Sunday, July 31, 2011


News Links, August 1, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Reid Approves U.S. Debt Agreement Pending OK From Caucus
Dollar May Bounce on Downgrade, but Destiny is Dark
Global Confidence in U.S. Treasuries Has 'Slightly Eroded,' Lagarde Says
Bond Downgrade Likely Consequence Of Debt Ceiling Increase
World warns of disaster if no debt deal done
Meet the countries in the Triple-A debt club
Report: HSBC plans to announce 10,000 job cuts

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Rise of the Radical Right (Foreign Policy)
Japan coast guard warns Chinese ship sailing near disputed island chain
Syrian oil pipeline bombed

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Belarus Drafts Law Against Peaceful Gatherings
Pakistan's violence spree continues in Karachi and Quetta
Fifteen die in bomb and knife attacks in restive Chinese province of Xinjiang
"At least 15 people have died in a weekend of violence in China's restive far western province of Xinjiang, as fears rise that tensions between the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority native to the region and the majority Han Chinese are set to explode again."
Syria: 100 die in crackdown as Assad sends in his tanks
Chile Copper Sector in Chaos as Another Mine Strikes
"Workers at the world's No. 3 copper mine, Chile's Collahuasi, put down their tools over unmet labor demands on Saturday, compounding worker unrest as a strike at top global copper mine Escondida entered a ninth day."
$230,000 For a Guard Dog: Why the Wealthy Are Afraid Of Violence From Below
4 Arrests in Center City Flash Mob
"A group of disruptive teens assaulted and robbed several pedestrians in Center City Friday night, according to police."
Thousands protest in Israel over house prices and low salaries
"Up to 150,000 protesters took to the streets in cities across Israel on Saturday night in the biggest demonstrations the country has seen in decades to demand action on rising house prices and rents, low salaries, the high cost of raising children and other social issues."
Israel's Finance Ministry chief resigns amid growing civil unrest
Israel warns of 'anarchy' if it meets all reform demands
"(Reuters) Israel's government hit back on Sunday at protests against the rising cost of living, saying some reforms being demanded might lead to economic crises like those besetting parts of Europe and the United States."
Mob attack three persons on suspicion of being witches (India)
Arab unrest, high food prices cast pall on Ramadan
Moscow, St Petersburg police detain dozens of demonstrators

## Energy/resources ##
EPA gas mileage ratings don't add up in real world
"The EPA's tests that measure a vehicle's fuel economy are outdated. They're conducted with professional drivers inside of laboratories using better-performing fuel and with air conditioning turned off for most of the ride."
Fire stations may stop functioning by tomorrow (Pakistan)
"Fuel supply to the Fire Department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation has not yet been restored and it is feared that all the 21 fire stations of the city would stop functioning by Monday in case diesel was not provided to them, The News learnt on Saturday."
Iran says oil payment row with India resolved
Nova Scotia gas stations running out of fuel

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Rail industry joins forces to combat cable theft (UK)

## Got food? ##
Asian nations grapple with soaring food prices
EU Wheat Harvest to Fall 1.6% on Lower Area, Crop Unit Says
Ukraine hikes grain harvest estimate - again

## Environment/health ##
Heat wave threatens elderly in remote towns

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
A New Way Around Internet Censorship?

## Japan ##
Floods threaten thousands in northern Japan
Iwate to join cattle ban; hundreds more suspected tainted
Strong yen to sink earnings targets
"The sagging dollar is putting pressure on manufacturers as yen's resultant surge to the ¥76 range brings it well below the ¥82-¥83 range most Japanese manufacturers used in their 2011 business forecasts, economists warned."
Rising yen hits companies hard / Analysts fear hollowing out of industries
Livestock farmers in despair
Japan increasingly alarmed U.S. may miss debt deadline - sources

## China ##
Shangai's economic growth rate to slow, state media says
Fishing ban in South China Sea to end on Aug. 1
Chinese Media Resist Restrictions on Rail-Crash Coverage

## UK ##
BOE May Keep Rate at 0.5% as Recovery Weakens

## US ##
Reid tentatively backs deal to raise debt ceiling
Political left and right decry debt-ceiling deal
Debt ceiling compromise is likely to mean further fiscal challenges for states; cuts expected
Chinese rush to buy US land
L.A. considers putting zoo operations in private hands
Recession increasing burn out in employees
Filed Under Exponential
Industrials Sector Collapses
"Since the S&P 500 made its intraday high on July 7th, things have sold off quite a bit. Nothing has sold off more than the Industrials sector."
PIMCO's Gross: U.S. is 'debt man walking' (CNN Money video)
Stocks lose $700B in value this week
Why Are Banks Bulldozing Foreclosures?
Oklahoma City sets record water usage despite rationing

And finally... Burglar breaks into house smears it with peanut butter and jelly

Saturday, July 30, 2011


News Links, July 31, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Spain in 'Danger Zone' on Europe Crisis: IMF
South America Plans Summit on Defending Currencies, Economies From Crisis
The banana fungus isn't the only contagion that will sooner or later arrive in South America. -- RF
For Investors, Cash Is King
A U.S. Sovereign Credit Downgrade Is No Laughing Matter
"China, as the largest foreign holder of the U.S. debt, is totally freaking out."
Food, transport costs push up Qatar inflation
Platinum's a precious metal, too
U.S. poised to join China, Spain in double-A club

