Thursday, January 31, 2013


News Links, January 31-February 1, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Container Shipping Faces Merger Urge as Money Dries Up: Freight
"The container shipping industry may face a wave of mergers as carriers try to cushion themselves from the current crisis and grow to lower costs and improve access to funding."
S&P Keeps Negative Outlook on Belgium With Deficit Goal at Risk
(Not) Full Disclosure: Companies Bury 4Q Earnings Data (SKorea)
Sweden tells unemployed youth to look for work in Greece
Spain Recession Deepens More Than Forecast Amid Austerity
Catalonia asks Spain for further 9bn euros bailout
POSCO 2012 net profit dips by 36pct YoY
Land prices crimp Bahrain's low-cost homes plan
U.S. GDP data disappoints; euro and gold up
Power chief: Carbon credits face a 'junk bond' future
"Europe is staring at a 'lost decade' that will make decarbonisation impossible and reduce carbon credits to the value of 'junk bonds' unless politicians back a carbon market reform package, the head of Europe's electricity industry association has told EurActiv."
Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings
Like me, this author sees a neo-feudalist system rising. Unless you are super-rich, get your serf wardrobe ready. -- RF
Credit Supernova! (Bill Gross)
Countdown to the Collapse
"On multiple fronts there appears to have been a resumption of hostilities in the global currency wars. A subtle indication of this is the recently released report, Gold, the Renminbi and the Multi-Currency Reserve System, which I believe is highly significant for two reasons: First, it demonstrates that major global actors are now keenly aware and frightened of the possibility of a major breakdown in international monetary relations. Second, it suggests that these same actors are trying to contain the growing demand for gold as an alternative reserve asset and pre-empt an uncontrolled gold remonetization. These efforts will fail. A collapse of the current, unstable global monetary equilibrium is inevitable. Recent events indicate that the countdown has begun."
Indian shipping industry unlikely to revive till 2015

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Bankrupt Batavia Air ceases operation
Japanese airlines had Dreamliner battery issues before recent incidents
Dreamliner Cancellations in January Cause $15 Million Loss for All Nippon Airways
ANA to seek damages from Boeing for 787 troubles
Pinnacle Airlines reports USD1.1m operating loss in Dec-2012
Hawaiian Airlines parent reports $3.4M loss in Q4
Air India ranked world's third worst airline, China Airlines most unsafe
Smog Is So Bad in Beijing That Flights are Being Cancelled
Delta's oil refining efforts hit turbulence
"Losses at Trainer refinery add $63m to airline's fuel bill"
Job totals at American Airlines shrink 7.4% after a year in bankruptcy
Facility Closures & Downsizings: Lockheed Martin Shrinking its Real Estate Footprint
Will Oil Break Airline Stocks?

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
South Korean rocket blasts off in new attempt to put satellite in orbit
$7.3 million camp for Afghan police found nearly empty: inspectors
"A $7.3 million base camp built to house 175 Afghan Border Police was sitting virtually empty two months after it was handed over to Afghan authorities, and some equipment like wood-burning stoves had been dismantled, U.S. inspectors reported on Tuesday."
Niger gives green light to U.S. drone deployment: source
Iran on the Offensive
Canadian special forces on the ground in Mali
Israel hits Syria arms convoy to Lebanon: sources
Syria says Israel attacked military research center
"Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria's military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon."
Syria protests over Israel attack, warns of "surprise"
Israel boycotts UN forum, first state in history to ignore human rights review
U.N. rights inquiry says Israel must remove settlers
Syria missiles threaten Israeli spy flights
Policemen hurt by home-made bomb in Bahrain: government
NATO Chief Shares Mounting Concern Over U.S.-Europe Spending Gap

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Greek protesters occupy ministry office, clash with police
Greek public transport, health services, to launch more strikes
Restive Cities Threaten Egypt's Suez Canal

