Saturday, March 31, 2012


News Links, March 31, 2012, evening edition

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Spain increases electricity bills to trim deficit
"Spain said power prices would rise by 7 percent to help contain an accumulated 24 billion euro ($32 billion) deficit due to utilities selling electricity below nominal costs."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Flight of Fancy: Airports Take Off as Venues for Tours, Parties
Soaring fuel costs hurting local carriers (Indonesia)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
China rejects Obama's Iran oil import sanctions
"China rejected President Barack Obama's decision to move forward with plans for sanctions on countries buying oil from Iran, saying Saturday that Washington had no right to unilaterally punish other nations."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Occupy protesters sent to hospital after clash with police
Power outage protest in Lahore
Group: 2 more Tibetan monks self-immolate in China
"Two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire in a western Chinese city in the latest in a wave of self-immolations protesting against Chinese rule, exiled monks and a Tibet advocacy group said."

## Energy/resources ##
Europe's prospects for shale gas fizzle
Saudi Arabia's economic growth is making domestic oil demand soar
S.Africa's petrol, diesel price to rise sharply
Indonesia's parliament blocks fuel prices hike
Gas prices continue to rise as summer approaches

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Foreign criminal syndicates 'behind metal thefts in Britain'
"Gangs in China and Africa are orchestrating metal thefts in Britain, police believe, in a new development in the crime epidemic sweeping the country."

## Got food? ##
Food Prices Rising Steadily (Indonesia)
"In anticipation of fuel price hikes, food prices have begun to show an increase. Cooking oil and chili prices, for instance, have soared by 20 to 100 percent."
Futuristic farm shop grows food in synthetic veg patch

## China ##
Diesel demand growth highest among oil products in China

## UK ##
Forecourt fights during petrol pump pandemonium
Pumps start to run dry as dash for fuel goes on

Friday, March 30, 2012


News Links, March 31, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Poverty-stricken Greek town hits new low
"A 'humanitarian crisis' is unfolding in an impoverished Greek city where a deepening economic crisis has left thousands seeking food from an international charity more used to helping refugees and bringing aid to famine or disaster zones."
Spain announces 'extraordinary' €27bn budget cuts
Euro Zone Boosts Bailout Firewall to $1.06 Trillion
It won't be enough. -- RF
European Leaders Lying, Trillions Need to Be Printed
Told ya. -- RF
Portugal's struggles signal worries for Europe
"The country's economy is likely worse off than previously thought."
BOK's Dollar Holdings Fell to 60.5% of FX Assets in 2011
"South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, pared the share of dollars in its foreign-exchange reserves to the lowest level since the global financial crisis erupted in 2007."
Jim Rogers & Peter Schiff Agree, U.S. Treasury Crisis In 2013
Oman's office prices tumbled 33% last year
"Commercial property prices in Oman fell by a third last year as an oversupply of units began to take effect, according to a new report."
German Retail Sales Fell Again in February
"German retail sales unexpectedly declined for a second month in February as rising energy prices sapped household purchasing power."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airline industry on brink of losses – IATA
Cargolux posts $18.3m loss in 2011
Summer airfares may be most expensive in seven years (India)
China Southern Annual Profit Drops 12% on Higher Jet-Fuel Prices
Losses keep mounting at American Airlines
Qantas raising fares to tackle high fuel cost

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Police to 'sweep' Athens and send illegal immigrants to camps
Iran helps Syria ship oil to China: sources
"Iran is helping its ally Syria defy Western sanctions by providing a vessel to ship Syrian oil to a state-run company in China, potentially giving the government of President Bashar al-Assad a financial boost worth an estimated $80 million."
There's a lot of nose-thumbing at the US happening here. -- RF
Odds Still Fat That Iran Attack Happens After Election (Forbes)
Rockets explode as Arab leaders meet in Baghdad
"Three rockets exploded around Baghdad on Thursday despite a massive security operation as Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki hosted the country's first Arab League summit in two decades."
In Exchange for Arms, Philippines OKs Greater US Military Presence
Yemen LNG pipeline blown up, output halted after drone attack
"A U.S. drone attack killed at least five suspected al Qaeda militants in southern Yemen on Friday, and gunmen retaliated by blowing up an LNG pipeline, forcing output to be stopped, officials and energy workers said."
Afghan Witnesses Say Sgt. Robert Bales Did Not Act Alone

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
'Concerned citizens' interrupt Flaherty's budget speech (Canada)
One killed as Palestinian Land Day sees clashes
Detroit High School Protest: Students Suspended After Demanding 'An Education'

## Energy/resources ##
PetroChina overtakes Exxon as top oil producer
Citigroup's Overly Optimistic Energy Projection for 2020
The Latest Non-OPEC Oil Supply Data, and Discussion
More good analysis by Gregor Macdonald. --RF
Obama says enough world oil to crack down on Iran sales
Never say die, even when it's obvious that you're totally wrong, and spouting transparent lies. If there were "enough" oil, the price would be down to no more than $80/bbl. In reality, airlines and refineries are going bust. -- RF
U.S. stymies Iran bid to snatch Iraqi oil
Pakistan, Russia consider Iranian pipeline
Indonesia Parliament Gives Government Leave to Raise Fuel Price
"Indonesia's parliament amended a law to allow the government to raise fuel prices should crude exceed a budget assumption, paving the way for an increase even as the biggest public protests since 2008 threaten President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's efforts to contain the budget gap."
India may buy at least 260,000 bpd extra oil in 2012/13
Mideast Oil-Tankers Bookings Reach This Year's High
Water: May not be one of cheapest commodities much longer
US Wind Generation to Stall Next Year

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Copper theft up 4.1% in February to R22.8m (South Africa)

