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

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