Friday, August 30, 2013


News Links, August 29-30, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
India central bank to sell dollars to oil companies to shore up rupee
India might buy gold from citizens to ease rupee crisis
India is considering a radical plan to direct commercial banks to buy gold from ordinary citizens and divert it to precious metal refiners in an attempt to curb imports and take some heat off the plunging currency.
Indian rupee resumes slide as fears grow for slowing economy
Financial Times: "World Is Doomed To An Endless Cycle Of Bubble, Financial Crisis And Currency Collapse"
BRICS nations close to agreement on Contingent Reserve Arrangement
Canadian Maple Leaf Sales Beat All Records
Singapore dollar: the next currency to fall?
Norway Retail Sales Decline as Registered Unemployment Rises
Norwegian retail sales fell for a second month in July and a report showed registered unemployment rose this month, adding to evidence the economy of western Europe's largest oil exporter is slowing.
S. Korea: Workers not happier from 44 hour to 40 hour work week
A reduction in work hours does not necessarily mean happier employees, because employers often don't reduce the amount of work, a South Korean researcher says.
Scandinavia's Weakest Nation Finds Welfare Habits Too Costly
Scandinavia's weakest economy can no longer afford the kinds of entitlements its citizens were raised on, according to Danish Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon.
Country by country, day by day, the Gravy Train slows as its fuel becomes ever more expensive. -- RF
Gold Mine CEOs Hoard Cash as Strikes Loom in South Africa
"We're not desperate" – Nakheel chairman on debt talks (UAE)
Nothing to see here, folks. Move right along. -- RF

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Virgin Australia Books Full-Year Loss
Domestic slowdown holds back Australian airlines
Turkish Airlines sees profits fall 29% in H1
Painful Payments: Your Brain On Airline Fees

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US says it won't let diplomatic paralysis slow action against Syria
Britain Won't Join in a Syrian Attack
U.S. Prepares for Solo Strike On Syria After Britain Balks
Russia sends warships to Mediterranean as Syria tension rises
US Finally Admits What Ron Paul Said: "Nobody Knows Who Set Off The Gas"
Russia to deploy jets to Belarus
Russia orders oil cut to Belarus after potash clash
Russia ordered its oil firms on Wednesday to cut supplies to neighboring Belarus by around a quarter, in a major escalation of a trade and diplomatic dispute following the arrest in Minsk of the boss of Russian potash firm.
Obama Administration Copies Bush's Sidelining of Weapons Inspectors In Iraq
China Joins Russia In Warning Syria Strike Would Have "Catastrophic Consequences"
Iran's Khamenei warns US intervention in Syria would be 'a disaster' for Middle East
Syria: US Asks Greece for Military Base Access
UK sends jets to Cyprus in what it insists is a defensive move
Insiders Admit: US Intel on Syria 'No Slam Dunk'
As the rush to war continues, another familiar scene in which administration claims on intelligence don't live up to scrutiny
22 Reasons Why Starting World War 3 In The Middle East Is A Really Bad Idea
US Official: Washington Opposes New Erbil Oil Exports Through Iran
Malaysia Splits With Asean Claimants on China Sea Threat
Japan to beef up maritime security in Djibouti with more patrol ships
US says Iran can't access nearly half of its oil export earnings due to sanctions
Remember: The nuclear issue is mostly a pretext; regime change is the big prize. -- RF
Russian, NORAD air forces cooperate in exercise tracking hijacked plane over Alaska, Russia

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Get ready for gold prices to soar as South African producers prepare for strikes
Fast-food workers strike in 60 US cities