## Got food? ##
FDA finally responds to GMO-labeling campaign but differs on numbers of supporters
In pictures: West African food crisis
Slaves Put Squid on Dining Tables From South Pacific
Enjoy your globalized food. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
High Methane in Pennsylvania Water Deemed Safe by EPA
"Tests by the Environmental Protection Agency of water in Dimock, Pennsylvania, found elevated levels of methane consistent with leakage from gas drilling nearby, according to scientists who reviewed the data."
One Person Adds 37 Million Bacteria to a Room

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Congress says 'no' to protecting your Facebook privacy
Hackers Breach Credit Card Processor; 50K Cards Compromised
I'm glad I don't have any credit cards. -- RF

## Japan ##
Japan to lift entry ban on some Fukushima cities
In case you were wondering, I won't be going there. -- RF
Output fall clouds recovery
High levels of cesium found in tanks at 18 Yokohama schools
"The Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education said Friday that high levels of radioactive cesium had been found in tanks at 18 schools in Yokohama.
"According to the board, 44 schools in the city use rainwater for flushing toilets. The rainwater is first stored in underground tanks."
Highest level of radioactive cesium to date found in freshwater fish in Fukushima village
"Radioactive cesium far exceeding the allowable limit and way higher than previously detected contamination levels in fish has been found in river trout here, the prefectural government said on March 28."

## China ##
China's crude oil production challenges

## UK ##
UK: Record number of university drop-outs
David Cameron seeks to reassure motorists that fuel will not run out
Ministers under pressure to bring in emergency rationing as 999 crews struggle to get hold of fuel
"Ministers are under pressure to invoke emergency powers giving 999 vehicles priority at filling stations after it emerged that ambulance drivers have been struggling to get hold of fuel."
Students Sell Their Faces to Pay Off Debt
U.K. House Prices Drop Most in Two Years as Loans Fall: Economy

## US ##
Villaraigosa says L.A. must lay off 'a large number of people'
Bank of America branch manager admits stealing $2M from customers
U.S. sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.45 trillion
"The U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters."
This isn't surprising, as such high-tech machines are highly complex and embody a very large amount of energy, which is increasingly expensive. -- RF
Best Buy to close 50 big box stores, cut 400 corporate jobs
Demand for U.S. Debt Is Not Limitless (WSJ)
"In 2011, the Fed purchased a stunning 61% of Treasury issuance. That can't last."
A Cashless Society May Be Closer Than Most People Would Ever Dare To Imagine
One purpose would be to strangle the underground economy. But people will just resort to barter or other media of exchange. To people on the edge, it's all about survival. -- RF
Sovereign citizen rank raising
"The number of so-called sovereign citizens -- those who reject government authority in any form -- is growing in the United States, a watchdog group says."
Digital Rail Crash-Avoidance System Runs Into Trouble
Economic Confidence Erodes in Battered Cities

Thursday, March 29, 2012


News Links, March 30, 2012

Note to readers: This list of links is just a small subset of the news and analysis found at CollapseNet.

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Eurozone Retail Sales Contract 5th Consecutive Month, Year-on-Year Sales Decline 10th Month
BRICS flay West over IMF reform, monetary policy
"Leaders of the BRICS group of emerging market nations pressed Western powers to cede more voting rights at the IMF this year and flayed the rich world's reflationary monetary policies for putting global economic stability in jeopardy."
Rajoy to Unveil Deepest Spanish Budget Cuts in 30 Years
Small Spanish villages face big budget woes
Spain's general strike shows first signs of rebellion against austerity
"Austerity measures look set to become far more dramatic on Friday, when prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers one of harshest budgets ever seen in Europe"
Greece May Have to Restructure Debt Again: S&P
Storm clouds gather over Monti's Italy reform drive
Middle East's richest find fortunes fell after downturn
"Many of the Middle East's wealthiest merchant families have lost as much as a third of their fortunes since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, according to a new report."
Poverty drives central Europe's great exodus
'Gov't policies widen gap between rich, poor' (Israel)
"Bank of Israel releases review of Israeli economy for 2011, says global, local trends led to social unrest. Fischer says economy could face trouble in 2013"
Gold is Manipulated (But That's Okay) (Chris Martenson)
13 East Asian countries agree to double size of currency swap arrangement
"The move reflects the bad experience that ASEAN countries such as Indonesia had with the IMF during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when the IMF meted out harsh prescriptions to pluck them from their financial troubles."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
CAA's apathy Domestic airlines incurring fuel losses (Pakistan)
GMG suspends flight operations (Bangladesh)
"GMG Airlines, the largest private airline of the country, has announced suspension of its flight operations from Mar 30 for what it called 'strategic restructuring against rising fuel price and competitive global market'."
Brazil's second-biggest airline profit plummets
"São Paulo, Brazil - Brazil's second-biggest airline's net income tumbled 58.9% from a year earlier as a spike in operating expenses ate into profit.
"Reuters reports that GOL airline's total consolidated operating costs and expenses jumped 41%, with fuel costs rising 56.6%, personnel costs climbing 30.3%, and maintenance expenses increasing 147.8%."
Hawker-Beechcraft Readies for Bankruptcy, Are Other Aviation Stocks Looking Good?
United Passengers Vent Frustrations Through Social Media
IndiGo stands out as the only profitable carrier in India
SIA reviews flights to NY and Los Angeles
"Three years after a controversial launch, Singapore Airlines is reviewing its options to stem losses on its non-stop, all-business-class flights to New York and Los Angeles."
Singapore Airlines to put economy seats back in its epic polar express flights
"Singapore Airlines has signaled through a subscriber story in The Straits Times that rising fuel prices are causing it to consider re-introducing a premium economy cabin to its all business class ultra long range Airbus A340-500 flights to Los Angeles and Newark (for New York City)."
Lufthansa puts its JetBlue stake on the block
What Shrinking U.S. Air Service Means for Travelers Today

