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

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