## Energy/resources ##
Northeast Brazil hit by large electricity blackout
Norwegian Oil Production to Hit 25-Year Low, East Arctic the Key?
Norway is the largest oil producer in Europe, and the second largest natural gas exporter in the world, but oil production is set to fall to a 25 year low this year, and with the North Sea oil wells in decline the country is desperate to try and develop new fields. The Arctic holds the greatest promise.
The Impact of Well Worded Press Releases on Oil Companies Stock Prices
They suggested that one of the reasons why companies were using more descriptive language nowadays, is due to pressure to impress their shareholders and justify the higher exploration and drilling costs of modern times. Over the past five years spending on exploration has increased by 13.5% a year, so they explained that "with higher spending on exploration… it is not surprising that today we are hearing news of 'extraordinary results' from appraisal wells and other language that aims to maximize impact."
Must read: Oil Prices Lead to Hard Financial Limits
What did I tell you? I said that debt is being used to compensate for the high cost of oil. As collapse proceeds, governments will continue to rely on financial hocus-pocus to prop up the system until they are totally overwhelmed by debt. Don't be caught unprepared when the dike breaks and the floodwaters come rushing through. -- RF
South Africa Scrambles for Any and All Energy Sources
Common Household Items that Add Hundreds of Dollars to Energy Bills
Ballooning costs threaten Merkel's bold energy overhaul
Seduced by generous subsidies, Germans are embracing the ambitious project with such fervour - installing solar panels on church roofs and converting sewage into heat - that instead of benefiting from a rise in green energy, they are straining under the subsidies' cost and from surcharges.
"Kitchen Sink" Time in India
Economic crisis may prompt India to restart Iran oil import
Libya Oil Output Tumbles as Protests Spread Westward
Pessimism and Optimism over Utica Shale
To cut natural gas costs, Chesapeake pumps up royalty deductions
Poland starts shale gas extraction
And shale gas will lose money in Poland just as it is in the US. -- RF
Credit Crunch Risks Blackouts as Projects on Hold: Poland Credit
Poland's push to avoid electricity blackouts by developing more than $5 billion of new power plants is at risk as the companies chosen to build them struggle to secure financing after a record bankruptcy.
Is Shale Gas Excitement in Eastern Europe Unwarranted?
Iran puts West in 'Check' with Omani Gas Deal
Fuel Supply-Demand Deficit Widens Without Iran, EIA Says
Excluding Iran from the global oil market increased the shortfall between worldwide supply and demand, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.
The EIA is just saying now what I said here long ago — that the world needs Iran's oil. -- RF
GCC countries to face gas shortage by 2015
Peak Oil: a fertile concept
Norway opens new offshore reserves
Offshore Emirates set for 'super' complex
Tax incentives to stimulate Russian shale oil activity
Brazil's Batista sells more of stake in oil company OGX to pay debt
Saudi Arabia seen pumping record oil levels in Q3
How to price a barrel of water in the oil sands

## Got food? ##
GMO corn failing to protect fields from pest damage: report
Some of the farmers around me have more weeds in their rice paddies than I do — and they use herbicides. That's right: The weeds have grown resistant to chemicals. Ultimately, we have to fall back on mechanical weed control and learning to use weeds to our advantage. --- RF
For Restaurant Workers, A Struggle To Put Food On The Table
Drought spreads in U.S. Midwest, Iowa suffering: Drought Monitor
Protecting Chickens From Predators (Video)
Make Your Own No-Space Potato Barrel
Antibiotic Use On The Farm: Are We Flying Blind?

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
The US professionals quitting the rat race to become farmers

## Environment/health ##
Oceans Storing Earth's Excess Heat in Leaked UN Report
Floods in Laos kill 20, damage rice crops
Bringing Back the Night: A Fight Against Light Pollution
Get rich in the 'Age of Megafires': 2014-20: Sectors set to soar when the deniers quit denying
Study: Air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths each year in the U.S.
Study: Spilled fracking fluid killed fish
Poverty significantly saps our mental abilities say researchers

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Australian spies in global deal to tap undersea cables
The nation's electronic espionage agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with British, American and Singaporean intelligence agencies to tap undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia's international phone and internet traffic.
US Requested Tens of Thousands of Facebook Users' Data in Just 6 Months
Report welcome, but "governments don't necessarily need intermediaries like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft to get our data."
How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You
'Black budget' document shows goals of U.S. intelligence agencies
U.S. spying is costly but often ineffective: Wash Post
Largest Rocket Ever Launched From Vandenberg AFB Makes Lift-Off
Once in orbit, the classified payload is expected to be able to distinguish details back on Earth as minute as the make and model of an automobile, according to a ULA spokesperson.
Nasdaq says software bug caused trading outage
Gone Phishing: How Major Websites Get Hacked
Nothing Better to Do – The NSA Goes After Parody T-Shirts
Facebook may add your profile photo to facial recognition database

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
A list of organizations that give some hope for the future
Sleepless in the states: Nearly 9 million pop pills for shut-eye
Men and women almost equally depressed, new study shows (US)
Death (certificates) took holiday in wake of bankruptcy filing (Detroit)
City couldn't issue death - or birth - certificates because skittish vendor wanted cash to supply paper
The Global Economy Suffers From Hypothermia
Post-crisis policies around the globe are directed at saving the financial system, not the people the crisis has pushed into poverty. Since these people are not seen as crucial to the survival of the core, and the system as a whole, they are - almost ritually - sacrificed on the system's economic altar.