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
India,China to continue Crude Oil imports from Iran, other BRICS support
"MUMBAI (Commodity Online): India and China have flexed their muscles, supporting oil imports from Iran despite US opposition that both countries should reduce importing oil from the Middle East country. India and China are the two biggest oil markets for Iran, accounting for about 45% of Iran's oil exports."
Giuliani claims 'terrorist' MEK only chance for regime change in Iran
New security for U.S. troops in Afghanistan

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Two men torch themselves in Italy as hardship bites
Spanish general strike protesters clash with police
S Korean activists protest against Japan
""South Korean activists on Thursday burned pictures of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and scuffled with police in a protest against Tokyo's claims to disputed islands."
Israel braces for Arab protests on Friday
"Israeli authorities say thousands of security forces are making final preparations for a series of Arab protests expected Friday in Israel and along its borders with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Arab countries."

## Energy/resources ##
South Sudan Prepares For Blackout as Fuel Supplies Dwindle
"South Sudan's capital is braced for a complete blackout in the coming days due to fuel shortages, local media reported on Thursday."
This Summer's Texas Blackout Avoidance Strategy: Diesel Generators and Voluntarily Going Dark
Nigeria in darkness over system failure
"Another system failure on Wednesday threw the entire country into fresh blackout despite the Federal Government's efforts to up generation of electricity."
Cabinet agrees to lease electricity-generating ships, build power plants (Lebanon)
Power rates up across Philippines
Power shortage causes prolonged brownouts (Philippines)
"MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – The Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco) was forced to implement a two-and-a-half rotational brownouts due to power shortage brought about by increased peak demands of from member-consumers."
For some refiners, the price of gasoline is too low (US)
"[Refiners] say that gasoline prices, particularly on the East Coast, have been too low for them to operate successfully. Already, two refineries there have shut down completely and a third has gone idle as prices for fuel haven't kept up with the surging cost of the raw material, crude oil."
Widespread power outage hits Kauai (Hawaii)
Blackout hits Bulawayo city centre (South Africa)
West wants Saudi Arabia to keep up oil production
"Oil consuming nations may seek reassurance from Saudi Arabia that it will not cut oil production and neutralize the impact on oil prices if consumer countries release emergency reserves, diplomats and industry sources said."
Saudi Arabia resorts to Jedi mindtricks
South Sudan Runs out of Time for Oil Transit Alternatives
Did Libya's Oil Bubble Burst Already?
East Libyans threaten to stop oil to press government
Textile mills close up shop as cotton shortage worsens (Tanzania)
The Peak Oil Crisis: Our Natural Gas Glut (Tom Whipple)
A sobering analysis of that natural gas dream. -- RF

## Got food? ##
French Village to hand out free waste disposal units — Chickens
Why can't more people be this sensible? -- RF
Build This Predator-Proof, Portable Chicken Coop for Your Backyard

## Environment/health ##
Pesticides hit queen bee numbers
"Some of the world's most commonly used pesticides are killing bees by damaging their ability to navigate and reducing numbers of queens, research suggests."
Orangutans In Indonesia's Aceh Forest May Die Out In Weeks
"Forest fires and land clearing by palm oil firms could kill off within weeks about 200 orangutans in a forest in western Indonesia, an environmental group said on Wednesday."
Rampant Water "Pillage" Is Sucking Yemen Dry
Guerrilla gardeners take on Irish ghost estates

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
FBI's top cyber cop admits that hackers are winning
Microsoft censoring Windows Live Messenger chats for copyright infringement

## Japan ##
Foreigners Turn Heavy Sellers of Japanese Bonds
Yen Slides As Bank of Japan Policy Speculation Hits Fever Pitch
"NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--The yen weakened broadly Tuesday, as traders reacted to speculation of more monetary easing from Japan that could further erode the currency's value."
Name value: Naming rights for Osaka Pref. city may go on sale
"Any company presidents that have dreamed of putting their firms on the map may now have their chance, after the municipal government proposed selling the naming rights to this city."
Tepco asks for another ¥1 trillion injection
"Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Thursday requested an injection of ¥1 trillion from a government-backed entity to avoid insolvency."
Kyushu Electric Power is planning to slash its outlays by ¥120 billion
"Kyushu Electric Power Co. says it will cut about ¥120 billion in investments and expenses in fiscal 2012 in the face of expected cost increases for fuel purchases, nuclear safety measures and borrowing."
TEPCO isn't the only electric utility in trouble. Grid failure is just a matter of time. -- RF
Government tells TEPCO not to cut power to companies refusing to pay higher rates

## China ##
Turmoil builds in China's Tibetan regions
China Shipping Container swings to loss on costs
"China Shipping Container Lines Co. said Wednesday it swung to a 2011 net loss due to rising fuel costs, while overcapacity in the shipping industry also weighed on freight rates."
China Cosco Posts $1.7 Billion FY Loss on Shipping Slump
"China Cosco Holdings Co. (1919), Asia's largest container-shipping company, slumped to a worse-than- expected 10.5 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) net loss on higher fuel costs and a plunge in freight rates caused by overcapacity."
PetroChina's Annual Net Falls 5% on Refining Losses

## UK ##
Will More Britons Buy Dishwashers?
I don't think it matters anymore, does it? -- RF
Nuclear giants RWE and E.ON drop plans to build new UK reactors
David Cameron accused of presiding over 'shambles' on fuel as panic buying gets worse

