Wednesday, February 29, 2012


News Links, March 1, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Global Housing Market Downturn Gathering Pace
Greek Default Payouts May Bring Some Costly Surprises
"A restructuring of Greece's colossal debt is widely expected to trigger insurance payouts—and investment banks and hedge funds are working out who will be the winners and losers."
Bill Is Being Paid In Spain
"More than nine million people live in extreme poverty in Spain while nearly one million are illiterate, according to a report in 2011. An Amnesty International study found that hundreds of thousands of families in Spain are at risk of losing their homes."
Malaysia Airlines in 'crisis' after loss
US airlines call for national policy reforms after 2011 profit squeeze
Middle East airlines hit by cost of jet fuel
"Jet fuel costs have jumped by more than US$3 per barrel in just one week, hitting Middle East carriers hard, and are up more than 11 per cent on last year's prices, according to the aviation industry's fuel watchdog."
Taxes and higher fuel costs to clip airline giant's wings
"British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) yesterday said that higher UK taxes, economic problems in the eurozone and €1 billion (£850 million) of extra fuel costs will impact its performance this year."
Facing costly fuel, airlines charging passengers more
"Fares have risen 11 percent in the past year and more increases are coming as the travel season approaches"
New Central Bank Cash Glut Risks 'Monetary Anarchy'
Gold Falls in 'Manic' Plunge as Bernanke Damps Stimulus Bets
Buying opportunity! -- RF
Europe's Winter of Discontent
Grantham wonders if Marx was right after all
"Commentary: Capitalism will gladly sell the rope used to hang itself"

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Fears grow of Israel-Iran missile shootout
Israeli ABM can intercept Iranian missiles
Is War Imminent? US and UK Step up Military Action in the Persian Gulf
Hezbollah says attack on Iran would set Middle East ablaze
Clinton says Japan, E.U. working to comply with Iran sanctions
Yea, keep working at it. Meanwhile…
Barter, other steps help Iran firms beat sanctions
Iran 'to supply Pakistan with 80,000 bpd of crude'
"Iran has offered to supply Pakistan with 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day and a $250 million loan to help build a gas pipeline from the Iranian border, a Pakistani official said Wednesday…
"Although the United States objects strongly to the pipeline project, Pakistan appears determined to press ahead importing fuel from its western neighbour under a deal expected to start providing gas in 2014."
Pakistan's electricity imports from Iran double
U.S. military draws up further Syria options: report
Forum Energy To Continue Exploration In Disputed Reed Bank Prospect -Philex CEO
"Forum Energy PLC (FEP.LN) will continue exploring for oil in the Reed Bank in the South China Sea, an offshore prospect in an area claimed by both China and the Philippines, the company's controlling stakeholder said Wednesday."
US Navy tests 'game-changing' supersonic electromagnetic rail gun
Global arms market hit $411 bn in 2010
Iran warns Azerbaijan over Israeli 'arms buy': reports
UK warns Argentina regarding the Falklands

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Trade unions strike unrest, city halts (India)
India Goes on Strike (photo gallery)
Filipino protesters hurl paint at Shell office to protest fuel price hikes
Militants protest at Mendiola and Makati over new fuel price hike (Philippines)
Social Unrest on the Rise in Southern Chile
"The police have cracked down hard on demonstrators in the southern Chilean region of Aysén, who have been protesting the area's isolation and high local prices of fuel and food for the past two weeks."
Tunisians protest rising cost of living
Thousands of Spanish students protest against cuts
"Tens of thousands of students took to the streets of Spanish cities on Wednesday to protest against government spending cuts that have left many classrooms without heating."
Thousands protest against European Union austerity cuts
Anti-austerity protests fall flat in much of Europe
I would say that protesters are just getting warmed up. -- RF
Occupy D.C. Spends Wet Morning Protesting Agribusiness Giant

## Energy/resources ##
A New Dawn of Energy Security for the West? A Non-OPEC Update (Gregor Macdonald)
Well, whaddaya know? Non-OPEC oil production too has been stuck on a plateau for the last seven years. Can you say peak oil? -- RF
Power failure forces reactor shutdown at Brunswick plant
With unrest in Egypt, Israel faces blackouts
"Israel may be facing a summer of power outages as the country scrambles to replace gas supplies lost because of sabotage attacks on a pipeline in Egypt's Sinai peninsula."
Petrol prices soar to all-time high (Israel)
"The Treasury maintains that any cut to the [fuel] excise tax will mandate imposing new taxes or possible cutbacks on education, health and social warfare."
Israel Mulls Indian Assistance in Developing Offshore Gas Fields
Power to the people: Haiti tries to tackle chronic electricity shortage

## Got food? ##
Lovely grub? You'd better believe it
Soybean Reserves Shrinking Most Since '96 Amid Brazil Drought: Commodities
World Soybean Crop May Fall Most Ever on Dryness, Oil World Says

## Environment/health ##
Arctic Sea Ice Decline May Be Driving Snowy Winters Seen in Recent Years in N. Hemisphere

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
25 suspected Anonymous hackers arrested in international sweep
"Twenty-five alleged hackers from the freewheeling, decentralized Anonymous protest movement have been arrested across Europe and South America in a massive sweep coordinated by Interpol, an agency based in France that links police around the world."

## Japan ##
Japan cuts oil imports from Iran by over 22% in January 2012
Japan to Investigate 265 Investment Firms
PM's website adds Chinese version
"The office of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday added a Chinese-language version to its official website, alongside existing Japanese and English ones."
Some flood-hit Japanese firms to quit Thailand
"Almost one in 10 Japanese manufacturers with operations in Thailand plans to relocate out of the kingdom after last year's devastating floods, according to a survey."
In rare case of bipartisanship, Diet cuts bureaucrats' pay
Japan's oil imports fall for 3rd straight month in January
"Japan's crude oil imports in January fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 122.09 million barrels for the third straight monthly decline, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said Wednesday."
Draft gives Japan right to defend itself
"The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party on Monday released a draft of its second proposal to revise the Constitution, which would allow the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense and defines the Emperor as head of state."
70% of companies 'can't pass along TEPCO rate hikes'

## China ##
Manila's plan for S. China Sea 'illegal'
"China on Tuesday reaffirmed its indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and protested against the Philippines' plan to explore for oil and natural gas in the area of the South China Sea."
Twenty dead in attack in China's restive west
Labor shortage hits China's export base
World Bank Warns of Economic Crisis in China; Only 3% Growth for Decade Says Michael Pettis

## UK ##
Black market accounts for a quarter of tobacco
Petrol price protest
David Cameron says countryside wind farms have been 'wasteful of public money'
GPs say rationing will get more explicit