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Report: Iraq Deadlier Now Than A Year Ago
Turkey's military in turmoil as top brass quit
Turkey's Erdogan Closer to Control of Army
Islamists threaten to outmanoeuvre secularists in post-revolution Egypt
Iraq boosts purchase of U.S. jets, but still no decision on troops
Egypt: Militants attack gas pipeline to Israel
Chinese Vessel Spotted Again Near Senkaku Islands
India plans better housing facilities for urban poor
Philippines seeks regional backing for sea dispute
"The Philippines said Friday it was seeking the backing of Southeast Asian governments for its proposal to demilitarize disputed areas in the South China Sea and separate them from non-disputed waters."
Europe's Right-Wing Populists Find Allies in Israel

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Thousands protest in Yemen amidst tensions
NATO Seeks to Return Order Amid Kosovo Unrest
Flash Mob Store Robberies Now a Burgeoning YouTube Trend
Moroccan king urges prompt elections
Syrian tanks shell restive oil hub
As unrest grows, focus turns toward tycoons (Israel)
"The latest signs on Rothschild Boulevard may indicate the new target: the country's tycoons, who control most sectors of the economy, including real estate, communications, journalism, retail, manufacturing, construction, banking, pension savings and energy. The term 'economic concentration' is increasingly popping up at the protest."
Israeli students angry about economy
Anger Tsunami: Mass protest wave reaches Israel (RT video)
"People have been chanting 'revolution.'"
Thousands march in new Bahrain protests
"Tens of thousands marched outside Bahrain's capital Manama on Friday to protest against the results of a National Dialogue they said had failed to bring real democratic reform in the Gulf island kingdom."
Coal barons sowing the seeds of unrest (Australia)

## Energy/resources ##
China's nuclear power developers seek equity investors amid credit crunch
"BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) -- China's nuclear power developers are turning to equity investors for funding as interest rate hikes and Japan's nuclear crisis have resulted in fewer bank loans."
The bright future of solar powered factories
The observation about the need for concentrated heat to power industrial processes is correct, but solar will never provide heat energy that is sustained and on the scale that fossil fuels now provide. Get ready for severe downsizing. -- RF
Posco to raise stainless steel price $95 per ton

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Bahamas Government Statement on the Export of Scrap Metal
"On July 27 the Government imposed a ninety day ban on the export of scrap metal and copper in response to the widespread theft of copper and various metals."

## Got food? ##
China and Russia Are Snubbing American Chicken
"U.S. poultry producers are suffering as leg and thigh exports wither"

## Environment/health ##
Superbugs may be here to stay

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
AT&T to Curb Browsing Speed for Heavy Users
"AT&T Inc. (T), the largest U.S. phone company, will curb browsing speeds for its heaviest users on unlimited wireless data plans to cope with surging data traffic."
Monsanto is Having a Bad Month
Company official beaten, website hacked
Biographer predicts News Corp. will oust Murdochs within 60 days

## Japan ##
Japan now overwhelmed by flooding (video)
In videos and photos of the flooding, I see a lot of flooded farmland. Soon we should be seeing estimates of lost food production, which will be a second body blow after the huge loss of agricultural production due to the earthquake and tsunami. -- RF
Tepco Says 15% Power Saving Achieved On 11 Of 20 Weekdays In July
Government faces reality of limited power supply
"'Stopping even one thermal power plant will jeopardize the balance of power supply and demand,' a senior official of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said."
Japan's vehicle output plunges 29% in 1st half of 2011
Chubu Electric expects 170 bil. yen group operating loss for FY 2011
Hokuriku Electric incurs 36.9% net profit dive amid reactor stoppage
Tohoku Electric remains in red in April-June qtr on quake effects
Hitachi's 1st quarter profit pulled down by quake
"Hitachi Ltd. said Friday its group operating profit in the April-June first quarter of fiscal 2011 fell 40.8 percent from a year earlier to 52.40 billion yen due mainly to supply disruptions caused by the March 11 disaster."
Hundreds More Cattle Found Shipped After Being Fed Tainted Straw

## China ##
Electricity use is expected to peak in August
China warns of tight power market despite a better summer start
Some China rail crash families reject compensation offer
Chinese apply pressure to quell train collision criticism
Battery issues dog China's e-taxis (video)

## UK ##
Parking charge increases across UK spark anger
Royal Mail to leave mail with neighbours if you are out
Rogue landlords flourish as would-be buyers forced to rent

## US ##
David's take: Banks operating on 'code red alert' because of crisis
US municipal bonds may tip cities into bankruptcy
The muni-bust beat goes on. Meredith Whitney is right. And she knows it. -- RF
Central Falls Has One More Weekend To Avoid Municipal Bankruptcy
Jefferson County Sets Date For Bankruptcy Decision
27 rifles stolen from California military base
Treasury Yields Fall to 2011 Lows Amid Deadlock
Whatever The Outcome Of The Debt Vote, The Age Of Austerity Is Here
In South Florida, fear of U.S. default
Banks prepare for federal cash crunch
Budget, debt worries plague troops
White House says supports bill lifting debt limit to 201
Primary Dealers Met With Treasury on Debt Ceiling, Auctions
"The U.S. Treasury Department met with bond dealers in New York to discuss next month's quarterly auctions of notes and bonds and the debt ceiling.
"The Treasury canceled its regularly scheduled individual meetings with bond dealers in favor of the group meeting, the department said in a statement today. All 20 primary dealers were invited."
Spaceflights From Desert Depend on New Jobs
Megaprojects like bullet train have big cost overruns, critics say
Student aid at stake in debt crisis