## US ##
Geithner Wants to Throw Still More Taxpayer Dollars Down the Fannie & Freddie Toilet
Gasoline, diesel fuel prices increase for a 9th week
Patterson fears Detroit is headed for bankruptcy, unrest
Pentagon sees mass layoffs if budget cuts prevail
"The Pentagon said on Thursday it would expect hundreds of thousands of layoffs across the defense industry if lawmakers did not take action to avert an additional $500 billion in defense budget cuts that could take effect in January 2013."
Virginia First State to Sell Naming Rights to Roads
"Having become the first state to sell off the naming rights of its rest stops, Virginia is going one step further by naming roads and bridges after anyone ponying up the necessary cash."
Bill would commercialize California rest stops
Stocks Hit a Wall—And May Need the Fed After All
Egyptian Opposition to US Aid Hits 82%; So Why Did Obama Restore Aid, and Why Did Hillary Insist Upon It?

And finally…
Beam me up! Doomsday 2012: Thousands queue for UFO rescue at Pic de Bugarach
"Thousands of 'New Agers' are flocking to the village of Bugarach in France to prepare for the end of the world on December 21. The people are expecting that aliens will come to save them from doomsday apocalypse by beaming them aboard their spaceships."
Rubber Chickens & TV Sitcoms: Cost of Laughing Rises
I suppose rubber chickens too are made with oil. -- RF

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


News Links, March 29, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Arab Spring Turns to Economic Winter
China to Contribute to Europe Rescue Efforts
We've heard this how many times now? China continues to string the West along. -- RF
Global oil import bill heads for record $2 trillion
"Oil consumer nations are set to pay a record $2 trillion this year for oil imports if crude prices do not fall, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday, undermining economic recovery."
Europe's Austerity Push Breaks Social Model
Weak Kuwait government caves in to wage pressures

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Huge Spanish Passenger and Freight Transport Disruptions This Week
Oil price clipping the wings of Asia Pacific air cargo carriers
"Pressure grows on sector already burdened by overcapacity"
Air France-KLM stops Manila-Europe flight
Kingfisher slashes summer schedule; no infusion in sight
Air India 'losing nearly $2 million a day'
Aegean Air Posts Higher Loss on Rising Fuel Costs, Greece
China Eastern Falls to Five-Month Low on Air China Outlook
"China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA) (CEA), the nation's second-largest carrier by passenger numbers, fell to a five-month low in New York as larger competitor Air China Ltd. (753) said passenger growth may slow this year and on a report that the government may raise jet fuel prices for April."
US Airways Set for a Rough Ride

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
BRICS not bound by "unilateral" sanctions on Iran: S. Africa
"The BRICS group of countries have broadly agreed they are not bound by 'unilateral' sanctions on Iran, measures that threaten higher global oil prices and could result in supply shortages, South Africa's trade minister said on Wednesday."
A crumbling empire and its demands are rapidly becoming irrelevant. See next article. -- RF
Brazil to rally BRICS against rich countries
"Brazil will push for its large emerging-market peers including China to denounce what it sees as unfair monetary policies by Europe and the United States, raising the stakes in a global confrontation over economic imbalances."
Saudi diplomat kidnapped in Yemen: security source
"Gunmen kidnapped Saudi Arabia's deputy consul from outside his residence in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on Wednesday, a Yemeni security official said."
U.S. could fly spy drones from Australian territory
"Australia on Wednesday said it may allow Washington to use its territory to operate long-range spy drones, as part of an increased US presence in the Asia-Pacific that has rankled China."
Exchange of fire along Israel-Egypt border: army
Libya militias resume fighting after ceasefire
Tzipi Livni overthrown as leader of Kadima
"Tzipi Livni has lost her position as leader of Israel's opposition party Kadima, depriving the political scene of its last major figure with pro-peace credentials."
Egypt Military Warns Against Interference in its Business Interests
"Egypt's ruling military has warned against any interference in its murky economic empire amid a burgeoning power struggle with Islamists who control parliament, state media reported March 28."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Sixth day of power outage protests in Pakistan
"In Lahore, protesters blocked roads by burning tyres at the Laxmi Chowk, Baghbanpura and Ichhra areas. All markets, shops and business centres were closed during the protests while a large number of protesters also attacked the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Ferozpur road circle and set the office record, furniture and computers on fire."
Airport closed in violent rally (Indonesia)
"Protests across the archipelago turned violent on Monday, culminating in the storming of Polonia International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, which disrupted flights and left hundreds of passengers stranded."
Ford India faces labour unrest
Unpaid Bulgarian Lead Workers Threaten Large Unrest
Protests against Italy's Monti rising
"Italy's three main trade union federations will hold a joint protest rally against Prime Minister Mario Monti's economic reforms on April 13, the head of the country's largest union, Susanna Camusso, said on Tuesday."
Fuel price hike sparks protest (Nepal)

## Energy/resources ##
World oil output drops amid gulf fears
"Global production has fallen by 1.2 million barrels a day in recent weeks, about the same as the volume lost during Libya's eight-month civil war in 2011."
Blackouts turn faucets dry in Mindanao areas (Philippines)
"THE faucets have run dry on some islands in Mindanao after the eight-hour daily blackouts knocked out their deep-well pumps"
DOE: Power shortage in Mindanao to last for one more month
Energy minister: We are working on backup fuel sources (Israel)
India crude oil demand hits second highest level in Feb: Barclays
"Indian crude oil demand in February 2012 has risen to the second-highest level on record, supported by robust diesel and gasoline consumption, said Barclays Capital in a daily research note."
Power outage deprives Karachi of 180m gallons water
Bt cotton - less miracles, more failures for Indian farmers
Massive diesel laundering operation uncovered by customs officers in Co Cavan (Ireland)
France discussing strategic oil release with UK, U.S.
Japan, U.S., EU discuss rare earth supply security
Tajikistan seeks Turkmen gas as shortage looms

