Thursday, May 17, 2012


News Links, May 17, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Greeks pull funds from banks; emergency cabinet to be named
"Greece's political leaders meet on Wednesday to form a caretaker government to take it to a second election in just over a month, with its euro membership at stake and its president speaking of 'fear that could develop into panic' at its banks."
The Bank Runs In Greece Will Soon Be Followed By Bank Runs In Other European Nations
Capital Flight From Greece Accelerates, €5bn in May, Exodus Even Hits Time Deposits; Fed, ECB, BOE, BOJ Balance Sheet Comparison (Mish)
Shipping woes wipe out Maersk profits
"Woes in container shipping markets wiped out underlying first-quarter profits for Denmark's AP Møller-Maersk in the latest sign of the gravity of the problems facing the economically vital sector."
Steel majors give gloomy outlook for Europe
Industry capacity utilisation only 60% (Thailand)
Strong government consumption fuels Russian growth, but fears linger
Central Banks may buy 700 tons of gold bullion in 2012
Syria's Economy Starts to Crumble
Egypt economy on the edge ahead of presidential vote
IMF urges new Senegal government to tighten belt
Default Swaps in U.S. Increase as Greece Heads for New Elections
"A gauge of U.S. corporate credit risk rose for a ninth day, reversing earlier declines, as attempts to form a new government in Greece failed, clearing the way for a new round of elections."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Singapore Airlines to halt Abu Dhabi, Athens services
As Airlines Continue to Create New Fees, What Will Happen to the 'Standard Fare'?

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
The US military option for Iran is 'ready,' American ambassador to Israel says
Blogger Shines Light on U.S. Shadow War in East Africa
Pakistan agrees to reopen NATO supply route to Afghanistan, but for a fee
"The cost of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan is about to rise by $365 million annually under an agreement that would reopen a key NATO supply route through Pakistan that's been closed for nearly six months."
China's "small stick" approach to South China Sea
Chinese anger at US base in Australia
Exclusive: Iran flouts U.N. sanctions, sends arms to Syria: panel
India to reduce Iran oil imports
"'India has to do a tough balancing act between Iran and America. We have to ensure that our strategic engagement with the U.S. continues.'
"But South Asia expert Sumit Ganguly, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the likelihood of Washington imposing sanctions on India is 'pretty slim.'
"'If the U.S. imposes sanctions, I think the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership will basically fall apart,' Ganguly told Indian news Website Firstpost."
Many will profit if Pakistan reopens NATO supply routes
"U.S. commanders in Afghanistan want to get war supplies rolling across Pakistan's borders again. So do Pakistanis in places high and low — from officials trying to balance the nation's budget to black marketeers who stand ready to plunder the NATO-contracted trucks and oil tankers expected to shortly resume passage into Afghanistan after nearly six months of closed border crossings."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Occupy Wall Street Plans 'Laugh Riot' At G8 Summit And Beyond
Anarchists threaten Italy's PM Monti
Give all police Taser guns to quell riots, Federation says (UK)

## Energy/resources ##
Jeffrey Brown responds to "U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream"
Australian gas users fear shortage as LNG exports grow
"Gladstone LNG hub may drain east coast gas supplies"
Is Your Bunker Fuel Guaranteed Iranian-Free?
"Western sanctions against Iran are becoming a major headache for European and other shipping companies whose vessels refuel in Singapore, as they face penalties if they use fuel that contains any Iranian oil."
U.S. to seek G8 support for oil reserve release: Kyodo
"U.S. President Barack Obama will seek support to tap emergency oil reserves from other Group of Eight leaders at a summit this weekend before the European Union's July embargo of Iranian crude, Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.
"The report suggests that a slide in oil prices to their lowest in months has not halted U.S. efforts to use strategic oil stockpiles to offset diminishing exports from Iran, which is facing tough new sanctions on its oil industry."
Indonesia Details Additional Mineral Taxes
"Indonesian officials revealed additional plans to tax mineral exports from the resource-rich country, compounding worries that government policies could slow the flow of investment into one of Asia's fastest-growing economies."
OPEC nudges world oil demand forecast higher
Africa may struggle to extract groundwater, experts say

## Got food? ##
U.N. criticizes Canada for letting people go hungry
"'Canada has long been seen as a land of plenty. Yet today one in 10 families with a child under six is unable to meet their daily food needs,' Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement."
Vegetables baked by bad weather, fuel cost (India)
Syria sugar refineries paralyzed, smuggling seen soaring

## Environment/health ##
Medical Records Could Yield Answers On Fracking
Town's Effort To Link Fracking And Illness Falls Short
Hot enough for you? Canadians brace for heat, wind and drought

## Intelligence/security/internet/systemic breakdown ##
How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing 'Terrorists' - and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook
DNA Goes Digital with New Biometric Tracking App
Panopticon Society: The Surveillance State: Knowing Every Bit About You

## Japan ##
Blue Chips Take Another Beating On Worries About Growth, Yen
"Investors' latest bout of risk aversion has sunk Japanese blue chips even deeper amid anxiety over the outlook for the global economy and the possibility of a firming yen."
Welfare recipients hit another record
"The number of people on welfare hit another record high of 2,097,401 in February, up 5,499 from the previous month, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Wednesday."
Kansai braces for summer heat without reactors
"News that the Kansai region will be asked to cut summer power consumption by at least 15 percent and that plans are afoot for outright restrictions on electricity use, including rolling blackouts, was greeted calmly by area political leaders and residents."
Japan utilities burn record LNG equivalent for April
Japan's Growth Seen Peaking as BOJ Pressed to Stimulate
"Japan's economic growth probably peaked in the first quarter and analysts forecast the pace of expansion will halve by year-end as the boost from earthquake reconstruction fades."
The "reconstruction boost" is already faltering, even though reconstruction has gone virtually nowhere. -- RF
Chevron Snaps Up More LNG Business As Japan Pulls Out Of Nuclear
Tepco halts dividends, so metro buses to run red ink
"The Tokyo Metropolitan Government's bus operations, running in the black since 2003, probably lost money for the first time for fiscal 2011, and the major reason is the dividends from Tokyo Electric Power Co. shares have dried up."

## China ##
Real Estate Crash in China Underway: Foreign Funding Down 80%, Land Sales Down 57%, Starts Down 27%; Expect Chinese GDP to Plunge (Mish)
China Finds Shrinking Appetite for Loans
"Bank lending plunged in April, according to the People's Bank of China, and has remained weak in May, said bankers and borrowers. The decline is because companies are wary about borrowing when demand is uncertain and profits are evaporating."

## UK ##
Clinton Cards to close 350 stores with 2,800 job losses
Bank governor warns of eurozone crisis 'storm'
Please deport me, there's no work in Britain, illegal immigrant begs judge

## US ##
Cheaper gas not enough to boost summer driving
Fox News Analyst: First American To Shoot Down A Domestic Spy Drone 'Will Become A Folk Hero'
That Which Is Unsustainable Will Go Away: Medicare
"Here are the sobering facts about the number of workers and those drawing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid entitlements in the U.S. While the government claims to have a 'trust fund' to pay for Social  Security and Medicare, this is illusory propaganda. There are no funds set aside to pay these entitlements--they are 'pay as you go' programs funded by current tax revenues. If the tax revenues don't cover the programs' expenses, the Treasury sells bonds, i.e. issues debt to pay the entitlements."
Debt Weighs on A Third of Small Business Owners
Court Rejects Obama Arguments, Enjoins Against NDAA Detentions

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