Wednesday, January 18, 2012


News Links, January 19, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
IMF seeks $600 billion more in funds
"The IMF said it will need $500 billion to lend to member countries in need and IMF sources who were present at an IMF board meeting on the issue on Tuesday told Reuters that another $100 billion is needed as a 'protection buffer.'
"The IMF also estimated there would be a $1 trillion global financing gap over the next two years if global economic conditions worsened considerably, the sources added."
US Has 'No Intention' of Giving More Money to IMF
"The US Treasury has 'no intention' of providing additional money to the International Monetary Fund, a Treasury official told CNBC Wednesday, even though the IMF is hoping to raise an additional $500 billion to help fight the European debt crisis."
Hungary faces ruin as EU loses patience
"The European Commission has launched legal action against Hungary's Fidesz government for violations of European Union treaty law and erosion of democracy, marking a dramatic escalation in the war of words with the EU's enfant terrible."
Greece in new talks to avoid debt default
"Papademos in talks with country's private creditors in effort to persuade them to accept $129bn write down on bonds."
"No Deal" - Greek Bondholders Do Not Think Agreement Can Be Reached Before "Crunch Date"
Central banks huge gold buyers in 2011
Germany Cuts Growth Forecast
Fitch Could Downgrade Italy by Two Notches: Director
France to Sell Up to EU9.5 Billion in Debt
France and the death of the sovereign debt market
World Bank Lowers Growth Forecast
"The World Bank has revised downward its global growth forecast for 2012, acknowledging that the world is in a precarious position under threat of a Lehman-like crisis engulfing capital markets."
Why the Cascade of Downgrades Has Barely Begun
Vinashin Said to Miss Third Payment on $600 Million Facility
Bangladesh squeezes imports
"Asif said the foreign currency reserves might fall to as low as $3 billion after payment of debts against new rental power plants. He doubted whether the government would be able to pay the salaries of its employees within five months. 'Where's the money? Forget about investment,' he told a press conference on January 8."
Tanker firms batten down the hatches
Acropolis Succumbs to Debt Crisis as Greece Cuts Filming Costs
Debt Crisis Leaves Nothing Sacred as Italy Church Chased on Tax
The Debt Supercycle Reaches Its Final Chapter (Financial Sense)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military/war drums ##
Iran oil embargo set to be agreed by EU ambassadors
"Embargo could take effect on 1 July although Greece, which is heavily dependent on Iranian oil, could be a stumbling block"
Russia: New sanctions against Iran too stifling
"A military attack on Iran would trigger a 'chain reaction' that destabilizes the world, while new sanctions against Tehran would 'stifle' the Iranian economy and hurt its people, Russia's foreign minister warned Wednesday."
Pentagon's Ex-Mideast Chief: We Might Need Nukes to Deter Iran
Israel Says Decision on Iran Attack 'Far Off'
Israeli Army Says Nuclear Iran Would Hinder Military Aggression in Gaza, Lebanon
NATO urges Iran to ensure security of oil supply
"NATO urged Iran on Wednesday to ensure the security of energy supplies through the Strait of Hormuz but said the Western military alliance had no plans to intervene in the area."
Russia vows to block Western intervention in Syria
"Syria's powerful allies in Russia vowed Wednesday to block any Western attempts to intervene militarily in Syria as Damascus fights off an increasingly chaotic 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad."
Rocket hits Turkish embassy in Iraq
Russia boosts military aid to Kyrgyzstan
"Russia has started to send extra military aid to Kyrgyzstan to help bolster security along the Central Asian state's borders before NATO withdraws from Afghanistan in 2014."
Anti-Islamic groups across Europe to attend far-Right rally
"Far-right anti-Islamic groups from across Europe are planning to rally in Denmark, for what organisers have billed as the birth of a European movement."
Russia Allocates Funds for Drone/UAV Development for Military and Police
Situation Deteriorates, Pakistan Tells US Envoy to Stay Away

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Wakiso, Kampala residents demonstrate over load-shedding (Uganda)
Strike against electricity, gas load shedding (Pakistan)
Power cuts lead to outrage and protests in south, Beirut (Lebanon)
Occupy D.C. has a plan: To stay in the public's face
Budget rally in Toronto turns ugly; activists clash with police
Occupy London campers told to leave cathedral
One Killed, 7 Wounded In Protest Against Power Shortage In Guinea