## Environment/health ##
Energy: Looking for the free ecological lunch
U.S. Heat Waves to Intensify From New York to Los Angeles

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
FBI Taught Agents They Could 'Bend or Suspend the Law'

## Japan ##
Reactor 2 radiation too high even for robots
"Radiation inside the reactor 2 containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has reached a lethal 73 sieverts per hour and any attempt to send robots in will require them to have greater resistance than currently available, experts said Wednesday."
High radiation means delays in decommissioning crippled Fukushima reactors
Tokyo working out deployment plans ahead of N. Korean launch
Chip maker Elpida removed from Tokyo Exchange

## China ##
China to unify descriptions of islands on maps
"China plans to unify map descriptions of islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea--including the Senkaku Islands--to strengthen its arguments in territorial disputes, local newspapers said March 27."

## UK ##
UK GDP fell faster than previously estimated in fourth quarter, ONS says
Britons See Disposable Incomes Plunge Most Since 1977: Economy
Fuel strike: David Cameron tells drivers not to panic, but they are advised to top up cars and petrol cans
Fuel strike: pumps go dry as ministers provoke a panic
"Panic buying broke out at petrol stations throughout the country today as ministers were accused of spreading fear by telling motorists to stock up on fuel in case of a strike by tanker drivers."
Lloyd's of London sees loss after natural catastrophes
"The insurance market Lloyd's of London has announced a loss for 2011, saying it was its worst year for catastrophe claims."

## US ##
Another Weaker Than Expected Durable Goods Order Portends Weaker Than Expected GDP
Sen. Rand Paul blocks Iran sanctions bill
Higher gasoline prices could stem travel plans
"Rising gasoline prices in the United States could lead business and leisure travelers to cut back on travel plans, which in turn could have implications for airlines, hotels and retailers, a survey found."
Report: Student Loans For K-12 Are On The Rise
Peter Schiff: Market-Crushing Treasury Collapse To Hit Around 2013
Downtown L.A. to Add 5,300 Hotel Rooms Over Five Years
Use real money, go to federal prison
US Gasoline Prices Top $3.90

And finally…
Starbucks confirms insect product in drink
Spanish Sex Workers Strike Against Bankers

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


News Links, March 28, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Australia Roundup: 25% of Small to Medium-Sized Businesses Struggle to Pay Bills; Bank of Queensland Hit by Surge of Real Estate Losses; Labor Party Routed in Elections (Mish)
Ukraine's Economy is on a Rocky Path
Massive QE Near as System Moves Closer to Collapse
Billions in cash smuggled out of Afghanistan every year
10 Reasons Why The Reign Of The Dollar As The World Reserve Currency Is About To Come To An End

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Lufthansa, Air Berlin Drop Flights Amid Airport Walkouts
"Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) and Air Berlin Plc (AB1), Germany's two biggest airlines, scrapped more than 460 flights worldwide today because of a strike by baggage handlers and security staff at the country's main airports."
Kingfisher Suspends Flights to Several Cities
Air China's 2011 profit falls 38.8% as costs rise
Other airlines follow Southwest to higher fares (US)
China Eastern's 2011 profit drops 7.7% on fuel prices, high speed rail competition
Iberia pilots to strike from April-July

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
India Said to Plan Iran Oil Deals in Foreign Currency Until June
"India may continue paying for Iranian (OPCRIRAN) oil in foreign currencies until European Union sanctions take effect in July, when buyers will start using rupees, according to two people with knowledge of the matter."
Somali pirates 'seize ship off Maldives'
"Somali pirates have seized an Iranian-owned cargo ship and its 23-strong crew off the Maldives, according to security officials in the Indian Ocean nation."
Australia, U.S. may expand military ties
"The United States and Australia are negotiating a closer military alliance that could include joint drone operations, officials say."
U.N. Seeks Sweeping Power To Control Food, Water
This sounds like a winner. -- RF
Militia clashes in southern Libya kill nearly 50
South Sudan oil field "bombed", Sudan says hopes to avert war
NATO launches exercise to beef up cyber defence
Pentagon Plans Major Funding Boost for Israel's Iron Dome

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Arab spring leads to wave of Middle East state executions
Fuel protests across the country turn ugly (Indonesia)
Students protest fuel price hike (Nepal)

## Energy/resources ##
Eskom power failures rise to 3,392 MW (South Africa)
Fearing renewed protests, Netanyahu trying to prevent fuel, electricity rises (Israel)
"The cause of the steep rise in electricity prices is a shortage of natural gas for power plants, which has required a switch to diesel and heavy fuel oil instead."
Israel's Oil Refineries slides into loss
"Israel's Oil Refineries (ORL.TA) swung to a loss in the fourth quarter due to a reduction in refining margins, in part due to the economic downturn and debt crisis in Europe."
Iraq's Kurdish regional government says may halt oil exports
"Iraq's Kurdistan regional government (KRG) Monday threatened to stop oil exports in a month if Baghdad continues to withhold payment from producers, the latest clash in a long-running feud over control of the region's oil."
Ga. agencies spend $18.7 million on water wars (US)
U.S. says working with oil producers to expand production
"The United States is working with Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers to ensure their production is expanded to help mitigate any supply disruptions and tensions caused by Western sanctions on Iran, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday."
Whatever you do, Tim, don't utter the words "peak oil"! -- RF
Solars Slide on Prospect Italy to Cut Subsidies: China Overnight
"Solar stocks led a decline in Chinese shares traded in New York on speculation that Italy will follow Germany in cutting subsidies to the industry, dimming the outlook for global installations."
Global Oil Risks in the Early 21st Century
The Difference Between Oil Shale and Oil from Shale Formations
Yea, the US has more oil than Saudi Arabia… but it can't be economically extracted. -- RF
India taps Canada for gas as domestic production falters
Yemen's electricity supply cuts

