Friday, January 20, 2012


News Links, January 21, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Visualizing the World's $1 Trillion Black Market (National Geographic infographic)
Say hello to the world's second-largest economy. -- RF
Greece on verge of breakthrough in deal to cancel 70% of debt
Greek Default Won't Lessen Contagion Risk: Strategist
EUR Shorts Hit New Record
Survival Of The Unfittest: Japan Or The UK?
Italy Faces 2-Year Recession says IMF; European Recession Neither Mild Nor Short
US, Europe Face More Ratings Cuts in Coming Years
Cash-Strapped Ireland Tests Limits of Austerity
"Ireland is testing the limits for how much European Union-ordered austerity one country can take. Its four-year struggle to save its banks and tame a runaway deficit has already meant slashing thousands from the annual budgets of most households — and many Irish say they're close to breaking point."
Austerity Measures in Portugal Lead to Tax Dodging
"The new data indicates that the shadow economy in Portugal is much higher than in most other OECD countries in Europe, which have estimated underground economies worth 17 percent of the GDP on average. According to the authors of the new report, the only countries with higher levels of unreported economic activity are Greece."
One in 10 Canadians cannot afford prescription meds
2012 Supply Chain Predictions: Is the End of the World Nigh?
France grapples with job conundrum
Korean Shipyards to Buy 12% Less Steel as Slump Hits Posco
ThyssenKrupp says steel markets have weakened, no recovery soon
European steelmakers feel the heat; cut production
"In the wake of declining steel demand, many of Europe's leading steelmakers are cutting back production and more furnaces are likely to be idled in coming months."
Marc Faber Resumes Bloodfeud With Treasurys, Still Sees Entire Financial System Imploding
Shilling says new global recession is here
Portugal's restaurants down in dumps as crisis bites

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Syria: U.S. Reportedly Prepares To Close Embassy
Major powers signal openness to Iran talks
"Major powers seeking to negotiate an end to Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons on Friday signaled their openness to renewed talks with Tehran but diplomats said the powers remain divided on their approach."
EU prepares unprecedented attack on Iranian economy
"The European Union is preparing to launch an unprecedented attack on Iran's economy at a moment when experts believe the confrontation over the country's nuclear ambitions is entering a dangerous new phase."
Iran oil to be sanctioned by Europe Monday
Iran's options if they find themselves on end of a military strike
"If Israel or America were to launch a military strike to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, Tehran would have numerous ways of hitting back."
Nigerian city of Kano rocked by explosions and gunfire
U.S. Military Chief in Israel Amid Iran Tensions
Battle for control of Asia's seas goes underwater
"But America's submarine dominance in the Pacific is facing its biggest challenge since the Cold War. Nearly every Asian country with a coastline is fortifying its submarine fleet amid territorial disputes stirred up by an increasingly assertive China and the promise of bountiful natural resources."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Vietnam's factories grapple with growing unrest
"The number of wildcat strikes in Vietnam doubled last year as workers suffering from Asia's highest inflation rate struggled to obtain better wages."
Labour unrest in China – no letup soon
Unrest Spread Eastwards
"Protests in Hungary and Romania are the first signs of anti-systemic mobilisation in the Eastern half of the continent."
Occupy Wall Street: Protesters To Demonstrate Outside Courthouses
Karachi police clash with KESC workers
"Karachi's 'Red Zone' on Friday became a battlefield as a strong police force clashed with members of the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) workers union who tried to reach governor's house."

## Energy/resources ##
Uganda: Power Crisis Weighs Down Economy
Barrelling towards fuel shortages (South Africa)
"Because South Africa sources about a quarter of its crude oil imports -- about 100 000 barrels a day -- from Iran and another quarter from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, geopolitical events involving these countries could seriously knock the local economy."
South Sudan plans to shut oil production within 2 weeks
"South Sudan said on Friday it was working out a plan to shut down oil production within two weeks after Sudan said it had started seizing southern oil to compensate for what it said were unpaid transit fees."
Feds To Finance Small Nuclear Reactor Designs
Solar Stocks Plunge as Germany Vows to Quicken Subsidy Cuts
"Solar stocks plunged around the world after Germany, the largest market for panels, said it will make quicker cuts to subsidized rates and phase out support for the industry by 2017."
China's Next Big Energy Playing Field – Canada?
Gas crisis getting worse (Pakistan)
Russia doubled gasoline imports in 2011
"Russia, the world's top crude producer, more than doubled gasoline imports last year in an attempt to ease politically-sensitive fuel shortages before the national election cycle began, statistics showed on Friday."

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Seniors stranded after thieves pilfer golf cart batteries

## Got food? ##
After immigration crackdown, farmers mull planting
"Farmers and state officials have said that some produce was left to rot in the field last year because there weren't enough workers to help with the harvest."

## Environment/health ##
Bird Flu Study Shut Down Over Terrorism Fears
Solar blast heading our way

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Tasers a 'new urban terrorism' against 'downtrodden': Canadian study
Middle-East Cyberbattle Escalates as Arab Banks Take a Pounding

## Japan ##
Japan asks Washington to grant waiver on latest Iran oil sanctions
"Japan has requested that the United States grant it a waiver from new sanctions it is leveling on Iran, pointing to the risk of another economic setback and its already extant plans to reduce oil imports, a senior Foreign Ministry official said."
Scrambles against Chinese military jets soared in 2011
"Scrambles by Japan's Air Self-Defense Force against Chinese military aircraft skyrocketed last year, most of them occurring over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea."
Meltdown at Hamaoka plant certain if power supply knocked out for 3 days
"A catastrophic meltdown of nuclear fuel in reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant would take place if a blackout and failure of emergency power sources lasting three days crippled the cooling system, according to operator Chubu Electric Power Co."
Citing Weak TV Market, Moody's Downgrades Sony, Panasonic
Kansai Electric facing heavy loss
"Kansai Electric Power Co. is expected to post a significant group net loss in the business year to March as fossil fuel costs for generating electricity have expanded to cover the plunge in nuclear power, industry sources said Friday."
Manufacturers' Confidence Slides For 2nd Month
Economists Estimate Japan's Dec Trade Deficit At Y139.7bn
Firewood ash at Nihonmatsu homes found to contain high levels of radioactive cesium
"High levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in ash from firewood used in stoves and fireplaces at homes in Nihonmatsu in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Environment Ministry."

## China ##
China's 'Strong' GDP Growth Is A Mirage
"Official inflation numbers in China are generally deemed to be about half of the actual inflation. If the latter is deducted, GDP growth would be almost flat."
China January 'flash' PMI 48.8, shows contraction
Roubini Sees 'Significant' Slowdown in China
China's urban explosion: A 21st century challenge

## UK ##
Occupy protest movement to go into schools
"Former citizenship teacher Jamie Kelsey Fry says that with protesters due to be evicted within weeks, an outreach programme is the natural next step."

## US ##
U.S. Debt in Worst Start Since 2003
Lose a job, prepare for a really long job search
Rich Shoppers Are as Bargain-Hungry as Less Affluent
Doctors living on loans
"Government-backed loans to doctors have surged more than 10-fold in the past decade, a trend industry insiders say is a red flag that doctors in America are in financial distress."
Supplying Troops in Afghanistan Costs US Six Times After Closure of Pakistan Routes

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