Tuesday, January 15, 2013


News Links, January 15-16, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
German Economy Shrinks Most in Three Years; Situation Significantly Worse Than Mood
Bundesbank reported ready to retrieve Germany's gold from New York and Paris (GATA)
Eurozone output falls for 3rd straight month
'Day of reckoning' looms for European auto makers, Marchionne warns
BlueScope Steel starts year with 170 job cuts (Australia)
Singapore steps up property curbs to bring down prices
"Singapore has moved to curb its red-hot property market, hitting the share prices of its major property firms."
Greeks Raid Forests in Search of Wood to Heat Homes
DBS Says Singapore Property Curbs to Hurt Growth
"The Singapore government's aggressive property market curbs—the latest in a string of measures designed to cool prices as money continues to pour in from overseas—could chill overall economic growth, the city-state's largest lender warned, as local property developers saw their share market gains for the year largely erased."
New mall projects planned for Dubai
Abu Dhabi sets aside US$90bn for major projects
Australians Priced Out of Dream Swap Backyards for Balconies
RBS May Face $800 Million Libor Fine as Soon as Next Week
Emirates opens Dubai superjumbo concourse
"Emirates Airlines has opened a billion-dollar concourse in Dubai dedicated to Airbus's A380 super jumbos."
Russian Car Sales Seen Ending Double-Digit Annual Growth
South African miner Amplats closes shafts and cuts jobs
"Anglo American Platinum has said it will cease production at four mine shafts in the Rustenburg region of South Africa, which could lead to the loss of almost 14,000 jobs."
India Banks System Face Worsening Asset Quality, IMF Says
Many things considered to be valuable assets under a cheap-energy regime are now, under the new expensive-energy regime, turning into worthless junk. -- RF
Bitcoin Invades Mainstream Banking System
"Digital Currency Exchange, Bitcoin-Central, has been authorized by the French government to conduct bank style operations."
The Golden Age Of US Corporations Is Ending: S&P 500 Cash Has Peaked And Is Now Declining
Steel mill construction booming in Asia / Chinese, S. Korean operations likely to hurt Japan firms due to oversupply, falling prices
Boral cuts 1,000 jobs to tackle costs
First Shots Are Fired in Global 'Currency War'

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Ukrainian Dniproavia halts flights
"Dnepropetrovsk-based Dniproavia, which is a part of the Ukrainian Aviation Group, has stopped flights and ticket sales, effective Jan. 8. The group also includes AeroSvit, which filed for bankruptcy at the end of December."
Flight deals grow scarce -- Days of big discounts over, analysts warn
Fires in Boeing Dreamliner electrical compartment raise safety concerns
All Nippon Airways-Operated Boeing 787 Makes Emergency Landing
Chicago transit authority sues airlines
The great London airport debate
Mexicana gets new liquidation deadline extension
"Mexicana Airlines, which suspended operations under severe financial distress in August 2010, is again up for sale."
Defense business woes shut down Ryan International Airlines
United Airlines to lay off 472 at Newark Airport
Airbus Superjumbo Faces Headwind

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Despite Sanctions, Iran's Economy Limps Along
"And oh, on 14 September 2012 the United States exempted Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Japan from complying with the sanctions for another 180 days, a list that was expanded on 8 December to include China, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan."
Saudi king names new governor for restive oil region
Pakistan cleric tells followers: bring down government now
Pakistan turmoil deepens as court orders PM's arrest
Indian PM says no "business as usual" with Pakistan
Syria war envelops region in "staggering" crisis: aid agency
Report says Assad residing on warship
"Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family have been living on a warship, with security provided by Russia, intelligence sources told a Saudi newspaper."
The War On Terror Spreads to Africa: U.S. Sending Troops to 35 African Nations
UN backs French military intervention in Mali
Fishing on the frontline amid South China Sea dispute
China 'to survey disputed East China Sea islands'
Japan conducts paratrooper exercises over East China Sea
Russia asserts sovereignty over isles after questioning by Japan
"Russia on Monday strongly rejected remarks by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga questioning Russian sovereignty over four islands controlled by Moscow but claimed by Tokyo."
Extremism, NATO on Sweden security agenda
Russia grants Bangladesh $1 billion loan for weapons: Putin
Israel police block Palestinians from reoccupying protest camp
Barack Obama 'says Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't know what is good for Israel'
"Barack Obama sees Benjamin Netanyahu as a "political coward" whose policies pose a greater threat to Israel's existence than Iran's nuclear programme because he does not know what is in the country's best interests, it has been claimed."
The imperial agenda of the US's 'Africa Command' marches on
"With mission accomplished in Libya, Africom now has few obstacles to its military ambitions on the continent"
DoD To Delay USAF Personnel Reduction at Portuguese Base
DARPA unveils plans for undersea payloads that surface on command
Is AIPAC Waging A Shadow War On Hagel?
Terror Alert in France as Mali Invasion Escalates