## Japan ##
Japan official wants Fukushima operator Tepco to be liquidated
Japan crude stocks near 3-yr low as refiners cut capacity
World's Fastest Train Resumes Trials as Japan Plans Maglev Line
I stick with my prediction that the project will be abandoned midway. -- RF
Japan's Debt Servicing Costs to Consume 21% of Budget
Fukushima Fishermen Ruined by Tepco Now Key in Radiation Fight
Environment Ministry giving out radiation dosimeters to Fukushima residents
Sea temperatures around the Japanese archipelago hit record high
1.5 mil. non-regular workers serve as breadwinners
Gas prices top ¥160 for 4th straight week
Abenomics-Wary, Wives Cut Husbands' Pocket Money
Japan's population drops for 4th straight year
Area near Fukushima remains a radiological ghost town
Japan consumer price rises pick up pace on energy costs
Japan seeks biggest defense budget rise in 22 years

## China ##
Is China's Cash Crunch Returning?
An Inside Look at China's Censorship Tools
Internet in China hit by 'largest ever' DDoS attack

## UK ##
As Coal Plants Shut Down, United Kingdom Faces a Power Crunch
Thousands of trains fail to arrive on time
Almost 150,000 fewer trains arrived on time across the country last year and more than half of trains on some lines were late, 'real time' figures show.
Immigration surge driven by eurozone crisis
Britain has seen a massive surge in the number of immigrants coming here to work as they flee economic collapse in Eurozone countries such as Spain and Italy, official figures have disclosed for the first time.
North Sea oil tax breaks to 'enhance' output
Surge of soldiers wanting to quit prompts morale concerns
UK gas imports rise to record high in first half of 2013
Hottest summer for seven years

## US ##
U.S. nuclear reactors remain vulnerable to attack, theft, sabotage
U.S. Bank Legal Bills Exceed $100 Billion
NYPD secretly labels all mosques terrorist organisations
The New York Police Department has secretly labelled all mosques in the US as terrorism organisations in a tactic that allows officers to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams even without evidence of criminal wrongdoing, it has been reported.
With driving down, researchers unsure whether economy or different view of car is responsible
The Debt Ceiling Is Suddenly Only 8 Weeks Away
If These Are The Fastest Growing Jobs In America – We're Doomed
Sprint Cuts 800 Jobs After Nextel Network Shutdown
Nearly half of homes are purchased in cash
Over 12 Million Mortgages Still Underwater, Dragging the Economy
Midwest Hot, Dry Spell Brings Back Drought Worries
Nuclear renaissance: US nuclear projects face construction challenges: industry

And finally…
Trump University called a scam by former students in wake of US$40-million lawsuit
Hello Kitty Themed Planes Are Coming To The U.S.
Too Weird To Be True? In China, You Never Can Tell
Zimbabwean charged for using Mugabe poster as toilet paper
Saudi prince ridicules Qatar as 'only 300 people and a TV station'

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


News Links, August 24-28, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Argentina loses appeal in $1.33 billion U.S. bondholder fight
India's petroleum consumption growth nosedives
India's economic downturn leaves middle classes fearing the worst
Price rises, the falling rupee and a huge balance of payments deficit have prompted predictions of a full-blown economic crisis
Rupee slump puts spotlight on India Inc's debt pile
India's corporate sector, which sits on a huge pile of foreign currency debt, is under threat as the rupee's downward spiral exacerbates the debt burden of companies already battling feeble growth and sluggish demand.
'Abysmal' Dutch economy threatens euro zone recovery
Dutch government agrees to another $8 billion in budget cuts
Despite "Austerity" Greek Debt Is Rising At Its Fastest Rate Since March 2010
Greece 'may need 10bn euros more' in aid - Stournaras
Brazil Plans $60 Billion Currency Intervention Scheme; Indonesia Abandons Intervention, Adopts Other Measures
Russia slashes economic growth forecasts, second time this year
Driving On Portugal's Ghost Roads: Traffic Crashes By 68% In First Quarter
Weather-related losses take their toll on insurance industry
Overcapacity, catastrophe losses threaten reinsurance sector
Nasdaq breakdown increases pressure to act to avoid future disruptions, manage crises
Larry Summers and the Secret "End-Game" Memo
Why seniors' debt levels are on the rise (Canada)
Evraz Highveld slumps on survival doubts
Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium, the South African unit of Russia's largest steelmaker, fell the most in eight weeks in Johannesburg trading after saying it may not be able to remain in business.
Abu Dhabi's new luxury mall opens
Billabong brand declared worthless as company posts huge loss
Currency Spikes at 4 P.M. in London Provide Rigging Clues
China Warns US About Cutting Tapering Too Soon, Proposes BRIC Foreign Currency Fund
The Global QE Exit Crisis
Turkish lira hits rock bottom as central bank sits back

