Sunday, April 29, 2012


News Links, April 29, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Hyundai Steel Profit Falls 39% on Weak Demand, Prices
"Hyundai Steel Co. (004020), South Korea's second-biggest steelmaker, posted a lower-than-estimated 39 percent drop in first-quarter profit after waning demand for the metal used in cars, ships and houses dragged prices lower."
Europe now second biggest market using Chinese currency for settlements
"Europe has now emerged as the second-biggest area using the reminbi for cross-border transaction settlements. Bankers and commodity traders believe the yuan can be used to settle trade transactions involving gold and bulk commodities in 10 to 20 years as long as the Chinese government continues liberalizing currency policies."
Resetting retirement: Getting used to a longer working life (Canada)
I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: "Retirement" and pensions are disappearing, and the Little People will work until they drop, as they always have. Resign yourself to it. -- RF
ECB bond buy programme dormant as Spain woes mount

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Al Qaeda now incapable of 9/11-scale attack: U.S. officials
Phew, what a relief! And US officials should know. -- RF
U.S. signals major shift on Iran nuclear program
The sanctions are not working as well as expected, and the US is looking for a face-saving out. -- RF
Israel ex-spy warns against "messianic" war on Iran
"A former Israeli spymaster has branded the country's leaders as 'messianic' and unfit to tackle the Iranian nuclear program, in the strongest criticism from a security veteran of threats to launch a pre-emptive war."
Suicide bomb rocks Damascus as thousands protest
"Tens of thousands protested across Syria as a deadly suicide bombing rocked the capital, killing 11 people and fuelling growing scepticism over the prospects of a UN-backed peace plan."
Sadr 'against' fall of current Iraqi government
"Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr opposes toppling the Iraqi government, but discussed not renewing the premier's mandate during a visit to Kurdistan, Sadr Movement officials said on Friday."
Saudi recalls ambassador, shuts embassy in Egypt
U.S. looks to South America for security partners
"In these days of shrinking defense budgets, the U.S. is looking to its southern neighbors to help monitor and protect the Asia Pacific region in the years ahead."
'Dynamic' Japan-U.S. military cooperation sends message to China
"A revised plan on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan would expand Japan-U.S. defense cooperation in Asia and the Pacific in an effort to keep China's military might in check."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Tear gas fired at Malaysia reform protesters
"Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon on Saturday at a crowd of up to 25,000 protesters who had converged on the center of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to demand changes to an electoral system."
Suicides have Greeks on edge before election
"In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation - and its media - before a May 6 election."
U.S. Gov't Making Preperations for Expected Major Social Unrest Next Year

## Energy/resources ##
Pakistan Issues Tenders for Building Gas Pipeline with Iran

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
East County cable theft disrupts internet, cell phone service
"Thieves cut and stole lengths of underground cables in the East County highlands early Tuesday, knocking out data-transmission lines used by two sheriff's stations as well as the U.S. Department of Defense, authorities reported."

## Got food? ##
New Yorkers branch into 'beyond organic' urban fish farming
The Threats From Genetically Modified Foods

## Environment/health ##
Concrete Degradation at New Hampshire, Nuclear Plant
Reef shark populations in steep decline: Study

## Japan ##
Sharp Posts Record Loss, Expects To Stay In Red
Rolling blackouts possible this summer
Tokyo govt to establish 'Senkaku team'
"The Tokyo metropolitan government will soon establish a team of officials under the direct supervision of Gov. Shintaro Ishihara that will prepare to send a landing team to the Senkaku Islands, Ishihara has announced."
Metro government raising funds in quest to purchase Senkaku Islands
"The Tokyo Metropolitan Government began fundraising Friday for purchasing the Senkaku Islands, Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said."
Foreign buyers snap up land / Survey shows many people use Japanese names to hide acquisitions
"Regarding such deals, some people believe water resources are being targeted by foreign buyers."

## China ##
Astounded by how much Copper China is storing: Standard Chartered
"The amount of copper being stored by China is astounding, says a recent report by Standard Chartered states while adding that even low key warehouses were filled with copper."

## UK ##
More people turning to food banks
"A record number of people are turning to charities to help them feed their families."
Petrol and diesel thefts on rise in Wolverhampton
"Rising fuel prices could be behind a spate of diesel and petrol thefts at service stations in the West Midlands, according to police."
Sunday Times Rich List shows UK's wealthiest defy recession
"The UK's richest people have defied the double-dip recession to become even richer over the past year, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List."