## Energy/resources ##
Iran crude oil exports rise to highest since EU sanctions
"Iran's crude oil exports in December leapt to their highest level since European Union sanctions took effect last July, analysts and shipping sources said, as strong Chinese demand and tanker fleet expansion helped the OPEC member dodge sanctions."
Iran fuel may be part of U.S.-funded Afghan supply deals: report
Record Profit Eludes Big Oil as Costs Outpace Brent Gain
"Even though Brent prices are up, so are the costs of producing that crude, and gas is a big drag."
Hess Should Consider Bakken Spinoff, Elliott Management Says
"Hess Corp. (HES) should conduct a full strategic review, including potential spinoff of its Bakken shale assets, Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp. said."
If the Bakken is such a success, why would they want to dump it? -- RF
Expensive takeovers haunt miners as writedowns near US$50-billion
"The world's biggest mining and steel companies have wiped about US$50-billion off project valuations in the past year and the purge is poised to continue this earnings season as managers reassess expensive takeovers."
Must read: Reality check (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
"In January the World Wildlife Fund released a report asserting that Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, and the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh could meet 100 percent of their projected electricity needs in 2050 by installing solar photovoltaic power plants on less than one percent of their total land area. Which would be excellent news if all anyone needed to make electricity was land and sunshine. Unfortunately, the WWF has let fantasy overtake reality in its dream of an all-renewables future."
At last some realistic thinking! I've repeatedly said that running industrial civilization on renewables is a pipe dream, especially under the infinite-growth paradigm. Renewables will help ease our transition back to a pre-industrial lifestyle, but they won't save industrial civilization or the consumer culture. -- RF
Greek Ministry of Environment implements illegal logging program
"The Greek Ministry of Environment has launched a €1.5 million program against illegal logging, a growing trend as many  Greek citizens can no longer afford to heat their homes unless wood is used."
France to turn off office and shop lights at night
"French shops and office buildings will have to turn off their lights at night to save energy and reduce light pollution, the French environment ministry said on Wednesday."
Weak European economy takes toll on power firm E.ON
"E.ON, Germany's largest utility, said it would rake in less profit, close plants and sell more assets to cope with falling demand for energy in recession-hit Europe."
Here we can see the negative feedback system in action. High energy prices are a drag on the economy, resulting in lower consumption, which in turn cuts energy companies' income, causing them to downsize (many other industries have downsized themselves into profitability since 2008, and the energy industry is no exception). We would be seeing a rapid virtuous circle of energy ascent in developing countries, but primary energy supplies are already too expensive, and heavily populated countries like India are hopelessly overburdened. -- RF
Work continues with hopes of all power restored tonight (Australia)
"Energex crews are still working to restore electricity after the Sunshine Coast's most significant outage in memory."
In Race for Burmese Energy, China has a Commanding Lead
Russia's Rosneft invests big in Venezuela
"Russia's state-owned oil company Rosneft said it aims to invest around $10 billion to support its work in the Venezuelan energy sector."
Libya, An Energy Asset Security Nightmare
Energy literacy: visualizing the impacts of unlimited growth
"Humans have already amply demonstrated the resource limitations of unbridled economic growth by not anticipating and then not addressing the myriad critical environmental and resource problems we face today."
Helium Rises to Highest Since 1995 in Fallout From Shale Boom
"Helium prices in the U.S., the world's biggest producer, are trading at the highest level since at least 1995 as the shale boom exacerbates a shortage of the gas used in everything from semiconductors to medical equipment."
Poland stumbles as shale gas industry fails to take off

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Return to anarchy; Thieves strike as Gov't reopens scrap metal trade (Jamaica)

## Got food? ##
Input Costs are Going Up and Farmers are Borrowing More to Cover Them (US)
Record Profits No Job Creator on Farms as Owners Automate
"The 3,600 acres of mostly corn, wheat and soybeans the Liefers hold were about 30 separate, individually operated farms more than 40 years ago."
Grains agency allays fears of flour shortage (KSA)
"The General Organization for Grain Silos and Flour Mills (GOGSFM) has again denied reports of a shortage of grain, flour or any other essential food item in the Kingdom."
Resolving the food crisis: The need for decisive action
Farmers call on public to join protest in Taipei (Taiwan)
Govt ups minimum rice price by 10%
"China's top economic planner said Wednesday that it will raise the State-set minimum prices for rice in 2013, in a bid to boost grain production and ensure food security."
A Better Rainwater-Harvesting System
'LED farm' at school begins full-scale production of leaf lettuce (Japan)
This is not the future of farming. -- RF
Move to Save Fishing Industry Could Kill It
With too many people chasing too few fish, this is inevitable. The road to infinite growth ends here. -- RF

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Simple Living: How to Save Money and Smile More
Living with Just Enough

## Environment/health ##
Norovirus: Why washing your hands isn't enough
West Nile spread via vineyards, orchards
EU says pesticides linked to bee decline should be restricted
The Fog of Austerity: This Smoke Cloud Is the Ultimate Symbol of Greece's Depression

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The New York Times Was Attacked By Chinese Hackers Over Four Months
Wall Street Journal: China hackers hit us, too
Sometimes, the Internet just breaks
US can spy on foreign nationals using Google and Apple cloud servers
Big Brother in Action: EU Wants Power to Sack Journalists; Prime Minister Rajoy Threatens Newspapers Following Corruption Articles
Pentagon's new massive expansion of 'cyber-security' unit is about everything except defense
9/11 Military Trial Judge - Like 9/11 Commission - Frustrated by Government Shenanigans
Amazon back after rare site crash

## Systemic breakdown ##
Is India facing a 'cultural emergency'?

## Japan ##
Fukushima decontamination faces severe labor shortages
Gangster illegally hired workers for decontamination projects
Radioactive Cattle Found Near Fukushima
Japan Atomic Safety Rules May Keep Reactors Closed for Years
Japan Defense Budget to Increase for First Time in 11 Years
Japan December Industrial Output Rises Less-Than-Forecast 2.5%
Japan takes significant drop on press freedom list
Domestic Auto Sales Seen Falling Below 5mn In '13
Gov't hints at issuing Y50,000 bills
2012 average monthly pay falls to record low on rise in part-timers
BOJ to mull further monetary easing if necessary: deputy governor
Homeless, jobless forced to take refuge under Golden Arches
"Japan's long-moribund economy has spawned a new breed of jobless and homeless people dubbed "makudo nanmin," or refugees at McDonald's."
Japan jobless, household spending data disappoint

## China ##
Nanjing sees worst air pollution in city's history
Heavy metal pollution costs China over US$3bn a year
Pollution thick enough to cancel flights hits Beijing; 'beyond index' for 2nd time in 2 weeks
China now burning as much coal as the rest of the world combined
China's Dependency on Imported Natural Gas in 2012 Approaches 29 Percent
China's demand for oil to rise 4.8%
Chinese navy depart for West Pacific training
Curtailed access to China's diplomatic archives fuels Senkaku conjecture
"Access to diplomatic documents at the Chinese Foreign Ministry's archives has been strictly limited since early January, possibly because a 1950 government paper found in them earlier describes the Senkaku Islands as part of Japanese  territory, sources said."

