Thursday, March 07, 2013


News Links, March 7-8, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Europe's GDP unchanged -- still low
Eurozone Downturn Accelerates Despite German Growth; Divergence to France Widest in 15 Years
French Unemployment Reached 10.6% in 4Q
Carmakers don't see European recovery this year
Portugal PM brushes off calls to end austerity
Anger builds in Italy as old guard plots fresh technocrat take-over
Russia's February Inflation Accelerates to 18-Month High
Argentina's Downward Spiral
World Recession Update
DryShips Q4 loss widens amid industry weakness
Defense cuts threaten Australian subs
Exports drop as trade deficit widens (Australia)
The Biggest Bubble in Human History?
South Korea adds 20 tons of Gold to reserves in February
Underground Economy Equivalent to 23 Percent of South Korea's GDP
Unpopped Housing Bubbles Abound
Must read: Governments Worldwide are Implementing Orwellian Gold Confiscation Today. You Just Haven't Realized it Yet.
"Bankers have flipped the paradigm of monetary truth upside down today. People believe in fiat digital money that is, by definition of the term, counterfeit and have zero belief in money that is real, and thus lasted over 5000 years of global history."
Fiat currency is just worthless paper declared legal tender by edict. That's why it's called "fiat" currency. Tomorrow the US dollar could be replaced by Monopoly money with the stroke of a pen (in theory, of course, as logistics would make this impossible). Be sure to have hard assets when paper and digital garbage falls by the wayside. -- RF

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Regional air companies facing turbulence
"Balkan nations are losing money by covering the debts of national airline companies and should restructure the companies to keep the airlines flying, experts said."
ANA says it had Dreamliner power distribution panel trouble 3 times
AeroSvit bankruptcy leaves travel companies in debt
Bosnian BH Airlines grounded, faces possible bankruptcy over bank debt
Gulf Air in survival fight
Red ink flows at Bob Hope Airport
Chinese airlines raise fuel surcharge for domestic and international flights
FAA: Hilton Head Airport control tower eyed for closure
Southwest Airlines February traffic falls 4.4%

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Recent Oil Discovery off Lebanese Coast Draws Naval Powers to East Med
"The discovery a few years ago of an important deposit of oil and gas reserves in the waters just off the Lebanese, Israeli and Cypriot coasts has raised the interest of foreign militaries who have in recent weeks become attracted to the region, adding ingredients at sea to an already explosive atmosphere on land.
"From China to Iran, not forgetting Turkey, Israel, the United States, Britain, and France, all the principal actors in the region are now present in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean."
The east Mediterranean is starting to look like the Gulf of Aden — whose naval vessels from various countries are not there just for pirates. -- RF
Washington Aims to Turn Congo Military Mission into a U.S. Proxy Force
Pakistan Thumbs Nose at U.S. on Energy
Centcom Chief Rejects Diplomacy, Says Iran Must Be 'Brought to Its Knees'
It's imperative in the US view that a pro-American government be installed in Iran as soon as possible so that the US can have unfettered and cheap access to Iranian hydrocarbon wealth. "Taking back Iran" would also considerably strengthen US dominance in the Middle East, especially in light of the almost total failure in Iraq. You can bet your bottom dollar that the US leadership knows that the fracking boom is a flash in the pan, and that controlling Mideast hydrocarbon wealth is essential. -- RF
Hugo Chavez: New World Rising
Revealed: Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture centres
China wary of post-Chavez pivot
Russia says it's ready to discuss U.N. force for Mali
China navy seeks to "wear out" Japanese ships in disputed waters
China and Russia to launch joint military exercises in June
N. Korea shows some signs of preparing for war
North Korea threatens nuclear strike, U.N. expands sanctions
Final Report: $60 Billion Iraq Reconstruction Accomplished Little
"What is expected to be the final report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has come out, taking a final look at a scheme that started a decade ago and spent $60 billion. The verdict: failure."
UK will supply armoured vehicles to Syrian opposition forces 'in bid to end humanitarian crisis'
Pirates kidnap three in offshore Nigeria attack: sources
Trouble brews for Iran-Pakistan pipeline
Guess who's stirring the pot in Balochistan. -- RF
India without aircraft carrier as China takes huge strides

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters seeking anti-Gaddafi bill barricade lawmakers
Protests over Shangpu village land grab (China; video)
Protests rage in Egypt's Port Said for fourth day
Chinese Anger Over Pollution Becomes Main Cause of Social Unrest
Striking Iberia workers protest against job cuts
Palestinian street boils at plight of prisoners
South Africa is an angry nation on the brink, warns Nelson Mandela's wife