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Malaysians gather in tens of thousands demanding political reforms
Spaniards protest health care reforms
Shots fired at Greek ruling party headquarters: police

## Energy/resources ##
Clean Energy Investment Fell 11% as Governments Cut Subsidies
It's part of the vicious circle of energy decline. Brace yourself. -- RF
U.S. grid turns up heat on Texas to address electric shortfall
"The top U.S. power grid watchdog has turned up the heat on Texas to address a looming shortage of electric capacity that increases the likelihood of rolling outages."
Installing Transmission Infrastructure makes Offshore Wind too Expensive
"Offshore wind farms have always, required heavy duty transmission lines to connect them to the land. These transmission lines are expensive to lay and delays in their construction constantly lead to wind farms waiting long periods before they are actually connected to the national grid, and their electricity can be used by consumers."
Power cable supply a risk to green projects
"A prospective shortage of capacity to manufacture high-voltage power cables threatens grand European projects to build offshore wind and other renewable power projects in remote areas and link isolated countries to the grid."
The grand dream of powering industrial society with renewables keeps receding into the future. -- RF
French utilities to cut costs, sell assets
"French utilities EDF and GDF Suez have announced cost cuts and asset sales to further shore up balance sheets hit by high debt and slack demand."
The downward spiral in the energy system continues apace. -- RF
CNOOC and ConocoPhillips Work to Reopen China's Largest Oilfield
Should deep-sea mining go ahead in Papua New Guinea?
Repairs at Four US Nuclear Reactors Are So Expensive That They Should Not Be Restarted (Fairewinds)
Weather caused power emergency in south Kazakhstan
China Cuts REE Export Quotas by 27 Percent
Crude by Rail: Does It Really Make Sense?
"If operators thought that shale assets would be long-lived and highly productive they would build pipeline infrastructure to ensure equally long lived profits. But that is not the case. They have chosen instead to ship by rail for three times the cost of a pipeline. It is more likely that industry recognizes the short lives of shale wells and are not prepared to invest the capital needed to build the infrastructure."
Conoco Sheds Rocky Mountain Assets

## Got food? ##
Water grabbing occurring at 'alarming rates'
"Deals in which rich foreign corporations and countries buy or lease agricultural land abroad result in nearly half a trillion cubic metres of fresh water also being grabbed each year — often enough to grow sufficient food to abate undernourishment in the 'grabbed countries', a paper reveals."
Drought Still Plagues US: Food Prices 'Going Up'
Achieving a Sustainable Food System with Organic Farming

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Live on Less and Love It!
"Try these 75 inspiring ideas and enjoy life more while spending and consuming less."

## Environment/health ##
Junk food linked to asthma and eczema in children
Beijing's air pollution off the charts, literally
China's Li Calls for Patience as Government Works to Reduce Smog
Greece seeks gold boom at cost of environment
Palm estates expected to rise by 200,000 hectares a year
Years of mining destroy underground water systems as land caves in (China)
Flu Shock: Outbreak Already Ranks as One of the Worst in a Decade (Chart) 
Flu vaccines vanishing
African elephant poaching threatens wildlife future
EU spends 10,000 million euros per year on mercury pollution
50-state map tracks climate-related 2012 weather records
Cuba confirms 51 cholera cases in Havana
Sydney Vomiting Bug Poses Risk for Cruise-Line Passengers
Coca-Cola Touts Role in Fighting Obesity -- and Lobbies for Giant Sodas

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
German activists start campaign to destroy surveillance cameras
'Red October' cyber-attack found by Russian researchers
North Korea steps up surveillance of citizens with 16,000 CCTV cameras
Spying on one's citizens with cameras! I'm shocked! What other country would do this? -- RF
1 million Android phones in China could have botnet virus
Nashville to allow police to carry AR-15s
U.S. Government Claims – Just Like the Nazis – that the Truth Is Too Complicated and Dangerous to Disclose to the Public
China added 51 million Internet users in 2012
Facebook loses 1.4 million active users in U.S.
"The social network may be reaching a saturation point"

## Systemic breakdown ##
Must read: Why Expansionist Central States Inevitably Implode
U.S. infrastructure woes could cost 3.5 mln jobs by 2020 -report
Scale Matters
Earth Is Not a Global Village: Start Living More Locally Before It's Too Late
Will 2013 be the year globalization died?

