Tuesday, March 06, 2012


News Links, March 7, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Greek 1-Year Bond Yield Hits 1,006%
Athens' Pitifully Hollow Warning to Bond Holdouts; Self-Serving, Misguided Hype by IIF on "Implications of a Disorderly Greek Default and Euro Exit" (Mish)
ECB Balance Sheet Is 30% Bigger Than Germany's Economy After Lending Boom
"The European Central Bank's balance sheet surged to a record 3.02 trillion euros ($3.96 trillion) last week, 31 percent bigger than the German economy, after a second tranche of three-year loans."
'Dr. Doom' Sees Iran-Israel Clash, Says Buy Precious Metals
"Political risk in the Middle East has increased significantly with war between Iran and Israel almost inevitable, and precious metals and equities investments offer some safety, Swiss money manager and long-term bear Marc Faber said on Tuesday."
Elpida Bankruptcy to Boost DRAM Prices
India Bans Cotton Exports, Global Prices Jump
"India banned cotton exports with immediate effect on Monday to ensure supplies for domestic mills, boosting global prices some 4.5 percent as the absence of shipments from the world's second-largest producer might tighten a market facing weak demand."
Biggest Drop in Lira Yields Stops as Oil Spoils Deficit Cut: Turkey Credit
"The rally in Turkish debt that sent yields down the most in emerging markets is starting to falter as rising oil prices revive concern over the biggest current- account deficit after the U.S. and Italy."
Honduras suffocating in grip of drug violence and poverty

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan bombed for 13th time
Pirates hijack vessel off Oman coast
"NATO said today that there has been an increase of piracy related activity over the past two weeks in the High Risk Area (HRA), especially off the coast of Oman."
Catch me if you can - oil sanctions against Iran
"International sanctions have a patchy history, and Iran's oil elite have been dodging them for decades.
"As Washington and its allies tighten the screws on Tehran over its nuclear program, Iran is coming up with new ways to sell its oil - offering special deals to allies China and India, delivering oil to clients and swapping it for gold and grain."
With Iran, How Hard Do Sanctions Really Bite?
Bottom line: The world needs Iran's oil, so Iran will always find buyers. And Iran has always been adept at circumventing sanctions. -- RF
Saudi Arabia and Iran Spar Over Pipeline Attack Claims
What actually happened is anyone's guess, although it is quite possible there was an attempt on the pipeline, or perhaps there was a dry run for a future attack. Or this could have been a mere scare tactic. At any rate, it has scared the bejesus out of the US, which is still talking tough but furiously trying to rein in Israel. Iran has a pretty good hand, and has been playing it well. -- RF
Obama seeks to calm "drumbeat of war" over Iran
Obama: Iran Policy Critics Talking With 'Bluster'
Iran considers more European oil cuts
"The Iranian Oil Ministry said it wants some of its European customers to make contractual commitments or face an oil embargo."
Iran may stop oil exports to Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands
Eastern Libya pulls away from central government
"Tribal leaders and militia commanders declared oil-rich eastern Libya a semiautonomous state on Tuesday, a unilateral move that the interim head of state called a 'dangerous' conspiracy by Arab nations to tear the country apart six months after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi."
American aid missions fall victim to Mexico's turmoil
Mexico's Gulf Cartel increasingly relies on women
"The number of women working in the drug trade is estimated to have grown in Mexico by 400 percent between 2007 and 2010"
Saudi diplomat found dead in Bangladesh
"Member of embassy staff found with bullet wound to the chest at traffic intersection in Dhaka, police officials say."
Gulf states bale out U.S. arms industry
"The Persian Gulf arms race is accelerating with countries re-examining defense programs even though they've spent more than $100 billion on arms since 2006."
Russia has 70 weapon systems at arms show
Japan, China spar over naming of Senkaku Islands

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Wealthy Egyptians increasingly victims of criminal attacks
"Whereas affluent Egyptians used to be specially protected during the Mubarak years, in post-revolutionary Egypt they find themselves more vulnerable to criminal attacks and the country's police less and less eager to protect them."
Russians fear crackdown as hundreds are arrested after anti-Putin protest
Tibetan youth sets himself ablaze in China

