Sunday, November 25, 2012


News Links, November 24-26, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Maersk Container Vessels Sailing Slower Than 1870s Clipper Ships
Mechel (MTL) Temporarily Halts Steelmaking Facilities in Romania, Ukraine
"Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL), a Russia-based integrated mining and steel company, reported a temporary suspension of steelmaking facilities in Romania and Ukraine due to unfavorable conditions for raw materials and finished steel products."
Italy's Lucchini to halt steel furnace temporarily
"Lucchini, Italy's second largest steel producer, will temporary shut down its Piombino blast furnace in December due to weak market conditions, the debt-burdened company said on Friday."
The above two items remind one of the mass blast furnace shutdowns after the crash of 2008. -- RF
450,000 Businesses Shut Down in Italy; Non-Performing Loans Jump 15.3%, Write-Downs 21.6%
Vietnam's November Inflation Accelerates to 6-Month High
Vietnam Empty Office Towers Show Dreams Turned to Rubble
Dubai to have 'new' city and world's biggest mall
Just imagine the fallout when Dubai crashes. When this bubble pops, the bang will be heard around the world. -- RF
448,000 Saudis unemployed
"Labor Minister Adel Fakeih yesterday disclosed that there are about 448,000 unemployed Saudi men and women in a country that hosts 8.4 million foreign workers."
India finance minister - economy probably grew 5.5 percent in July-September quarter
India's gold imports may touch 800 tonne in 2012: WGC
Russian parliament backs cut in pension savings
Argentine bondholders fear U.S. court ruling could trigger default
Big Banks Use the Shadow Banking System to Commit Massive Accounting Fraud
Why a Global Economic Rebound Will Be Short-lived
But the author leaves out the biggest factor of all: energy decline. -- RF
Europe Demands Nationalized Spanish Banks Fire 8,000 To Transfer First Bank Bailout Tranche
Which Central Banks Are Still Buying Up Gold?

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Thomas Cook to face new cutbacks
"The new Thomas Cook chief executive, Harriet Green, is to issue a warning that further costs need to be stripped from the ailing business as it prepares to unveil a second year of losses."
Meddling Governments Anger Latin American Airlines
Economy makes for tougher Thanksgiving journeys
Australia Awash With Flights, Hurting Airlines, Qantas Says
Airport fuel crisis 'just hours away'
Singapore Airlines Terminates Nonstop USA Flights, Orders New Aircraft
Outrage as Jetstar cancels Christmas flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iran Complains to UN About Illegal US Overflights
U.N. Considers Drones Over War-Torn Congo
India Hits Back at China in Passports War
Turkey reveals Iranian gold-for-gas trade-off
Bomb in Pakistan kills 2 Shiites, injures 35
US aircraft carrier strikeforce readies in case of war with Iran
"When the aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis returns to the placid blue waters of the Gulf with her strike force of 70 jets in the next few days, she will be ready for action off the coast of Iran."
Warships of Russian Black Sea Fleet are ordered to stay in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea
Hezbollah says could hit all of Israel in future war
Israel says successfully tests more powerful rocket interceptor
Israel warns it will disrupt Hamas attempts to rearm
Eight dead, human remains found in northern Mexico
China lands fighter jet on new carrier in show of force

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Violence breaks out across Egypt as protesters decry Mohammed Morsi's constitutional 'coup'
Egypt judges call for national strike over Mursi decree
Black Friday Shoppers Spiral Out Of Control
"If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake?"
French police, protesters clash at airport site
Thai police fire tear gas at political protest
Sudan disrupts security 'plot'; tanks seen in street
Operation #TuBasuraAlBanco: Depositing garbage at banks in Spain
Thousands of Italians rally against Monti's austerity
Greek police clash with migrants at detention centre
"Tomato revolution" gains momentum in Bulgaria
Walmart Strike Hits 100 Cities, But Fails To Distract Black Friday Shoppers
New wars possible, new borders too

## Energy/resources ##
Is Humanity Really Going to Starve to Death in Twenty Years Because We Will Have Run Out of Potash and Phosphorus Fertilizers?
The right answer here is that Grantham and his detractors have all got it wrong. They are focusing on quantity, but it doesn't matter how much potash and phosphorus the planet has. There are two reasons for this. First, quantity is meaningless. The resources must be of sufficient quality to allow their economical extraction and processing. Second, because extraction, processing, and distribution all require energy, that energy must be sufficiently cheap and available to perform these tasks. Therefore, the question is not the amounts of these nutrients that exist, but whether they are of sufficient quality, and whether energy is cheap enough and available. There might well be 250 billion tons of potash, but I guarantee you that humanity will never recover all of it. It's surprising that these economics and investment gurus do not understand the concept of quality, and they certainly do not understand energy. This reminds one again of the fact that no one is extracting the thousands of tons of gold in the world's oceans, in spite of today's high prices. Despite the huge quantity there for the taking, the quality of the resource is too low. So here again, we can see that quality is the only thing that really matters. -- RF
James Howard Kunstler: Peak oil, peak bullshit
Jim Kunstler on fraud, mainly that involving shale oil and gas. It's a good overview of the situation for readers unfamiliar with the real story. Of particular interest is that, like me, he thinks that Japan will probably be the first country to fall out of the industrial system. -- RF
Musings: If You Believe The IEA, Our Energy Worries Are Over
"While the IEA study received significant attention from the mainstream media, most reporters do not understand the dynamics of oil reservoirs to ask the right questions and point out the possible weaknesses in the study."
Energy Losses Expose Petrobras Fuel Distortion: Corporate Brazil
Germany's Renewable Energy Problems Serve as a Warning to the UK
Petrobras Records $8 Billion Loss after being Forced to Sell Gasoline below Cost
Power breakdown hits parts of Karachi
What Happens IF Cold Fusion Does Become Reality?
A good read. We must always remember that nothing is free and that there are always negative consequences. -- RF
Coal market to face dropping quality and rising costs
There is certainly still lots of coal in the ground, but just as with every other resource, quality is everything. The same rules apply as outlined above with regard to fertilizers. Further, it's worth recalling that quality decline means society gets less net energy from each barrel of oil or each ton of coal. -- RF
Without tax break, BP abandons Alaska heavy-oil project
Okla. power line shortage hampers oil production
"Oil companies can use electric generators to drill and complete wells in the dense rock formation called the Mississippi Lime, but the pumps needed to suck the oil to the surface require vast amounts of power… Power demand can vary widely, but one section with three oil wells and a water disposal pump can use nearly one megawatt of power, or about the amount needed to power 1,000 homes."
With this huge power consumption, you have to wonder about the net energy of these operations. And it pays to remember that much oil and natural gas production is dependent on grid power. -- RF

