Monday, January 09, 2012


News Links, January 10, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Euro hits 16-month low vs dollar, 11-year low vs yen
"The euro hit a 16-month low versus the dollar on Monday, hurt by negative news from the euro zone over the weekend, with the risks of further declines seen in coming months."
Merkel, Sarkozy Pile Pressure on Greece
Dimwit Comment of the Day: Christine Lagarde, IMF Director says "Europe May Avoid a Recession This Year"
Greece Spends Bailout Cash On European Military Purchases
German debt auction priced at negative yield
Italian Banks Plunge On Capital Raise Concerns
European Banks Now Get Loans From Cash-Rich Firms
"Blue-chip names like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Peugeot are among firms bailing out Europe's ailing banks in a reversal of the established roles of clients and lenders...
"Europe's banks are struggling to secure the cash to fund their day-to-day business and have largely stopped lending to each other for fear Europe's sovereign debt crisis could land any of their peers in trouble."
Alcoa Says China to Cut 1.1 Million Tons of Capacity in 2012
"Alcoa Inc. (AA) Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said his company predicts that China will curtail 1.1 million metric tons of aluminum production capacity this year."
Australia's biggest economic threat is China: Weak commodity demand dampens resource-rich market
Outlook 2012: Airlines May Be Headed for a Bumpy Ride
More bleak times ahead for housing (Australia)
Construction activity continues to weaken (Australia)
Gold facts (infographic)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Iran: we will close the Strait of Hormuz if our oil exports are blocked
Canadian warship bound for Mediterranean
"A Canadian warship steamed toward the Mediterranean Sea Monday for NATO anti-terrorism patrols as Iranian naval tensions ran high."
Iran starts nuclear work in mountain bunker: diplomats
UAE delays oil pipeline to bypass Hormuz
"The United Arab Emirates has delayed the launch of a crucial oil pipeline to bypass the Straits of Hormuz to mid-2012, which analysts said would add to supply worries at a time when Iranthreatens to block the strait for all the Gulf's oil."
Asia needs to prepare for oil crisis (Canberra Times)
"Since the last major rupture in the flow of oil from the Gulf after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990-91, Asia has greatly increased its reliance on Middle East oil to fuel rapid economic growth and expansion of modern transport networks that rely on petrol, diesel, jet fuel and other products refined from crude oil."
Almost 1 In 3 U.S. Warplanes Is a Robot
Indefinite Strike: Stockpile Foodstuffs, NLC Tells Nigerians
Israel Hikes Defense Spending By $700 Million
"Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu announced Jan. 8 an increase of nearly $700 million in the defense budget, after saying last year that he would cut military spending to finance social reforms."
Gov. Perry Vows to Reinvade Iraq if Elected
US Eyes Arms Sales to South Sudan

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
The Revolution Returns to Egypt
Middle East protests, state repression set to continue in 2012: Amnesty International
Protesters take to the streets over state cuts (Ireland)
Protests, bonfires as strike starts in Nigeria
"Protesters gathered in Nigeria's main cities on Monday and fires were set on a road in the economic capital Lagos as the country embarked on a nationwide strike over soaring fuel prices."
Nigeria fuel protests turn violent, two killed

