Wednesday, June 22, 2011


News Links, June 23, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
PIMCO's El-Erian predicts Greece, others will default
Papandreou Allowed to Continue from Frying Pan to Fire (Spiegel)
Greeks Turn Savings To Gold And Perth Mint Silver Coin Sales Surge To Record On Safe Haven Demand
Trade Data Suggest Slowdown
"World trade volumes fell in April for the first time since September 2010, a fresh indication that the global economy is slowing."
Trichet Says Risk Signals 'Red' as Debt Crisis Threatens Banks
"European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said risk signals for financial stability in the euro area are flashing "red" as the debt crisis threatens to infect banks."
U.N. warns austerity plans damage economic recovery
IMF Sees 'Considerable' Risks in Spain
Vietnam only behind India in gold hoarding
Japan quake to hit supply chain for rest of 2011
Are we facing a hard drive shortage? Don't panic yet.
Iraq's moribund manufacturing sector appeals for help
"Growing Your Way Out of Debt" Is A Fantasy
BP Report Shows Economic Growth Still Dependent on Oil (Jeff Rubin)
Korea to Tighten Loan-Deposit Ratio Rules for Banks to Tame Household Debt
"South Korea's finance regulator plans to tighten rules related to banks' loan-to-deposit ratios as the government seeks to rein in rising household debt in Asia's fourth-largest economy."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Solons get into Spratlys act (Philippines)
"A HOUSE resolution seeking an inquiry into Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Seas (South China Sea) was filed by Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares."
China warns US to stay out of South China Sea disputes
China, Vietnam engage in joint naval patrols
Deaths of seafarers in Somali pirate attacks soar
UN warns of new peak in Somali pirate attacks
China's power play for Africa alarms U.S.
Special Report: Europe's other crisis

## Global unrest ##
Greek government wins confidence vote as protesters dispersed with tear gas
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest
UN's Ban Urges Security Council Action to Halt Syria Unrest
Factbox: Strikes and protests hit Europe in wake of austerity

## Energy/resources ##
California's water woes worsen
Peru's Central Bank warns of risk of electricity rationing by 2012
"The Central Bank (BCR) issued a warning that would affect thousands of Peruvians. It noted that in mid-2012 the country's major cities could face rolling blackouts or electricity rationing, either temporarily or partially, reports Gestión."
KLM to turn used cooking oil into aviation biofuel
People never seem to think about where the cooking oil comes from. -- RF
China's rare-earth metals exports slide after Beijing tightened controls
Chinese Energy Policies Harming Neighbors
Energy Policies and Oil Supply (Gail Tverberg)
Tverberg's delivery is low-key, but the implications are great. An interesting read. -- RF
Sharjah gives ENOC 72 hours to resolve fuel shortage
Sudan: Fuel Shortages Grip Country
Diesel, kerosene & LPG price hike coming in July (India)
"NEW DELHI: The government will raise diesel, cooking gas and kerosene prices next month after a gap of one year as cash-strapped state firms say their borrowings have risen alarmingly and they will be forced to cut fuel supplies, starting with cooking gas."
Thermal power plants face coal shortage
"HYDERABAD: All thermal power plants in the state are in critical state as they have a coal stock of less than seven working days. With the strike by the workers in Singareni Collieries entering the third day on Tuesday, a major power crisis is staring at the state."
Saudi Arabia Is Probably Producing More Oil, IEA's Fyfe Says
Probably. -- RF
Vietnam power demand seen up 15 pct/yr in next five yrs -EVN
"Vietnam may face 'energy emergency' as manufacturers face cuts"

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Must Read: 'Rampant' theft threatens to delay U.S. 95 project
"One project subcontractor estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of steel rebar have disappeared from the construction area in the past week alone. A few weeks ago someone stole the battery out of his forklift.
"Other subcontractors have reported losing thousands of dollars in copper wiring, aluminum for concrete frames and thousands of gallons of fuel, sucked out of parked equipment.
"Most surprising is when the wires are stolen after they are installed, sometimes requiring the thief to cut through some carrying electricity. On occasion, freeway lights have gone out, making the area more dangerous for motorists."
Comment: No doubt the stolen materials and fuel will be fenced. But such extensive crippling of infrastructure work also reveals that the thieves don't see great importance in the freeway, which has until now been a major symbol and embodiment of US industrial society and its unprecedented mobility. This is a harbinger of bigger changes to come. -- RF

