Wednesday, February 22, 2012


News Links, February 23, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Greece Is Still Doomed: Why the New Bailout Is a Fantasy
"Greece has finally secured a new $170 billion loan from its European landlords, and the terms are just as unrealistic and doomed-to-fail as you expected. The fact that the country requires a second bailout that's practically the size of its economy -- now crashing through $270 billion and still falling -- tells you what you need to know about the hopelessness of Greece."
Greece: From Sovereign Nation to the Penultimate Structured Investment Vehicle
"By transforming Greek sovereign debt into a structured investment vehicle retroactively, policymakers have now made their ability to manage the situation in the future all but impossible."
Fitch downgrades Greece on debt swap plan
8 Reasons Why The Greek Debt Deal May Not Stop A Chaotic Greek Debt Default
Fearless Prediction: On March 20, Greece WILL Default (Financial Sense)
Here Is the Plain Truth About Greece (Financial Sense)
The plain truth is this:
• Greece cannot pay its current debts back. Ever.
• More money is NOT the answer.
• Greece cannot even begin to recover while still chained to the Euro and unable to devalue.
• Greek citizens will NOT suddenly decide to pay their taxes.
• Greece's exit from the EU will be incredibly painful and the country will likely go into a depression.
Chart of the Day: Europe and U.S. Decoupling
Data Suggest Euro Zone May Slide Back Into Recession
Eurozone PMI "Worse Than Expected" and Back in Contraction; Expect German-Periphery Divergence to Resolve to the Downside for Germany (Mish)
Number Of European Money Losing Companies Rises For First Time In 2 Years, Doubles

GM still facing huge pension shortfall (Canada)
In the Electro-Motive shutdown, an unsettling message for Canadian industry
TSA Carriers Plan To Raise Container Rates On Mar. 15
"As container shipping lines face estimated 2011 losses in the billions of dollars across their global networks, including the transpacific trade, member carriers in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) have reaffirmed their commitment to restore rate levels going into 2012 to 2013 contract talks."
Homeless flood into hospitals (Australia)
Euro crisis: Cash-strapped Italy sells off iconic lighthouses
Europe Is Now China's Sweatshop As Great Wall Starts Building Cars In Bulgaria

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
IAEA Says Iran Talks Fail on Denied Request to Visit Base
Europe Must Choose Between an Iranian Oil Embargo and Default (RIA Novosti)
Iraq's January oil exports slightly decline, but revenues up on higher oil prices
Iran 'Winning' on Oil Sanctions: Top Trader
"An increase in world oil prices has more than compensated Iran for revenues lost to lower crude exports because of sanctions imposed by the West, the head of the world's leading oil trader said Tuesday."
Assad forces try to bomb Homs into submission
US inching closer to favoring arms for Syria rebels
Somalia: UN votes to increase peace-keeping force to nearly 18,000 troops
Is English or Mandarin the language of the future?
Mexico violence: taxi drivers gunned down in Monterrey
Mexican Mayhem Fuels U.S. 'Bodyguard' Boom
Explosions rock northern Nigerian city
Japan, U.S., South Korea build closer defense ties
"Japan, the United States and South Korea have been forging closer defense cooperation to counter China's growing military might and threats from North Korea."
Russia Tells Norway To Keep Aegis BMD System off Vessels
"Russia has warned Norway not to get pulled into a possible area of conflict by bowing to U.S. pressure to equip its naval vessels with Aegis ballistic missile defense system missiles. The warning came from Nikolai Makarov, commander of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces."
Pakistan receives US surveillance aircraft

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Shots fired as anti-US protests spread in Afghanistan
"US Embassy in Kabul puts staff on lockdown as fury over Quran burning grows"
Countrywide protests against power outages (Pakistan)
"Citizens across the country on Tuesday took to the streets against prolonged power outages and gas shortage that have badly disrupted routine activities."
No-uranium protesters rally in Sydney
Occupy is back? Movement gets a TV show, issues concrete demands, begins new protests
"If you thought Occupy was over, you may want to think again."
Occupy London St Paul's eviction appeal bid thrown out
'Occupy' to hold national conference in Philly
"A group of protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement plans to elect 876 'delegates' from around the country and hold a national 'general assembly' in Philadelphia over theFourth of July as part of ongoing protests over corporate excess and economic inequality."
Greek unions mount fresh protests
As austerity bites hard, a once pliant Spain revolts
"Spaniards initially accepted aggressive austerity as necessary, but tens of thousands are now turning out in the streets to protest measures they say have gone too far."
Saudi protests, regime crackdown, and 'Iron Fist'

## Energy/resources ##
Nepal Running on Empty as Energy Crisis Deepens
"A severe shortage of gas cylinders, essential for heating and cooking in a country with no mains supply, has increased the hardship for Nepalis already enduring seasonal daily power cuts of up to 14 hours.
"Exacerbating the problem, a shortage of petrol and diesel means people have to queue for many hours or turn to the black market to run cars and the generators which light their shops when the electricity goes out."
North Slope Blowout on Land Clearly Shows We Are Not Ready to Deal with an Accident in the Arctic
South Africa Worried About Power Costs as Increases Studied
"South Africa's government said it's concerned power costs are hurting household and industrial users as the regulator studies raising prices further amid stoppages by smelters to curb demand on an overburdened electricity grid."
Get ready for power shock summer (India)
Fuel scarcity spreads nationwide (Nigeria)
Egypt to boost Gaza power supply to ease crisis
Depleting fuel supply set to impact gas-based power plants, consumers (India)
"The gas-based power plants of GVK Power, Lanco Infratech, GMR and others, all based in Andhra Pradesh, are functioning at less than 50 per cent of installed capacity due to reduced supply of gas."
How you can tell that the peak oil debate is (almost) over
Following Keystone Rejection Canada's Oil Sands Headed to China
Shell details theft losses of Nigerian Delta crude
Stop the Nonsense About the "Falling Dollar" Being the Cause of Rising Gasoline Prices (Mish)
The Peak Oil Crisis: Technology Update (Tom Whipple)
Short version: Don't hold your breath. -- RF
S. African Miners' Group Says Power-Blackout Risk 'Very Real'
"The risk of electricity blackouts in South Africa is "very real," the head of the Electricity Intensive Users Group said."
US power blackouts leave record numbers in the dark