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thieves cause blackout (UK)

## Got food? ##
Food security focus fuels new worries over crop chemicals
Phosphorus: A looming disaster?
"Like oil and clean water, phosphorus supplies could run out, leading to famine and war, scientists warn"

## Environment/health ##
Total: "may be months" to stop North Sea gas cloud
"A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling up from the North Sea out of a leak at Total's evacuated Elgin platform forced another shutdown off the Scottish coast on Tuesday as the French firm warned it could take six months to halt the flow.
"Dubbed 'the well from hell' by an environmentalist who said the unusually high pressure of the undersea reservoirs made it especially hard to shut off, the loss of oil and gas output from Elgin - as well as the prospect of a big repair bill - helped drive Total's share price down six percent on the Paris bourse."
In our quest to maintain gas and oil production, we must increasingly venture into such dangerous territory. -- RF
Paradise paved? World's cities to expand by more than twice the size of Texas by 2030
Won't happen. Existing urban infrastructure is already beginning to crumble. -- RF
Cesium levels in animals around Chernobyl fail to drop
"Wildlife in an animal sanctuary in Belarus, close to the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, continue to show high levels of accumulated radioactive cesium, researchers say."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Big Brother Wants Your Facebook Password
New Counterorrism Guidelines Gives Authorities Vast Access to Private Info of Innocent Americans
"On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signed expansive new guidelines for terrorism analysts, allowing the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to mirror entire federal databases containing personal information and hold onto the information for an extended period of time—even if the person is not suspected of any involvement in terrorism."
Kim Dotcom: US Military Had 15,634 Megaupload Accounts

## Japan ##
The Yen's Looming Day of Reckoning
"Japan is on an unsustainable path of a strong yen and deflation. The unprofitability of Japan's major exporters and emerging trade deficits suggest that the end of this path is in sight. The transition from a strong to weak yen will likely be abrupt, involving a sudden and big devaluation of 30 to 40 percent."
Hardships loom with TEPCO reactor shutdown
Tokyo Soil – Blanketed With Fukushima Radiation – Would Be Considered "Radioactive Waste" In the United States (+ must-see Fairewinds video)
"Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen took 5 random soil samples in Tokyo recently, and found that all 5were so radioactive that they would be considered radioactive waste in the United States, which would have to be specially disposed of at a facility in Texas."
High radiation levels remain around Fukushima plant
"Despite clean-up efforts, relatively high levels of radiation remain at some locations around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to data from government pilot decontamination programs."
Fukushima's No. 2 reactor has fatally high radiation, hardly any water
Sharp's Sale to Hon Hai Underscores Japan's Decline
"Sharp Corp.'s decision to sell nearly a 10% stake to Taiwan's Hon Hai Group underscores just how far Japan's once-dominant electronic industry has fallen."
Japan creating class of the 'poor majority'
"A new class is being created in Japanese society. This is the 'poor majority,' which is largely made up of people who are excluded even from basic social welfare like the national pension program. The arrival of a society in which increasingly more people are out of regular employment and the middle class is being destroyed while the processes of globalization and financial capitalism continue to operate may foretell the coming of a dangerous era."
Japan's power shortage is bad news for e-cars

## China ##
Sinopec: refining woes dampen profits
"Sinopec experienced huge losses in its refining sector last year as China's state-set gasoline and diesel prices failed to move in tandem with international markets, forcing Sinopec to run its refineries at a loss for much of the year."
China's Industrial Profit Falls 5.2% in First Two Months

## UK ##
Google should be forced to censor search results, say MPs
"A cross-party committee of MPs and peers has urged the government to consider introducing legislation that would force Google to censor its search results to block material that a court has found to be in breach of someone's privacy."
Price controls lifted on stamps
"Price controls will be withdrawn from first-class stamps, a regulator has ruled, paving the way for higher prices."

## US ##
Detroit declared in financial emergency, but deal with state may be close
Gasoline prices hit record: $4.67 in Chicago; $4.51 in metro area
Diesel Fuel Prices: Small Firms Feel Pain as Diesel Rises Faster Than Gas
Afghanistan War Is Now More Unpopular Than Iraq War
Baltimore May Sell Historic Landmarks
Frank: Greater U.S. Defense Spending Requires Higher Taxes
Economic recovery skips the classroom

And finally… With Campaign Struggling, Gingrich Will Charge $50 For Photos

Monday, March 26, 2012


News Links, March 27, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Merkel signals readiness to compromise on firewall
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled for the first time on Monday that she was prepared to compromise on boosting the resources available for bailing out struggling euro zone states, paving the way for an increase in the bloc's firewall to contain the debt crisis."
Angela Merkel: Greek Euro exit would be 'catastrophic'
CDS Quotes On New Greek Bonds On Hold; Last CDS and 1-Year Bond Quote on March 9 (Mish)
"New Greek bonds are priced at roughly 22 cents on the dollar. Simply put, the market expects yet another credit event. Yet try buying CDS protection on the new Greek bonds. You can't."
Greeks Adopt Alternative Currencies as Economy Implodes
Sanctions against Iranian govt put cloud over global economic growth
BRICS to sign pacts for trade in local currencies
The U.K. Is Not O.K.
'Flabby and unproductive' - economy fails fitness test (Australia)
Ontario budget: Child benefit increase being delayed and social assistance rates frozen (Canada)
Gold gained 480% in 10 years

