Tuesday, January 31, 2012


News Links, February 1, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Greece must pledge tough reforms for debt swap deal
Euro Area Unemployment Rate Up 0.2 Percentage Points to 10.4%; 8th Consecutive Monthly Rise; Further Deterioration Coming; Country-by-Country Comparison; Expect Germany to Turn for the Worse (Mish)
French consumer spending slumps in December
20 Signs That Europe Is Plunging Into A Full-Blown Economic Depression
Eurozone unemployment hits new record
Korean Air swings to net loss on fuel costs, won
"Flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. said Tuesday it swung to a consolidated net loss last year because of a surge in jet fuel expenses, a weaker local currency and sluggish cargo demand amid economic uncertainties around the globe, though its fourth-quarter net profit jumped due to foreign exchange gains."
Is World Trade Falling Like A Lead Balloon Minus Terminal Velocity? Alarming Collapse of Baltic Dry Index
Hanjin's 2011 Container Losses Hit $487 Million
"Carrier is first of many expected to report losses for year"
Shipping Loans Go Bad for European Banks
Spain's lost generation: youth unemployment surges above 50 per cent
"More than half of young Spaniards are out of work, according to fresh statistics, signalling a lost generation that has been hit hardest by Spain's economic woes, as the total number of unemployed surged above five million."
Households' insurance bills to jump 13% (Australia)
"Households will be hit with double-digit percentage jumps for insurance for a second year as insurers restore profits after the industry's worst year on record for disaster claims, a survey finds."
Saudis Push Young People, Including Women, Into Jobs
"Keenly aware that youth unemployment has been a driving factor in revolutions elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, and that half of its own population is 18 or younger, the government is taking steps to change a mindset left from the days when the oil kingdom's citizens were few and jobs were many: that Saudi Arabia's citizens take the cushiest jobs or take no jobs at all."
European Bailout Infographic: Presenting The Truckloads Of Cash Needed To Rescue The Insolvent PIIGS
The Debt Supercycle Part II: On Borrowed Time

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russia Faces Pressure to Back Ouster of Assad
Syria forces retake Damascus suburbs; showdown at U.N.
Sea trafficking report reveals how ships move guns and drugs
Analysis: Oil reports may offer Obama an out on Iran
"President Barack Obama will soon get regular, albeit incomplete, reports on how oil markets are coping ahead of broader sanctions onIran that could help him justify easing off sanctions to prevent a politically damaging jump in crude prices."
Global "great power politics" returns to Mideast
"With Russia sending warships to discourage foreign intervention in Syria, and China drawn more deeply into Iran's confrontation with the West, 'great power' politics is swiftly returning to the Middle East."
Dozens killed as Pakistani army, militants clash
U.S. Transit Hub-Base in Kyrgyzstan for Afghan Heroin
Pentagon To Begin Talks With Iraq on New Defense Agreement
"The Obama administration is seeking to base more US troops in Iraq while propping up the increasing autocratic Maliki regime"
Iran 'willing to stage attacks on US soil'
"America's top intelligence official has warned that Iran was actively willing to stage attacks inside the US in a change of its policy on use of force overseas."
I'm shocked that Iran might copy the US! -- RF
Israeli Officials: Attack on Iran Must Come 'By Summer'
India defies sanctions, won't cut Iran oil imports
Turkey Will Resist Western Pressure to Ban Iranian Oil
Oil industry sees China winning, West losing from Iran sanctions
"As the European Union prepares to ban Iranian oil and the United States turns the screw on payments, oil executives and policymakers say China and Russia stand to gain the most and Western oil firms and consumers may emerge the biggest losers."
Iran's Oil, Tanker Firms Targeted for Sanctions

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
China steps up surveillance of Tibetan monasteries
China recruiting 8,000 police for restive Xinjiang
Kazakhstan Now Sees Strike at US-Linked Oilfield
Defying Camping Ban, Occupy D.C. Protesters Remain In Place

## Energy/resources ##
Forget the world ending, $5 gas could be the real plague of 2012 according to oil big shot (US)
Air Arabia warns fuel price rise will hit tickets
Jordan hikes electricity price after Egypt gas cut
"Jordan said on Monday it will raise electricity prices this week by between nine and 17 percent to offset losses caused by cut-offs in Egyptian gas supplies."
Matson raises Hawaii fuel surcharge to 45.5 percent because of rising bunker fuel prices
"The largest shipping company that carries goods to Hawaii from the U.S mainland is raising its fuel surcharge after recently decreasing it three times."
Kingdom capable of handling any future oil shortage: Al-Naimi
"Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi said on Monday that Saudi Arabia will continue to be a reliable, steady and dependable supplier of energy to the world."
So relax. Stagnant world oil production for 7 years running just means the market is "well supplied." -- RF
CIA Chief Says Appears Saudi Oil 'Ramping Up'
The CIA of all organizations should know that KSA has little spare capacity. -- RF
Drilling forecast cut on labour shortage (Canada)
"An oil and gas industry group is scaling back its drilling activity forecast for 2012, in part because there aren't enough workers who have the know-how necessary to drill big, complicated wells."
Costly drilling could boost Schlumberger to $100
"High oil prices and declining production from existing fields have been prompting oil companies to explore technically complex and remotely located reserves. As a result, oilfield services companies like Schlumberger are positioning themselves to benefit from the long-term trends shaping the energy industry."
Energy Poverty Remains a Global Challenge for the Future
And unfortunately it's going to get much worse. -- RF
Is a Reduction in Population Numbers the only Sustainable Solution?
Either that, or have the majority of humanity live in grinding poverty. -- RF
Statoil preps for deepwater development
"Statoil said it was preparing to install a platform at the Luva natural gas field in the Norwegian Sea. The field is in roughly 4,200 feet of water on the Norwegian continental shelf."
Forget Iran, Iraq is threatening oil prices
"The deteriorating situation in Iraq is leading some analysts to worry that the country may not be able to meet its lofty goals for rapidly ramping up oil production."
CNN Money is just figuring out what alert people saw a long time ago. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Cadmium Spill Threatens Water Supply (China)

