Wednesday, January 11, 2012


News Links, January 12, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Germany May Be on Brink of Recession After Economy Contracts
German steelmakers see zero output growth in 2012
German Economy Contracts in 4th Quarter; Spain's Industrial Output Plunges 7%; UK Trade Deficit Widens; European Banks Wisely Hoard Cash (Mish)
Germany May Add Money to Rescue Fund at the Start
Europe Banks Hoarding Cash Resist Draghi Bid to Avoid Crunch
Asia skyscraper building boom may be sign of impending economic collapse, warn experts
Singapore Construction Demand to Drop
"Private-sector construction demand in Singapore could fall by more than 50% this year compared with last year due to the effect of the global and domestic economic woes on the domestic property market, the government said."
Spanish Banks Try to Build Their Way Out of Home Glut
Stocks go nowhere and rumors are flying in Europe
Greek Crisis Has Pharmacists Pleading for Aspirin as Drug Supply Dries Up
"The situation is worsening day by day."
Debt Trap Looms in India on Convertible Bonds; Borrowing Costs May Quadruple for Indian Corporations
Europe's $39 Trillion Pension Threat Grows as Regional Economies Sputter
I've said it many times and I'll say it again: Kiss your pension and "retirement" goodbye. -- RF
Reinforcing the Supply Chain
"After a decade of streamlining their supply chains to make them less costly, the natural disasters and political upheavals that marked 2011 showed many multinational companies just how vulnerable those links have become."
Financial Crisis Lays Seeds of 'Dystopian Future'
"The World Economic Forum warned Wednesday that the financial crisis that has gripped the global economy for the past few years is fueling resentment that could lay the seeds for a rising tide of protectionism, nationalism and social unrest."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military/war drums ##
Two U.S. Aircraft Carriers Near Iran, With A Third On The Way
Iran: Oh, No; Not Again (Chris Martenson)
Bomb kills Iran nuclear scientist; U.S. presses sanctions
"An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car on Wednesday in an attack Tehran's deputy governor blamed on Israel, raising the diplomatic temperature in a stand-off with the West over Iran's nuclear program."
Analysis: Israel uses risky "hits" in deadly shadow war
"If Mossad assassins were behind the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist Wednesday, it would be the latest chapter in a long history of Israeli covert action against foes best not confronted with full force."
US denies killing Iran nuclear scientist with magnetic bomb
Russia worried about a nuclear Iran, but leery of US sanctions
Israeli Mossad recruiting Iranian exiles in Iraq's Kurdish region: report
U.S. launches first drone strike since deadly November attack
Second Arab monitor may quit Syria over violence
Pakistan army steps up confrontation with government
Leading Think Tank Urges Naval Buildup in South China Sea

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Hundreds Threaten Suicide At Microsoft Supplier Plant In China
Minna riot: Nigeria curfew in Niger state
"The Nigerian authorities have imposed a 24-hour curfew in Niger state after a crowd of youths went on the rampage, setting fire to buildings and cars."
Occupy Wall Street returns to NYC's Zuccotti Park
Syrians face more economic hardship as unrest spreads

## Energy/resources ##
Kashmir on the edge: no water, no heating, no peace
"In the midst of the worst cold wave in decades, Kashmir is freezing and pitch-dark, reeling from a severe electricity shortage."
Nonstop Flights Stop for Fuel
"Dozens of Continental Airlines flights to the East Coast from Europe have been forced to make unexpected stops in Canada and elsewhere to take on fuel after running into unusually strong headwinds over the Atlantic Ocean."
Saudi Oil Output Nearing Capacity Limit
"Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is nearing its comfortable operational production limits and may struggle to do much to make up for shortages that arise from new sanctions imposed on Iran by the West, Gulf-based sources said."
Nigerian oil union threatens to shut down crude output
Industry to close shop on Jan 31 to protest erratic power outages (India)
"All trade and industrial establishments in Coimbatore district plan to close shop on January 31 to protest the erratic power cuts and failure of the state government to resolve the issue."
Manufacturers sound alarm over scarcity of minerals, metals
"Global manufacturers are sounding a cautious note over the scarcity of minerals and metals they need to build everything from cellphones and jet planes to cars and trucks, a new survey has found."
Fuel crisis takes toll on Dang cement factories (Nepal)
"Large scale cement factories that were planning to launch their products by Feb said fuel shortage has badly impacted their preparations, forcing them to postpone their plans. These industries have the capacity to substantially replace cement imports. Similarly, road expansion project in the district has also been affected."
Lufthansa ends aviation biofuels trials; cites fuel shortage

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Train cable theft hits Daveyton (South Africa)
"No trains were running on the Daveyton line, on the East Rand, on Wednesday morning because of stolen overhead power cables, Metrorail Gauteng said."

## Got food? ##
If You Want More Local Food, Stop Criminalizing Family Farmers
"Food Sovereignty" law passed in small Maine town to allow sale of locally produced food without interference of regulators
Drought, shipping, storage costs raise food prices
"Higher meat prices, especially beef, are projected to drive food prices up slightly to more than a 3 percent increase in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"Because of the drought in Texas and Kansas, cattle herds are at 50-year lows and could continue to decline in numbers if dry weather hangs on into summer as most meteorologists predict."

## Environment/health ##
Interstellar Energy Cloud may be as much to Blame for Climate Change as CO2 Emissions

## Japan ##
Japan Wants to Keep Importing Iranian Crude
"Japan wants to keep importing crude oil from Iran despite rising pressure from the U.S., its key ally, to cooperate in strengthening sanctions over the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment program.
"'We are concerned about an impact on global energy prices,' an official at Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. 'We are also worried about how a fuel shortage might impact rebuilding' after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, added the official, who asked not to be named."
Chiba Prefecture troubled by shrinking population after nuclear disaster
Machine Tool Orders In '12 May Show 1st Decline In 3 Years

## China ##
China's Wen To Visit Key Mideast Energy Powers
Be prepared for a big disappointment from China this year
China's Debt Maturity Problem Has Arrived
China's Gold Imports From Hong Kong Surge to Highest Ever? - PBOC Buying?
'Reshoring' firms head for home

## UK ##
Scots referendum row a boost for separatists: SNP
City 'to be offshore currency market for China'

## US ##
Rising Share of Americans See Conflict Between Rich and Poor
Trained marksmen will be watching NATO/G8 dignitaries, protesters
Private-Equity Payday: Carlyle Founders Get $402 Million
Debt-limit increase request 'days' away
White-Collar Workers Join Crowd Straining Food Banks
Americans Gorge on Credit Card Offers
"It would appear that the Federal Reserve's guarantee of freakishly low interest rates until at least 2013 (soon to be extended into 2014 or beyond) and the resulting push by credit card companies to clog mail boxes with all sorts or tempting offers had the desired effect on Americans as they racked up new credit card debt in November at a rate not seen since before the wheels fell of the global financial system back in early-2008."
Social Security - January 2012 and Beyond
"SS will never again see a cash surplus."
The Ponzi Debt Bubble Leaves Only Two Options
My guess is that the US government will take the second option. -- RF
Ten States That Cannot Pay Their Bills

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