## US ##
When Muni Bonds Run Dry
"Local governments, worried about their existing finances, are putting off building new schools or other big-ticket projects."
25 Horrible Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Barack Obama Does Not Want You To Know
Actually, Ron Paul Is Secretly Winning A Lot More Delegates Than You Think
The No Retirement Plan: 25% Expect to Work Till 80 (Greater than Life Expectancy); What About the Expected Retirement of Nuclear Power Plants? (Mish)
Bill Black: Our System is So Flawed That Fraud is Mathematically Guaranteed (Chris Martenson)
Biofuel mandates could close more refineries, officials warn

Friday, April 27, 2012


News Links, April 28, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Eurozone Retail Sales Plunge at Strongest Pace Since Late-2008; German Retail Sales Plunge Into Contraction; French Retail Sales Plunge at Record Pace; Record Job Losses, Record Retail Plunge in Italy
Spanish economy in "huge crisis" after credit downgrade
Spanish unemployment hits record 5.64 million
Showdown Looms Over Europe's Largest Shantytown (Spain)
"Europe's largest illegal settlement lies on the edge of Madrid. As the Spanish capital has grown, the city's limits have moved ever closer to the shantytown known as Cañada Real, a sprawling tangle of tents and cement houses. And as the economy has tanked, a growing number of people are calling it home."
Greece to Seize Money From Suspected Tax Evaders' Accounts, with Charges and Trials Later; More Capital Flight Coming Up
Japan to buy South Korean government bonds
"Japan, concerned that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe could destabilize the regional economy, is set to purchase South Korean government bonds to strengthen financial cooperation with its Asian neighbors."
WalMart's Mexican Bribery Scandal Will Sink It Like an Iceberg Sank the Titanic

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Bird Strikes On Airliners Targeted In Congress, At Airports
Much more powerful forces than birds are already hard at work taking down the airlines. -- RF
Singapore Girl's Charms Fade as Airline Battle Heats Up
Britons favor 'fat tax' for overweight passengers
Airfares up for summer travel, likely to keep climbing
Lengthy queues continue at Heathrow airport
Iberia Airlines cancels 122 flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iraq's Sadr in Kurdistan to mediate crisis
"Powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr arrived in Iraq's Kurdistan region on Thursday, presenting himself as a mediator in a crisis between Iraq's premier and the region's president."
India says US has not threatened to impose any sanctions due to Iran oil import
Russia warns EU Iran oil embargo will be costly
"Russia pressed its case against new sanctions over Iran's nuclear program on Friday, saying an European Union ban on purchasing Iranian oil would end up hurting the bloc's member countries."
New US Stealth Fighters Now at Iran's Back Door
"America's most sophisticated stealth jet fighters have been quietly deployed to an allied base less than 200 miles from Iran's mainland, according to an industry report, but the Air Force adamantly denied the jets' presence is a threat to the Middle East nation."
China approves dock project in disputed Paracel islands
Somali pirates change tactics to evade navy heat
Russia, U.S. to Hold Anti-terror Drills in May

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Another Mindanao power cooperative employee slain (Philippines)
Pasty tax: Bakers take protest to Downing Street (UK)
Protest against power shutdown, high rates (Pakistan)
"Industrialists burnt about 1,500 electricity bills in protest against inflated rates, severe loadshedding and discriminatory treatment towards the industry on Thursday."
Huge popular protests rattle Czech government
Clashes in Bahrain as police block protest march

## Energy/resources ##
Can renewable energy sustain consumer societies?
"Contradicting widely held assumptions, Trainer presents a formidable case that renewable energy and other 'tech-fixes' will be unable to sustain growth-based and energy-intensive consumer societies, with implications that are as profound as they will be unwelcome."
Giant Sails cut Fuel Consumption of Cargo Ship by 30%
Electricity usage hits all-time high 7th time (Thailand)
"Electricity consumption yesterday set a new all-time high for the seventh time this year due to hot weather, with average temperatures nationwide hitting 38.5C."
Brazil Electricity Consumption Rises 6.1% In March--EPE
Fort Worth City Hall shut down by power outage

## Got food? ##
The Family Farm Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America
Corn Prices Surge on Export Sales
"Corn prices jumped 4.6% after the federal government reported the sixth-largest export sale ever for the grain, which analysts believe is headed for China."
EU wheat prices rise on surge in CBOT corn, soy
"European milling wheat futures rose on Friday as Chinese demand for U.S. corn and soybeans helped to spark a broad-based advance in grain and oilseed prices."

## Environment/health ##
Bayer: Pesticide Profits or Bees?
Ukraine begins construction of shelter over Chernobyl nuclear plant

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Taliban website hacked as Afghan cyber war heats up
Iran's Oil Ministry under cyberattack
Iran 'mobilizing' for cyberwar with West: experts
Hackers hit Philippines websites amid China dispute
Train glitches affect 190,000 passengers in Tokyo
"Technical glitches and other problems disrupted morning train services in central Tokyo on April 27, affecting some 190,000 people, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) announced."

## Japan ##
Bank of Japan boosts bond buying by 10 trillion yen, extends duration
"The Bank of Japan, facing mounting government pressure, eased policy further on Friday by boosting its asset purchases by 10 trillion yen ($124 billion), more than markets had expected, and said it would buy longer-term government bonds in a show of resolve to pull the economy out of deflation."
US to move 9,000 Marines from southern Japan
Tepco To Be Nationalized As Early As July
UN Approves Larger Continental Shelf For Japan
Metro government raising funds in quest to purchase Senkaku Islands
Municipalities scramble to guard water resources
"Municipalities are scrambling to tighten regulations and protect their water resources against the threat of foreign acquisitions."
Honda posts 60% fall in group net profit for FY 2011
Restart of Tsuruga nuclear plant almost impossible: safety panel head
"Chances are almost nil for Japan Atomic Power Co. to resume operating its nuclear power plant in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, due to the presence of faults running under it, the head of the Nuclear Safety Commission said Thursday."

