Tuesday, May 31, 2011


News Links, June 1, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Interest rates will rise faster and higher than anyone expects (MoneyWeek)
Asia Economies Show Signs of Slowing (WSJ)
"Asia's emerging-market growth engines appear to be downshifting in the face of rising inflation and interest rate hikes."
Berlin Considers a Shift on Greek Debt
"Germany is considering dropping its push for an early rescheduling of Greek bonds in order to facilitate a new package of aid loans for Greece, according to people familiar with the matter."
Greece may run out of funds within weeks
The Stupidity of Hope: Greece Is Still Going to Default (CNBC)
Australia Slump Could Be Biggest in 20 Years
"Australia's economy may have suffered its biggest economic contraction in 20 years in the first quarter of 2011, data are indicating, as a string of natural disasters savaged exports in crucial industries such as coal."
Russia's Central bank unexpectedly lifts deposit interest rate to curb inflation
Retail Sales Plunge in Italy, Dip Elsewhere in Euro-Zone
Europe Problems Go 'Way Beyond' Greece: Fink
"Europe's financial problems aren't confined to Greece and a reorganization of the continent's banking system is necessary, Laurence D. Fink, chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc. (BLK), said in a Bloomberg television interview today."
A perfect storm for local shippers (Korea)
"Rising fuel costs, piracy, a lack of capacity contribute to losses in Q1"
Now renting: luxe condos built for the global rich
A Minsk Moment Update: Belarus Hyperinflation Prompts Government To Freeze Food Prices
Iraq war debts come calling
One percent holds 39 percent of global wealth

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Karzai: NATO risks being seen as 'occupying force'
Gaddafi ready to implement truce, says Zuma after talks
El Salvador Grapples With Upswing In Drug Traffic
"As Mexico's drug cartels come under sustained attack by President Felipe Calderon's forces at home, several of them have started outsourcing. Los Zetas and the powerful Sinaloan cartel have been expanding their operations in Central America, where security forces often lack the resources to confront them."
Iran closes airspace to plane carrying German Chancellor Merkel
Iran sees threat to its clout amid Arab Spring
Attacks In Acapulco, Mexico, Leave Seven Dead
Israeli military says will stop new Gaza flotilla
Russia delivers another batch of naval fighters to India

## Global unrest ##
The Risk of Political Unrest Increases in Europe
China warns outsiders over creating unrest in Inner Mongolia
"Inner Mongolia is China's biggest coal producing region and the protests come as severe power shortages loom ahead of the summer peak energy season."
Syria: Bashar al-Assad 'grants general amnesty'
Yemen unrest: UN says 50 killed in Taiz since Sunday
Teen gangs disrupt holiday beach-goers (US)
"The gang members are part of a group of more than 1,000 teenagers, mostly 14-19 years old, who used Facebook and other social media Web sites to organize violent gatherings on Carson Beach in South Boston, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
"State police were unable to prevent the violence over a four-day period and, with the first report of a fight breaking out Monday amid a Memorial Day crowd, they called in State Police Special Tactical Operations teams, Boston SWAT teams, Boston Police Department Emergency Deployment Teams, Boston Housing police and UMass police and Transit police."
Bombs thrown at police officers in Craigavon (UK)

## Energy/resources ##
Iran now Turkey's premier oil supplier
"The development represents a new challenge for the United States, which has repeatedly tightened sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program."
Iran oil output 'may drop drastically by 2015'
" Iran's oil production may fall to 2.7 million barrels per day within five years unless 150 billion dollars is invested in its energy sector, a top official said in a report on Monday."
Philippines moves power plants offshore
"Manila is investing in offshore mobile power plants to ease the country's chronic energy shortages, which even affect Manila."
Venezuela oil industry performance on the slide amid corruption
Biofuels boom in Africa as British firms lead rush on land for plantations
Vietnam May Delay Raising Power Prices
"Vietnam, battling Asia's highest inflation rate, may put off increases in electricity prices even as the country faces "chronic" power shortages."
16 Saudi nuclear reactors to cost $300 billion
Construction of Chinese oil refinery to be continued in Kyrgyzstan
Startup turns trash into oil (video)
Where does the trash come from? I rest my case. -- RF

## Got food? ##
Food prices 'will double by 2030', Oxfam warns

## Environment/health ##
WHO: Mobiles 'may cause brain cancer'
Wildlife numbers crash in Kenya reserve
Killer bacteria claims 16th victim in Europe
"Unprecedented E. coli outbreak may involve 2 strains; more than 1,000 people in at least 8 countries; Germany hardest hit"

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Cyber weapons 'now integral part of Britain's armoury'
Second Defense Contractor L-3 'Actively Targeted' With RSA SecurID Hacks
Alarm Clocks Blow up at Ikea Stores in Belgium, France and The Netherlands

## Japan ##
Japan's vehicle output in April drops record 60.1%
Moody's reviews Japan debt
"Japan's Aa2-rated debt was placed under review Tuesday for a possible downgrade, Moody's Investors Service said."
Recovery weighed down by debt worry
Japan could face overseas lawsuits from nuclear crisis
Japan pensioners volunteer to tackle nuclear crisis
TEPCO starts system to cool spent fuel pool at nuclear plant
Nuclear Disaster Could Cost Y20tln: JCER
Stricken Fukushima nuke plant leaking oil
Reactor in Shimane delayed for safety work
"Chugoku Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it will delay the launch of commercial operations of one of its reactors now under construction in Shimane Prefecture because it has to add measures against possible tsunami."
Japanese stock up on gadgets to ease life without electricity
Toshiba to set 2-3 weeks summer holidays amid power shortage
"Toshiba Corp said Tuesday it will introduce two- to three-week summer holidays between July and September at its offices and production bases to cut electricity consumption in the service areas of Tokyo Electric Power Co."
Turning the Lights Off in Tokyo… On Purpose (includes video)
"Already many escalators at train stations in Tokyo are at a standstill, and some elevators are shut down. Many buildings are also keeping their lights off, and their hallways dark."

