Tuesday, May 28, 2013


News Links, May 27-29, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
EU threatens France over economic failings
"The European Commission will use sweeping new powers backed by sanctions to impose controversial social and economic reforms on European countries later this week."
S&P says France must deliver promised budget cuts to protect rating
Black Market or Bust: The Stark Choice Facing Many of Spain's Self-Employed
Dutch Defined Benefit Pension Plans, Second Largest in Europe, Face Forced Cuts
Worse-Than-Cyprus Debt Load Means Caribbean Defaults to Moody's
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Gold's Volatility, Part Of Its Tradition: Former Presidential Candidate Ron Paul
Indian Central Bank Kills "Trillion Rupee Gold Coin" Idea, Enforces More Gold Controls
Demand for Physical Metal Extraordinary-James Turk
Suddenly bankrupt: People with great credit scores are hurtling into crisis (Canada)
The Bernanke Agenda - It Isn't What You Think It Is
Fischer 'Joins Global Currency War' With Second Rate Cut in May
"The Bank of Israel reduced borrowing costs for a second time this month, narrowing gaps with rates in major economies as it focused on keeping the shekel weak enough to support growth."
Sell Alert: Get Rid Of Low Quality Muni Bonds
Rajoy Sees Reprieve as Spanish Recession Evidence Mounts
"Spain will probably secure two more years to tame the largest budget deficit in the European Union (EUBDEURO) as first-quarter data show the effects of the toughest austerity measures in its democratic history."
Europe is afraid - the battle for new jobs
Brazil investments have a long, potholed road ahead
Europe's Banks Turn to U.S. Subprime for Salvation
"The U.S. mortgage bonds that were exported around the globe and triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are now helping Europe's banks and governments repair balance sheets after jumping in value."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Valets Skirt Lines for Fliers on Richest U.S. Air Route
"Airlines are stepping up competition for full-fare passengers between New York and Los Angeles, with lie-flat seats, pricey French wines and personal valets to whisk travelers from curb to gate without wasting time in lines."
$32m loss for El Al in first quarter
Airlines fighting for upscale travelers
Jet Airways (India) drops as Q4 net loss widens
Changi Airport warns of 'downside risks' as passenger growth eases
"Changi Airport Group has warned of 'downside risks' in the regional aviation market as traffic growth continues to slow. The airport company noted the impact of high fuel prices and weak prospects for the global economy as key factors affecting aviation growth."
Two Alaskan volcanoes could threaten air traffic between Asia and North America
Would You Fly On An Airliner With Just One Pilot?
Air Cargo Industry's Woes May Point to Weakness in Asia's Growth

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Jordan to Host Military Exercises: US, UK, Canada Among Participants
"More than 15,000 troops from 18 countries will take part in a joint military exercise in Jordan in the coming weeks, a military official said Saturday."
The article lists 17 countries. The 18th is…? -- RF
14 killed in new anti-terror Philippine offensive
Israel Fear for Natural Gas Fields as Syria Set to Receive Russian Missiles
Syria fighting rages, more chemical attacks reported
Russia to send Syria air defense system to deter 'hotheads'
Israeli defense chief indicates if Russia ships advanced missiles to Syria, they could be hit
"Israel's defense chief said Tuesday a Russian plan to supply sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syria was a 'threat' and signaled that Israel is prepared to use force to stop the delivery."
Obama Asks Pentagon for Syria No-Fly Zone Plan
Europe sets stage for possible arming of anti-Assad fighters as McCain visits Syrian rebel leader
More than 70 killed in wave of Baghdad bombings
Bahrain bans political groups from contacting Hezbollah
European banks accused of fuelling land grabs in Uganda
Philippines tells China to withdraw ships
Mark Lippert: U.S. deploys high-end weapons in Pacific to meet China's challenge, other contingencies
India's PM says Japan a natural partner on sea issues

