Monday, March 19, 2012


News Links, March 20, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Greek debt insurance payout highlights investor gloom
"Investors showed scant faith in Greece's ability to cut its colossal debt after an auction on Monday which handed insured holders of defaulted bonds a large payout."
Portuguese death rate rise linked to pain of austerity programme
Construction spending falters in Europe
Market's Next Big Worry: A Dismal Earnings Season Ahead
"An ominous cloud is about to hover over the stock market's feel-good 2012 story: Earnings season, which begins in just a few weeks, is shaping up to be the worst since the financial crisis."
Carmageddon: European New Car Sales Crash, Worst February in History
Disconnect: The World Is a Disaster but the Market Seems Just Fine

## Airline Death Spiral ##
AirAsia Scrapping Long-Haul Flights
"Kuala Lumpur. London, Paris, Mumbai, and New Delhi were the first to go.
"Now Asia's biggest budget airline, AirAsia, is scrapping its flights to Christchurch too, in a drastic retreat that shows how deeply high fuel costs and the global economic crisis have crippled the once-thriving sector."
Budget 2012: Ailing Airlines like Jet Airways and Air India look to new ECB horizons
Aveos suddenly shuts down in Canada
"WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 19 (UPI) -- The Canadian firm Aveos Fleet Performance has closed its doors laying off more than 3,000 workers, union machinists said.
"The Winnipeg Free Press reported Monday Aveos, the privately owned aircraft repair and maintenance company that was spun off by Air Canada in 2007, has been struggling to find work."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
ABC Reports Russian Troops Have Arrived In Syria, Russia Denies
Iraq's Sadr stages Shi'ite show of force before summit
"Up to a million followers of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Monday in a massive show of force before an Arab League summit which Iraq's long-oppressed Shi'ite majority view as their debut on the regional stage."
US navy to position three aircraft carriers near Iran
Israel says Iran's nuclear program soon will be strike-proof
"Israel views the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran with greater urgency than the rest of the world, Israel's defense minister said Monday."
Israel has hundreds of nukes. No problem! -- RF
US, Israel Intel Officials Agree: Iran Has No Nuclear Weapons Program
India seals deals to export 60,000 T sugar to Iran
"Indian traders have struck deals to export 60,000 tons of raw sugar to Iran for March-April delivery, three trade sources said on Monday, marking their first sales of the sweetener to Tehran since western sanctions were tightened at the start of 2012."
Witnesses Say Heavy Fighting Hits Major Damascus Neighborhood
"Witnesses tell international news agencies that they could hear machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades exploding in al-Mezze - one of the most heavily guarded neighborhoods of Damascus and home to government security facilities."
Settlers grab Palestinian water springs: U.N. report
"Jewish settlers have seized dozens of natural springs in the occupied West Bank, barring Palestinians or limiting their access to scarce water sources, a United Nations report said on Monday."
Iraq bans security firms on oil fields
"Baghdad has banned foreign security contractors from major oil fields being developed by international companies but the order may find be hard to enforce."
Asian nations lead surge in weapons imports
China vessels hold drill near gas fields
"Six Chinese vessels conducted an exercise in waters near gas fields in the East China Sea over the weekend, a move apparently intended to strengthen Beijing's territorial claims in the area."
Ret. Gen.: Massacre Could Force US From Afghanistan in Weeks

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters ground Enugu over four-month power outage (Nigeria)
Police, Protesters Clash At Occupy Midwest Conference

## Energy/resources ##
Threat of diesel rationing in Europe
Power Outage Causes Delays at California Airport
Despite Negative Press Renewable Energy Revenues Rapidly Expand in 2011
Don't get excited. Renewables are actually just "fossil fuel extenders," and won't save industrial civilization. They do, however, have an important role to play in cushioning collapse. -- RF
Riyadh: High crude production to persist
"Record-setting oil production from Saudi Arabia is expected to persist because of tensions in the global energy market, a Saudi economist said."
Canada gives nod to more nuclear power
Germany's Solar Industry May 'Disappear,' EON Executive Says
Russian Arctic eyes Big Oil
India says 18 power plants face serious coal shortage