## China ##
China unveils industrial capacity cut targets for 2012
Pig prices drop below break-even point
Chinese oil giants hit by refining losses
"Chinese oil giants Sinopec and Petrochina said they were hit by heavy refining losses in the first quarter, despite strong energy demand and higher oil prices."

## US ##
Cyber intelligence legislation passed in House of Representatives
"The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation protecting US businesses and agencies from cyber-attacks, a measure that critics say erodes civil liberties by allowing firms to pass on private data."
U.S. expects trouble from refinery closing
"A decision to close refineries in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the U.S. northeast could mean higher gasoline and heating costs, officials said."
Mediocre GDP report even worse in the details
GDP Miss Far Bigger Than Announced; Real GDP is 0% Using More Reasonable Deflator
Four bank failures bring year's tally to 21

Thursday, April 26, 2012


News Links, April 27, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
S&P reduces Spain's credit rating
Cost of Spain's Housing Bust Could Force a Bailout
More Spanish property losses loom for Santander
Ontario Downgraded to Aa2 on Growing Debt Burden, Moody's Says
Dutch crisis: Parties agree deal on budget cuts
Container and Bulk Freight Ocean Shipping Capacity Spells Gloom for Investors
"Too Many Ships with Too Little Cargo"
Anger as Brussels sqanders millions then demands budget rise
Daimler plant closing compounds Canada's manufacturing pain
"The lingering after-effects of the Great Recession are still shredding Canada's manufacturing sector, more than two years after North America emerged from the downturn.
"The latest victim is a Daimler AG's Orion bus manufacturing plant in Mississauga, which will close within  the next 12 months as the company abandons the North American transit bus business, eliminating the jobs of about 200 active workers and another 200 on layoff."
India's Growth Story Dims on S&P Downgrade
Euro-Area April Economic Confidence Drops More Than Forecast
China Cosco Loss Widens as Cargo Rates Slump, Fuel Price Climbs
The Deadliest Vicious Cycle We've Ever Seen
Pakistan's Textile Industry Is Dangerously Fragile
Damaged resin plant will be down at least 6 months

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airlines raise luggage, itinerary fees to stay competitive
1Q losses expected for Delta, US Airways
Fuel Costs Deck Chinese Airlines
United results hit by fuel costs, merger glitches
Air cargo: March cargo demand plunges in Asia-Pacific

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pakistan says U.S. not listening: drone strikes must stop
"Pakistan has spelt out in no uncertain terms that U.S. drone aircraft strikes against militants inside its territory must stop, but Washington is not listening, the country's foreign minister said."
Israel's new ties to Azerbaijan worry neighboring Iran
U.N. Refugee Chief: 'We Are All Overstretched'
GCC forces in military exercises
Cutting into NATO's Muscle
"As defence budgets are slashed across the alliance, NATO faces uncertain future."
Vale to Redesign Giant Ore Ships to Protect Crews From Pirates
Islamist militants blow up Yemen gas pipeline
Amid Massive Budget Cuts, NATO Chief Meets with Spanish PM
Obama Approves CIA Request to Kill Unidentified Individuals in Yemen Drone War

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters and police clash in Bahrain
"Bahraini protesters attacked a police station with petrol bombs on Thursday and riot police responded with teargas and stun grenades after a funeral march for a man killed in clashes during the Gulf Arab state's Formula One race last week."
Tibetan quake victims fight China government land grab
Students And Workers In Chile Back On The Streets
Niger uranium workers threaten to expand strike
Libya warns Agoco protest may affect oilfield work
Montreal police and protesters rage through the night as tuition march turns violent
Protesters Plan May 1 Shut Down Of S.F.'s Golden Gate Bridge

## Energy/resources ##
New Company will Start Plans to Mine Asteroids in Two Years
SF movies often feature mining colonies on other planets and huge spaceships trolling the universe for minerals, but operations like this would require far more energy than realized. Meanwhile, we can't even keep the lights on down here on Earth. -- RF 
8-hour rotating blackout persists (Philippines)
Venezuela Starts Nationwide Power Rationing
Nights get darker, hotter (India)
"On Wednesday, several areas in the city reeled under long hours of power cuts - in some places there was no electricity for as long as eight hours - thanks to the continuous shortage experienced by various power stations."
Can Developers Finance Big Solar Without the Cash Grant?
Solar Silicon Falling 9% Widens Slump That Hit Solyndra
Fujairah's oil costs rising on Iran sanctions, Barclays says
"The UAE's port of Fujairah will face higher costs as sanctions against Iran curb supplies of fuel oil for the Middle East's biggest ship-refuelling centre, Barclays said."
Exxon Mobil reports problem at Illinois refinery

## Got food? ##
Analysis: Dow's New Corn: "Time Bomb" Or Farmers' Dream?
Nigeria: Food Price Hike Pushes Inflation to 12.1 Percent

## Environment/health ##
Expert warns world needs to move 'rapidly' toward 'population shrinkage'
Plant disease moves south into Britain
Total installs diverter on leaking Elgin
Chesapeake Gas Well Blow-out in Wyoming Leads to Evacuations