## China ##
China's Enormous Local Government Bailout
"If the Chinese economy is really so strong, why are Chinese regulators preparing a bailout of bad loans made to local governments that may amount to almost a half trillion dollars?...
"Keep in mind that China's official GDP is just short $5 trillion, which means that this bailout is almost 10 percent of the size of the entire economy. The total amount of local government debt is around 10 trillion yuan and could rise as high as 12 trillion by the end of year, Reuters reports."
Shanghai sees lowest levels of rainfall in 138 years
Drought could aggravate inflation
Interest rates may rise in June to tame prices
China Flies Inflation Red Flag
All cities to come under land price supervision
China developers to write down asset values
"Falling land prices may prompt Chinese property developers to write down the value of their assets, forcing a sober reassessment for those with vast land holdings, according to a survey released Monday by Credit Suisse."
Industry faces rising power cost
Vast amounts of resources are being lost to leaky pipes
"A total of 6 billion cubic meters of tap water are lost through leaking pipes every year in China, a country that faces chronic water shortages."
China too is plagued with crumbling urban infrastructure. -- RF

## UK ##
Royal Navy rents Norwegian ship to protect Falklands
British Army 'not ready for urban warfare'

## US ##
Cargo Theft: The New Highway Robbery (BusinessWeek)
"'You name it, they're taking it,' says Susan Chandler, executive director of the American Trucking Assn.'s Supply Chain Security and Loss Prevention Council. 'Do I think there's a surge? Absolutely.'"
Welcome to the New World Order of chaos and lawlessness. -- RF
Tennessee among worst states for cargo theft
Chicago PMI Plummets From 67.6 To 56.6, Biggest Monthly Drop Since Lehman Bankruptcy
Housing index expected to show new price low
'Double dip' in home prices is official, and prices could drop more
Let me repeat: This is not a "double dip." It's a continuation of the overall downward trend. -- RF
Falling Home Prices Hit Big Banks, Fannie, Freddie
Home-price index falls to lowest point since 2002
Leaving North Las Vegas no option for many 'underwater' homeowners
Park visitation up but finances weak across US
"State parks across the country are looking at serious cuts in services, fee increases or even closures as lawmakers look for ways to deal with their budget crises."
Disasters wipe out jobs along with lives
This Brand New $105 Million High School In Riverside, California Is Too Broke To Hold Any Classes
Tacoma to study gang prevention, intervention
Michael Pento: Central Bankruptcy – Why QE3 is Inevitable
Time To Celebrate The Recovery: Food Stamp Usage Hits Fresh Record
Recession Sobers America's Once Free-Spending Teens
Debt-limit hike fails in House in symbolic vote

Monday, May 30, 2011


News Links, May 31, 2011

## Global economic meltdown/dollar dump ##
Greece set for severe bail-out conditions (FT)
"European leaders are negotiating a deal that would lead to unprecedented outside intervention in the Greek economy, including international involvement in tax collection and privatisation of state assets, in exchange for new bail-out loans for Athens."
Panic Capital Flight in Greece, Depositors Yank 1.5 Billion Euros in 2 Days;EU Wants Severe Bail-Out Conditions Including International Tax Collection (Mish)
EU Holds Unannounced Emergency Talks With Greece Over Weekend To Draft Second Bailout As Two Year Greek Bonds Pass 26%
Tensions Worsen Between Berlin and European Central Bank (Spiegel)
China Behind Massive Foreign Buying in Japanese Bonds
"China is stepping up buying in Japanese government bonds, particularly notes with less than one year to maturity, market players say, in what looks like a fresh drive to diversify its ballooning foreign reserves after U.S. government bill yields fell."
Country regions' needs ignored: mayors (Australia)
Just as in the US, there's no more money left to spend on regions with low population density. -- RF
UBS Seen 'Dire' Client Activity in Recent Weeks: Report
Mobius Says Another Financial Crisis 'Around The Corner'
"Are the derivatives regulated? No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes."
Swaziland king cancels silver jubilee amid economic crisis
HSBC Expands Yuan Offerings to Australia
"HSBC Holdings PLC plans to offer customers in Australia yuan-denominated financial products as part of the bank's efforts to roll out services using China's currency across the region."
Markets Fret About Euro 'Slow-Motion Car Crash'
Saudi moves to limit foreign workers' permits
"Saudi Arabia's labor minister says the kingdom will not renew work permits of expatriate workers who have been in the country for six years or more, a step aimed at boosting job opportunities for Saudis."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says? (The Independent)
Six killed as Yemeni forces fire at protesters in Taiz
Islamist militants control 2nd Yemeni town
Vietnam accuses China of cutting cables in seas dispute
DUBAI: A Skyline Built by Slaves
'Scores defect' from Gaddafi's army
Libya: Five generals defect as pressure mounts on Muammar Gaddafi
Al-Jazeera footage captures 'western troops on the ground' in Libya
Suicide attacks hit Somali capital
Gates: Defense Cuts Will Shrink U.S. Role Worldwide
Dempsey Would Support Keeping U.S. Troops in Iraq Past Deadline If Needed

## Global unrest ##
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest (AP)
Yemen, Syria Fire on Demonstrators
China to Change Mine Rules After Mongolia Unrest
China plans trial, tamps unrest in Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia protests prompt crackdown
"Hu Chunhua, Communist party chief in Inner Mongolia, orders censorship of information and clampdown on visitors."
Unrest biggest threat to business (Gulf News)
Meet the Oil-Rich Mid-East Monarchies Hell-Bent on Pushing Back the Democratic Revolutions of the Mideast
Spanish protesters say they won't give up
Hundreds in Paris demo modelled on Spain protest
Three killed as army enters central Syrian town
Gulf Air lays off hundreds, sales drop on unrest
"Gulf Air, Bahrain's loss-making national carrier, said it had laid off 200 employees and bookings were down a quarter following political and social unrest in Bahrain and the region."