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Is the cyberwarfare arms race for real? Survey of world experts says it is.
"A majority of the word's top cybersecurity experts surveyed say a cyberwarfare arms race is in full swing. US readiness lags behind that of some smaller countries, the survey found."
Privatizing of Gains and Socializing of Losses; You Want the News? From Where? (Mish)
Law Firms Hacked From China as Weak Link Exploited in Search for Deal Data

## Japan ##
Japan Utilities Losses Reach $6 Billion After Fukushima Crisis
Japan's auto output in 2011 falls 12.8%, exports down 7.8%
Honda's profit drops 41% due to strong yen, Thai floods
Hino Motors group net profit drops 39% in April-December
Furnace malfunction hobbles Aomori spent nuke fuel reprocessing plant
"A furnace malfunction at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant here has stalled a planned trial run of the facility, throwing the future of Japan's nuclear cycle policy into doubt."
Heavy snow leaves 53 dead, hundreds injured in north, west Japan
Exxon Mobil to cut Japan business

## China ##
Short China: Its commodities bubble is set to pop
China's Oil Demand Reaches Records Despite Slowing Growth
Hong Kong Braces for Job Cuts at Lenders
China Faces New Threats Abroad
"Assailants in Egypt kidnapped 25 Chinese workers on Tuesday, even as tensions appeared to rise between China and Sudan over Chinese nationals held by rebels there.The abductions underscored a hard truth for Beijing: As China has extended its investment and presence into the world's trouble spots, its people have become targets."

## UK ##
Hundreds of gold-plated pension schemes close, says PPF
"The number of final salary workplace pension schemes in the UK has fallen dramatically over the last year, as hundreds of companies close the gold-plated retirement plans and move to cheaper schemes."
Army to cut 20,000 jobs two years earlier than expected
Borrowers pay back £400m in December
Britain sends new warship to Falklands

## US ##
California Faces Cash Crisis by March: Controller
U.S. set for fourth year of $1 trillion-plus deficit: CBO
"The United States is headed for a fourth straight year with a $1 trillion-plus budget deficit, congressional forecasters said on Tuesday, giving Republicans ammunition to hammer President Barack Obama's spending record in November's elections."
The Biggest Holders of US Government Debt
State bank idea gains support (Washington)
Bank Failures: 7 So Far in 2012
S&P Warns of Cuts; Another US Downgrade Coming?

And finally... VIDEO: A Bunny That Thinks It's A Sheepdog

Monday, January 30, 2012


News Links, January 31, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
World lacks enough food, fuel as population soars: U.N.
"The world is running out of time to make sure there is enough food, water and energy to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and to avoid sending up to 3 billion people into poverty, a U.N. report warned on Monday."
Portugal's Debt Will Be Restructured; 3-Year Government Bond Yield Tops 25%; CDS at Record High, Implies 72% Chance of Default
At E.U. Meeting, Countries Expected To Agree That Austerity Is Not Enough
Greek Bondholders May Face 70% 'Haircut': Source
As Europe Goes (Deep In Recession), So Does Half The World's Trade
Euro-Area Debt Sales Top $43 Billion This Week as Fitch Cuts
Brussels Hit by First Coordinated Strike in Nearly Two Decades; Spain to Miss Deficit Reduction Goals; France Halved 2012 Growth Forecast to 0.5 Percent; Ten Things to Expect in Europe
France cuts 2012 growth forecast
A challenging year ahead for Asian cargo
Will gold extend its gains for 12th straight year?
Money From MF Global Feared Gone
Dubai hotel owners look to listing sites to offload assets
"Dubai hotel owners are increasingly turning to listings websites to source potential buyers for their properties as they struggle to offload assets in the city's glutted hospitality market."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Activists: Assad's forces regain Damascus suburbs
Syria says 'terrorists' blow up gas pipeline
African Union embraces generous Chinese financing
Saudis may seek nuclear deterrent
"The arrival yesterday of a senior United Nations team in Tehran has raised hopes that Iran may be in the mood to talk about its nuclear program. But should the Islamic republic develop a nuclear weapon, there are growing fears that neighbouring Saudi Arabia will turn to Pakistan for its own bomb."
Sudan frees South Sudan's oil tankers; row continues
Third Aircraft Carrier Group Coming To Iran
Organized crime sets its sights on peaceful Uruguay
Glitzy new AU headquarters a symbol of China-Africa ties
"Critics point to an imbalance in what they see as the new 'Scramble for Africa'. But the prospect of growing Chinese economic influence is welcomed by African leaders, who see Beijing as a partner to help build their economies at a time when Europe and the United States are mired in economic turmoil."
U.S. Maintains Full Control of Turkish-Based Radar
India, Malaysia Seek Closer Military Ties
"As part of its 'Look East' policy, India has been increasing strategic ties with countries such as Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia."
Iraqi officials outraged by use of US drones: report

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Occupy London Moves Into Iraqi Rafidain Bank After UBS Eviction
Occupy Oakland arrests reach 400; City Hall vandalized
Occupy DC defies Monday noon eviction deadline
Police begin clearing Occupy DC, Charlotte sites
Truckers to protest over diesel and fuel prices (Ireland)
Tibetan unrest in China near boiling point