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
E-Plus network suffers major outage (Germany)
Auckland train services shut down after power outage

## Japan ##
SDF jets scramble to meet Chinese planes record 156 times
"The Defense Ministry said April 25 that Air Self-Defense Force jets were scrambled a record 156 times in fiscal 2011 to meet Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace."
Power, Gas Utilities Hiking Rates In June
"The nation's 10 major power providers and four gas utilities will all raise rates in June to reflect higher fuel costs."
Nintendo posts first-ever annual loss
Radioactive cesium spread 600 km in waters off Fukushima
"Radioactive cesium was detected in the ocean as far as 600 kilometers to the east of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, scientists said, in amounts that reached 100 times pre-accident levels."
Japan logs trade deficit of 455 bil. yen in early April

## China ##
Ground subsidence widespread as Beijing pumps too much water
Heavy refining losses put pressure on PetroChina, Sinopec profits

## UK ##
'Why I had to resort to using a food bank' (BBC video)
Green energy 'must be affordable' - Cameron
"Renewable energy sources must become 'financially sustainable' if they are to meet the world's needs, David Cameron is to say."
But the era of cheap energy is finished. -- RF
Confusion reigns in green revolution

## US ##
Obama Has Authoritarian Powers Bush Could Only Dream Of
84% of All Stock Trades Are By High-Frequency Computers … Only 16% Are Done By Human Traders
Even after bankruptcy, trapped by student debt
Cooling Job Market Takes Toll on U.S. Confidence: Economy
"More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week and consumer confidence declined by the most in a year, signaling that a cooling labor market may restrain household spending."
Medical Debt Collectors Accused of Bullying Emergency Room Patients and Others
Peak Housing, Peak Fraud, Peak Suburbia and Peak Property Taxes
"Once again pundits are claiming that housing is 'finally recovering.' But they're overlooking three peaks: Peak Housing, Peak Financial Fraud, and Peak Suburbia, all of which suggest years of stagnation and decline, not 'recovery.'"
5 New Lies That The Federal Reserve Is Telling The American People

And finally… Occupy West Side Story (video; this is a scream)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


News Links, April 26, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
EU officials to propose 6.8% budget increase for 2013
S&P Cuts India Outlook to Negative
German Shipping Funds Die as Investors See Losses Rise: Freight
S.Africa says BRICS bank to launch in 2013
Russia And Mexico Both Buy Nearly $1 Billion Worth Of Gold In March
Peugeot Quarterly Revenue Drops 7.3% on European Market
22 Red Flags That Indicate That Very Serious Doom Is Coming For Global Financial Markets
Shortage of skilled workers leaves 10 million jobs unfilled, report says
"About 10 million manufacturing jobs cannot be filled worldwide because of a shortage of skilled workers, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Economic Forum andDeloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd."
It takes a lot of cheap energy to train the many engineers and skilled workers who keep industrial civilization going. -- RF

## Airline Death Spiral ##
American cites bleak finances in bankruptcy court

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Philippine, U.S. stage war games as South China Sea tension simmers
"Thousands of American and Philippine troops waded ashore on Wednesday in a mock assault to retake a small island in the South China Sea as tensions bubbled over rival claims to disputed areas rich in oil and gas."
Sino-Russian drills enter live-fire stage
India to import Iran oil even without EU tanker insurance
Greek anger keeps German tourists away
"German tourists are in short supply in Greece these days, frightened away by reports of visceral anti-German sentiment in some places, fears of being stranded by strikes and television images of fiery anti-austerity riots."
Iran sends military to disputed Gulf islands

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
GE annual meeting interrupted by 99 Percent protesters
Thousands of farmers rally in Tokyo against TPP trade pact

## Energy/resources ##
Power Industry Blackout Risk Alert on the Rise
"Even with new generation capacity plans, power industry executives expect blackout risks to rise in Europe and North America, as the industry confronts the challenge of energy affordability, efficiency, and energy security policies not meeting demands. There are also worries that the number of consumers in fuel poverty will rise significantly in the next 20 years."
Saudi Arabia may become a net importer of fuel oil this summer
Troubled Chesapeake Energy's financial savior - India?
"It is one of Wall Street's worst-kept secrets that Chesapeake Energy, America's second largest producer of natural gas, is short of cash, facing an estimated $9.2 billion gap between its capital expenditures and its cash flow, putting a gun to the head of CEO Aubrey McClendon to sell assets fast."
Fuel shortage hits parts of Accra (Ghana)
Power plants in India grappling with coal shortage
Power restored in Alliance after major blackout (US)
Jakarta Left in The Dark After Another Power Blackout
"Another power blackout hit a large part of the capital on Wednesday afternoon, leading to airport delays and traffic congestion."
Power Shortage Hurts Chile's $100 Billion Copper Push
Foreign firms vie for Libya oil industry revival
Saudi output pledge likely to ease prices
"Saudi assurances the kingdom can and will increase crude oil output to dampen prices is exactly what the market needs, a London think tank said."
It's more psychology than oil. -- RF
Oil worries grow over Iranian sanctions
"Saudi Arabia can provide only a small amount of relief in the energy sector once U.S. and European sanctions on Iran go into force in July, an analyst said."
U.S. eager to work with Mexico on oil
Lukoil starts work at Iraqi oil field
Egypt's gas cut may spur energy conflicts
"Egypt's decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Israel threatens the countries' historic 1979 peace treaty and could crank up simmering tensions over disputed offshore gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean."
Global Oil Estimate Down From Last Decade
The Cost of Hauling Fat
Refinery shutdown costs MRPL Rs 20 cr/day; diesel supplies may be hit (India)