## Energy/resources ##
Weathering The Storm: Above-Normal Hurricane Season Predicted
Libyan production unlikely to resume soon
Eskom walks tightrope to avoid power cuts (South Africa)
"With minimal spare capacity, an ageing infrastructure and the economy picking up, the company is walking a tightrope in its battle to prevent load shedding, when power utilities, long starved of investment, cut back supply."
S.Africa's Eskom secures $805.6 mln loan from US bank
Malaysia Raises Power Prices
"Malaysia raised electricity tariffs and the price of natural gas for the power sector as rising oil and gas prices have made its subsidy burden 'unsustainable.'"

## Got food? ##
Crop prices need to fall along with the rain
Russia Lifting Grain-Export Ban May Fail to Alleviate Global Crop Shortage
We had damn well better hope not. -- RF
World's largest E coli outbreak kills 14 in Germany
"More than 300 seriously ill in Germany as E coli bacterium spreads to other northern European countries."
World food aid programs see cuts
Venezuelans struggle to cope with soaring food prices, inflation tops Latin America
Farmers fear potentially crushing impact of carbon tax (Australia)

## Environment/health ##
Mercury, PCBs widespread in sport fish along California's urban coastline, survey finds
'Killer cucumbers' row breaks out between Spain and Germany

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Iran Vows to Unplug Internet
UK developing cyber-weapons programme to counter cyber war threat
Australia warns on cyber attacks on resource firms
Facing The New Dark Age: A Grassroots Approach
"Despite four decades of detailed warnings, industrial civilization has failed to turn aside from self-destructive policies of exponential growth and dependence on nonrenewable resources. At this point, stark limits of time and resources as well as a failure of political will make attempts to prevent the fall of industrial society an exercise in futility. Individuals, small groups, and communities can still prepare for the approaching crises by mastering low-tech survival skills now to lay foundations for a sustainable society in the future."

## Japan ##
Fukushima Risks Chernobyl 'Dead Zone'
"Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near Japan's crippled nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a "dead zone" remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded."
Fukushima forestry industry at risk of collapse due to ongoing nuclear crisis
No restart for south Japan reactors until safety assured
" Two nuclear reactors shut for maintenance in southern Japan will not be allowed to restart until Tokyo officials answer questions on safety policy, Saga prefecture's governor Yasushi Furukawa said on Monday."
Japan fails in promise to rehouse 30,000 victims
"The Japanese government has failed to live up to its promise to provide 30,000 temporary housing units for people who lost their homes in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, or who have been evacuated from villages close to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant."
Japan Development Bank Plans Auto-Parts Aid
S&P cuts TEPCO rating by 5 notches to junk status
Power and gas utilities to raise charges in July for 4th month on fuel price hikes
Japan continues to log trade deficit in early May

## China ##
Beijing loses its allure as grads put off by expense, pressures
Prices on rise for vegetables
Over-reliance on US dollar (China Daily)
China's Coal Prices Rise for a Seventh Week, Stockpiles Fall
China Raises Industrial Power Prices in 15 Provinces to Help Ease Shortage
OK, they bit the bullet, but now comes the inflation. -- RF
China's largest inland lake dries up as country battles drought
Drought parches China's 'land of fish and rice'

## UK ##
Orwell 2.0? De Montfort proposes wi-fi surveillance
Queen concerned that United Kingdom will be broken up
Top UK bosses 'see their pay increase by 32%'
BCC cuts growth forecast for the UK economy
Motoring groups demand petrol price investigation
It's speculators. -- RF

## US ##
New Mexico pushes ahead with spaceport despite setbacks
I'm speechless. -- RF
We've Gone from a Nation of Laws to a Nation of Powerful Men Making Laws in Secret
Empty summer in the city for kids hit by cutbacks
"Swimming pools are being closed; recreation centers are locking their doors; library summer reading programs are suffering; openings for short-term jobs have evaporated."
As Drug Shortages Rise, Hospitals Hunt For Substitutes
Wall Street "Vastly Underestimating" Risk of Debt Default
Sun is setting on rural post offices
Another chapter in the story of how rural and low-population regions are being abandoned. -- RF
New York City budget will decimate libraries
"New York City's billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced plans to cut nearly $100 million from the city's libraries."
Coal 'ghost towns' loom in West Virginia

Sunday, May 29, 2011


News Links, May 30, 2011

## Global economic meltdown/dollar dump ##
UAE mulls plan to buy Chinese currency
"The UAE Central Bank has held talks about buying Chinese assets as it mulls diversifying some of its foreign exchange reserves away from the US dollar."
IMF says reports on Greece missing fiscal targets untrue
Ireland May Need Another Loan From EU/IMF: Official
Europe Goes From Worse To Horrible: Ireland Broker Than Expected, Greece Mulls Splitting Up Into "Good" And "Bad" Greece
Tunisia needs $125 bln in funding over 5 yrs-report
"Tunisia's government said it needs $125 billion in funding over the next five years to finance a massive economic programme aimed at boosting growth and cutting unemployment, state-run news agency TAP said on Sunday."
A G8 Promise To The Middle East Already Broken

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Power cuts increase hardship in Libyan rebel mountains
Syria: Restive towns 'surrounded' by tanks
North Korea naval base nearly complete
"North Korea is close to completing a giant naval base near its sea border with South Korea, a government source told Yonhap Sunday."
Mexico Detains Nearly 50 Members Of La Familia And Zetas Drug Cartels
Afghan leader Karzai issues 'last warning' to Nato
Afghan police chief attack planned abroad: government
" Afghan leaders on Sunday appeared to accuse Pakistan of harboring insurgents behind a suicide bombing that killed one of the most powerful men in northern Afghanistan."
Shift in Taliban tactics alarms Afghanistan government
Japan military readies overseas base in Djibouti / 1st outpost abroad to help fight piracy

## Global unrest ##
Saudi Arabia Scrambles to Limit Region's Upheaval (NYT)
Latest developments in Arab political unrest stretching from North Africa to the Persian Gulf
S.Leone cuts fuel, rice prices to avoid protests
China Clamps Down in Bid to Halt Mongolian Protests
Blast at bus company kills 1 in central China
Greeks vent anger at entire political class
"Tens of thousands of Greeks vented their anger at the nation's political classes in Athens on Sunday, staging the biggest in a week of protests as the government seeks backing for yet more austerity."
Morocco police use truncheons to break up protest
"Police used truncheons to break up an anti-government protest in Morocco's commercial capital, Casablanca, Sunday and dozens of people were injured, Organizers said."
Yemen Unrest Spreads South
Israel braces for border clashes in coming days

