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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