## UK ##
Britain's "dark days" are like the 1930s, new archbishop says
"The new Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed that Britain's current economic dark days are reminiscent of the 1930s and children are going hungry."
Councils cutting spend on care of elderly and disabled, says National Audit Office
First steps taken in Epping Forest street light switch-off
Household squeeze as millions of families face council tax bill rise

## US ##
U.S. growth seen braking as inventories, government weigh
Dow closes at 63-month high
Fed Maintains $85 Billion Pace of Purchases as Growth Pauses
More middle-aged adults care for kids and aging parents
Nearly half of college grads have jobs that don't require diplomas
Study: Nearly Half In U.S. Lack Financial Safety Net
A Bank CEO Gets $58M In 2012? And You Thought Wall Street Was Changing
Chart: Leveraged loan activity surges as issuer-friendly deals rule
Soon You Can Flee Your Underwater Home. But It Will Cost You
Disney video games unit lays off about 50 workers
Drought Causes Ripple Effect Along Mighty Mississippi River
Defense Spending Plummets in Biggest Decline Since Vietnam
Better Enjoy the Market Rally While You Can: Faber
Girl who performed at Obama's inauguration shot dead in Chicago
Arkansas town's martial law plan
"Guest workers": indentured servants
Energy prices on the rise again
Demise of small Hess refinery threatens U.S. East Coast pump pain
"Hess Corp's decision to close its U.S. East Coast refinery, the latest plant to fall victim to weak profits in the Atlantic Basin, could threaten painful gasoline price spikes for regional drivers as local fuel supplies dwindle further."
Nearly half in U.S. lack financial safety net
Dow Chemical shares plunge as results disappoint
Rain, high winds knock out power in U.S. Northeast
Why We Cannot Print/Borrow/Spend Our Way to Prosperity
Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys?
More Electric Car Loans 'Remains to Be Seen,' Chu Says
Ten Reasons for Declining GDP Growth Over Time; Analysis of Various GDP Deflators
Where did all the housing inventory go?
The Fed's Ten Year-Equivalent Holdings Hit A Record 29% Of The Entire Treasury Market
Goldman Sachs braces for bond market blow up
Food Prices Rising Sharply

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


News Links, January 29-30, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Zimbabwe's Total Cash On Hand: $217.00
NZ Post wants cut in delivery days
"New Zealand Post wants to cut the number of days it is required to deliver mail to most addresses from six to three days a week."
Labor Minister Says France Is "Totally Bankrupt"
Yes, the crisis is obviously over in Europe! -- RF
Ford Falls Most in 7 Months on Worsening European Outlook
COSCO Faces 3th Straight Year of Losses
"The world's largest bulk shipper, China COSCO, now faces the risk of delisting for its Shanghai A-shares if it fails to turn around in 2013."
Container ship owners could be sued for slow steaming
Canada's wealthy outpacing everyone else
North America's New Aristocracy grows by leaps and bounds. -- RF
Mark Carney Leaves Canada With 'Stealth QE' Rising At Fastest Pace Since 2009
Short sellers look to cash in on slump in European car market
No escape from austerity for Club Med countries
Dubai Suitcases of Cash Circumvent Loan Rules: Mortgages
Myanmar Clears ADB, World Bank Overdue Debt With Japan Help
Manufacturers threaten to quit New Zealand
"More leading export companies are on the verge of moving overseas due to the high dollar, Opposition MPs were told yesterday by manufacturers, who challenged the Government to do more to control the exchange rate."
India cuts interest rates for first time in nine months
Russia Arctic Natural Gas Shipping Route to Asia 10 Years Away
"Tanker transport of Russian Arctic gas through the Bering Strait to Asian buyers is at least 10 years away because of ageing infrastructure, vessel shortages and growing disputes over waterway rights."
Top-end Dubai villa prices rose by up to 38%
Koreans Tapping Inheritances With Reverse Loans: Mortgage
Libor Lies Revealed in Rigging of $300 Trillion Benchmark
Yikes! Financial Times makes GATA's case comprehensively
China Just Threatened a Currency War if the Fed Doesn't Stop Printing

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Japan eased safety standards ahead of Boeing 787 rollout
Lithium Ion Batteries Causing Big Problems for Aviation Industry
Dreamliner: No fault found with Boeing 787 battery
United offers airport-to-doorstep baggage delivery -- for a price
Etihad set to buy 24% in Jet Airways for $300 mn
Report: American-US Airways merger talks in 'final stages'
JetBlue Quarterly Profit Falls as Sandy Grounds Flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US military plans to set up drone base in northwest Africa
Iran denies explosion at underground uranium facility
France tells nationals to leave northern Nigeria
"France has asked its citizens to leave northern Nigeria and areas around the capital Abuja after threats due to its military intervention in Mali, a diplomatic source said on Monday."
Mali crisis: UK troops set to join EU training forces
US Official: Mali Intervention 'Could Take Several Years'
U.S. plays down purchase of Iran oil by company in South Korea
Threats made against British embassy in Libya
Chinese officials may visit N. Korea
"Chinese officials may travel to North Korea to stop it from conducting another nuclear test, a diplomatic source in Beijing told the Chosun Ilbo."
Obama announces additional $155 million in aid to Syria

