Wednesday, January 04, 2012


News Links, January 5, 2011

## Global economic meltdown ##
Fresh credit crunch fears as banks park record €453bn cash with ECB
The Can Kicking Is Ending - Key Upcoming Dates For Europe's Patient Zero
Germany and France Eye the End of Triple-A Era
Euro Tumbles Amid Concern Region's Debt Turmoil Is Worsening; Pound Climb
Brussels Recommends Sucking Spain Dry with Increased VAT; France to Raise Sales Tax to Protect Jobs; Is There Any Point or Reason for the Eurozone?
Hungary Borrowing Costs Jump to 2009 High; Bond Risk at Record
Santa Rally Is Over: French Spreads Blow Out To Late November Levels; Shanghai Composite Already Down On The year
2012 Outlook for Korea's Shipbuilding Industry May Not Be So Bright
Gold Sales to India Were Double Average Yesterday, UBS Says
The Global Rise of the Informal Economy
Singapore to Cut Ministerial Salaries on Review
"Singapore will cut salaries for its prime minister and top office holders after voter unhappiness over a widening income gap weakened support for the ruling party in last year's elections."
Gerald Celente: EU Collapses in 90 Days, Bank Holiday and War
Indonesian Economy Booms, Its Infrastructure Groans
Turkish Inflation Soars

## Fault lines/flashpoints/military ##
U.S.-Iran Tensions: Mideast Showdown Builds As United States Tightens Military Ties To Israel
"'Powder keg doesn't begin to describe it,' said Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group, an independent organization that monitors global tensions. 'Rising strategic stakes have heightened the regional and wider international competition,' she wrote in a new assessment. It is, she concluded, '"an explosive mix.'"
The Pentagon to Send US Troops to Israel. Iran is the Unspoken Target
Analysis: Fuel test won't hasten Iran bomb: experts
"(Reuters) — Iran's latest claim of a breakthrough in its nuclear program appears unlikely to bring it any closer to having atomic bombs, but serves rather as another defiant message to the West."
Iran prepares bill to bar foreign warships from Persian Gulf
Exclusive: EU agrees to embargo on Iranian crude
Turkey to seek US waiver on Iran oil -energy official
"Turkey will seek a waiver from the United States to exempt its biggest refiner Tupras from new U.S. sanctions on institutions that deal with Iran's central bank, a Turkish energy ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday."
Iran's Real Weapon Of Mass Destruction Is Oil Prices
Don't expect an Iranian oil crisis (CNN Money)
"Moves this week by the U.S. and the European Union may complicate Iran's ability to sell oil, but they will hardly kill it."
Geithner to Travel to China, Japan to Discuss Iran Sanctions
Syrian rebel leader threatens to escalate attacks
Syrian activists say government armor still in cities
Militias may drag Libya into civil war: NTC chief
Turkey warns against Shi'ite-Sunni Cold War
"Middle East powerhouse Turkey on Wednesday warned against a sectarian Cold War in the region and said rising Sunni-Shi'ite tensions would be 'suicide' for the whole region."
Eight Strategic Factors to Consider in 2012
Egypt's Street Kids Are Revolution's Smallest Soldiers
Sunni and Kurdish Blocs Boycott Iraqi Parliament While Attacks Continue

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Gas protests refuse to die down (Pakistan)
"Countrywide protests against gas shortage continues as protesters in the twin cities blocked majors highways, set several vehicles on fire, hurled stones at police and burnt tyres on Tuesday."
China says Xinjiang kidnappers were on "holy war"
Nigeria fuel subsidy: Unions announce indefinite strike
Venezuela families occupy Yare prison in protest
Clashes as Cypriots demand British forces out
"Protesters demanding that British forces withdraw from Cyprus clashed with police at a military base, leaving around a dozen people hurt, police said on Tuesday."

