Friday, March 23, 2012


News Links, March 24, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Spain seen deepening austerity measures after Andalucia vote
China factories falter, euro zone business wilts
Portugal Town Halls Face Default Amid $12 Billion Debt

## Airline Death Spiral ##
US Airways seeking to acquire American out of bankruptcy
"US Airways is reportedly in talks with creditors for American Airlines about a possible merger -- a deal that would reduce the number of major big national airlines to just three."
India's Kingfisher Airlines Sputters
American Airlines aims to cancel labor contracts

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Israel, US Disagree on Timetable for Attacking Iran
"Israel says it 'cannot afford' to wait for an Iranian nuclear weapons program, which intelligence says doesn't exist"
Iran ramps up food imports via Turkish banks: trade
"Almost half a million metric tonnes of grain has arrived at Iran's major food port and Turkish banks are being used by the Islamic Republic as an alternative trade financing route to sidestep Western sanctions, trade sources say."
Taliban's brisk trade of kidnapping in Karachi
"In Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, police say the Taliban are generating funds through bank robberies, protection rackets and kidnappings.
"Abductions are particularly lucrative, with ransom demands sometimes running to millions of dollars. The BBC's Orla Guerin reports on how the militants are making inroads in Pakistan's financial capital."
Baghdad turns into a 'virtual prison' ahead of Arab League summit
"Traffic jams are growing longer and tempers shorter as Baghdad goes into near-lockdown ahead of next week's Arab League summit.
"Tens of thousands of soldiers and police reinforcements have been brought into the city for the summit and the extra patrols and checkpoints are disrupting normal life. Bitter arguments are breaking out between frustrated commuters and the military and police."
EU slaps sanctions on Assad's family; mortars hit Homs
Russia's Medvedev warns West over missile shield
Trouble on the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline Front
"Pakistani political leaders across the board, from ruling to opposition, are urging the government not to bow to US pressure to forego the pipeline plans in favor helping to contain Iran, Pakistan's neighbor."
Sergeant Will Be Charged With 17 Murders in Afghan Massacre
US Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries
US eager to send foreign aid to Yemen, a land battling poverty and Al Qaeda
Japan considers giving patrol boats to Philippines to help boost marine security

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Portuguese strike against austerity snarls transport
Saudi Arabia seeks end to Bahrain unrest, fears spillover
Bahraini protesters battle police outside Manama

## Energy/resources ##
Global Spare Oil Output Capacity "Ridiculously Thin"-Barclays
"Global spare oil production capacity is running 'ridiculously thin' at less than 2% of demand, potentially offsetting the impact on overheating oil prices of any further increases in supplies, said Paul Horsnell, head of commodities research at Barclays."
As Reactors Age, the Money to Close Them Lags (US)
"The operators of 20 of the nation's aging nuclear reactors, including some whose licenses expire soon, have not saved nearly enough money for prompt and proper dismantling. If it turns out that they must close, the owners intend to let them sit like industrial relics for 20 to 60 years or even longer while interest accrues in the reactors' retirement accounts."
Because we're nearing the end of the industrial age, and because growth is dead (in case you hadn't noticed), little interest will be accruing in their accounts. In truth, there isn't enough money in the world to properly decommission all nuclear reactors, put their waste in deep geological repositories, and guard it. It's already evident that nuclear power is the ultimate folly of humanity. But hey, electricity from nuclear power is too cheap to meter, right? -- RF
Pakistan seeks immediate supply of petrol from India
Oil Rises on Drop in Iranian Crude Exports
"Oil prices rallied on Friday on news that Iranian oil exports have fallen significantly this month as tightening Western sanctions have caused some buyers to stop or scale back purchases."
Squeeze on Iran's oil tricky for South Africa
Troubled Nigeria's oil output under threat
"Nigeria's oil production is under threat because of series of problems, including the theft of up to 150,000 barrels a day by militants and pirates."
Must read: Oil substitution to fuel diesel demand, bleed oil cos more (India)
"Oil marketing companies had better brace for bigger losses as demand for diesel goes through the roof. It isn't just car buyers who are going for the 'cheaper' fuel, but even industries are increasingly reaching for it to save on their soaring fuel oil, or furnace oil, costs…
"And now, diesel is also fast replacing fuel oil, or furnace oil, in applications such as power generation for factories and telecom towers."
Saudi Arabia oil export could fall in July due to increased domestic usage
IEC may add fuel-oil at Reading amid shortages (Israel)
"Due to the country's looming natural gas shortages, the Israel Electric Corporation is considering renovating its Reading power station in Tel Aviv so that it can also operate on mazut heavy fuel oil."
Saudi Arabia And China Team Up To Build A Gigantic New Oil Refinery - Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Petrodollar?
Report Hints Summer Blackouts Possible If San Onofre Units Stay Offline (US)
Busan assembly calls for closure of troubled reactor (Korea)
"The city assembly of Busan unanimously adopted a recommendation on March 22 calling for the 'immediate closure' of the No. 1 reactor at the Kori nuclear power plant located in the city."
Asia takes 78% of SA's coal exports

