Monday, May 23, 2011


News Links, May 24, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Euro-Zone Growth Slows to 7-Month Low
Spanish, Greek, Italian Bond Yields Spike On Concerns
China Slowdown Concerns Drag Down Asia Shares
How Spain could rip the eurozone apart
The Euro Doom Scenario Starts With What's Happening In Spain Right Now (Automatic Earth)
Greece to start selling domestic assets to ease debts
CHART OF THE DAY: Why An Italian Debt Crisis Should Scare The Crap Out Of Everyone
Italy to bring forward deficit-cutting decree: sources
"Italy will bring forward to next month plans for slicing 35-40 billion euros ($50-$56 billion) off its budget deficit, government sources said on Monday, moving to reassure markets after a credit rating warning."
Emerging countries push back on picking IMF chief
Airline shares hit by Icelandic volcano ash fears
US Worse Off Financially Than Euro Nations: Walker
Belarus Just Devalued Its Currency By 56%
Long lines and empty shelves around currency devaluation in Belarus
US Backs Egyptian Bond Issuance, Gives New $1 Billion Issue "Sovereign Guarantee"
Dubai has 'more than enough' malls, says BinHendi
"If anyone wants to add another mall, they need to visit a psychiatrist."
Fitch Revises Belgium Outlook To Negative
Daily Austerity Watch: Organized Labor Losing Credibilty

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
18 hour raid at Karachi naval base heaps humiliation on Pakistan
Pakistan turns to China for naval base (Financial Times)
"Pakistan has asked China to build a naval base at its south-western port of Gwadar and expects the Chinese navy to maintain a regular presence there, a plan likely to alarm both India and the US."
In Yemen, Saleh's military forces showing signs of strain
Gunbattle in Yemen as transition deal collapses
EU imposes sanctions on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
Attack helicopters to boost NATO in Libya
"French foreign minister says France and Britain are deploying attack helicopters to better target Gaddafi forces."
The Youth Revolution Spreads to Europe
"The sweep of uncertainty and chaos is evident everywhere you look: America. The Middle East. China. Japan. Europe. Even Africa."
German Armed Forces Cut By One-Fifth In New Shake-Up

## Energy/resources ##
Iraq Says it Signed Deal to Import Iranian Natural Gas for Power Plants
Scottish Wind Farms Paid to Shut Down Generation
"According to the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), the amount of public cash paid to the companies amounts to a staggering 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been generated."
Water shortage may not get over soon (India)
Cold fusion, redux
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a free lunch. And the consequences, often not immediately apparent, are greater than we imagine. Even if cold fusion works, what will the cost be? We are still paying the costs of Bhopal and CFCs. And humanity will for thousands of years be paying the costs of nuclear fission, which went from being "too cheap to meter" to a disaster-strewn, ghastly burden to be shouldered by countless future generations. Watch cold fusion carefully. Many promises will be made, few if any will be kept. Remember: megatech is the gift that keeps on giving. -- RF
North Africa's Solar Energy Desert Plan Comes Under Fire
Why oil prices will spike again soon (CNN Money)
"Energy prices have been coming down this spring as fears of a Middle East blowup fade. But persistent global demand, tepid supply growth and easy money mean it may not be long till the next damaging spike, Goldman Sachs economists say."
Alternative Energy Watch: Too Much Water, Too Much Gas, Too Much Wind
"The expansion of wind generation in the US has reached the point where continued development is just as likely to depend on grid capacity as on demand for electricity."

## Got food? ##
Northern Europe's farmers fear drought as bad as 1976
Producers feeling the pinch from many angles (US)
"Four dollars a gallon for diesel, ever-increasing electric rates, piles of manure and a backed-up spring planting season."

## Environment/health ##
Seagrasses face extinction threat

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
What the Internet knows about you
Autocratic regimes fight Web-savvy opponents with their own tools
Data Centers Face Growth Challenges
"More than a third (36%) of data center facilities will run out of space, power, or cooling, or all the above in 2011 or 2012."

## Japan ##
Sony to report Y260 bil loss
5-10% salary cuts agreed for central government employees
SDP adopts plan to get nuclear plants eliminated by 2020
NTT Docomo to close offices Mondays, Tuesdays to save electricity
Chubu Electric Rustles Up 730,000kw Of Extra Capacity
"Although this means the central-Japan-based utility will be able to provide roughly 5% more power than the expected peak demand, it will still fall short of the 8-10% backup considered vital for a stable supply."

## China ##
Severe Electricity Shortages Crippling East China's Industrial Province
Worst drought in 50 years plagues Yangtze River
Chinese forces detain 300 Tibetan monks for a month: sources
Hong Kong's April Inflation Accelerates to 32-Month High on Food, Housing
China Manufacturing May Slow on Tightening Steps
"A Chinese manufacturing index fell to its lowest level in 10 months, adding to signs that economic growth is cooling after the government raised interest rates and curbed lending to rein in inflation."

## UK ##
Water bills could rise in summer
Asians 42 times more likely to be held under terror law

## US ##
QE2 was a bust: Economic data is worse than before (MarketWatch)
David Stockman: "Both Parties And The White House Are Advocating A US Default"
LA gets tough with banks for foreclosure blight
Lenders now own 872,000 homes
"U.S. banks and money lenders now own 872,000 homes, a number that could more than double in the coming years, real estate research firm RealtyTrac said."
Day of reckoning for commercial real estate in 2012 – largest amount of loans maturing next year as $150 billion in CRE debt comes due.
Janet Yellen's QE2 Promise Now Dying on the Vine, in California
Watch: Crumbling U.S. infrastructure again on display
Silver prices settle, but sales continue to soar
"Consumers head to pawn shops, antique dealers, Tupperware-party-style events"
State and local governments may cut 450,000 jobs in FY2012
Downsize, downsize, downsize. -- RF
The Pentagon Confronts New Enemy: Rust
Everything in industrial civilization is rusting away, and we don't have enough money (energy) to maintain or replace all of it. Many of us remember Matt Simmons' presentation on how the world's oil infrastructure is rusting away. -- RF
Spillway flood could cause $2 billion in damage
Illinois plan to cut mortgage debt is making waves
"A pilot program close to getting off the ground in Illinois seeks to use $100 million in taxpayer dollars to help potentially thousands of troubled mortgage holders in the state who owe more than their homes are worth."

And finally... Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

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