## Got food? ##
Use One of These 4 Simple Garden Designs to Grow the 12 Best Kitchen Herbs
Global food prices on rise again - World Bank
Flex-Fuel Humans
"As an approximate rule-of-thumb, each kilocalorie ingested by Americans consumes 10 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy to plant, fertilize, harvest, transport, and prepare."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Survey Shows Uncertainty In Reporting Suspicious Activity
"At airports, train stations and other public places across the nation, the Department of Homeland Security's "See Something, Say Something" campaign has encouraged people to report suspicious activity in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks. But arecent government survey found citizens are not jumping in to report others."

## Japan ##
Utilities may not meet August power demand
KEPCO warns of 16.3% power shortage in nuclear-free summer
Japan may face power blackouts, minister says
Tsuruga nuclear plant may be sitting atop active geological fault
TEPCO business plan includes 10% rate hike, nationalization
"In a restructuring plan for embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility will raise household power rates by 10 percent from July and take a 1 trillion yen ($12.3 billion) injection from the government, which will effectively nationalize it."
Since TEPCO is already a ward of the state, nationalization is a fait accompli. -- RF

## China ##
Dismay engulfs Chinese steel market after summer downpour
China shows largest nuclear plant to reporters
Profits vanish at China's two wind turbine heavyweights
China offshores manufacturing to the U.S.

## UK ##
Half of over-50s 'will have to work beyond state pension age'
"Nearly half of people aged over 50 will have to work and save for 11 years beyond state pension age to keep their standard of living, a report has said."
Disposable income drops in Britain
Britain Plunges Into First Double-Dip Recession Since the 1970s
It's not a double-dip. It's the next leg down in Britain's economic collapse. -- RF
UK Back in Recession, Did it Really Ever Leave? Disappointing Details; Five Reasons the UK Recession Will Get Much Worse
Zurich Insurance to cut 342 jobs from its UK offices
HSBC Said to Plan 2,000 U.K. Job Cuts as Part of Global Cull

## US ##
Plunge in durable goods orders clouds U.S. outlook
Obama talks low loan rates in pitch to college students
It's a scam. A college education is no longer a guarantee of an illustrious and lucrative career, while debt expansion is desperately needed to prop up the Ponzi-scheme economy. -- RF
Colleges Confuse Students With Letters Offering Aid That's Debt
Struggling Philly district could close 40 schools
American Houses and the Oil Denominator
"If there's one asset the world has little use for, it's an American single family home priced above 250K, reachable only by car."
Another way to kill US farmers: Seize their bank accounts on phony charges
H&R Block to Cut 350 Jobs, Search for New Finance Chief
"H&R Block Inc. (HRB), the biggest U.S. tax preparer, plans to cut 350 jobs and close about 200 company- owned offices as part of a realignment."


News Links, April 25, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
More grief for Greece as recession seen deeper
"Greece's economy will contract a deeper than expected 5 percent this year, the country's central bank chief said on Tuesday, piling more pressure on to a citizenry already battered by crippling austerity and record joblessness."
U.S. Lost AAA on Danger of Liquidity Crisis, S&P's Kraemer Says
"The U.S. lost its top credit grade in August because of the imminent danger of a "real liquidity crisis," and Standard & Poor's made no errors in its analysis, said Moritz Kraemer, managing director of sovereign ratings."
Billions wiped off Europe's biggest companies as political rebellion rocks eurozone
"More than £122.3bn was wiped off the value of Europe's biggest companies on Monday amid fears that the eurozone's commitment to austerity was being swept away by political rebellion - just as its debts hit record levels."
Risk of Sharp Euro Fall Increasing: Citi

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Focus On Airlines: Coffee, Tea Or Bankruptcy?
Analysts see 1Q loss for Delta Air Lines
Should we worry about cities abandoned by airlines? (US)
China Eastern, Cathay downgrade 1Q profit forecast