Friday, July 29, 2011


News Links, July 30, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
US debt crisis: US inches towards catastrophic default
U.S. Stock Market Ends Its Worst Week In A Year
ADB warns on China slowdown
"China's growth faces downward risk in the coming months amid global economic uncertainties and fast-rising domestic inflation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Thursday."
IMF Chief Warns America on "Exorbitant Privilege", Brings Back Flashbacks To de Gaulle And The London Gold Pool
Fuel index surges to 12.2%; non-food items index up (India)
European debt crisis: Spain downgrade threat unsettles markets
Think US debt is high? Take a look at Europe's most indebted nations.
China Should Buy U.S. Equities Instead of Treasuries, Economist Xie Says
Moody's downgrades six Spanish regions
Sovereign debt honeymoon comes to crashing end
India May gold sales up massive 161% yoy - gold rush continuing
China Gold Demand May Surpass India This Year, Goldcorp Says
Contagion Spreads To Sleepy Denmark, As CDS Surges By 20% Overnight
Cambodia edges away from U.S. dollar
"Cambodia, one of Asia's fastest-developing frontier economies, is gradually letting go of the U.S. dollar's hand in favor of its own currency, the riel — and some investors welcome the shift."
Corporate profits' share of pie most in 60 years: Profits soar even as GDP and people limp along
Yet another article on why corporate earnings are far better than expected despite the rapidly deteriorating economy. How are you faring? -- RF
Economists marking down second-half growth views

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Analysis: Pirates eye share of Gulf of Guinea riches
"Pirate attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea are threatening one of the world's emerging trade hubs and are likely to intensify unless the region's weak naval and coastguard defences are beefed up soon."
Turkey's military chiefs quit ahead of key meeting
"Turkey said on Friday its top four military chiefs were all seeking retirement, in moves that appeared to reflect a deep rift between the secularist military and a government with roots in political Islam."
S Korea lodges protest with Japan in islands dispute

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Cairo activists vow unity in mass protest
Syrian protests and state violence expected to escalate during Ramadan
Tens of thousands protest in Yemen amid stalemate
"Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in cities across Yemen Friday to call for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a remarkable show of determination after six months of demonstrations and armed clashes that have failed to topple the embattled leader."
Israel rent protests underscore middle class frustration
Israeli doctors protest working conditions

## Energy/resources ##
Study: Iraq not prepared to meet global oil demand (Houston Business Journal)
"A new study by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy has concluded that Iraq might have trouble meeting the world's rising oil demand.
"The report, 'Iraqi Oil Potential and Implications for Global Oil Markets and OPEC Politics,' said that the Iraqi government might have set unreasonable production goals considering the country's infrastructure problems, social tensions and electricity shortages."
Anglo Warns of Tight Commodities Supply
China Urges Power Plants to Increase Thermal Coal Imports
"China, the world's biggest energy user, asked power plants to increase coal imports to ensure maximum generation to meet summer demand.
"Major power stations in China held a total 65 million metric tons of thermal coal inventories as of July 27, equivalent to 16 days of consumption, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its website today."
Japan Spot LNG Purchases Climb to 33-Month High After Quake
Preparing for post-peak (South Africa)
Power shortage hits Punjab industries hard in Pakistan
Conservation: There Is No Alternative
Pemex now 4th place as global oil producer
Saudi Arabia's Exports of Natural Gas Liquids Drop 35% in May

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
40 reels of copper stolen from Wake Co. Justice Center site
Thieves stripping wire from Old Town's vintage street lights
"Thieves have been targeting the old-style street lights in Tacoma's Old Town and other neighborhoods, stealing copper wire and darkening the streets. Since April, police have received more than 20 reports of the wire theft. Thieves have ripped off an estimated $70,000 worth of copper wire."

## Got food? ##
Now Kenya stands on brink of its own famine
Corn Imports by China May Gain to Record on State Re-Stocking, Hog Herds
'Food prices higher compared to last year' (KSA)

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Anonymous claims to have hacked defense contractor ManTech
Researchers Expose Cunning Online Tracking Service That Can't Be Dodged
"Researchers at U.C. Berkeley have discovered that some of the net's most popular sites are using a tracking service that can't be evaded — even when users block cookies, turn off storage in Flash, or use browsers' 'incognito' functions.
"The service, called KISSmetrics, is used by sites to track the number of visitors, what the visitors do on the site, and where they come to the site from — and the company says it does a more comprehensive job than its competitors such as Google Analytics."
TSA readying new behavior detection plan for airport checkpoints
It Just Doesn't Work: Why New Tech Products Are Increasingly Unsatisfying

## Japan ##
Economy to contract 0.5%, ADB says
Japan's core consumer prices up 0.4% in June on higher utility bills
Nintendo posts deep loss, shares plunge
"Nintendo posted its latest quarter's dire results, causing traders to dump the stock. The sell-off sent the stock down more than 20 percent."
Nintendo Stock Rout Costs Billionaire Yamauchi $300 Million in Single Day
Japan's ANA posts losses in Q1 on quake
Over 680,000 hotel bookings canceled
"Over 680,000 guests canceled reservations at inns and hotels in Fukushima Prefecture through the end of June due to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant."
Japan Snaps Back With Less Power (WSJ)
Japanese, in Shortage, Willingly Ration Watts
Japan PM announces nuclear reduction plan
Japan steel majors yet to recover from quake impact
Gov't denies online, Twitter censorship over nuclear crisis
'Credibility shot to pieces' / Latest utility scandal also sullies govt nuclear safety agency
180,000 urged to evacuate due to floods in Niigata, Fukushima
Japan's megabanks show mixed earnings
Electronics Parts Firms Suffer In 1st Qtr, See Recovery In Full Year
Panasonic to sell Sanyo operations to Chinese firm
Over 1,550 tons of highly radioactive sludge found in 5 prefectures
Decontamination delayed / TEPCO fails to meet goal in removing radioactivity from water

