Thursday, March 15, 2012


News Links, March 16, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
IMF approves $36.7 billion bailout for Greece
European Car Sales Decline Most Since October 2010
US Treasuries sell-off gathering pace
Constructive advice: Punjab asks industrialists to become farmers
"Since the government does not seem to be able to fix the power supply to the industrial sector any time soon, Pakistan's industrial tycoons might as well quit manufacturing and instead begin investing in livestock and agriculture."
Party time for car buyers, but producers staring at excess capacity (India)

## Airlines on the Ropes ##
Lufthansa's Main Brand Adds to Malaise as Profit Slide to Deepen
"Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), Europe's second-biggest airline, said earnings will decline again this year and that it's considering a capacity freeze at its namesake brand as fuel costs and slowing economies weigh on margins."
Lufthansa Considers Selling Austrian Airlines
"Deutsche Lufthansa AG on Thursday said it would consider selling its Austrian Airlines unit if it can't turn the struggling carrier around amid a wide-ranging plan to cut costs to combat high fuel prices and sluggish growth in Europe."
Airlines need to hike fares by 15% to stay afloat: Boeing
Indian aviation sector in critical phase: IATA
Fuel Prices to Foil Airline Profits
United-Continental airlines merger hits turbulence
Oil companies hike jet fuel prices by 2% (India)
"NEW DELHI: State-owned oil companies today hiked jet fuel price by 2 per cent, the second increase in rates this month."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Karzai asks NATO to leave Afghan villages; Taliban scraps talks
U.S. Starts to Close Bases in Afghanistan
Israel would face challenge in bombing Iran nuclear sites, experts say
US could penalize India over Iranian crude imports
Crucial payment hub severs ties with Tehran
"Iran has been largely cut off from global commerce after the company that handles worldwide financial transactions said it was severing ties with many Iranian banks to back European Union sanctions against Tehran.
"The action on Thursday by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) aims to enforce EU sanctions discouraging Tehran from developing nuclear weapons."
Exclusive: Iran food stockpiling grows as grain ships near port
"Vessels carrying at least 360,000 metric tonnes (396,832 tons) of grain are lined up to unload in Iran, Reuters shipping data showed on Thursday, a sign that Tehran is succeeding in stockpiling food to blunt the impact of tougher Western sanctions."
What's at Stake with Iranian Sanctions?
"Officials from New Delhi are due back from their recent trade visit to Iran with high hopes of an expanded economic relationship. India, together with Japan and China, buy about half of the oil Iran has for sale on the international market. New Delhi had faced difficulties in paying for the crude oil it buys from Iran because of expanded economic sanctions imposed by Western governments. Given the initial criticism offered by the Indian Embassy in the United States, it's unlikely any level of Western criticism is going to do much to diminish India's appetite for Iranian crude."
Three soldiers shot in France
"Two paratroopers killed and another critically injured by gunman on scooter in second such attack within a week"
Argentina threatens legal action over Falklands oil
Debate rages over Mexico 'spillover violence' in U.S.
Street gangs on the rise in South America: Are Central America's 'Maras' among them?
Pakistani Leaders Spurn US Calls to Reopen Border Soon

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesting steelworkers seeking Sarkozy talks teargassed
"French police fired tear gas to disperse dozens of protesting steelworkers seeking talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday as they tried to approach his campaign headquarters in Paris."
Fresh turmoil in China's Tibetan areas after 2008 unrest
Russia protest leader jailed, starts hunger strike
"Opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov started a hunger strike on Thursday after being sentenced to 10 days in jail for disobeying the police following a rally against Russian leader Vladimir Putin."
Anti-brutality protesters clash with police in Montreal
"An anti-police brutality protest quickly turned violent in Montreal Thursday evening as some demonstrators hurled rocks at riot police, who in turn threw sound and flash grenades into the crowd."
Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested Outside Bank Of America, Others Amass In Zuccotti Park
Students protest school fees in Chile (Photo blog)
Tangerang workers protest fuel price hike

## Energy/resources ##
Power blackout disrupts trade at Nairobi bourse
Asia Fuel Oil-Hits 39-month peak, dents demand
"Asia's fuel oil market languished on Wednesday, with only moderate activity seen for the swaps contracts, as the demand outlook remained depressed by high prices tracking the strong Brent crude benchmark."
U.S., Britain set to agree emergency oil stocks release (Reuters)
"Britain has decided to cooperate with the United States on a release of strategic oil stocks that is expected within months, two British sources said, in a bid to prevent fuel prices choking economic growth in a U.S. election year."
U.S.: No Deal to Release Oil Reserves (WSJ)
"The Obama administration hasn't reached an agreement with the U.K. to release crude oil from its emergency reserves and a report suggesting otherwise was inaccurate, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday."
French gas-fired electricity generation struggles with fuel costs
"Fuel contracts have rendered at least one French gas-fired plant uneconomic, despite the shortage of peakload generation."
Rising LPG price hurts taxis (Australia)
No fuel from Egypt to Palestinians despite payments
Understanding the New Price of Oil (Gregor Macdonald at Chris Martenson)
The Peak Oil Crisis: Surging Gasoline (Tom Whipple)
Nigeria: Oil Cuts As Delta Erupts
Gas supply to CNG stations, industrial units suspended (Pakistan)
Chevron halts production after leak at Brazil oil field
Reactor blackout fans nuclear safety concerns (Korea)
Power restored to thousands, but still out for some (US)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Man dubbed 'Crapper Scrapper' suspected in toilet plumbing thefts