## Japan ##
BOJ cuts assessments on 8 out of 9 regional economies
"The Bank of Japan on Tuesday downgraded assessments on eight out of nine regional economies in the  country compared with three months earlier for the second straight quarter, as the continued slowdown in overseas economies has pressured manufacturing activities."
Fukushima city not sticking to plan to decontaminate homes
Shirakawa Says Japan Deflation Must End
Tokyo studying installation of emergency power supply in parks, cemeteries
Japan's Abe turns to South East Asia to counter China
Tohoku farmers adversely affected by consumer fears of nuclear contamination
"In the wake of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster in 2011, which caused the nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, business in the Tohoku region turned into a nightmare."
Flights canceled, trains delayed as snow blankets East Japan
Snow forces 3,400 to spend night at Tokyo airport
There are also media reports of many food deliveries delayed, and even empty shelves in some places. Which all goes to underscore the extreme fragility of the economic system. -- RF
Fisheries still not fully recovered
"Catches of fish in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have been gradually recovering since the Great East Japan Earthquake damaged the area's fishing industry, which appears far from a full recovery."
Japan to approve 2nd-largest extra budget ever for stimulus steps

## China ##
China's GCL-Poly Warns Of Loss Amid "Vicious" Solar Industry Competition
"GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, one of the world's largest suppliers of polysilicon and silicon wafers, warned investors on Friday that it expected to post a 'substantial' loss for 2012.  It didn't say how large it would be."
The Mother of All Solyndras: China's solar power debacle.
China's Local Governments' Debt Swells
Cause of blackout downtown unclear (Shanghai)
Beijing Orders Official Cars Off Roads to Curb Pollution
Beijing's Pollution, Seen From Space In Before And After Photos

## UK ##
Nine million workers crossing fingers and counting on lottery win, inheritance or other windfall to pay for retirement
U.K. Rejects Calls to Halt Arctic Oil Drilling
"The U.K. government has rejected lawmakers' calls for a halt to Arctic oil and gas drilling, despite renewed safety concerns following the recent grounding of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's (RDSA, RDSA.LN, RDSB.LN) Kulluk rig off Alaska, saying that securing global energy supplies was paramount."
Nurseries facing crisis as struggling parents turn to grandparents
"NURSERIES are facing a growing financial crisis as struggling parents increasingly pull their children out of childcare to save money, operators have warned."
Wind farm contracts to increase energy bills for families
"Under a scheme agreed by Labour leader Ed Miliband during the last Labour government, but implemented by Coalition ministers, the contracts guarantee that the power firms will be paid even if they fail to deliver energy to households."
Forcing energy companies to give customers the cheapest deal could be 'too difficult'
"Ministers' plans to force power companies to give households the cheapest deals available could be too 'difficult' to implement, a boss of one of the 'big six' energy companies has said."
David Cameron: We must stop the 'bossiness of Brussels' but remain in EU
Can you afford to turn up the thermostat? Cold snap to add £7 a week to gas and electricity bills
Bitter taste for drinkers as beer is watered down to save money
SNP approves most large wind farms despite 10,000 objections
Music and DVD retailer HMV set to go into administration, putting more than 4,000 jobs at risk
Police pay to start £4,000 lower, at £19,000

## US ##
Number of working poor families grows as wealth gap widens
"The number of U.S. families struggling with poverty despite parents being employed continued to grow in 2011 as more people returned to work but mostly at lower-paying service jobs, an analysis released on Tuesday shows."
Presenting The Working Poor Of America
R.I.P. Retirement: 28% Of Americans Are Raiding Their 401k Plans
Travel Cuts at AmEx Point to End of Era
"The belt-tightening in American corporations that made relics of pension plans, in-house cafeterias and even many holiday parties is squeezing another victim: American Express Co.'s travel business."
Ugly Choices Loom Over Debt Clash
"The showdown over the nation's debt ceiling could force the government to consider drastic steps to manage its limited cash, including delaying trillions of dollars of payments to employees, Social Security recipients, contractors and others."
Homeless Seek Shelter, Crops Suffer Amid Southwest Cold Snap
Obama "No Ransom For Crashing Economy"; Republicans Threaten Default
Consumers Cut Back on Toilet Paper, Pampers, Huggies; Payroll Tax Bite to Subtract .8% from GDP
General Dynamics Issues Layoff Notices for 139 Workers at Anniston, Ala., Site
U.S. Postal Service Told To Speed Up Cost-Cutting Measures, Could Run Out Of Money By October
Postal Delay in Congress Hastens Risk of Mail Stoppage
Bernanke: Raise debt ceiling, no strings
Biden: W.H. readies 19 executive actions on guns
Colorado Enacts Tough New Fracking Measures
Morgan Stanley defers bonuses for high-earners
New York manufacturing remains in a funk
Retirement funds rules turn on workers
"Nearly a quarter of funds U.S. workers stash in retirement accounts each year are withdrawn to pay current bills and meet other needs, a study indicates."
Why Americans Are Broke, And Getting Further In Debt
Obamacare Sticker Shock; Expect Insurance Premiums to Soar; Aetna CEO Says Some Rates Will Double
Hey Wall Street, get ready for more layoffs
Obama budget office: Prepare for job cuts
Why U.S. might be 'a nation of deadbeats'
"Consumers have been paying down debt, but walking away from more"
Lack of Infrastructure Investment Threatens U.S. Economic Growth

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