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say
UK protesters shout, 'Muslim killers, off our streets' in march over murdered soldier
Protesters run amok in Mirpur
Thousands of Romanians protest Chevron fracking
Cambodian Garment Workers Hurt At Pay Protest
Taiwan rallies against 'unfair' nuclear power plant referendum
Iraq violence: New bombings and gun clashes kill 13
Burma Muslim-Buddhist clashes erupt in Shan state
Schaeuble Warns Of "Revolution" If Welfare Model Threatened

## Energy/resources ##
Kenya hit by national blackout after power grid failure
Kenya starts to light up again after national blackout
Current Power Outage Outbreak Only a Foretaste of a Forthcoming Surge (US)
"According to Eaton Corporation's recent U.S. blackout tracker, the nation is currently experiencing a growing 'blackout' and 'brownout' surge, which could eventually result in serious economic and social consequences."
Must Read: Drilling Faster Just To Stay Still: A Proposal To Use 'Production Per Unit Effort' (PPUE) As An Indicator Of Peak Oil
This is an excellent approach to use in determining how much "bang for the buck" we are getting. My only criticism is that instead of being used an indicator of peak oil, it should be an indicator of declining net energy, the reason being that, as I've observed previously, the world oil industry might produce more barrels of oil, but we would still have less energy for two reasons: (1) the overall quality of oil is worsening, and (2) we need to expend more energy (or as the author puts it here, make more effort) to obtain oil, and that energy investment must be deducted from the gross energy obtained. Do not be distracted by news about how OPEC is discombobulated by US tight oil production, blah blah blah. From a net-energy perspective, it's junk oil. If you are still wondering why there will be no economic "recovery," here is the answer in a nutshell. -- RF
Even in an Oil Boom, Production Growth Is Slow
"'You've definitely experienced a slowdown in production growth. It hasn't peaked but it's close to plateauing,' said John Hummel, president and chief investment officer at AIS Capital Management. Saying that the U.S. is 'living off our inheritance,' he cites figures showing that exported oil is on the decline, due in large part to depletion rates."
Power outages become routine in Egypt, triggering protests and campaigns
UK's Lights may go out by 2015, Warns Global Energy Expert
"UK households and businesses face electricity blackouts in just a few years say two of the country's leading energy experts. Peter McCusker reports. 'The situation is really quite serious. We will have to keep our coal-fired power stations open and get fined by the EU,' says Prof Ian Fells, one of the UK's leading energy experts."
South Korea shuts more nuclear reactors over fake certificates
"South Korea said on Tuesday it was suspending the operations of two nuclear power reactors and extended a shutdown of a third to replace cables that were supplied using fake certificates, threatening power shortages in Asia's fourth-biggest economy."
The Coming Technological Revolution No One's Paying Attention To
Here's another "technology will solve all our problems" pitch. I won't deny that technology can solve problems, and very neatly sometimes. For example, I needed to regulate the flows of water into rice paddies that all feed off the same irrigation channel. I solved the problem neatly by using rocks of appropriate sizes and shapes. That's low tech. It's also low-energy, and understandable to anyone; I don't need an engineer or skilled technician. But this article has some problems. First is the canard that we're going to "run out" of resources and energy. However, we do have decreasing high-quality resources and energy. While it's technologically possible to extract minerals from waste, we need to keep a few things in mind. First, low-grade resources require a greater expenditure of energy. Second, energy itself is getting lower in quality and higher in price. Third, the wastes are generated by other industrial activities which are also dependent on the same high-energy system. It's like a waste-to-energy plant which depends for its fuel on the wasteful high-energy industrial lifestyle. Fourth, declining net energy is creating a global shortage of the engineers and skilled workers who are needed to design and run these resource-extraction systems. Declining net energy: It's why bridges are falling down, tunnels are falling in, we are short of doctors and engineers, and the global financial system is collapsing. Don't be misled by this Julian Simon-style cornucopianism. -- RF
Technical challenges, costs limit shale gas' global impact
"Despite the resources sector's optimism, shale gas was expected to remain a largely regional resource over the next three years, with an uncertain global impact as a result of the increased technical challenges and higher development costs of the resource, advisory firm Deloitte predicted this week in its global 'Oil and Gas Reality Check 2013' report."
UAE oil minister: Current oil prices no threat to economic growth
Mideast oil producers need high prices not only because of the reason stated here — to finance more investments in production — but also to maintain social programs and stave off unrest. If unrest explodes in KSA and other Mideast oil-producing countries, it could be catastrophic for the global energy regime. Iraq was going to rival KSA in a few years, but its junk oil infrastructure and growing instability are holding it back. -- RF
Major companies vie for Iraq's oil, but internal challenges remain
Output cut needed to stabilise Brent above $100
"Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may have to persuade other members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to cut output to keep oil prices above $100 a barrel for the rest of the year, according to the kingdom's largest unlisted lender, National Commercial Bank."
Israeli electric car company Better Place shutting down, ending project to cut oil dependency
Cutting Back on Supply in the Presence of Optimism
Sharif's Pakistan Election Prize: Solving the Energy Crisis
South Africa's nuclear power build programme – will it happen?
Balochistan power crisis: 21 districts plunge into darkness
46,000 Chemical Jobs 'Reliant on Shale Gas Laws'
Death in Parched Farm Field Reveals Growing India Water Tragedy
This is some real deep doo-doo. India is going to blow up. -- RF
New Frontiers: Suddenly, the oil and gas potential of the Arctic looms large
Iran offers insurance to India refiners to spur oil sales
Iran Offers Oil Fields at Lucrative Terms to India
State reaches deal with Dorad to head off power shortage (Israel)
Russian gas pipeline could doom Europe's Nabucco plan
Most Nigerians want fuel subsidy to continue
Ethiopia diverts Nile for huge $4.7 bln hydro dam
$100 billion in LNG investment at risk in Australia
"Escalating costs of doing business in the country could cost the Australian economy more than $100 billion of new investment in LNG projects."
Senator wants U.S. in oil price-fixing probe
Skip this story. This issue is nothing but a cheap distraction. -- RF
Alarm raised over power security (Vietnam)
Nuclear plant suspension portends a blackout this summer (South Korea)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Thieves Steal Chairs, Furniture From Business, Home Patios
Worcester-Birmingham rail services disrupted by cable thieves
Brazen Wolverhampton thieves pose as motorway workers for M6 metal theft
$16K in Material Thefts from 130 Construction Project

