Sunday, March 03, 2013


News Links, March 2-4, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Cash-strapped Egypt considers offering pyramids, other monuments for rent
Eurozone unemployment hits 11.9%
Brazil economy grew 0.9% in 2012
Absolutely pitiful. Remember when the BRICs were going to be the new powerhouse of the global economy? -- RF
Boom in German lessons as Europe's jobless head north
S. Korea's trade slows down
UK-France "entente frugale" defense pact here to stay
84% of Greeks, 90% of Greek Businesses Have Difficulty Repaying Loans
With respect to the mechanics of this difficulty, see the following item. -- RF
Reaching Debt Limits
Europe's Scariest Chart Update: Italy Now Worse Than Portugal
Property speculators' return fuels Dubai bubble fear
Ssangyong Engineering May Fall Into Creditor's Hands (Korea)
Stalling European factories and slowing China leave world economy looking to America
Greece reclassified from 'developed' to 'emerging' economy
Philippines May Shun Borrowing Abroad This Year, Treasurer Says
Giant 'Miracle Garden' is Dubai's latest over-the-top attraction
Italy paralysed as Grillo plots exit route from euro
"Italy plunged deeper into political chaos this weekend after Beppe Grillo, the quixotic former comedian who holds the balance of power in parliament, suggested that the country may have to abandon the euro and return to the lire."
How India aims to turn gold into paper and suppress its price, as in the West
Euro Leaders Demand Austerity as Italy Moves Closer to New Vote
Alasdair Macleod: Europe Is In Worse Shape Than Everyone Thinks
Iran sanctions could distort region's economy for years: report
"Sanctions on Iran are so intricately woven that they will be very hard to untangle, while their impact in swelling Iran's black economy could undermine regional stability for years to come, the International Crisis Group says in a new report."
Is there a thriving underground economy in Canada?
"The evidence from the amount of cash is just one indicator suggesting that the underground economy may be continuing to grow in Canada. This is a problem that fiscally challenged governments need to look at more closely."
The informal economy
"NEW estimates indicate that Pakistan's informal economy is larger than previously approximated, and is expanding at a rapid pace. On the other hand, the formal sector appears to be on the retreat."
Al Gore's 'sustainable capitalism' is DOA
"Look closely. Don't be misled by the buzzwords. There's nothing 'sustainable.'"
Paris Seeks Alternative to 75% Tax

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Spending cuts could force runway closures
"Automatic spending cuts could force some of the nation's busiest airports to close runways, causing widespread flight delays and cancellations, the union representing air traffic controllers said Wednesday."
British Airways owner sinks to £862m loss amid battle to revive ailing Spanish flagship Iberia
Fresh Iberia strike cancels 1,370 flights
Skywest Airlines slumps to H1 loss
Emerging Europe airlines head for hangar
Ryanair to cut Stansted flights, blaming increased airport fees
FAA Chief: Spending Cuts Could Close Runways
Smaller New Mexico airports set for closure
Air fares likely to rise next month (India)
Struggling Gulf Air sacks staff as unions reject revamp
"Bahrain's loss-making flag carrier Gulf Air, struggling against competition from other regional carriers, has embarked on a sweeping restructuring plan that has annoyed unions over heavy job cuts."
In Japan, idled Dreamliner pilots lose pay
Airlines introduce new passenger fees

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Is There Oil in 'Kryzakhstan'? Ask John Kerry
Iraq war verdict: Iran is the winner
NATO base in Helmand attacked by militants
Drug dealers using cannons to propel drugs
China defense spending seen rising as territorial rows deepen
China claims evidence of Japan's close-range surveillance over navy
China sending helicopter-carrying ships in Senkakus dispute
"Japan's concern over a standoff with China over the disputed Senkaku Islands is deepening as Beijing is dispatching helicopter-carrying vessels to the surrounding waters almost daily."
Chinese trader accused of busting Iran missile embargo
Kerry's calls for unity likely to fall on deaf ears in Egypt
"Yet two leading members of the opposition, Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahi, said they refused to meet Mr Kerry because of Washington's call for the National Salvation Front opposition alliance to reconsider a planned boycott of the elections."
Swiss referendum backs executive pay curbs
"Swiss voters have overwhelmingly backed proposals to impose some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, final referendum results show."
U.S. offers Egypt budget aid after Mursi assurance on IMF
"The United States said on Sunday it would give Egypt $190 million in budget aid after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi promised to take the painful economic reforms needed to secure an IMF loan."
Coordinated bombs hit Pakistan capital
N. Korea preps for military drills
Violence spreads in Borneo as 5 Malaysian police killed

