Tuesday, July 23, 2013


News Links, July 21-24, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
The Markets' Worst Kept Secret
"Here's what your stockbroker and the media aren't telling you: the world is more indebted now than it was at the height of the financial bubble in 2007. That's right. Despite the extraordinary government intervention of the past six years. Despite continuing optimism of a recovery. Despite the reassuring words of central bankers. We're worse off in debt terms."
Insolvent Spain Forced To "Borrow" From Social Security Fund To Pay Pensions
Pensions: Going, going… -- RF
Why hopes of Spain's recovery may be 'far too optimistic'
'The worst is still to come' for EU job crisis
Wow. This story about Iceland's "recovery" is a complete lie.
Portugal 'Salvation' Talks Collapse
Decimated Won Bond Sales Add Cash Shortages to Korean Challenges
"South Korea's corporate bond sales this month have plunged to about a tenth of offerings a year ago, as borrowing costs near a 10-month high hamper growth prospects of Asia's fourth-largest economy."
New South Korea Gold Exchange More Proof Of Strong Asian Demand For The Yellow Metal
Global Business Confidence Slips to Multi-Year Low
Greece Lays Off 25,000 Even Though One In Four Greeks Is Unemployed
Government debt rises in Europe
Brazil Cuts $4.5 Billion in Spending to Meet Fiscal Goal
"Brazil's government is cutting spending for the second time in two months to help meet its fiscal target as it forecasts slower growth this year in Latin America's biggest economy."
Prices fuel outrage in Brazil, home of the $30 cheese pizza
BRIC Bust Seen in Emerging Market Discontent With Growth
"Stretched budgets and sluggish growth are putting emerging-market governments on a collision course with rising pressures  from recently empowered middle classes for more spending and better services."
Saudi Arabia transfers $2 billion to Egypt
High-End Smartphone Boom Ending as Price Drop Hits Apple
If We Don't Break Up the Big Banks, They Will Manipulate More and More of the Economy … Making Us Poorer and Poorer
Huge demand for physical gold has more than countered ETF sales
What Happens to Places That Were 'the Center of the World for Two Weeks'?
Pope Francis warns of 'lost generation' of unemployed young people
Dealer data from Caterpillar suggests second-quarter results may be weak
Singapore Central Bank Rocked By Losses, Money-Laundering, And Terrorism-Financing
Factory output puts brakes on China's growth
Debt-crippled Dutch wake up to housing crash

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Baggage Fees Turn Five Years Old; Passengers Turn Blase
"Today, fees are not only the norm; they are heading higher still. on most domestic flights, and roughly three times that amount on many overseas flights. And on any given flight, just about everything comes with a price tag — from 2 more inches of legroom to a can of Coke."
What the Unbundling of Airline Fees Means for Your Wallet
Flying High And Low In 'Full Upright And Locked Position'
Do airlines even care about their websites?
Airlines' sales of onboard extras continue to grow
Airport profitability: 70% of airports in the red
Report: Up to 10 hurt after Southwest jet hits runway
Will It Be A Hot Summer For Delta, US Air And United?
JAL 787 reports wing flap problem
"Jiji Press A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet bound for Japan from Boston has signaled that a wing flap was not working properly while in the air, the airline said Monday."

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
West Africa Pirates Seen Threatening Oil and Shipping
"West African pirates will threaten the region's oil and shipping industries for years as the measures used to curb attacks in the Indian Ocean aren't able to help, according to a provider of armed guards for vessels."
SANDF, US Army to conduct war games in Eastern Cape (South Africa)
Iraqi officials: At least 46 killed in wave of Baghdad car bombings, other attacks
Egypt "deeply worried" by Nile water row with Ethiopia
Russia Conducts Record Military Exercises
Pine Gap assisted in US drone strikes
"Central Australia's Pine Gap spy base has reportedly played a key role in the United States' controversial drone strikes involving the 'targeted killing' of al-Qaeda and Taliban chiefs."
Strategic Triangle: A Japan-Australia-India Coalition at Sea?
South Korea seeks advanced medium-range, air-to-air missiles from U.S.
Over 500 'Al Qaeda militants' escape Iraq's Abu Ghraib in violent break-out
US And Russia Simultaneously Announce Intent To Arm Opposing Sides In Syria
Chinese warships make circuit of Japanese archipelago
"In a show of strength, Chinese Navy warships for the first time made a circuit of the Japanese archipelago this month, sources in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces said July 22."

