Sunday, February 19, 2012


News Links, February 20, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Germany Draws Up Plans for Greece to Leave Euro; Athens Rehearses the Nightmare of Default; Merkel's Denial Rings Hollow
"It's been crystal clear for weeks, if not much longer, that Germany has been actively seeking to persuade Greece to abandon the Euro."
Greek CDS to Trigger in March
More price hikes, officials warn economic crisis may explode (Sri Lanka)
Kingfisher Airlines Cuts More Flights as Cash Shortage Mounts, Loss Widens
Analysis: Drugmakers relegate Europe as crisis saps returns
Japan, China to coordinate on IMF efforts on euro zone
"Japan and China agreed on Sunday they will jointly respond to any funding request from the International Monetary Fund, which is looking to more than double the size of its war chest to help countries deal with the euro zone crisis."
Irish Home Loans 90+ Days Delinquent Hits 9.2%; Spain Lending Shrinks at Record Pace

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iran stops oil sales to British and French firms
"Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state's lifeblood, oil."
Japan refiners eye force majeure clause for Iran oil contracts
EU pays price for oil sanctions on Iran (Hurriyet Daily)
"Businesses and consumers across the European Union are starting to pay a financial penalty for the bloc's decision to ban crude oil imports from Iran. Near-record prices for crude oil are compounding the misery many firms and households were already suffering.
"Even though the sanctions have not gone into effect fully, they are already contributing to a steep rise in fuel costs."
Asia evades the US mousetrap (Pakistan Daily)
"Washington's attempts to squeeze Iran into submission, via its sanctions, haven't exactly transpired the way the US think-tanks thought they would pan out with Asian oil importing heavyweights, Japan and South Korea, brushing off the US policy making. And the word is that India and China might even up their oil purchases from Iran, to further forestall the US efforts of forcing Iran into parting ways with its nuclear programme by targeting its economic nerve center."
US military chief cautions against Israeli attack on Iran
US, Britain urge Israel not to attack Iran
William Hague: Israel attack on Iran 'would not be wise'
Turkey and China 'helping Iran evade UN sanctions'
"Turkey and China are helping Iran to evade UN sanctions by providing them with secret banking facilities to purchase goods, according to Western security officials."
Iran warships 'dock in Syria's Tartous port'
"Iran state media says two vessels have crossed Suez Canal and arrived in Syria, provoking angry response from Israel."
Syria 'disintegrating under crippling sanctions'
Syrian security forces clamp down on Damascus
Bomb explodes on edge of Nigerian capital, 5 hurt
Unmanned Vehicles: Liberating or Enslaving?
"'Over 150 people are needed to do one combat air patrol' with U.S. Air Force Predator or Reaper drones, says Reginald Brothers, deputy assistant secretary of defense for research.
"'That's a lot of people,' he adds. 'These unmanned systems require more people to operate than tactical manned aircraft,' Brothers tells an industry conference Feb. 14 hosted by Aviation Week & Space Technology."
Russia Thwarts U.S. Central Asian Counterdrug Program
Occupy Sanity
"Surrounded by American and NATO military bases, without nuclear weapons and no history of invading any nation in modern times, Iran is a threat. Israel, with hundreds of nukes and a record of assaulting its neighbors, and the U.S, with hundreds of military bases all over the world and the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons, are guardians of the peace. If you believe that, you need to take a sedative and see a mental health professional."
Insight: As Myanmar opens, China alliance starts to fray
US Special Forces want wider global operations
Production of Afghan heroin jumps by 61%: UN
Mission accomplished! -- RF
Iraq gun and bomb attacks hit Baghdad and Baquba
Suicide attack on Baghdad police academy kills 19
World leaders plan crackdown on Somali pirates
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea…"Exercise the Utmost Vigilance and Preparedness"

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Riot police guard Greek assembly as protesters gather
"Riot police shielded Greece's national parliament Sunday as demonstrators gathered to protest against austerity measures on the eve of talks in Brussels on a 130-billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout needed to avert bankruptcy."
Fuel Prices Continue to Aggravate Road Haulage Freight Groups (UK/Ireland)
"The cost of fuel continues to be a cause of annoyance to freight groups in both countries but whereas UK agencies are still pushing for plans to reduce duty levels road haulage groups in the Republic intend to take much more direct action by closing the roads of Dublin from 0800 hrs on Wednesday the 22nd February to demonstrate their anger."
Police clash with protesters in Senegal
Occupy Wall Street: Jimmy Carter Casts Movement As 'Relatively Successful'
Strike at Frankfurt airport to continue Monday
Thousands gather for Morocco anniversary protests
Hundreds of thousands march in Spain against reforms
"Hundreds of thousands of people protested across Spain Sunday against reforms to the labor market they fear will destroy workers' rights and spending cuts they say are destroying the welfare state."
Greeks protest cuts on eve of bailout decision
Motorists protest against Putin on Moscow's streets
China: Self-Immolation 'Only Possible Recourse'