## Energy/resources ##
Papua New Guinea mountain disaster questions Exxon
"A deadly landslide in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, near where U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil is building a $15.7 billion gas project, is raising fresh questions about the global energy industry's scramble for ever harder-to-reach resources."
Petrol stations in Sharjah still to be opened (UAE)
"Work on the Adnoc service stations was recently completed, but the pumps remain wrapped in protective plastic sheets while the car wash, convenience store and oil change stations are fenced off from drivers who have been struggling with fuel shortages for almost a year."
Long queues return to Lagos petrol stations (Nigeria)
Aviation fuel scarcity causes Airlines to ground more flights (Nigeria)
S Korean Kepco, 4 subsidiaries eye investment in US coal assets to boost imports
Power cuts push farmers to the edge (India)
Oil well bombing raises heat in Sudan oil dispute
Saudi Arabia plans to process more oil locally
"Saudi Arabian Oil is expanding its refining capacity to meet domestic demand and increase exports of oil products that fetch higher prices than crude."
Wind-power companies lose luster with investors

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
London Underground cable theft causes Jubilee Line delays
Rise in copper theft complaints (South Africa)
Metal thieves steal from 525 graves in Colma (US)
"The scourge of metal scroungers -- who've torn up BART control equipment and left some Bay Area traffic lights blinking -- has slithered to a new low with the theft of solid bronze flower holders from 500 or so graves in Colma, police said Wednesday."

## Got food? ##
India, China to boost agricultural production to ensure food security

## Environment/health ##
Thousands flee in Australia floods
"Floods across eastern Australia forced more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes on Tuesday after record-high summer rains drenched three states over the past week, swelling rivers and forcing dams to overflow."
Into Eternity (documentary)
Definitely see this chilling documentary on the storage of nuclear waste. -- RF

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Uncle Sam: If It Ends in .Com, It's .Seizable
LulzSec leader Sabu was working for us, says FBI
Brazil's Olympian Task: Cleaning Junkyard Airports Before the Games
Govt. agencies, colleges demand applicants' Facebook passwords
As the last vestiges of privacy melt away… -- RF

## Japan ##
Tepco to Get Help From Lenders
"Japan's biggest banks are finalizing proposals to provide Tokyo Electric Power Co. with new loans and rollovers worth billions of dollars, a key part of efforts to improve the utility's financial health after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident last year.
"But people familiar with the matter say the proposals, expected to be submitted to Tepco and the government by Wednesday, won't be enough to address the company's more fundamental problems over the longer term: its massive outstanding liabilities and the huge cost of dealing with the aftermath of the disaster."
Noda adviser: Prepare SDF for Iran mission
"Japan should dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to the Strait of Hormuz if armed conflict or other contingencies erupt over Iran's nuclear development program, a special adviser to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said."
Population, tax yield dive across Tohoku
"10% fewer locals in some regions; rebuilding at risk as revenue dips"
Any attempt to rebuild what was lost is already doomed by debt and the high cost of energy; this just makes the situation worse. -- RF
Fukushima evacuees still in limbo as TEPCO drags its feet
"A year after being forced to abandon homes and businesses in the shadow of the Fukushima nuclear plant, tens of thousands of evacuees are still in limbo, unable to return and having to battle for compensation."

## China ##
China Won't Save the Day For Europe… or Anyone Else... It Will Collapse Just as the USSR Did
China's debt-to-GDP ratio hits 43%

## UK ##
Fuel Card News Motoring Updates: Fuel prices reach new record
Thousands more lights to go out
Eighty per cent of district's street lights to go off at night
More graduates in low skilled jobs, figures suggest

## US ##
Obama Unveils New J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo Bailout Plan, Disguised as Mortgage Relief
"Under guise of helping homeowners, president Obama has finalized his plan to further aid banks."
Mascotte may have to shut off the lights (Florida)
City streetlights: Will they ever be back on? (Colorado Springs)
Any streetlights turned back on are fated to go off again. -- RF
Growing black market costs state billions (California)
China Foothold in U.S. Energy
The Peak Oil Crisis: East Coast Refineries Redux (Tom Whipple)
Japan disaster dims hopes for US nuclear rebirth
At least something good has come of Fukushima. -- RF
'Unusual event' at Minnesota reactor
'Rude' girl handcuffed at school
Gasoline at $2.50 a Gallon Is 'Not Realistic': Pickens
"Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's plan to lower the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon nationally by opening federal lands to drilling is 'not realistic,' T. Boone Pickens told CNBC Tuesday.
"'I don't know any expert that thinks you can get $2.50 gasoline. I don't know where that comes from,' said the Texas natural-gas mogul and CEO of BP Capital Management."
Fed Study of Student Debt Outlines a Growing Burden
"A report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York renews concerns about the growing debt load of college students and graduates.
"The report suggests that as many as 27 percent of the 37 million borrowers have past-due balances of 30 days or more."
Yahoo 'Likely' To Fire Thousands
In Ohio, dashed dreams and a housing hangover
Gas price hikes end after 27 days; oil sinks
GM's Not Unplugging the Chevy Volt ... But It's Low on Juice

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