Wednesday, October 05, 2011


News Links, October 6, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Euro-Area Nations Below Aaa May See Ratings Cut, Moody's Says
German Banks Feel Strains
"Investors are increasingly scrutinizing the euro-zone assets held by German banks for fear the lenders might face big-write downs on their exposure to struggling Southern European countries such as Greece."
High Noon At The Swiss National Bank
Euro Debt Holders Will Have to Take Losses: El-Erian
Will there be mass bailout of European banks?
Restructuring Plans Underway for Another 21 Banks Says Vice President of the European Commission; What's the Real Number?
Europe Bank Rescue May Cost $2 Trillion: Fink
"Governments and private-sector partners may have to spend as much as $2 trillion to rescue Europe's banks, said Laurence D. Fink, the chairman and chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc. (BLK)"
Spain Likely to Miss Growth Forecasts: Minister
Spain's white elephants – how country's airports lie empty
"Only 11 of Spain's 48 regional airports are profitable and its newest project has yet to see a single passenger through its terminal."
China isn't the only country that builds a lot of useless infrastructure just to goose the economy. And look where it's got them. -- RF
IMF Sees Europe Working on Bank Plan as Moody's Predicts Wider Downgrades
IMF warns that countries may need to reverse cuts
"If things worsen in the UK, Germany or France, they should 'consider delaying' cuts, because they can borrow 'at historically low' interest rates."
Behind Europe's debt crisis lurks another Wall Street bailout
Greece has weeks left before bankruptcy
"Greece has enough money to pay pensions, salaries and bondholders through mid-November, the finance minister said Tuesday."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Erdogan brands Israel a regional 'threat'
Greece loses civil services
Panetta: U.S. military can't make up NATO shortfalls
Rise of the Drones – UAVs After 9/11

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Saudi Arabia: Police 'open fire' on protesters
"Saudi forces reportedly laid siege to a Shia village in the east of the kingdom yesterday following the eruption of clashes, raising fears that the world's biggest oil producer may not be immune to the unrest sweeping the Middle East."
Shiite unrest spurs Saudi Arabian jitters
'USA might face a potentially violent revolution' (RT)
"We have 22 per cent unemployment and on our way to 30 per cent. We are 16 per cent below the poverty line and on our way to 30 per cent. There is no question in my mind that this is going to be a very dark winter in the United States."
Powerful unions join Wall Street protests
College students, nurses join Occupy Boston protest
Clashes in Athens as workers strike against cuts

## Energy/resources ##
IEA Warns Of Ballooning World Fossil Fuel Subsidies
The peak oil crisis: Adaptive technology
Much as I admire Tom Whipple for his many good peak oil analyses, I disagree that technologies like electric vehicles are going to make a difference. Petroleum civilization's dependence on fossil fuels goes much deeper than fuel for motor vehicles. General systemic collapse, which is now evident for all to see, will ultimately make all these promising new technologies irrelevant. -- RF
REC's US polysilicon plant crippled by power blackout
"Despite the restoration of power, REC says it will take 'two or three weeks' before it can ramp back up to full production."
France withdraws shale gas permits: minister
Cheap Mideast gas era over: Bapco official
"Middle Eastern consumers who have long enjoyed subsidised gas must come to terms with paying much more for the increasingly popular power generation fuel, a Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) executive told an energy conference in Dubai on Tuesday."
Delhi faces power shortage as NTPC shuts units
"New Delhi: Delhi Wednesday witnessed power shortage as the National Thermal Power Corporation shut down three units in its Dadri plant due to delay in supply of coal, power distribution firm BSES said."

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Reclassify cable theft as sabotage (South Africa)
"The problem is becoming serious, gangs of thieves have crippled the telecommunications industry and power supply is disrupted frequently at many places throughout the country, while a landline telephone is becoming a scarce commodity."
Joint task force to battle copper theft (US)
"At least 30 live National Grid substations in Central New York and a total of 48 across Upstate New York, have been hit by copper thieves this year. Some more than once."
Lincolnshire village power line thefts cause blackouts (UK)
Copper thieves target Phoenix freeways
"In the past year, thieves have struck more than 200 times, taking copper out of lights and signs, costing taxpayers about a half-million dollars."