## Got food? ##
Decline in biodiversity of farmed plants, animals gathering pace
"A decline in the diversity of farmed plants and livestock breeds is gathering pace, threatening future food supplies for the world's growing population, the head of a new United Nations panel on biodiversity said on Monday."
Kenya Aims for Food Self-Sufficiency
Food inflation in country hits 6.2% (Saudi Arabia)
Agricultural robots: Australia eyes high-tech farm help to grow food
Venezuela sends ships to bring food from Nicaragua
As Colorado River drought worsens, water officials parley
Malnutrition hits school performance, warns Save the Children
"A quarter of the world's children are at risk of underperforming at school because of chronic malnutrition, says UK charity Save the Children."
Beef eaters can brace for sticker shock this summer

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
For a Future that Won't Destroy Life on Earth, Look to the Global Indigenous Uprising
"Idle No More is the latest incarnation of an age-old movement for life that doesn't depend on infinite extraction and growth. Now, armed with Twitter and Facebook, once-isolated groups from Canada to South America are exchanging resources and support like never before."

## Environment/health ##
Let Them Eat Grass: Paris Employs Sheep As Eco-Mowers
Researchers say Western IQs dropped 14 points over last century
Judging by the staggering stupidity of our leaders, I'd say it's more than 14 points. -- RF
Cloud Seeding, Will It Save Us From Water Poverty?
Four Edmonton transit buses fumigated for bed bugs this year
EU regulator suspects BASF insecticide of harming bees
Coronavirus death reported in France
H7N9 bird flu drug resistance concern
Tesla's Carbon Footprint Is No Better Than A Honda Civic's