## Energy/resources ##
China, Japan scramble for oil as Sudan shuts fields
"The shutdown in Sudanese oil supply could drive up already record premiums on spot crude markets as top Sudan customers China and Japan scramble for alternatives even as they weigh the impact on oil flows of international sanctions on Iran."
Asians Resist Notion Of Iran Oil Cuts
"Several Asian countries are expressing an unwillingness to join the United States and Europe Union in blocking oil imports from Iran in order to pressure Tehran over its disputed nuclear program."
OPEC says EU ban on Iran oil to boost prices
The Petroplus failure is just the tip of the iceberg in the oil sector
Gazprom Premium Swells as Embargo Boosts Crude: Russia Overnight
Saudi to lead rental power generation
"Saudi Arabia will lead the Middle East in the demand for rental power generators, a generator manufacturer has said, as it predicted a 20 per cent growth for the industry in 2012."
This will create still more upward pressure on diesel fuel prices. -- RF
Global Oil Production Update: A Strange Future Has Arrived (Gregor Macdonald)
Extending French reactors would cost least -report
The only way nuclear could be "cheaper" is by leaving out the astronomical backend costs. -- RF
On Again, off Again Trans-Afghan Natural Gas Pipeline Revives
Europe's refiners fall on hard times (FT)
Lahore faces acute fuel shortage
PSALM to start bidding out four power barges (Philippines)
They're diesel-powered! -- RF
South Africa Says 2012 Is Peak For Energy Shortage Risks

## Got food? ##
Extreme Heat Hurts Wheat Yields As World Warms: Study

## Environment/health ##
Could mysterious nodding disease in Africa have global implications?
Deaths in Ukraine and Poland in freezing Europe weather

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Secretary Napolitano Unveils National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security
CIA Claims Publication of Bin Laden Death Photos Would 'Trigger Violence'
Hey Judicial Watch, give it a rest. This drama has been Theater of the Absurd from the get-go. OBL suffered long from kidney failure, and the former head of the Pakistani ISI has stated that OBL died of illness years ago. The compound where OBL supposedly lived included nothing among its meds for someone with kidney failure, and there was no dialysis machine. The most absurd claim of all is that OBL lived in the village for years without anyone knowing. What a laugh! Anyone who has lived in a village society knows that in such a society anonymity and secrets are impossible. -- RF
Airline passengers hit by computer crash
Indefinite detention and torture: US already enforcing NDAA
Say NO to ACTA (video)

## Japan ##
Japan's population faces dramatic decline
A 30% decline by 2060... but economic collapse and mass starvation will come long before that. -- RF
Japanese Steelmaker Forecasts First Net Loss
China protests Japan's plan to name disputed islands
TV makers see shakeout approaching
Toyota's global sales hit a bump / March 11 disaster, strong yen knock automaker from top spot in 2011
Kyushu Elec to restart oil-fired unit in May
"Southern Japan utility Kyushu Electric Power Co said on Monday it would restart an oil-powered unit that it had planned to scrap, to help cover the closure of its nuclear capacity for maintenance."
Oil-fired plants run on fuel oil, but note that the utility is also going to install diesel generators. Add this to the quickly growing diesel-fueled "rental power" throughout the world. -- RF

## China ##
Funds face tougher conditions in 2012
China fuel prices hit trigger point for a hike
"The increase in crude oil prices that China's gasoline and diesel prices are based on has topped a trigger point of 4 percent, an industry estimate showed, suggesting Beijing may consider raising fuel prices after its last hike in April."
Chinese Buying Gold "Like Cheap Cabbage"
China premier downplays debt woes
"China's government debt is under control and remains at safe levels, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in comments released Monday, even as the National Audit Office highlighted potential risks for financial sectors this year."

## UK ##
Missiles, spy drones and warships: Here come the London Olympics
Britain braced for Arctic winds

## US ##
Reactor at Illinois nuke plant shuts down after power loss
"Unit 2 at the Byron plant, about two hours northwest of Chicago, shut down automatically after a 'loss of offsite power' at 10:18 a.m. CT (11:18 ET), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported. Unit 1 continues to operate at full power, with diesel generators providing electricity to the plant's equipment."
USW tells U.S. refinery workers to prepare for strike
"The United Steelworkers union told U.S. refinery workers to prepare to offer safe and orderly refinery shutdowns prior to a strike that could begin as early as 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, sources familiar with the union's preparations said on Sunday."
Why the American dream could come to an end
Why Even 20-Somethings Are Worried About Retirement
"Young American workers are not expecting Social Security or traditional corporate pensions to provide for their retirement."
Most Banks Tightening Credit to Europe: Fed Survey
Big Banks Facing Tough Long-Term Future: Analyst
Cyber and space systems top Defense tech priorities
Most Metra riders will pay 30% more starting Wednesday (Chicago)
U.S. consumers fizzle out even as incomes rise
Home prices fall again
Newt's moon colony: What would it cost?

Sunday, January 29, 2012


News Links, January 30, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Eurozone crisis: angry Greeks condemn EU plot to control its finances
"German plan to install commissioner in Athens with veto powers over the Greek budget dismissed as 'laughable'"
Spend now to speed growth, Germans told
"Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, yesterday heaped more pressure on Germany over its handling of the eurozone crisis, effectively calling on Berlin to increase state spending in order to restore growth to the rest of the single currency bloc."
Greece Politely Declines German Annexation Demands
Largest Central Banks Now Hold Over 15 Trillion in Fictitious Capital
Fragility and Recovery of Digital Storage Supply Chains
ArcelorMittal cuts production, jobs in east Europe
"A deepening sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone and slowing economic growth are forcing a number of steelmakers to shut or reduce steel capacity."
Dubai has 13,349 hotel rooms in pipeline
Dubai is another mega-crash waiting to happen. -- RF