## Energy/resources ##
Arab oil faces higher 'break-even' price
"A sharp rise in domestic government spending by Saudi Arabia and other key Arab oil exporters threatens to upset the mutually beneficial relationship they've kept for decades with energy consumers worldwide."
Tamping down unrest costs a lot of money. -- RF
US oil industry leads the way in extracting hard-to-get crude; steel to benefit
Oh, brother. -- RF
Consumer Corner: What's the real answer to replacing oil? (UPI)
"The darlings of the alternative energy debate long have been wind, solar and biofuels. But how practical is it to replace oil consumption?
"Scientist/futurist Chris Martenson says it's not. In 'The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment,' alternative fuels -- even some combination of all forms -- cannot replace world oil consumption -- 30.8 billion barrels in 2009."
Wind farms: Britain is 'running out of wind'
"Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation's growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed."
Grid access has become a nightmare for Inner Mongolia's burgeoning wind energy industry
Who turned out the lights in China?
Ice melt to close off Arctic's interior riches: study
Phantom Efficiencies: US Economy Still Running Very Slow (Gregor Macdonald)
"The US economy has derived phantom 'efficiencies' by plugging into cheap global labor – not cheap global energy."
Airline fuel bills today are anything but peanuts
"U.S. airlines burn an average of 22 gallons of fuel for every 1,000 miles each passenger flies. At $3.03 a gallon, airlines are currently spending $330 per passenger just on fuel for a 4,950-mile transcontinental round-trip."
New private power projects in India may not get domestic coal
Companies look for power way, way up in the sky

## Environment/health ##
German E. coli outbreak serious, European experts say

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Lockheed-Martin Attack Signals New Era of Cyber Espionage (PC World)
Vladimir Putin hints at Dominique Strauss-Kahn conspiracy
"Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, has hinted that Dominique Strauss-Kahn may be the victim of a conspiracy to force him from the head of the IMF."
Homeland-Security Business Still Booming Ten Years Later
Because it has a lot more to do with business than with security. -- RF
Terrorist 'pre-crime' detector field tested in United States

## Japan ##
Who would save Japan in a sovereign debt crisis?
Japan's dairy industry recovering, but challenges remain
Tokyo gov't adopts 'daylight savings time' in summer energy savings plan
Cooling interrupted at Fukushima No. 5
Pump failure nearly brings No. 5 to a boil
TEPCO believes stabilizing reactors by year-end impossible
Japan Fears Investment Outflows in Quake's Aftermath (WSJ)
"Even before the disaster, Tokyo had lost the hotly contested race to become Asia's financial center, with bankers migrating at a rapid clip to both Hong Kong and Singapore. Global giants such as Procter & Gamble Co. have farmed out certain divisions from Japan to Singapore over the years. This type of movement—given Japan's weak economic outlook and its shrinking population—is likely to continue."

## China ##
China's restive Inner Mongolia tense after demos
Three Gorges Dam: no more water to give
Two fresh water lakes shrink drastically
China Steel's Demand May Rise as Much 25% by 2015, Producers' Group Says
Chinese inflation likely above 5% in May

## UK ##
Long-term unemployment hits high - IPPR think tank
Bleak years ahead for Britain: BoE chief economist

## US ##
Michigan's Upper Peninsula struggles to survive
Sacramento, Roseville cops tell of brazen metal thefts
Flash Mobs Aren't Just For Fun Anymore
Flash mob business theft rising with new attack in New York City
Flash mob violence and robberies are just another sign of impending chaos and lawlessness. -- RF
Trucker disappears with $400K in crab meat
"A truck carrying $400,000 worth of Russian king crab from Los Angeles to Seattle has disappeared, apparently the work of an organized crime ring, police said."
Mysterious fund allows Congress to spend freely, despite earmark ban
Stock investors brace for next round of weak data

Saturday, May 28, 2011


News Links, May 29, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Greece denies missed fiscal targets, EU bickers
Turning Points of Empire's End? (Daily Bell; an interesting read)
Dubailand must be scaled down significantly - BMI
"A massive downsizing of the multi-billion dollar Dubailand project is needed to fit in with the "harsh realities" of Dubai's battered real estate market, according to Business Monitor International."
China's gold demand seen rising 17% in 2011
Why Global Infrastructure Is A $6 Trillion Opportunity
Absurd. The world can't even maintain what's built already. -- RF
Obama's Europe tour raises question of how much U.S. can afford to help

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
India again denounces U.S. military aid to Pakistan
Egypt permanently opens Gaza border crossing
Yemen: Hashid tribal fighters in ceasefire with Saleh
Police turn blind eye to Monterrey drug cartels
"Police corruption is so rampant in this city of four million that government officials believe at least half of the force is on the payroll of the gangs."
Suicide blast kills powerful Afghan police chief
"A suicide bomber killed one of the most powerful men in north Afghanistan on Saturday, underlining the spread of insurgent violence in once peaceful parts of the country and casting a shadow over plans for Afghans to take control of security"
Gaddafi to be told to stand down or face Apache attack
China reprimands Vietnam over offshore oil exploration
"China criticized Vietnam on Saturday for its offshore exploration of oil and gas in the contested South China Sea after Hanoi complained that three Chinese patrol boats had challenged a Vietnamese ship."
Can the U.S. afford a big Pacific realignment?