## US ##
Economy Grew 3.0% Annualized, Faster Than Expected in 4th Quarter; Or Did It?
City to Raze 900 Vacant Houses (Columbus, Ohio)
Vacant homes in Michigan grew 47% in 10 years
EIA warns of diesel price spike if Sunoco closes Philadelphia refinery
Oil Refiners Look To Exports Growing Profit
American Airlines' Flight Out of Bankruptcy Gets a Lot Bumpier
Stockton, Calif., takes 'first step towards bankruptcy'
"The city of Stockton in California's crop-abundant Central Valley has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the nation and one of the highest crime and unemployment rates. It was named America's most miserable city in a national magazine — twice."
EIA expects long-term growth in renewables
Clean energy: Another solar firm lays off workers
Big Sis Can't Quit the Drug War
Five Largest Banks 'Should Be Broken Up': Fed's Fisher
Analysis: Gas prices siphon sales from restaurants
Rebuttal to the director of the US Geological Survey on peak oil
Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons
"'People who don't have money don't understand the stress,' said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. 'Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?'"
The situation is getting so bad now that I find myself praying for the rich nearly every night. -- RF
Texas could face electric power challenges in 2013 and 2014
Economic Shock Wave: 1 in 7 Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors
1 In 5 Older Americans Scrimp On Health Care To Save Money

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


News Links, February 29, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Dutch parliament backs Greek bailout, reluctantly
'Europe is Pouring Money Into a Bottomless Barrel' (Spiegel)
The "bottomless barrel" could also be expressed as "somebody's pockets." -- RF
Sharpen the Mower: Spain Needs Triple the Budget Cuts and Tax Hikes to Meet EMU Imposed Budget Targets (Mish)
Irish Vote on EU Treaty Due, Could Alter Europe's Future
Japan may be bailing out Europe in secret, economist Mosler says
The Post-2009 Northern & Western European Housing Bubble
Power cuts threaten to snuff out SMEs (India)
"The Federation of A. P. Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (FASMME), a newly-formed organisation has said unless the power situation improves, small enterprises will collapse."
There's the C-word! -- RF
Dow closes above 13,000, first time since crisis
Wall St. cheers while Main St. rots. This illustrates the total disconnect between the stock markets and the real economy. -- RF
World Bank warns: China is a ticking time bomb (Paul Farrell)
"Will Super Rich in China or U.S. be first to trigger meltdown?"

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Germany finds itself back in power in Europe
"Germany is the unquestioned boss amid Europe's debt crisis and economic woes. But the turnaround has inspired discomfort among its neighbors and among Germans."
Israel says it won't warn U.S. before a strike against Iran
Iran Moves Further To End Petrodollar, Announces Will Accept Payment In Gold Instead Of Dollars
China keeps gasoline supply flowing to Iran
Insight: Conflict looms in South China Sea oil rush
Japan, India To Hold Naval Drills As Early As Summer
"Japan and India are in talks on holding their first-ever joint naval exercises this summer, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.
"The drills are intended 'as a check against China and its increasingly active maritime forays,' according to the official. That country is causing friction with its neighbors over ocean rights in the South China Sea, a crucial sea lane between Japan and India."
Japan cabinet bills seek to strengthen coast guard
"The coast guard would be able to investigate illegal landings on islands and have more powers to eject ships."
Piracy threatens West Africa oil expansion
"Piracy is a growing threat to West Africa's plans to double oil production over the next decade and is already having a devastating impact on ports, the UN Security Council was warned Monday.
"A growing number of attacks are being recorded in the Gulf of Guinea and entries into some ports have been cut by more than two-thirds as insurance premiums skyrocket, ministers and officials told a council debate on piracy."
Germany preps Israeli super-sub for tests
NATO Members Plan for Smaller Defense Budgets
Russia to modernize iconic Kalashnikov rifle
Missile system in Turkey on track: US

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protests rock Pulwama over power shortage (Kashimir)
Day of student protests planned in Oakland, Sacramento
Occupy London protesters evicted from St Paul's site
Unrest Leads to Talk of Third Intifada
In once-quiet Jordan, air of unrest looms

## Energy/resources ##
Hybrids' Unlikely Rival: Plain Old Cars
Copper supply is already tight and demand is rising
"The London Metal Exchange, the world's largest metals exchange, reports that copper stockpiles from the U.S. to China are already at 2-1/2-year lows and poised to decline for the fifth month in a row. The news has awakened the slumbering copper bulls to move speculation, sentiment and pricing to the highest level in two months."
Tamil Nadu 'power'less; power shortage hurting biz
"The industry is literally powerless in Tamil Nadu with the state electricity board (SEB) sunk in debt. With the state falling short of 4000 MW of power, the situation is going from bad to worse, reports CNBC-TV18's Swathi Narayanan."
LNG at risk if Hormuz blocked
"'The stark reality is that global LNG supply is at much greater risk than global oil supply,' analyst Pavel Molchanov of Raymond James & Associates in Houston noted in an industry brief last month."
Gaza Only Power Plant Closes Again Due To Fuel Shortage
Fuel crisis hits Mansa again (Zambia)
Namibia: Country Faces Electricity Shortage

## Got food? ##
20 Signs That Dust Bowl Conditions Will Soon Return To The Heartland Of America

## Environment/health ##
As Fracking Boom Hits Ohio, Deceptive Industry Practices Squeeze Landowners

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Tanzania: Isles Investors Cry Foul Over Dwindling Social Services
"Zanzibar — FILTHINESS, water shortage and frequent shortage of fuel, unreliable electricity supply and security threats are some of the problems facing investors in Zanzibar, officials from the Zanzibar Association of Tourists Investors (ZATI) have said."
Australia's engineering shortage will get worse
"Most engineers are too polite to tell you this but our country has a real problem on its hands. It affects you now but it is about to get a lot worse.
"Engineers tend to keep it secret because they make it their job to fix problems, to keep systems going. That's just part of being a professional engineer. But if you ask them about it directly they'll tell you that in recent times this problem has turned into an ever-increasing crisis."
The worldwide shortage of engineers keeps worsening. And it's affecting the oil industry, too. Engineers and skilled workers are the people who keep industrial civilization running, and they're getting to be in short supply around the world. -- RF
Google's Schmidt warns of 'digital caste system'
Hard-drive shortage hits servers in Q4, Gartner says