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iran says to stop some oil sales, inspectors visit
Syria troops battle to retake Damascus suburbs
"Around 2,000 Syrian troops backed by tanks launched an assault to retake Damascus suburbs from rebels on Sunday, activists said, a day after the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission in Syria because of worsening violence."
Gunmen attack police station in Nigeria's Kano
"Gunmen bombed a police station on Sunday outside Nigeria's second city Kano, the police and witnesses said, leading to an hour of gunbattles in a region plagued by attacks from Islamist sect Boko Haram."
Crime On Nigeria's Waterways Alarming
Iraq's Sunni-backed bloc to end parliament boycott
Afghanistan, Taliban to Talk in Saudi Arabia
Israeli drone the size of a Boeing 737 crashes
New Floating Base Ships Coming for U.S. Navy
India's Military adventure against China
China paper says punish Philippines over US ties

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
What's next for Occupy Wall Street? Activists target foreclosure crisis.
"As the protest movement heads into spring, Occupy Wall Street activists are interrupting foreclosure auctions and helping families re-occupy their homes."
Flash-grenades & tear-gas: 300 arrested at Occupy Oakland
Oakland assesses City Hall damage after Occupy break-in
This is despicable behavior, but I did say that mobs and riots will come to the US. -- RF
Clashes erupt in Cairo during anti-army protest
"Hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding an immediate end to military rule clashed on Sunday with rivals in civilian clothes outside central Cairo's state media building, the same place where 25 people were killed in a demonstration in October."
Putin critics take to cars to demand fair elections

## Energy/resources ##
Global refinery surplus narrowest since 2007 on Hovensa closure
South Sudan demands border deal before restarts oil
Coal comes cheap but production does not (Dubai)
Coal Starts Shutting Down Across US
"As a result of new air quality regulations, many coal-fired power plants are preparing to shut down across the Midwest"
Thwarted on US oil pipeline, Canada looks to China
Fuel shortages continue throughout Egypt
Iran offers Lebanon reduced-price electricity
41 power related projects could not get single penny in seven months (Pakistan)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Illegal Detroit scavengers use machines that help build city to tear it down
"The two documentarians who made the Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, have turned their cameras on Detroit, feeling it 'may well be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the country.' In an excerpt of their new documentary, called Dismantling Detroit, Ewing and Grady look at a group of men who use American metal, in the form of vans and pickup trucks, to dismantle American metal, in the form of Detroit buildings."
Also watch the must-see video clip. -- RF

## Got food? ##
Bill Gates Warns Countries Need To Embrace GMOs Or Citizens Will Starve
Ukraine export curbs 'possible' too, says CWB
Food costs soar in New Zealand

## Environment/health ##
Pesticides blamed for bee decline
"Compelling new evidence from the US government's top bee expert that modern pesticides may be a major cause of collapsing bee populations led to calls yesterday for the chemicals to be banned."
Antibiotics Prove Powerless as Super-Germs Spread
"Antibiotics were once the wonder drug. Now, however, an increasing number of highly resistant -- and deadly -- bacteria are spreading around the world. The killer bugs often originate in factory farms, where animals are treated whether they are sick or not."
Penn. town blames contaminated water on fracking

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
How to easily circumvent Twitter's censorship
Consumer Reports Cautions Against High-Tech Phone Systems That May Fail in Power Outage Situations
"Likely motivated to cut home expenses, more and more consumers are switching over to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and fiber optic phone systems. However, unlike traditional copper lines, these newer phone systems may lack the ability to maintain service indefinitely, which can leave consumers without access to friends, family or 911 in emergency situations."

## Japan ##
Japan CDS show bonds not pricing in fiscal risk
Frozen water causes leakages at Fukushima nuclear power plant
"TEPCO said leakages were found at 14 locations, including the cooling system for the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 reactor, NTV reported. Cooling operations were suspended for 100 minutes on Sunday morning. Leakages were also found at the pump that sends water to the reactor cooling system."
No end in sight for Japan's deflation

## China ##
Beware of China's housing bubble
"The housing frenzy has driven prices so high, so fast, that a crash on the scale of the real estate collapse in Japan in the 1990s is a virtual certainty in China"

## UK ##
U.K. To Develop Short-Range Weapon To Protect Warships

## US ##
Crumbling infrastructure: Pittsburgh area's aging locks and dams approach 'scary' status
State Emergency Managers Usher in IMF-style Austerity and Soviet-style Governance
Erin Brockovich reps ordered off school grounds
"Representatives of environmental crusader Erin Brockovich and an accompanying group of reporters were ordered off the grounds of Le Roy Junior-Senior High School on Saturday in an episode connected to a cluster of students there with unusual neurological symptoms."
The shrinking private equity world
As shortages increase, drugmakers feel the heat
Prices jump in food, transportation, other everyday costs
California community colleges prepare to ration their offerings
"Community college leaders say it has become necessary to ration classroom seats like water in a drought."

Saturday, January 28, 2012


News Links, January 29, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Greece, creditors on verge of clinching debt deal
Germans want EU budget commissioner for Greece
"A leaked plan from the German government proposes a eurozone "budget commissioner" to take control of Greece's tax and spending, reports say."
Prepare for Greece to Leave Eurozone; German Government Calls for Greece to Cede Sovereignty Over Tax and Spending Decisions to Eurozone "Budget Commissioner"; Text of the German Demands (Mish)
Greece Could Default Outright, Maybe it Should, For it Now Has a Primary Surplus
China Closer To Bailing Out Europe
Davos 2012: Youth unemployment 'disaster'
Iran Oil Export Curbs Extend to 95% of Tankers in Europe's Insurance Rules
Economist who foresaw '08 crash warns conflict with Iran could cause global recession
Oil supply limits and the continuing financial crisis
Mexican electricity output tied to economic growth
"Mexico needs to generate more electricity to meet the needs of its burgeoning population and developing industries but that seems increasingly tied to the prospect of future economic growth, latest data indicated."
Thousands of passengers stranded as Spanair ceases operations
Carstens Says Mexico's Historic Drought May Hamper Inflation Expectations

