Friday, January 04, 2013


News Links, January 2-3, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Saudi Arabia's riches conceal a growing problem of poverty
"Millions of Saudis struggle on the fringes of one of the world's most powerful economies, where jobs and welfare programmes have failed to keep pace with a population that has soared from 6 million in 1970 to 28 million today."
World's 100 richest added $241B last year
Mutual Guarantee Society: Spain Proposes State Guarantee of Bank Loans to Small and Medium Businesses
The Dangerous Blindspots of Clueless Keynesians
"The Keynesian model is a Cargo Cult, mired in a distant, romanticized past where Central Planning, intervention and manipulation were solutions rather than the root of the economy's fatal disease."
2013 to be riddled with economic gloom & political acrimony
GDP expanded 3.3% last year in slowest annual pace since 2009 (Israel)
Chinese Fly Cash West, by the Suitcase
"Amid a rush of newly affluent Chinese eager to move money out of China, U.S. and Canadian border officials are seizing large amounts of cash tucked into wallets, purses and suitcases at airports across North America."
Malaysia IPO momentum set to continue in 2013
New import tax could slash Indian gold buying again
Italy's Monti fires opening salvo of second-term campaign

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Least Eco-Friendly U.S Airlines for 2012 Lets Fly Cheaper
Pakistan Airlines Seeks Government Support After Losses
Airport screeners discover more than 1,500 guns in 2012

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iraqi Shiite Cleric Lends Support to Sunni Protest
"Hard-line religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr told reporters in the Shiite holy city of Najaf that the demonstrators have the right to protest as long as they are peaceful. He stopped short of calling for a wider uprising like those that have rippled across the region over the past two years, but warned of further unrest if demands on the street are not met."
US-trained Iraqi Special Forces aid al-Maliki's repression
Iraqi civilian deaths rise in "low-level war": study
Iran says captures two U.S.-made miniature surveillance drones
Russia poised for largest naval exercise for decades
"Russian warships have embarked on a long voyage to the Black and Mediterranean seas to take part in what the Defence Ministry said would be the largest naval exercise in decades."
North Korean leader, in rare address, seeks end to confrontation with South
Syrian rebels blow up major pipeline
U.N. lifts Syria death toll to "truly shocking" 60,000
Syria's Oil Now a Target of Civil War
Iran warns off foreign planes during naval drill: report
Analysis: U.S. arms sales to Asia set to boom on Pacific "pivot"
Budget cuts and F-35 controversy hang over the military in 2013 (Canada)
Attack On Aid Workers In Pakistan Leaves 7 Dead
Israel completes bulk of Egypt border fence
Israel will cease to exist within a decade, says Muslim Brotherhood official
While the official evidently has something different in mind, in the coming years many countries will morph into something much different than what they are today. Some countries will become mere shell states, others will break down completely and be overrun by lawlessness, and still others will fragment into de facto independent regions. The inability to hold nation-states together will be another consequence of expensive energy. In fact, Egypt itself is in serious trouble in this respect. -- RF
Il Duce is back: New reverence for fascist dictator Benito Mussolini spreads across Italy
At $130 Million A Plane, Critics Question The Cost Of The F-35
Why does a small fighter plane cost so much? It's because of the huge amount of embodied energy it contains, and the rising cost of that energy. -- RF
'Tsunami bomb' tested off New Zealand coast
"The United States and New Zealand conducted secret tests of a "tsunami bomb" designed to destroy coastal cities by using underwater blasts to trigger massive tidal waves."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Saudis protest regime's killing of teen
"Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province to protest against the killing of a teenage demonstrator."
Protest strike shuts Indian Kashmir
"Shops and businesses are shut in Indian-controlled Kashmir in response to a strike called by separatist groups to protest firing by government forces that wounded seven civilians in the disputed region."
Tens of Thousands Protest Against Hong Kong Leader
Athens Metro workers strike over cuts
With events worldwide, #IdleNoMore movement grows too big to track

## Energy/resources ##
South Korea Restarts Nuclear Reactor to Avoid Blackouts During Winter
"Stuck in the middle of a colder than normal winter the South Korean government has been campaigning nationwide to urge its people to save energy wherever possible and prevent blackouts. Yet as the demand for power continues to increase they have taken other measures to avoid catastrophe."
Uzbekistan 'cuts off gas' to Tajikistan
"The impoverished Central Asian state of Tajikistan said Monday that it had been cut off from natural gas shipments by its neighbour and sole energy supplier Uzbekistan."
Fuel shortage sees Egyptian power stations shut
Fuel shortage hits Togo
India Losing Iron Ore Market as Courts Shut Mines: Commodities
China guzzles record oil and gas takeovers in 2012: The Australian
PetroRabigh refinery halted for 20 days
"Saudi Arabia's PetroRabigh refining and petrochemicals complex will carry out maintenance for 20 days after a power cut on Saturday forced it to halt operations, it said in a bourse statement yesterday."
City Crews Battling Power Outage In Cushing
"City Electric crews in Cushing are working to restore power to much of Cushing this New Year's Day after a major power outage."
Why did a Train Carrying Biofuel Cross the Border 24 Times and Never Unload?
"A cargo train filled with biofuels crossed the border between the US and Canada 24 times between the 15th of June and the 28th of June 2010; not once did it unload its cargo, yet it still earned millions of dollars."
Some Asia Oil Traders Give Up Singapore Terminal Storage Tanks
"After scrambling for years to secure space in Singapore's onshore oil storage tanks, some of the biggest fuel oil traders in Asia are giving up tanks or moving stocks offshore as a global shipping industry downturn makes leasing tankers more affordable."
Africa's energy consumption growing fastest in world
Clean Energy Innovation: An Unstoppable and Volatile Force
The standard argument ignores the enormous amount of fossil-fuel energy embodied in renewable-energy hardware. --RF
Can the Bakken Reach 1 Million Barrels a Day?
China-Russia oil pipeline records 30m tons in delivery