## Energy/resources ##
AP not alone in facing power crisis (India)
"The four southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, are in the grip of a severe power crisis. In an unprecedented situation, the shortfall in the four on Saturday touched 5,300 MW with Tamil Nadu topping the list with a shortfall of 3,000 MW. For the first time, Karnataka has invoked section 11 of the Electricity Act to prevent private power generators in the state from selling power to neighbours."
Saudi Arabia Cuts Oil Output, Export: Industry Report
"The world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, appears to have cut both its oil production and export in December, according to the latest update by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), an official source of oil production, consumption and export data...
"For the third month in a row, no details were available for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Libya, the immediate reasons for which are unclear."
Gaza nearing total blackout, Oxfam quote and Weekly Gaza Update
Rising construction costs stall many projects (Saudi Arabia)
Betting the farm: new model shows offshore wind farms at risk from hurricanes
A Reality Check for the Solar Panel Industry
Iran tensions expose thin Asia strategic oil stocks - Campbell
"The increasingly tense standoff between the West and Iran must undoubtedly have big Asian oil consumers looking anxiously at their meagre strategic oil stocks."
Is there really so much shale gas in the ground? (Foreign Policy!)
Has the United States beaten peak oil? Not so fast. (Washington Post!)
Out of Power Cuts... 80% of Gaza Patients Death-threatened
Spain to extend life of its oldest nuclear plant
"Spain will extend operations at its oldest nuclear power plant by five years, Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said Saturday as the country seeks to make the most of its energy sources."
Global Oil Chokepoints and the New Silk Road for Energy
Nabucco Gas-Pipeline Plan May Be Downsized
"The Nabucco consortium is considering a much smaller project than the originally planned pipeline to carry Caspian natural gas to Europe, bowing to the reality of low gas amounts available at the moment in the region, according to people familiar with the situation."
Not even China can save the wind industry

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Scrap yard hires private investigator to probe air conditioner thefts

## Got food? ##
Texas Water District Acts to Slow Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer
Locally-Grown Foods Account for Less than 2% of Total Sales in U.S.
Shocking numbers of South Asian children go to bed hungry
"One third of families in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are regularly going to bed hungry due to soaring food prices in a region which accounts for half the worlds underweight children, the head of Save the Children says."
Hunger in Niger threatens millions

## Environment/health ##
Study: Climate change kills yellow cedars
"U.S. Forest Service researchers have confirmed what has long been suspected about a valuable tree in Alaska's Panhandle: Climate warming is killing off yellow cedar."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Data collection arms race feeds privacy fears

## Japan ##
Goldman reportedly delays samurai bond due to possible downgrade
"Goldman Sachs Group Inc. delayed its first sale of samurai bonds in four years after Moody's Investors Service placed the bank under review for downgrade, according to a source."
Japan's auto industry a shadow of its former self
120 Army personnel leave for South Sudan

## China ##
China Housing Correction Continues

## UK ##
Phone and email records to be stored in new spy plan
"Details of every phone call and text message, email traffic and websites visited online are to be stored in a series of vast databases under new Government anti-terror plans."

## US ##
Paul: U.S. "slipping into a fascist system"
"Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul warned the U.S. is 'slipping into a fascist system' dominated by government and businesses as he held a fiery rally Saturday night upstaging established Republican Party banquets a short distance away."
U.S. nuclear plants similar to Fukushima spark concerns
API: US January Oil Use Down 5.7% Vs Year Ago, Near 18 Million B/D
U.S. Army Eyes Foreign Sales To Maintain Tank Production
"The U.S. Army is hoping foreign sales will be sufficient to keep tank factories up and running until the Army needs them again in 2017."
Post Office Targets 155,000 Job Cuts
Wolf Creek Nuclear Station still shutdown over 1 month after loss of off-site power
"This caused the switchyard to become de-energized, which removed the plant's connection to the electrical power grid. This is an especially precarious position for a nuclear plant, as the offsite power that is supplied to the nuclear power station is one of the key backup safety systems. While working to restore the power the plant also lost 1 of its 2 emergency diesel generators and suffered problems associated with the turbine-driven AFW pump."
Shades of Fukushima. Be afraid. Be very afraid! -- RF
Airlines hike fares for the second time this year
Economic crisis slows U.S. population growth
Rising gas prices drive inflation

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