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Floating U.S. base to be deployed in Mideast
Obama administration approves arms shipment to Bahrain
U.S. Not Seeking Military Bases in Southeast Asia
"The United States wants a greater military presence in Southeast Asia but does not seek permanent bases anywhere in the region, the chief of the Pacific Command said."
Libyan commander says will retake Bani Walid
Iraq water crisis could stir ethnic clash
"Iraq is facing worsening water shortages caused by the failure of successive postwar governments to ensure supplies and extensive dam-building in neighboring states that could trigger sectarian conflict."
Philippines studying U.S. offer to deploy spy planes
Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran
"Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn't yet capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Arab League suspends Syria mission as violence rages
Three Kazakh activists detained after rally for change
Brussels promises unseen levels of inactivity
"When David Cameron and other heads of government assemble in Brussels on Monday for a session of the European Council, they will see a city at a standstill."
Young man demands freedom for Tibet, tells China police to come arrest him
The working class rises up across Latin America
Topless protesters detained at Davos forum
"Three topless Ukrainian protesters were detained Saturday while trying to break into an invitation-only gathering of international CEOs and political leaders to call attention to the needs of the world's poor. Separately, demonstrators from the Occupy movement marched to the edge of the gathering."
Senegal opposition urges more 'resistance' after riots
Union members, Occupiers protest in Super Bowl Village

## Energy/resources ##
Sanctions to hit EU buyback firms: Iran oil chief
"European companies owed oil by Irancould lose out if Tehran imposes a ban on crude exports to the European Union next week, the head of Iran's state oil company said on Saturday."
The Global Hunt For Oil: Canadian Firm Drills First Exploration Well in Somalia
Sudan offers to release oil shipments
Asian gasoline cracks hit 3-month highs on supply concerns
"Asian physical gasoline cracks in Singapore hit three-month highs Thursday, led by concerns over spot availability within Asia due to refinery closures in Europe and the US Atlantic Coast."
Chevron Corp.'s production drop shows challenges oil companies face to meet global demand
Iraq likely to open new 
oil terminal in 10 days
Nation's Limping Electricity Sector (Uganda)
Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong (BusinessWeek)
If I hear one more warning about peak oil, tight resource supplies, economic collapse, or any more of that disaster porn, I think I'm going to puke! There's plenty for everyone, and high prices are all the fault of speculators. And Greece will pull through with a good shot of Keynesian spending. New technologies will solve our problems, so chill in front of the tube and forget about this nonsense! (P.S. Has BusinessWeek been taken over by the Wall Street Journal?) -- RF

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Cable theft effect: you'll be surprised (South Africa)
"From power cuts to network downtime, cable theft knocks out traffic lights, delays trains, plunges whole neighbourhoods into darkness, and cuts off critical communications."

## Environment/health ##
Mexican swine flu outbreak kills 29, infects nearly 1,500
Dolphin, seal deaths plague New England
10 million face drought in the Sahel

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Twitter's new censorship plan rouses global furor
North Korea Reportedly Outlaws Cell Phones

## Japan ##
All major Japanese automakers log domestic output falls in 2011
"Total domestic production by Japan's eight major automakers dropped 13.4 percent in 2011 from the previous year to 7,978,541 units, with all manufacturers logging falls due largely to output and supply chain disruptions caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to their data released Friday."
Never underestimate the impact of the supply chain disruption. Japan's economy is hanging on by a thread. -- RF
Post-nationalized TEPCO to solicit capital to update thermal generators
"Following the effective nationalization of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which is currently being debated by the Japanese government, external parties will be solicited to inject new funds toward upgrading the utility's aging thermal power plants, it has been learned."
Japan's plutonium stockpile builds as nuke fuel cycle policy hits dead end
But it could be used in weapons, and it is widely rumored that Japan's military could put together a nuclear weapon in 24 hours. -- RF
Number of flu patients surpasses 1.11 million as epidemic spreads
Gov't says no to free medical care for children under 18 in Fukushima
Minimum pension hard to guarantee
Pension funds everywhere in the world are melting away. -- RF
NEC the latest to cut workforce / Electronics industry forced to eliminate tens of thousands of jobs
Industry, TEPCO wary about Edano's views on electricity
"'We cannot find any additional energy conservation measures,' an official of an electric equipment company said."
TEPCO comes 2nd in vote for most irresponsible company
Japan stands ready to support euro zone: PM Noda

## China ##
China's Top Auditor Warns of Fiscal, Financial Risks
"The auditor earlier this month said it found billions of dollars worth of infractions and misappropriations by local-government financing vehicles. Such vehicles, set up by local governments to skirt limits on borrowing directly from banks to fund projects such as infrastructure construction, have become a focal point of risks in China's banking sector."