## Japan ##
Missing money: 880,000 pensions hit by Japan investment scandal
"A growing scandal around an investment company that has lost $2.3 billion has affected pensions for up to 880,000 people, Japan's government said Tuesday.
"AIJ Investment Advisors has reportedly been lying to clients for years, boasting of annual returns of up to 240% while in fact 185 billion yen in pension investments has melted away."
Fukushima: Japan leaders feared "devil's chain reaction"
"Japan's prime minister ordered workers to remain at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant last March as fears mounted of a 'devil's chain reaction' that would force tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo, a new investigative report shows."
Fukushima, a year on: 3,000 workers take on the twisted steel and radiation
"Out in the evacuation zone, cars lie abandoned and groceries sit untouched – but the mangled nuclear plant is alive with activity"
Fukushima nuclear plant still vulnerable, says director
"The tsunami-hit Fukushima power plant remains fragile nearly a year after it suffered multiple meltdowns, its chief said Tuesday, with makeshift equipment—some mended with tape—keeping crucial systems running."
Another Fukushima Casualty - Japan's Fast Breeder Reactor Program
Elpida Failure's Ripple Effect Reaches Creditors, Investors
"TOKYO (Nikkei)--Elpida Memory Inc.'s (6665) bankruptcy filing is having a widening impact on creditors and investors.
"A number of leasing companies, including Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co. (8593) and IBJ Leasing Co. (8425), announced Tuesday that they either cannot recover the money owed to them by Elpida or could face delays in getting it back. Elpida leases semiconductor manufacturing equipment from these firms, and it owes Mitsubishi UFJ Lease 8.9 billion yen."
Japan loses out in global chip war as Elpida bows out
Nuclear-Free Summer Looms Over Japan's West in Risk to Growth

## China ##
Shanghai Pushes to Become Financial Hub
"Commodity futures are also on the drawing board. Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said in January that the regulator will seek to roll out more futures products and financial derivatives, including silver and crude-oil futures.
"'The launch of silver futures will be relatively easy, but oil futures will be more difficult, given the size of the oil market, the broad interests involved in it, and intense international competition,' Mr. Fang said. Still, with China responsible for '40% of incremental consumption of crude oil,' it has more potential than any other country to start a competitive oil-futures product, he said."
Millions thirst in Yunnan drought
"A drought in Yunnan province has left 3.19 million people and 1.58 million livestock short of drinking water, the provincial government said Monday.
"Some plants had to halt production due to water shortage, costing rough losses of 10 billion yuan ($1.6 million), vice-governor Kong Chuizhu said."
China's Electricity Consumption to Grow 8.8pc Per Year 2011-2015
China Takes New Step on Yuan Liberalization
"In a new move to promote the international use of China's currency, banks in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have been given approval to launch cross-border yuan-remittance services for individuals, according to people familiar with the matter."

## UK ##
Fuel poverty deaths three times higher than government estimates
"Some 7,800 people die during winter because they can't afford to heat their homes properly, says fuel poverty expert Professor Christine Liddell of the University of Ulster. That works out at 65 deaths a day."
11,000 homes hit by power cut
Record diesel prices in South Wales
Occupy eviction: St Paul's Cathedral protest displaced
"Many anti-capitalist protesters evicted from St Paul's Cathedral have moved to a nearby camp - with one activist warning there is 'more to come'."
Occupy protesters 'will be back' (BBC video)

## US ##
Seattle mayor declares 'public safety emergency'
"Nobody's ready to start talking about the 'mean streets' of Seattle. But an alarming spike in street violence in this usually mellow city has everyone running scared. Mayor Mike McGinn, calling the increase a 'public safety emergency,' pledged Monday to beef up police patrols and urged citizens to help combat lawlessness in their neighborhoods."
Gasoline prices create rough road for mobile small businesses
High Gas Prices Could Hurt Las Vegas Tourism
Gas hits $3.72 per gallon, up 30 cents in month
Facing costly fuel, airlines push fares higher
Thief steals $500 in fuel as truck driver sleeps
U.S. report: Fuel markets 'significantly impacted' by refinery shutdowns
Durable goods orders drop by most in 3 years
1 in 5 older Americans scrimp on health care to save money
IBM Cuts More Than 1,000 Workers, Group Says
Ohio Fracking Opponents Push Environmental Safety as Republicans Tout Jobs
Chu Says U.S. Considers Oil Reserve Amid Iran 'Concern'
"The Obama administration is considering the option of tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve amid concerns that Iran will interrupt oil supplies and push gasoline prices higher, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said."
MotherJones: Why Does the Military Love Ron Paul?
More customers leaving big banks
More buyers paying cash for homes

Monday, February 27, 2012


News Links, February 28, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Capital Flight From Italy, Greece, Portugal Accelerates; Two Trillion Fantasy; Merkel Weaker Every Week; Crude and Geopolitical Risks (Mish)
Brazil Minister Says Global Currency War Is Intensifying
"A global 'currency war' will intensify this year as the world economy slows, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said, adding that Brazil is 'well prepared' to defend its currency against unwanted appreciation."
Maersk Says Container Line to Lose Money Again as Rates Drop
"A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S said its container line, the world's largest, will report a loss again this year, depressed by lower freight rates and slower market growth."
Shipping rates to be in deep waters for next few years
Credit squeeze forces shipping consolidation
South Korea Current-Account Turns to Deficit of $772.2 Million
Merkel scrapes win on Greek bailout, rebels grow
Greece Cut to Selective Default by S&P
Europe's Banks Are Addicted to ECB's Cheap Money
"The European Central Bank will give European banks another massive round of loans at bargain-basement rates on Tuesday, with financial institutions expected to borrow up to one trillion euros. The ECB is playing down the risks of providing so much cheap money, but critics say that banks have become too dependent on the flow of easy cash."
Lost oil billions leave Sudan's economy reeling
Thai Bank Chief Sees Economy Recovering From Floods
Soaring oil prices will dwarf the Greek drama

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russia says it has foiled plot to kill Putin
"Russian and Ukrainian special services have arrested a group of suspects over an alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia's state television reported Monday."
Vladimir Putin 'assassination attempt' seen as ploy to boost image
Iran halts crude oil shipment for Greece
Israel seen slow to dig in as Iran war talk simmers
"Israel's civil defenses are not ready to protect the population in a missile war, an opposition lawmaker said on Monday, fuelling debate about the feasibility of an attack on Iran's nuclear program."
Barak heading to U.S. for talks on Iran nuclear threat
Why Costco is preparing for the end of the world
Afghan Cabinet Members Cancel DC Trip as US Relations Sour

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Millions of Indian workers to strike on Tuesday
"Millions of workers of all political hues will go on strike across India on Tuesday to express their anger at soaring prices and to back demands for improved rights for employees, trade unions and political activists said."
Bill targeting Occupy Nashville will hit homeless
"The House will take up a bill on Monday that is designed to evict Occupy Nashville but could also be used to jail homeless people around the state."
700 form human chain calling for decommissioning of Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant (Japan)