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
People gather across US in 'Justice for Trayvon' rallies, pushing for federal charges
Second night of riots in Paris over 'burka ban' fine
Beijing Airport Bomber Highlights Threat to Social Stability
Sympathy for Bomber as Video Surfaces
"A wheelchair-bound man who set off explosives in the Beijing airport over the weekend failed to end his own life but succeeded in getting authorities to re-examine his complaints amid an outpouring of public sympathy over his plight."
Violent Clashes In Egypt Following Calls To 'Lay Seige' To The US Embassy
Oil Production Aside, Middle East still Matters
Tripoli roads blocked in protest over power cuts
Pope's Brazil Visit Will Coincide With SlutWalk and Other Political Protests
Fears grow for Pope Francis's safety in Brazil as series of violent protests break out in Rio de Janeiro
Turkish Protesters Take to Country's Parks
Bulgarian protesters block parliament, scuffle with police
Riot police out after veil clashes (France)
Protesters egg anti-riot cops, burn Aquino effigy (Philippines)

## Energy/resources ##
Must read: The Shale Gas Revolution: is it already over?
There might be a 100-year supply of gas. The problem is, who's willing to pay for it? -- RF
Power outage in the Bronx
Power Back on After Massive Blackout Hits South Orange County, San Diego
Conservation program eases power grid strain
"Last week's heat wave drove near-record demand for electricity in New England, leading the power grid operator to invoke a rarely used energy conservation program to take pressure off the system."
Climate change causing disruptions in the U.S. energy supply, DOE report says
"According to a report released on Thursday by the US Department of Energy, rising temperatures can reduce production at power plants. Power plants may reduce their power generation or shut-down temporarily."
At Center of Oil Boom, Electricity Costs Soar
"Heavy Energy Use From Drilling in West Texas Strains Power Grid, Leading to Surcharges"
Water Stress Threatens Future Energy Production
Mindanao faces rotating brownouts starting August
Campaign to cut power consumption in Dubai
WTI Crude Exceeds Brent for First Time in Almost Three Years
Rolls-Royce Revives Age of Sail to Beat Fuel-Cost
Newfield Exploration Says Low Natural Gas Prices Led to Wayne County Lease Terminations
Where the crudes have no margins – European refinery woes
Federal geologists mining old Western US tailings piles for minerals to build smartphones
Eco-Blowback: Mutiny in the Land of Wind Turbines
"Germany plans to build 60,000 new wind turbines -- in forests, in the foothills of the Alps and even in protected environmental areas. But local residents are up in arms, costs are skyrocketing and Germany's determination to phase out nuclear power is in danger."
To Forbes - A Gentle Cough of Correction at TOD's End
Spain's government accused of killing solar market
India's oil reserves to last only for 20 years
Must read: CGES: Manifa Is an Expensive Development
"The CGES revealed that estimates of investment intensity per peak daily barrel range from the ultra-cheap $2,500 (per peak daily barrel) for development of the Haradh III zone of the supergiant Ghawar oilfield  to $10,000 for the massive Khurais et al development and finally $17,500 for the Manifa field, the most expensive development in Saudi Arabia."
Unlike many articles on oil field development, this one provides a revealing window on the skyrocketing cost of developing  lower-quality and hard-to-get oil. And the important point is — you guessed it — that the rising proportion of such oil in the overall global energy mix is pushing net energy down. -- RF
Must read: Energy and the Economy–Basic Principles and Feedback Loops
An enlightening discussion on the transition from a positive energy feedback loop to a negative one. The post affords a good window on the socioeconomic unraveling now underway before our eyes. -- RF
China's Coal-Fired Economy Dying of Thirst as Mines Lack Water
Pakistan's New Big Threat Isn't Terrorism—It's Water

## Got food? ##
Food prices forecast to treble as world population soars
India's Massive Challenge Of Feeding Every Poor Person
Farmers just not earning enough to climb out of debt (New Zealand)
A hungry world: Lots of food, in too few places
The Energy Cost of Food
City Farming
Doomsday: Will Peak Phosphate Get us Before Global Warming?
Just one thing: Phosphate rock is mined and transported with huge machines, so this major source is bound to get more expensive, even if the resource base holds up. And higher price equals decreased availability as more financial strain is imposed on farmers. While this alone might not be a catastrophic problem, it is one more spanner in the works of modern agriculture. -- RF
USDA Fast-Tracks 'Rubber-Stamp' Approval of 'Dangerous' GE Seeds
Preserving in Oil
Criminalization of food sovereignty defenders: Old and new trends

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Review: Family practice doctor says 'back to the soil' for better health
Raising Kids for a Resilient Future

