Friday, July 22, 2011


News Links, July 23, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Chinese Banks Are Worse Off Than You Think (WSJ)
"Indeed, estimates leaked by Chinese bank regulators suggest that 23% of loans to local government-sponsored infrastructure projects are an outright loss, with another 50% at risk of cash default. If Chinese banks made appropriate provision for these losses alone, it would reverse the record earnings they have been reporting and eat into their capital base."
Greece Private Creditors Take 21 Percent Loss in Rescue
"Greece's private sector creditors have agreed to take a 21 percent loss on their bond holdings as part of a 37 billion euro contribution to Greece's rescue plan agreed on Thursday."
500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy
German Business Confidence Index Falls to Nine-Month Low Amid Debt Crisis
Greece Defaults; Krugman Screams It's 1937; Maastricht Treaty Needs Revisions; "European Monetary Fund" Created; German Taxpayers on the Hook (Mish)
If you're in a hurry, scroll down to the grim conclusion. -- RF
Dept. of Grasping at Straws: Greek bailout boosts global markets
Threat of Jail Would End U.S. Budget Gimmicks
A meditation on the US government's accounting hocus-pocus.
Boehner Ends Deficit Talks With Obama, Says Deal Was 'Never Really Close'
Obama, Boehner at war over debt talk collapse
"We have run out of time."
Analysis: Struggling Indian economy hardens case to end policy
"India is nearing the end of its credit tightening cycle, as 10 interest rate increases since March 2010 exact a toll on growth in a once-roaring economy, making Tuesday's expected rate rise potentially the last for the near future."
Fitch Default Warning Pares Back Market Rally
"Europe's financial markets modestly welcomed the latest euro-zone agreement Friday on a new financing package for Greece and measures to prevent contagion from spreading.
"However, a warning from Fitch Ratings Inc. later Friday that the role of the private sector in the Greek bailout plan would constitute a "restrictive default" dented enthusiasm."
Global systemic crisis – Last warning before the Autumn 2011 shock, when $15 trillion of financial assets go up in smoke
Cyprus could be the eurozone's next crisis point

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Twin terror attacks shock Norway
Norway attacks: 'it was like a war zone, there was blood everywhere' (includes video)
South China Sea deal eases US-China tension
"China acquiesced to a draft agreement on the South China Sea dispute ahead of Secretary of State Clinton's arrival at an ASEAN summit last night – perhaps to block US 'meddling' in talks."
Exclusive: U.S. Blocks Oversight of Its Mercenary Army in Iraq (Danger Room)
"By January 2012, the State Department will do something it's never done before: command a mercenary army the size of a heavy combat brigade."
China's Ongoing Territorial Disputes

## Global unrest/mob rule ##
Xenophobic attacks on the rise in crisis-hit Greece
Israel Prepares for Unrest as Palestinians Press for Recognition
"Israel's army is reinforcing points on its frontiers and boosting stockpiles of rubber bullets and tear gas as it prepares for possible unrest as Palestinians press ahead with a drive for full United Nations recognition."
Syrians defy crackdown to protest over Assad regime
"Tens of thousands of Syrians have again taken to the streets for Friday protests, in defiance of the massive crackdown against them."
Egyptian protesters refuse to quit Tahrir Square
"Hundreds of Egyptians braved scorching heat Friday to demonstrate against the ruling military council, refusing to dismantle a protest camp they had set up two weeks ago in central Cairo."

## Energy/resources ##
Iron ore shortage cripples south indian steel industry
"The iron and steel industry is in doldrums in South India, following a severe shortage of iron ore. A large number of sponge iron manufacturers and small steel mills are on the verge of closure. Many of these have already shut shop."
Heat wave: Can the power grid handle it?
Oil Exploration Approval by U.S. 'Dramatically' Slow, IHS Says

## Got food? ##
Fungus Threatens To Wipe Out World's Banana Crop
Massive Heat Wave Could Cause Corn Prices To Pop
Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead (Mother Earth News)
Sizzling Food Prices Melt Away America's Budget: FBN Shopping Cart

## Environment/health ##
Summer Blood Shortage Critical (US)
'Earth Burp' May Have Caused Mass Extinction, Not Volcanic Activity
US and Canada heatwave worsens in eastern regions

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
You hack, we shoot: Pentagon discusses armed counterstrikes to cyberattacks
"Lawmakers and some Pentagon officials argue that the US should shift cyberdefense from 'How to build the next best firewall' to an offensive message: Those who attack US computers risk 'land-based attack'."