## Got food? ##
Gas suspension to plants may create fertiliser shortage (Pakistan)
Labor shortage, crop loss concerns reach Washington (US)
High grain prices take turkey off the menu (Financial Times)
"This autumn will bring the last Thanksgiving holiday that Americans buy a Butterball turkey from Colorado.
"The high price of animal feed has forced the popular poultry brand to shut down its plant in the state at the end of the year, leaving employees searching for options and giving some lucky birds a breather."
Lettuce recall: 90 cartons of romaine? Oops, 2,500.

## Environment/health ##
Hundreds killed in Southeast Asia floods

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
BT suffers huge broadband failure across much of UK
Bank of America website troubles last into sixth day
Hayden Urges Congress to Let NSA Monitor Public Networks for Threats
Are Rising Corporate Cyber Attacks a Conspiracy?
Cloud Computing Set to 'Skyrocket,' Driven by Economy: Survey
Highly vulnerable to power and data center outages. -- RF

## Japan ##
Japan Needs More China, Korea Assets: Okubo
"We should invest in not just the dollar and the euro, but our trading partners like China, South Korea and Thailand."
Japan's Economic Outlook Very Severe: BOJ Governor
Japan May Buy More EFSF Bonds to Support Europe
This is just one basket case helping another. -- RF
Auditors call for large cut in nuke subsidies funds
"About ¥65.7 billion in funds set aside to subsidize municipalities slated to host new nuclear reactors can be slashed as all such construction projects have been frozen, government auditors said Wednesday."
High dosage of cesium found in soil outside Fukushima no-go zone
Hitachi workers continue to face hot spots at Fukushima plant
Schools in crisis-hit Minamisoma to limit outdoor activities to 2 hours
TEPCO faces rough road for business future / 3rd-party panel cites poor management, opposition to rate increases, lack of loan support
Panel: Higher electricity rates needed for TEPCO's survival

## China ##
Some Anecdotes About Chinese Real Estate, As Told By Deutsche Bank

## UK ##
BOE May Move Closer to First Emergency Bond Purchases in Almost Two Years
Rural oil bulk-buying clubs help 'fuel poor'
UK economic growth slower than previously thought
Drivers 'cut petrol use by 15%' research suggests
Amid Austerity, Britons Cut Back on Groceries
David Cameron calls for Britain 'to show some fight'
This is the same kind of pep talk heard in Japan these days. When all else has failed and we are staring at the abyss, politicians turn to this last resort. -- RF

## US ##
Total US Debt Update: $14.86 Trillion; $162 Billion Increase In Three Days; 98.9% Debt/GDP
Airlines Are Driven to Nickel and Dime
"Harried travelers might not want to hear this, but in terms of cold economics it's a miracle U.S. airlines are still in business."
'Depression' Makes Return to Mainstream Lexicon
Layoff Plans Soar By 126% In September To 115,730, 212% Higher Than Year Ago, Highest Since April 2009
Is Nostalgia Enough To Save Friendly's?
This made me think about what a rare treat ice cream will be when power outages become more frequent and widespread. It's something we now take for granted. -- RF
Could a Debt Jubilee Help Kickstart the American Economy?
The short answer is no. Once debts are forgiven, everyone will just start borrowing and building up debt again. That would drive the economy only until unsustainable debt levels accumulated again, which would happen much faster now because energy is too expensive to enable sufficient debt service. Much or most of the debt will simply go unpaid, and that will be the end of it. -- RF
For banks, recovery is fading
Bank Earnings Outlook Even Worse Than Before
Consumer Spending Slumps In September, Index Shows
Foreclosure backlog deepens
Food-stamp use triples as local despair grows
Woodard: Real U.S. Map, a Country of Regions (Part 5)
Here are some clues as to how the US will break up. -- RF
Meredith Whitney: We already are Europe
"Meredith Whitney is not backing down from her position on state and municipal finances. They'll lead to further cuts in social services, which will fuel more social unrest."
Excellent! I have consistently said that Whitney should stick by her guns because she is right. It's too bad that economics and finance gurus have not listened. Now the wolf is at the door. -- RF
When The Rich Stop Buying Luxury: Diamond Prices Tanking

And finally... Awkward: Apple's Siri translates as 'buttocks' in Japan

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