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thieves 'using Google Earth' to target heritage sites (UK)

## Got food? ##
Global Food Price Rally Will Drive Investment, Nestle Says

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Yawn, pace, or stare into space? Ridiculous DHS List: You Might Be a Terrorist If...
U.S. accelerating cyberweapon research
"The Pentagon is accelerating efforts to develop a new generation of cyberweapons capable of disrupting enemy military networks even when those networks are not connected to the Internet, according to current and former U.S. officials."
Sweden cash-free? It's getting there.
But a cash-free society assumes a reliable supply of electricity. You can see where this is going. -- RF

## Japan ##
Fukushima Farmers Face Decades of Tainted Crops as Fears Linger
Radioactive cesium levels rise sharply in Fukushima, according to citizen watchdog
Stress test results for Oi nuclear reactors to be released this week
A situation that absolutely will occur in the future is grid failure + diesel fuel unavailability. Is this covered by the stress test? -- RF
Kepco faces demand to exit nuclear power
Heads of 4 municipalities favor restarting N-reactors after govt OK
"The heads of four municipalities hosting nuclear power plants are in favor of allowing reactors currently idle for safety checkups or other reasons to be restarted if the central government approves their reactivation, a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun has revealed."
TSE's Home Price Index Near All-Time Low
"A Tokyo Stock Exchange measure of home prices modeled after the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index has retreated to near its lowest point ever."
Noda warns SDF grads of regional risks
"Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda warned graduating Self-Defense Forces cadets Sunday that North Korea's bid to step up its nuclear and missile programs and China's increased military buildup and maritime activities are growing concerns for Japan."
Push to replace Tokyo's aging expressways with tunnel routes revived
I'll give you one guess how much progress this project achieves. -- RF
Businesses oppose required rehiring / Fear obligation to reemploy over-60 workers would mean less motivated staff, raise costs
"The business sector strongly opposes a bill to revise a law to oblige companies to reemploy workers through the age of 65 if they want to work after retiring at 60, saying the plan may lower workplace performance and increase labor costs."
New facility to test, certify cybersecurity / System will aim to protect infrastructure
"The economy ministry will establish the nation's first facility to check the cybersecurity of control systems used to manage such things as important infrastructure or production lines at chemical factories."
Nikkei ends at highest level since quake, led by financial issues
That's real encouraging. -- RF
Despite generous subsidies, manufacturers pull out

## China ##
China to Raise Fuel Prices
"China raised its heavily regulated gasoline prices by 6.4% and diesel by 7%, the second increase this year for the world's No. 2 economy, as it grapples with the rising cost of crude."

## UK ##
UK airlines warn of Olympics airport chaos
I'm prepared to risk unpopularity over developing the countryside, says David Cameron

## US ##
Tapping Petroleum Reserve has gotten trickier
Last year's drought keeps breaking its own records (Texas)
"I expect livestock and crop losses to get worse."
Study: 8 states get 'F' on corruption
"Eight state governments received a failing 'F' grade when it comes to transparency, accountability and anti-corruption efforts, while not a single state earned an 'A,' according to a comprehensive new study released Monday."
90% of Taser Death Victims are Unarmed
California Cities Scramble to Avert Insolvency
Soaring Oil, Inflation and Households Soaked in Debt
Based On This Chart, Can Saudi Arabia Bail Out The US Motorist From $5 Gas?
Pipeline Problem Prompts Central Arkansas Gas Supply Shortage
"Central Arkansas drivers may have trouble filling up on fuel the next time they stop at a gas station.
"Ann Hines with the Arkansas Oil Marketers Association confirms there's been an operational issue with the pipeline that feeds gas to Central Arkansas. It was supposed to have received additional fuel on Friday. However, that didn't happen. Another gas delivery isn't expected until Tuesday evening."
Diesel price climbs to $4.142, highest since 2008

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