## UK ##
UK riots: paratroopers are trained in riot control
"British troops are being trained in riot control tactics amid fears that violence and looting will return to Britain's streets this summer."
The prison population is neither justifiable nor sustainable
Britain could not reclaim the Falklands if Argentina invades, warns General Sir Michael Jackson
UK gasoline cargo prices rise on news of Coryton plant closure

## US ##
$132.9 billion: Remember TARP? It still owes you.
"$132.9 billion short, the 2008 US bailout of the financial system could continue through 2017. Some of the $132.9 billion TARP money will never be recovered."
Workers at Pa. refinery get layoff notices
Refinery closings could push gasoline prices back to $4
Newt for President — of the Moon
Even Time is panning Gingrich's idiotic plan. Better yet, somebody over at Time understands net energy! That's the best part of this piece. -- RF
Growing Elite Opposition to Military Option Against Iran
Security consulting firm says 2011 saw big increases in cargo theft

Friday, January 27, 2012


News Links, January 28, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Greek PM: Expect Debt Deal With Creditors Within Days
Greek Debt Wrangle May Pull Default Trigger
Fitch cuts Italy, Spain, other euro zone ratings
"Fitch downgraded the sovereign credit ratings of Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Spain on Friday, indicating there was a 1-in-2 chance of further cuts in the next two years."
Spain unemployment tops 5.3m and set to get worse
Spain's Unemployment Situation Becomes Hopeless
Europe's Shrinking Banks in for Acute Pain
Europe Risks 'Balkanization' From Crisis: UK Chancellor
Portugal 10-Year Government Bond Yield at Record High
Portugal is Next After Greece
Why Europe's crisis can't be averted
'There Is No European Emergency Plan'
The Massive Debt Bomb: $7,600,000,000,000 Dollars Of Debt Must Be Rolled Over In 2012
Older consumers pile on new debt (Canada)
Ten Cities Crushed by the Global Recession

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
For Newt, 'World War III' Is Just the Beginning
"Newt Gingrich doesn't just want to lay waste to his political enemies and a large part of the news media. The former House speaker and presidential hopeful wants to bomb a significant part of the planet, too."
Iran moving closer to stage where it will be too late to destroy nuclear facilities, Israel warns
Israeli Finance Minister Pushes Naval, Aerial Blockade of Iran
The Iranian oil embargo: does this mean war?
Greece - Between Iran and a Hard Place
Syria violence has risen significantly, says Arab League mission chief
Syria crisis: UN Security Council mulls Assad measures
Mexico Launches New Offensive Against Cartel, Ratcheting Up Drug War

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
India Factory Workers Revolt, Kill Company President
China clamps down on budding Tibetan revolt
Tibetan student 'killed in third Sichuan, China clash'
Yemen's "parallel revolution" inspires street-level protests
Romanians take to streets in austerity winter
Occupy protest seizes UC Davis building, blocks bank
"Taking advantage of some extra patience on the part of administrators who came under heavy criticism for the pepper-spraying of demonstrators in November, student protesters on the UC Davis campus have seized control of a vacant campus building and are sporadically blocking access to an on-campus bank."
Feds to enforce no-camping rules Monday at Occupy D.C. sites
Protesters storm Syrian embassy in Cairo
"Dozens of pro-democracy protesters stormed the Syrian Embassy in Cairo Friday, breaking windows and ripping the Syrian flag before dispersing, officials said."
Nuclear foes defy order to remove tents from the grounds of METI (Japan)
"Antinuclear activists camping out at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry refused to take down their tents Friday despite an order to do so by 5 p.m."

## Energy/resources ##
Poll: Oil Markets Seen Withstanding Iran Attack
China hires at least two supertankers for Iranian oil
Iran Embargo May Speed Refinery Closures
"The European Union's embargo on Iranian oil threatens to accelerate refinery closures in Europe, the head of Italy's refiners' lobby said.
"'Asian countries not applying the embargo could buy the Iranian oil at a discount and sell cheap refined products back to us,' Piero De Simone, general manager of Unione Petrolifera, said in an interview in Rome yesterday. 'Italy already risks the closure of five refineries and at a European level we're talking about 70 possible shut downs.'"
Chevron Posts Biggest Profit Drop in Two Years on Refining
Halkbank to handle Iran payments so long as legal
"Turkish lender Halkbank will continue to handle customers' oil payments to Iran as long as they comply with international regulations, the bank's general manager said in the wake of fresh, unilateral U.S. and EU sanctions."
Iran oil embargo seen as a problem for South Africa
"(Xinhua) -- If South Africa follows the U.S. and the European (EU) by banning new contracts for crude oil and petroleum products from Iran, South Africa's oil refineries may have to carry out multimillion-rand reconfigurations, the Cape Argus newspaper in Cape Town reported on Thursday."
Total Stops Buying Oil from Iran, Questions Impact of Boycott
"French oil company Total (NYSE:TOT) has stopped buying oil from Iran, as ordered by new European Union sanctions. However, Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie is doubtful the sanctions will have much effect on Iran's sales or on oil prices, said a Reuters report."
Release of Oil Reserves Not in the Cards Now: IEA
S.Sudan sees oil shutdown complete by Saturday
Natural-gas output cuts grow as prices languish
"'Few companies can afford to drill for gas and produce it at these prices,' he elaborated, and 'most companies cannot break even drilling a new dry-gas well' at the current price levels."
Deloitte Report: The Era of Cheap Water is Over
U.S. to Lose Out Yet Again on Developing Cuba's Offshore Oil?
Poland Gives Green Light to Massive Fracking Efforts
Anti-nuclear movement growing in Asia
"Though nuclear power still has a strong foothold in Asia, anti-nuclear sentiment and protest are growing from Mongolia to South Korea to Taiwan and even - in modest ways - in China."
Islamabad still sees Iranian gas as option
Nigeria: Motorists in Sokoto Groan as Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder
5,000 megawatts shortage persists (Pakistan)

## Got food? ##
Peru's vanishing fish stocks 'devastated' by corruption and growing fishmeal demand
"Soaring global demand for fishmeal primarily for animal feed or fish farms, including salmon, is wrecking havoc on the once abundant fish stocks of the southern Pacific"
Monsanto Investor Bill Gates Says GMO Crops Needed to Fight Starvation
U.S. Cattle Herd Falls to Smallest Since 1952 as Drought Destroys Pastures
Beef prices hit record highs — and will keep on climbing
DIY, Low-cost and Multipurpose Greenhouses

