Sunday, January 20, 2013


News Links, January 19-21, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Declining Global Growth
Shocking graph. It appears that indeed growth is dead. -- RF
IMF Says Greece May Need Another 10 Billion Euros
Renault's Global Vehicle Sales Fall 6.3% in 2012
The Next Shoe To Drop In France
"France's economic foundations are cracking. Unemployment hit 10.5% and is incessantly rising. The private sector is becoming comatose. Car sales sank 13.9% in 2012, from a lousy 2011; sales by its native automakers plunged even more: PSA PeugeotCitroën down 16.6%, Renault Group down 19.8%. Now home sales are grinding to a halt. And the finger-pointing has already started."
Crisis in Madrid Update; Plan "A" is Sgt. Schultz Defense, No Plan "B" Yet
Okay, These Are Really the 2 Scariest Charts in Europe
S&P sees deeper house price falls in eurozone as slump engulfs core
"Europe's housing slump is engulfing large parts of the eurozone core as recession deepens, with prices to keep sliding for another two years, Standard & Poor's has warned."
The World's Bubble Economy Getting Bubblier
At the same time, bear in mind that because currencies are being debased by rampant money-printing, each currency unit is worth less and less. -- RF
Doug Casey: "We Are Living In The Middle Of The Biggest Bubble In History."
The Ticking Trillion Dollar Debt Bomb
Italy Needs 9 Billion Euros for Deficit Goal, Official Says
Mali Operation Another Burden for French Defense Budget
RMB on way to becoming global reserve currency: IMF official
Chile Seeks Developed Status, Meets Soaring Energy Costs
Italy's Riva Steel Billionaires May Close Largest Factory
Oxfam: Super rich no help against poverty
"The British charity Oxfam says the world's 100 richest people are increasing inequality and holding back the world's ability to tackle poverty."
The Currency Wars: Now US Automakers Are Squealing
No VW plant closures despite overcapacity
"Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker by volume, said it has no plans to close European factories, despite acknowledging that the continent's industry has significant overcapacity and would face worsening conditions this year."
Economy under severe stress due to war on terror: auditor general's report (Pakistan)
Abu Dhabi's $245m Yas Waterworld plots expansion
Dubai bourse hits 32-month high, breaks strong resistance
Work to begin on Dubai underwater hotel prototype
UAE: Pump, baby, pump! -- RF
Bitcoin transactions hit record

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Union says 1,266 Gulf Air staff could lose jobs
UAE air passengers to be charged new levy
Fuel leaking out of Jetstar Asia's profits
"The cost of fuel is is eating into Jetstar Asia's profits, according to financial reports, which found an 80 percent drop in the airline's profit due to higher oil bills and competition."
Porter Airlines fuel staff on strike
Boeing might have to pay up as airlines adjust to Dreamliner's grounding
Boeing Halting Dreamliner Deliveries Pending Resolution of FAA Compliance
Is the Dreamliner Becoming a Financial Nightmare for Boeing?
Chicago considers privatizing Midway
American Airlines unveils new look
It's going to take more than spiffy new livery to save the airlines. -- RF
American Airline's New Paint Job — a Whitewash
"The American travel experience will include tiny coach seats, surly pilots and on-board crews who believe they were robbed of benefits by Chapter 11, paid baggage fees, high fares to cities where American is the dominant carrier, and meals that customers have to pay for, if meals are available at all."
Cathay, SIA May Fly Empty Premium Seats as Banks Cut Cost
"Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293) and Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) are spending $207 million fitting flat- bed seats and larger TV screens in business-class. Finding passengers to fly them may be a challenge."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Britain and Australia to boost defense ties
'Mali a potential long-term, Afghanistan-like conflict for France'
Mali conflict: France aiming for 'total reconquest'
Merkel Says Mali Mission Protects Europe, Sends Transport Planes
U.S. Will Fly French Troops to Africa
After Algerian incident, West Africa fears Mali spillover
U.S., U.K. Say They Have No Plans to Send Troops to North Africa
U.S. sends trainers for Mali-bound force
The US Was Operating In Mali Months Prior To French Incursion: Meet The "Intelligence and Security Command"
US aircraft tailed by Chinese fighters near Japanese border
Clinton assures Japan on islands, invites Abe to U.S. in February
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured Japan on Friday of U.S. support in Tokyo's dispute with Beijing over a string of islands and invited new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Washington in late February for a meeting with President Barack Obama."
Japan Warns It May Fire On Chinese Aircraft Over Disputed Islands; China Retorts: "There Will Be No Second Shot"
Report: S. Korea To Deploy Guided Missiles at Sea Border
"South Korea plans to deploy Israeli-made precision guided missiles near its tense sea border with North Korea next month, including an island shelled by the North in 2010, a report said Jan. 18."
Russia, NATO to hold joint exercises in 2013
Assad's overthrow "red line" for Iran: supreme leader's aide
Greece Law-and-Order Problem Escalates; Bomb Explodes at Athens Mall; AK-47 Shots Hit Ruling Party Headquarters; Worst Not Over