## Energy/resources ##
Major Oil Refinery to Close in U.S. Virgin Islands
China, Saudi Arabia and the new oil alliance
'Red alert' in Mindanao amid power blackouts (Philippines)
"MINDANAO is now on 'red alert' due to a power shortage, while Luzon will need more power generators in the next three years as a result of rising demand and the increasing population, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras said Tuesday.
"He said Mindanao's power reserves dropped to zero on Tuesday, when the peak demand reached 1,236 megawatts but the available supply reached only 1,215 megawatts."
Shivering S. Koreans Battle 'Big Chill' in Offices
"'It's freezing!' complained chef Byun Sang-Won, jogging on the spot with arms folded and teeth clenched as he tried to keep warm inside the luxury Seoul hotel where he works.
"'I can't even imagine working without wearing extra underwear and hot packs because it's too cold in the kitchen and hallways,' the 26-year-old said."
Energy minister warns of further electricity cuts (Lebanon)
North Dakota Drillers Need More Fracking Crews, State Says
Uganda government ends power subsidies
Obama administration rejects Keystone oil pipeline
Canada Pledges to Sell Oil to Asia After Obama Keystone Denial
Why Wind Power Doesn't Live up to its Environmental Promises
S. Korea promised stable oil supply
"Oman and the United Arab Emirates assured South Korea of a stable crude oil supply as Seoul considers cutting imports from Iran, officials said Wednesday."
Basking in the Sun

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
South West Trains delayed after cable theft (UK)
Thieves casing abandoned buildings for scrap metals (US)
"'It's getting to the point that the thefts are so overwhelming,' he said. '[Thieves] are starting to target closed-down buildings now.'...
"But Forgione said thieves now are targeting shuttered restaurants for their steel — which can net them several thousand dollars from one establishment."

## Got food? ##
Iraq Plans to Raise Wheat Output by 74% to 3 Million Tons
One Acre Feeds a Person

## Environment/health ##
Bulgaria Bans Fracking Following Public Protests
Problems plague cleanup at Hanford nuclear waste site
America's new dumping ground (CNN Money video)
Where does all that fracking wastewater go? Find out here. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
A Huge Crowd Just Mobbed The New York Senators' Offices To Protest SOPA
Ten Prominent Websites Protesting SOPA and PIPA
Sunk! How Hollywood Lost the PR Battle Over SOPA (Reuters)
Abu Dhabi bourse denies tit-for-tat hacker attack
"Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) on Wednesday both denied claims by Israeli hackers that their websites had been attacked.
"Cyber-criminals claiming to be Israelis said they had brought down the sites of both the Tadawul and ADX in a retaliatory strike, days after a Saudi hacker attacked the Tel Aviv bourse."
Chinese Virus Targets DoD Common Access Card
"A Chinese-based cyber attack is targeting the U.S. Defense Department's Common Access Cards with technology that could steal information from military networks while troops and civilians work at their desks, researchers say."

## Japan ##
Electricity goes out at nuke plants
"Power transmission problems temporarily halted cooling systems for spent nuclear fuel facilities at both the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants Tuesday afternoon, as well as nitrogen injections into the wrecked No. 1 plant's crippled reactors, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said."
Lack of backup systems evident at Fukushima nuclear plants
Japan To Allow Reactors To Operate Up To 60 Years
A new definition of insanity. -- RF
Radioactive gravel finds way to school
Japan Finance Minister Nation Not Immune to Europe-Style Crisis
Companies balk at TEPCO's 17% rate hike
Weak euro puts exporters in 'critical situation'

## China ##
China Brings US Treasury Holdings To One Year Low, Russia Cuts Treasury Exposure By 50% In One Year
China Said to Consider Relaxing Capital Rules for Banks as Economy Falters
China's housing slowdown to cut a big hole in GDP growth
China's Real Estate Bubble Shrinks, Looks Like U.S. in 2007

## UK ##
UK faces request for £19bn as IMF boosts bailout fund to $1tn
UK unemployment increases by 118,000 to 2.69m
Lloyds Banking Group to cut 700 jobs

## US ##
Investigation of Aging U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Reveals Some Scary Truths
One million homeowners may get mortgage writedowns: U.S.
"About one million American homeowners would get writedowns in the size of their mortgages under a proposed deal with banks over shady foreclosure practices, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said on Wednesday."
Goldman Shifts to Tracking Costs as Profit Falls
"Goldman Sachs Group Inc., facing declining revenue because of a global slump in capital-markets activities, has turned its focus to controlling expenses and managing the size of its various divisions."
Cities brace for bad news in Obama's next federal budget, top mayor says
"Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, president of the US Conference of Mayors, says 'bad news is coming' for the nation's cities in the federal budget the Obama administration is preparing to release in early February."
Third World-Style Economies Proliferate
"With poverty on the rise and millions of unemployed and underemployed people still scratching by in urban and rural areas of the US, the potential for expansion of the informal sector is enormous."
Local currencies: 'In the U.S. we don't trust'
Detroit teeters on the brink despite autos comeback
Harvard Study Says US Competitiveness Will Decline

And finally... Iranian company wants to send toy drone to Obama

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