Sunday, December 16, 2012


News Links, December 15-17, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
U.S. Manufacturing May Already Be in Recession
Fitch warns France on AAA credit rating
Italy's debt exceeds 2 trillion euros
France wants more "two-speed" Europe from 2014
Visualizing The Wealth Of Nations
Latin America Finance Ministers Worried About Local Currencies
"Latin America and Caribbean finance ministers on Friday expressed concern about the negative effects that developed economies' monetary stimuli are having on the region's currencies."
Argentina's 12-Month Inflation Accelerates to +10.6% In November
South Africa is not "falling apart": Zuma
"President Jacob Zuma sought to dispel the concerns of rating agencies and investors about sluggish growth in South Africa on Sunday and insisted the country was not 'falling apart'."
Indonesia's clogged ports strain growth prospects
EU Car Sales Drop 14th Consecutive Month; Car Sales Plunge 20.1% in Italy, 20.3% in Spain, 19.2% in France, 3.5% in Germany, Rise in UK
Dubai Project Dreams Evoke 2008 Crash at Banks: Mortgages
"With the same bravura that turned the desert sheikhdom into a hub for finance, tourism and real estate, the government is pitching massive projects in the hope of inspiring investment even as banks and builders remain buried under debt from the property-market collapse in 2008."
India Must Tap Household, Temple Gold to Reduce Imports
Shipping companies have little to cheer about in New Year
"A single day voyage of a very large crude carrier (VLCC) requires a minimum operating cost of between $8,000 and $9,000 — without adding interest or proportionate cost of vessel. But a rough assimilation of spot rates on various routes would suggest that the average rate was just about $500 a day for the July to September quarter."
Energy firms look to tackle shortage of skilled workers

## Airline Death Spiral ##
For $100 Million, Southwest Learns to Love Bag Fees
JFK Security Workers OK Strike as Holiday Travelers Pay More to Fly
Cameroon Airlines workers to go on strike
Air France adds €500 million in spending cuts
Impending pilot shortage could shut down local airports, force airfare higher
A butler is cheaper than an extra bag when flying with Ryanair
Demand for turboprop aircrafts growing in Asia: ATR
American, US Airways may merge to form giant airline
Fitch publishes global airlines sector credit factor report
American Airlines lays off 43 workers in Tulsa
Hundreds lose jobs as AA's Alliance base closes
Fuel Costs, Grey Market Hurdles For Business Aviation
The Boeing 787 Hole Gets Deeper, Questions Of Plane's Safety

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Germany To Deploy Patriot to Turkey, New Equipment to Afghanistan
Follow Friday: Every U.S. Drone Attack
Senkaku/Diaoyu: China submits East China Sea islands claim to UN
Peshawar airport rocket fire kills two in Pakistan
Indian army to get more attack helicopters
U.S. seeks double Israel missile funding
Israeli soldiers assault two Reuters cameramen
"Israeli soldiers punched two Reuters cameramen and forced them to strip in the street, before letting off a tear gas canister in front of them, leaving one of them needing hospital treatment."
War of pipelines (Pakistan)
US Sends 400 Troops, Patriot Missiles To Turkey In Preparation Of Syrian Hostilities Escalation
South Korea's Imports of Iranian Crude Climb in November
US commanders give upbeat war effort reviews
Kuwait emir warns critics as protest-hit parliament opens
Syrian rebels say Americans, Britons helped train them in Jordan
Australia Grapples With China's Rise

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Global Day of Action Hits Walmart in 10 Countries
Russia opposition leaders held as protesters defy police
Pro-Union Activist Threatens the Michigan Governor: 'We'll Be at Your Daughter's Soccer Game'