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Egypt's new politics make Israel ties a target
Indian shipping firms to carry Iran crude despite reduced insurance
"Indian shipping firms will continue to transport Iranian crude even if limited insurance coverage due to tightening Western sanctions leaves them financially exposed to a spill or accident, a top executive and industry sources said."
Iran: Oil-for-food
Obama announces new sanctions on Syria and Iran
"President Barack Obama took aim Monday at Syria and Iran, imposing new sanctions on the two regimes as well as the 'digital guns for hire' that develop technology enabling the two governments to monitor, track and harass their own people."
Oh, the irony. -- RF
Philippine finds gas in South China Sea, may fuel China tensions
"A Philippine exploration firm has found more-than-expected natural gas in a disputed area of the South China Sea, a discovery likely to inflame territorial tensions with China."
Egypt's Sinai turning into "Wild West": Israeli PM
"Egypt's Sinai Peninsula has turned into a 'kind of Wild West' exploited by Islamist militants with Iranian help to smuggle in weapons and stage attacks on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Security forces seize land from Vietnam villagers
"Thousands of riot police overwhelmed villagers in Vietnam who tried to block them from taking control of a disputed plot of land outside Hanoi on Tuesday in the second high-profile clash over property so far this year."
Occupy Protesters Take Over Tract Of Farmland On Berkeley-Albany Border
"About 40 activists who are part of a group calling itself "Occupy the Farm" are planting 15,000 seedlings on a 10-acre plot of land in Albany that is owned by the University of California at Berkeley, a spokesman for the group said Monday."
33 Arrested Outside Drone Base in New York State
"Thirty-three activists were arrested Sunday afternoon outside Hancock Air Field base in New York. Nore than 150 had turned out to protest the use of US drones to attack countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq. The activists were preemptively arrested two blocks from the base."

## Energy/resources ##
Bangladesh faces water problems
"Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh faces severe water shortages, particularly during the annual March to May dry season."
"Perhaps, just perhaps, the message is starting to get through: the era of cheap food in abundance is over. Figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that food prices went up by 4.6 per cent between March 2011 and March 2012, adding to a 5.2 per cent rise the previous year."

"Elephant and rhino poaching is surging, conservationists say, an illegal piece of Asia's scramble for African resources, driven by the growing purchasing power of the region's newly affluent classes."

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
New Pentagon Spy Agency To Focus on Iran, China
"The Pentagon is creating a new intelligence agency that will focus on Iran and China as it begins to pivot away from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times reported."

## Japan ##
Projection: No return to 7 areas near Fukushima plant for 5 years
"Bereft of decontamination work, residents will be unable to return home for at least five years in seven municipalities around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to the government's radiation projection charts."
Land water flooding reactors to be diverted
"Groundwater is seeping into the damaged reactor buildings at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to build about a dozen wells to redirect and halve the flow."

## UK ##
Bus and rail fares may rise again as Translink faces huge loss
Britain must find £900m in additional EU payments
"Britain will be told that it must find almost £900 million in additional payments for Brussels or else be forced to pay up by the EU's Court of Justice as the European Commission publishes its 2013 budget demand on Wednesday"

## US ##
"Fears that a shortage of a nylon resin used in auto manufacturing will cut deeply into production worldwide are easing some, but there is still a danger that output may be curtailed, according to an industry executive."


News Links, April 24, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Europe pressed for action to end debt crisis
"Global finance chiefs pressed Europe in weekend talks to quickly put in place the economic reforms needed to finally extinguish its debt crisis now that newly increased financial buffers have bought some precious time."
The needed reforms would include giving up fractional reserve lending and infinite growth, but that's not going to happen, because more growth is seen as the solution. Collapse is inevitable. -- RF
Euro-Region Debt Rises to Highest in Currency's History
Europe Leads Global Selloff
Dutch government falls in budget crisis
China Manufacturing Continues Contraction
The Best Reason in the World to Buy Gold
"Beijing is planning to avoid U.S. financial sanctions on Iran by paying for oil with gold. China's imports of the metal are already large, and you can guess what additional purchases are going to do to prices."
Study: Major Shakeout Pending as Battery Market Rises Over $9 billion
"A recent study says the global battery market is due for extreme growth, to the tune of $9 billion annually by 2015.
"This growth will, however, be accompanied by massive overcapacity, says German strategy consulting company, Roland Berger. The study reiterates past predictions that many small battery companies will be either driven out of business, or left fighting over a comparative sliver of the market pie in just a few years."
Crime one of the world's "top 20 economies": UN
"Crime generates an estimated $2.1 trillion in global annual proceeds - or 3.6 percent of the world's gross domestic product - and the problem may be growing, a senior United Nations official said on Monday."
Be careful to distinguish this from System D. -- RF
Brazil's Bubble Trouble
Brazil Steelmaker Usiminas Posts BRL37 Million 1Q Loss

## Airline Death Spiral ##
US Airways Walks AMR Tightrope
China Passengers Storm Airport Tarmac After 15-Hour Delay
"The service across the whole aviation industry sucks."
Redundancies possible as Lufthansa cuts costs

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Turkey says Israel not welcome at NATO summit
"Turkey has refused to allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologized for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said on Monday."
Japan Is Asked to Insure Iran Oil Shipments as EU Sanctions Bite
"Japan's government may insure tankers carrying Iranian oil, joining China and India in responding to European sanctions blocking private providers.
"The Japanese transport ministry held discussions with the Japan Shipowners' Association about providing insurance, Akimitsu Ashida, chairman of the group representing the country's shipping companies, said at a conference in Tokyo today. India is considering sovereign guarantees, and Chinese government officials also met to discuss ways to prevent sanctions from disrupting Iranian shipments."
Iran's Trading Partners Try to Avoid US Wrath
China policy battles boost South China Sea strains: ICG
"Jockeying by Chinese agencies over policy fiefdoms and budgets threatens to intensify tensions with China's neighbors over the disputed South China Sea, a respected think tank said on Monday, with China's military also warning of regional confrontation."
Wealthy Iranians spark luxury car boom
"Wealthy Iranians are fuelling an unprecedented luxury car boom despite sanctions hurting their economy, paying up to $360,000 for high-end autos, according to showroom employees and reports on Sunday."
Israel ready to strike Iran, Lebanon, Gaza if ordered, says military chief
Sudan launches major attack on South Sudan
Egypt turns down licences for US NGOs
Global pirate attacks down in Q1, Nigeria risk grows
"Vigorous action by navies including pre-emptive strikes helped cut global pirate attacks by almost a third in the first quarter of this year although Nigerian gangs escalated hijackings in West African waters, a maritime watchdog said."
Austria making military equipment cuts
"The Austrian Defense Ministry has reiterated its decision to cut its heavy equipment inventory by two-thirds."
Philippines Warns Neighbors on China's Territorial Claims