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Greek Workers Strikes Spreading
"Only days after riot police broke up a Metro strike, a new transport strike has shut down buses and trains for Jan. 28-29 and more work stoppages are being planned by doctors, health centers, ambulance drivers and utility workers. Trolley workers suspended their plans to strike."
Israel using deadly force on unarmed protesters, watchdog says
Egyptian protesters defy curfew, attack police stations
Sunni discontent and Syria fears feed Iraqi unrest
"Across Iraq's western desert, thousands of Sunni Muslims block highways, chant and pray in protests against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that grow more defiant by the day."

## Energy/resources ##
Why EROEI Means Mining in Space will Never Work
I told you so I told you so I told you so… -- RF
Crisis-hit Greeks chop up forests to stay warm
So much precious forest will be lost worldwide because of idiotic politicians, economists, and "experts" who promoted infinite growth and never saw the inevitable energy crisis coming. -- RF
Syrians turn to forests as fuel shortages bite
Tanker Glut Worsening as OPEC Cuts Most Since Recession: Freight
"OPEC's deepest output cut since the global recession in 2008 is creating the biggest surplus of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf in at least three years and lowering earnings for Frontline Ltd. and other ship owners."
Militants attack oil pipeline in Algeria, two dead
Europe's offshore wind installations fall behind target
"The number of wind turbines built in European waters is lagging behind targets by nearly 1,000 megawatts (MW), the equivalent of around 330 turbines, an industry report showed on Sunday."
Teck and Shell bicker over oil sands projects
The Peak Oil Crisis: Looking at 2013
Water shortage to hit Taiwan by 2030: minister
"A shortage of water will hit Taiwan by 2030 due to serious buildup of silt in the country's reservoirs, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan said Monday."
India import price of Crude Oil rises to $110.64/bbl
Energy's Latest Battleground: Fracking For Uranium
Tunisia deploys special combat units to protect oil and gas fields
"Tunisia has sent special combat units to its borders with Algeria and Libya to  protect its oil and gas installations against potential attacks from Islamist militants, the state news agency said on Tuesday."
Gazprom sees South Stream costing $39 bln
Germany coping with power supply swings - operators
"Germany can cope with high wind power supply in coming days which will stress transmission grids already struggling with peak winter demand, power industry firms said on Monday."
Crude oil tops $97
Oil Refiners Say Higher Ethanol Blends May Damage Engines
Petrobras to raise gas and diesel prices
Shale Gas Boom Now Visible From Space

## Got food? ##
Spain's bumper olive years come to bitter end
U.S.: Contaminated food makes 1-in-6 sick
Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms on Straw

## Environment/health ##
Special report Livestock falling ill in fracking regions, raising concerns about food (Ecologist)
"In the midst of the US domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil-and-gas drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying."
Study: City heat can affect global climate
Huge New Slick at Site of BP's 2010 Gulf Oil Spill
Some bee-harming pesticides could face ban: EU Commission
Floods hit two Australian states, thousands evacuated
Drought Seen Worsening in US Plains, Midwest States
Biochar Initiative Restores Hillside at Former Silver Mine in Colorado
What are long term threats of plastic in our seas?
Cats kill up to 3.7B birds annually
'Clean coal' hopes to be tested in Canada

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Unseen, all-out cyber war on the U.S. has begun
Technology's president fears espionage - from a swarm of tiny drones (Norway)
ARGUS drone spots you from 20,000 feet — with camera-phone sensors
US Cyber Command in 'fivefold' staff expansion
LAPD Uses Anti-Terrorism Devise to Track Cellphone Users
"The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is using an anti-terrorism device that indiscriminately sweeps up cellphone communications of innocent bystanders during burglary, drug and murder investigations."
The Most Ridiculous Law of 2013 (So Far): It Is Now a Crime to Unlock Your Smartphone
Who's Faking It? Pentagon "Cyber-Warriors" Planting "False Information on Facebook"
FBI, Department of Homeland Security to team up to collect iris biometrics
How to Protect Your Devices From New Hack Threat

## Systemic breakdown ##
Egypt army chief warns of 'state collapse' amid crisis
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and the Decline of Innovation
Visa service restored after Canada-wide outage
Chernobyl's Role in the Fall of the Soviet Union

## Japan ##
Fault line under Tsuruga nuclear plant almost certainly active, facility most likely to be scrapped
Japan to cut planned bond sales
"Faced with balancing aggressive spending plans on a mountain of debt, Japan's government said it would cut overall planned bond issuance in the coming fiscal year. But investors are likely to see some of the plan's one-off issuance reduction tactics as little more than a temporary fix to an escalating problem."
But bonds will nevertheless account for nearly half of government spending. That's a solution? -- RF
Slow Mining Machinery Sales Push Komatsu Off Track
Gov't approves Y92.6 tril budget
Japan to create coast guard unit for disputed isles
Keidanren to Rengo: No raises
Foreign workforce in Japan down 0.6% in October
This is insignificant compared to what is coming. -- RF
Deaths outnumber births in Tokyo for first time
BANISHMENT ROOM: Top companies under investigation over unfair labor practices