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Water valves latest target for metal thieves (US)

## Got food? ##
ADB supports targeted food subsidies in South Asia
"A spike in the cost of food staples like rice and wheat could push tens of millions more people into extreme poverty in South Asia but food subsidies targeted at the very poorest in the region would help them cope with still-high prices, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said."
How Homegrown Charcoal May Get Your Garden Through A Drought

## Environment/health ##
Germany Unprepared for Major Nuclear Disaster
Poland's Monsanto action lays 1000s of dead bees on Govt steps
"On March 15, over 1,500 beekeepers and their allies marched thru the streets of Warsaw, depositing thousands of dead bees on the steps of the Ministry of Agriculture, in protest of genetically modified foods and their requisite pesticides which are killing bees, moths and other agriculturally-beneficial insects around the globe."
Why Getting Grimy As A Child Can Make For A Healthier Life
Rising Number of Farm Animals Poses Environmental and Public Health Risks

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Search and Surveillance Bill passes (NZ)
"Opposition parties say New Zealand has been turned into a 'police state' after Parliament last night narrowly passed the Government's controversial Search and Surveillance Bill."
Americans' data to be held longer under counterterrorism rules
Facebook To Employers: Don't Demand Passwords
"Facebook is warning employers not to demand the passwords of job applicants, saying that it's an invasion of privacy that opens companies to legal liabilities.
"The social networking company is also threatening legal action."
Foreign spies 'penetrate' US military networks

## Japan ##
Gasoline price hits 155.6 yen / Iran crisis, other factors send cost to highest level in over 3 years
Japan 2012 Land Price Posts 4th Straight Drop But Pace Slower
There have been a few minor ups, but mostly downs, as the general trend over the last 20 years has been lower land prices. -- RF
BOJ: Q4 Non-Japanese JGB Holdings Hit Record High Y78 Trln
As more non-Japanese hold JGBs, they will demand higher yields. Because currently half of government tax revenues are spent on debt service, it will eventually claim virtually all the government's income. But of course collapse will come before that. -- RF
Japanese firms considering geothermal plants in Fukushima
Nuclear Safety Commission endorses results of Oi reactor stress tests
Fear of radiation creeping south
"Lingering concerns about radiation a year into the Fukushima nuclear crisis have prompted people even as far away as the Tokyo area, some 100 to 250 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, to move away."

## UK ##
Petrol prices hit another record high
Cable confirms Government in international talks over releasing state-held oil stockpiles
"Vince Cable confirms Government is involved in international deliberations over whether to release state-held stockpiles of oil to keep fuel prices down."
How the Olympics Will Cost London
Fuel thefts blamed on escalation of oil price

## US ##
Bank of PTA: Parents scramble to fill school budget gaps
Price of Diesel Fuel Affecting Auto Transport Costs
20 Experts Who Say Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices
Republicans Back Sanctions Against Iran, but Blame Obama for High Gas Prices
"The fact is that there is only one thing Obama could have done to bring down oil prices, and that would have been to veto the National Defense Authorization Act until Congress took back out the provisions for crippling sanctions on Iran."
Minnesota Man Thrown In Jail For…Failing To Put Up Siding On His Home
California To Build A $100M Electric Car Charging Network
This makes about as much sense as building a spaceport. -- RF
Gasoline Theft Spikes as Prices at Pump Rise (CNBC video)
Gasoline prices anger U.S. consumers
Gas Prices Advance Yet Another Day
Fitch Downgrades Detroit Credit Ratings Even Further
Mayor's office buys 8,513 more face shields for NATO summit (Chicago)

And finally…
Grounded! 'Bird man' admits flying video is a fake
Drivers snatch 'snow globe' of cash on Md. highway

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