Thursday, March 08, 2012


News Links, March 9, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Markets soar after Greece clinches debt-swap deal
The patient remains on life support, and sooner or later the plug must be pulled. -- RF
Hedge funds find loophole to trigger Greek default
"(Reuters) - Some hedge funds have found a legal loophole they believe will force Greece to repay some of its debt in full, three sources close to the matter said on Thursday, in a move that would intensify the standoff between the country and its debtors."
Over half of Greek youth unemployed
World Bank Stresses Youth Unemployment Reduction
Iraq's Unemployed Youth: Dream Jobs Turn To Nightmares In Baghdad
Currency wars: Brazil says 'it's on'
"Brazil's central bank fired the next shot in what is shaping up to be an international currency war with a sharper-than-expected interest rate cut late Wednesday that pushed down the value of its currency, the real."
In Air France/KLM Results, a Foreshadowing of Airline Trouble
"Air France/KLM results are a warning to the balance of the industry that 2012 will be a brutal year for earnings."
India never to be a superpower: London School of Economics

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Apparent high-level defection in Syria; U.N. relief head sees 'devastated' areas
Four more generals defect from Syrian army: rebels
Zbigniew Brzezinski sounds alarm against military action in Iran (Reuters video)
Say what you want about Brzezinski, but he makes a few good observations here. -- RF
Panetta: We're developing military options on Iran
"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed today that the Pentagon is developing potential options to strike Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail to dissuade it from developing a nuclear weapon."
War with Iran is not inevitable, says Netanyahu
"Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has said that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is not inevitable. But he claimed it is the threat of military action, not sanctions, that will deter Tehran from developing an atomic bomb."
World powers invite Iran to nuclear talks
Turkey, US kick off international weapons training exercise
Forces from all over the world to conduct drills in the Philippines
Israel asks U.S. for arms that could aid Iran strike
"Israel has asked the United States for advanced "bunker-buster" bombs and refueling planes that could improve its ability to attack Iran's underground nuclear sites, an Israeli official said on Thursday."
Global Insurers Targeted in Latest U.S. Bid to Expand Sanctions on Iran
"U.S. lawmakers are targeting global insurers as they seek to expand sanctions aimed at crippling Iran's economy and forcing its leaders to make concessions involving the country's disputed nuclear program."
Israel's "tunnel rats" brace for new guerrilla war
"Fearing a surge in tunnel and bunker construction by Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian militants, Israel is training its troops to hunt below ground with robot probes and sniffer dogs."
Afghan Air Force: Flying Drug Mules That Fuel Civil War
UN warns of humanitarian crisis in Yemen

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Women 'injured' in Saudi university protest
"An investigation has been launched after at least 50 women were reportedly injured when a protest at a university in Saudi Arabia turned violent.
"Hundreds of women took part in the protest against discrimination and mismanagement at the King Khalid University, in Abha, on Wednesday."
Police fire tear gas at student protesters in Montreal
Police quell women's protest in Manila
Chile's Aysén region heats up, social movement stands firm
"With Chile's southern Aysén region now beginning its fourth week of protests - complete with road blockades, and food and gasoline shortages - the opposing sides are no closer to an agreement."
Model on food prices and social unrest predicts crisis in 2013

## Energy/resources ##
Iraq Oil Outlook Overly Ambitious
Amid high hopes, Brazil's oil industry faces setbacks
"Over the past year, Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras' financials have deteriorated and production setbacks have forced South America's largest economy to increase its oil imports. Recent offshore spills have raised questions about whether Brazil has implemented adequate safety measures for the deep-sea oil exploration that's supposed to make Brazil the world's fifth largest oil producer by 2020."
All is not well in Iraq and Brazil, two of the oil crowd's darlings. They were going to be exporting gazillions of barrels in no time. Instead we see gridlock and stagnation. -- RF
India: Replacing Iranian crude not easy
"Finding an immediate replacement to Iranian crude oil isn't a "realistic option" for the Indian government, an embassy spokesman said."
Diesel generators drive up costs for many households in the city as power plays truant (India)
In case you were wondering why diesel fuel is getting expensive… -- RF
Pakistan under the power black-outs
US East Coast Faces Severe Oil Shortages and High Prices as Refineries Close
UAE planning four more nuclear power plants - report
Switzerland: Future Of Nuclear Plant On Shaky Ground

## Got food? ##
70 Percent of Ground Beef at Supermarkets Contains 'Pink Slime' (US; includes video)
Ew! All the more reason to produce your own food. Hey you people in the northern hemisphere! Spring is here and it's time to dig up the back yard and start your garden! -- RF
World food prices seen up in Feb after Jan rise
"World food prices measured by the United Nations' food agency are likely to rise for the second straight month in February on the back of strong grain and vegetable oil prices, adding to inflation concerns."
South Korea: Fish imports from Japan turning up radioactive
"South Korea is finding radioactive materials in fishery products from Japan with increased frequency but has no immediate plans to ban imports as the radiation levels are far below safety limits, the Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday, citing an unidentified inspection agency official."