## China ##
Admission of design flaw in China rail crash raises more questions
Angry families mourn China train crash victims
Police, media allow China crash victims' families to vent anger
A Cold Winter Ahead For China's E-Commerce Industry Amid Overspending On Advertising
Hang Lung Profit Drops 75% as Hong Kong Tames Housing

## UK ##
Knife crime and gang violence on the rise as councils reduce youth services
"UK cities should brace themselves for a summer of gang and knife violence as the impact of cuts to youth services takes hold, experts are warning."
Savers desert the stock market
"The amount of money placed in investment funds by savers has fallen by up to 90 per cent in recent months, figures show, as investor confidence hits lows not seen since the depths of the recession three years ago.
"Instead, savers are rushing to put their money in perceived 'safe havens', with sales of gold funds rising by nearly 60 per cent last week."
Ministry of Defence to axe 7,000 more civilian jobs
Metal theft is not a 'victimless' crime
"According to the Energy Networks Association (ENA) there has been more than 7,000 incidents in the past year leading to four fatalities and up to 31 injuries."

## US ##
Boehner Deficit Plan Passes: Here Is What Happens Next
Senate rejects House debt-ceiling bill
Deal or no deal, our AAA rating is toast
Moody's: Boehner and Reid bills won't cut it
"Neither of the debt ceiling bills before Congress would meaningfully alter the country's debt trajectory and thus won't bolster the United States' chance of preserving its AAA rating, a key rating agency said Friday."
Apple now has more cash than the U.S. government
Shortage of drivers looms for U.S. trucking industry
"The U.S. Department of Transportation says the current shortage will grow to 200,000 drivers by next year, and two million truck driving positions will need to be filled by 2018."
Housing sector suffering skills shortage
"THE housing industry is still suffering a shortage of skilled labour, an industry group says, even though data for the June quarter suggests a slight oversupply of workers."
Virginia State Police strained by trooper shortage
Bloggers' outlook for economy? Glum.
"A survey of economic bloggers reveals pessimism about the economy. The number of respondents predicting job growth fell by 20 percent in a quarter."
US economy 'has barely budged': 1.3 percent growth in GDP
Rahm Emanuel: Chicago Finances Are Even Worse Than Everyone Thought
Banks bulldoze houses, despite millions being homeless
Homeownership Falls to Lowest Since 1998
Return of 20% Home Down Payments Looms
Merck To Cut Up To 13,000 Jobs, Reports 2Q Net Gain
Poverty draft: A Weak Economy Is Good For Military Recruiting
Layoffs May Worsen if Economic Growth Doesn't Pick Up
Chart of the Day: The Cost of Insuring Treasuries Rises
'Aftershock' Book Predicts Economic Disaster Amid Controversy
Insiders Selling at Unusually Fast Pace
'Great Recession' even deeper than thought
Ten Signs The Double-Dip Recession Has Begun
I repeat: This is not a double-dip, just a continuation of the crash. -- RF
Great American Stores Starving For Customers
Big Tech's Hiring Binge Has Small Impact on Jobs

Thursday, July 28, 2011


News Links, July 29, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
China to Press Ahead With FX Reserves Diversification
China Fears U.S. Debt Default, But Has Few Options
Dagong Says Will Cut US Rating As Early As Monday
The $1 Billion Armageddon Trade Placed Against the United States
"Someone dropped a bomb on the bond market Thursday – a $1 billion Armageddon trade betting the United States will lose its AAA credit rating."
Credit Suisse Profit Misses; to Cut 4% of Workforce
HSBC May Cut Thousands of Jobs
'The Global Recovery Is Over': Siemens CEO
"Siemens, the German engineering and power giant, on Thursday posted third-quarter earnings that missed analyst forecasts blaming a slowdown in the global economy for the drop in profits."
Insurance Cost Against US Default Hits Record
Latin America learns the price of growth
"Latin America is starting to learn the ironic lesson of its stunning economic growth: with it comes rising currencies and inflation which threaten to reverse many of the gains made."
South Africa Producer-Price Inflation Rose to 7.4%, Statistics Office Says
"The price of goods leaving South African factories and mines rose at a faster pace in June than the previous month, reflecting the increased cost of food, fuel and electricity."
VW Says Higher Costs to Damp Profit
One in five Aussies have no spare money, finds Nielsen poll
"THE steel grip on consumer spending has tightened to the point that the number of Australians saying they have no cash is worse than during the global financial crisis."
Roach Says Chinese Officials 'Appalled' by Impasse on Raising Debt Ceiling
"Senior Chinese officials are "appalled" by the impasse among U.S. politicians on raising the nation's debt ceiling to avoid a default, said Stephen Roach, non-executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd."
Debt Ceiling Dilemma: The Foul Choice Facing Investors
Asia's BRICs Hit the Wall
Eurozone Leaders Are Fighting Contagion, But Is It Too Little, Too Late?
Wealthy Are 'Frozen' as Debt Uncertainty Persists: UBS
Market Correlations at 'Nosebleed Levels': Analyst
Italy Bonds Smacked in Selloff, Yields Now Approach Spain
The Coming Global Instability, Part I
Singapore Airlines 2Q profit plunges 82 percent
"Singapore Airlines Ltd. says quarterly profit plunged 82 percent as soaring fuel prices pushed up costs."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
China boosts naval power with carrier program: sources
Pakistan torturing Balochistan activists, report says
Russian air travel troubled by laser torches
"Increasing number of incidents part of dangerous craze in country plagued by ageing aircraft and poor maintenance."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Spontaneous mob attack on gas station/convenience store
Kaskade Block Party Turns Into Riot At Hollywood And Highland
Social media mayhem: when flash mobs go from benign to malign
Syrian protesters seized at rate of one every hour, say activists
'Grandpa Wen' left helpless as internet drives wave of unrest through China
Religious Leaders Arrested At Capitol For Budget Protest
Latest protests will be huge, housing activists vow (Israel)
Swazi unions take to streets in protest strike
"Hundreds of union members took to the streets Thursday in cities and towns around Swaziland to protest government moves to cut civil servants' salaries amid a deepening financial crisis."
Spanish Indignants start long protest march to Brussels