## Got food? ##
Mexico postpones approval of large-scale GM corn fields
Food for 9 Billion: Satisfying China's Growing Demand for Meat
Is Thanksgiving a big waste of turkey?
Price of milk makes Greeks' blood boil
The scandal of British food poverty shames us all
Rising Prices Trigger Increased Food Insecurity Among Kyrgyzstan's Poorest
U.S. food banks raise alarm as drought dents government supplies
Give Thanks for Low Food Prices as They'll Rise Next Year
Farmers locked in food production vs. pollution trade-off
Inflation hits food security in Pakistan

## Environment/health ##
Scientists eye nanotechnologies to boost crop yields
"Nanotechnologies that deliver fertilisers to plants offer promising ways of improving farm productivity while reducing the risk of water contamination. But the scientists behind a new Swiss-funded study caution that while the technology is still evolving, potential risks must be considered."
Statoil, Rosneft Sign Agreement to Protect Arctic Region
Fracking Industry Keeps Eye on Obama; EPA Report Could Doom its Future
More SARS-like cases found in Saudi, Qatar
Is a New SARS-like Virus Spreading in the Middle East?
Biodefense Research Guards Against Virus More Deadly, Untreatable Than Ebola
Rapid action needed to stop malaria in Greece
EPA Testing Dangerous Pollutants on Human Beings

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Israel Wages Cyber War With Hamas as Civilians Take Up Computers
New Equipment Helps Buffalo Police Oversee Chippewa (US)
Saudi women monitored by electronic tracking
Billions in grants to fight terrorism -- US safer? (video)
Sibel Edmonds's Secrets

## Systemic breakdown ##
The Peak Oil Crisis: Descent Into Chaos
Over 3,000 Leaks Found in Study of Boston's Natural Gas Pipelines

## Japan ##
Japan's Population Now So Old That Sales Of Adult Diapers Exceed Those For Babies
Voters in tsunami-hit zone feel let down as Japan election nears
"But 20 months later, residents of towns and cities ravaged by the country's worst disaster in generations say the nation's biggest rebuilding effort since the aftermath of the World War Two has slipped off the political agenda."
The ugly truth is that the politicians know it's impossible to rebuild what the disaster wiped out. -- RF
Few outside firms join rebuilding / Despite govt scheme to encourage joint ventures in disaster-hit areas
Kansai Electric eyeing 12% hike in household electricity rates
Kyushu Electric eyes 8.5% raise in household electricity rates
SDF Will Become Full-Fledged Military Under LDP Govt: Abe
Renesas Electronics reaches buyout deal: report
Japan Is Eager to Tap U.S. Natural-Gas Supply

## China ##
Don't Fall for the Hype - China's Renewables Sector is in Disarray
Chinese companies stripping Vietnam of raw materials
Will LGIVs Be The 'Straw' To Break China's Credit-Fueled Growth 'Back'?

## UK ##
BAE Systems boss says shipyard may close
Tata Steel job cuts hit Wales hardest
"Port Talbot operations to see 580 job losses, while a further 155 jobs are to be lost in Yorkshire, 120 in the West Midlands and 30 in Teesside"
Energy deal means bills will rise to pay for green power
Floods in UK: More than 800 homes flooded as storms hit
50 MPs to warn against state regulation of newspapers

## US ##
3 Key Metrics That Show Why We Can't Avoid Recession
Gas blast levels Mass. buildings; at least 18 hurt
Sell Stocks Now: Why A Sustainable Market Rally Is Not Likely
National Guard soldiers and airmen face unemployment crisis
NYC lifting gas rationing as supplies return to normal after Sandy
2 shot at Florida Walmart over parking space, police say
Wall Street Kept Winning on Mortgages Upending Homeowners
Is the U.S. Set for an Era of Slow Growth?
Montana GOP Rep.: "Pay Me In Gold Before Dollars Have No Value"
Shadow banking: the next landmine
December's IPO Calendar Risks a Zero
Gun sales soar again after presidential election
A Guide to DIY Kit Homes
The FHA is Finally as Broke as the Post Office
New Jersey Truckers Continue to Dig Out After Sandy
Superstorm Sandy Victims Get Hit With Power Bills for Blackout

And finally…
Nature strikes back: Wild turkeys terrorize Boston suburb in the Thanksgiving season

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