Wednesday, April 06, 2011


News Links, April 7, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Portugal seeks EU bailout due to debt crisis
Analysts Backing Gold All the Way to $1,500
Australian housing finance – down again
Oil Tops $122 Per Barrel, Gold Hits Another Record
Commodities Watch: US Oil Supply Surges, Refiners Post Yearly Highs; Cotton Jumps to Limit; Copper, Gold, Silver Shine
More Rain in Spain for Country's Property Market
Dubai real estate could fall 'up to 30%', analysts say
Boeing: hundreds of older 737s at risk for cracks
Don't buy stocks and don't buy bonds (MarketWatch)
Daily Austerity Watch 4/6/11 — US Government Shutdown Likely

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
White House: Pakistan is failing to defeat militants
Defense Secretary Gates, Saudi king to discuss Mideast unrest
Yemen president to be encouraged by Saudi Arabia to go
Mexico's new plan to crack down on drug money: you can keep some
DP World chief says piracy is 'urgent global priority'

## Energy/resources ##
Huge Barents Oil Find Shifts Focus Back To Arctic
"Statoil's half-a-billion barrel oil find in the Barents Sea will shift Norway's oil industry away from the North Sea and toward the Arctic -- a harsh region where costs and technical challenges mount."
Coal Shortage May Hurt India Power Production
"India may have to underutilize or idle some electricity generation plants, affecting 22 gigawatt of capacity this fiscal year that began April 1, due to a shortage of coal supply from state-run Coal India Ltd. to private and government-owned utilities, the top bureaucrat in the power ministry said."
Paris's Green Drive Uses Seine for Transport as Gas Prices Soar
The next oil crisis point (Nigeria)
Siemens Said to Consider a Retreat from Nuclear Power
E-mails show US nuclear plant safety concerns
Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve?
The already staggeringly high cost of nuclear power just keeps going up and up. But the biggest bills will come due after decommissioning. -- RF
Cotton Futures Jump Most in Two Weeks in New York on U.S. Supply Concerns
What Should Have Been Said During Obama's Speech on US Energy Policy
Busy people should skip down to the section labeled "Fossil Fuel Extenders." This is a good term made up by the author to describe the true nature of renewables. The idea that we are going to put up a bunch of wind turbines and PV panels and seamlessly keep industrial civilization running is so utterly simplistic I'm surprised that supposedly rational people believe it. -- RF
China Will Increase Gasoline, Diesel, Jet Fuel Prices Today
Shipping Rates for Coal Cargoes to Japan Seen Rising 55%: Freight Markets
"Rates for panamaxes, the largest coal and iron-ore carriers to pass through the Panama Canal, may jump about 55 percent as Japan buys more raw materials to generate power and rebuild after its worst-ever earthquake."
Nuclear Agency Tests Pennsylvania Plant
"Under one scenario, in which a severe station blackout takes out all power, the simulation analysis showed that the Peach Bottom reactor 'came within one hour of core damage,' according to a memo House Democrats released Wednesday."

## Got food? ##
FAO food index to hover near record high in March
China Helps Keep U.S. Corn Market All Bulled Up
"According to a report published just this afternoon by The Wall Street Journal, the worlds most populous nation may purchase as much as three million metric tons of corn in the 2010-11 marketing year."
Beef prices soar
Texas' Worst Drought in 44 Years Driving Food Prices Up
Wheat Crop Conditions in China Seen Improving, Curbing Import Requirements
Let's hope so. But China will still need to import a lot of food. -- RF
Fuel costs go beyond sticker shock for farmers (US)
• According to testimony presented last week by the American Farm Bureau Federation, government figures show farmers this spring will pay almost 85 percent more than they paid in 2000 just to plant their crops.

• There is no term in the English language to accurately describe what farmers and ranchers feel every time they put diesel in the tanks of their farm equipment.

