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

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