Tuesday, July 09, 2013


News Links, July 8-10, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
IMF May Cut Global Growth Forecast as Emerging Markets Slow
IMF's Lagarde says U.S. budget cuts 'inappropriate'
S&P Lowers Portugal's Outlook to Negative
Italy's Credit Rating Cut to BBB by S&P; Outlook Is Negative
Has The Smartphone Boom Peaked? Ominous Signs Pile Up
Volkswagen's Seat proposes cutting working hours at Spain plants
"Seat, the Spanish car firm owned by Volkswagen VOWG_P.DE, said on Monday it wanted workers to take turns to stay at home in order to cope with a fall in demand."
Bulgaria to raise fiscal deficit to 2 percent of GDP - minister
ECB cannot solve euro zone crisis: Bundesbank chief
China Radio: "The U.S. And Europe Have Always Suppressed The Rising Price Of Gold"
European Gold Buying "Remarkable"
Sweden Adjusted May Industrial Production -2.6% On Month
German Exports Decline Significantly and "Unexpectedly"
Polish Economic Recovery To Take Longer -Central Bank
Euro zone grants multi-billion euro lifeline for Greece
Greek Outlook Bleaker Than Lenders Think: Report
Australia's Mining Slowdown Fuels Collapse in Job Ads
Hit By Slow Growth, Hong Kong and Singapore Rethink Strategies
Dubai could raise $1 billion from telecoms stake sales: J.P. Morgan
"Dubai Holding could raise almost $1 billion from the sale of its minority stakes in two telecoms firms, J.P. Morgan (JPM.N) said in a research note, part of a strategy by state-linked companies to sell assets to repay the emirate's debt pile."
White House trims GDP forecast, citing global slowdown, sequester
60% of bulker owners are in the red (China)
"Losses are amounting among Chinese shipping lines. Currently, around 60% of dry bulk cargo carriers are in the red, and more unprofitable companies will appear, Zhou Dequan, an official from Shanghai International Shipping Research Center has warned."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Europe's governments warned of aviation capacity crunch
Airline Fees Keep Climbing
Think Twice Before Buying An Air Ticket To Beijing
UK flights affected by computer problems
American Eagle pilots warned they might need to make more concessions to help regional carrier
American Airlines Stuffs in Seats; Jet Fuel Takes Off
U.S. airlines lose bag-fee monopoly as extra costs spread to Europe and India

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Guantánamo reports 106 captives still on hunger strike
Blast hits gas pipeline between Egypt and Jordan
Russian Lawmaker: Venezuela May Be Last Chance For Snowden
Cuba's Raul Castro criticizes U.S., backs allies on Snowden
Austria did not search Morales jet in Vienna: president
Election of new head of Syrian opposition seen as victory for United States, Saudi Arabia
Lawlessness Is the New Normal
Joint Russian-Chinese Naval Exercise has Energy Undertones
At least 42 killed in Egypt, Islamists call for uprising
Japan Says China Trying to Change Status Quo in Region by Force
In talking about Egypt, Obama officials won't even mention the word 'coup'
Saudi Arabia, UAE providing total of $8 billion to Egypt's new government after Morsi's ouster
US Training at the Core of Egypt's Coup

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
HK realtors protest over steps to curb rising prices
Athens mayor 'physically attacked' over job cuts
Anti-nuclear groups protest the restarting of Japan's reactors (Japan)
California Prison Hunger Strike: 30,000 Inmates Refuse Meals