• The cost just for refueling a typical tractor can be more than $1,000.
U.S. Doctors Say Biofuels Could Kill 192,000+ Per Year in Developing Countries

## Environment/health ##
Climate 'technical fix' may yield warming, not cooling
America and EU Agree: Raise Radiation Levels for Food
Delhi Belly Isn't Only India Water Risk as Resistant Bugs Found

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Report: Cybercriminals becoming more ambitious
Georgian woman cuts off web access to whole of Armenia
Interpol chief calls for global electronic identity card system
Infowar Expert Rings Alarms About Security Vulnerabilities of Smartphones
Wells Fargo ATM network crashes again
Hacker Group 'Anonymous' Shuts Down Playstation Website And Network
Power is the Most Important Factor for Selecting a Data Center Site

## Japan ##
Japan stops nuclear plant leak; crisis far from over
Japan quake: Nitrogen pumped into nuclear reactor
Japan No 2 core melted through reactor vessel - Markey
Fishing Halted in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture as Nuclear Plant Taints Sea
How radiation will change Japan
"Radiation experts are painting a sobering picture of the Fukushima nuclear disaster's long-term impact on Japan in a series of reports published today by the journal Nature. At best, the country faces more than a decade of expensive cleanup, including the decommissioning of the reactor complex and the disposal of contaminated debris. At worst, wide areas of land around the complex will have to be abandoned, as they were in Ukraine after Chernobyl."
Crisis Stalls Japan's Toyota City As Automakers Wait
Rolling blackouts ending this month in TEPCO areas
Thanks much to disciplined voluntary conservation efforts. But the real test is yet to come. -- RF
Business Leader Blasts Japan's Electricity Plan
"'Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Co.] is also a victim in all of this,' Mr. Yonekura said, noting two of its employees died in the tsunami and others have toiled without rest since then. 'They built their plants strictly in line with government standards. It's not the least bit true they have been too lax,' he said."
This quote reveals a major rift between government and industry. Press reports here yesterday quoted an official from the Ministry of Finance, who warned against an "easy bailout" for Tepco because the government considers the nuclear catastrophe to be human-caused. -- RF
Govt, DPJ Eyeing 20% Cut In ODA To Finance 1st Quake-Relief Budget
Quake Insurance Payments Hit Y33.4bn
The cuckoo that won't sing. Sustainability and Japanese culture

## China ##
China's bullet trains separate the rich from the poor
PetroChina to build large underground gas storage in Xinjiang

## UK ##
UK Stagflation Pervasive: Industrial Production Plummets By Most Since August 2009

## US ##
Fed's Biggest Foreign-Bank Bailout Saved U.S. Muni Bonds
Sandwich Shock: Food Prices Creep Up on Menus
As cost of living increases, more ask for help with food
Bernanke: There Is No Inflation (and If There Were, We Could Stop It)
Yellowstone buffalo to roam again in Montana
Dust Bowl states see farms dry up, fires rage
"Drought expected to worsen; grass so dry 'it's like gasoline' for wildfires"
In a government shutdown, who will pay US military?
11 Horrible Things That Will Happen If The Government Shuts Down
States Fear Local Effects If Shutdown Cuts Off Cash
The U.S. Postal Service Is About To Hit The Debt Ceiling
Schools face cliff as education money dries up
Farmers worry that milk prices could slide below break even
The bank runs of the early 1930s and FDR's ban on gold (Forbes)
"Gold has increased by 30% over the past year, 145% in the past five years and 465% in the past decade; by contrast, the S&P 500 today is only 12% higher vs. a decade ago."
It's Not Just Autos: Shortage of Japanese Parts Puts U.S. Economy at Risk, Tonelson Says
"The impact of Japan's disaster on U.S. manufacturing has been vastly underestimated and goes far beyond the auto and electronics industries, says Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council and author of Race to the Bottom."
Rising oil prices beginning to hurt US economy
Ryan's Hope: Is the U.S. Ready to Slash Social Insurance?
SF power outage, residents describe blast

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