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters want Maliki to go
Athens Metro Workers Extend Strike
Anti-racism protesters rally in Athens after stabbing
Villagers protest against power blackout, block road
Hundreds in Georgia demand president's resignation
Makeshift bomb injures two at Greek shopping mall
Iraq protester sets himself ablaze in anti-government rally
Egypt police, protesters clash over uprising court case
Thousands Rally Against Stricter Gun Control in US

## Energy/resources ##
Major power outage hits Annapolis
"Residents spotted dramatic flashes of light in the sky when the transmission lines blew."
Power outage in Nepal reaches 14 hours per day
"Electricity outage in Nepal on Saturday reached 14 hours a day totaling 97 hours in a week, making daily life difficult in the country."
As drought persists, many scramble to save every drop of water (US)
Brazil drought stokes worries over energy shortages
Desert Massacre Threatens Africa's Largest Gas Industry
'Grave fears' for energy industry in North Africa
32% of industrial units across India face power shortage of over 10 hours a week: FICCI-BRIEF Survey
Industrialists, farmers protest proposed hike in price of diesel (India)
Reduce water use before it runs out, Abu Dhabi water summit warns
IEA Sees Tighter Oil Market, Boosts Global Demand F'cast
Demand for LNG to Outstrip Supply in 2013
"Spot market prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) have reached $18 per million BTUs and could go higher this year as supplies of the fuel appear to be softer than many traders had originally thought. LNG production dropped sharply in 2012 and is expected to grow only slightly this year."
Tight LNG supply spell high prices Major exporters show declines
"Global prices for liquefied natural gas are rising toward record highs this year as increasing demand runs up against stuttering supply, threatening to drive up fuel costs in some of the world's biggest economies."
Alberta scans the compass for crude oil export options
Nearly half diesel fuel is purchased illegally in Lithuania
Gas shortage turns acute (Pakistan)
"Low gas pressure has irked consumers who are unable to even cook food as the gas shortage crossed 1.6 billion Cubic Feet (BCF) per day, Saturday."
Former Obama aides oppose Arctic drilling
Ukraine begins to cover Russian gas bill
But Every Generation Does Indeed Exhaust Its Mineral Reserves
Here's an interesting meditation on resource reserves. The real lesson here — although it's not clear if the author himself sees it — is that we're never going to "run out" of anything; it will just become increasingly expensive, and eventually uneconomical. That's why, in references to petroleum, we say "peak oil" and not "no oil." Even if we use "amazing new technologies," there's a limit to what can be extracted cheaply, and that's why much gas and oil from fracking operations are losing money. That it must be sold below cost shows that we're already at the tipping point. -- RF
Solarbuzz: Solar PV production equipment market falls to USD 3.6 billion in 2012
"NPD Solarbuzz Inc. (Santa Clara, California, US) has released a new report which finds that solar photovoltaic (PV) production equipment spending fell 72% to USD 3.6 billion in 2012."
Komax Solar orders hit rock bottom in 2012; headcount reduced 50%
"New orders of back-end module assembly equipment at Komax Solar declined a massive 90% in 2012 on the back of overcapacity, consolidation and capitulation of customers, especially in Asia and China in particular."
The PV industry continues to fall apart. -- RF
U.S. ready to levy steep duties on wind towers from China, Vietnam

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Klobuchar wants construction metals theft to be federal crime
Copper theft causes blackout at strip mall

## Got food? ##
EU releases all data on GM corn linked to cancer
Nestle Chairman Brabeck Says Biofuels Helped Boost Food Prices
More face food shortage as govt tallies survey figures (Tanzania)
What If the World's Soil Runs Out?
"It's a strange notion, but some experts fear the world, at its current pace of consumption, is running out of useable topsoil."
What to Plant Now (US contiguous 48)

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
How to retire like a cheapskate—and live well
When to Choose Wood Heat
I've said it before and I'll say it again: If your budget permits, get a modern high-efficiency stove. It will produce little air pollution and considerably stretch your firewood supply. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Sydney Sizzles in Record Heat as Fires Threaten Victorian Towns
Brazilian drought wipes 30% off sugar cane production
US Flu Epidemic Update: All Red
Black Carbon and Warming: It's Worse than We Thought
U.N. clinches global deal on cutting mercury emissions
Amazon rainforest showing signs of degradation due to climate change, NASA warns