## Energy/resources ##
Natural Gas: Arkansas Commission Votes To Shut Down Wells
"EL DORADO, Ark. -- The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission on Wednesday voted to ban wells for the disposal of natural gas drilling fluids from a region where hundreds of earthquakes have struck, a move officials said was necessary to prevent a potential catastrophe."
Fusion: The E-Cat loses steam
Demand for oil in car-crazy China set to soar
Chinese demand keeps coal at near record prices
Special report: Goldman's new money machine: warehouses
"A string of warehouses in Detroit, most of them operated by Goldman, has stockpiled more than a million tonnes of the industrial metal aluminum, about a quarter of global reported inventories."

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Railway enthusiasts hit by £60,000 metal theft at Toddington Headquarters (UK)

## Got food? ##
Brazil Starts Rice Exports to S. Africa, Competes With Thailand
The Permaculture Movement Grows From Underground
How to Make a Worm Bin
Ethanol Usage now Exceeding Feed Usage from Corn
Farmers fight to save crops, herds

## Environment/health ##
WHO: Hepatitis toll 'in millions'
Army drafted as storms batter Seoul; 53 dead or missing
"At least 53 people are dead or missing after the heaviest rains in a century lashed the South Korean capital Seoul and surrounding areas, officials said on Thursday, with damage expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars."
World Population Hits 7 Billion After Boom in Developing World

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
In Secret, Senate Panel May Re-Up Vast Surveillance Dragnet
Millions hit in South Korean hack
"South Korea has blamed Chinese hackers for stealing data from 35 million accounts on a popular social network."
China vs. U.S.: The cyber Cold War is raging
U.S. targets Central European cybergangs

## Japan ##
Sony Posts 59% Drop in Quarterly Profit
"Sony reported a 59 percent drop in quarterly operating profit, as it struggled with production woes following the devastating March earthquake in Japan."
Panasonic reports quarterly loss on quake, tsunami
Japan to Examine Separation of Tepco Power Plants, Distribution
Kansai Electric Withdraws Forecasts After Fukushima Meltdown
"Kansai Electric Power Co. withdrew its full-year sales and profit forecasts because it can't assess the impact on its earnings from power-savings measures and reactor halts after the Fukushima nuclear disaster."
Sharp books post-quake quarterly loss of Y49.3 bil
Utility unable to unload damaged Hamaoka fuel rod for 17 years
11 prefectures decide to test all beef cattle for radiation; expected to cost 4 billion yen
Backup power system will keep firms in Tokyo office tower working even during blackouts
Japan oil sales seen up 2.2 pct if reactors shut

## China ##
China says equipment flaws caused deadly train crash
Victims' relatives lash out at Beijing over train accident
New round of formula price rises hits China
Chinese rush to buy US land
As China's prosperity grows, so do its trash piles

## UK ##
Police warning as metal thieves target homes and businesses
Teachers' anger at increase in pension cost
"Teachers' unions have raised the prospect of further industrial action amid angry responses to proposals for higher pension contributions."
More strikes 'inevitable' over extra pension payments
British aide calls for end to maternity leave

## US ##
Debt Drama Has Muni Issuers on Moody's Review
"Moody's Investors Service placed 177 top-rated municipal-bond issuers with a combined $69 billion of debt outstanding on review for possible downgrades as it evaluates its Aaa rating of the U.S. government."
Why the Debt Crisis Is Even Worse Than You Think (Businessweek)
Heading for a 'Haircut': U.S. Default or Downgrade Could Cost Repo Borrowers
Bank CEOs: Raise debt ceiling this week -- or else!
Debt impasse or not, Social Security reform is coming
Detroit survival plan would cut services to some residents, but not all
"It's part of an effort to recast Detroit, which lost a quarter of its population last decade. Some experts say entire swaths of the city should be shut down, but the plan does not go that far."
Health bill to approach 20 percent of spending by 20
Container-Ship Plunge Signals U.S. Slowdown: Freight Markets
Study: U.S. debt 5th largest among major economies
In Steinbeck's footsteps: America's middle-class underclass
Boston Scientific to cut 1,400 jobs
Nuclear Waste Piles Up As Repository Plan Falters
Debt Fallout: Even Market Pros Don't Know What to Do
Americans Are More Indebted Than the U.S. Government
Toyota Sees No U.S. Rebound Until September
Pay gap between workers is growing
Retail Theft in Georgetown - 'A very big problem'