## Energy/resources ##
Junk oil alert: Canada's energy sector taps bitumen, sticky rival to oil sands
Amigos, this is how desperate the situation has become. We can be sure from the get-go that the net energy of this endeavor will be abysmally low — certainly nothing that can sustain industrial society. But the public will be fed an endless diet of hoopla about what a great resource this is, just as with money-losing shale gas. -- RF
Without New Infrastructure $500 Billion of Oil may be Left in the North Sea
Germany's Solar Industry Is Imploding
Yeah, green tech was going to save industrial society with "clean energy" (hate to tell you this, but there ain't no such thing), and we were going to be tooling down the roads in sleek electric vehicles, blah blah blah. But in fact, everything is dependent on fossil fuels, and we have a serious case of net energy decline. Our situation is now so bleak that the media are frantically plying the world public with preposterous energy propaganda that extols the virtues of junk oil and junk gas, while reassuring us that the world's "reserves" are growing all the time, preaching the Gospel of Technology, expounding upon the glories of human ingenuity (if humans are so smart, how come we keep mass-murdering one another?), and ridiculing peak oil because it was supposedly a lot of Chicken Little screaming about nothing. Remember: The primary reason for the global economic meltdown and lack of a "recovery" is net energy decline. -- RF
SMA Solar to cut 14 pct of staff in turnaround drive
"Germany's largest solar company SMA Solar said it would lay off about 14 percent of its workforce by the end of next year to cope with a slump in revenue and profit in the solar industry."
Power plants' capacity utilisation at record low (India)
"This summer has been the worst ever for both consumers and power generation companies. Thermal plants have run at the lowest capacity in 20 years, plagued by a combination of acute fuel scarcity and the inability of cash-starved distribution companies to buy electricity from plants using costly imported fuel."
Lithuania looks for alternatives to counter Russia's high gas price
Hoku, Solar and Fuel Cell Aspirant, Bankrupt With $1B in Debt
Nuclear Renaissance: Raft Of Troubled Nuke Plants Shut Down (US)
Lebanon wards Israel off energy reserves
European Oil Companies Withdraw Staff From Egypt Amid Unrest
An End to Eight Years of The Oil Drum
There is a lot of chortling out there from the Cornucopians, who would have us believe that industrial society faces no energy challenges. They tell us that peak oil has been disproved, that the Bakken killed The Oil Drum, and so on. It's all a pile of propaganda BS. The addition of Bakken to the world oil supply is like pissing in the ocean. As I've shown here repeatedly, for all practical purposes, peak oil is in the rear-view mirror. Producing a few more barrels means nothing because net energy is dropping like a rock. Let me ask the question again: Where is my $10/bbl oil? Do not fall for the hype and propaganda. -- RF
Workers Flee Offshore Energy Platform
"Workers aboard an oil-and-gas production platform about 75 miles southwest of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, lost control of a well on Tuesday, triggering a natural gas leak and prompting an evacuation, U.S. authorities said on Tuesday."
WTI Oil Gains for a Second Day as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Decline

## Got food? ##
Unsustainable: As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt
"This is a return to the old days, before biotech seeds came along, when farmers relied heavily on pesticides. For Dan Steiner, an independent crop consultant in northeastern Nebraska, it brings back bad memories. 'We used to get sick [from the chemicals],' he says. 'We'd dig [in the soil] to see how the corn's coming along, and we didn't use the gloves or anything, and we'd kind of puke in the middle of the day. Well, I think we were low-dosing poison on ourselves!'"
Year after drought, wettest Midwest spring in 40 years delays crop planting
Fruits, vegetables get costlier due to shortage (India)

## Environment/health ##
The last chapter: Industrial agriculture
"[I]ndustrial agriculture is the largest human project that impacts the Earth more broadly than any other human activity.  One needs to keep in mind that compared with the global environmental impacts of industrial agriculture, a Macondo well blowout is a child's play."
Europe floods to cost insurers up to $4.5 billion: Swiss Re
Record-breaking freak Toronto storm drops 123mm of rain, causing blackouts, flooding and transit chaos
Harvard researchers warn of legacy mercury in the environment
"Without stringent emissions reductions, future increases in ocean mercury levels are likely to be greater than anticipated"
What It Takes To Cure Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Top special operations officer directed shift of bin Laden records to CIA to keep files secret
"The nation's top special operations commander ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public."
Schulman & Mathias Break-In: Law Firm Representing State Department Whistleblower Burglarized
The NSA's mass and indiscriminate spying on Brazilians
Brazil expresses concern at report of NSA spying
America's NSA 'in bed with' Germany and most others: Snowden
"America's National Security Agency works closely with Germany and other Western states on a 'no questions asked'-basis, former NSA employee Edward Snowden said in comments that undermine Chancellor Angela Merkel's indignant talk of 'Cold War' tactics."
Nicaraguan Embassy in Moscow receives Snowden's asylum request
'Master key' to Android phones uncovered
Agreements with private companies protect U.S. access to cables' data for surveillance
Cyber War 'At Its Gunpowder Moment' Says Ministry Of Defence
Experts: Hackers behind massive SKorea cyberattacks also built code to steal military secrets
"The hackers who knocked out tens of thousands of South Korean computers simultaneously this year are out to do far more than erase hard drives, cybersecurity firms say: They also are trying to steal South Korean and U.S. military secrets with a malicious set of codes they've been sending through the Internet for years."
Germany defends 'strictly legal' cooperation with NSA
Israelis warned infrastructure open to cyberstrikes
"Israel's economic infrastructure, such as financial institutions, water companies, food factories and pharmaceutical manufacturers are wide open to cyber attack and need to take urgent steps to protect their computer systems, a leading think  tank has warned."
Surveillance Society: If You Drive, You Get Tracked
U.S. Government and Corporations Fed Up With Chinese Cyber Theft, Say Analysts
This Is Not a Test: Emergency Broadcast Systems Proved Hackable
US-China cyber security working group meets
In Protest, German Activists Light Up U.S. Embassy
Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S. (Daniel Ellsberg)
The NSA Has Inserted Its Code Into Android OS, Or Three Quarters Of All Smartphones
Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