## China ##
China Averts $482 Billion in Local Bank Defaults via Massive Rollover Scheme; Extend-and-Pretend Chinese Style
Soaring Debt Precedes Financial Crises…
China tests anti-missile interception
Hot debate on how to keep South warm
Chinese banks' 2012 assets up 17.7%
I guess this is supposed to sound good, but in fact many of the "assets" held by banks around the world are actually liabilities, or just plain junk. -- RF
Buildings collapse after subsidence in S China
China appoints new Tibet governor, hardline policies to remain
Beijing shuts factories, removes cars, but pollution stays high

## UK ##
Pension scheme closures speed up
"The closure of private sector pension schemes accelerated in 2012, says the National Association of Pension Funds."
Potholes getting bigger because of cheap repairs
"Potholes are getting bigger because of shortcuts taken when repairing the road surface over the past years, it has been claimed."
Empty nest syndrome? If only, say stressed middle aged
"'Empty nest syndrome' is becoming a thing of the past as increasing numbers of households have three generations living under the same roof, a study suggests."
UK Manufacturers Fear 'Downward Spiral' as Pound Tumbles
IT firms among the most prone to collapse
A&E patients 'wait half day for bed'
"Seriously ill A&E patients at a hospital are waiting more than half a day for a bed, it has emerged."
Teens using mobiles for self-harming competitions
Fitch: UK Faces 'Significant' Risk of Downgrade

## US ##
Critical Warning No. 7: Banks crash economy again — Time to jail the bankers
Barnes & Noble plans to reduce outlets over the decade
Aging America: Elder abuse on the rise
Foreign Aid: Money Down A Rat Hole?
Government to Dispose of Radioactive Waste By Putting It In Our SILVERWARE
Latest Postage Stamp Price Hike Buys The US Postal Service Two Weeks Of Extra Time
Postage prices rise, but USPS still teeters at the edge of ruin
VMware to Cut 900 Jobs as Revenue Growth Slows
Boston Scientific to Cut More Jobs
PBS Drone Coverage Brought to You by Drone Makers
Stuck in reverse, Detroit edges closer to bankruptcy
U.S. to Bury its 70,000 Tonnes of Nuclear Waste
More Evidence On The Student Debt Crisis: Average Grad's Loan Jumps To $27,000
Student Loan Bubble Update: "This Situation Is Simply Unsustainable"
U.S. home ownership rate remains low
Hey, what happened to Dubya's "ownership society"? -- RF
Inflation unchained: US dollar down 23 percent from 2000, Tuition up 72 percent, and home values up 44 percent.
Bernanke Seen Buying $1.14 Trillion in Assets in 2014
Oil Spill Cleanup Backs Up 800 Barges Along Mississippi
High inflation and low rates squeeze retirees
"Never depend on the government. You must depend on yourself."
Will May 2013 Be the End of the Road for the U.S.?
The Next Great(er) Recession Now Baked In The Cake?
Department of Homeland Security to Purchase 7,000 "Assault Weapons"
Fear & Greed Index
Consumer Confidence Takes a Stunning Plunge

And finally…
Top 8 greatest lip-syncing fails (video)
Fox News paid Palin over $15 per word, including 111 'amens'
America Up for Sale on Japanese Auction Site! Bid Now!!
At the time of the screen shot, bidding was up to ¥6,000 (US$66).

Sunday, January 27, 2013


News Links, January 27-28, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
China Cosco Expects Annual Loss, Faces Share Trading Limit
"China Cosco Holdings Co. (1919), the nation's biggest shipping company, is facing trading restrictions on its shares after saying it expects to post a 'substantial' loss in 2012."
Outlook for Shipping Sector Remains Grim
Italy central bank approves Monte Paschi bailout request
"Italy's central bank on Saturday gave its approval to a request by scandal hit bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena for 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) of state loans, the latest step in the battle to revive the ailing bank."
Derivatives may be undoing of the world's oldest bank
Japan's Economic Plan May Be Bad News For Everyone Else
James Turk: Central Banks are Losing the War to Suppress Gold and Silver Prices
Abu Dhabi's 'robust' economy exceeds Dh1 trillion for first time
Industries fear 'catastrophic' cuts to EU research budget
Europe's Crisis Not Over Say Bankers, Policymakers
Shadow Banking Facing Tougher Regulations
Will Your Mother Live in Poverty?
Fitch Cuts Ratings for Cyprus by Two Steps
"The firm now rates Cyprus's sovereign ratings at B, three steps shy of default and five notches into junk territory, from double-B-minus. The outlook is negative."
How Iceland Overthrew The Banks: The Only 3 Minutes Of Any Worth From Davos
Canada's banking giants headed for earnings iceberg
In search of business, Europe changes tone in Latin America
The Middle East needs $100 bn for Infrastructure projects