And finally...
South Carolina woman faces trial for fake testicles
Yeeeehaw! Buy This Wild West Town for $799,000
Presenting America's "Fresh Start" Currency

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


News Links, July 28, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Vote of No Confidence: Deutsche Bank Dumps 70% of Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy Debt
Italian Banks Slump After Bond Purchase Report
European banks slash jobs amid revenue pressures
Eurozone debt crisis resurfaces as markets punish Italy and Spain for Merkel delay on bailout package
"Spain and Italy's borrowing costs marched back towards euro-era highs on Wednesday, as markets renewed their eurozone fears less than seven days after ministers agreed a €159bn (£140bn) second bail-out for Greece."
Greece credit rating cut by S&P on 'likely default'
IMF calls on France to trim deficit
Wall Street ends day reeling from big losses
US debt crisis: failure to tackle debt sends global markets into tailspin
M&A Binge: China Gobbles Up More Foreign Companies
"China is mounting a foreign takeover offensive, fueled by a stronger currency and worries about one of its prime holdings, US Treasurys, as the debt debate drags on in Washington."
Flee to Mars if America commits worst error since 1931 (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
"Since tax revenues cover just 60pc of the federal budget, the squeeze would have to be on a scale large enough within a few months to tip the US economy into a downward spiral and take the world with it."
Kiss the AAA rating of the U.S. goodbye (MarketWatch)
The Fed's Killing the US Dollar Behind the Scenes
How Limited Oil Supply Can Lead to a Continuing Financial Crisis

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
U.S. officials believe al-Qaeda on brink of collapse
And of course US officials would know. -- RF
Iran revolutionary guards' commander set to become president of Opec
Kandahar mayor killed by suicide bomber, latest in wave of assassinations
China's Plan to Beat U.S.: Missiles, Missiles and More Missiles
Lee says Japan lawmakers in danger if they visit disputed island
"South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has warned Japanese lawmakers against visiting a site near islands claimed by both nations, saying their safety cannot be guaranteed, an official said Wednesday."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Thieves Use Social Networking for 'Flash Mob' Robberies
IMF chief warns of social unrest in Europe
China train crash victims' families demand answers
Train crash protests in China
"Chinese protesters clashed with police and government officials in Zhejiang province Monday over the handling of a deadly train crash over the weekend."
China fruit seller death sparks riot in Guizhou
"State media reported that hundreds of people threw stones and clashed with police on the streets of Anshun, in the southern Guizhou province."
Bangladesh mob kills six suspected thieves
"Six alleged robbers in southern Bangladesh have been beaten to death by a mob after the gang they were part of shot a villager dead, police say."
Guard post on Kosovo-Serbia border torched
Protests in Swaziland over shortage of drugs

## Energy/resources ##
Red Metal Hour: The Copper Problem Accelerates
German Switch to Renewables Likely to Be Expensive
'Energy, food prices to follow oil on upward trajectory'
Saudis step in as Iranian oil dries up (India)
"Saudi Arabia has agreed to sell 3 million barrels of additional crude oil to India next month to make up for supply cut by Iran over unpaid bills, touching $7 billion."
Global demand for oil will increase in 2012 driven by emerging economies
Countrywide protracted power outage persists (Pakistan)
Iraqis suffer from power shortage amid summer heat

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Thieves target freight train in York
"Thieves stole dozens of air straps from a freight train in York, costing thousands of pounds of damage."

## Got food? ##
Australia's inflation accelerates on rising food prices
African land grab threatens food security: study
"Rich countries grabbing farmland in Africa to feed their growing populations can leave rural populations there without land or jobs and make the continent's hunger problem more severe, an environmental think tank said on Tuesday."
A Future of Price Spikes

## Environment/health ##
Deaths tied to heat: 64 people, thousands of cattle (US)
Dozens dead as landslides, flash floods hit South Korea
China's Three Gorges project: A huge dam with big troubles
"After years of denials, China admits its Three Gorges project is destabilizing land around the 400-mile-long reservoir, prompting calls for more costly resettlements."
Arctic vulnerable to worst-case oil spills

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Post Office card accounts hit by computer problem (UK)
Nicolas Sarkozy's Elysee Palace website hacked
US Government, Military Face Severe Shortage Of Cybersecurity Experts
The cyber Mafia has already hacked you
"Large, organized crime syndicates have been launching sophisticated attacks against individuals and major corporations for decades. The result of their efforts is the theft of billions of dollars every year, and a large, ongoing presence in many of our most sensitive computer systems."

## Japan ##
Tokyo Electric to halt 600-MW oil-fired unit for repair
If utilities have plenty of spare capacity, such breakdowns are no problem. But now we are cutting it close, so a few days of "broiler" weather could make the situation dicey. Further, Tepco is financially a shambles, and lacks the wherewithal to finance new plant construction to replace all its lost capacity. -- RF
Japan sees potential power shortage next summer
Power shortages expected even 5 years ahead
"If all nuclear power plants remain suspended, regions served by three utilities will experience summer electricity shortages even five years ahead, according to estimates by The Asahi Shimbun.
"That's because Kansai Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Shikoku Electric Power Co. all depend heavily on nuclear power but do not have many old thermal power stations that can be restarted."
Quake-affected vehicles stolen and smuggled overseas
"In the days following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, the absence of looters in the disaster-ravaged areas was viewed with amazement by the rest of the world.
"However, more than four months after the quake and tsunami ravaged northeast Japan, investigations have begun into allegations that unscrupulous individuals have been exporting affected vehicles--some stolen even from the municipal parking lots where they were temporarily stored."
Bill Unsettles Tepco Investors
Chubu Electric to suffer operating loss in 2011
Nissan quarterly profit drops 20%
Incubator Bank Creditors Looking At 73% Haircut
Niigata reactors to stay offline, governor says
1,600 workers projected over radiation limit
Minimum wage increases to shrink / National average rise estimated at 6 yen down from 15 yen in fiscal 2010
"The number of so-called working poor--laborers who earn less than 2 million yen a year--has exceeded 10 million."