## Got food? ##
Inflation in India May Quicken on Forecast for Deficient Monsoon Rainfall
France Warns of Hunger as Farm Ministers Meet
AZ food prices continue to rise, fuel prices to blame
Major Kenyan towns hit by flour rationing

## Environment/health ##
Weather is costly – up to $243 billion a year (US)
Minot, North Dakota Flooding: Thousands Flee As Officials Warn City Could Be Under Water Soon
Five million Pakistanis at risk from floods, says U.N.
Stressed in the city? Urban life may change your brain
Scarlet fever strikes Hong Kong

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Bitcoin Exchange Hacked for Nearly $9 Million
TSA Conducted More Than 8,000 VIPR Operations Last Year Searching Cars, Buses, Ferries, and Trains
LulzSec hits Brazilian websites
Australia considers fingerprinting women in burkas
F.B.I. Seizes Web Servers, Knocking Sites Offline
Pentagon gets cyberwar guidelines
"President Barack Obama has signed executive orders that lay out how far military commanders around the globe can go in using cyberattacks and other computer-based operations against enemies and as part of routine espionage in other countries."

## Japan ##
Tokyo bakes as temperature tops 30 C
Power Usage Tops Tepco's Projection On 1st Hot Day Of Summer
And the real heat doesn't start until the rainy season ends. This is ominous. -- RF
Energy-saving campaign begins in western Japan
"Seven prefectural governments in western Japan launched an energy-saving campaign Wednesday, with Hyogo starting daylight saving time, Kyoto halting half its elevators and copy machines and Osaka calling for air conditioner temperature settings to be increased by 1 degree Celsius."
Consumption tax burden will hit the poor
"Japan was broke even before the earthquake-tsunami-meltdown. Now, of course, the situation is even grimmer. An aging, increasingly welfare-dependent society must reconstruct an entire region reduced to rubble. Where will the money come from?"
82 millisieverts outside zone seen
"Cumulative radiation outside the 20-km radius of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the past three months has reached as high as 82 millisieverts, more than four times the limit of 20 millisieverts a year, a science ministry estimate showed Tuesday."
Pressure from quake-wary foreign clients force Japanese companies to take production abroad
Tankan survey to show falling business sentiment after quake: poll
"The Bank of Japan's Tankan business sentiment survey will likely mark a sharp fall in sentiment among both manufacturers and nonmanufacturers in June due to the earthquake and tsunami in March, a Kyodo News poll showed Tuesday."
Moody's cuts TEPCO credit rating to junk status

## China ##
CPI set to reach new high in June
Chinese Interbank Liquidity Freeze Continues For Third Day, Will Persist As Inflation Expected To Rise Over 5.5%
World's 3rd tallest building design unveiled
"The Wuhan Greenland Center, developed by the Shanghai-based Greenland Group and designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) - who created the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Nanjing Greenland Financial Center - will take five years to build and stand at 606 meters tall."
China Housing Boom Spreads to Smaller Cities
Power plant losses continue to add up
"China is still facing the challenge of power shortages as summer approaches, despite the central government's efforts to control coal prices and ensure electricity generation, an industry insider said."

## UK ##
House prices: four in five homes worth less than five years ago
48% of motorists are 'cutting back on driving' for financial reasons
Police database will share data on 15 million people

## US ##
Study: $1400 Tax Hike Needed to Fund US Pensions
"U.S. state and local governments will need to raise taxes by $1,398 per household every year for the next 30 years if they are to fully fund their pension systems, a study released on Wednesday said."
U.S. Postal Service to Stop Paying Into Worker Pension Fund
"The U.S. Postal Service, facing insolvency without approval to delay a $5.5 billion payment for worker health benefits, will suspend contributions to an employee retirement account to save $800 million this year."
Wisconsin State Assembly Approves Measure Allowing Concealed Weapons In Public
California stops lawmakers' wages until budget balances
Some cities may scrap Rose Parade floats amid budget crises
We Are Japan, But On Fast Forward
A trillion in corporate cash will help shareholders, create no new jobs
Cargo theft on the rise: 'Freight at rest is freight at risk'
Personal car-sharing takes off as states ease insurance laws
The Bitter Medicine for the United States
Housing crisis leaves ghost town in Nevada (CNBC video)
Taking troops out of Afghanistan won't stop war costs
Employment Faces Grim Decade Ahead
Government job cuts hurt cities
CBO: Debt crisis looms absent major policy changes

And finally... Some Of The Best Finds In Europe's Massive Asset Yard Sale
Toy Security Wand Lets Kids Play At Being TSA Agents

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