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Passengers stranded nine hours as airport eye-scanner fails (UAE)
Nigeria: Chaos At Airports As FAAN Resorts to Manual Check-in
Kenya Airways eyes $3.6 billion expansion in five years
Let's watch and see how far this plan gets. -- RF
Paying more for air travel, getting less (US)
Lufthansa says could give up freighter fleet - magazine
Budapest Airport temporarily closes Terminal 1, postpones Cargo City investment
US Airways chief: Unpopular fees here to stay
Southwest Airlines Raises Fares, Blames Fuel Costs
Ethiopian Admits to Pressure from Soaring Fuel Prices

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iranian leader says U.S. can no longer dictate policy
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday the United States could no longer dictate policy to the rest of the world and warned of growing instability in the West's relations with Pakistan.
"Ahmadinejad, speaking at a regional conference on Afghanistan, called for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from the country and proposed that NATO use part of its military budget to help revive the Afghan economy."
Israeli spies 'step up missions into Iran seeking proof of nuclear plans'
Obama: Not Much Time Left for 'Diplomatic Solution' to Iran
US and Turkey look to provide Syrian rebels with 'non-lethal' aid
Turkey closes Syria embassy, Homs shelled again
Iraq tests regional muscle with Arab summit
"Authorities spent hundreds of millions on the summit, upsetting some Iraqis who still live with frail basic services and intermittent power supplies that force them to rely on generators during blackouts."
Iraq's ominous trendline of violence
Afghan in army uniform kills NATO soldiers
S. Korea Determined To Shoot Down Rocket
Japan to Deploy Patriot Missiles in Tokyo
Pakistani President: US Must Halt Drone Strikes

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Tibetan exile sets himself on fire at anti-China protest in New Delhi
Transport unions ready to strike against gov't reforms
"Czech transport unions are ready to stage a strike against the government cuts and reform, Jaroslav Pejsa, chairman of the rail trade union (OSZ), told CTK Friday.
"The trade unions want the protest to be more massive than the transport strike in June 2011, Pejsa said."
Thousands at household tax protest
"Thousands of demonstrators have attended a protest rally in Dublin against the Government's controversial household charge."
Protesters stand vigil outside European Central Bank, critical of treatment of Greece
Parade route pits NATO protesters against Chicago
Pakistanis protest continuing energy shortfall
"Angry protesters burn the furniture of a gas station to condemn fierce power cuts in Lahore, Pakistan on March 26, 2012. Pakistan is suffering from an energy crisis leading to the closure of industrial units and causing long hours of load shedding."

## Energy/resources ##
March crude oil output loss at 1.2mbpd: Survey
"Crude oil output losses in March could add up to 1.2 million barrels per day (mbpd), a survey by Reuters shows. Current physical oil markets are tight in the wake of Iran sanctions and fears of an African supply disruption."
GMR halts work on Madhya Pradesh power project due to coal shortage (India)
Vestas Remains Top Wind Turbine Maker, Goldwind Is Second
"Turbine makers from Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the biggest, to Spain's Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA and India's Suzlon Energy Ltd. (SUEL) have been buffeted by the loss of subsidies in three of the seven biggest markets. In the U.S., a cash-grant program ended last year and a tax credit expires in December, while Spain suspended clean-energy incentives in January and an Indian tax break for wind farms is set to expire on March 31."
Shale Boom in Europe Fades as Polish Wells Come Up Empty
Nuclear fusion and the "three years law" of scientific research
As Medvedev Meets Obama, Oil Trouble Grows In Russia

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Copper thieves targeting rail lines (US)
"The thieves are so brazen that they're stealing copper wire off poles in broad daylight, in sight of Montana's busiest interstate."

## Got food? ##
Looming power crisis to affect canned sardines production (Philippines)
'Pink slime' maker halts production at some plants (US)

## Environment/health ##
Trash flourishes along highways in ND oil patch (US)

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Drug shortage: Ottawa offers to dip into emergency supply of medications (Canada)
Microsoft Seizes ZeuS Servers in Anti-Botnet Rampage
U.S. regulators push for online "do not track" system

## Japan ##
Only one of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors now running
TEPCO says Fukushima No. 2 reactor water level only 60 cms from bottom
"Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Monday said the water level of the No. 2 reactor container at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is only 60 centimeters from the bottom, indicating a large quantity of water injected to cool the melted fuel is leaking from the vessel."
Eastern Japan Braces For Summer Power Shortages
Japan could give missile shoot-down order

## China ##
Beijing to intensify water conservation
Investors grapple with higher wages in "low-cost" China
Elderly nursing home bed crisis in Beijing
"Beijing's nursing home crisis has been highlighted in a report by Beijing News Monday revealing the capital's aging population face years of waiting for a bed."

## UK ##
Fuel tanker drivers vote for action
Nearly half of Game stores to close
"Almost half the stores run by collapsed retailer Game are to be closed this week, administrators said today, triggering 2,104 job losses."

