Thursday, December 20, 2012


News Links, December 20-21, 2012

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Chaebol Founder Dismantles Life's Work as Slump Deepens: Freight
Greeks Can't Find Euros to Buy Heating Oil in Winter Economy
France Faces Growing Pension Deficit; French Youth Lose Hope; Politicians in Denial; Bond Market Patience Can't Last
Loan Default Rate Hits 11.23% in Spain, a New Record; Construction Defaults Hit 26.4%; Credit Plunges 5%
UBS To Pay $1.5 Billion For 'Routine And Widespread' Rate Rigging
UBS $1.5 Billion Libor Settlement Signals More to Come
Alberta backs away from balanced budget as oil revenue drops
"Fiscal cliff" talks turn sour, Obama threatens veto
Fitch says 'fiscal cliff' may cost US 'AAA' rating
Big Stock Traders Seeking Liquidity in Asia's Dry Year
Brazil Doubles Gold Reserves In Last 3 Months
Downsizing into profitability: Sunway scales back solar production to ward off losses
Tesla will need more loans to stay afloat in 2013

## Airline Death Spiral ##
This is tough time for aviation globally: Cathay Pacific
Asian airlines watch Lufthansa's short-haul transformation, wanting change to their own services
Kuban Airlines ceases operations, the last vestige of LCC SkyExpress?
Hawaiian Airlines' baggage fee collections climb 31% in Q3
Southwest Airlines Quietly Adding Some Fees
US carriers pocket $924 million in bag fees in Q3

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pirates attack tanker off Nigeria, kidnap five
Number of jailed journalists sets global record
UN, EU, Russia Condemn Israeli Settlements
"All members of the U.N. Security Council, with the lone exception of the United States, have publicly condemned Israel's recent settlement expansion activities and called for them to end. In a rare move, 14 of the council's 15 members read public statements of their views instead of seeking formal action by the council, since that likely would have been opposed by the United States."
Al Qaeda grows powerful in Syria as endgame nears
Three more polio workers shot in Pakistan; eight dead in 48 hours
Iraqi president's stroke fuels fears of crisis
Troops gone, U.S. increasingly sidelined in Iraq
Nearly half of UK forces to leave Afghanistan in 2013
Upgraded MiG-29s supplied to India
Russia's Putin seeks big arms deals in India
Lebanon, Israel take step toward claiming big oil, gas deposits
Investors Shun Postwar Iraq as OPEC Star's Recovery Lags
"Nine years after U.S.-led forces toppled the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, even specialists in frontier markets are backing off from Iraq. Daily blackouts, congested ports and other infrastructure woes compound investor concerns about violence and corruption, and a broad recovery continues to elude this energy-rich nation of 33 million people."
House-Senate Panel Worries About 'Slippery Slope' of Over-Militarization of U.S. Espionage
"A special congressional panel, worried about the disappearing lines between military and intelligence work, is endorsing  Senate-approved language restricting plans to insert the U.S. military into the global espionage business."
Iran sidesteps sanctions to export its fuel oil
"Iran is becoming increasingly creative in dodging Western sanctions, managing to sell a rising volume of fuel oil to generate revenue equal to up to a third of its crude exports, which have been badly hit by restrictions."
In China's shadow, ASEAN leaders look to India for maritime security
"Southeast Asian nations and India vowed on Thursday to step up cooperation on maritime security, a move that comes amid tension with China in the potentially oil- and gas-rich South China Sea."
UAE shuts down office of U.S. research institute RAND
UN backs Mali intervention force to oust rebels

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Tanzania: Religious Leaders Warn of Unrest
"RELIGIOUS leaders have called for timely intervention by authorities to signs of social and religious unrest to avoid the outbreak of all out conflicts similar to those that caused massive devastation in neighbouring states."
Cargo workers could strike at Miami, Everglades ports
Greek civil servants stage 24-hour strike
Greek police clash with angry shopkeepers in Athens
Gang rape on New Delhi bus sparks protests across India
Police disperse protesters at South Africa Harmony Gold mine

## Energy/resources ##
Is the U.S. Energy Boom being Oversold?
Don't Fall for the Shale Boom Hype - Chris Martenson Interview
Conservation Not Technology will be our Saviour - Chris Martenson (Part 2)
Ukraine and Russia Gamble over Europe's Gas Supply
Weak demand blunts effect of Rhine oil shipping halt
German wind power irks neighboring grids
South Africa Plans New Mining Tax
Radar blackout paralyzes Soekarno-Hatta airport (Indonesia)
Kyrgyz freeze as gas, power supplies run short
"Thousands of households in the capital of Kyrgyzstan have been hit by chronic gas and power shortages just as temperatures have dropped to around minus 20 Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit)."
Powerless Andhra Pradesh's ice cream industry melting (India)
Private power plants in dire straits in state (India)
What Economists Missed: Why World Coal Consumption Keeps Rising

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Mpls police search for catalytic converter thieves
$6K-$10K worth of steel taken from park
Copper thieves strike again; at least 4,500 feet of wire stolen from middle school

