Thursday, January 26, 2012


News Links, January 27, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Cameron Rebukes Euro Leaders at Davos, Calls Financial Transaction Tax "Quite Simply Madness" ; Mathematical Impossibilities
Soros: EU Needs Euro Bonds
Gloom gathers over Davos as Merkel digs in her heels on debt
Freighter Oversupply Weighs on Shipowners and Banks
"The skyscrapers and immaculate beaches of this seaport look out on one of the world's largest parking lots: mile after mile of empty cargo ships, as far as the eye can see.
"Similar fleets bob at anchor, with empty cargo holds, off the coasts of southeast Malaysia and Hong Kong. And dozens of newly built ships float empty near the giant shipyards of South Korea and China, their owners from all over the world reluctant to accept delivery during one of the worst markets ever for the global shipping industry."
Chart of the Day: Central Bank Balance Sheet as Percent of GDP: Fed, ECB, BOJ, BOE (Mish)
"The race is on to see which central bank can load up its balance sheet with the most garbage the fastest."
Chart of the Day: The Baltic Dry Index
No Slower Steaming as Container Lines Run Like Clippers: Freight
"Container ships can't go any slower.
"Shipping lines are running out of options to stop losses as sailing speeds reach their lower limit, exhausting a solution that helped restore profitability in 2010.
"The global container fleet is now cruising near record-low speeds after slowing 11 percent from August when the freight rate market collapsed, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Lloyd's Register. Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. estimates some of the smallest shipping lines will run out of cash in the second half of this year as the industry fails to adjust to overcapacity that's allowing customers to push down rates."
Asian freight demand slides in 2011
"Demand for airfreight services in the Asia-Pacific took a nosedive in 2011, plunging 4.8 percent, year-over-year. Load factor in this region also declined considerably last year, falling to 66.6 percent — a 3.4-percent, year-over-year, drop — despite no capacity changes from 2010."
Ghost estates: Unwanted homes in Irish Republic could be demolished (BBC video)
Holy bubble! This looks just like China. Must-see video. -- RF
When the global housing bubbles collapse like a row of dominoes – Canadian housing bubble at apex. Real estate markets from Australia, UK, Italy, and Ireland now into correction phases. (Dr. Housing Bubble)
Austerity 'Does Not Deliver': HSBC Chief Economist
Stephen Harper says 'major' changes coming to Canada's pension system: speech
US unveils strategy for a global supply chain crisis
"The US has unveiled a strategy at the Davos World Economic Forum to protect the global supply chain in the event of a terror attack or natural disaster."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pre-emptive embargo: Iran could turn off oil tap to EU
India pledges to continue buying oil from Iran
"India could be on a collision course with the United States and European Union after officials in Delhi made clear they intended to carry on importing oil from Iran, despite the imposition of Western sanctions against Tehran."
Iran-China trade soars to top $45 bn: report
Iran won't move toward nuclear weapon in 2012: ISIS report
"Iran is unlikely to move toward building a nuclear weapon this year because it does not yet have the capability to produce enough weapon-grade uranium, a draft report by the Institute for Science and International Security said on Wednesday."
How Iran could beat up on America's superior military
"The US may outspend the Islamic Republic nearly 90-to-1 on defense. But Iran, heir to ancient Persia's naval innovation, has a well-honed asymmetric strategy designed to reverse that advantage.
"A 2002 US military exercise simulating such a conflict proved devastating to American warships."
Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China's rise
Egypt Bans LaHood, Other Americans From Leaving
No military action against Syria‎, says David Cameron
Rebels claim control of Papua New Guinea military, demand new government
Reuters Magazine: The drone war
Thousands of NATO trucks in Pakistan backlog
"Two months into Pakistan's blockade on NATO supplies crossing into Afghanistan, thousands of trucks are crowding the port in Karachi where drivers, fed up with waiting, are starting to desert."
Cynthia McKinney: U.S. war machine pervades Africa
East Africa Is the New Epicenter of America's Shadow War
"It's not quite the new Pakistan, or even the new Yemen, but it's close — especially as new bases for the U.S.'s Shadow Wars pop up and expand. The U.S. military sometimes seemed like it was casting about for a reason to set up shop in Africa. Counterterrorism has given it one."
The real reason, of course, is Africa's resources and markets. -- RF
Saudi prince warns of Middle East nuclear arms race