## Global unrest ##
Demonstrators paralyse Peruvian border town
UK training Saudi forces used to crush Arab spring
Hey, I thought the G8 countries were supposed to be helping the Arab Spring! -- RF
China police seal off restive Inner Mongolia towns
"Police sealed off parts of two county seats in China's Inner Mongolia for a second day Saturday in what residents described as a kind of martial law after protests triggered by the death of a Mongolian herder run over by a Chinese truck driver."
Atty. Gen. Holder Gets Grief in the Heartland; Protesters Interrupt Speech
Newsweek's Evan Thomas warns of US social unrest if debt situation not addressed

## Energy/resources ##
North Sea oil production shows biggest fall on record
Peak oil and the Fall of the Soviet Union: Lessons on the 20th Anniversary of the Collapse (TOD)
Councils warn street lights could go out (Australia)
Asia's increasing demand for wood drives sawlog prices up in the US and Canada
Can Germany Really Shut Down Their Nuclear Plants and Phase Out Fossil Fuels?
Alwaleed Says Saudi Arabia Seeks $70 to $80 Oil to Preserve Sales to West
Gas-hungry Asia looks to Australia
Coal market eyes growing China, India demand; Japan recovery

## Got food? ##
Russia to lift grain export ban after harvest increase
Inundated fields add to stressful spring for beleaguered farmers (Canada)

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Hackers Breached Security Networks Of U.S. Military Contractors, Says Source
US goes on offense against digital piracy
Honda Apologizes For Security Breach Involving Hacked Customer Database In Canada
Ratko Mladic capture: Was it all an elaborate set-up?

## Japan ##
Shirakawa Warns Against Losing Market Trust Amid 'Very Serious' Fiscal State (Nikkei)
Radioactive materials found off Miyagi and Ibaraki
Experiment to decontaminate farmland begins in Fukushima
53.1 billion yen needed to clean water

## China ##
35 million people affected by drought

## UK ##
Street lights to switch off this summer
Hay Festival 2011: more defence cuts would threaten American alliance, says General Lord Dannett
Nato set to close key naval headquarters at Northwood, Hertfordshire

## US ##
The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse (BusinessWeek)
Valero, Marathon, BP Start Texas Refineries After Power Loss
Drought Conditions in Texas Strain Power Transmission Lines
"A blackout in Texas City, Texas, may be the latest in a series of power failures caused by lack of rain, which helps clear electrical lines of deposits, according to Terry Hadley, a spokesman for the Public Utility Commission."
City institutes voluntary water rationing (Texas)
Philly mob, once written off, has bounced back
Parks around the US face economic stress this Memorial Day
"Visitors to national and state parks on Memorial Day may face reduced hours and services. States have budget problems, and national parks have nearly $11 billion in deferred maintenance."
For rank and file, wages are falling
Washington state bank is shut; 44 failures in 2011
Arizona Land Sells for 8% of Price Calpers Group Paid at Peak
Miserly used cars fetching a premium price
"A nationwide shortage of high gas-mileage used cars has driven up prices for many models, making it cheaper to buy a new car in some cases, automotive experts say."

Friday, May 27, 2011


News Links, May 28, 2011

## Global economic meltdown/dollar dump ##
Past Peak Oil - Why Time Is Now Short (Chris Martenson)
Welcome To Hyperinflation Hell: Following Currency Devaluation, Belarus Economy Implodes, Sets Blueprint For Developed World Future (Zero Hedge)
IMF may block aid payments to Greece, Juncker warns
Greek leaders fail to agree as IMF deadline looms
G8 pledges financial help for Arab Spring nations
Ivory Coast says needs 15-20 billion euros recovery funds
Serbia may ask IMF for 1 bln euros: IMF official
Japan's nuclear troubles extend into Russia
"The Russian used auto industry relies on used car shipments from Japanese companies that have dried up since the March earthquake and problems at the Fukushima plant."
In India, Bad Loans Rising
Fitch cuts outlook on Japan sovereign debt
EU to decouple energy from growth
"The European community needs to find ways to decouple economic growth from the rate of resource consumption to advance a green economy, an official said."
Last-ditch effort to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat. -- RF
Deficit Solution Unlikely Soon, Putting Dollar at Risk: Gross
Second Biggest Weekly Drop Ever In Treasurys Held In The Fed's Custodial Account As Foreigners Dump
IMF sees MENA region needing $160bn over three years

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Clinton in Pakistan, presses for more to quash
Israel struggles to stop weapons smuggling at sea
"Israel's navy is casting its net wider and deeper in an effort to stop Gaza militants from receiving weapons by sea, a difficult mission made harder, Israel says, by political turmoil in Egypt and the Egyptian decision to fully reopen its border crossing with Gaza."
East Libyans spend dwindling savings on bare basics
In Shift, Russia Offers to Help Ease Qaddafi Out in Libya
Israel wants to fast-track F-35 training
EU struggles to set one asylum policy
Yemen president launches air strikes as rebels advance towards Sana'a
Do the China-Pakistan pipeline shuffle
"From the Gwadar port complex to fighter jet sales, strained relations between the US and Pakistan are benefiting China."

## Global unrest ##
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest (AP)
In New Tack, Syrians Protest at Night to Elude Forces
Unrest chills investment in Syria, economy falters
Egyptian activists seek a 'Second Revolution'
Anti-military protest fills Egypt square
Greece: Police clash with doctors over health cuts
Anti-mining protest escalates in southern Peru
"Hundreds of demonstrators mobbed government buildings and burned police cars in southeastern Peru on Thursday as a protest against mining firms intensified 10 days before a presidential election."
China explosions expose raw nerve of forced demolitions
Unable to stop land grab, Chinese farmer set self afire

## Energy/resources ##
Global Tire Demand Exceeding Supply Helps Bridgestone, Goodyear, Sumitomo
"Rubber prices climbed 41 percent in the past year and reached a record in February after auto sales in China surged 32 percent in 2010 to an all-time high."
Johannesburg Announces Schedule for Possible Winter Outages, Citizen Says
"Johannesburg has set up a rolling power-blackout schedule in case electricity demand exceeds supply during winter, The Citizen reported, citing Louis Pieterse, City Power's director of engineering operations."
German Steel Industry Warns Of Rising Costs In Move to Renewable Energy
"Germany's steel industry said it fears costs for electricity could at least double to 400 million euros annually as the country seeks to move toward renewable sources of energy."
Ford Raises Car Prices—Again
"The latest increase, like the previous two, is due to Ford having to keep up with higher commodity prices."
Obama Orders 100% Alternative Fuels in Government by 2015
Biofuels will never fill the bill because they're too expensive. See following article. -- RF
Air Force Says Biomass-Based Jet Fuel is 10 Times the Cost of JP-8