## Energy/resources ##
Blackout: Ghana in total darkness; ECG blames GRIDCo
"Ghana experienced a nationwide power outage for well over two hours on Sunday evening."
Fill up now - petrol tipped to rise tomorrow (Australia)
"Motorists can kiss goodbye to cheap petrol from tomorrow, with prices expected to hit $1.55 as world oil prices surge due to supply concerns in the Middle East."
Mindanao power crisis looming
"Former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has warned of 'catastrophic brownouts' in Mindanao within five weeks, unless the government moves fast enough to fix the island's massive power supply deficit."
Kenya: South Sudan Oil Shutdown Hits Local Firms
The Darker Reality of India's Nuclear Power Goals
India can't even keep the lights on. How can offsite power be guaranteed to nuke plants? -- RF
Exxon Mobil Confirms Negotiations With Iraq's Kurdistan
Deep-water oil work started in Nigeria
Asian oil demand surging, EIA says
Mexico at 100 pct oil reserve replacement rate -president
America's oil boom - at a cost
"But oil production on that scale would come with trade-offs.
"There would be drill rigs off beaches up and down the East and West Coasts, as well as near the Florida Keys. Wilderness areas in national forests and Alaska would be crisscrossed with roads.
"Canada's oil sands, which critics are bitterly opposing on the grounds that they would exacerbate global warming, would be fully developed. Hydraulic fracturing would occur in watersheds nationwide."

## Got food? ##
Food supply target of new Occupy movement
South Plains farmers worried about rising diesel prices
"Spending hundreds of dollars a day on diesel fuel for tractors is a problem for farmers, who are already sometimes struggling to make ends meet. If the prices remain high through the harvest and on, that could also force the price of inputs to go up. Inputs like fertilizer, herbicides and other chemicals are often transported in trucks that use diesel."
Genetic changes threaten food production
Monsanto Prevails In Suit Brought By Organic Growers

## Environment/health ##
China Embraces Fracking in Seismically Active Province - Quakes to Follow?

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Wikileaks Pairs with Anonymous to Publish Intelligence Firm's Dirty Laundry
"In an unprecedented collaboration between Anonymous and WikiLeaks, the secret spilling site began leaking Sunday night portions of a massive trove of e-mails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor that Anonymous obtained by hacking the company in December."

## Japan ##
Must read: Nightmarish scenarios of the coming financial collapse
And even if you are not in Japan, don't think this won't happen to you. -- RF
Report: Gov't "collapsed" during Japan nuke crisis
Fiscally hobbled Japan nears multiple-currency era: Is yen's demise nigh?
Belly-up: Elpida Memory Files for Bankruptcy After Chip Prices Plunge
"Elpida Memory Inc., the Japanese chipmaker facing an April deadline to repay debts, sought bankruptcy protection in the country's largest filing in two years as prices for its main product plunged to a record low."
Japan cities press utility to switch from nuclear
Is Japan Doomed? (The Atlantic)
Japan Weighs Merits of Casino Gambling
One Of Japan's 2 Online Reactors May Operate Longer

## China ##
Zoellick Predicts China 'Soft Landing' Even as Growth Model Unsustainable
They keep saying it, so it must be true: China faces tight power supply in 2012
"China will continue to face a tight power supply this year due to increasing demand and stagnant growth in new power plants, according to an electrical power industry association.
"The nation will face a possible shortfall of 30-40 million kilowatts this year, reflected in regional, temporal and seasonal shortages, said the China Electricity Council (CEC) on its website."
Builders Feel Bite in China
China to Be Largest Economy Before 2030: World Bank
If it doesn't crash before then. -- RF

## UK ##
Britain leads dash to explore for oil in war-torn Somalia
'Sheds with beds' are London's modern day slums (BBC video)
Britain begins preparations for Afghanistan withdrawal
Fire Rages At RWE's UK Biomass Power Plant
How do you find a million more farmers?

## US ##
Economy Squeezed as Debt Accelerates (Ron Paul at Financial Sense)
When the pump runs dry (Baltimore Sun)
"Iran is threatening action that could have shattering consequences for our oil supply; where is our plan for dealing with that crisis?"
Animation: America's Metamorphosis To A Welfare State
Philadelphia Fed president notices that Fed is rigging markets
Trucking companies feeling pain at the pump too
Homeland Security Dept. Pays General Dynamics to Scour Internet for Criticism of its Policies
Water bills expected to triple in some parts of U.S.
"Many consumers could see their water bills double or even triple, as the country attempts to overhaul its aging water system over the next 25 years.
"A new study by the American Water Works Association found that repairing and expanding the U.S. drinking water system between 2011 and 2035 will cost at least $1 trillion, an amount that will largely be paid for by jacking up household water bills."
The American bus revival
Gas prices climb for 20th day
Workers return to lower wages
Wine Cache Rescues Those Short of Cash
"Liquidity issues, or a cash shortage, can be found on most rungs of the economic ladder, the pawnbrokers said.
"'You'd be amazed by how many wealthy individuals have terrible credit ratings. And besides, if you go to a bank, it can take weeks or months to get a loan. When we make a loan, it's usually the same day,' said Jordan Tabach-Bank, head of Beverly Loan Co."
I shall pray for the rich tonight. -- RF
Extend & Pretend Coming To An End
U.S. Student Debt Rises to $867B: New York Fed
U.S. job quality is in trouble