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Bahrain bans 'Anonymous' Guy Fawkes masks
Bangladesh calls out paramilitary force amid violence, 42 killed
Bangladesh deaths rise as Jamaat protest strike begins
Indonesian police attacked on train
Facing tough times, more Czechs long for Communist return
Djibouti police battle crowds protesting election result
Greece: "A promise from the army has been obtained to not intervene against a civil uprising"
Eurozone crisis: Portugal protests against austerity
Iranian farmers hold talks on water dispute after police clashes
One person killed, four injured in south Yemen protest: medics
Indian village POSCO protesters killed by bomb blasts
Ethnic Albanians clash with police in Macedonia
161 arrested in Saudi Arabia protest over detentions
Political uncertainty deepens in Bulgaria as thousands protest
Railways blocked in protest over fuel shortage (Egypt)

## Energy/resources ##
Bulgaria proposes 6 pct power price cut after protests
ERCOT sees another tight summer for Texas power supplies in 2013
As demand for power spikes, A.P. plunges into darkness (India)
Iran pipeline work to begin March 11: Pakistan officials
Are we near peak biofuels?
Botswana must save electricity during power shortage
Libya gas exports to Italy halted after militias clash -official
Pak-Iran gas pipeline to raise 'serious concerns': US
Lower highs: The real trajectory of U.S. oil production
Water scarcity could be liquid gold for investors
As shortage looms, MOEA chief urges people to save water (Taiwan)
"Ministry of Economic Affairs head Chang Chia-chu yesterday said the government needs to educate people about water conservation, as the nation may face a shortage by the end of April."

## Got food? ##
Horsemeat found in Italian pasta
Let them eat horse, say French officials
After scandals, is America planning to open a horse meat factory?
Four million South Sudanese may struggle to eat in 2013: U.N.
How Food Companies Trick Consumers Into Eating Their Unhealthy Products (video)
Big dry raises fears of dairy crash (New Zealand)
Feeding China's 1.3 Billion People (video)
Film on Hunger in America Opens
Tuna collapse fears fail to curb Japan's appetite
Amazing Cold Weather Greens to Grow
Insects could be humans next food source… even if that gives you the creeps
Spam is sizzling again, and Hormel is smiling

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Composting with worms

## Environment/health ##
Transocean Says BP Gave Low Flow Estimates of Gulf Spill
"The owner of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 says BP hampered efforts to stop the resulting gusher of oil by misleading government officials about how many barrels of oil were flowing each day from the damaged well on the Gulf floor."
The buzz stops here: Bumblebees are in trouble
Farmers' lack of bees might be solved by going wild
Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study
Shark kills number 100 million annually, research says
"The most accurate assessment to date of the impact of commercial fishing on sharks suggests around 100 million are being killed each year."
Australia's record-breaking hottest summer
CITES meeting to deal with species 'extinction crisis'
Wireless connections begin creeping into daily life

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
US Gas Pipelines at Risk after Chinese Military Cyber Attack
Study: Research shows everyone does worse with online learning
EU unveils e-border scheme amid 'Big Brother' warnings
Evernote says security has been breached by hackers
Ark. police photograph license plates, store data
DHS Considers Eavesdropping Tech for Spy Drones on Border
DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones
Why Is the Navy Building a Shiny Drone Base in Sunny Malibu?
Seattle, Tacoma rolling out new 'predictive policing' software
TSA – Not just for airports anymore
"You no longer have to go to an airport to be checked by TSA (Transportation Security Administration).  Now you can find them at trains, buses, subways, trolleys, ferries, ports, tunnels, rest areas, even sporting events or while driving down the highway."
Maine setting standard for EMP defense

## Systemic breakdown ##
Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem
Mexican towns, once frozen with fear, now frozen in time
Karachi business crippled by social chaos
Italian Five Star MP: EU is 'unsustainable' in its current form