## US ##
Food Stamp Use in L.A. Pauses At the Million Mark, Awaiting Oil's Next Move
State lawmakers push to take over millions of federal acres
"Another "sagebrush rebellion" is spreading through legislatures in some Western states with a series of formal demands that the federal government hand over title to tens of millions of acres of forests, ranges and other public lands."
California Farmers Feel Pain
"Sharp cutbacks in water for farmers threaten to trigger renewed layoffs in a large swath of California, eating into the state's $40 billion-a-year agriculture industry and damping its nascent economic recovery."
14 defining characteristics of fascism: The U.S. in 2012
Ad Spending Is Up as Economy Improves: CBS CEO
This is really encouraging. -- RF
Trickle-down consumption
States From Ohio to Florida Weigh Running Company Funds
"Six U.S. states, led by Massachusetts and California, are taking steps to put public pension overseers in charge of retirement savings plans offered to nongovernment workers, according to an advocate of the idea."
Obama Relies on Debt Collectors Profiting From Student Loan Woe
Obama adviser: tapping strategic oil reserve still an option

Sunday, March 25, 2012


News Links, March 26, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
'Mission impossible' for Spain's PM – another €40bn in cuts
Hungarian Market Collapses After Forex Loans Debacle: Mortgages
Berlin's Poor Collect Bottles to Make Ends Meet

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Spanish new low-cost airline Iberia Express launched
Let's see how long it lasts. -- RF
China Eastern's Annual Profit Falls 7.7% on Higher Fuel Prices
Clogged Southeast Asia airports hinder airlines
Kingfisher halts ticket sales ahead of Dubai shutdown

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Shell scrambles to pay huge bill for Iran oil
Report: Israeli soldiers scour Iran for nukes
"Israel using permanent base in northern Iraq to launch intelligence missions in Iran in search of nuclear evidence, Western intelligence sources say."
Sri Lanka gets US concession on Iran oil imports: report
I'm losing count of how many countries have gotten waivers. They're still supposed to be phasing out imports from Iran, but OPEC says world oil demand will be increasing by 900,000 bpd this year. Where's that oil going to come from? -- RF
Cyber and Drone Attacks May Change Warfare More Than the Machine Gun
Air Force Will Continue to Launch Mysterious X-37B Space Plane
Stay away from South China Sea: China warns India
Iran working with Shi'ite rebels in north, south Yemen: report
"Washington believes Iran is working with Shi'ite Muslim rebels in northern Yemen and secessionists in the country's south to expand its influence at the expense of Yemen's Gulf neighbors, the U.S. envoy to Sanaa was quoted as saying on Sunday."
Pakistan Taliban Issues Warning Over NATO Supply Route
"The Pakistani Taliban on March 25 threatened to attack lawmakers if they voted in support of resuming supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan, a spokesman said."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Massive blackouts trigger massive protests in city (Lahore, Pakistan)
Occupy Wall St. protesters arrested outside UN (Reuters video)
Hundreds of Israelis march in Tel Aviv to protest war with Iran
Thousands in Belarus protest against government
Police detain protesters in Moscow, St. Petersburg
Indonesian Protestors Plan New Wave of Fuel Hike Protests

## Energy/resources ##
Oil shutdown pushing South Sudan to end row: Sudan
"South Sudan's shutdown of its crude production in a damaging row with Sudan over oil payments appears to have backfired and put pressure on Juba to soften its bargaining stance, one of Khartoum's negotiators said on Sunday."
Russia rules Pipelineistan
Uzbekistan closes the gas valve for Tajikistan
Why Saudi and American bluffing won't lower oil prices
Gaza runs out of Diesel fuel; power station activities halted
"The Gaza Strip energy authority announced that the power station in the Gaza Strip has halted its activities after the diesel supply which had been transferred from Israel ran out."
I told you it was a drop in the bucket. -- RF
Fuel shortage hurting power generation: NTPC (India)
Dangers of a diesel car boom (India)
Power partly restored at Zamboanga airport (Philippines)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Massive leap in US metal theft claims
"Due to this, traffic controls at many busy intersections have been rendered inoperative and numerous highways have been plunged into darkness."

## Got food? ##
Indonesian Food Prices Rise on Fuel Fears

## Environment/health ##
House of hemp? Pushing cannabis as a construction material
Farmers begin to question Marcellus Shale drilling
U.S. heat 'unprecedented,' 7,000 records set or tied
Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Brazilian school district using computer chips to track students
U.S. Military Goes on Cyber Offensive
"Confronted with 10 million cyber attacks per day, the U.S. Defense Department is changing its tack."

## Japan ##
Japan 2012/13 steel output seen down 2 pct -industry group
Japan faces nuclear-free summer, power shortage risks
TEPCO's last operating nuclear reactor goes offline
Deeper U.S. ties to anchor Asia: Blue Book draft
"Japan will deepen its alliance with the United States and seek to play an active role in the security of the Asia-Pacific region as China's military grows, according to a draft of the Foreign Ministry's annual diplomacy report."
12,100 Bq/Kg from sludge ash

## China ##
China Luxury Hotel Craze: The New Dubai?
China's carrier set for commissioning
"China will commission its first aircraft carrier, Varyag, into active although limited service Aug. 1, a report by Naval-Technology military news Web site said."
Global Miners Make Risky Bet on China (Gordon Chang)
China's Soft Landing Still May Be Hard for Commodity Exporters
Sinopec to Boost Oil, Gas Production to Counter Refining Losses
Hong Kong may face renewed housing bubble risk

## UK ##
Nationwide anti-war protest in UK — 'Don't Attack Iran!'
Energy costs threaten UK steel industry
Army on standby as petrol tanker drivers vote on strike action
Rent day spells D-day: The crisis on our high streets
"Hundreds of high street retailers face the threat of closure as they struggle to pay big rent bills due at the end of one of the worst winter trading seasons in living memory."

## US ##
Big Banks Continue to Suck at the Government Teat With Never-Ending Stealth Bailouts
Malicious code in the IT supply chain threatens federal operations
Student Loan Debt Reaches $1 Trillion
Property Tax Revolution in North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan; It's Our Home Not Theirs! (Mish)
Spread Reckoning: U.S. Suburbs Face Twin Perils of Climate Change and Peak Oil (SciAm)
Wall Street gold rush in foreclosed homes
Cheney Recovering After Heart Transplant
Good. The bugger will live to stand trial. -- RF

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