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Chicago condo residents warned to leave during NATO summit

## Energy/resources ##
WestLB is the First Bank to Refuse Finance to Offshore Oil Rigs in the Arctic
Water plan needed to tackle scarcity, says GCC chief
China to see more blackouts this summer
"Some parts of China will experience severe blackouts this summer as the result of an electricity shortage of 30 to 40 million kilowatts, according to an industry report published on Monday."
Four Japan utilities see power shortage in summer
Rotating brownouts stretch to 4 hours (Philippines)
Italian Eni Gas Company Enters Arctic
Iran oil minister warns of new sale cuts to Europe

## Got food? ##
China Grows Its Dairy Farms With a Global Cattle Drive
Food shortage looms after poor harvest (Kenya)

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
Web surveillance plans create 'nation of suspects' (UK)
If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move
Iranian oil terminal 'offline' after 'malware attack'
FOIA Docs: US Cities Plan Spy Drone Fleets

## Japan ##
Japan headed for summer power shortage
Kansai Electric may have biggest power deficit in July
The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over
"Spent reactor fuel, containing roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl, still sits in pools vulnerable to earthquakes."
No evacuation plans for 4.42 million residents near nuclear plants
Fukushima air to stay radioactive in 2022
"A decade from now, airborne radiation levels in some parts of Fukushima Prefecture are still expected to be dangerous at above 50 millisieverts a year, a government report says."
Group files injunction to stop restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors

## China ##
Summer shutdowns as city bids to save power
"SHANGHAI'S office buildings and department stores will be asked to turn off air conditioners at peak periods this summer as the city faces a potential shortage of electricity, the city's power supplier said yesterday."
New rules to tackle water shortage in Beijing
"China's arid capital is short of 1.3 billion cubic meters of water this year, following successive droughts in the last 13 years, the Beijing-based Legal Affairs Evening News reported Monday, quoting sources inside the Beijing Water Authority."
Water and will in short supply in China
"Across China, the signs of the country's distressed water supply have grown increasingly severe over the past several years. In February, Vice Minister of Water Resources Hu Simi publicly stated 'The situation is extremely serious in many areas. With overdevelopment, water use has already surpassed what our natural resources can bear.'"
Behind a Chinese City's Growth, Heavy Debt
"A Wall Street Journal analysis of Chinese rating-company reports shows that 10 major investment vehicles the city used to fuel its growth accumulated more than 346 billion yuan ($54 billion) in liabilities, as it recapitalized banks and built highways, bridges and other projects that boosted growth and helped attract global companies looking for an entry into China's booming inland markets. In 2007, when Mr. Bo became Chongqing's party chief, its top post, those vehicles had total liabilities of 162 billion yuan.
"Those debts likely represent only part of Chongqing's obligations, analysts say, because state-owned enterprises and property developers have liabilities of their own. The figures also exclude a number of smaller investment vehicles."
China Manufacturing Contraction May Spur More Easing
"China's manufacturing may shrink for a sixth month in April, maintaining pressure on officials to adopt more policies to stimulate economic growth, a survey of companies showed."

## UK ##
UK Govt. Seismic Fracking Report Certain to Sharpen Debate
Scottish unions warn on youth unemployment

## US ##
Report: Immigration From Mexico To U.S. Comes To Standstill
Fresh Round Of Job Cuts On The Way For Wall Street
The Top 1% Saw Their Incomes Rise 8 Times,1979-2007
Hospitals suffer from drug shortages
Resin shortage threatens to shut US auto plants
Appendix removal: Huge sticker shock in hospital study
The average was $33,000. Can you afford that? -- RF
Layoffs more familiar than ever
"A record number of U.S. survey respondents indicated they know someone who has lost a job in the past six months, a Gallup poll indicated Monday."
Trustees Warn Social Security Faces Bleak Future
"The trustees in charge of nation's Social Security program said a sagging economy has hit the program hard. The program's trust fund, which goes mostly to retirees, said the trustees, will run dry by 2033."
It won't last until 2033. -- RF
Illinois 'Treads Water' as Unpaid Bills Top $9 Billion
"Illinois's backlog of unpaid bills has risen to more than $9 billion because of pension costs and falling federal aid, leaving the state "essentially treading water," Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said."
Epic Fail - Part One
FDIC: Bank failures will cost $12 billion by 2016