## Energy/resources ##
Net Energy, the Key to Energy Investing
It would be a much different world if politicians understood net energy. -- RF
All is not rosy for inland oil refineries in North America
Here's a good snapshot of what ails the infinite-growth economy as it faces rising energy costs. Greater profits are needed to keep the system growing and bring in the increasing amount of capital needed to finance the development of junk oil. At the same time, industrial society is choking on debt and high energy prices, thereby reducing consumption and quashing profits. What was a virtuous circle of growth in the days of cheap energy has now become a vicious circle of decline under a regime of accumulating debt and expensive energy. There is no escape. -- RF
Schlumberger Warns on Earnings
"The world's largest oil field services firm, Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) issued an update on fourth-quarter operations that lowers the company's earnings per share (EPS) forecast by $0.05 to $0.07 per share. The terse press release attributes the weaker forecast to 'contractual delays' and 'higher than usual seasonal slowdowns' in Europe, Russia and Africa, as well as to weaker-than-expected onshore drilling in the United States and Western Canada."
France to Raise Consumer Gas Prices by 2.4%, Batho Says
New Mobimar windfarm service vessel
I am posting this not to promote any windfarm service vessel, but to show the challenges of servicing offshore wind turbines. Nevertheless, many people will still insist that the challenges can be met by having electric boats! -- RF
Edison Mission prepares bankruptcy filing: source
"Edison Mission Energy, a power company that operates in more than a dozen U.S. states, is preparing a possible bankruptcy filing as it tries to restructure about $5 billion in debt, according to a source close to the matter."
EU freezes Lithuanian nuclear plant decommissioning funds
All Roads Lead to Natural Gas-Fueled Cars and Trucks
I wouldn't change lanes so fast. Building infrastructure will turn out to be far more costly than they think. -- RF
Black Sea "Perfect Storm" Damages Romanian Nuke Plant, Wind Farm
Algeria pushes $80 billion energy drive
Power shortfall reaches upto 4500 MW (Pakistan)
Textile industry of Pakistan worst hit by power cuts
Mizoram faces power cuts, typewriters resurface
"Aizawl: Old typewriters reappeared in government offices of Mizoram and the staff worked in candle light due to crippling power cuts in the state."
Iran and the new EIA and OPEC Reports
Household electricity consumption reaches new high: Report (EU)
Nigeria: Country's Refineries Moribund for 15 Years, Have Worst Performance Record - Report
Iran says oil revenues down by half: paper
Spain's oldest nuclear plant shuts down
The Peak Oil Crisis: Deep in the Heart of Texas
"Adding refinery processing gains as a source of energy is disingenuous as the refining simply breaks down the oil in smaller molecules which take up more volume and hence give the impression that we have more 'oil' products after refining. The truth is the energy remains the same before and after refining and we have simply 'inflated' the liquids so  they take up more barrels."
Previous long-term government, industry oil forecasts badly overestimated supply; why should we listen now?

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Dozens of thefts hit hospitals in West Midlands and Staffordshire
"More than £12,000 of computer equipment used for patients' care was stolen, fridges to keep medication were stolen, metal boilers ripped out, a wheelchair taken and suspected alcoholics even took hand gel from outside wards."
Metal thieves target schools: Classrooms left without air conditioning

## Got food? ##
Saudi firm sets up Russian wheat supply JV
Syrians sounding alarm over growing food shortages
Beef prices may hit record high in 2013

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Winter in the garden: Pruning and composting good ways to prepare for spring

## Environment/health ##
Pesticide used by UK farmers is linked to long-term brain damage
U.N. warns radioactive waste in unsecured sites in Tajikistan
Inconvenient Truths Not Spoken About at Doha

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens
Unprecedented Powers for Warrantless Surveillance
Biggest Social Media Sites Censor Alternative News
Internet porn: Automatic block rejected (UK)
Moore's Law, Cheap Electronics and Homeland Security Money Combine to Create Big Brother
IT Outsourcing Hits Nine-Year Low In Q3

## Systemic breakdown ##
NGO creates awareness against road rage
"Road rage continues to dominate Mumbai's congested thoroughfares."
Minor incidents fuel road rage (Australia)
Air rage - Chinese screaming mad over delays
Shopping cart rage at Walmart
Drug shortages forcing health officials to take drastic measures

## Japan ##
BOJ December Tankan Likely to Worsen Sharply
Huge decline in business sentiment
Sour ties hurt exports to China / Auto industry dealt serious blow despite some positive indicators
Japanese operator in most frank admission over nuclear disaster
WHO downplayed health effects of nuclear crisis on Fukushima residents: German physician
After a Landslide Election Victory, Japan's Conservatives to Pursue Keynesian Stimulus to Boost the Economy and Strengthening of the U.S.-Japan Alliance vis-a-vis China.
Spotlight on Japan: Return of 'Abenomics', More Militarism, Tougher China Line; Outlook for Yen and Nikkei

## China ##
Religious cult wages holy war against Communist Party
Is China's oil demand surge real or stockpiling?

## UK ##
Wind farm impact on Jurassic Coast to be examined, firm pledges
Christmas rail strikes likely as talks break down

## US ##
U.S. Secret Service Bans Certain Gold and Silver Coins On eBay
Holder Says Administration Will Announce Marijuana Policy Soon
Foxconn Plans American Expansion as Clients Seek Made in U.S.A.
Obama Says He's Got "Bigger Fish To Fry" Than Recreational Pot Smokers
Report warns demand for Colorado River water to outstrip supply
John Kerry to Be Nominated to Be Secretary of State, Sources Say
QE 4: Folks, This Ain't Normal -- What you need to know about the Fed's latest move
Sandy Clogs the Fuel Line
"Gas shortages in the wake of Hurricane Sandy have revealed weaknesses in the Northeast gas supply chain that will require fixes from the private sector and federal and state government, according to a petroleum analyst."
Mainstream Media Finally Awakens to the Fact that Big Banks Are Criminal Enterprises
Chart Of The "New Normal": Ben Bernanke Doubles Down - Literally
The 2 million unemployed who may hit fiscal cliff
Retirees in RVs are Amazon's elves (video)
This is sad. People who should be at home enjoying their golden years are out on the road chasing jobs. -- RF
Is Corporate Behavior Too Bubblicious in Bond Market?

And finally…
Ew! Study: Bellybuttons house thousands of bacterial species

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