Tuesday, January 10, 2012


News Links, January 11, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Mafia now "Italy's No.1 bank" as crisis bites: report
"Organised crime has tightened its grip on the Italian economy during the economic crisis, making the Mafia the country's biggest 'bank' and squeezing the life out of thousands of small firms, according to a report on Tuesday."
Italy Is Biggest Risk to Euro, Says Fitch
Greek Debt Deal Talks: How Much of a 'Haircut'?
Greece Bank Run Shows No Sign Of Stopping: Deposit Outflows Continue In November
With Work Scarce in Athens, Greeks Go Back to the Land
Hedge Funds Now Hold Future Of Europe Hostage
Fitch warns that many euro countries may see ratings cut by the end of this month
Car sales growth likely to be near-zero in 2012 (India)
Hungary Folds, Ready To Change Its Laws To Get European Bailout Money
The Periphery Remains in a Vicious Circle of More Austerity and Lower Growth (CNBC video)
Germany: High on jobs, low on growth
"Germany boasts a low unemployment rate, but industrial production is in a free fall"
The Faustian Bargain has Enabled an Unsustainable Economic System, but Not for Much Longer
'Nuclear winter' to cost 1000s of jobs at RBS
Ontario universities, hospitals 'in shock' after $66-million funding cut
"Research projects at universities and hospitals on everything from advanced health technologies to digital media have ground to a halt after the Ontario government pulled the plug on $66-million in funding and loan programs – and there could be more to come."
Soft drinks lose their fizz as plants shut down (Australia)
Abu Dhabi may rescue more developers after $9.8bn bailout
The return of "The Limits to Growth"

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military/war drums ##
Bomb targeting anti-Taliban militia kills 25 at Pakistan market
Syria's Assad vows "iron fist", mocks Arab League
Russian warships conclude visit to Syrian port
Israel prepares for fall of Assad, Syria refugees
EU ministers plan Iran oil embargo, IAEA team to visit
EU, Japan prepare for Iran oil embargo
US Defense Secretary Admits "Iran Not Trying to Develop Nuclear Weapon"
Hyperinflation Comes To Iran
Turkey Said to Tell India Help on Iran Oil Payments May End
Geithner Seeks Support for Iran Oil Sanctions From China; What Should China's Response Be? Shoddy Reporting by Bloomberg on Oil Story
Kenya on edge as terror attack threat looms
Pirates hijack Iranian ship in Gulf of Aden: report
Doomsday clock moved closer to midnight
Geopolitical Implications of "Peak Everything"
Blast kills 35 in Khyber agency
Report: US Likely to Resume Pakistan Drone Strikes Soon
"Attacks Killed 609 in 2011, Only Three 'Commanders'"

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Occupiers Target 'Mayor 1% Emanuel's' Anti-Protest Ordinance
Industrialists, citizens stage demos against power, gas loadshedding (Pakistan)
"The angry protesters set the ablazed tyres and chanted slogans against the government at the mentioned localities. Protestors blocked the defense Road for more than a couple of hours by parking tractor trollies and by forcibly closing the railway crossing present at the road."
Nigerians protest over fuel price for second day
"Tens of thousands of Nigerians took to the streets for a second day Tuesday and many more stayed off work nationwide to try to force President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind a removal of subsidies that has doubled the price of petrol."
Unilever workers stage pension protest
Terrorist sympathisers take over Athens radio station
Protests follow Tibetan self-immolations

## Energy/resources ##
Crude supplies from West Asia hang in balance (India)
Eskom warns of power shortage (South Africa)
"The new year is off to an uncertain start, with an irregular electricity supply the last problem the domestic economy needs. As most companies returned to full production on Monday on the first day of work for many, Eskom warned that there was a risk of power shortages for the rest of the month."
Pakistan to import 500MW electricity from India
Blackout nation: Pak running out of gas and oil
Argentina May Impose Fuel Discount on Shortage, Cronista Says
"Argentina may force companies including YPF SA (YPFD) to sell premium gasoline for the price of lower-quality fuel in the case of shortages."
The power to change (Nepal)
"It is hard to remember a winter in urban Nepal that was bleaker than this one. Till this time last year, if there was no power people could at least fire up the diesel generator. Now there is no diesel, either. Nor petrol. Nor LPG."
Electricity only reaches one in three Afghans
The dangers of natural gas: Infographic
Expiration of Cash Grant to Affect Biomass & Wind More than Solar
Areva Invites More Banks to Table as Wind Projects Vie for Loans in Crisis
Fuel strikes threaten Nigeria's oil sector
Fur shoes, fleece sweaters replace heaters in offices (SKorea)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Attempted copper theft at Entergy substation leads to blackout (US)

