Thursday, July 07, 2011


News Links, July 8, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
ECB set to raise interest rates despite debt crisis
Debt default the financial equivalent of nuclear weapons
And There Go Italian Banks Again
Irish Begged to Buy Fridges to Boost Economy
"Irish retail sales are falling at more than twice the pace of the average in the euro region, after the government increased taxes and reduced salaries for state workers by 14 percent to help cope with Europe's worst banking crisis. Consumer spending plunged 1.9 percent in the first quarter from the fourth quarter, the steepest drop in two years."
Containers Flood Ship Routes in Echo of 2009 Rate Decline: Freight Markets
"About 45 percent of goods to Europe from Asia are being transported at a loss and shipping lines need to cut capacity for the route by as much as 10 percent to balance supply and demand, Nordea Bank AB said June 29."
Still No Guarantees Of Banking Sector Haircuts For Greece
It's Not Just the West: China at Risk of Its Own Financial Debt Crisis
Emerging-market growth slows to two-year low

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Sadr says Iraqis employed with US are outcasts
Any force deal with Iraq must address Iran: Mullen
As Pakistan Expands Nuke Arsenal, U.S. Fears Grow
"As Pakistan tries to add to its stockpile of nuclear bombs, domestic terrorists are launching more sophisticated attacks on the country's military bases."
Pakistan: Karachi violence 'kills 39' in three days
Chinese diplomat visits Libyan opposition base
Chinese to be taught in all Swedish schools: minister
U.S., Seoul Secure Plans for Potential Counterattack
Piracy: A Growing Global Menace

## Global unrest ##
Malaysian Activists Plan to Protest at Stadium
Pakistanis' anger mounts
"Public anger is growing at the Pakistan government's failure to ensure adequate power supplies for industrial and private use, with two people killed and more than 30 wounded by police this week when a crowd of about 8,000 marched towards Chashma Nuclear Power Plant in Mianwali, Punjab province."
Unhappy workers threaten to shut down Egypt's Suez Canal
Pinera Approval Falls to New Low as Chile Students Protest
Red Shirts warn new Thai government to seek justice

## Energy/resources ##
Common politics muddy waters in rare earth discovery
Analysis: Underwater Rare Earths Likely A Pipe Dream (Reuters)
"[D]eveloping the offshore bounty could take decades and cost billions, making it little more than a pipe dream, analysts say."
The oceans are also full of gold. So why isn't anyone extracting it and getting rich? -- RF
Japan's Rare Earth Mining on Pacific Ocean Floor Puts Marine Ecosystems at Risk
Sri Lanka prays for divine help to prevent power cuts
Oil Rises in New York on Signs U.S. Crude Stockpiles Shrank a Fifth Week
Goldman Warns That Tight Supply Will Lift Oil Prices
Oil and gasoline prices on the rise again
The Current Situation with Uranium Supplies
Brazil Said to Cut Ethanol Mix in Gas to Avoid Inflation Rise
Nuclear Free Germany Faces Major Energy Challenges
DA: Surgeries dropped due to power cuts (South Africa)

## Got food? ##
World Food Prices Increased 1% Last Month on Cost of Sugar, Dairy Products
Heavy rains damage 30% of Ukraine crops
"Heavy rains since Sunday created major problems for Europe's major grain producer Ukraine as 30 percent of its crops are reported to have lost."
African food shortage becomes a major crisis

## Environment/health ##
Deadly and spreading, superbug on the loose in Ontario hospitals
Cancer Epidemic May Damp Southeast Asian Economy, Asean Says
Exxon says Montana pipeline repairs to take weeks
Worst drought in 60 years: 12 million Africans face 'fight for survival'

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Hackers claim to hit NATO server
Cold Chain Lapses Causing Infant Deaths?
Cyberattacks on Japan police site mostly originated in China

## Japan ##
President of Japan Nuclear Operator May Resign Over E-Mails
"The president of Kyushu Electric Power, Toshio Manabe, told reporters that he must take responsibility for the e-mails, which were sent by employees of subsidiaries who posed as regular citizens supporting the restart of two local reactors. The e-mails were sent on June 26 during a live televised public hearing on whether to restart the reactors at the Genkai Nuclear Power Station, and some may have been read on air."
Nuclear Stress-Test Plan Clouds Outlook For Plant Restarts, Politics
"TOKYO (Dow Jones)--An unexpected plan for "stress tests" to gauge the safety of Japan's nuclear plants has thrown confusion over plans to restart the first reactors since the Fukushima Daiichi crisis erupted in March. It has also baffled local governments as to where the central government is headed with its nuclear energy policy."
Genkai mayor withdraws OK for two reactors' restart
Power companies don't have enough coastal fuel oil tankers (article in Japanese)
Electric utilities are ramping up thermal power to compensate for the lack of nuclear, but they are constrained by an insufficient number of coastal fuel oil tankers used to transport fuel for oil-fired power plants.
Power concerns in Kyushu crimp production plans of semiconductor and auto companies (article in Japanese)
With plans for nuke restarts now on hold, semiconductor and auto manufacturers, which had been planning to go full out, are revising their production plans in the face of uncertainty over stable power supplies.
Defense Ministry experts call for revision of rules against arms exports
"Japan must develop and produce its future high-tech weapons systems in cooperation with other nations, and revise principles banning arms exports, according to an interim report released by the Ministry of Defense on July 6."

## China ##
Jiang Zemin death rumours are false, China insists
China's oversea projects see big rise in cost
"The infrastructure costs of Karara, a project jointly developed by Anshan Iron and Steel Group and Gindalbie Metals Ltd, went up significantly more than first estimated, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Wednesday."
'Lesser Heat' opens with sizzle (Shanghai)
"The heat caused a squeeze on the city's power supply, and some factories in suburban areas had limits placed on their usage in the morning, said the Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd."
A Chinese Muckraker Expands Its Mandate
"China's Caixin Media Co. is starting widespread distribution of its English-language magazine in Hong Kong and plans to introduce an English version of its iPad application, reflecting the company's ambitions to build an international audience for its coverage of the world's second-biggest economy."
Guangzhou South Station: Something Out Of A Zombie Movie
China's Ticking Debt Bomb

## UK ##
Historic library may close as subsidy slashed
South London homes lose water supply after main bursts

## US ##
Exclusive: Treasury secretly weighs options to avert default (Reuters)
In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts
The Cost Of Owning 150,000 Foreclosed Homes
Analysts: DoD budget may end up too important to cut
Upper Darby cops beef up security amid potential flash mob
Another 1.5 Million Americans Became Obese In The Past Year
Report: Minnesota Shutdown Will Cost State Millions A Day
"The bottom line is that 'nobody believes the state is saving money' by shutting down, John Pollar, spokesman for Minnesota Management and Budget, told the AP."
Hitting Debt Ceiling Could Erase Two Years Of 401(k) Gains: Economist
Wisconsin: Racine County inmates to do jobs previously done by unionized employees
Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force
Senators Propose Immediate End to Ethanol Subsidy
Austerity Coming to America (Yahoo/Breakout video)
The Jobless Summer: Why only one in four teens is employed
Why More Americans May Start Putting Money Under Their Mattresses
"Some people still keep money under their mattresses, and as savings account interest rates decrease, data breaches at banks increase, and the chances of a U.S. debt default rise, the practice is likely to grow."
Everybody is building up a strong cash position. And they don't trust banks. -- RF

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