## Got food? ##
The End of the Green Revolution
This article is quite sobering. Nevertheless, it does not factor energy decline, climate change, or peak farmland (see below) into the equation, which makes the situation even more serious than described here. -- RF
Study Proclaims the Arrival of Peak Farmland
Mealworms Beat Meat For A Place On The Menu In Environmental Study
Watch: "The Global Food Crisis You Need To Prepare For Is Now Imminent"
"For the past six years the world has consumed more food than it has produced. As a result, global food reserves are at the lowest level since 1974, when the world had 4 billion people. Today we have 7 billion."
Touring a "Back to Eden" Garden

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Losing the art of conversation in a mobile phone world
My post-electric washing machine: The Deindustrial 2020

## Environment/health ##
Human Hands Evolved for Punching
"Human hands evolved so that men could make fists and fight, and not just for manual dexterity, new research finds. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, adds to a growing body of evidence that humans are among the most aggressive and violent animals on the planet."
Deep freeze across Russia dips to 50 below, at least 45 die
The eye-opening costs of America's insomnia

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Anonymous member: We aim to take Westboro Baptist Church offline permanently
Obama Openness Promise Belied as Disclosure Suits Outpace Bush
Hacker-proof your password

## Systemic breakdown ##
Just how bad are America's bridges and roads?
Global Supply Chain News: Here Comes the "Container Cliff"
"With the extended expiration of the contract with East and Gulf Coast dock workers set to occur in less than two weeks, global shipping may soon be dealt a fierce blow, in what some have wittily started calling the 'container cliff.'"
Healthcare market faces growing supply chain pressures
In Greek Migrant Camp, Refugees Find Tough Road to Europe
Big Pharma: When Will Critical Mass Be Reached?

## Japan ##
Why Japan's new Prime Minister is a gold bug
"Japan's seventh prime minister in six years, Shinzo Abe has made it immediately clear that he wants a weaker yen and supports money printing to infinity. The markets have obliged by devaluing the yen by six per cent even before he assumed office, now perhaps they can really get going."
'Japan is f**ked', says ex-Olympus chief executive Michael Woodford
Pressure mounts on Bank of Japan as November exports fall
BOJ Expands Asset Purchases
Tokyo Plays Hardball, Weakens Yen, Lifts the Nikkei
Japan faces prospect of third decade of low growth
November trade deficit third-worst on record
Abe to set up economic recovery war room
Union workers drop to record low
Abe prepares ruling bloc, pressures BOJ
Of special interest here is that there is going to be a new post, an "economic revitalization minister." This is, of course, the way civilizations fall: They become increasingly complex, in turn requiring ever greater energy throughput to keep it all going. Energy-savvy people can already see the tragic end. The new prime minister intends to bring back the good old days through efforts at maintaining and expanding a system that has already reached its limits. -- RF
James Bond Can't Fix Sony as Japan Electronics Scrape Lows: Tech
Tepco now trying to repair liner of No. 3 Spent Fuel Pool at Fukushima plant? (PHOTOS)
Experts See Active Faults Under Aomori Nuclear Plant
Crumbling infrastructure: Metropolitan Expressway turns 50, shows signs of aging

## China ##
50% of world's illegal money transfers come from China: report
China to overhaul struggling solar panel industry
China Plans Yuan Flexibility After Global Easing, Xinhua Says
"China will increase the movement of yuan exchange rate 'appropriately' to handle the new round of quantitative easing by the world's central banks, the official Xinhua News Agency said in an editorial."
Report: China military beefing up civilian 'maritime surveillance'
The Coming China Crisis: An Interview with Bert Dohmen

## UK ##
'Big drop' in UK petrol stations as fuel reserves fall
Thousands Of UK Households To Fall Into Fuel Poverty
Britain's new dash for gas will require more storage investment
"Britain needs to provide more incentives to draw investment into additional gas storage capacity, analysts say, as the country builds new gas-fired power stations fuelled largely by imported supplies."
Growth won't save us – there won't be any

## US ##
Walmart Out Of Guns As Americans Race For Arms After Newtown
Newtown massacre fuels bullet-proof backpack sales
Money Funds Brace for Flood
"BlackRock Inc. BLK -0.42% and Federated Investors Inc. FII -0.20% might bolt the door to shield their funds from a torrent of money that is expected to flood out of U.S. banks when a federal guarantee lapses on roughly $1.7 trillion in bank deposits."
Putting It In Perspective: In 2013 The Fed Will Conjure Enough Paper Money To Buy 11% Of All Existing Gold
Teachers, other government workers become growing face of union fights
Report: States losing ground in emergency preparedness
The end of 'the great equalizer' in Massachusetts 
Impact of climate change on California's electricity infrastructure could be costly
House advances Plan B
Weird Turn On Fiscal Cliff: GOP Plan Would Hike Taxes On Working Class So High-Income People Can Pay Less
20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest
Leading Economic Indicators Head South in November
Avalanche of boomers may bury Social Security
Holiday Season Buying Stalls

And finally…
Mayans unfazed about the end of the world
Fearful 'end of world' calls, emails flood NASA as Dec. 21 nears
Doomsdayers Flock To Serbian Mountain Believed To Contain Alien Pyramid
Apocalypse NOW: Your Guide to the End of the World

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