## Environment/health ##
4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese
Study Finds H7N9 Virus 'Highly Transmissible' Through Air
Six more cases of MERS virus confirmed: WHO
DOE frac study 'finds no sign of water pollution'
US fighters drop unarmed bombs on Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in air emergency
Message from the mud: East Antarctic meltdown could cause massive sea rise
Why Is the United States So Sick?
"Americans die younger and experience more injury and illness than people in other rich nations, despite spending almost twice as much per person on health care. That was the startling conclusion of a major report released earlier this year by the U.S. National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine."
Missing Lynx? Cat Is On 'Brink Of Extinction,' Study Says
The Melting Arctic: Northern Sea Route Shipping Has Already Quadrupled Last Summer's Record
Natural Gas Spews 'Uncontrolled' Into Gulf Following Blowout
"Natural gas spewed 'uncontrolled' from a well off the Louisiana coast Tuesday after a blowout followed a failed attempt by a drilling rig to expand natural gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico."
Smartphone addiction a growing problem among South Korean youth

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
US court renews surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden
Inside Google HQ: What does the future hold for the company whose visionary plans include implanting a chip in our brains?
SIM card flaw said to allow hijacking of millions of phones
"Vulnerability in the security key that protects the card could allow eavesdropping on phone conversations, fraudulent purchases, or impersonation of the handset's owner, a security researcher warns."
How CIA Black Ops Teams Are Hacking Into Computers Worldwide
Obama's Anti-Leak Crusade Continues to Escalate
Apple's developer website hacked, personal information 'may have been accessed'
Huawei spies for China, says ex-CIA chief
Leaker Snowden hopes to be able to leave airport by Wednesday: lawyer
Self-Assembling Autonomous Drones Launched
The European Commission wants a media outfit to 'filter' the news to its own liking.
Report: Cyber Crime Costs Global Economy Up to $500B a Year
ObamaCare Will Take All Your Personal/IRS Data and Put It in a "Federal Data Hub"

## Systemic breakdown/collapse ##
Detroit: Six ways 'shrinking' cities try to survive
Detroit's Bankruptcy Reveals Dysfunction Common in Cities
"'None of the other cities are as far along, but there are dozens, if not hundreds of cities that have similar issues,' said Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a public-policy research organization in Washington. 'Every other industrial city has problems that could send them down the same path.'"
Share This Chart With Anyone That Believes The U.S. Economy Is Not Going To Crash
Although various factors are at work, a major reason is that debt is an attempt to compensate for net energy decline. -- RF
For new homes, no more mailman at the door under U.S. Postal Service plan
"Under a cost-saving plan by the U.S. Postal Service, Americans moving to newly built homes will not get mail delivered to their doors but instead will have to trek to the curb or neighborhood mailbox clusters, the agency said Tuesday."
You have to wonder when they will revive the Pony Express. -- RF
How Incremental Increases Can Lead to Systemic Collapse
The decline of an empire
Crumbling Empire...Where To Now For The USA?
Shocking Things Wall Street Financiers Say Off the Record About Their Bloated, Corrupt Industry

## Japan ##
Japan logs Y180.8 billion trade deficit for June
"Who Could Trust Such A Company?" – The Big Fat Lies About Radiation Exposure Of Workers At Fukushima
Only 15% of election winners support need for nuclear plants: Mainichi survey
Japan Tells Firms "Stop Sitting on Cash", Ignore the Lack of Customers
Japan granted rights to explore rare metals-rich Pacific Ocean
"Japan announced on Monday that it has gotten the approval of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to explore the cobalt-rich area of the Pacific Ocean in a move that might lead to lessen their dependence on countries like China for a supply of rare metals. They are planning to probe a 3,000-square-kilometer area underneath international waters near the area of Minamitorishima."
Scorching heat driving up veggie prices
Decontamination delayed in Iitate
'Mutant' vegetables wrongly attributed to Fukushima
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Too Big to Cover Up
Fukushima cancer risk surges
'Something Like Steam' Still Billowing from Fukushima
"'Something like steam' continued to billow out of Fukushima's nuclear reactor 3 building on Tuesday morning, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said,  confirming the latest omen that the ongoing nuclear catastrophe will not end any time soon."
Fukushima Watch: What's Different About the Latest Radioactive Leak Into the Sea
Gas pump prices rise to 155 yen/liter
Govt cites mild deflation
Massive cobalt deposits estimated for Japan-planned exploration zone
Can it be produced profitably? -- RF
Metro Tokyo forced to cut intake from major water source by 10%
Japan's temples, hospitals, and universities hit by losses on yen derivatives