Sunday, April 22, 2012


News Links, April 23, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Korean steel industry in deep trouble - POSCO
"POSCO said that Korea's steel industry is in deeper trouble than was previously realized.
"The country's largest steelmaker vowed to make amends in 2012 by pursuing austerity measures and slashing investments."
JFE posts massive loss for 2011-12 (Japan)
"World's No 5 steelmaker JFE Holdings Inc has posted net loss of JPY 36.63 billion in fiscal 2011, a reversal from a profit of JPY 58.61 billion a year ago, on valuation losses from overseas stock investments it was promoting as part of its growth strategy."
Another piece of the puzzle concerning India's economic slowdown
"In the last year, the nation's power problem has grown acute, with the gap between demand and supply jumping to 10.2 percent last month, from 7.7 percent a year earlier. In some states like Andhra Pradesh, where Nellore is, and in neighboring Tamil Nadu, blackouts have become so common that many factories report getting more electricity from diesel generators than they do from the power grid, at a cost that is roughly three times higher."
European Splintering Escalates: Dutch Government Falls; Slovakia Government Collapsed in March; Czech Government Collapse Coming Right Up (Mish)
Spain is About to Enter a Full-Scale Collapse
$14 Trillion: Cost of Rescuing World Economy
Point of No Return: "Australia is Screwed"

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Cathay Pacific: May park planes, cut flights
"Cathay Pacific Airways warned that the airline may have to park aircraft and reduce flights if weakening demand and high fuel costs persist.
"The Hong Kong-based airline says that revenue growth in recent weeks has been falling 'well short of target' and failing to keep pace with capacity growth."
Lufthansa to tighten its belt with drastic cuts
"Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa is planning drastic cuts in a bid to increase its annual yield from passenger flights by 900 million Euros, confirmed a spokesman on Saturday.
"Lufthansa will not buy any more planes for the next three years, will cancel some routes and do away with first class tickets on many long-haul flights according to a newspaper report."
Kingfisher Airlines Runs Into Payroll Snag (India)
Private airlines too weak to fly (Bangladesh)
Airline merger could mean even higher airline fees (US)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iraq's prime minister travels to Iran for talks
"Iraq's prime minister traveled to Tehran Sunday for top level talks, underlining the close ties between governments of the two countries."
Despite sanctions, ties between Iran and Germany remain strong
"Alternative ways are being found for settling trade debts, including suitcases filled with cash, barter deals, and especially money transfers via banks in third-party countries such as Turkey, Armenia, Belarus and Azerbaijan."
Pak-Iran barter is a no-brainer
Egypt scraps Israel gas supply deal
Italy police seize $5 billion of U.S. securities
"Italy financial police have seized U.S. securities with face values of about $1.5 billion and gold certificates worth above 3 billion euros ($3.96 billion) as part of an investigation into a possible international financial scam."
U.S., Afghanistan strike new security deal

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
F1 teams to race while rage boils on Bahrain streets
Another Greek Man Commits Suicide Due to Austerity Measures
Thousands descend on Queen's Park to protest McGuinty budget (Canada)

## Energy/resources ##
70% of Chinese investments in North Korea in mining
Investors are the casualties in a booming oil patch (Canada)
Zimbabwe: Steady Water Supply for Zimbabwean City Still a Pipe Dream
Sudan oil infrastructure hit in border fight: monitor
"Satellite images show a key part of the oil infrastructure in Sudan's contested Heglig region was  destroyed during recent border fighting with South Sudan, a monitoring group said on Sunday."
The Sudans put China in a policy bind
"When one of your big oil suppliers splits into rival states, that's a problem for any country. When you're China, with its huge appetite for energy and a tradition of never wanting to take sides, it becomes a foreign policy migraine."
Power crisis looming large over Malwa (India)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Thieves Targeting Amplifiers and Connectors Inside Charter Communication Cable Boxes in Cerritos
TM loses RM623k to cable thieves
Copper wire theft a problem for power company

## Got food? ##
Has the 2011 corn crop been rationed? (US)

## Environment/health ##
Measles Makes a Comeback in U.S. as 222 Cases Found in 2011
Diesel Exhaust More Deadly Than Car Accidents

## Japan ##
Noda, Obama To Call For New Order In Asia-Pacific Region: Officials
Oh, brother — Not another "new order"! -- RF
Japan to retain austerity for global financial stability: Finmin

## UK ##
NHS rationing leaving thousands of children suffering tonsillitis: surgeons

## US ##
Price Hikes the Reason for Growing Corporate Profits? (Fox Business video)
Getting Paid 93 Cents a Day in America? Corporations Bring Back the 19th Century
"Nearly a million prisoners are working in call centers, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73."
Half of new graduates are jobless or underemployed
Feral Drones…and Other Invasive Species
Surplus War Gear Could Go to Volatile U.S.-Mexico Border
"As millions of pieces of military equipment flow back to the U.S. from Iraq and Afghanistan, a growing group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill wants to send some of it straight to the U.S.-Mexico border."
USAF comptroller: $1 billion IT system a bust
Cargo Thieves Increasingly Sophisticated, Expert Warns

And Finally… 6 absurd purchases by the superrich

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