## Energy/resources ##
Oil Trades Near 8-Month High on Demand, Iran Tension Amid Shrinking Supply
South Korea, Japan Examine Iran Sanctions (WSJ)
"Energy-deficient South Korea and Japan are mulling the implications of U.S. moves to toughen sanctions against Iran, with each facing a potential disruption of oil imports from a country that meets close to 10% of their crude needs."
Sustaining coke supply a worry for steel firms (India)
Power shortfalls "to persist" (China)
Is the system at the brink of collapse? (Pakistan)
Blackout Pakistan
"The latest crisis that has Pakistani's from all walks of life up in arms is the lack of electrical power throughout the country. While rolling blackouts or load shedding as its locally known has always been a staple of daily life in Pakistan, the problem has become acute in the last couple of years. In the second half of December, the situation got so bad that WAPDA & KESC (power generation entities in Pakistan) resorted to draconian levels of load shedding. The power cuts during this time amounted to 20-22 hours a day in most small cities and even cities like Karachi were seeing 18+ hours of load shedding."
Alaskan oil production declines
"Crude oil production in Alaska fell nearly 5 percent, extending a steady production decline that began eight years ago, state tax data indicate."
Banks Hesitate to Finance Energy Projects, Handelsblatt Says
Power blackout risk could grow, Toronto Hydro workers warn
Latin oil supplies for US start to dry up
Nuclear numbers down despite connections
"Six new nuclear power reactors were connected to the world's electricity grids in 2011, adding over 4000 MWe of generation capacity. Thirteen units were closed permanently, all but one as a direct result of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi."
Is there really 100 years' worth of natural gas beneath the United States?
Electricity rates to rise 9% in February (Israel)
Public Utility Authority expected to approve IEC's price hike request, completing 25% increase in electricity prices since August
Vehicles queue up for fuel‚ roads obstructed (Nepal)
Mindanao short of 100 MW of power (Philippines)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Thieves stealing copper cause power outage Tuesday (US)

## Got food? ##
Weather Erratic For Brazil Soy As Harvesting Starts
"Heavy showers will sweep over central and northeastern soy regions in Brazil this week but little moisture will reach the critically dry south, forecaster Somar said on Tuesday, as some farmers fire up harvesters to start gathering the crop."

## Environment/health ##
2011 was costliest year in world disasters

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
MailChimp outage affects 400,000 customers
"A hardware issue at one of MailChimp's three data centers in the US caused outages for hundreds of thousands of customers of the email marketing services company on Monday."
Belarus puts restrictions on foreign internet sites

## Japan ##
Toyota's U.S. Sales Drop 7 Percent In 2011 On Japanese Earthquake
Shrinking Japanese Market Forces Exxon Mobil To Downsize
Pension Funds Yield 0.9% In Oct-Dec: Towers Watson
"Japanese pension funds returned 0.9% in the October-December period, the first positive return in three quarters, according to an estimate by U.S. consulting firm Towers Watson."
Absolutely pitiful. As a rule, pension funds need something like an 8% return to deliver promised benefits. This is just part of the worldwide pension meltdown. -- RF
Business leaders cautious / Most executives surveyed say Japan's economy is at a standstill
Public entity eyed for power supply

## China ##
China Home Prices Slide Amid Speculation
Fewer Property Deals Being Done in Hong Kong
New Year housing sales drop 60% in Beijing
China Shipbuilding Plunge Reflects Broad Stress
China Property Malaise Spreads to Furnishings
China Cuts Television Programs That Contradict Hu's Party Line
"China announced the plan in October as part of a broader effort by the Communist Party's Central Committee to assert more control of the media and Internet as it grapples with rising social unrest over work conditions and government corruption."
Caught in a Chinese pricing pincer
"Chinese exporters, already battling a slump in demand and an intense squeeze on profit margins, will come under even more pressure following the decision of two of China's largest cities to raise their minimum wage rates."
Solar power cell industry sees dimmer prospects
China Upgrading Yuan-Payment System
"China is creating a payment system that will make it more efficient for banks to clear yuan funds across its borders, in another move aimed at promoting the global use of the Chinese currency."
Chinese airlines refuse to pay EU carbon tax
China's 'Demographic Tsunami' Begins

## UK ##
Millions use payday loans to cover mortgage and rental costs
"Housing charity Shelter says research showing millions of families using unsecured borrowing to pay housing costs is evidence of a debt spiral"
Scotland counting cost of storms
University applications 'drop by 23,000' after fees hike

## US ##
Billions needed to upgrade America's leaky water infrastructure
Proposed Infrastructure Bank has $250 Billion Tab
Official: Los Angeles arson suspect under investigation in Germany
Ohio earthquake was not a natural event, expert says
"A 4.0 magnitude earthquake in Ohio on New Year's Eve did not occur naturally and may have been caused by high-pressure liquid injection related to oil and gas exploration and production, an expert hired by the state of Ohio said on Tuesday."
Recent Findings Reveal Massive Government Funding Behind Advances in Shale Gas Production
Fears Over Smart Grid Failure
Personal Incomes Fall More During 'Recovery' Than During The Recession
US non-lethal weapon 'wish list' revealed on the net
Tallying the Christmas Rush: Sales Gain, Profit Pain?
Boeing to Close Wichita, Kan., Facility by End of 2013
Tanks on Main Street: The Militarization of Local Police
Retail Investors Pull $140 Billion From Equity Funds In 2011 Which Close The Year With 19 Consecutive Outflows
First Time Ever: Silver Sales Surpass Domestic Production
Americans make up half of the world's richest 1%

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