## Airline Death Spiral ##
LATAM Airlines Hit by 'Perfect Storm' in Argentina
Latin America's largest passenger airline is struggling to weather what one analyst called a "perfect storm" of bad news.
Shipping luggage may be cheaper than airline baggage fees
Passengers could save ­hundreds of pounds by using private couriers to ship their luggage to their destination rather than paying baggage charges on budget airlines such as Ryanair, a consumer watchdog has claimed.
Airlines offer no-crying sections for extra fee
Air India, AI Express baggage cut takes off
China flight delays show military grip on airspace
Top U.S. Airports to Be Stranded In During a Flight Delay
British Airways owner hit by jet fuel climb
China Southern Airlines reports USD18m operating loss in 1H2013

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Noose Tightens Around Freedom in Egypt
Egypt Descends into Chaos in Wake of Coup against Morsi
3,600 Syrians showing 'neurotoxic symptoms'
UN Request for Chemical Weapon Inquiry in Syria Backed by Russia
US Complicity in 'Some of the Most Gruesome Chemical Weapons Attacks' Revealed
Pentagon Preps Cruise Missiles to Attack Syria
15 Signs That Obama Has Already Made The Decision To Go To War With Syria
Report: Israeli, US, Jordanian Commandos Operating in Syria
Royal Navy ready to launch first strike on Syria
Syria strike due in days, West tells opposition - sources
60% Of Americans Oppose US Involvement In Syria, Only 9% Support Military Action
U.S. Forces Poised to Act on Syria If Ordered, Hagel Says
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel indicated that U.S. military forces, including naval vessels, are positioned in the Mediterranean and ready to act if President Barack Obama calls on the Pentagon to strike Syria.
Putin Responds To Syria Escalation: May "Reinforce Naval Grouping In Mediterranean" Following US Buildup
Israelis line up for gas masks over Syria war fears
Suicide bombing at a crowded park in Baghdad, attacks across Iraq kill at least 36 people
Separate insurgent attacks in Iraq kill at least 46 people, wound dozens
Yemen Asks US to Supply It With Drones
Bombs Blast Across Lebanon on Friday
Iranian Navy Dispatches 27th Fleet to High Seas
The Iranian Navy dispatched its 27th flotilla of warships to the high seas to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates, Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said.
Deadly Israeli Raid in Palestinian Refugee Camp Puts Talks on Skids
US Military Conquest of Africa "All But Complete" (video)
Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria
Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia's gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.
China sees no basis for talks with Japan over islands dispute
Japan Could Be 'Main Player' in Asia Conflict: Minister
Pentagon Poised for $13 Billion in Mideast Arms Sales

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Mapped: Every Protest on the Planet Since 1979
From Cairo to Wall Street to the West Bank, plotting a world of upheaval.
Thousands of Bahrainis march peacefully for democratic reforms
Colombia agricultural strike sparks fear of shortages
The workers want the government to agree to a wide-ranging set of demands including subsidies for their products, and cheaper fuel prices.
Colombia Nationwide Strike Against 'Free Trade,' Privatization, Poverty
Ignored by English-language media, rural uprisings spread across industries as hundreds of thousands protest US-backed govt
Indigenous protesters rally against Sweden iron mining plans
Buddhists burn Muslim homes and shops in Burma
South Africa hit by wave of strikes
South African construction and airport workers have gone on strike to demand higher wages, dealing another blow to the troubled economy.
South Africa strikes escalate with petrol stations dispute
Surging protests heighten stakes in Mexico battle over revisions

## Energy/resources ##
Has the Shale Bubble Already Burst?
Just like the famous Gold Rushes of the 19th century, US shale gas development is turning out to be a limited and regional market opportunity. Across the Atlantic, the high financial and human costs to fracking also mean that Europe should forget any fantasies about repeating the US shale boom.
Must read: Emergy as a Metric of Sustainability
It is imperative that our energy calculations include energy expenditures such as the "embodied energy" in existing infrastructure, otherwise our understanding of whether we are coming out ahead or not is dangerously skewed. In that light, endeavors like shale drilling look even worse. What's actually happening is that financial hocus-pocus is papering over energy losses with worthless fiat currencies. The shale and oil-sand energy bonanza is a mirage. This article is another reason why many wish TOD would stay active. -- RF
Global Oil Consumption: A Reality Check
Key Points:
• Global consumption of oil products – gasoline, jet fuel, etc – hit a record 88.9 million barrels per day last year.