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Singapore to regulate Yahoo!, other online news sites
"Websites that regularly report on Singapore including Yahoo! News will have to get a license from June 1, putting them on par with newspapers and television new outlets, in a move seen by some as a bid to rein in free-wheeling Internet news."
Nigeria: Mobile phones 'cut off' under emergency rule
US spy device 'tested on NZ public'
German railways deploys surveillance drones
Meet Zhang. He hacks for Beijing.
Chinese hackers 'steal' blueprints to new Australian spy HQ
Australian prime minister says reports of Chinese hacking are 'inaccurate'
Chinese hackers 'access sensitive US weapons systems'
"Designs for some of the United States' most important and sensitive weapons systems have been 'compromised' by Chinese hackers according to extracts from a confidential report obtained by the Washington Post."
Pentagon to Act Promptly on Weapons System Hacker Attacks
The Growing Threat of Online Surveillance and How to Protect Yourself
FACT CHECK: Kerry dishes some iffy claims abroad

## Systemic breakdown/collapse ##
40 Statistics About The Fall Of The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
Cities: Potential and Reality at the End of Growth
"The U.S. as the next Saudi Arabia is a falsehood perpetuated by special interests and aided by cornucopian delusion. The simple fact is that extraction of conventional, cheap oil with its high net-energy return peaked globally several years ago. Ongoing ample supplies of petroleum are being maintained only through smoke and mirrors, such as massive subsidies masking the true higher cost of oil and its substitutes. The hoped-for 'recovery' for 'growth' is a pipe dream, because cheap energy and ample materials are seriously on the wane."
And here you have it again: Net energy is decreasing. Get used to it. -- RF
America's Vets: Returning Home To A Broken System
National parks show signs of wear and tear (US; video)
Doctor shortage hits hard in rural America (US; video)
In the new America, parks will turn into dumps and tent cities, and only the rich will see doctors. -- RF

## Japan ##
The Japanese Financial System Is Beginning To Spin Wildly Out Of Control
Tokyo Urged to Undertake Serious Fiscal Reforms
Japanese Stocks Extend Overnight Plunge - Down Over 14% From Highs
Japan World's Largest Creditor Nation for 22nd Straight Year
Kobe Steel mulls halting blast furnace

## China ##
China Credit-Bubble Call Pits Fitch's Chu Against S&P
Pipeline explosion halts China supplies
Beijing's Latest Worry: College Grads
The miserable plight of China's millennials
"As nearly 7 million students are set to graduate from Chinese universities this summer, some are saying they will enter the worst job market in China's history."
Li Says China Confronts 'Huge Challenges' as Growth Levels Slow

## UK ##
Terror in Woolwich: Theresa May moves to ban extremists who don't advocate violence
Three more councils come out against HS2
U.K. Police Make 10th Arrest in Probe of Murdered Soldier
Food banks struggle to feed hungry as demand rises
Renewable energy: Why burn US trees in UK power stations? (BBC video)
This is renewable? The whole operation would fall apart without its fossil fuel input. -- RF
One in three pensioners rent dilapidated, cold and damp homes
One in five shops to close by 2018, warns report
"One in five shops – more than 60,000 stores across the country – will close over the next five years, a report claims today."
Courts may be privatised to save Ministry of Justice £1bn
U.K. Banks Cut 189,000 With Employment at Nine-Year Low

## US ##
Obamacare Will Bring Drug Industry $35 Billion In Profits
NYSE Margin Debt Rises To New All Time High As Net Worth Slides To Record Low
6 Dead, 11 Wounded in Holiday Weekend Violence
Boomers aging, but still hard at work
Border Patrol agents running out of gas
IEA says U.S. gas prices of $5 could spur return to coal
U.S. Postal Service finances remain wobbly
Chart Of The Day: Crushed US Consumer + All Time High New Home Prices = Record Housing Bubble
States With the Worst Bridges
Should cities sell heirlooms to pay bills?
Cities Where Suburban Poverty Is Skyrocketing
Chicago Fed Manufacturing Heads into Recession Territory
Facing high fuel costs, North Dakota plans new refineries

And finally…
Man who set up camera to catch a ghost instead catches girlfriend's affair with his 16-year-old son
12 Technologies To 'Make The Future Happen'
Oh, boy! -- RF

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