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Costs force up airfares in 2013
United Airlines cutting more than 600 jobs
Southwest Airlines CEO: 'Never Say Never' on Baggage Fees
Pinnacle Airlines will pull plug on its Memphis flight crew base
Japan's ANA cancels another 379 Dreamliner flights
MIT Professor: Battery Fix Could Ground 787 Until 2014
Lufthansa to reduce Russian network from April
"Lufthansa German Airlines will cancel flights from Frankfurt to two Russian cities—Kazan and Perm—from April 1. The carrier has flown these routes for 15 years, but said increases in fuel prices, airport taxes, and other fees have made these routes unprofitable."
The new airline fees travelers need to know about for 2013
Did plane fumes kill these British Airways pilots?
"TWO British Airways pilots have died within four days of each other after complaining about being exposed to toxic oil fumes on passenger planes."
No infrastructure, airlines unable to import fuel (India)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pakistan - a failed state on a tinderbox
Iraqi lawmakers pass law to block Maliki from third term
"Iraq's parliament passed a law on Saturday intended to block Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from a third term, as the Shi'ite premier faced growing pressure from mass Sunni street protests."
Iraqi Sunni Fallujah funerals draw thousands
Attackers blow up main oil pipeline in Yemen: officials
"Unidentified attackers blew up Yemen's main oil pipeline, forcing the country to shut down one of its most lucrative sources of income, government and tribal sources said on Saturday."
French special forces 'to protect' Niger uranium mines
U.S. may give $32M to train African troops in Mali
US agrees to refuel French warplanes on Mali mission
Budget Crisis Impact Laid Out By U.S. Navy
"A drastic cutback in the number of strike group deployments. Aircraft flying hours in the Middle East cut by more than half. Naval operations stopped around Latin America and reduced in the Pacific. Four of the fleet's nine air wings shut down starting in March. Two carrier strike group deployments "extended indefinitely." Only partial training for two more strike groups."
The Middle East conflict at 35,000 feet
18 Afghan police officers killed in two attacks
'Sick And Tired,' Residents In Southern Mexico Defend Themselves
Israel Deploys Missiles as Netanyahu Sees Syria Collapse
Unconfirmed Reports of Major Sabotage Attack on Iran's Fordow Facility
U.S. Delegation Visits Taiwan Base Amid Subs Speculation
"A U.S. congressional group paid a rare visit to a Taiwan naval base on Jan. 27, a military source said, raising speculation about efforts to revive a U.S. deal to provide the island with eight submarines."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Egypt deploys troops in Suez amid deadly clashes
Egypt unrest: Morsi declares emergency in three cities
Bahrain protests flare up after rally blocked
Singapore ruling party rebuked in by-election as disquiet rises
Azerbaijan police arrest youths at anti-government protest
Portuguese teachers protest against education cuts
At least 30 die in riots over Egyptian death sentences
Brazil Oil Workers to Stage 24-Hour Warning Strike Monday--Union
Gas Outages: Workers, employers hold protest rallies (Pakistan)
Okinawans continue protest in Tokyo against US military presence
Greeks protest transport workers' pay cuts
Anger mounts over Spanish corruption as unemployment rate climbs to new record
Topless women's rights protesters clash with police at Davos
Idle No More protesters to gather in more than 30 Canadian cities to mark day of action

## Energy/resources ##
More fuel misery for frustrated motorists in Northern Emirates (UEA)
"After more than a year of long queues and empty fuel tanks, motorists in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain are facing even more misery with the news that fuel supplies to four more petrol stations are being stopped."
Keppel Profit Shrinks as Rivals Squeeze Margins
"Keppel Corp.(BN4.SG), the world's biggest oil rig builder by volumes, on Thursday reported a 22% fall in fourth-quarter net profit as competition from rival yards in China and South Korea eroded its pricing power."
Propane shortage in Upper Michigan
"Michigan's governor has declared a state of energy emergency because of a propane shortage in the Upper Peninsula."
Gazprom joins shale oil race
Oil Completes Longest Run of Weekly Gains Since 2009
Woodland Heists: Rising Energy Costs Drive Up Forest Thievery (Germany)
"With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country's forests. Woodsmen have become more watchful."
Many people still cling to the mistaken belief that "peak oil" is a scam or a delusion. But peak oil was never about running out of oil. It's about the increasing difficulty of maintaining production levels, and the attendant high prices. Greece aside, even in rich countries like Germany, people are turning to biomass for energy. We might also ask ourselves why infrastructure in developed countries is crumbling. Much of that infrastructure was built when oil cost $10/bbl or less. Now oil costs 10 times as much. Any fool can see the impossibility of rebuilding infrastructure at 10 times the original energy cost. Thus the crumbling will continue until economic paralysis sets in — and we are watching the prelude already. Policymakers and even energy gurus have grossly miscalculated how soon we will have to replace oil, and the sheer magnitude of the replacement requirement. Say goodbye to forests near urban centers. -- RF
Canada's tar sands charm offensive hits the rocks
Talisman Prepares for Job Cuts as Canada's Oil Patch Struggles
Carmakers banking on traditional gasoline engines for near future
Global oil market slump key threat to Russia - Mr Medvedev
Russia Arctic gas shipping route to Asia 10 years away
World's biggest nuke plant may shut: Japan report

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Copper thieves cause Omaha phone, Internet outage