## Got food? ##
Clean Your Plate, Save The World?
I guarantee you that in the near future everyone will be cleaning their plates. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Insecticides linked to honeybee die-offs
"In some parts of Europe where farmers use the technology to plant seeds coated with so-called neonicotinoid insecticides, widespread deaths of honeybees have been reported since the introduction of the technique in the late 1990s, they said.
"Such insecticides are among the most widely used in the world, popular because they kill insects by paralyzing nerves but have lower toxicity for other animals."
US senator urges DOE to move quickly on nuclear waste storage

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
RIAA chief: ISPs to start policing copyright by July 12
CIA Chief: We'll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher

## Japan ##
Japan indicts Chinese skipper for ramming coast guard vessels
Casualty Insurers' Payouts Surged 50% In April-December
Moody's Downgrades Japan's Nomura Holdings
"TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Moody's Investors Service on Friday cut Nomura Holdings Inc.'s (8604) long-term debt ratings to one notch above junk grade, citing weakness in the international capital market operations of Japan's biggest brokerage firm."
Lawmakers from Japan, S. Korea join hands against free trade pacts
"Lawmakers in Japan and South Korea are becoming increasingly vocal in their opposition to free trade pacts involving the two countries.
"In Japan, many Diet members are opposed to Tokyo's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact, while in South Korea, national assembly members are opposed to the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA)."
Marine contamination from Fukushima reactors may have reached north to Hawaii

## China ##
China likely to lift oil prices soon, but refiners could stay in red: analysts
"China's widely expected announcement to raise the retail prices of oil products -- which could come as soon as next week -- may not be sufficient to lift domestic refiners out of the red, analysts said this week."
China's Local Debt Is No Problem, Wen Says
Fall from grace: China leadership contender Bo Xilai sacked
"Curbs Needed to Avoid China Property Chaos" Says China's Premier; Chinese Economy Already in Hard Landing? Regardless, It's Too Late to Prevent Chaos (Mish)

## UK ##
Fuel poverty to rise to 8.5m, report warns
"Fuel poverty in England is likely to worsen, despite measures to try to eradicate it, a government-commissioned report has warned."
How the price at the pump is fuelling anger across Essex

## US ##
California Tax Revenues Plunge; Businesses Exit "Taxifornia" in Droves; Piecing Together the Jobs-Picture Puzzle (Mish)
Grime Wave: Tide Detergent Thefts Sky Rocket; Masses Turn to Black Market For Essential Goods
L.A. Unified budget would cut thousands of jobs
New York Cuts Pension Benefits for Public Workers
Truck Drivers Furious About Diesel Fuel Prices
Cost of energy drives up producer prices
"U.S. producer prices recorded their biggest gain in five months in February as the cost of energy spiked, a government report showed on Thursday, but underlying inflation pressures were contained."
"Black Swan" author Nassim Taleb Cheers Ron Paul's Economic Platform on CNBC
"This quote says it all: 'Only one candidate, Ron Paul, seems to have grasped the issues and offered the right remedies for the central problems we are facing. From my risk based standpoint, one candidate represents the right policies, at least from the big four, and that candidate is Ron Paul.'"
Goldman Sachs, roiled by 'Muppetgate,' loses $2 billion
Another Ex-Goldman Banker Confesses: The Firm Became 'Toxic'
Three in 10 young adults live with parents, highest level since 1950s
"A weak economy and high debt levels are prompting more young adults to return to the family nest, a new survey shows. Perhaps surprisingly, most are happy with their living arrangements."
Market Keeps Rising, but Who's Doing All the Buying?
It's Not Just Goldman Sachs
Home Default Notices Rise in February: Realty Trac
California's Greek Tragedy
"Long a harbinger of national trends and an incubator of innovation, cash-strapped California eagerly awaits a temporary revenue surge from Facebook IPO stock options and capital gains. Meanwhile, Stockton may soon become the state's largest city to go bust. Call it the agony and ecstasy of contemporary California."
Is the bond bubble finally bursting?
3 NY fuel thefts tapped into underground tanks

And finally…
In 911 Call, Texas Mother Calmly Reported, "I Think I Left My Child At Chuck E. Cheese Last Night."

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