## Got food? ##
Analysis: Bidding War Heats Up For Low U.S. Corn Supplies (Reuters)
"A bidding war is heating up among users of corn in the United States as livestock feeders and ethanol makers scramble to lock in supplies before extremely low stocks run dry by this summer.
"And it could escalate even more with any delay in harvesting the crop in the flood-ravaged U.S. South, or if China steps into the market to buy the grain held over from last year's harvest, as persistently rumored."
'Alarming' Increases Seen in Food Prices -- How much more can consumers stomach?
Gel-Suspended Mushrooms Could Save Us From Starvation
Food Prices Rise on Higher Wholesale Costs
China's Interest in Farmland Makes Brazil Nervous
"URUAÇU, Brazil — When the Chinese came looking for more soybeans here last year, they inquired about buying land — lots of it."
An obvious sign of food desperation among China's leadership. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Brazil Forms "Crisis Counsel" in Response to Dramatic Increase in Amazon Deforestation

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
The domino effect of IT failure
Skype Users Experiencing Two Days' Connection Problems

## Japan ##
Greenpeace accuses Tepco of nuke 'deceit'
Fukushima tsunami safety plan: a single page
Tepco Faces 'Massive Problem' Containing Radioactive Water at Fukushima
Fire at another TEPCO nuclear plant in NE Japan
Typhoon Strengthens, May Hit Fukushima Nuke Plant
Japan beats deflation for the first time in two years
This sounds like a good thing, but substantial food and fuel inflation could be the coup de grâce. -- RF
Japan Grows Leery of Luxury
Tokyo-Osaka maglev gets state OK
This represents the last throes of the dying industrial system, a waste of money and energy that could be put to far better uses. Needless to say there will be massive cost overruns, and the project will never be completed. And how do they intend to feed the prodigious power consumption of this monster? These are times when countries around the world, including Japan, face crippling power shortages. -- RF
Construction orders in April rise 45% on repair demand
There will be heavy reliance on construction in a desperate bid to keep the economy going. -- RF
8 Automakers' Domestic Output Fell Record 60% For April
Output fall at Toyota the biggest in 35 years
Sony TV woes spell more red ink ahead
Marine debris hampers fishing
Firms trying hard to cut electricity use
Cleaning Up Japan's Radioactive Mess with Blue Goo
Of course there is still the problem of where to dispose of the contaminated goo. -- RF

## China ##
Copper Premiums in China Advance to Seven-Month High as Demand Recovers
Analysis: Power crisis may force China to face inflation demons (Reuters)
"Confronting a huge and growing power crisis, China faces a painful choice: either allow a summer of blackouts or swallow a dose of inflation."
China reels under severe drought and power shortage
No electricity crisis in China: CEC
Just deny the problem. -- RF
Chinese airlines continue to hike jet fuel surcharge
Reservoir running low as Three Gorges Dam irrigates drought areas
China bad-loan surge coming: S&P

## UK ##
Bank of England's Spencer Dale warns of hard times

## US ##
Some Regions Of US Completely Abandoned
MUST READ. Such a short article, but the implications are enormous. Here we can actually see how the United States is beginning to fall apart. These are the first regions where economic depression will evolve into chaos and lawlessness. And it will happen in other countries, too, as energy becomes too expensive to hold them together. -- RF
Supreme Court upholds Arizona law designed to thwart illegal workers
Michigan changes fracking laws
Weak spending, flat wages may dampen recovery
Soggy Northern Plains braces for 2nd slug of water
Where Do You Fall on the Income Curve?
Georgia Farmers Say Immigration Law Keeps Workers Away
Gas tanks are draining family budgets
"The Risks Are Enormous": Why Morgenson and Rosner Are So Worried
"We have even more 'too big to fail' institutions; more politically interconnected, very deep and wide institutions that could create another systemic event."
Housing Apocalypse Tomorrow – 675,000 homes in foreclosure have made no payment in over two years. The never ending pipeline of troubled real estate. (Dr. Housing Bubble)
Pending Home Sales Plunge 11.6%
Two Men Caught Dismantling Manteca Railroad Tracks Hoping To Cash In On Metal
D.C. copper thieves may be posing as road crews

Thursday, May 26, 2011


News Links, May 27, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
China to Buy Europe Bailout Bonds
China Urges 'Democratic Consultation' Over IMF Head
UBS CEO's Nightmare
Economies around the world are growing more slowly
G-8 Says Commodity Rise Threatens Growth, Vows Deficit Cuts
Dubai World mulls refinancing a further $850m
Greece Is 'Insolvent,' Unlikely to Honor Debt, Issing Says
MIDF Downgrades Malaysia Airlines To A 'Sell', Reduces Target Price

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Syrian opposition calls on army to join revolt
Egypt to open its border with Gaza
Mexico gang shootout in Nayarit state kills 28
Headless corpses spark worries on Mexico's southern border
Hundreds flee drug violence - and their homes - in Mexico
Civil war looms as dozens killed in Yemen capital
Yemen Shortages Worsen as Street Violence Leaves Locals Searching for Food
Pakistan trims U.S. military mission as mistrust grows
"Pakistan's government has told the United States to halve the number of military trainers it has stationed in the country."
Iraq's Sadr rallies supporters against U.S. troop extension
"Anti-U.S. Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr brought thousands of Shi'ite supporters onto the streets of Baghdad on Thursday in a show of force against any extension of the U.S. military presence in Iraq past a year-end deadline."
Militiamen celebrate hatred of America (video)
Moqtada al-Sadr's troops aren't just a ragtag bunch of men with nothing but a charismatic leader. Here you can see they are dressed in uniforms and have received military drill. Further, by basing himself among the poor, al-Sadr is able to tap into a huge explosive pool of discontent. -- RF
Seven injured in Istanbul explosion
Spain says receives Libya ceasefire request
Lockheed proposes $5bn Aegis ships sale to Saudi Arabia
New China Missile Unit Near Taiwan: Spy Chief

## Global unrest ##
Blasts near east China government buildings injure five
G8 summit: Arab uprisings set to dominate agenda
Arab Spring makes world less peaceful for third year running
Up to 40,000 flee unrest in Sudan's Abyei: UN
Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars
Social networks power Spain protests
Georgian protest crushed as president blames Russia
"Georgian riot police used teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets on Thursday to halt five days of demonstrations against President Mikheil Saakashvili, who blamed the unrest on Russia."

