Tuesday, December 20, 2011


News Links, December 21, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Euro Zone Agrees to New IMF Loans
"Euro-zone finance ministers on Monday confirmed plans to contribute €150 billion ($195.6 billion) in additional bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund as part of a move to boost its resources for crisis response, but contributions from other European Union members remained unclear as the U.K. held its ground that any additional IMF funds should be part of a global agreement."
El-Erian: Europe May Spark Lehman-Like Crisis
"The head of the world's biggest bond fund said he sees a more than 1 in 3 chance that the euro zone will break apart and trigger a financial crisis akin to the one that devastated the global economy in 2008."
Another Preposterous Proposal to "Fix the Unfixable"; Political, Economic, and Mathematical Realities
'Unprecedented' bond pressure to hit eurozone next year
Will the Europeans have to sell their gold?
Greek Budget Deficit To Pass 10% Of GDP, Country Stops Most Cash Outlays
Roubini: Euro Zone 'In Denial,' US Postpones Reforms
Spain borrowing costs dive
"Short-term financing costs for euro zone struggler Spain more than halved on Tuesday as banks lapped up debt at an auction, with much of the purchasing power said to come from cut-rate money to be lent by the European Central Bank."
Banks are taking advantage of cheap ECB money to profit, so this is just a momentary reprieve. Spain will go belly-up soon enough. -- RF
Spanish Bad Loans Surge to Highest in 17 Years as Lending Falls: Economy
Double Whammy for Corporates Facing Record Debt: India Credit
"Indian companies have a record $11.4 billion of dollar-denominated bonds to repay in 2012 just as the rupee falls to an all-time low and borrowing costs in the U.S. currency exceed all but one of Asia's markets."
India Inflation Hurting as Bad Roads Conspire With Power Deficit
Crumbling Infrastructure Slows Iraqi Growth
Kim Jong Il's death could upset regional economy in Asia
Merrill: 'classic bubble' signs in Canadian housing market
Inside Cairo's desert ghost towns
China isn't the only country with lots of empty houses in the desert. -- RF
RBA expects global economic slowdown
"The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) says it expects global economic growth to stall in the coming year, keeping the door open for more cash rate cuts in 2012."
Cash-flow problems delay Dubai skyscraper
71% of UAE residents say salaries don't cover living costs

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Gordon Chang: North Korea's Power Vacuum Is Dangerous And Destabilizing
The video was missing when I looked, but there is a text summary. -- RF
Kim Jong-il dead: power struggle begins between three factions
China Aims to Cement Kim Jong Un Succession as Aid May Increase
Meeting in Rome to discuss sanctions against Iran
Iraqi Sunni leaders denounce PM Maliki
Japan's coast guard arrests Chinese fishing boat captain
Japan destroyer calls at Chinese port
German Defense Minister Attacks Industry
"German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière has heavily criticized defense companies' abilities to deliver equipment on time and on budget and said in an interview with the news agency DPA that the relationship between the state and industry has 'simply gone to rack and ruin.'"

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people ##
Belarus holds dozens at candle-lit protest
"Belarussian police detained dozens of people who took part in a candle-lit protest against President Alexander Lukashenko late on Monday, a year after he was re-elected for a fourth term in a vote his opponents criticize as fraudulent."
Chinese police 'fire tear-gas and beat protesters'
"Police fired tear-gas and beat demonstrators who stormed government buildings in southern China on Tuesday to protest against a power plant, witnesses said, in the latest violent unrest to hit the country."
Egyptian women protest in Cairo against brutal treatment
Occupy London activists take over Old Street courthouse
Wukan siege: Chinese villagers claim small victory with high level Communist Party meeting
"The rebel villagers of Wukan in China have claimed a small victory in their fight against corrupt officials who grabbed their land and killed their rights campaigner."
Kim Jong Il's death kept secret for 2 days over fears of civil unrest

## Energy/resources ##
Kim Jong Il Dead - What About Energy?
Pakistan to ration natural gas
Why oil prices are killing the economy (Gregor Macdonald)
Saudi Arabia looks worldwide for nuclear collaborators
Power SOS: Coal running out in 70 units (India)
"The power ministry has rung alarm bells saying shortage of coal has pushed 26 power plants into 'super critical coal stock positions' — having stocks of barely seven days. And 44 are 'critical,' with stocks for 15 days."
Fuel shortage hits Kruger National Park (South Africa)