## Systemic breakdown/collapse ##
Economists and scientists predicted shorter hours for US laborers nearly a century ago. Why hasn't it happened?
The idea was that cheap, plentiful energy (Keynes said technological advancements, but those advancements are made possible by cheap energy) would enable each individual and organization to use an increasing number of "energy slaves," thereby reducing each worker's burden. But now energy is getting more expensive, and we are slipping inexorably back toward economic systems which require intensive human labor. At the same time, expensive energy makes it harder for energy-intensive economies to create jobs, so we have more and more unemployed and underemployed people. It's all downhill from here. -- RF
A 911 response in Detroit takes how long?
"You won't believe the wait time for police help. The city's financial crisis is taking a toll on emergency services."
Hot, broke & crowded: Top 3 reasons to flee big cities
Band-Aid Power Fixes Post Sandy Starting to Come Unglued?

## Japan ##
Japan Bank Lending Hits 4-Year High as BOJ Pumps Money
Japan's strong bank lending can't mask economic challenges
Machine Tool Orders Fall 14th Straight Month In June
Japan nuclear operators file for plant safety checks, but early restarts unlikely
Fukushima Radioactive Levels Surge 90-Fold in Three Days
Fukushima radioactive groundwater readings rocket
Don't panic. Everything's gonna be OK. -- RF
S&P downgrades SoftBank to 'junk' status, shares slide
Japan 'Insurance' Gold Buying Doubles On Yen Concerns
"In Japan, gold bullion demand in 2013 is twice the levels seen in 2012. Japanese gold imports have doubled to 7,686 kilograms from January to May verses 2,994 kilograms the prior year noted data from Japan's finance ministry."
Elderly shoplifters outstrip teenagers in Tokyo
Heatstroke strikes in Japan, leaving 1 dead & over 700 hospitalized
Heatwave kills 3, hospitalises 2,500 across Japan
Japan Government To Change Inflation Calculation Ushering In Even More BOJ Liquidity

## China ##
The Reason For China's Epic 1 Trillion Yuan Deleveraging: The Biggest Housing Bubble Ever
China's Local Debt Mystery
Cash Crunch Drives China Auto Sector Into Ditch
China Cash Squeeze Seen Creating Vietnam-Size Credit Hole
Is struggling shipbuilder China Rongsheng too big to fail?
"An appeal for government financial support from China's biggest private shipbuilder presents authorities with some stark choices between protecting a big employer and its jobs or letting the firm go under to ease pressure on a sector suffering from overcapacity and sharply falling new orders."
China Inflation Accelerates More Than Forecast on Food Prices
Shadow banking bolsters China Inc as Beijing tightens credit
China's June Trade Data Much Worse Than Expected
China Remains Entrenched in Producer Price Deflation
As Costs Rise Above Expectations, China To Tighten Its Belt

## UK ##
Workers face longer wait for state pension
"The basic state pension age may have to rise faster and further than planned, a Cabinet minister has hinted."
Pensions: Going, going… -- RF
HS2 'will cost over £70billion', says Boris Johnson
Government takes 1m out of fuel poverty - by changing the rules
"Campaigners criticised the Government after Ministers took 1m people out of fuel poverty - by changing the way the measure is calculated."
Card fees pushing rural petrol stations 'to the wall'
House prices hit new heights in Britain as overheated market continues to boil
Industrial output slows in Britain
UK Backs Plans to Jail Reckless Bankers

## US ##
The dream job for many Americans is a dream
Temporary jobs becoming a permanent fixture in US as more employers seek 'just-in-time' labor
15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast
Border Patrol Set to Weaponize Drones
San Bernardino Seeks Ruling It's Eligible for Chapter 9
The US Fears the World will Discover its Big Nuclear Secret
Furloughs begin for 650,000 civilian Pentagon employees
Sequester furloughs set to begin this week at Tacoma's military base
A Secret Court Making Secret Laws? That's No Democracy
IRS Screw-Up Leaks Thousands of Social Security Numbers
Nearly 1 in 6 Americans Receives Food Stamps
Retail Fixed Income Investor Capitulation
"Spooked retail investors are exhibiting complete capitulation in their bond portfolios. They have been dumping fixed income assets, particularly munis, in record amounts."
Gasoline Futures Advance on East Coast Fuel Supply Concerns
A Weak U.S. Economy Means Fewer Babies

And finally...
Police in China said smugglers had 46-year-old chicken feet
University of Denver Plans to Give George W. Bush the "'Improving Human Condition" Award
US man arrested after woman spots him inside septic tank beneath toilet

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