## Got food? ##
U.S. Corn Reserve Seen Surging by Allendale on Feed-Use Drop
"U.S. corn stockpiles before this year's harvest will be 45 percent bigger than forecast by the government as high prices curb use by cattle producers and ethanol makers, according to broker Allendale Inc."
Make an Easy, Inexpensive Mini-Greenhouse With Low Tunnels
Why tomato prices may soon double
Oil-rich Venezuelans hunt for food amid shortages
Tainted Tuna: Why Food Poisoning from Fish Is No Fluke

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
The heart of my home
HOMEGROWN Life: Thanks, E. B. White

## Environment/health ##
VIDEO: Unsafe conditions at fracking site
"Randy Moyer, who trucked brine from wells to treatment plants and back to wells, now suffers from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body. The Portage resident believes he's sick from the chemicals in fracking fluid and from radiation exposure. He cites unsafe and unregulated working conditions on well sites, no oversight about safety clothing, breathing masks, or chemical suits. The sites are treated like any other construction site, all that's needed is a hardhat and goggles. But when working with radiation and toxic chemicals from deep underground, adverse health effects are never far behind."
Living Without Trees Causes Higher Mortality Rates
Winter vomiting alert: New strain of norovirus on the rise (US)
Widespread flooding hits Southern Africa
House calls for homeless: Street docs find no quick fix
Experts urge action on global obesity 'pandemic'

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Feds investigate Stuxnet leak
"The Obama administration is investigating who leaked classified information about a highly secret cyberwar targeting Iran's nuclear facility, officials said."
Anonymous hackers target US agency site
Anonymous Hacks Department Of Justice, Threatens To Release Secret DOJ Information, Warns "There Will Be Chaos"
Israeli Troops Swap Guns for Computers as Cyber Attacks Increase

## Systemic breakdown ##
United States of Crisis Seen Costing Jobs, Wasting Money
It's one more window on the general systemic failure that dooms all civilizations and societies which worship at the altar of infinite expansion and fall victim to their own hubris. -- RF
The Economist: Innovation Almost Dead. Perhaps Not So In Electricity
New technologies and new gadgets are useless without lots of cheap energy to power them. -- RF
The Global Supply Chain: Our Economy, Security and Health Depends on It

## Japan ##
Read all about it: How Kan-do attitude averted the meltdown of Japan
Japan to boost military headcount amid china island row
"Japan is set to boost the number of military personnel, Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Sunday, as the new government led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) tackles a territorial spat with China over East China Sea islets."
Africa risky but too crucial to leave, say Japanese firms
"Japan's resource-hungry companies in Algeria and beyond cannot contemplate withdrawing from Africa, despite the national trauma engendered by the Sahara hostage siege that claimed 10 Japanese lives, experts say."
Rikuzentakata Mayor: Red Tape Slowing Disaster Zone Recovery
Reconstruction is going basically nowhere, as I've pointed out. Blame it on red tape, but the biggest problems are the high cost of energy and the lack of money. What existed before the disaster will never again be. -- RF
Japan launches 2 intelligence satellites
Anti-Osprey rally in Tokyo draws thousands
Welfare payments to be slashed ¥74 billion to root out the comfortably poor
ASDF monitoring Senkakus 24 hrs a day / Radar-equipped aircraft deployed in bid to prevent intrusions by Chinese planes

## China ##
Manufacturing turns youth off
Food struggle may threatens urbanization: official
Beijing smog: When growth trumps life in China
China to introduce gold exchange-traded funds
Weak performance prompts Mercedes-Benz to rethink China strategy
Work for 130 years to afford a luxury apartment

## UK ##
Businesses warned against fuel thefts
Drivers stranded and planes grounded as snow grips Britain
British Economy Is WORSE than During the Great Depression

## US ##
Longshoremen's Strike At Port Of NY And NJ Could Devastate US Economy
Naming rights can help take road funds in right direction
The craze for selling naming rights just shows how bad the economic situation has become. -- RF
Fixing Streets, Pipes Will Cost $1 Billion And Take Years (San Diego)
The U.S. Has An Even Larger Gap Between The Rich And The Poor Than Downton Abbey Does
Illinois downgrade costly, says treasurer
US Government Debt Monetization
Debt Grows at Astonishing Rate Even in Texas
Sheriff: 'Take a firearms course, 911 no longer best option'
Welcome to Wild West America. -- RF
Black Hawks Used In Military Training Exercise In Miami
Financial crisis has left 401(k)s vulnerable, so what now?
House budget chief: automatic spending cuts "going to happen"
Driver shot at by another motorist
Response to "Libertarian Turned Keynesian" (Mish)
US Facing Fresh Financial Shock to Economy

And finally…
Male soldiers in Germany are growing breasts

Friday, January 25, 2013


News Links, January 26, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Triple-dip recession looms as economy shrinks by 0.3% (UK)
Belgians feel bite of austerity
Portuguese flee economic crisis
Spain's Strapped Towns Look To Churches For Cash
Yen Set for 11th Weekly Drop; Japan Records Largest Trade Deficit in History
Korea Inc. Braces for Tough Year as Strong Won Kicks In
Much More Beneath the Surface of the Italian Bank Scandal; How Big Are the Derivative Losses?
Brazil's 2012 job creation lowest in a decade
Africa Sees Its First Woman Billionaire
I guess this is supposed to show that Africa is on the right track. It is if Africa is supposed to become like the United States, with a huge wealth gap. -- RF
The Biggest Housing Bubble in the World Is in ... Canada?