## Got food? ##
Droughts could push parts of Africa back into famine

## Environment/health ##
Alarm as Dutch lab creates highly contagious killer flu
"A deadly strain of bird flu with the potential to infect and kill millions of people has been created in a laboratory by European scientists – who now want to publish full details of how they did it."
Climate Change May Bring Big Ecosystem Shifts, NASA Says
Study exposes sugarcane ethanol's environmental flaw

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
TSA screenings aren't just for airports anymore
"Roving security teams increasingly visit train stations, subways and other mass transit sites to deter terrorism. Critics say it's largely political theater."
Sweating Bullets: Body Scanners Can See Perspiration as a Potential Weapon
South Korea raises alert on North Korean cyber-attacks

## Japan ##
Japan crude steel output hits 10-year low for Nov
Japan Considers Buying Chinese Bonds
"Japan should consider holding Chinese government bonds to strengthen ties with its Asian neighbor, its finance minister said Tuesday, but analysts say such a step could be a move toward diversifying Japan's foreign reserves, now mainly denominated in dollars.
"Finance Minister Jun Azumi made the comments just days ahead of a planned visit to China by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. It was the first time Japan clearly indicated an intention to shift part of its foreign reserves into yuan-denominated Chinese debt."
Economy sees first signs of nasty drop
Japan to boost forex war chest by Y30 trillion
"Japan said Tuesday it will bolster its currency market intervention war chest by 30 trillion yen, the second-biggest increase on record, as it moves to tame the soaring currency."
Small fire breaks out at Ibaraki nuclear lab; no radiation leak
Radioactive water floods tunnel at Fukushima plant
Japan's trade deficit widens in November

## China ##
The Crisis Ahead for China's Policy Banks
In Coastal China, A Labor Shortage

## UK ##
Riot report says police should consider using plastic bullets and water cannon
Value of Britain's skills is declining
Fuel card news: Rising diesel prices trouble hauliers

## US ##
2011: The Last (Debt-Consumerist) Christmas in America
Housing Starts Surge Entirely Due To Year End Channel-Stuffed Multi-Family Units
So much for all that good news about housing starts. -- RF
Fed Bolsters Tools to Avert Collapse of Big Firms
"'The proposal would create an integrated set of requirements that seeks to meaningfully reduce the probability of failure of systemically important companies and minimize damage to the financial system and the broader economy in the event such a company fails,' the Fed said in the draft rules today."
'Long-term effects of money printing explained'
"The U.S. Labor Department reported that the Producer Price Index rose by 0.3% in November, an annualized rate of 3.6%. The Labor Department also reported that Import Prices rose 0.7% in November, an annualized rate of 8.4%!
"The numbers being released confirm my fears about rapid inflation ahead. If you think the rally in Gold bullion is over, look at the inflation numbers coming from the Labor Department and you can't but help rethink your opinion."
Will Americans be stranded? Inadequate or poorly maintained transportation: a looming crisis
Other cities show what bankruptcy might look like for Detroit
Vacant Homes Pose Problems (Las Vegas)
Homelessness: Fort Lauderdale Considers Buying One-Way Bus Tickets To Clear Streets
Foreclosures spread to suburbs
"Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis says foreclosures and poverty have now hit parts of Cleveland's more affluent inner suburbs."
Crowd control: Future Riot Shields Will Suffocate Protestors with Low Frequency Speakers
First Amendment Under Attack: 18 Examples Of How They Are Coming For Our Free Speech
Airlines expect fewer holiday passengers
That's the Spirit: is airline's carry-on bag fee a siren call for competitors?
States brace for loss of extended jobless program
Cuts for the Already Retired
"Retired police and firefighters from Central Falls, R.I., have agreed to sharp pension cuts, a step thought to be unprecedented in municipal bankruptcy and one that could prompt similar attempts by other distressed governments."

And finally...
Bankers Join Billionaires to Debunk 'Imbecile' Attack on Top 1%
English Butlers Wanted For Super-Rich Clients in China, Russia
Great perks for the 1%. -- RF

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