• North American consumption has been on the decline since 2005. European consumption began to decline a year later, in 2006.
• Asia overtook North America as the region with the greatest thirst for oil in 2009. "If China's use of petroleum continues to grow as projected, it is expected to replace the United States as the world's largest net oil importer this fall," the EIA said.
Future Silver Supply in Question as Mexico Oil Production Declines
Gold and silver mines around the world are facing increasing costs. One of the biggest costs they face is the increasing price of energy. Steve St. Angelo shows how the dwindling supply of major oil deposits, especially in Mexico, are leading to similar supply issues in metals.
Libyan oil industry flounders amid chaos
Egypt's Decline Could be Trouble for Energy Investors
Mexico's Desperate Leap Forward to Jumpstart Oil Production
Petronas hurt by rising costs
Lower oil prices and higher operating costs eroded increased revenue for Petronas in the second quarter, resulting in a profits dip at the Malaysian state-owned energy company.
Nigeria mulls best response to oil thieves
Canadian LNG projects 'difficult to justify,' report says
Either they charge much higher prices for the gas, or the projects won't be economically viable. -- RF
Iran Oil Minister Vows to Revive Output as He Eyes Price War
Peak oil is dead: long live peak oil!
Who said that peak oil models were wrong?
The main difference between today and nine years ago is the appearance in the picture of the "non conventional" resources. With these new resources, we may be able to stretch the availability of liquid fuels for some more years, as long as we'll be able to pay their high costs. But we keep following the expected path and the news about the death of peak oil truly seem to be a bit exaggerated.
While tight oil, oil sands, and bitumen are hailed as the new energy bonanza that supposedly proves peak oil wrong, in reality this low-EROI junk oil is generating false hope at great cost to society. If governments were smart — which they aren't — they would quickly overhaul their policies so that societies would more gracefully decline to a lower energy level. Under current policies, the remaining wealth is concentrated into the hands of the New Aristocracy, while everyone else gets shifted into the serf class. Serfs use very little energy, in case you hadn't noticed. Therefore, transitioning to an overall lower energy level will be accomplished by maintaining the lifestyles of the aristocracy at the expense of the general population. Nothing graceful about that, huh? -- RF
The wind farms that generate enough power to make a few cups of tea
Some of Britain's biggest wind farms are at times producing only enough electricity to make a few cups of tea, according to official industry figures.
Battles Escalate Over Community Efforts to Ban Fracking
China's oil demand meets North Sea supply
Ethanol blend a problem for lawn mowers, etc.
Tech Talk - Where to Expect More Oil to Come This Year
Whatever the title of this piece from The Oil Drum suggests to you, reading it is a sobering experience. -- RF
Iraq's faltering oil resurgence raises price fears
When Iraq surpassed Iran last year as the second-largest Opec producer for the first time since the late 1980s, it was heralded as a sign of the recovery of Baghdad's energy industry a decade after the US-led invasion. But less than 12 months later, Iraq has gone from being a leading source of growth in global oil supplies to an uncertain one – a development that is putting pressure on prices and posing challenges for policy makers in Baghdad, Washington and Riyadh.
Low-Priced Oil Is Really a Mirage
Romania pulls plug on Nabucco pipeline
The World Faces a Helium Shortage
10% of Supply of Vanadium Might Vanish
The US Wastes Enough Energy Each Year to Power the UK for Seven Years
Fuel Smugglers Costing Europe More Than $4 Billion in Lost Taxes
These maps show how Asia is taking over the oil markets
Libya warns will destroy tankers illegally exporting oil
Libya warned on Monday it will attack and destroy any tanker illegally exporting oil after forces last week fired at a Liberian-flagged tanker close to the country's largest crude oil export terminal.
When energy dreams fall short
If the energy visions of past years had come true, throngs of Americans would be using switchgrass to fuel their cars and running their homes on electricity from nuclear fusion or carbon-capturing coal plants. But reality has worked out differently.
Crude Rises to 18-Month High on Syria Tension
National Helium Reserve Faces Shutdown