## Environment/health ##
Space storm hits satellites, airlines; consumer GPS systems are safe

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
ACTA: The Corporate Usurpation of the Internet
Twitter to enable country-specific censorship

## Japan ##
Nintendo triples its loss forecast as sales lag
Japan CPI Declines, Creates Problems For BOJ
Experts cast doubt on Japan nuclear power plant stress tests
Chugoku Electric shuts Shimane No. 2 reactor, leaving Japan with only 3 reactors online
Summer power curbs said unlikely
Rising food prices on contamination fears
Japan to inject $12.9bn into Tepco (FT)
Tohoku Electric Forecasts Record Loss After March 11 Disaster
Trade deficit could be long-term
Pension benefits to be cut by 0.3% in FY12; more trims may follow

## China ##
EU to hold summit talks with China next month
"Top officials of the European Union will hold talks with Chinese government leaders in Beijing next month to seek funding to help the EU deal with the sovereign debt and financial crises in Europe, it was learned Wednesday."

## UK ##
The British economy is in worse shape than we thought
IMF head backs UK austerity measures
David Cameron in U-turn over fiscal policing of eurozone
"The prime minister has abandoned his pledge to block the eurozone from using common EU institutions to police a new regime of fiscal integration and stiff German-style rules for the embattled single currency."
Occupy protesters evicted from empty London office block

## US ##
US Postal Service 'Unsustainable' Situation, Leader Says
Military cutback contains surprise
"Arguing that the United States needs to be prepared for myriad potential threats despite ending the war in Iraq — and with congressional opposition to military spending cuts likely to be as stiff as ever — the Pentagon's request calls for an increase in its base budget by $36 billion over the next five years."
Ford hit by commodity costs, international woes
If The Economy Is Improving….
Federal agency sounds alarm on American Airlines' pensions
EPA Rejects Palm-Oil Based Biodiesel for Renewable Fuels Program
GDP on Recession Track; Real GDP +2.8%, Misses Estimates; Inventory Replenishment Accounts for 1.9 Percentage Points; Five-Year Treasury Yield Hits Record Low
Retirement in America is 'endangered'
New Yorkers Face "Downward Mobility"
Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization's collapse
Late-night power outage causes another Metro meltdown
Is Newt Gingrich's space plan science fiction?
Yes. Nobody with half a brain is taking this plan seriously. -- RF

Thursday, January 26, 2012


News Links, January 27, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Cameron Rebukes Euro Leaders at Davos, Calls Financial Transaction Tax "Quite Simply Madness" ; Mathematical Impossibilities
Soros: EU Needs Euro Bonds
Gloom gathers over Davos as Merkel digs in her heels on debt
Freighter Oversupply Weighs on Shipowners and Banks
"The skyscrapers and immaculate beaches of this seaport look out on one of the world's largest parking lots: mile after mile of empty cargo ships, as far as the eye can see.
"Similar fleets bob at anchor, with empty cargo holds, off the coasts of southeast Malaysia and Hong Kong. And dozens of newly built ships float empty near the giant shipyards of South Korea and China, their owners from all over the world reluctant to accept delivery during one of the worst markets ever for the global shipping industry."
Chart of the Day: Central Bank Balance Sheet as Percent of GDP: Fed, ECB, BOJ, BOE (Mish)
"The race is on to see which central bank can load up its balance sheet with the most garbage the fastest."
Chart of the Day: The Baltic Dry Index
No Slower Steaming as Container Lines Run Like Clippers: Freight
"Container ships can't go any slower.
"Shipping lines are running out of options to stop losses as sailing speeds reach their lower limit, exhausting a solution that helped restore profitability in 2010.
"The global container fleet is now cruising near record-low speeds after slowing 11 percent from August when the freight rate market collapsed, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Lloyd's Register. Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. estimates some of the smallest shipping lines will run out of cash in the second half of this year as the industry fails to adjust to overcapacity that's allowing customers to push down rates."
Asian freight demand slides in 2011
"Demand for airfreight services in the Asia-Pacific took a nosedive in 2011, plunging 4.8 percent, year-over-year. Load factor in this region also declined considerably last year, falling to 66.6 percent — a 3.4-percent, year-over-year, drop — despite no capacity changes from 2010."
Ghost estates: Unwanted homes in Irish Republic could be demolished (BBC video)
Holy bubble! This looks just like China. Must-see video. -- RF
When the global housing bubbles collapse like a row of dominoes – Canadian housing bubble at apex. Real estate markets from Australia, UK, Italy, and Ireland now into correction phases. (Dr. Housing Bubble)
Austerity 'Does Not Deliver': HSBC Chief Economist
Stephen Harper says 'major' changes coming to Canada's pension system: speech
US unveils strategy for a global supply chain crisis
"The US has unveiled a strategy at the Davos World Economic Forum to protect the global supply chain in the event of a terror attack or natural disaster."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pre-emptive embargo: Iran could turn off oil tap to EU
India pledges to continue buying oil from Iran
"India could be on a collision course with the United States and European Union after officials in Delhi made clear they intended to carry on importing oil from Iran, despite the imposition of Western sanctions against Tehran."
Iran-China trade soars to top $45 bn: report
Iran won't move toward nuclear weapon in 2012: ISIS report
"Iran is unlikely to move toward building a nuclear weapon this year because it does not yet have the capability to produce enough weapon-grade uranium, a draft report by the Institute for Science and International Security said on Wednesday."
How Iran could beat up on America's superior military
"The US may outspend the Islamic Republic nearly 90-to-1 on defense. But Iran, heir to ancient Persia's naval innovation, has a well-honed asymmetric strategy designed to reverse that advantage.
"A 2002 US military exercise simulating such a conflict proved devastating to American warships."
Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China's rise
Egypt Bans LaHood, Other Americans From Leaving
No military action against Syria‎, says David Cameron
Rebels claim control of Papua New Guinea military, demand new government
Reuters Magazine: The drone war
Thousands of NATO trucks in Pakistan backlog
"Two months into Pakistan's blockade on NATO supplies crossing into Afghanistan, thousands of trucks are crowding the port in Karachi where drivers, fed up with waiting, are starting to desert."
Cynthia McKinney: U.S. war machine pervades Africa
East Africa Is the New Epicenter of America's Shadow War
"It's not quite the new Pakistan, or even the new Yemen, but it's close — especially as new bases for the U.S.'s Shadow Wars pop up and expand. The U.S. military sometimes seemed like it was casting about for a reason to set up shop in Africa. Counterterrorism has given it one."
The real reason, of course, is Africa's resources and markets. -- RF
Saudi prince warns of Middle East nuclear arms race