## China ##
China PMI Plunges To 11-Month Low, Employment Weakest In Over 4 Years
The Coming Black Swan From China
"China is rapidly approaching ZERO growth. This is not less growth, but ZERO growth as in full-scale economic collapse from the days of 12% GDP growth per year. Over 99% of 'analysts' are missing this, but it is a fact. If you ignore the ridiculous GDP numbers (which even China's Premiere has admitted are a joke in the past) and look at more accurate metrics, it's clear China is collapsing at an alarming rate. Case in point, Electrical consumption rose by just 2.9% in the first quarter of this year."
Detroit clones cropping up around China
"The path of bankruptcy which crippled the once booming industrial city of Detroit is now being followed by certain cities in China. These cities, such as Ordos and Wenzhou, develop rapidly without considering market demand and become 'ghost towns,' according to the China Securities Journal."
Rapid urbanization has created 12 new 'ghost cities' in China
China Premier Says Growth Must Stay Above 7%
Seven percent growth means the economy would double in 10 years. -- RF
Foreign Cash Flows Out Of China
China's Cooling Economy Faces Instability, State Researcher Says
Work on China's 838-metre high 'Sky City' starts
Presenting The World's Tallest Skyscraper, Whose Construction Was Just Halted

## UK ##
Tesco boss says cheap food era is over
Food crisis Professor tells families to cut amount they eat 'by a third'
"Families need to cut the amount they eat by a third, a government advisor claimed last night, as he warned current consumption levels were 'unsustainable'."
UK's Scheme to Block Pornography a Threat to Open Internet: Critics
Britain admits selling $12 billion in weapons to Israel

## US ##
Timeline: The latest on cities that declared bankruptcy before Detroit
Detroit filing sends benefits warning to other cities
"Many U.S. cities have a much better economic outlook than struggling Detroit, but the Motor City's bankruptcy filing on Thursday should still set off alarm bells elsewhere as the cost of paying retirement benefits swells."
Detroit not alone under crushing pension obligations
Cheap energy fueled powerful economic growth and blessed pension funds with fat returns, in turn promising retirees a "retirement" with well-funded golden years. But it was all a one-off phenomenon. -- RF
Now That Detroit's Gone Bust, Is Your City Next?
Scranton Needs 117% Property Tax Hike to Balance Budget; Simple Truth: Scranton is Bankrupt
Detroit Mayor Warns "We May Be One Of The First... But We Absolutely Won't Be The Last"
Ponzi-Scheme Expert To Oversee Detroit Bankruptcy
'I Don't See Anyone That's Too Big To Indict, No One Is Too Big To Jail'
Strategists Are Troubled As Fund Inflow Hits Record
The Tip Of The Iceberg Of The Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Shake America To The Core
N.C. unemployment fight being watched across the U.S.
Will the Immigration Bill Help Migrant Farmworkers?
Another way of subsidizing high energy costs. -- RF
ProPublica: Some Temporary Workers Are the New Serfs
This method of subsidizing high energy costs is rapidly growing in popularity. -- RF
The Return of the 10 Percent Down Payment
Heat wave spurs many to seek relief in ER
TV kills: Falling TVs send a child to the ER every 30 minutes
Detroit Suffers the Biggest Municipal Bankruptcy Ever — Are Your Muni Bonds Safe?
"[M]any market pundits will claim Detroit is an isolated case. Many bond-fund managers will try to downplay the significance of this. Do not fall for it."
Pentagon chief can't offer hope in budget cuts
"The audience gasped in surprise and gave a few low whistles as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered the news that furloughs, which have forced a 20 percent pay cut on most of the military's civilian workforce, probably will continue next year, and it might get worse."
'I Have To Choose Between Food And Rent': Meet The McDonald's Workers Fighting For Fair Wages
Washington Can't Defuse The Ticking Time Bombs Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac
I told you so: Here Come Those Municipal Defaults That Everyone Said Couldn't Happen
"Yes, this goes for muni investors as well! Municipalities have a dual edged sword up the ass. Not only are higher funding rates to be expected from a shifting market, but the actual fundamentals of municipalities are in the crapper as well, putting an even larger premium on what is already a steep increase in funding costs. What do  you think happens next?"
Meredith Whitney says Detroit will start a wave of municipal bankruptcies
Nuclear renaissance: Nuclear Closures at Entergy to Exelon Seen on Obama Plan
Working during summer vacation? So are 61% of Americans
Sandy-ravaged regions will never get landlines back
Pump prices jump 12 cents, AAA sees further rise
US Oil Demand Peak was in 2007
"Detroit's Motown legacy has put the spotlight on the vulnerability of the American car culture. Despite an oil shale boom and years of money printing US oil demand has hit a wall. Expenditure for oil as a percentage of GDP exceeded a critical threshold of 4% pa impacting on oil demand, vehicle kms traveled, the size of the car fleet and car sales."
U.S. program to save fragile land shrinks in size to 25-year low
"The U.S. program that pays farmers to idle fragile cropland soon will protect the smallest amount of land in a quarter-century, the government said on Monday, the result of several years of sky-high commodity prices that have encouraged farmers to plant as much as possible."
Sorry, Mom and Dad: The Kids Aren't Moving Out Yet
The Occupy Movement Is Launching A Money Cooperative
Chicago Public Schools lays off more than 2,000, including 1,000 teachers

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