## Got food? ##
Analysis: Worrying signs for food security in Syria

## Environment/health ##
Energy poverty killing more people than malaria
"A lack of clean energy for cooking is causing severe respiratory diseases that kill around two million people each year, says a scientist from the University of British Columbia."
New York Judge Upholds Fracking Ban in Towns
"In a blow to the oil and gas industry, a judge has ruled small towns in New York have the authority to ban drilling — including the controversial method known as fracking — within their borders."
Not All Migrating Birds Adjusting to Climate Change, Report Says

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Anonymous Denies It Is Pursuing Power Outage Attacks
U.S. judge orders Moroccan held for Capitol plot
"A U.S. judge on Wednesday ordered a Moroccan man to be held on charges that he planned a suicide bombing attack against Congress, believing he was working with al Qaeda militants when in fact his contacts were undercover agents."
How the European Internet Rose Up Against ACTA
Acta: EU court to rule on anti-piracy agreement
Iran blocking 30 million from email, Web ahead of election
Health workers linked to CIA's Osama bin Laden assassination plot are sacked

## Japan ##
Coast Guard to get power to make arrests on uninhabited islands
"Japan Coast Guard officers will shortly be empowered to arrest trespassers on remote uninhabited islands, such as the disputed Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture."
Is Japan's Global Creditor Status at Risk?
"Trade deficits may undercut Japan's ability to service a massive debt load far bigger than Greece's"
Into the no-man's land of Fukushima
TEPCO to cement 73,000 sq meters of seabed off Fukushima
"The operator of Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear plant is to cover a large swathe of seabed near the battered reactors with cement in a bid to halt the spread of radiation, the company said Wednesday."
Okinawa snow event canceled over radiation fears
"The city of Naha in subtropical Okinawa was forced to cancel a traditional snow event for kids after parents said the snow shipped from the northeast may be radioactive, officials said Wednesday."
S&P cuts rating on Japan's Panasonic
Japan nuclear operator bond drought set to end
"A drought in bond issuance by Japanese nuclear plant operators after lender confidence in the industry was shattered by the Fukushima crisis looks set to end, with Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc considering a $313 million offering."
Mitsubishi to step up search for buyer of Dutch auto plant
Greece debt holders in Japan could lose big on bonds

## China ##
Hainan to more than double power consumption by 2015
"Insufficient power generation capacity forced the province to implement several rounds of rationing over the course of 2011, an official with the Hainan National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told Interfax today."

## UK ##
Petrol-price pain on way as Iran racks up tensions
Europe must provide own security as US shifts focus to Pacific, says Labour
"European nations must do more to provide their own security as the US shifts its attention towards China and the Pacific, Labour has warned."
Lights set to go out
"NEARLY 5,000 of the 6,000 streetlights Carmarthenshire Council plans to switch off at night have now had the necessary technology installed in them."
Highland fuel theft one of the biggest so far this year

## US ##
Democrats Urge Obama to Tap Reserve Oil
"President Barack Obama should release crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stem rising gasoline prices, three U.S. House Democrats said, a move the energy industry opposes."
Florida Drivers Shelling Out Nearly $6 A Gallon At Some Gas Stations
That's still less than what the Japanese and Europeans pay. Worse is yet to come. -- RF
Ron Paul: Hemp is a good product
"'There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn't be allowed to raise hemp,' Paul said, according to the Associated Press. 'Hemp is a good product.'"
LADWP lights go out for 60,000 Westside customers
"A power outage darkened a large portion of Los Angeles' Westside on Tuesday.
"A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power told KPCC that 60,000 customers saw their electricity service interrupted in Venice, Westchester, Playa del Rey and surrounding areas."
Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors (WSJ)
"The Federal Reserve has operated almost entirely behind closed doors as it rewrites the rule book governing the U.S. financial system, a stark contrast with its push for transparency in its interest-rate policies and emergency-lending programs."
Mounting student loans a 'debt bomb' waiting to explode
Only 54% of Americans Have More Emergency Savings than Credit Card Debt
For the Bottom 20%, Life Gets Worse
Middle Class Getting Pushed Out of Banking: Whitney
"Excessive regulation of financial institutions is squeezing out middle-class consumers who soon will find themselves locked out of the banking system, analyst Meredith Whitney said Wednesday."
Meredith Whitney Turns Muni Call Into Book (Not Novel)
Moody's reviewing thousands of U.S. muni obligations
Whoops! Signs that all is not well in Muni-Land? Meredith, baby, stick to your guns! -- RF
What's Driving The Backlash Against Traffic Cameras
High-end loan owners strategically defaulting in large numbers
Rest of Illinois budget to be squeezed by pensions, Medicaid
Diesel and Gas Prices Rise, Worries About Greece and Iran Drive up Oil Prices (Trucking Info)

And finally... Osama Bin Laden movie to be filmed in India

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