## Energy/resources ##
Speculator Ghosts in the Oil Machine (More great observations from Gregor Macdonald)
"Persistent strength in the price of oil has once again unleashed maximum nonsense about the influence of speculators. Yes, it's painful that oil never returned to earth after its 2004 repricing. But, in the search for an explanation, substituting the arcane for the obvious will not help: speculators did not create 5-6 years of flat to falling global oil production. Furthermore, as oil made its way from below $25.00 to its new level at $100.00, more of the world's cheap oil from old reservoirs was swapped out for the new. Given that this new oil is much harder to extract, the world economy is lucky that oil remains so cheap. $100 is a bargain."
OPEC braces to meet rising oil demand
China Luring Crude From U.S. as Ecopetrol Targets Asia for Surge in Output
Singh stresses India engagement in Africa
The Implications of the Fukushima Accident on the World's Operating Reactors (video)

## Got food? ##
India not to allow wheat, rice export from govt stocks
Farmers kiss rice harvest goodbye (China)
Global Food Production May Be Hurt as Climate Shifts, UN Forecaster Says
Higher Food Costs Will Eat Into McDonald's Profit Margins

## Environment/health ##
Scientists doubt methane from BP oil spill is 'nearly all gone'
Brazil does away with laws to protect large swaths of rainforest
"Brazil's powerful agricultural sector has scored a major victory, with the approval by the lower house of Congress of a reform that would open up some protected forests to cropland and ranchers."
E.coli warning after Germany outbreak (UK)
Bedbug infestation index ranks New York as top American city

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Skype hit by global service crash
China confirms deployment of online army
US military set to lead on US domestic cyber-security
Inside the Global War to Stop Web Hackers

## Japan ##
Fukushima May Become Graveyard for Radioactive Waste From Crippled Plant
Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking like a sieve
Japan's Ricoh to cut 10,000 jobs
Cut, cut, cut. -- RF
Wary Japanese send sales of Geiger counters soaring
Greenpeace: Japan nuclear plant radiation accumulating in marine life
"Radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is accumulating in marine life off Japan's coast above legal limits for food contamination, Greenpeace said Thursday."
Farmers in 5 prefectures to demand TEPCO pay Y10 bil in damages
U.N. cites 'synchronous' infrastructure failure
Over 300 medical institutions in coastal areas hit by tsunami not operating
Toshiba backpedals on nuclear energy strategy
"With countries around the world rethinking their energy policies, Toshiba Corp. has been forced to retreat from its ambitious plan to sell nuclear reactors overseas and will focus more on renewable energy."
Japan: anti-government criticism on the rise

## China ##
China Steel Output May Fall From June on Power Cuts, Platou Says
China Auto Sales May Decline 10% This Year
Shanghai to ensure residents'power supply
"Shanghai power authorities have signed electricity use agreements with thousands of local enterprises to ensure residential compounds do not suffer blackouts in the summer, despite the 1.1 million kilowatt shortage the city is expected to experience."
Power shortages may close department stores (Shanghai)
Are China's Factories Running out of Power? (Jeff Rubin at Financial Sense)
China's annual gold demand to exceed 700 tons soon
More efforts needed to help Chinese graduates find jobs, gov't says
Fuel surcharges rise for the 3rd time this year
"Fuel surcharges for domestic flights rose again Thursday due to an increase in the procurement costs of aviation fuel, The Beijing News reported."

## UK ##
Councils urged over 'threatened' local roads
Alcohol-related hospital admissions reach record level
Government spending cuts may be going too fast, OECD warns
Rise in eastern European workers

## US ##
Las Vegas to build 500ft Ferris wheel, bigger than London Eye
More wreckage to decorate the post-industrial world. -- RF
Manufacturing growth slows to near zero in Fed's Kansas City district
"Manufacturing expansion plunges from 14 to 1 in a single month. Trend of manufacturing slowdown is consistent with reports from other Federal Reserve districts."
The Fed Does It Again: $80 Billion Secretive "Bank Subsidy" Program Uncovered, Providing Bank Loans At 0.01% Interest
Fed balance sheet hits another record size
Home sales: 28 percent involve foreclosure
Massive power outage knocks out service to thousands in western Pa.
Unemployment Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Increased to 424,000 Last Week
Cost to Insure U.S. "Ponzi Scheme" Against Default Rises Sharply
National Guard completes largest-ever exercise
Marine Chief Predicts Coming Budget Crisis Will Be the Worst One Yet
Army Considers Pack Mules to Move Equipment in Tough Afghan Terrain

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


News Links, May 26, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Belarus Headed for Economic 'Meltdown,' 51% Ruble Plunge, VTB Capital Says
High oil prices, oversupply in capacity may affect airlines' growth
OECD sees risk of 'stagflation' for global recovery
Global Crisis 'May Not Be Over Yet': OECD
"The US and Japan 'have yet to produce credible medium-term plans' to stabilise their debt, while other countries need to provide more clarity on how their fiscal consolidation targets will be met."
The Momentum Behind Gold Keeps Building
"Gold is gaining currency -- quite literally. On Monday, the European Parliament announced that it will allow central counterparties, or CCPs, to use gold as collateral."
Greece considers referendum on austerity: reports
How Long Before Greek People Demand Default?
Australia Home Loan Delinquencies Jump to Record on Rate Rises, Fitch Says
Systemic Risk Elevated
Toyota And Honda Head To The Slaughterhouse