And finally... Attending meetings lowers IQ: research

Sunday, February 26, 2012


News Links, February 27, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Germans overwhelmingly oppose Greek bailout: poll
"Germans overwhelmingly oppose further aid for Greece, according to opinion poll released on Sunday, one day ahead of a vote in parliament on a new Greek bailout package where Chancellor Angela Merkel may be forced to rely on opposition support."
German Interior Minister Says EU "Should Create Incentives for Exit That Greece Cannot Turn Down"; Greece Delays Swap Until March 8 (Mish)
ECB Prepares to Open Loan Spigot Again in Debt Crisis
G20 inches toward $2 trillion in rescue funds
There isn't enough money in the world to stave off the debt crisis. -- RF
Europe's falling economy hits Big Pharma
"The problems within the Eurozone have led to national governments spending less on healthcare. This has impacted upon the profits of the major pharmaceutical companies who have seen a decline in their share prices as a result."
Billions in bank funds take flight from Syria
"Close to 100 billion Syrian pounds (Dh6.41bn), more than a fifth of all funds on deposit, has left the Syrian banking system since the conflict began last year."
Indian government paralysed, but PM blames others
Alternative currency? Britain's stolen gum ends up as change in Romanian shops
"Chewing-gum theft has become big business for criminal gangs who smuggle the confectionery across Europe to be used as a substitute for cash on the streets of Romania."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Egypt presses ahead with NGO trial of Americans
Rising oil prices fuel piracy in oil-rich Gulf of Guinea
Seven U.S. soldiers wounded after Afghan NATO base attacked
Analysis: Oil price rise raises specter of global recession
"A jump in energy prices is jamming the slow-turning cogs of an economic recovery in the West, but that may be nothing compared to the economic shock an Israeli attack on Iran would cause."
A "recovery" was never in the cards. And "recession" is morphing into depression. Get ready. -- RF
Iran says has not refused oil to Greece: ISNA
"Iran said Sunday it had not blocked an oil shipment to Greece, denying earlier reports it had done so in retaliation to the EU phasing in a ban on its key export, the Iranian Student's News Agency (ISNA) reported."
Niger warns against travel to Libya as tensions rise
'US to announce aerial blockade on Syria' (Ynet News)
Russia's Putin warns against attacks on Iran, Syria
"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia is concerned about the 'growing threat' of an attack on Iran over its nuclear program, warning that the consequences would be 'truly catastrophic.'"
U.S. Fighting On the Same Side as Three Terrorist Groups In Syria
Brzezinksi says US will not support Israel if it attacks Iran (video)
Will Saudi Arabia Support an Israeli Attack on Iran In June?
"One of the great cliches of war-craft is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. This expression comes to mind in considering the plausibility of a claim made in my recent conversation with a weapons dealer. He thinks that this June, Israel will use Saudi Arabia as its base for an attack on Iran's suspected nuclear site."
Saudi Arabia Says Iran Warships Visited for Training
"Iranian warships that docked in Saudi Arabia this month were part of a 'training tour for students' in the Islamic republic's navy, the state news agency SPA reported on Feb. 25."
Iran, Lebanon Talk Defense Ties, Slam Israel
"Iran and Lebanon talked up their defense ties and warned Israel against any aggression, during a visit to Tehran on Feb. 26 by Lebanese Defence Minister Fayez Ghosn."
New York Times: US Intelligence Says Iran Not Developing Nukes
Britain draws up battle plan against Iran (Economic Times)
Israel inks $1.6 billion arms deal with Azerbaijan
Drone Makers Cashing in as War Tactics Evolve

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Oil firms, Aquino warned of nationwide protests vs oil price hikes
Saudi king says 'foreign hands' behind Arab unrest
New Palestinian protests indicate West Bank unrest is due to erupt
Anti-Putin protesters form human chain in Moscow
Quran burning protests rage on, injuring 7 more troops
Chicago Workers Occupy Factory, Win Concessions
Out of the public eye, China cracks down on another protesting village

## Energy/resources ##
Security in doubt as Australia's aging oil refineries shut down
"The looming closure of three Australian refineries will affect the security of liquid fuel supplies in Australia. This is particularly so if the government and the oil industry do not devise a joint strategy with which to respond to potential supply disruptions."
Government considers fuel rationing or pricing formula (Sri Lanka)
"The Government is considering the introduction of fuel rationing or a fuel pricing formula in the face of skyrocketing oil prices while steps are being taken to cut energy consumption in state institutions, Finance Ministry and other official sources said."
U.S. did not call for strategic oil release: G20 sources
"The United States did not openly call for a release of countries' strategic oil reserves during Group of 20 meetings this weekend, Group of 20 sources said on Saturday."
KESC suspends electricity to pumping stations in Karachi
"Electricity of pumping stations was cut-off by Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), causing shortage of water to Karachi on Saturday...
"MD KWSB said that the shortage could turn into disaster for Karachiities as almost 5.5 million gallons water was supplied to Karachi through these pumping stations."
Helium crisis strikes fear in balloon industry
UAE petrol prices are third highest in Arab world
Britain reportedly joins dash to explore for oil in Somalia
Germany's Faster Subsidy Cuts To Add To Solar Companies Woes

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal theft grows rampant in Surrey (Canada)
Metal theft epidemic in South Cumbria (UK)

## Got food? ##
Compost Made Easy
Bill Gates: We Need Genetically Modified Seeds
"Gates' yield-increasing claims widely refuted by studies"
Seattle to Create Nation's First Public Food Forest
Campus food banks help students through tough times (US)
Greek farmers offload crops at cost price
"Hammered by the financial crisis that has led to ever diminishing income, a group of residents in northern Greece have joined forces with potato farmers to slash consumer prices and ensure producers can get their crop to markets by cutting out the middle man."

## Environment/health ##
2nd New York State Judge Upholds Fracking Ban In Towns

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Sorry, America: Your wireless airwaves are full

## Japan ##
Fire alarms and Smoke reported at Kashiwazaki Kariwa – TEPCO Has Not Confirmed External Leakage
"Japanese media outlets are reporting around 11 pm Sunday night, TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant's fire alarms activated, and smoke was seen rising from the Unit 5 area. According to TEPCO, external radiation monitors have not detected any increase of radiation dose around the station from a leak of radioactive materials."
City councilor to measure radiation in Mizumoto park the first was found dead
3 mayors snub Hosono, Hirano over radioactive waste storage plan
Hospitals in disaster zone hobbled by staff shortages
Japan Poised To Boost IMF Support Once Europe Acts
"Japan is keen to begin detailed talks on boosting the International Monetary Fund's resources to help cope with the global financial crisis, the country's finance minister said Saturday, but he stressed that Europe must first take action to bring its debt crisis to an end."
AIJ submitted false reports 'for several years'
"An investment advisory firm that lost 200 billion yen of corporate pension funds it was entrusted to manage has told the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission that it submitted false reports to the Kanto Local Finance Bureau for several years."
Firms move to secure fish at home, abroad
"Amid growing global demand for marine products, major Japanese trading companies are accelerating investments at home and abroad to secure a stable supply of such fish as salmon and tuna."

