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

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