## China ##
Chinese companies pop up in Hollywood
"China's biggest companies have begun an ambitious campaign to advertise themselves abroad, popping up in Hollywood movies and on Premier League shirts."
Chinese news agency to take over prime Times Square advertising spot
"China's state-run news agency will take over one of the highest-profile advertising locations in New York's Times Square from next week, in perhaps the most visible step in its recent American expansion."
Labor shortage a headache for factories
China train crash inquiry ordered as public outrage continues
"Propaganda authorities in China have failed to stem the torrent of public outrage over last Saturday's high-speed rail crash amid continuing aggressive media reporting and angry online posts."
China Train Crash Fallout Continues To Build

## UK ##
£3,000 a year to keep 'gold-plated' public sector pensions

## US ##
Growth Slowed in 8 of 12 U.S. Regions: Fed
Boehner Revises Debt Limit Plan as Aug. 2 Deadline Nears
Under debt ceiling shadow, S.C. waits
Post office closures: What happens if a town has no post office?
Goldman's Jan Hatzius Explains How Austerity Is Already Destroying Growth This Year
Ford profit dips for quarter, and Chrysler records a loss
Stocks plunge on debt impasse and economic fears
Survey: Affluent households lack confidence in the economy
Vacant Homes Will Drown Housing Recovery
BofA Donates, Demolishes Houses to Cut Glut
This Is What A Collapsing Ponzi Scheme Looks Like: Housing Market Headed Off A Cliff As A Shocking 10.8 Million Mortgages At Risk Of Default
Worsening Roads Will Cost US Billions
"Failing infrastructure will cost the United States billions of dollars in lost productivity, income and trade in coming decades, according to a civil engineering report released on Wednesday that said the impact on gross domestic product could reach $2.7 trillion.
"The American Society of Civil Engineers regularly tallies the amount needed to upkeep declining U.S. roads, bridges and waterways. It said the country will need to invest roughly $220 billion annually to maintain the country's infrastructure in 'minimum tolerable conditions.'"
States Count Cash While Hoping for U.S. Debt Deal
It's looking worse for states, and of course all down the line. Keep watching for the inevitable muni bond meltdown. -- RF
Jefferson County Alabama Hires Bankruptcy Firm; Record Municipal Bankruptcy Coming
Exclusive: SEC builds new tips machine to catch the next Madoff
Is this a joke? The whole "growth economy" itself is a huge Ponzi scheme. -- RF
Military Training Exercises to Take Place In and Around Boston
Despair Spreads As Recession And Debt Debate Drag On

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


News Links, July 27, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Greek Debt Swap Process to Start in August: Deputy FinMin
IMF: Food and fuel prices hold back Central American recovery
India Central Bank Surprises with 50 bps Rate Rise
Nigerian Central Bank Increases Benchmark Rate to 8.75% to Curb Inflation
John Boehner Debt Ceiling Plan May Still Trigger S&P Downgrade: Report
U.S. Downgrade May Cost $100 Billion a Year
"Political wrangling over a plan to reduce the deficit may cost the U.S. its AAA rating, adding $100 billion a year to government costs while dragging down economic growth, according to Wall Street bond dealers."
US Default Could Spark CDS Confusion
"A U.S. debt default could send the derivatives market designed to protect bond investors into confusion because a missed Treasury payment may have been deemed too unlikely to be fully planned for in the contracts."
The Cost of Credit Swaps When a Nation Defaults
Credit Suisse may cut up to 2,000 jobs: report
Facing Economic Turmoil at Home, Young Spaniards Flee for Germany
Gold and Silver Will Keep Going Up as Currencies Are Debased
Spanish Government Bonds Hit 6% Again; Yields Climb in Italy
Crash Club: What Happens When Three Sputtering Economies Collide?
Skilled worker hunt is hard labour (Australia)
Hazard pay a new victim in Greece
Saab says salaried pay is on hold

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
N. Korea readying for west coast exercise
Anders Breivik's Roots in Right-Wing Populism
Analysts believe Iran scientist death was a foreign hit
Did Taiwan Rescue a U.S. Spy Plane?
U.S. issues global terrorism warning
Saudi gives $30.8m to cash-strapped Palestine
Iran says crude sales to China going well
Iraq's Weekend Deadline Passes, No Deal on US Troops
Thieves targeting trucks
"Organized truck thieves have infiltrated New Brunswick in a big way this month, hauling off with several tractor-trailers and scoring piles of valuable cargo in the process.
"Seven trailers and five trucks have been stolen in the past two weeks from the Woodstock area, thefts the RCMP has estimated to be worth in the millions of dollars."

