to ripple through world's grocery aisles (Canada)
China Said to Ensure Corn Demand by Curbing Industrial Use
Iraq needs 4mn tons in wheat output to be self-sufficient
China Crops in Short Supply as Fewer Farms Spur Food Futures
Around the world, countries destroy precious farmland in a vain effort to prop up a moribund industrial system. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Arctic coastlines recede by 'several metres' a year
Numerous fires burn in tinder-dry Texas
Must live with Chernobyl legacy for decades (Norway)
One year after spill, where's the oil?

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Coping with infrastructure backlog calls for overhaul of how costs are calculated (Australia)
"After years of neglect from state and federal governments, the country's infrastructure backlog is building. It ballooned to more than $35 billion last year, and more than $700 billion needs to be spent in the next 10 years to return to a quality that will sustain national prosperity."

## Japan ##
Unlike BP, Japan's crisis-hit TEPCO has little to sell
Sony Japan May Shut Down To Save Power
"Sony Corporation is considering shutting down some of its premises in Japan this summer in a bid to conserve energy, amid ongoing power shortages following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11."
Japan needs major power grid investment after the quake
Tokyo Governor Takes Aim at Vending Machines, Pachinko
"'There is no other country in the world that uses vending machines to this extent,' said Mr. Ishihara... Pointing to the 4.5 million kilowatts of electricity sucked up by vending machines each year as the capital ponders saving energy, he said: 'Why can't (you) just cool these kinds of products in your own refrigerator at home.'"
"[Ishihara] suggested Japan rethink this kind of lifestyle and should consider imposing government regulations to control wasteful energy use."
Japan plant radiation 'too high for crews'
"Anger at leadership grows as findings by robots throw power-station operator's "road map" for clean-up into question."
No relief for gas prices but maybe for quake victims
"The government plans to let gasoline prices rise so it can redirect the excess formed by the eventual drop in demand to disaster-stricken parts of the Tohoku region, officials said Monday."
Tourist numbers in freefall / Foreign visitors shun popular spots across Japan in wake of disaster

## China ##
Chinese Q1 gas imports more than double - NDRC
Spending on luxury goods accelerating in 2011
China Raises Reserve Ratio to Curb Inflation as Zhou Pledges More to Come
China sees 26% surge in value of homes sold
Severe thunderstorms and sandstorms hit China

## UK ##
Agricultural land prices hit record high
"Rising food prices have pushed up the price of arable land in parts of the UK, but life is tougher for livestock farmers"

## US ##
Highway Trust Fund is 'broke,' expert tells R.I. officials
Philadelphia Orchestra, With $116 Million Endowment, Files for Bankruptcy
Mexican cartels setting up shop across U.S. (LA Times)
US tornadoes force shutdown of two nuclear reactors in Virginia
"Dominion Virginia Power said the two reactors shut down automatically when a tornado cut off power to the plant. A backup diesel generator kicked in to cool the fuel."
Stocks sink after S&P warns on U.S. debt
Why S&P's Official Statement is Nothing But a Joke (Daily Reckoning)
"Fellow Reckoner, at the end of the day, it's probably worth recognizing these announcements for what they really are: Johnny-come-lately, sideshow distractions."
'More will die': Mexico drug wars claim U.S. lives
35 Facts That Show Just How Much The Average American Has Been Destroyed By This Economy
The seven stones of simpler living (CNN telling us to consume less!)
Can US handle historic Texas wildfires?
New home market sees another no-show start to the buying season
The "Education Bubble"; Student Loan Debt Passes Credit Card Debt, Expected to Hit $1 Trillion
Texas Instruments Is First Company To Slash Outlook On Japan Earthquake Aftermath
Gasoline prices up 40% this summer, U.S. says; Motorists should prepare for sticker shock at the pump

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