Friday, February 17, 2012


News Links, February 18, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
More work needed yet on elusive Greek bailout deal
IMF Said to Give Less for Greek Bailout
"The International Monetary Fund is expected to contribute just €13 billion ($17.07 billion) to a second Greek aid package worth €130 billion, leaving euro-zone governments to provide a much bigger share of funds than they did in the euro zone's three earlier bailouts, people familiar with the situation said."
About That "Increase" in Spain's January Car Sales
Euro Spreads Back on the Rise
Perfect Storm In Oil Markets: Iran & China Will Keep Prices High
Forget Europe, Oil a Bigger Threat to Asia's Growth: Economist
Shipping industry fights to stay afloat amid global trade slowdown
Passengers stranded for days as Air Australia goes bust
Peugeot: running on empty
"Childish states of denial are always depressing. Luckily, however, they cannot last forever. Full-year results from French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën underscored - with much red ink - the overcapacity of Europe's new car market and the urgent need for industry-wide cuts."
Calcutta to be painted blue to tackle urban decay
Battle Over EU Airline Tax Risks "Carbon Trade War"; US Congressman Equates Tax to " Barbary Pirates for Safe Passage"; Insanity of Cap-and-Trade Revisited (Mish)
Debt saturation ensures much higher gold and silver

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Panetta: Iran is Not Developing Nuclear Weapons
Iranian naval ships enter Mediterranean via Suez
U.S. Navy fears small Iranian boats, confident of own
Mission impossible? U.S. wants sanctions to hurt only Iran
Europe's big buyers cut ties with Iran oil
What sanctions? Top five countries buying oil from Iran.
US Pleas for Asia to Cut Iranian Oil Imports Fall on Deaf Ears
"Last year China, India, Japan, and South Korea accounted for 60 percent of Iran's total oil exports, providing the country with $100 billion of revenue. As the EU oil sanctions take effect in July, Iran will feel an economic squeeze, which the West is hoping will force Tehran into talks over their nuclear regime. To further deepen the losses felt by Tehran the US are trying to encourage the Asian buyers to reduce their imports of Iranian oil. Unfortunately, the US have found that there suggestions have fallen on deaf ears, as South Korea and Japan are unwilling to cut imports, and China and India may well increase theirs."
Iran to pay rupee for India imports in "two weeks", says export body chief
"Indian exporters will be able to receive payments in the restricted rupee currency for sales to Iran within two weeks, the chief of India's top exporters' body said on Friday, as New Delhi puts a mechanism in place to maintain trade despite U.S. sanctions."
US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely
Syria: 'Civilians dying in droves' - at least 377 killed in Homs in recent days
Officials: US drones monitoring clashes in Syria
Syria: Assad digs in for assault on town of the doomed
Armed robbers raid Greece's Ancient Olympia museum
Violence against shippers new norm off West Africa
"The waters off West Africa's coast are now a constant danger for those shipping goods and crude oil in the region, analysts said Tuesday, a day after pirates killed two sailors near Nigeria's coast."
Piracy: Cape to Arabian Gulf and Malacca shipping lanes are latest targets
"[T]he GoAGT (Gulf of Aden Group Transits) said yesterday that over the past week it has received first-hand information from sources indicating that several Pirate Action Groups (PAGs) have begun to focus operations in a new regional area. These sightings suggest that pirates are targeting the Cape to Arabian Gulf shipping lane."
Experts open world-class anti-piracy intelligence centre
Cameron and Sarkozy hail UK-French relationship
With Egypt in turmoil, Israel builds fence to keep out trouble
It's going to take more than a fence to keep out what's coming. -- RF
Italian police seize $6 trillion in fake T-bonds
Israeli Officials Blame Iran for Recent Bombings, Despite Lack of Evidence
"The bombs used in India, Georgia, and Thailand were 'strikingly reminiscent' of those in Israeli-supported attacks on Iranian scientists"

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
In Normally Stable Sengal, Police, Protesters Face Off