## Global unrest/mob rule ##
Flash Mob Robbery Occurs at Victoria's Secret Store in Georgetown
"Similar incidents have occurred throughout Georgetown and other parts of the city and D.C. Police has officers patrolling retail districts on foot and on segways to be able to respond faster."
Egyptian protesters sue military, raising tensions
Saudi Arabia Blocks Amnesty International Website
"Saudi Arabia appears to have blocked the website of human rights organization Amnesty International after it published an analysis that said a proposed anti-terrorist law in the kingdom could be directed against peaceful protests."
Netanyahu: Housing shortage is a real problem
Israeli housing protests evolve into major crisis
"Thousands of young protesters have set up sprawling tent camps in Israeli cities, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to introduce economic reforms to address a swell of discontent over high housing costs and stave off the worst domestic crisis of his two years in power."

## Energy/resources ##
Kenya: Blackouts, rising bills as drought bites
Pemex counts 100 workers linked to Mexico fuel thefts
"MEXICO CITY, July 25, 2011 (Reuters) — More than 100 oil workers and contractors hired by Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex have aided criminal gangs stealing millions of barrels of fuel over the past decade, a document obtained by Reuters shows."
South Korea To Hike Electricity Prices By 4.9 Per Cent Next Month
"South Korea will raise electricity prices by 4.9 percent starting next month as part of its efforts to reflect rising power production costs, the commerce ministry said Tuesday."
Wind projects' costs irk utilities in 9-state pool
The Triple Digits Welcome Back Crude: WTI Back Over $100 Once Again
Uranium shortage can't be ignored

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Fire Hydrant Theft Ring Busted

## Got food? ##
North Korea food shortage worst in years, despite farms
Uganda faces food shortage
Food inflation in focus amid lofty crop price outlook
"(Reuters) - Grain prices will likely remain elevated at the end of this year, a Reuters poll showed, providing little relief to food prices while continuing to challenge policymakers battling to tamp down inflation."
Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Maize Fields
Drought Withers Smallest Hay Crop in Century to Boost Beef Costs
"The smallest U.S. hay crop in more than a century is withering under a record Texas drought, boosting the cost of livestock feed for dairy farmers and beef producers from California to Maryland."

## Environment/health ##
Chernobyl: A field trip to no man's land

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
The coming crisis of IT management
Low-tech Internet scams harvest billions of dollars
Congress Websites Down: House, Senate Sites Not Working
Russian organized crime strategic threat to US — NSC
Number of Chinese websites plummets due to internet controls
"China had 1.91 million websites at the end of 2010, a 41 percent drop from the previous year, according to a report by a government think tank."
DHS Fears a Modified Stuxnet Could Attack U.S. Infrastructure
Complexity and Collapse

## Japan ##
More Japan utilities may face power shortage next summer-media
"TOKYO, July 26 (Reuters) - Five out of nine Japanese utilities that rely on nuclear power may not meet peak demand next summer if the nation's 54 nuclear reactors stop operating by April or May, up from three utilities seen so far this August, a newspaper reported."
Japan Warns of Yen Pain as Calls for Action Grow
Children in Fukushima to be given regular cancer tests
Special report: Fukushima long ranked most hazardous plant
"(Reuters) - Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant ranked as one of the most dangerous in the world for radiation exposure years before it was destroyed by the meltdowns and explosions that followed the March 11 earthquake."
Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
I've watched the video, and the tone of the citizens is much angrier than the translation. Absolutely disgusting behavior by government officials. -- RF
Gov't eyes emergency Y10 tril tax increase to fund quake reconstruction
Meat sector to buy tainted beef, burn it
Chubu Electric to suffer operating loss in 2011
Tepco reportedly mulling asset sales

## China ##
The Propaganda Instructions For The Wenzhou Train Crash
China train crash: buried evidence?
China digs up wrecked train it buried
Oil leak killing scallops, farmers say
China's online protest movement
Chinese Cities' Risky Borrowing Binge

## UK ##
Pensioners forced to release equity from their home to pay off debts
"Increasing numbers of older home owners are releasing equity from their property to deal with problem debts, according to Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS)."
Innocent people's DNA profiles won't be deleted after all, minister admits
'Special factors' blamed for slow growth

## US ##
California Seeks $5B 'Bridge' Loan to Pay Bills
Wealth gap widens between whites, minorities
The American Dream slips even further out of reach
Federal court: If you're arrested, officials can take a DNA sample
Chicago police use more deadly force as gang war heats up
Fla. PSC considering power conservation plans
FAA Suspends Airport Construction Projects Nationwide
"The Federal Aviation Administration has stopped work on air travel infrastructure projects across the United States after Congress failed to pass legislation re-authorizing federal ticket taxes. The taxes fund the building airport facilities such as control towers and runways."
Abandoned and foreclosed homes a haven for crime in Lake Worth
Postal Service studying fate of 51 La. offices
Post office cuts: Is your post office on the list?
10,000 veterans at risk of homelessness
The Debt Crisis and Mortgage Rates
U.S. downgrade could hurt corporate, muni debt
Pelosi calls for era of austerity
States Missed Pension Targets by 50% Over Past Decade
"In the last decade, as a wave of baby boomers began retiring, America's biggest state pension systems earned less than half what they needed to keep up with promises made to millions of graying civil servants."
U.S. June New-Home Sales Fall More Than Estimated to 312,000 Annual Pace
10 More Banks Exit TARP by. . .Borrowing From Treasury
Commercial real estate: How low can it go?
"Commercial development has served as one of the driving forces of the Las Vegas economy during the boom, but is at a near standstill with millions of square feet of oversupply and a complete lack of demand with businesses closing and cutting back on their space needs."
Mapping America's Underfunded State Pension And Healthcare Liability Debacle
Scooter nation: Bike sales soar amid high gas prices
5 Updates on the Nationwide Drug Shortage
Florida becomes center of cargo theft crime ring

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