## Energy/resources ##
Eskom begins load shedding (South Africa)
Bulgaria suffers massive power shortage
Power rustlers turn the screw in Bulgaria, EU's poorest country
Stakeholders decry obsolete facilities, power outages at airports (Nigeria)
Weak global coal market threatens low-margin mines
As with other fossil fuels, production costs are rising and weak demand results in prices that are too low for some producers to turn a profit. At the same time, if the world economy were to "recover" (which it won't), skyrocketing energy prices would soon strangle economy activity. We've reached the "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-dont" point. -- RF
Crisis worsens as power units go kaput
Nigeria's power generation drops to 4,167mw
Will Arctic oil and gas ever be commercially viable?
Nigeria's oil output drops by 140,000 bpd
SolarCity Posts Much Larger Loss Than Expected
Scarce LNG Cargoes Seen Curbing Shipping as Africa Output Needed
Backlog Marcellus wells functioning can hike US Nat Gas production growth by 3 Bcf/d y/y
"Drilling activity has decelerated and some producers have announced plans for further rig count cuts, putting in question continued growth this year and next. Similarly to the rest of the country, Marcellus'production trajectory has decoupled from gas-directed drilling trends."
Worst drought in India in decades blamed on official incompetence
Security woes hit Libya oil and gas as guards become menace
The Mechanical Transmission of Power (3): Endless Rope Drives
A Must Read Account of Fracking Colorado
New Report States that Keystone XL will Only Create 35 Permanent New Jobs
Saudi faces water shortage

## Got food? ##
Why food riots are likely to become the new normal
Milk Powder Surges Most in 2 1/2 Years on New Zealand Drought
Urban Ag: Taking Steps Toward Political Ecology
More Ikea Food Woes: Horse Meat Hot Dogs

## Environment/health ##
CDC warns about drug-resistant 'superbug;' care facilities urged to act
Fending off the 'nightmare bacteria'
Fences may be only hope for Africa's lions
Toxic Shipping Containers May Be Contaminating Your Food And Clothes
In Florida, Sinkhole Risks Grow With Urban Expansion
Canadian glaciers face 'big losses'
Shrinking ice worries Great Lakes scientists
Earth Warmer Than in Most of the Past 11,300 Years
Biofuel crops could affect Brazil climate
Role of processed food and tobacco in lifestyle diseases under scanner

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Pentagon cyberdefenses weak, report warns
Eye-Tracking Smartphones Have Arrived. What About the Privacy Implications?
As drone use grows, so do privacy, safety concerns
All work and no play? Mobile wipes out 8-hour workday
Holder Responds To Paul About Drone Strikes On U.S. Soil
BP Fights Off Up to 50,000 Cyber-Attacks a Day: CEO

## Systemic breakdown ##
Job Vacancies Taking Longer To Fill, Even As Millions Are Unemployed, Study Finds (US)
"Tech companies like Microsoft say the problem of an unskilled U.S. workforce is so severe that the U.S. should allow more highly-skilled immigrants into the country to fill openings in science and technology."
Dearth of Skilled Workers Imperils $100 Billion Projects
"After spending years searching for enough crude to pump, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry now is struggling to find and pay for enough skilled workers to tap the abundant supply in shale rock, putting $100 billion in planned petrochemical projects at risk."
A skilled worker shortage in the oil industry has been building for years. Here is one part of the breakdown occurring in the energy system. Don't say you weren't warned. -- RF
States With The Biggest Looming Skilled Labor Shortages
Business must share responsibility for shortage of skilled workers (Canada)
Construction sector shrinks as material prices soar (Egypt)
"The number of registered contracting and building companies has fallen from 41.000 to 14,000, according to Mohamed Abul Enein, secretary general of the Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors."
Millions left without money as RBS systems crash (UK)
Asian Cities Seen As Where The World's Rich Increasingly Want To Be
U.S. has run out of 'low-hanging fruit' and needs the next generation of innovation: economist
Why Our Current Way of Living Has No Future
Medicine shortage hits Egypt's pharmacies