## Got food? ##
Argentine Grains To Get Rain, But Will It Be Enough?
Orange juice futures spike on fungicide fears

## Environment/health ##
Hong Kong Air Pollution At Worst Levels Ever: Report
Residents on the warpath over growing rat menace (Abu Dhabi)
Alaska snow and ice cuts off Cordova and Nome
"Extreme winter weather has left one Alaskan town battling huge snowdrifts and forced another to seek fuel supplies from a Russian tanker."
Thousands of British skiers trapped in Austria after 10ft snowfall

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
5 Things You Should Know About the FBI's Massive New Biometric Database
How To Prepare For The Difficult Years Ahead
As Centralized Systems Devolve, The Solution Is Localism
Iran jamming broadcasts by Qatar's Al Jazeera

## Japan ##
Tepco Begins Talks With Banks on New Loans
"Facing the prospect of bankruptcy or a government takeover, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility at the center of Japan's worst-ever nuclear accident, has entered negotiations with creditor banks in the hopes of persuading them to lend it more money, government officials familiar with the matter said Monday.
"The negotiations could be fraught with difficulties, as the banks have told Tepco it must meet three preconditions for fresh loans: a capital injection from the government, a 10% increase in electricity rates, and the re-start of a nuclear plant next year, the officials said."
UAE, Saudis To Keep The Crude Flowing To Japan
"The United Arab Emirates will give priority to providing Japan with a stable supply of crude oil, foreign ministers from both nations agreed here Tuesday."
Qatar promises stable oil, gas supply
"Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba asked Qatar on Monday to ensure stable supplies of liquefied natural gas and crude oil, and won a promise of cooperation during meetings with two Qatari ministers, Japanese officials said."
New Wind Turbine Capacity To Slip 68% In FY11
"The combined generating capacity of wind turbines coming online in the current fiscal year to March will trail fiscal 2010's tally by 68%, the Japan Wind Power Association estimated in a report released Tuesday."
Japan formin says very concerned over Iran tension
No. of suicides surpasses 30,000 for 14th year in a row in 2011
Shrinking population finally hitting the Tokyo area
Head up: Govt to submit bill on epidemics / Special law to help prevent spread of infection, maintain order
Quake disaster survivors see bleak future as unemployment benefits run out

## China ##
China Import Growth Slide Deepens Global Risks
China mulls new energy "super-ministry"
And the result will be increased complexity, bloat, and higher required energy throughput. -- RF
Can China avoid a hard landing?

## UK ##
William Hague warns against Falklands intimidation
Retail warning despite festive boom
Labour admits it may cut spending further

## US ##
Food stamp use still rising despite good jobs news
"Household food stamp participation has been climbing so steadily that it has far surpassed the last peak, set as a result of Hurricane Katrina"
Moody's Downgrades Illinois Credit Rating To Worst In Nation
Closing of 259 USDA offices raises safety concerns
December freight rates climb even as volume stalls
"Year over year, freight costs were up 18.8 percent against an increase in freight volumes of only .7 percent."
New job openings decrease
"Private job openings declined 1.57 percent since October, and layoffs increased 5.68 percent"
Manipulating the Figures on US Unemployment: December Payroll Jobs Report
"Today's (Friday, January 6) payroll jobs report of 200,000 new jobs in December is overstated by at least 82,000 jobs. As approximately 130,000 new jobs are needed each month to stay even with population growth, the December job figures actually indicate that the US economy fell another 12,000 jobs behind."
DEA helped Colombian drug trafficker launder cash, new report reveals
Great Recession still affects health care spending
Georgia Will Merge Eight Colleges To Save Money
Treasury Draws Record Demand at $32 Billion Three-Year Note Sale
"The Treasury (YCGT0025) attracted record demand at today's $32 billion auction of three-year notes as concern that a resolution to Europe's sovereign-debt crisis is far off drove investors to the safety of the securities."
Commercial real estate stalls after rebounding
In The First Few Days Of 2012, US Mint Sells More Silver Than In Most Months Of 2011
Doctors: Why we can't stay afloat

And finally...
Fidel Castro: 'Robot' better than Obama or Republicans
The 'post-apocalyptic' condo that can withstand a nuclear attack

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