## China ##
Weibos: China clamps down on popular microblogs
China to double rare-earth exports

## UK ##
Going bussed: economy and tuition fees drive the young away from the car
"Sales of coach and train discount cards surge as driving becomes a minority pursuit among cash-strapped students"
Osborne: UK has run out of money
"The Government 'has run out of money' and cannot afford debt-fuelled tax cuts or extra spending, George Osborne has admitted."
Over 9 million could be living in fuel poverty by 2016

## US ##
Wyoming House advances doomsday bill
"State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States."
Minnesota's controversial deadly force bill advances
Beverly Hills goes vacant
"The 90210 crowd are abandoning their underwater mansions in increasing numbers. Is this a bad sign for the rest of the country?"
Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery (Part II) (Automatic Earth)
The Postal Service's Plan: Worse Service, Higher Prices
How long before the Pony Express comes back? -- RF

Saturday, February 25, 2012


News Links, February 26, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
160 German Tax Collectors Volunteer to "Help" Greece
Greek Debt Deal Merely Buys Time: World Bank's Zoellick
Surprise, surprise! -- RF
Former Portugal's Finance Minister: "There will be a BRICs crisis soon"
"Despite the strong economic growth in recent years, 'there will soon be a crisis in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)', said the former Finance Minister of Portugal Luis Campos e Cunha."
Railroad Freight Scams - A New Breed of Pirates?
"Railroad bandits seem to be a quaint notion relegated to history books and silent films. But Zurich's intelligence reports that throughout Europe, shippers are increasingly falling victim to railroad pirates. Corporations sign on with what appears to be legitimate freight companies, only to have their cargo disappear without a trace. The schemes can be remarkably elaborate - involving multiple subcontractors and producing bogus insurance, transport and vehicle registration documents when they know authorities will require them."
Dubai homes market 'still plagued by oversupply'
Swiss watchmakers fear Asia slowdown

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
American officers killed in Afghan Interior Ministry
"Two American officers were shot dead at close range in Afghanistan's Interior Ministry on Saturday, a U.S. official said, as rage gripped the country for a fifth day over the burning of the Muslim holy book at a NATO base."
Iran warns Israel not to attack its nuclear facilities
Obama Commits to US Intervention in Syria
US, EU, Arab States Push for UN 'Peacekeeping' Forces in Syria
Syria clashes leave more dead as evacuation efforts continue in Homs
Syria blasts Saudi Arabia over arming opposition calls
Deadly gun and bomb attack in Nigerian city of Gombe
US military fleet introduces hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
Hooray! The green war machine is here! BTW, where's the hydrogen coming from? -- RF
22 Carnival Cruise passengers robbed at gunpoint on ship-sponsored tour in Mexico
Deadly car bomb hits outside Yemen presidential palace hours after inauguration
Hogs going wild in Pakistani capital
"With a police officer wounded and the presidential palace breached, the Pakistani capital has launched a fresh offensive against a uniquely feared enemy in the Muslim country -- the city's ever expanding population of wild boar.
"Each night, packs of the hairy beasts emerge from Islamabad's river beds, parks and scrubland to rifle through the overflowing rubbish bins of its mostly wealthy residents and growing number of restaurants."
Phuket Thai Navy base joins anti-pirate joint patrol

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Chile's local fishermen add more roadblocks in Aysén protests
"The movement has drawn national attention to high fuel prices, cost of living in the area, and the new fisheries bill the fishermen are rejecting."

## Energy/resources ##
Crude Oil Report: Dwindling OPEC Spare Capacity Fuels Oil's Spike, Brent Poised To Test $127
"OPEC's buffer against supply disruptions is at the lowest levels since 2008, when crude oil prices made their record run to $147."
Mexico's January oil exports lowest since mid-2010
Oil Disruption is Zooming and Global Panic Awaits
Winter power shortages loom (New Zealand)
Peru Mining Companies Face Higher Risk Of Blackouts
Germany's Rising Cost of Going Green
'Egypt, Hamas agree to link electricity grids'
Power grid backlog at billions (South Africa)
"The maintenance backlog of municipal electricity infrastructure is at about R35-billion and rising by R2,5-billion a year, Parliament heard yesterday."
Fuel queues return to Malawi
Why Uranium Could Go To $200 And Beyond
Nigeria: Electricity Tariffs Go Up, Again!
ECG PRO conducts 'roll call' for new power rationing exercise (Ghana)
"Parts of the country will from Monday February 20, 2012 experience a power rationing exercise."

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Cable theft disrupts Tembisa trains (South Africa)
Cable theft leaves phones cut off for a second week (UK)

## Got food? ##
Poor families eat only once a day (Tanzania)

## Environment/health ##
Australia's surfers mourn disappearing east coast beaches as currents sweep sand out to sea

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
4 ways to stave off the cell phone apocalypse
Pakistan begins demolishing bin Laden house: police
Anonymous attacks 'alarming,' says top security adviser
"'What we've seen from Anonymous is alarming,' Michael Leiter, the former director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center and a member of a US. Government advisory board on cybersecurity, said in an interview. 'Their ability to repeatedly take down government websites and potentially penetrate those websites shows that the group is quite committed — and growing in its ability to perpetrate cyber attacks.'"
Could Anonymous Actually Be Doing Some Good?

## Japan ##
Japan car sales rocket 40% on subsidy boost
It's not a good sign if you have to pay people to buy cars. This isn't sustainable. -- RF
Gov't wants to replace entire TEPCO board
"The government wants to replace the entire board of the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in exchange for $12 billion of tax money to resuscitate the firm, a report said Saturday."
Tokyo asks Chubu Electric to help power City Hall
"The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has asked Chubu Electric Power Co. to supply electricity to City Hall, Vice Gov. Naoki Inose said Saturday."
Japan's food self-sufficiency: mixture of pessimism and optimism
AIJ moved huge sums to Cayman Islands, Hong Kong
"AIJ Investment Advisors Co. transferred huge sums in corporate pension assets it manages to a fund in the Cayman Islands and then moved the money to the Hong Kong account of a major European bank, sources said.
"The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission has not been able to trace where the money went after reaching Hong Kong."
Japan LNG imports hit record as nuclear use dwindles

## China ##
China's Growth May Slip to 8.6% This Year on European Slowdown

## UK ##
Diesel price hits record high
"Bad news for hauliers, as the price of diesel has hit a record high having rocketed by 10 pence per litre (ppl) in just 12 months – an inflation-busting 7 per cent rise – reports RMI Petrol. The increase leaves diesel at 143.05 pence per litre (ppl), a level that could derail Government plans to curb inflation, is a disaster for motorists, and puts the livelihoods of hundreds of fuel retailers at further risk says RMI Petrol Chairman Brian Madderson."
Paratroopers readied for future social unrest in UK
Computer 'glitch' causes flight delays at Edinburgh Airport
"A 'glitch' which shut down all the computer systems at Edinburgh Airport caused 'massive disruption' and some flight delays."