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Egyptian protesters plan sit-in until army leaves
"Egyptian youths camped out on Thursday in Cairo's Tahrir Square and vowed to stay put until the army hands power to civilians, a day after a mass demonstration marked a year since an uprising which brought down Hosni Mubarak."
Fuel shortage results in business closures, clashes, road blockages (Egypt)
Police 'rescue' Australian PM from Aboriginal rights protesters
At least four arrested as Occupy Portland demonstration takes to streets
Bahraini police clash with protesters
"Bahraini police and anti-government protesters clashed in Shiite villages, leaving dozens of officers and several demonstrators injured, officials and the opposition said Wednesday."
Thousands march in Poland over Acta internet treaty
Tibetan areas under lockdown as unrest spreads
Protesters urged to occupy Chicago during G8 and Nato summits
"Adbusters, the group which helped spark the Occupy movement, has put out a call for tens of thousands of protesters to occupy Chicago during the G8 and Nato summits in May."
Riots in US Streets? Why Soros' Prediction Is Unlikely
On this I have to agree with Soros. There will be mobs and riots in the US. -- RF
Italy On the Verge of a Full Revolt

## Energy/resources ##
Textile sector faces unprecedented gas, power shortage (Pakistan)
Enter the Dragon - China to Increase Energy Investment in Pakistan
Two Sudans' oil dispute deepens as South shuts down wells
Supply concerns tighten oil markets
China overtakes Japan as world's top coal importer
Uranium supply crunch by 2016 - Nuclear expert
Fuel card news: south-east hauliers 'could face fuel shortage' (UK)

## Got food? ##
Toronto committee votes to uphold backyard chicken ban

## Environment/health ##
Gardening Map Of Warming U.S. Has Plant Zones Moving North

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Anonymous Goes After World Governments in Wake of Anti-SOPA Protests
ACTA has same dangers as PIPA and SOPA
Railroad Association Says Hack Memo Was Inaccurate
FBI plans social network map alert mash-up application
"The FBI is seeking to develop an early-warning system based on material 'scraped' from social networks."
Newt Threatens China and Russia With Cyberwar
'Anonymous Palestine' Attacks Israeli Websites

## Japan ##
NEC to Cut 10,000 Jobs on Forecast of Third Loss in 4 Years
No takers for reconstruction work / Low labor budgets leave more than 400 tenders on the table in Tohoku region
"No contracts have been awarded in about 400 construction projects up for bid in the Tohoku region, as construction companies are shunning small-scale jobs amid a shortage of manpower in areas hard-hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, it has been learned."
Suspect cattle still untested / Location of nearly 3,000 cows in radiation scare remains unknown
"The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has been unable to track the distribution routes of nearly 3,000 cows whose meat is suspected to contain high levels of radioactive cesium, ministry officials said."
New security teams to tackle cyber-attacks
"To enhance protection against cyber-attacks, ministries and agencies will be required to set up teams to handle computer security incidents and a new post of chief information security officer will be created, a government council on information security has announced."
Government debt closing in on quadrillion mark
And that's just government debt. Total debt comes to over 500% of GDP. -- RF
Japan losing hope for its pricey "dream reactor"
Nuclear reactors staying idle
"Of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors, four are in operation, generating 8 percent of nuclear-power capacity."

## China ##
Pollution sparks panic water buying in China
China to expand patrols to cover Senkaku isles, gas field
"The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration plans to expand its aerial patrols to cover areas of dispute between Japan and China, including the Senkaku Islands and the Shirakaba natural gas field, according to reports by a subsidiary of the Xinhua News Agency."

## UK ##
Middle-income Britain is in state of emergency, says Nick Clegg
"Nick Clegg will warn on Thursday that the pressure on family finances has reached 'boiling point' and mark a new phase in coalition politics by setting out in public his party's budget demands, including a call for the chancellor, George Osborne, to speed up help for the working poor."
Police numbers at lowest for a decade
"Number of police officers in England and Wales falls by 6,000 in a year as chief constable warns of 'cliff edge'"
Ministry of Defence to cut further 3,000 civilian jobs
Newspaper review: Economy cause for doom and gloom

## US ##
Short Sellers Increase Bets Across the Board
"For the first time in a long time, short sellers have increased their bets that the stock prices of most large companies and in most large sectors will fall."
New-home sales hit a record low
North Dakota Oil Boom Brings Blight With Growth as Costs Soar
Michigan Attorney General Calls For 1,000 More Police Officers
Pentagon cuts reshape military, trim costs
Panetta: Military cuts to hit 'all 50 states'
The cuts will no doubt seriously impact local economies heavily dependent on the military. -- RF
Pentagon taps students to build robots, drones
Here's what the Fed's 'new transparency' looks like

And finally... Gingrich promises US moon colony by 2020
Talk about promising people the moon! Hasn't Gingrich noticed that the US is edging closer to Third-World status day by day? By 2020 there will likely be no space program at all. -- RF

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