## Energy/resources ##
Saudi Arabia: 'Internal' matter if Japan buys Iran oil
"A Saudi oil official said that whether Japan or other countries continue to buy Iranian oil was an 'internal matter,' reflecting the unease in many nations after the latest U.S. sanctions on Tehran and Iran's threats to choke off the Strait of Hormuz in response."
Translation: We don't have enough capacity to replace Iranian oil. -- RF
Seoul looking for Iranian oil alternatives
If governments have such a hard time finding replacements for Iranian oil, we're already in trouble. -- RF
Unrest in MENA to fuel rental power growth in 2012
Diesel fuel is already in tight supply globally. What happens if all the people who want diesel generators start using them? -- RF
Motorists braced for petrol price rise after wholeseale costs jump (UK)
"Motorists and hauliers face record diesel prices at the pumps, putting a further brake on economic recovery, after an unprecedented rise in wholesale costs over the festive period."
Aboitiz barges ready to aid Mindanao during power shortage (Philippines)
"WITH Mindanao set to suffer from shortages in the coming days, the operator of the diesel power barges in Agusan and Compostela Valley expressed confidence the facility can deliver vital power to utilities to keep industries running as well as households lighted."
More oil firms hike gasoline, diesel, kerosene prices (Philippines)
Analysis: Power woes could trip Indonesia's economic surge
"Recurring blackouts this year have forced hotels on the resort island of Bali to rely on diesel generators for back-up power, which costs more than regular power supplies.
"'The situation has improved, but there are still blackouts from time to time. We have to use diesel which is more expensive and adds to our costs,' said a senior executive at a Bali hotel."
Drivers Face Record High Diesel Prices (UK)
Oil Prices Could Soar 80% If Iran Shut Hormuz: Analyst
U.S. Shale Bubble Inflates After Near-Record Prices for Untested Fields
"Surging prices for oil and natural- gas shales, in at least one case rising 10-fold in five weeks, are raising concern of a bubble as valuations of drilling acreage approach the peak set before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc."
Nigeria National Strike Not Hit Oil Output, Exports So Far-Sources
Big Statoil Arctic find boosts Norway's oil future
300 million bbl is about three and one-half days' world consumption. -- RF
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia not to supply oil to Pakistan on long-term credit
"Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have turned down Pakistan's request to supply oil on long-term credit despite the rhetoric of long-standing and brotherly ties between the countries, according to a media report today."

## Got food? ##
Grocery bills make dining out appear affordable (US)

## Environment/health ##
Fracking Moratorium Urged by U.S. Doctors
"The U.S. should declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until the health effects are better understood, doctors said at a conference on the drilling process."
Light At Night Not A 'Bright' Idea
Wild weather hits Latin America
"From Chile to Colombia to Mexico, Latin America has been battered recently by wildfires, floods and droughts."

## Japan ##
Record-Low Number Of New Adults Mark Coming-Of-Age Day
Although regarded as a demographic disaster by the government and business community, this is good news for grossly-overpopulated Japan. -- RF
2 power companies likely to face supply shortages in 2012 if demand matches 2011 level
"Shikoku Electric Power Co. has announced that it will shut down the No. 2 reactor at its Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ehime Prefecture for regular inspections from Jan. 13, leaving just five of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors in operation as power companies struggle to secure reserve electricity."
Strong yen forces domestic firms to expand overseas
As Fukushima Cleanup Begins, Long-term Impacts are Weighed

## China ##
Japan, North hold secret talks in China
Flush With Cash, China's Three Gorges Corp. Buys Into Portuguese Electrical Utility

## UK ##
Price of fuel 'could reach record levels'
"Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Petrol is concerned fuel prices could leap to record levels in the UK after a sharp increase in the cost of wholesale diesel and unleaded petrol over the festive period."
Six million households have only five days' savings
"Around six million households would be unable to survive for more than five days if they stopped being paid, such are the low levels of savings among Britons, new research shows."

## US ##
Six in Ten Hedge Funds Lost Money in 2011
US Debt Is Now Equal to Economy
U.S. Weighs Retaliation Over Europe Aviation Law
Muslim man from Kosovo charged in Fla. bomb plot
Wall Street Prepares to Take Sharp Pay Cut
November boost in consumer debt is most in 10 years
"Americans dug their debt hole deeper by more than $20 billion in November, the biggest monthly gain in 10 years, the Federal Reserve reports.
"Not counting mortgage debt, Americans owe $2.48 trillion."
Government Set to Sell Foreclosures in Bulk
"The Obama administration, in conjunction with federal regulators and led by the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is very close to announcing a pilot program to sell government-owned foreclosures in bulk to investors as rentals, according to administration officials."
Poor, but feeding the rich
Law enforcement officials can now secretly install GPS tracking on your vehicle and spy on you without a warrant, says judge
Alcoa Posts First Quarterly Loss Since 2009
Earnings outlook: Bye-bye, double-digit growth

And finally... Oh, the Irony! Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta Faces Foreclosure

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