## Japan ##
Japan nuclear scare triggers run for radiation checks
Effects of cesium beef fiasco hit meat industry
Japanese tech giants aim to bounce back from quake
"Japan's major consumer electronics makers are expected to show April-June earnings collapsed due to the March earthquake, but focus is turning to whether they can meet their forecasts for a swift recovery, given a fragile global economy."
Factbox: Japan's looming nuclear shutdown and possible impact
"Japanese utilities are now operating 17 out of 54 nuclear reactors that had been available before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and all of those could be shut down by next May if public safety concerns continue to stall reactor restarts."
Data Errors To Delay Stress Test Of Kyushu Reactor
"TOKYO (Nikkei)--In another setback for Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Genkai nuclear power plant, the revelation of data errors in a 2009 report could spell a three-month delay on a stress test of the No. 3 reactor."
Kansai biz leaders issue urgent petition to restart nuclear reactors
TABLE-Japan nuclear plant ops (Ohi No.4 to be shut for maintenance)
Government asks everyone to save on the juice
No. of heatstroke cases continues to rise
Japan ready to buy more Europe bonds if needed: Noda
This whole drama has degenerated into a global theater of the absurd. -- RF
Japan's debt: The domino that never falls (Economist)
"The long-term prognosis for the debt-ridden economy is not good."

## China ##
China's High-Speed Rail Story Going Bust?
"Let us run through a few numbers on the Ministry's financials. By the end of first quarter, the Ministry had around RMB2 trillion of debt, and lost RMB3.76 billion in the first quarter alone. The latest information also points out that in the full-year 2010, the net profit of the Ministry was a mere RMB15 million with revenue at RMB685.7 billion, while interest expense amounted to a whopping RMB150.1 billion (!)."
Chinese railways corruption probe claims another scalp
"A third senior Chinese railways official has been arrested, it emerged yesterday, in an increasingly torrid summer for corrupt Chinese cadres."
72 super rich died unnaturally in 8 years
Fitch Ratings warns Chinese banks on asset quality risks
Grads struggle despite job growth
China Banking Regulator Steps Up Risk Controls on Local Government Loans
China business lobby warns of bankruptcy wave
"An influential Chinese private-business lobby group is urging the central government to take action to prevent what it says could be waves of bankruptcies, as its members struggle against surging inflation and tight credit, according to reports Friday."

## UK ##
Pensioner dies after being bitten by rats thriving under fortnightly bin regime
As sanitation regimes in the world's cities begin to fail, rats are going to overrun urban areas. -- RF
Growing popularity of log-burning stoves fuels rise in timber thefts
Lenders still failing to help firms, Bank says

## US ##
Ron Paul Appeals To America: "Default Now, Or Suffer A More Expensive Crisis Later"
The Disturbing Reason the Recent Wave of Earnings Beats Is No Surprise
One of the reasons why corporate earnings look better than you'd expect. -- RF
Return of Mass Layoffs a Grim Sign for U.S. Workers
June U.S. Jobs Picture Gloomy in Many States
Personal consumption rate of growth down 77% in US since 2000
Airline Profits Slip as Fuel Costs Rise
Midwest Turns Dry As Drought Worsens In Plains
"The areas included parts of Iowa and Illinois, the top two corn- and soy-growing states that annually produce about one-third of the U.S. corn crop. Also affected were southern Wisconsin, northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan."
Nationwide shortage of window air conditioners this summer
Utility companies ask customers to cut back on usage
Heat wave puts strain on power companies north of Indianapolis, threatens rolling blackouts
Summer Heat Puts Stress On New England Power Grid
8,000 Affected By Power Outages So Far In Tristate Area: Watch The Developing Brownouts In Real Time
The U.S. balance sheet includes billions in 'old debt'
"A closer look at the nation's balance sheet shows that the United States already is billions of dollars over the current debt limit — a debt that includes bonds that date back to the administration of George Washington."
Debt's Impact Could Be Worse If Interest Rates Rise
More illegal immigrants deported for traffic offenses. Problem for Obama?
"US deported a record number of illegal immigrants for drunken driving and other traffic violations in 2010."

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