Tuesday, January 03, 2012


News Links, January 4, 2012

## Global economic meltdown ##
Global Growth Slows to 3.9% as O'Neill Sees BRICs Diminished by Population
Major Slowdown in Global Trade Coming Up; Think the U.S., China, Germany, or U.K. will Be Immune?
Bankers Feel Job Cuts Across Asia
Global Bond Issuance To Top A Staggering $8 Trillion In 2012
"As households are supposedly deleveraging and European nations face austerity, one might suspect that global debt levels were stabilizing or even dropping. Think again."
Singapore's Contraction Tests Resilience of Asia to Europe Crisis: Economy
Greek, Italian Cash Heads for Hills, or Undergound
"Greeks and Italians are taking their money and running, moving it abroad or even burying it underground for fear the euro zone crisis will topple banks and wipe out what remains of their savings."
Year-End Bets Against Euro Hit Record
"Hedge funds increased their bets against the euro to a record level in the last week of 2011, increasing pressure on the embattled European common currency as it enters the most testing year of its history."
More employers in Brazil accused of slave-like conditions
"Nearly 300 employers in South America's biggest country submit workers to slave-like conditions, Brazil's Labor Ministry said Tuesday."
Portugal Car Sales Plunge 60% in December, 31% for Entire Year; Spain Car Sales Plunge 17.7% to 1993 Levels

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
Militants agree to truce with Pakistan, unite against NATO (McClatchy)
"Pakistani Islamist militants on Sunday pledged to cease their four-year insurgency against Pakistani security forces, and join the Taliban's war against NATO troops in Afghanistan."
Syrian army deserters 'kill 18'
"Syrian army deserters have killed at least 18 members of President Bashar al-Assad's security forces, according to a human rights group."
Israel scraps military deal with Turkey
"Israel has escalated its bitter quarrel with Turkey, its erstwhile ally, by scrapping a $140 million deal for unmanned aerial vehicles and advanced intelligence-gathering systems the Israelis fear could end up in the hands of Iran."
Barak: Assad 'Only Has Weeks'
"Defense Minister Ehud Barak says the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad only has 'a few weeks' before it loses control."
Iran nuclear crisis: France wants 'stricter' sanctions
Huawei's Supply Work in Iran Should Be Investigated, U.S. Lawmakers Say
Iran threatens U.S. Navy as sanctions hit economy
U.S. Dismisses Iranian Warning Against Navy Carrier in Gulf
Iran Has No Long-Range Missiles: Russia
Qatar offers to be mediator between Taliban, international community
"[Qatar is] now facilitating talks on the Afghan conflict by allowing the Taliban to open a liaison office in its capital, Doha."
China backs Russian anti-terror agreement
Triple bombing targets Kandahar police
U.S. Strategic Drone Fleet Infected by Stealthy Keylogger Malware
Mideast Weapon Sales Part of Long-Term Plan: U.S.
NATO supplies pile up at Pakistan port
"Tonnes of supplies bound for NATO forces in Afghanistan are piling up at the Pakistani port of Karachi following the blockade imposed after a deadly air strike in November, officials said Monday."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Nigerians Stop Gas Stations From Selling Fuel
"Angry mobs of protesters stopped gas station owners from selling fuel Tuesday while others lit a bonfire on a major highway in an attempt to thwart the government's removal of a cherished consumer subsidy that had kept gas affordable for more than two decades."
Angry protests over gas shortage in Pakistan

## Energy/resources ##
South Korea crude oil imports up 2.7%, seeks exception from Iran sanctions
"South Korea is an energy dependent economy. Almost 97% of its energy requirement are met through imports. As such, the country will find it extremely difficult to accommodate increasing US pressure to cut imports of oil from Iran, especially with Iran meeting 8.3% of total oil imports in 2010."
Crude oil above $109 on Iran tension, Chinese data
Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks
"If our government lets these companies touch even a drop of our water, we're ruined."
Oil and Gas Bubble Up All Over (WSJ)
Everything's gonna be OK. -- RF
Perfect storm ahead for Australia mining?
"Global consulting firm Deloitte in "Tracking the Trends 2012" questioned whether Australia was at the peak of a resources bubble that would soon burst."
Gas for future power plants unlikely: Petrobangla chief
Long queues as Nigeria fuel price soars

## Got food? ##
Saudi firm buys dairy farm land in Argentina as anger grows from activists, farmers alike
Food Prices Ease Slightly But Are Still Volatile: UN Official
A Punch to the Mouth: Food Price Volatility Hits the World (Gregor Macdonald at Chris Martenson)

## Environment/health ##
Australia in grip of fierce heatwave
Hong Kong on Alert Over Bird Flu
Upper atmosphere facilitates changes that let mercury enter food chain -- with video
Fierce storms batter Britain leaving one man dead and transport chaos in their wake

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Saudi hackers claim to post personal information of 400,000 Israelis

## Japan ##
China, Taiwan complain after Japanese politicians land on disputed isles
Over 70% of top Japan firms see economy as slowing or flattening
Twitter crashed during Japan New Year celebration

## China ##
Diesel shortage fuels discontent
"'I have to wait for two hours and even longer at the gas station to get refueled. And you are only allowed to buy 50 yuan worth of diesel. So I have to come back for another two hours in the afternoon,' he said. 'In the worst scenario, I tried 10 filling stations and couldn't get a single drop of diesel and was afraid of running out of fuel.'"

## UK ##
Private sector pensions in seismic collapse, says ACA
British PMI indicates December contraction

## US ##
The Ministry of Propaganda Declares Ron Paul "Unelectable"
"The Status Quo's Ministry of Propaganda has a single political task for 2012: eliminate the sole threat to the Status Quo (Ron Paul) from the running, leaving voters with a 'choice' of clueless stooges for the Power Elite."
Manufacturing ISM Highest Since June; Expiring Business Tax Credits Explain Why; Enjoy it While You Can As US Decoupling Won't Last
US Closes 2011 With Record $15.22 Trillion In Debt, Officially At 100.3% Debt/GDP, $14 Billion From Breaching Debt Ceiling
Exposing American Banks' Multi-Trillion Umbilical Cord With Europe
No Warrant Needed for GPS Monitoring, Judge Rules
Signs point to tepid consumer spending for 2012
Funding Gap Doubles for US Corporate Pensions
Watch as pensions melt away like snow on a warm spring day. -- RF
Workers dropping out of the work force for school: Bad sign for the economy
Signs show that a massive muni bond default is in the cards. Whitney will have the last laugh. -- RF
Huge loss in home values cratered the Bay Area economy
And Now The Hangover: Retailers Face Record Returns Of Holiday Gifts
Holidays' Retail Binge Will Lead to a Spending Diet in Early 2012
Bachmann: Put US missiles on alert to warn Iran

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