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Iran strengthened cyber capabilities after Stuxnet: U.S. general
"Iran responded to a 2010 cyber attack on its nuclear facilities by beefing up its own cyber capabilities, and will be a "force to be reckoned with" in the future, a senior U.S. Air Force official told reporters on Thursday."
New York City police eye drones for surveillance purposes
A Hacker Says Smart Grid Can Be Penetrated
Stealth Hoodie Hides Wearer From Drones
What the FBI Doesn't Want You To Know About Its "Secret" Surveillance Techniques
He's baaaack! Kim Dotcom starts new file-sharing site
Is Kim Dotcom's MEGA Just For Pirates, Or Do We All Need A Privacy Company?
Technological Risks Impacting the World in 2013
"The PirateBox": WiFi + USB Drive = Your Own Mini-Internet (Freedom)
What your hotel knows about you
In Syria, the Cyberwar Intensifies
"The Federal Government Now Requires That We Ask You The Following Personal Questions"

## Systemic breakdown ##
4 exploitive societies that died out
"If you want your way of life to come to a bitter end, follow the example of these ancient civilizations and use up all the available natural resources."
Half of Canadian manufacturers facing skilled labour shortages
Severe drug shortage in Canada
The Coming Shortage of Skilled Manufacturing Workers
"As many as 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs remained vacant across the U.S. due to shortages of skilled workers, according to the Manufacturing Institute's most recent "skills gap" report."
Health Departments Facing Drug Shortages For Treating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (US)

## Japan ##
Record high radiation found in Fukushima fish: TEPCO
Subcontractors reportedly ripping off Fukushima nuclear accident workers
Japan's Debt Time Bomb Is Ticking: Kyle Bass
"Japan is sitting on a debt time bomb and recent moves to push the central bank to target inflation have made it more likely the bomb will explode in the next 24 months, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Friday."
Yen has Longest Stretch of Weekly Losses Since 1989; Shorts Decrease Bets; Lovin' Deflation
BOJ Deposit Rate Cut Sign in Cash Operation Flops: Japan Credit
"The failure of seven funding operations by the Bank of Japan (8301) is signaling expectations that policy makers will cut deposit rates."
BOJ Should Slow Easing If Yen Weakens Too Much, Abe Adviser Says
"The Yen Is Doomed": For Japan, This Time Really Is Different, Merk Says (Yahoo Finance video)
Issey Miyake gives fashion an emergency blanket
Emergency inspections of ports planned
"The infrastructure ministry plans to do emergency checks on more than 500 of the nation's 4,000 or so port facilities as part of an antiaging project for infrastructure, officials said Saturday."
Another part of Japan's crumbling infrastructure. -- RF

## China ##
China's total population 1.354 billion
China Home Prices Rise in Most Cities Since April 2011
China May Boost Fight Against Overcapacity
China ends tepid 2012 with surge, but wealth gap signals looming woes
Beijing may cut car numbers when air bad
China's Shrinking Pool of Workers May Limit Economy's Recovery
"China's growth rebound may be capped by a labor-force squeeze and shrinking resources that leave the government satisfied with rates of expansion as low as half the peak during the past decade."
Chinese Electricity Conclusions Reexamined
China's risky new money supply
China's top oil producer's output falls short

## UK ##
UK snow: panic buying hits supermarkets as shelves stripped bare
There were also some empty shelves in Japan after the last big snow. Don't trust this huge, complex, energy-intensive, and fragile system to provide for you. -- RF
UK retail sales fell in December
UK Economy to Return to Contraction in 4Q
Energy bills could rise because of wind farm contracts
Blockbuster announces closure of 129 stores
Bitterly cold weather sweeping Britain may last for weeks
Households with disabled person will be average of £156 a year worse off under Government benefits plans
Cameron: North Africa terrorist threat 'could last decades'
Sounds suspiciously like Cheney's "war that won't end in our lifetime." -- RF

## US ##
Intel Girds for Third Quarterly Sales Decline on PCs Slump: Tech
US Mint Out Of Silver Coins - Suspends Sales
A Tale Of Two New York Cities: The Rich And The Hungry
More than 146,000 without power in Virginia after snowstorm
2012 vehicle recalls topped 16.2 million
Fed Laughs Peaked in June 2007 Before Crisis Hit
There's growing talk that the debt ceiling is no longer the biggest threat to the U.S. economy
What it's like to live in a sewer below the bright lights of Vegas
Is This the End of the Soft-Drink Era?
EIA: Supply Issues Lifting New England Natural-Gas Prices
"Lower supplies from locations as diverse as Nova Scotia, Yemen and Europe and strong demand are lifting New England natural-gas prices and will likely mean a winter of volatile prices for gas and electric power, the Energy Information Administration said Friday."
School buses out of service due to 'algae'
300 gallons of diesel fuel stolen from vehicles parked at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute
Environmental group argues against restarting San Onofre plant
Digital projection has drive-in movie theaters reeling
Detroit's Belle Isle targeted for a proposed commonwealth with its own currency, government
Consumer Sentiment Tanks, Worse Than All Expectations

And finally…
Star Wars' Galactic Empire taunts Obama over Death Star
Washington Woman Accused Of Using Her Breasts To Smother And Kill Boyfriend
Batmobile from 1960s Batman fetches $4.2m at auction

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