## Japan ##
Outstanding JGB Balance To Top Y1,000tln In 10 Years
Rubella infections hit 5-year high
Two years after Fukushima, Japan's nuclear lobby bounces back
Google to Photograph Street Views of Evacuated Town in Fukushima
TEPCO considers dumping water from Fukushima nuclear plant into ocean
Fukushima Watch: Inside the Fukushima Daiichi Emergency Control Room
Two years on the deadly battle to save Fukushima from an invisible, odourless enemy goes on
Marine product processers still struggling to recover after March 11 disaster
A quick blow, then lingering death for devastated towns
Disaster reconstruction pace proves to be slow 2 years after tsunami
Tsunami-hit towns still barren
Disaster-hit areas to apply for extensions for temporary stores, factories, schools
Above four articles: Just as I have been saying for a long time, reconstruction is going nowhere fast. -- RF
2 Chinese vessels sail inside territorial waters around Senkakus
Pump! Nikkei nears 12,000 mark on Dow's record run
Tsunami-hit farmers struggle to restore clean, healthy soil
"Farmers whose fields were inundated by tsunami two years ago are finding that soil quality remains poor even after most of the deposited salt has been removed."
Sharp looks to rival for help / Tie-up with Samsung aimed at bolstering financial standing

## China ##
Chinese apparel sector grapples with high inventory levels
'It's like walking into a forest of skyscrapers, but they're all empty:' See China's ghost cities for yourself
The world's biggest mall in China is now a Ghost Town
China's 'Ghost Cities' Warn of Property Bubble: Chanos
Chinese couples increasingly seek divorce to avoid property tax
Expanding cities to drive the economy
This is going to backfire spectacularly. -- RF
China faces social, financial risks in urbanization push
"China's urbanization drive could fuel social unrest over land disputes and pose financial risks if money is thrown around recklessly, a senior communist party official and a leading economist said on Thursday."
It's more than that. Modern cities — especially big ones — require massive energy throughput to keep them running and maintain infrastructure. Urban functions are already beginning to fail around the world, as evidenced by decaying infrastructure. -- RF
China gov't may cover railway ministry's RMB2.6bn debt
It's clear the ministry had taken on unsustainable debt in its rapid expansion drive, so this was inevitable. -- RF
Iron ore markets glued to China property curbs, loss making Steel units
China's Citizens Hide As Much As $2.34 Trillion In Income, Researcher Says

## UK ##
Britain bringing soldiers in Germany home
Vince Cable: Borrowing may not be as bad as slow growth
Thomas Cook cuts 2,500 jobs in restructuring
"THOMAS Cook is to cut 2,500 jobs and close 195 of its high street travel agencies as part of its continuing efforts to turn its troubled UK business around."
UK's Cameron says no turning back on deficit cuts plan
U.K. pay falls fastest in developed world

## US ##
US Households Have Never Been More Reliant On The Stock Market For Their "Net Worth"
Stock Rally Will End Badly This Year: Marc Faber
The children going hungry in America (video)
New York's Homelessness Worst Since The Great Depression
Pay $2,140 to borrow $950? That's how car title loans work
Eric Holder: Some Banks Are So Large That It Is Difficult For Us To Prosecute Them
New IRS Data: The Rich Got Richer, But Paid Lower Tax Rate
New York Assembly Approves Two-Year Moratorium on Fracking
Student Loan Bubble So Big It's Trumping Credit Cards as a Spending Driver
Federal Government Injects Near Record Amount In Student Loans In January As Consumer Credit Rises
The Scary Reality Of The Student Loan Bubble In 5 Charts
The economics of a US civilian nuclear phase-out
Pump! Stocks Close Even Higher Following Dow's Record Day
The Dow Floats Ever Higher On A Sea Of Economic Bubbles
Your sequestered brain can't see next crash coming: This time is never different, but we remain blind
The "Great Rotation" Of Retail Inflows Lasted A Total Of Seven Weeks
One Third of Parents Are Raiding Their Retirement to Pay for College
Synching the US Power Grid to Protect Against Blackouts
The Scariest Jobs Chart Ever Isn't Scary Enough
"In other words, if this had been a typical recession and recovery, the U.S. economy would now have roughly 10 million more jobs than it did at the previous peak. In fact, there are now three million fewer jobs."
Jobs Report Could Disappoint As Rising Layoffs And Retail Sales Weakness Hit A Slow Economy
'By the Grace of God': How Workers Survive on $7.25 Per Hour
Gallup: No growth in full-time job numbers
Keynesian and Monetarist Clowns Never Learn
Must see: Viral Video Shows the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality
Neofeudalism, here we come! -- RF
As coal industry declines, what will happen to all those retired miners?
Households withdraw record amounts from U.S. muni market
SAN BERNARDINO: Bankrupt city's woes multiply

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