## US ##
California's Stockton May Ask Bondholders to 'Suffer,' City Says
"Stockton, California, may take the first steps toward becoming the most populous U.S. city to file for bankruptcy next week because of burdensome employee costs, excessive debt and bookkeeping errors that misrepresented accounts, city officials said yesterday."
Michigan's incredible shrinking workforce
Student Debt Is Stifling Home Sales
Biggest Muni ETF Posts Biggest Two-Day Slump Since October 2008
Eight Reasons Gas Will Hit $5 This Year
Diesel passes $4 mark
Watch for cold chain breakdown this summer as truckers hauling perishables turn off their refrigeration units to save fuel. We already saw this last summer. -- RF
Got BTU? Accounting for America's Energy and GDP
Another revealing energy insight from Gregor Macdonald. -- RF
Democrats Want to Use US Oil Stockpile to Relieve High Prices; It Won't Work!
Regulators take over Ga., Minn. banks (total for year is now 11)
Super Commuters Surge as Stuck Homeowners Fly 'Greyhound' Routes
U.S. Nuclear Plants to Buy More Safety Equipment
"Operators of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States have agreed to purchase additional equipment to respond to emergencies that interrupt off-site power, the Nuclear Energy Institute said on Tuesday."
Airlines attempt 3rd broad fare hike of 2012
Cargo thieves prefer Jack Daniel's

Friday, February 24, 2012


News Links, February 25, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Troika Demands 38 New Changes in Greek Tax, Spending and Wage Policies in Next 6 Days
Greece surrenders its gold and itself to creditors in the new deal
EU says economy will stall in 2012
Spain Producer-Price Inflation Slows as Economic Recession Looms
It's not going to be Spain's "second recession." It's another leg down toward depression and collapse. -- RF
Vietnam Reining in Asia's Fastest Inflation
"Consumer prices climbed 16.44 percent in February from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office said in Hanoi today. Pledged foreign direct investment in Vietnam fell 54.5 percent to $1.23 billion in the first two months of 2012 from a year earlier, the Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said separately."
Vietnam parks its skyscraper projects
German Economy Contracted in Fourth Quarter as Exports Fell
"Germany's fourth-quarter economic contraction was caused by a decline in exports as the sovereign debt crisis damped demand across the euro region."
Rising Energy Prices Endanger German Industry
Price of Oil Hits Record High in Euros and British Pounds; Oil Shock Coming; Nancy Pelosi Blames Speculators; What About Iran? Israeli Intelligence Concludes "No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program" (Mish)
Asia Stocks Set for Record 10th Weekly Advance
Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System – Part 2
Baltic Dry, Dr. Copper Flashing Warning Signs (WSJ)
"Also, the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks the shipping rates for bulk commodities, had sunk to 647 on Feb. 3, the lowest level in more than 25 years, before recovering in recent days. Even though there is a glut in the freight markets, the fact that shipping companies now charge as much as they did in Aug. 1986 – when oil traded around $13 a barrel – is mindboggling. Only two months into 2012, the index has already lost nearly 60%."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US Troops Now in 4 African Countries to Fight LRA
"U.S. troops helping in the fight against a brutal rebel group called the Lord's Resistance Army are now deployed in four Central African countries, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa said Wednesday."
U.S. cites progress in shadowy Africa military mission
"The United States said on Thursday it was making progress with its African allies in its push against Uganda's notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), but gave no clear end date for the shadowy U.S. military operation unfolding in central Africa."
India Opens Special Forces Base Near Mumbai
"A fully-equipped regional hub for specialist counterterrorism troops was inaugurated in Mumbai on Feb. 23, more than three years after deadly attacks by gunmen that left 166 people dead."
U.S., Israel coordinated on steps against Iran: envoy
U.S. Said to Offer India Help With Replacing Crude Oil Supplies From Iran
U.S. weighs release of oil reserves, world frets about Iran
"The United States is considering a release from its strategic oil reserves, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday, acknowledging the harm that supply disruptions fromIran could have on the global economy."
EU's Sanctions Against Iran Hindering Japanese, Chinese Oil-Tanker Cover
"Chinese and Japanese groups that insure ships against risks such as oil spills said European Union sanctions limit their ability to cover tankers hauling Iran's crude, raising speculation governments may intervene.
"The Japan Ship Owners' Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association and the China Shipowners Mutual Assurance Association are reinsured through the London-based International Group of P&I Clubs, meaning they are indirectly affected by EU sanctions approved Jan. 23, the organizations said. Both groups say they are the largest insurers for ships in their respective countries, the two biggest importers of Iranian oil."
Iran has expanded sensitive nuclear work: U.N. agency
U.S., European security officials discount Iran-Al Qaeda links
Syrian Forces Tightening Grip On Parts Of Homs
Saudi Arabia backs arming Syrian opposition
EU to freeze assets of Syrian central bank
Likud Members Push Plan to Annex 60% of West Bank
Bombs in 6 Iraqi provinces shatter calm, kill 33 people
Pro-Putin rally draws tens of thousands
Putin to win Russia presidential vote: last major poll
Taliban Suicide Attacks Have Held Steady for Most of the War
"Since the Taliban became an insurgent movement to oust the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, it's found a steady stream of recruits to blow themselves up in the hopes of killing others. A review of official NATO statistics finds that whatever tactics the U.S. and its allies have thrown at it throughout the course of the war, Taliban suicide attacks have largely remained constant, averaging about one every three days. And since the surge, those attacks have grown more deadly."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Rochdale takeaway attacked as youths clash with police (UK)
"A takeaway business had its windows smashed while three police cars were damaged.
Gangs of youths have clashed with police after targeting a takeaway business in Greater Manchester.
"Police were pelted with bricks and other missiles in Heywood, Rochdale, on Thursday evening as a takeaway was attacked and four vehicles damaged."
Philadelphia Convention Plans Lead To Rift In Occupy Movement
DYFI protest hits city hard (India)
"Hundreds of protesters under the banner of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) laid a siege to the Secretariat on Thursday disrupting normal life in the city for hours."
Afghanistan Koran protests claim more lives
"Thousands of enraged Afghans have taken to the streets for a fourth day, after US soldiers inadvertently set fire to copies of the Koran."