## Got food? ##
Disease Rips Through Florida Citrus

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
New Year's Resolutions For a More Simplified and Peaceful Life

## Environment/health ##
New Fears Over Fracking Groundwater Contamination
Shell's Diesel-Filled Rig Grounded on Alaska Island
Shells Arctic Nightmare Continues as Tow Lines Snap on Drill Rig
Flu levels rising in Canada and Europe
Isn't growth great? Done with Math
"Consider this: each day the population of humans on the planet expands by more than 200,000. That is one good-sized city, complete with water, food, energy, transportation, communication and sanitation infrastructure. To feed that city may require, if storage and process losses are kept to a minimum, 1 million kilocalories every day - something like a 20-acre stockyard of cattle, a Tyson's poultry farm the size of a superdome, and a large fleet of Japanese fishing vessels  seine-netting dolphins as they scour the dwindling ocean stores for tuna.
"And the next day, you have to find somewhere to put another, while still feeding the first."
Deadly fungus spreads through the world's frog population
Gelatinous Menace? Jellyfish on Boom-Bust Cycle Worldwide
As globe warms, Alaska is cooling down

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
2012 in Review: State Surveillance Around the Globe
Amazon Blames Deleted Data for Christmas Eve Netflix Outage
New Jersey bans smiles on driver's licenses to safeguard facial recognition
Cyberattack on agriculture ministry suspected: sources (Japan)

## Systemic breakdown ##
Highways of the future? Not here (US)
"Instead of churning out stories about futuristic 'smart highways' that guide, direct, warn and even entertain, I have to report that our late President Dwight D. Eisenhower must be turning in his grave about now."
Forecast 2013: Contraction, Contagion, and Contradiction (James Howard Kunstler)
Spain: the pain of austerity deepens
"Unemployment in Spain already stands at 26%. Crowds scavenge the streets at night for food. And life is about to get tougher still."
The Perverse Economics of the Electric Grid
"Nearly 75% of transmission lines and transformers are 25 years or older and 60% of circuit breakers are more than 30 years old, according to the U.S. Department of Energy."

## Japan ##
Japan plans 'nationalisation' of factories to save industry
"Japan's government is to take the unprecedented step of buying factories and    machinery directly with taxpayer funds, the latest in a series of radical steps to lift the country out of its deep slump."
Gundersen: Contamination levels that would be considered radioactive waste in U.S. were ubiquitous on Tokyo streets when I visited — Niigata's river sediment loaded with radiation as well
Japan's two main bourses merge operations
Real GDP Down 0.4% In Nov: JCER
How to survive quakes, crime, poverty in big city
New underground tank rules have rural gas stations running on empty
"The prospect of countryside filling stations drying up is not just a problem for red-lining motorists. As purveyors of home heating oil in what's shaping up to be a severe winter, the prospect of the stations' disappearance has sparked a far deeper, far wider sense of crisis in thinly-populated areas of Japan."
Some new environmental regulations in various countries are not meant just to benefit the environment; they are also means of demand destruction. -- RF
Govt eyeing purchase of U.S. spy drones / Global Hawks would cover China, N. Korea

## China ##
China searching for more gas for winter
"China National Petroleum Corp. aims to secure natural gas supplies from domestic and Central Asian suppliers to address surging winter demand, a spokesman said."
Growth of China's domestic consumption remains uncertain
Can China Prevent Web Pseudonyms? Probably Not
China's taste for pork serves up a pollution problem
China disputes its own paper saying Senkakus were part of Ryukyu

## UK ##
Power to the People?
"A mix of short-sightedness and prevarication by politicians means that the UK is now at a position where it is unlikely that it will be able to meet all its consumers' energy needs in just a few years."
Jobless youths more likely to feel depressed, says charity
Who would have thought? -- RF
Bank bailout loses taxpayers £23bn
Rail commuters hit by 4.2% average fare rise
Angry commuters hit out at fare rises and travel chaos

## US ##
Obama Deal Adds $3.97 Trillion to Deficit Over 10 Years; Only 5 Republicans Voted Against; White-Flag Surrender
'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Also Doles Out Millions for Hollywood, Railroads, Rum Producers
Senate Bill Averts Fiscal Cliff--For Now--While Ignoring our Short- and Long-Term Fiscal Problems
Fiscal Cliff Loose Ends
Cliff Resolved - Deficit Set To Explode
S&P says U.S. fiscal deal will not affect credit outlook
Fiscal Cliff Deal Cuts Average Workers' Paycheck By $1,000
Despite Cliff Deal: 'Nothing Really Has Been Fixed'
Congress Postpones 'Automatic' Defense Budget Cuts
Gunfire rings in a deadly New Year across US
California Desalination Financing Closes on $1 Billion Project
"The San Diego water agency says the average household bill may rise about $6 a month when the desalination plant near Agua Hedionda lagoon, which is energy-intensive making water filtered from the sea, is completed in 2016."
After Housing And The Stock Market, Is Higher Education The Next Bubble To Burst?
U.S. on Pace for Slowest Decade of Population Growth Since 1930s
50 Predictions For 2013
Texas rangers on the rise of modern day cattle rustling
New voluntary program tracks students with GPS, increases attendance
Crowd of Fools Cheers Obama; Tweet Irony
Construction Spending in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell in November
The commuter culture of California – The cost of commuting and buying real estate far from your place of employment.
Stock market will blindside investors in 2013: Optimist or pessimist, black swans will get you
Gas prices hit highest average ever in 2012

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