## Energy/resources ##
Chile faces blackout risks on frail grid-energy min
"Top copper producer Chile, already grappling with a severe drought, faces a risk of energy blackouts because of a creaking power grid that threatens the economy, the energy minister said."
Power shortfall soars to 3,000 megawatts (Pakistan)
"The power shortfall has reached 3,000MW with supply cut of furnace oil to thermal units, including Independent Power Projects (IPPs)."
No Peak Oil - Why Then is Saudi Aramco Opening Old Wells for Heavy Crude?
Damn good question! -- RF
Power Cuts Expected Due to Fuel Shortage (Iraqi Kurdistan)
Politics May Devour Exploitation of Mediterranean Natural Gas Reserves
South Korea wants oil help from Iraq
South Sudan oil shutdown pushes up prices
Rumors Fly of Severe German Solar Cuts in the Offing
US Congress deals major blow to wind power industry
Clean coal 'unviable for two decades' (Australia)
Why Fuel Queues Reemerged – NNPC (Nigeria)
Fuel supply still tight as Chevron refinery shuts down (South Africa)
Concern over profitability of utilites following gas shortage (Malaysia)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Southern African power firms lose K51bn in vandalism
"POWER utility firms in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) have lost US$10 million (about K51billion) in vandalism to infrastructure and theft during the last 12 months, theft and prevention working group chairperson Phillip Mhike has said."

## Got food? ##
Mars shrinks chocolate bars; Nestle braces for tough 2012
Livestock farmers get high prices as herds dwindle
Gaza to suffer from food disaster
Sanctions on Iran Hit Its Kitchens
Yes, food is a weapon. -- RF
Labor-Saving DIY Projects for Any Homestead

## Environment/health ##
How The Human Population Explosion Defies Nature
Of course, oil. But this essay proposes an additional mechanism. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Computer scientists find hackers can easily track cell phone user's location
McCain: Cybersecurity Bill Ineffective Without NSA Monitoring the Net
FEMA wants to monitor news coverage of its activities nationwide, 24/7
Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists'
Google facing Congressional backlash over tracking of Safari users

## Japan ##
Insight: Japan slowly wakes up to doomsday debt risk
And far too late, I might add. -- RF
Cabinet approves tax hike plan
"The cabinet on Friday approved a plan to double sales taxes as part of the government's move to rein in public debt as the rapidly aging nation faces rising social welfare costs."
The main effect of a 10% sales tax will likely be to goose the underground economy. -- RF
January electricity sales slide 3.7%
"The year-on-year decline was credited to power-saving efforts by businesses and households, the Federation of Electric Power Companies said."
Decreased economic activity is also certainly a factor. -- RF
Number Of Foreign Visitors To Japan Down In Jan For 11th Month
Only 10 prefectural governments willing to accept quake rubble
Monju fast breeder reactor's sodium detector hits trouble
Fukushima pro-nuclear energy PR group calls it quits
"Directors of a publicity association in Fukushima Prefecture that promotes nuclear energy and publicizes its safety decided to disband on Feb. 16, feeling that they wouldn't be taken seriously in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant."
Municipalities have no place to store contaminated soil

## China ##
Shanghai faces 2 gigawatt power shortage this summer
China Still Adding Aluminum Smelter Capacity In Spite of Cost Pressures
"Alcoa (and the rest of the world) have been waiting for the Chinese to curtail aluminum smelter capacity in the face of weak prices and the high cost of power and raw materials, but the Chinese continue to confound expectations and, as a recent Reuters report underlines, continue to add new capacity."
China Soybean Import Tops One-Day Record as Ties With U.S. Growers Expand

## UK ##
Diesel price reaches record high
Britain gives £2m in aid to Syria

## US ##
Community banks team up to fight the megabanks
CBO: Longest Period of High Unemployment Since Great Depression
Moody's Places America's Biggest Banks Under Review
Most of Big Country at 'high' or 'extreme' risk of water shortages by 2050, study says
America's wireless broadband problem just got a lot worse
Gasoline pushes inflation up in January
Payroll Tax-Cut May Be Offset by Rising Gas Prices
"The latest inflation data shows rising gasoline prices could start pinching consumers and steal away any savings from the just-approved extension of the payroll tax cut."
20 Signs You Might Be A Typical American Worker
FBI 'anti-terror' arrest near US Capitol
Mexico President Felipe Calderon's message to US: 'No more weapons!'
Will Ron Paul win Maine caucuses after all? State GOP taking new tally
Commercial Bank Consumer Credit Declines Sharply In January
Corporate Bond Funds Draw Record Amount of Investor Cash
Gallup Reports Unemployment in February Increases to 9%, Up From 8.6%; Underemployment Increases to 19%
U.S. Unemployment Pockets Become More Severe
Dow at highest point since 2008
Pump, baby, pump! -- RF
Postal Service seeks 50-cent stamps
Trucking challenges keep on piling up
"Higher fuel prices, upward pressure on driver pay and a suddenly more sluggish freight market are creating more challenges for the trucking industry– challenges that may continue to build as 2012 progresses."
What do Record Low Natural Gas Prices Mean for States?

And finally... Apparent heart attack at Heart Attack Grill

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