Thursday, June 30, 2011


News Links, July 1, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
New Investment Strategy: Preparing for End Times
As battle rages outside, Greek MPs usher in an age of brutal austerity
Greece is First Car in Fiscal 'Train Wreck': RBA
German Banks Reach an Agreement on Rolling Over Greek Debt, Schaeuble Says
Selling gold teeth to make ends meet in Greece
Sri Lanka Allows Chinese Renminbi for Banking Transactions
Italy Approves Austerity Package to Stave Off Crisis
In Europe, late bill payments add to the squeeze
Mining Boom Makes Truck Tires Pricier Than Porsches, Condominiums in Miami
"Prices for tires about 3.5 meters (11 feet) across, used on the Caterpillar Inc. trucks that haul iron ore and coal, have touched $100,000 on the spot market, according to Leighton Holdings Ltd. (LEI), a contractor for mining companies including BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Anglo American Ltd. Prices rose as high as $150,000 in 2008."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Sadrists campaign to bar US troops from civilian buildings in Iraq
"BAGHDAD // The Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is leading a campaign to bar US troops from cities and government buildings to pressure Baghdad and Washington to remove American forces from Iraq by the year-end, officials said.
"Members of Mr Al Sadr's political movement have asked about 10 provincial councils in central and southern Iraq, including the capital, Baghdad, to pass resolutions to keep US forces out of cities and Iraqi facilities."
Pakistan stops US from using drone base
"Pakistan has stopped the United States from using an air base in the southwest of the country to launch drone strikes against militant groups, according to the country's defence minister.
"Ahmed Mukhtar told journalists on Wednesday that US officials had been told to leave the Shamsi base in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, Pakistani state media reported."
Chinese Mongolians protest again, herders beaten: rights group
"BEIJING, June 30, 2011 (Reuters) — Chinese police beat up and detained ethnic Mongolian herders who protested over the weekend against pollution caused by a lead mine, an overseas rights group said on Thursday, in the latest unrest to strike China's remote Inner Mongolia."
China cracking down on rights lawyers: Amnesty
"Beijing has unleashed an 'uncompromising' assault on China's legal profession, targeting human rights lawyers in an effort to head off social unrest, Amnesty International said Thursday.
"The move was a bid to control rights lawyers who take on sensitive cases as fears mount that uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa could take root in the world's most populous nation, the rights group said in a new report."
Is China facing a summer of discontent? Upturn in mass protests and "unprecedented display of police strength"
Mob justice on the rise (South Africa)

## Energy/resources ##
Renewables Boom Could Strain Germany's Grid
"An uncontrolled renewable power expansion in Germany could threaten the stability of energy grids, the head of energy agency Dena told Reuters on Wednesday.
"Failure to connect new capacity near demand centers or near transport grids or storage facilities would waste assets or put at risk the grids' stability, said Dena's director, Stephan Kohler, in an interview on the sidelines of a sector conference."
What's the energy source? What's the EROEI? I wouldn't get excited. -- RF
Steelmakers unable to pass on soaring costs
"RIO DE JANEIRO (MarketWatch) -- Steelmakers globally are unable to pass on rising raw materials costs to their customers, and industry profit is shifting to mining companies, a Brazilian Steel Institute, or IABr, official said Tuesday."
Oil-Rich Middle-East Running Low on Gas: Analyst
"With half the world's known reserves of oil and gas sitting in the fields of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and the rest of the region, not many people think of the Middle East as having problems with energy.
"However, analysts at HSBC said that low, subsidized prices across the region are driving fuel shortages and this means the major producers in the region are going to need to spend huge amounts on new refining capacity to meet demand."
"As metal prices continue to climb, theft along Germany's railways has reached record levels. The missing parts are not only dangerous, the delays and cancellations they cause are damaging Deutsche Bahn's reputation."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Biggest-ever criminal botnet links computers in more than 172 countries
"Computer security experts say they have detected what appears to be the world's largest-ever computer 'botnet,' a network of millions of computers controlled clandestinely by a criminal cyber gang with roots in Eastern Europe.
"No one yet knows for sure just how many million 'zombie' computers are under the thrall of this still-unnamed massive botnet, but it sprawls across 172 countries, according to Unveillance, the Wilmington, Del., botnet-tracking firm that announced the discovery Wednesday."
Jihadist web forum knocked off Internet
"A popular jihadist Internet forum has been knocked off the Internet, and counterterrorism experts say it appears it was hacked.
"Cybersecurity analysts say the al-Shamukh forum appears to have been taken down by a fairly sophisticated cyberattack that hit not only the website, but the server — which is the main computer that enables people to access the site over the Internet."

## Japan ##
"The country's manufacturers have been working around the clock to rebuild facilities and get back into production, even with reliable power scarce as utilities work to restore infrastructure back to full capacity. Despite these efforts, experts say it could take years before Japanese industry returns to pre-disaster production levels."
"An invasion of jellyfish into a cooling water pool at a Scottish nuclear power plant kept its nuclear reactors offline on Wednesday, a phenomenon which may grow more common in future, scientists said."
Revealed: British government's plan to play down Fukushima
Cargo theft report shows more organized load heists
"Electronics, building supplies and food remained top targets for thieves in the months of March through May, even though organized crime is dipping into cargo theft more, a recent report says."...
"The most targeted products, FreightWatch said, were copper, steel, aluminum, laptops, televisions, computers, audio equipment, chicken, beef, candy and frozen food."
Smaller Businesses Seeking Loans Still Come Up Empty
"Small businesses expected 2011 to be the moment a years-long credit freeze would finally begin to thaw. But borrowing has only gotten worse."
10 Mile Mandatory Evacuation Area Around Ft. Calhoun Nuke Plant (Daily Paul)
Calif. Legislature OKs deep spending cuts
"California lawmakers have passed a budget with deep spending cuts for higher education, programs for the poor and the first park closings in state history."
Texas Cotton Farmers May Abandon Record Acres Because of Drought
"'This year will probably rank among the top abandonments,' said John Robinson, a professor and extension economist at Texas A&M University in College Station. 'The situation looks very grave.'"
"[The manager] said the reason El Paso residents have experienced so many small power outages in the past few weeks is that many of the transformers were not built to handle new appliances like large-screen television and refrigerated air conditioners. Once people add these appliances to their homes, the load becomes too heavy for the transformers and they blow out."
"'It's very difficult to find the right person, and there's all walks of life trying to find jobs. I honestly think there's a large swath of unemployable,' said Russo, whose firm manufactures and supplies analytical standards. 'They don't have any skills at all.'"

And finally...

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