## Environment/health ##
Solar storm passes without incident so far
Report: Chance of a Catastrophic Solar Storm Is 1 in 8; Would Take Down Power Grid, Food Transportation, Water Utilities, Financial Systems
Overfishing the Mediterranean
"A new study recently released has found that after centuries of exploitation, the Mediterranean Sea is running out of resources. Many formerly healthy ecosystems have been wiped out."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
China cyber capability endangers U.S. forces: report

## Japan ##
Japan's Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now
Fukushima No. 4 reactor saved by upgrade mishap
"Bungled replacement work and a chance opening in a separator gate very likely saved the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant from descending into a nightmarish situation, it has been learned."
Japan earthquake and tsunami anniversary: quarter of a million face five years in shelters
"Japan has wasted the entire year since a giant earthquake and tsunami destroyed its North East coast, the Japanese Red Cross said, as it emerged that more than a quarter of a million survivors face up to five more years in temporary shelters."
Japan posts record trade gap in January
Deficit in current account biggest ever
Sales For Honda, Suzuki Hit The Skids In China
"BEIJING (Nikkei)--Honda Motor Co. (7267), Suzuki Motor Corp. (7269) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211) all reported lower new-car sales in China for the first two months of the year."
Retailers report surging demand for disaster and emergency goods
Lower house passes Y90.33 tril budget despite opposition protests

## China ##
"China engine" expected to roar ahead amid global economic woes (People's Daily)
China is the world's growth engine? What happens when a hundred desperate, drowning people latch onto a leaky rowboat? I rest my case. -- RF
China drops plans to give police power to detain suspects without notice

## UK ##
Homelessness jumps by 14% in a year
"Almost 50,000 households across England accepted as homeless as repossession rates and unemployment rise."
Security: UK 'must plan for euro collapse' (BBC)
"Ministers should draw up plans to deal with a break-up of the eurozone "as a matter of urgency", a committee of MPs and peers has warned."
Rail industry must find £3.5bn of annual savings, says transport secretary
Interest rates held at record low for 36th month
Kingsnorth power station closure confirmed
A good job is hard to find for Britain's young unemployed

## US ##
A Seed Company That Helped Presidents And Immigrants Garden Falters
Wal-Mart to Offer "Permanently Low Prices" Instead of Rollbacks; More Self-Checkout Lanes Coming Up
Election, economy spark explosive growth of militias
"The center also reports a steady rise in the number of hate groups in America — from 604 in 2000, to more than 1,000 last year. Those include anti-gay groups, anti-Muslim groups, black separatists and "Christian Identity" groups, which hold racist and anti-Semitic views that overlap with neo-Nazi beliefs."
"Deliberative" Senate gripped by paralysis
Another example of the general dysfunction emerging in governments around the world. -- RF
U.S. bankruptcies up 19% in a month
Analysis: Insurers forced to rethink tornado coverage
"Unfortunately, homeowners may find themselves either paying substantially higher rates or not having insurance at all, as insurers try to manage their exposure to what is clearly a growing concern by diversifying geographically and tightening their standards.
"The U.S. insurance industry lost nearly $26 billion on tornadoes and related storms in 2011, higher than the previous record, and insurers have already lost as much as $2 billion this year."
Gallup Reports Large Jump in Unemployment to 9.1%, Underemployment to 19.1%
Under $2 a Day in America
"The number of U.S. households living on less than $2 per person per day — which the study terms 'extreme poverty' — more than doubled between 1996 and 2011, from 636,000 to 1.46 million, the study finds (see graph). The number of children in extremely poor households also doubled, from 1.4 million to 2.8 million."
The Chevy Volt was Doomed to Fail from the Start
Quake catastrophe like Japan's could hit Pacific Northwest, new data show
Verizon Wireless to Shut Call Centers, Relocate Employees
"Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, said it is closing three U.S. call centers and relocating employees to cut costs."
The End of Chrysler's Smooth Road

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