Saturday, December 17, 2011


News Links, December 18, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
French credit downgrade could come 'within days'
Home Prices in Spain Drop 14 Consecutive Quarters; Banks Stuck with Major Losses Not Marked to Market; Expect Conditions to Worsen
Baltic Dry Index: Little Good News For Dry Bulk Shippers
Idled Container Ships Reach 18-Month High as Trade Growth Slows
Shipping in trouble
Saab Bankruptcy Likely After Losing GE Support
Malaysia Airlines set to axe some Dubai, Saudi flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
How Maliki and Iran Outsmarted the US on Troop Withdrawal
"A central element of the Maliki-Iran strategy was the common interest that Maliki, Iran and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr shared in ending the U.S. occupation, despite their differences over other issues."
America's mini-city on the Tigris (Al Jazeera feature)
"Backlash building in Iraq over US plans to keep tens of thousands of diplomats and gunmen at sprawling Baghdad embassy."
U.S. SF troops 'deployed forward' in central Africa
"The American Special Forces troops sent to central Africa are in place and getting ready to operate forward with local host-nation militaries hunting down insurgent fanatics, President Obama told Congress on Thursday."
U.S. Navy Expects to Base Ships in Singapore
"The United States, facing a rising China but a tighter budget, expects to station several combat ships in Singapore and may step up deployments to the Philippines and Thailand, a naval officer said."
Arabs may take Syria peace plan to United Nations
Kazakh oil firm says some employees afraid to work
Iran says arrests another CIA spy
"Iranian authorities said on Saturday they had arrested an Iranian caught spying for the United States, the Islamic Republic's latest claim of success in a spying war with Washington."
Iran's Alleged Drone Hack: Tough, but Possible
Nigeria seizes bomb factory after Islamist attacks
Gunmen Attack Chopper near Indonesia Freeport Mine
Putin Pushes Russian Banks, Puts Western Firms on Notice

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Troops beat Cairo protesters, clashes kill 10
Occupy Goes to Washington, Finding Politics is Complicated
Occupy protesters arrested in New York
Smaller turnout at second round of Moscow protests
China's rebel villagers in Wukan threaten to march on government offices
"Rebel villagers in China say they will march on the main administrative town if government officials and police refuse to hand over the body of their community chief."
Chinese Police With Shotguns Staff Checkpoints at Wukan Village

## Energy/resources ##
Resource firms worried about skilled worker shortage, survey finds
"A 'perfect storm' is brewing in Canada's oil and gas sector as firms scramble for skilled staff, says an Ernst & Young survey of human resource professionals released Thursday."
Sun appears to be setting on the solar energy sector in Germany
Indian Refiners Explore Replacing Iranian Oil-Sources
Oil Minister: World Market Needs Iranian Oil
''Smuggling of Iranian petrol, diesel cannot be stopped'' (Pakistan)
India seeks Australia support to acquire coal, iron ore assets
Decline in mineral production in 2010-11 in India

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
$40,000 worth of copper stolen from wastewater plant construction site

## Got food? ##
DJ Tanzania Inflation Rate Soars Over Food Shortage

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
China Unicom Confirms 3G Network Failure
CommBank connection failure leaves thousands without cash (Australia)

## Japan ##
Former PM Hatoyama calls for Fukushima nuclear plant to be nationalized
Govt to buy land as site for N-soil storage
Nuke crisis sends companies fleeing from Fukushima

## China ##
China to Focus on Private Investment as Growth Slows

## UK ##
Heating oil thefts 'rise' at rural homes
Revealed: bankers' secret meetings with ministers

## US ##
Free-Falling in Milwaukee: A Close-Up on One City's Middle-Class Decline (includes slide show)
Like Detroit, Milwaukee is collapsing. It's a story being acted out in cities around the world. -- RF
Citgo starts seventh year of heating oil donations to US households
"Last year, Kennedy said in a statement that 'every year, we ask major oil companies and oil-producing nations to help our senior citizens and the poor make it through winter, and only one company, Citgo, and one country, Venezuela, has responded to our appeals.'"
US-Mexico immigration: Even oceans have borders
There's A 82% Chance That California's Public Pension System Will Run Out Of Money
Calif. school districts decry end to busing funds
Debt is Endemic In Our System... And the Deleveraging Will be Brutal For Businesses and Investors Alike
"Debt is absolutely endemic in our financial system. The average non-financial corporation in the US is sitting on a debt to equity ratio of 105%. Bank leverage while relatively low compared to Europe (13 vs. 25) is still high enough that an 8% drop in asset prices wipes out ALL capital.
"The situation is even worse for the US consumer. During the housing boom, consumer leverage rose at nearly twice the rate of corporate and banking leverage. Indeed, even after all the foreclosures and bankruptcies, US household debt is equal to nearly 100% of US total GDP."
Ford plant closes out 86-year run
"For Minnesota, the loss of the plant is part of a longer trend that has seen a quarter of the state's 400,000 manufacturing jobs vanish since the late 1990s, the newspaper said."
Did The Fed Quietly Bail Out A Bank On Tuesday?
Companies: In FDIC we trust
"Fearing risky banks, companies are putting their overnight cash in FDIC-insured accounts."

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