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Asian Airlines Slash Fares to Woo Premium Fliers
"Asia's leading airlines are struggling to fill their first- and business-class seats as banks continue to cut travel budgets and staff. Now, they are embarking on a new path: slashing business-class fares through special promotions on a scale not seen since the global financial crisis."
Everything keeps going wrong for Boeing

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russia's Chechen war drags on
Expert: Terrorists may start using drones
Statoil confirms two dead, three missing after Algeria siege
This tragedy is an excellent example of the peak oil-related geopolitical feedback that will become increasingly common as nations find it necessary to press further into dangerous, unstable areas in the quest for hydrocarbons. -- RF
Britain sends spy plane to Mali amid fears of 'mission creep'
Is Iraq Slipping into Civil War?
In Amenas siege: Is Algeria's economy under threat?
BREMMER: The Japan-China Crisis Is The Most Significant Geopolitical Tension In The World
Diaoyutai Serves as Backdrop for Taiwan Drill
Taiwan coast guard, Chinese surveillance ships meet near Senkakus
Davos 2013: Kissinger says Iran nuclear crisis close
"Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned that a crisis involving a nuclear Iran is in the 'foreseeable future'."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
By-election shines a light on discontented Singapore
And yet they want their women to have more babies. Go figure. -- RF
Greek police storm metro workers sit-in, strike goes on
Arcelor steel workers clash with riot police in Brussels
Lewisham is just the start of hospital protests to come (UK)
Egyptian protest clashes injure at least 186

## Energy/resources ##
Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada's oilsands
But there are already questions about whether it will be economical (probably not). And what about water? -- RF
Australian oil's $20 trillion Linc to nowhere
Electricity: Power outage hits Botswana
The Energy Industry is Not Safe in North Africa
"Energy interests sector-wide should be prepared for the coming security nightmare that is the Sahel. At a time when even the juniors have become unaccountably brave in frontier regions, the hostage crisis in Algeria demonstrates just how vulnerable the industry is."
Brazil's Eletrobras denies plan to break up company
Siemens in solar panels setback
Why uranium prices are at a critical tipping point
LNG Shippers Under Pressure

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
20 ways to become more self-sufficient before 'the crunch' arrives
Simple Lifestyle Habits to Boost Your Child's Immune System

## Environment/health ##
Melting glaciers threaten water resources
EU carbon market in 'freefall' after backloading vote
Cargill Cattle Plant Closes: Global Warming Casualty?
Swine flu pandemic infected at least one in five people
"At least one in five people including half of all schoolchildren contracted swine flu when the pandemic first struck in 2009, a new global study shows."
UN: Floods displace 70,000 and kill 36 in Mozambique
Bill Gates Says Global Vaccination Program is "God's Work"
I thought the bankers were doing God's work. -- RF

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Iran builds up cyber warfare capabilities
However, previous opinions presented here claim that the US greatly exaggerates Iran's capabilities. -- RF
G4S says Algeria, Mali unrest raising security demand
"G4S, the world's biggest security firm, is seeing a pick up in demand for its services from embassies and companies across Africa in the wake of unrest in Mali and Algeria."
Unlocking Cellphones Becomes Illegal Saturday

## Systemic breakdown ##
Wireless failure affects thousands of NYC yellow cabs
New Jersey State Computers Affected By Power Outage

## Japan ##
New 'advisory' system to urge companies to save electricity
In 2013, JP gov to purchase 200 times much Fukushima rice as last year
Teachers, police rush to quit before retirement pay cut
Tepco plans to dump 'cleaned' Fukushima No. 1 water
Shirakawa says BOJ alone can't attain inflation target

## China ##
Is China's Fast-Growing Economy Headed for a Crash?
China Wind Industry, Like Solar, In World of Hurt
China experts worry about Asian giant's growing nationalism
Shanghai's Newest Luxury Item: The License Plate

## UK ##
UK heads for triple dip as GDP contracts 0.3pc
Snow Costs UK Economy '£500m A Day'

## US ##
Q4 Earnings Season: Far Worse Than Most Suspect
Pump, baby, pump! S&P 500 closes above 1,500; Dow nears 14,000
Dump, baby, dump! Apple's Flash Dump In The Last Second Of Trading Caught On Tape
What Keeps Americans Up at Night — Food and Fuel
Pentagon cutting jobs, maintenance due to budget fears: official
"The Pentagon has begun laying off many of its 46,000 temporary and contract workers and delaying maintenance on aircraft and ships to slow spending due to fears it may be hit by new budget cuts, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Friday."
Half of Foreign Investors Threaten to Cut Investments in U.S. Due to Washington Budget Discord
Los Angeles Saves Millions With LED Street Light Deployment
But sooner or later these too will go out. -- RF
Rahm Emanuel presses banks on guns
"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, moving to take a lead role in the gun control debate, is turning up the pressure on banks that do business with firearms manufacturers."
Poet to Suspend Ethanol Production in Missouri on Corn Shortfall
"Poet LLC, the largest U.S. ethanol maker, will suspend production at a plant in Missouri because drought conditions have ravaged local corn supplies."
Civilian Drones in US Could Possibly Be Hijacked for Use in Attacks
Power restored on Vegas Strip after outage

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