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Tribal fighters barricade Yemeni capital
Yemen: Sanaa airport 'shut' as tribes battle Saleh
Chaos swirls in Yemen's capital as government buildings burn
"Yemen's capital city sank toward anarchy Tuesday as rival armies fought pitched battles in a neighborhood of middle-class homes and government offices in the worst violence to sweep this city since anti-government protests began nearly four months ago."
Pakistan: militants attack police station
Insurgents briefly capture Afghan district
China's growing presence in Africa (Reuters report)
Colombia vows to break up drug gangs, beat rebels
Tajikistan at growing risk of insurgency: report
Syria cuts diesel price by 25 pct amid unrest
U.K., U.S. To Establish Joint Strategy Board

## Global unrest ##
Week of Rage: Protests Spreading Worldwide (video)
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest
Where in the world could revolution strike next?
"You can make a good case for the financial crisis having created a wave of fractures throughout the supply chain and cutting global capacity across the board."
Africa turmoil looms over food price rise
"Africa is facing what African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka calls a "Molotov cocktail" of rising food and oil prices that analysts fear could trigger widespread political upheaval like that which has swept the Arab world since January."
Unrest in China after Mongol herder's death: group (AFP)
"Hundreds of ethnic Mongols have protested in China this week over the killing of a shepherd that has sparked online calls for even bigger future demonstrations, human rights organisations have said."
Economic unrest making world less peaceful - survey

## Energy/resources ##
Fukushima a stake through nuclear industry's heart
Crisis likely spells end for nuclear plant pursuit, Japan PM tells U.K. paper
U.S. sues big oil traders for 2008 manipulation
Waste Heat Recovery: The Next Wave of Clean Tech
This sounds great... but it's actually just another component in the dying industrial system. -- RF
The Saudi Arabia of Coal (and China's coal demand)

## Got food? ##
Locusts: looming in central Asia (FT)
"So severe is the situation that the FAO is launching a battle against locusts amid warnings that global food inflation has hit poorer countries in central Asia and the Caucasus particularly hard and could stoke social and political tensions like those in the Middle East."
Hedge fund managers pour assets into farmland as doomsday food scenario approaches
Food Inflation Accelerating as Nestle, McDonald's React to Commodity Surge
"U.S. food-price inflation may top the government's forecast as higher crop, meat, dairy and energy costs lead companies including Nestle SA, McDonald's Corp. (MCD) and Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFMI) to boost prices."

## Environment/health ##
Tuberculosis on the rise in France
Factory Farms Produce 100 Times More Waste Than All People In the US Combined and It's Killing Our Drinking Water

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Data Centers: The Energy Problem (US)
"According to a recent report from Pike Research on cloud computing and energy efficiency, data centers consumed 201.8 TWh (terrawatt hours) in 2010 and energy expenditures reached $23.3 billion. That's about the same amount of electricity needed to power 19 million average U.S. households."
Shanghai police employ 4,000 CCTV watchers
US to store passenger data for 15 years
Things Are Now Spinning Out Of Control
"The single greatest conceit of the Status Quo in the U.S., China and Euroland is that systems and trends can be tightly controlled. That conceit is slowly being revealed as hubris, as all sorts of things are spinning out of the control of the centralized authorities and financial elites in each geopolitical power center."

## Japan ##
Fukushima Reactor 1 Drywell Reading Hits All Time High 204 Sieverts/Hour
Two damaged reactors may have holes in their containment vessels: TEPCO data
TEPCO says meltdown likely at 2 other reactors
More radioactive water may leak from Fukushima plant
Ibaraki farmers to demand Y6.5 bil in damages from TEPCO
Citizens, local gov'ts target vending machines for energy saving
There has been a decades-long campaign against vending machines. -- RF
Summer power-saving goal to be eased for hospitals, trains
Summer Temperatures Likely Normal Or Higher In Most Of Japan
Japan reports April trade deficit of $5.6B
19 prefectures to join solar power project led by Softbank
How incredibly shortsighted. In the near future people will be ripping this junk up to free up the farmland. The day will come when people will gladly eat in the dark. -- RF

## China ##
China fears soaring inflation could bring street protests
Defying Planners, China's Utilities Cut Electricity Production (NYT)
"The companies say they face financial ruin if the government continues to tightly limit the prices they can charge customers."
China faces severe drought along Yangtze
China Real Estate: 100,000 Apartments Waiting To Be Sold In Beijing
China faces challenges in grain production

## UK ##
Dagong Cuts U.K. Debt Rating on 'High' Deficit, Economic Outlook
Interest rates must be raised this year, OECD warns
Libya Apache deployment signals Britain's escalating role in conflict
Ambitious Plan Launches to Establish Bee Corridors Across the U.K.

## US ##
Moody's: Commercial Real Estate Prices declined 4.2% in March, Hit new Post-Bubble Low
We've Just Breached the Debt Ceiling… Next Comes the Default
US Economy Damaged More Than Thought by Japan Quake
Durable-Goods Orders in U.S. Dropped 3.6% in April, the Most in Six Months
"Orders for U.S. durable goods dropped more than forecast in April, reflecting a slump in aircraft demand and disruptions in supplies of auto parts stemming from the earthquake in Japan."
Here Comes Another GDP Downgrade
$1 trillion on the table in debt talks
Pile of debt would stretch beyond stratosphere
Report: 'Unacceptable threat' from spent-fuel pools at US nuclear power plants
"Overcrowded spent-fuel pools at US nuclear power plants pose an 'unacceptable threat to the public,' says risk assessor. Much of the leaked radiation from Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi came from spent-fuel pools."
Home deconstruction: Can an entire house be recycled?
"Deconstruction of a home to reuse or resell its materials is gaining popularity as a more environment-friendly alternative to demolition. Sometimes it even saves money."
It's the wave of the future. -- RF
Retirement concerns plague baby boomers
Nearly Half of Americans Are 'Financially Fragile'
There's a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says
"You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it's worse than you've heard.
"Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a "dragnet" for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently."
Financial Benefits of a College Education Are Smaller Than You'd Think
FACTBOX-US oil refiners threatened by flooding rivers

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