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Egyptian protesters plan sit-in until army leaves
"Egyptian youths camped out on Thursday in Cairo's Tahrir Square and vowed to stay put until the army hands power to civilians, a day after a mass demonstration marked a year since an uprising which brought down Hosni Mubarak."
Fuel shortage results in business closures, clashes, road blockages (Egypt)
Police 'rescue' Australian PM from Aboriginal rights protesters
At least four arrested as Occupy Portland demonstration takes to streets
Bahraini police clash with protesters
"Bahraini police and anti-government protesters clashed in Shiite villages, leaving dozens of officers and several demonstrators injured, officials and the opposition said Wednesday."
Thousands march in Poland over Acta internet treaty
Tibetan areas under lockdown as unrest spreads
Protesters urged to occupy Chicago during G8 and Nato summits
"Adbusters, the group which helped spark the Occupy movement, has put out a call for tens of thousands of protesters to occupy Chicago during the G8 and Nato summits in May."
Riots in US Streets? Why Soros' Prediction Is Unlikely
On this I have to agree with Soros. There will be mobs and riots in the US. -- RF
Italy On the Verge of a Full Revolt

## Energy/resources ##
Textile sector faces unprecedented gas, power shortage (Pakistan)
Enter the Dragon - China to Increase Energy Investment in Pakistan
Two Sudans' oil dispute deepens as South shuts down wells
Supply concerns tighten oil markets
China overtakes Japan as world's top coal importer
Uranium supply crunch by 2016 - Nuclear expert
Fuel card news: south-east hauliers 'could face fuel shortage' (UK)

## Got food? ##
Toronto committee votes to uphold backyard chicken ban

## Environment/health ##
Gardening Map Of Warming U.S. Has Plant Zones Moving North

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Anonymous Goes After World Governments in Wake of Anti-SOPA Protests
ACTA has same dangers as PIPA and SOPA
Railroad Association Says Hack Memo Was Inaccurate
FBI plans social network map alert mash-up application
"The FBI is seeking to develop an early-warning system based on material 'scraped' from social networks."
Newt Threatens China and Russia With Cyberwar
'Anonymous Palestine' Attacks Israeli Websites

## Japan ##
NEC to Cut 10,000 Jobs on Forecast of Third Loss in 4 Years
No takers for reconstruction work / Low labor budgets leave more than 400 tenders on the table in Tohoku region
"No contracts have been awarded in about 400 construction projects up for bid in the Tohoku region, as construction companies are shunning small-scale jobs amid a shortage of manpower in areas hard-hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, it has been learned."
Suspect cattle still untested / Location of nearly 3,000 cows in radiation scare remains unknown
"The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has been unable to track the distribution routes of nearly 3,000 cows whose meat is suspected to contain high levels of radioactive cesium, ministry officials said."
New security teams to tackle cyber-attacks
"To enhance protection against cyber-attacks, ministries and agencies will be required to set up teams to handle computer security incidents and a new post of chief information security officer will be created, a government council on information security has announced."
Government debt closing in on quadrillion mark
And that's just government debt. Total debt comes to over 500% of GDP. -- RF
Japan losing hope for its pricey "dream reactor"
Nuclear reactors staying idle
"Of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors, four are in operation, generating 8 percent of nuclear-power capacity."

## China ##
Pollution sparks panic water buying in China
China to expand patrols to cover Senkaku isles, gas field
"The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration plans to expand its aerial patrols to cover areas of dispute between Japan and China, including the Senkaku Islands and the Shirakaba natural gas field, according to reports by a subsidiary of the Xinhua News Agency."

## UK ##
Middle-income Britain is in state of emergency, says Nick Clegg
"Nick Clegg will warn on Thursday that the pressure on family finances has reached 'boiling point' and mark a new phase in coalition politics by setting out in public his party's budget demands, including a call for the chancellor, George Osborne, to speed up help for the working poor."
Police numbers at lowest for a decade
"Number of police officers in England and Wales falls by 6,000 in a year as chief constable warns of 'cliff edge'"
Ministry of Defence to cut further 3,000 civilian jobs
Newspaper review: Economy cause for doom and gloom

## US ##
Short Sellers Increase Bets Across the Board
"For the first time in a long time, short sellers have increased their bets that the stock prices of most large companies and in most large sectors will fall."
New-home sales hit a record low
North Dakota Oil Boom Brings Blight With Growth as Costs Soar
Michigan Attorney General Calls For 1,000 More Police Officers
Pentagon cuts reshape military, trim costs
Panetta: Military cuts to hit 'all 50 states'
The cuts will no doubt seriously impact local economies heavily dependent on the military. -- RF
Pentagon taps students to build robots, drones
Here's what the Fed's 'new transparency' looks like

And finally... Gingrich promises US moon colony by 2020
Talk about promising people the moon! Hasn't Gingrich noticed that the US is edging closer to Third-World status day by day? By 2020 there will likely be no space program at all. -- RF

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