## Japan ##
Japanese Blogger's Troubling Insight into the Psyche of Post-Disaster Fukushima Residents
Japan's nuclear plants unlikely to restart in 2013
High concentration of radioactive cesium found in land animals
Domestic auto output skids 10.6%
FinMin asks businesses for wage hikes
Old age far from gentle for Japan's graying homeless
Japan's new problem: an ageing homeless population
Politician proposes banning abortion to improve Japan's birthrate
Tokyo's 'coffin apartments': 2.5 meters of space for $600
OK, look carefully at the two headlines just above. Do you see a problem here? Well, apparently the politicians and business leaders don't. Japan has "too few" people, yet tiny homes and apartments (known as "rabbit hutches" in Japan) are now shrinking further into coffin apartments. Here's where infinite-growth ideology takes us: you need more and more worker bees, taxpayers, consumers, pension subscribers, blah blah blah to keep the Ponzi system going. -- RF
FamilyMart to open over 3,000 new outlets in Japan in 3 years
26% of nonfarm labor force have fixed-term contract jobs
More firms selling prime real estate to get cash
"Japanese blue-chip firms, from electronics giants to brewers, are selling prime real estate to shore up battered balance sheets, stoking a resurgent property market. Some are moving into new offices to take advantage of relatively low rents."
Japan deflation persists, business spending down
Firms' capital expenditures decline 8.7%
Study: 22 million Japanese at risk for next tsunami

## China ##
China February factory growth fizzles as demand wanes
Chinese steel industry to face further difficulties
China Wants Nuclear Reactors, and Lots of Them
Hard Landing Ahead for China's Local Governments?
BYD reports 94% net profit drop in 2012
China Central Bank Says It Is "Fully Prepared For Looming Currency War"
The rebel Chinese newspaper which dares to challenge the Communist party line
China sees 10th straight record grain harvest
That's good news. Unfortunately, however, record harvests don't continue forever. Even more unfortunate is that these record harvests are achieved with high inputs of fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Like modern agriculture nearly everywhere, it's unsustainable and heading for a crash. -- RF

## UK ##
Livestock virus found on 1,500 farms
Horsemeat scandal: Four new products test positive
U.K. Factory Contraction Revives Triple-Dip Concerns: Economy
Bitter harvest and cruel winter for farmers

## US ##
Peak Oil, The Shale Boom and our Energy Future: Interview with Dave Summers
Michigan governor clears way for state takeover of Detroit
Danger as stock-market 'Greedometer' flashes red
Consumer Spending Drought: 16 Signs That The Middle Class Is Running Out Of Money
Student Debt Nearly Tripled In 8 Years, New York Federal Reserve Reports
Student-Loan Delinquencies Among the Young Soar
Consumer Spending in U.S. Climbs Even as Taxes Hurt Incomes
"Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in January even as incomes dropped by the most in 20 years, showing households were weathering the payroll-tax increase by socking away less money in the bank."
Druckenmiller Sees Storm Worse Than '08 as Seniors Steal
"Druckenmiller said the mushrooming costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with unfunded liabilities as high as $211 trillion, will bankrupt the nation's youth and pose a much greater danger than the country's $16 trillion of debt currently being debated in Congress."
U.S. Pump Prices May Continue Rising in Weeks Ahead, AAA Says
Real Disposable Income Down 4%, Reversing Strong Gains in December
Spending Cuts Signal Austere Future for Domestic Programs
Let me go on record here as saying that, as far as austerity goes, we haven't seen anything yet. SAVAGE and BRUTAL austerity are waiting, just offstage, to make their flamboyant entrance. Protest all you want. -- RF
Arms buy-back events increase, round up more than guns
"The buy-backs are yielding thousands of firearms, including military rocket-propelled grenade devices and illegal automatic machine guns."
The Jobs Picture Is Far Worse Than It Looks
Traffic Slump at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn; Smaller Plates, Cheaper Items at Olive Garden; Saturation Everywhere
'Massive layoffs' predicted in law schools due to big drop in applicants
"A plunge in the number of applicants to law schools will likely lead to closures and faculty layoffs, according to law professors following the statistics."
The Sequestered Gilded Age: Top 20 percent of households control over 90 percent of all stocks and financial wealth: Bottom 40 percent of all households have an average net worth of -$10,600.
Obama Renews Offer to Cut Social Safety Net in Big Budget Deal
The cuts are coming, sooner or later. I've said again and again that pensions and "retirement" are going the way of the dinosaurs. Start making different plans now. -- RF
Obama to Tap Walmart's Burwell as Budget Chief: Sources

And finally…
Good riddance, PT Cruiser car rentals
Martian language lessons on offer at Pompidou Centre, Paris
What, no lessons in Klingon? -- RF

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