## Energy/resources ##
API: Counter prices with regional reserves (US)
"Rising gasoline prices in the United States could be offset by more domestic oil and natural gas production, the American Petroleum Institute said."
Korean Exodus From the Solar Industry
BP Plans to Withdraw From Solar-Energy Venture in Australia
Brazil to Invest $35.4 Billion in Sugar-Cane Fields for Fuel
India plans 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity by 2032
India, China growth among reasons for increasing oil prices: US
But be careful not to mention peak oil! -- RF
Coal shortage to hit power capacity plans (India)
India's Soaring Energy demands strain national grid
Running out of fuel in Khartoum
Zanzibar hit by acute fuel crisis
"Zanzibar has been hit by a week-long shortage of fuel forcing drivers to abandon their vehicles and walk to office."
More blackouts imminent as gas shortage looms (Nigeria)
Power shortage may worsen water crisis this summer (India)
Gas shipments rev up as US refineries close
"Gasoline shipments to the U.S. from Europe are poised to reach a five-week high, a Bloomberg News survey showed, as Atlantic Coast refineries reduce output of the auto fuel."
ND diesel supplies may be tight this spring (US)
"North Dakota's oil patch is fueling unprecedented demand for diesel, and projects to boost production won't come before supplies tighten this spring when farmers head back into their fields and construction projects start up, industry officials say...
"It also takes about 3,000 gallons of diesel each day to power one drill rig, he said. On Thursday, there were 204 rigs working in the state."
DOE no Longer Able to Fund Clean Technology Ventures after Budget Cuts
"The US Department of Energy's (DOE) days as a financier of clean technologies are over thanks to the Solyndra backlash, but budget cuts would have prevented the department from functioning in that role anyway, according to NRG Energy's chief executive."
Oil rises towards $124 on Iran tension

## Got food? ##
How to Build a Greenhouse from Used Windows or Storm Doors
USDA still sees 2012 food prices rising 2.5%-3.5%
Want easier container gardening? Downsize
In pictures: Land leasing or land grabbing?
"In the last few years, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America and Asia have made headlines across the world. In Africa, countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, DR Congo and Sierra Leone have all signed major land deals with foreign investors. But how do they affect local people?"

## Environment/health ##
More than one in 10 marine species in tropical eastern Pacific face extinction
Maya collapse coincided with drought
Warm weather breeds early bug bonanza

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
McCain to introduce cybersecurity legislation giving even more domestic control to NSA, military
Faster smartphones spark race for ways out of data crunch
Forcing Defendant to Decrypt Hard Drive Is Unconstitutional, Appeals Court Rules
Windows 8: The Kill Switch Comes to the PC

## Japan ##
Japan pledges $530 mil in loans to Iraq
"Japan is to offer $530 million in loans to Iraq, in part to help rebuild oil refineries, an official said Friday, as Tokyo seeks to diversify fuel supplies after the tightening of sanctions on Iran."
Japan upgrading airlift assets
Half of PPS electricity providers no longer in operation
Panasonic to sell Tokyo office buildings
Civil servant pay cuts clear Lower House
Japan Freezes Tokyo Money Manager Ops As Most Of Y183bn Pension Funds Go Missing
"Japan's Financial Services Agency has ordered a little known Tokyo money management company to halt operations after securities investigators found the firm lost most of the Y183 billion, or about $2.3 billion, in pension funds it managed on behalf of corporate clients."
Japan's nuclear crisis goes much further than Fukushima
"But the Rokkasho project is too little, too late, according to critics who say Japan is running so short of nuclear-waste storage that the entire industry risks shutdown within the next two decades unless a solution is found."
I guarantee you it won't last two decades. -- RF
Areas near nuclear plant may be unlivable forever, gov't says
"The government on Friday said some areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was wrecked last year by a massive tsunami will likely remain permanently unlivable."
Fast-breeder said realistic no more
Panel: Give iodine tablets to homes near nuclear plants

## China ##
China's Stocks Rise, Capping Sixth Week of Gains, as Property Shares Surge
"China's stocks rose, capping a sixth week of gains for the benchmark index, on speculation local governments are relaxing restrictions on the property market and an improving global economy will spur Chinese exports."
Shortages of electricity set to persist this year
Report: China's Olympic runners raise their own chickens amid food fears
"'We have to cook meals ourselves because it is risky to eat at a street restaurant,' team official tells newspaper"

## UK ##
UK economy shrank 0.2% revised data confirms
Lloyds Posts Full-Year Loss of $4.4 Billion
Lloyds to ax 15,000 jobs after 2011 losses
London riots: Almost 1,000 jailed as judges give tougher sentences
Hands Off Our Land: two thirds of rural England at 'mercy' of developers, warns Sir Andrew Motion
Fortunately, infinite growth can't go on forever. But it's already done much damage. -- RF
Schools hit by web blackout
Jobseekers forced to clean private homes and offices for nothing

## US ##
FBI organizes almost all terror plots in the US (RT)
Pentagon Says U.S. Citizens With Terrorism Ties Can Be Targeted in Strikes
Sears shedding some stores, reports quarterly loss
Keen on slashing the national debt? Ron Paul is your man.
"Ron Paul ranks as the one candidate among four whose announced policies would leave America with a lower national debt than it would have under a status quo course, according to a new analysis."
USGS finds low radiation threat from Japan
"The U.S. Geological Survey said it found low levels of radioactive particles from Japan's nuclear disaster in about 20 percent of its nationwide surveys."
Closing Time: Postal Service May Cut 35,000 Jobs
Procter & Gamble To Cut 5,700 Jobs In Restructuring
Sears to close Great Indoors outlets
Obama Urged to Resist Calls to Use Oil Reserves Amid Iran
Oklahoma Maverick U.S. Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn Talks To News On 6
"'In the next two years our country is going to be consumed. Absolutely consumed with debt. We're bankrupt. We're getting ready to have a debt crisis and nobody is working on it. We're two years away from being Greece,' Coburn said."
Alan Simpson: US Budget Deficits Heading For a Train Wreck (Financial Sense)
Power outage causes major delays on Blue Line (Los Angeles)
55 Interesting Facts About The U.S. Economy In 2012
St. Louis, Suburbs Clash Over Growing Homelessness
"Surrounding communities have long been accused of using downtown St. Louis as a dumping ground to dispose of homeless men with nowhere else to go. But as the weak economy and foreclosures push more people onto the streets, overwhelmed city officials say enough is enough. They want outsiders to start taking care of their own."
California housing collapse deepens
Workers occupy Chicago factory set to close
New angle for urban blight: Photographer scales heights to capture images
Gasoline and diesel fuel retail prices keep increasing
New Orleans' razing craze aims to clear way for post-Katrina recovery
"New Orleans is on a mission to raze thousands of properties abandoned after hurricane Katrina. Many are in neighborhoods, such as the Lower Ninth Ward, where poor and minority residents were concentrated."
Calm Down. Iran's Missiles Can't (and Won't) Hit the East Coast.
Chicago: Money offered if G8 closes businesses
No Retirement: Misled Baby Boomers May Die at the Office (Daily Bell)

And finally...
Activists publicly pray for lower gas prices (+ video)
"The Prayer at the Pump movement held a small prayer protest Thursday asking God to lower the price of gasoline, which has reached a national average of $3.58 per gallon."
Florida Mall Crowd Riots Over Glow-In-The-Dark Nikes
Deleted by your friends? That's life on Facebook now
"Facebook is apparently getting a lot more unfriendly. Users are getting a lot more selective, deleting comments, photo tags and even friends at a record rate, according to a new study released Friday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project."

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