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Deadly Mexico train derailment blamed on stolen nails
Infrastructure scavenging is turning into one of the biggest factors behind infrastructure decay, second only after the economic inability to maintain it. -- RF
Metal thieves targeting vehicle batteries
Metal thieves put lives at risk to steal copper from substation
Namibia: Villagers Destroying Electricity Pylons to Make Donkey Carts
Here's an especially important story because it shows what we're going to see much more of in the coming years. Unlike most metal thefts, in which thieves sell metal for cash, in this case the people were taking materials that they need to make something for themselves. They considered donkey carts and other items fashioned from the metal to be more valuable to themselves than electricity pylons. This is the same as when, for example, Chinese peasants steal stones from the Great Wall to use in their houses. To the peasants, the Great Wall is just a useless thing from the past, and therefore it makes more sense for them to use its stones for their own immediate needs. Asset stripping such as that already seen at abandoned manufacturing facilities in Detroit will become a more widespread activity as factories and other facilities are abandoned, and nearby people find themselves in need of the materials. -- RF

## Got food? ##
Saudi food consumption to grow 4.2% till 2015
Hedge Funds Are Dumping Monsanto
Soybean, Corn, And Wheat Prices Are Surging
Turning Off The Spigot In Western Kansas Farmland
U.S. Farm Income for 2013 Seen at Record $120.6 Billion
Food prices heading higher
Dry weather in the Midwest, and frost in Brazil, is pushing up agricultural commodities in a way not seen since 2012.

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
What's the Point of Owning All This Stuff?
What Would it be Like to Live Without Your Mobile Phone?

## Environment/health ##
Texas Earthquakes Tied to Extraction in Fracking
These aerial images of industrial beef farming operations look less like shots of land and more like a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
'Inhospitable Oceans' Acidifying at Rate Unseen in 250 Million Years (or Ever)
Scientists working to find what's killing dolphins
Higher CO2 Harms All Marine Life From Corals and Clams to Fish
Plague of wild pigs has U.S. authorities squealing
California Battling Wildfire the Size of Chicago
Dengue Fever Pops Up In Florida
Boy dies of plague in Kyrgyzstan
Mercury levels in Pacific Ocean fish on the rise due to India, China coal plants
Haboob blows into Phoenix, bringing high wind, low visibility
Impact of Indonesian slash-and-burn fires seen in satellite photo

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
How the West Bugs Middle East Revealed, But Who Leaked It?
Curious 'exclusive reporting' by the Independent raises more questions about government behavior over spying and journalism
Amazon Web Services experienced minor outage on Sunday
Amazon Web Services experienced a brief outage on Sunday afternoon. It only last about 60 minutes, but appears to have taken down popular sites such as Instagram, Flipboard and Vine for short periods.
Google patents 'pay-per-gaze' eye-tracking that could measure emotional response to real-world ads
The Real, Terrifying Reason Why British Authorities Detained David Miranda
Edward Snowden NSA files: secret surveillance and our revelations so far (Guardian)
Hacks continue as FBI claims to have dismantled Anonymous
The FBI is claiming to have dismantled the hacker organization Anonymous. But shortly after an official's statements were published in the press, Anons dumped large amounts of data that appears to have been stolen from FBI servers.
Who Isn't the NSA Bugging? New Revelations of Spying on UN
Japan to increase defense analysis capability in African countries
Internet Architects Plan Counter-Attack On NSA Snooping
Council of Europe asks UK to explain intimidation against the Guardian
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has asked UK Home Secretary Theresa May to explain the pressure that Downing Street had put on the Guardian newspaper over the Snowden case, warning of the potentially "chilling effect" on media freedom.
Cybersecurity And Privacy Specialists In Short Supply
United Nations says it will contact United States over spying report
Obama's DOJ Relentless in Efforts to Force NYT Journalist to Reveal Confidential Source
China hit by 'biggest ever' cyber-attack
Facebook: U.S. Wanted Data On 20,000 Of Its Users This Year
'Malicious Attack' Knocks Out For Second Time In Two Weeks
Syrian Electronic Army Says It Hacked Twitter
Codename 'Apalachee': How America Spies on Europe and the UN
U.S. scientist operates colleague's brain from across campus
Edward Snowden's digital maneuvers still stumping U.S. government

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Massive NASDAQ Trading Halt is Just the Latest in a Series of Mysterious Outages
Systemic Bloat: Nasdaq crash triggers fear of data meltdown
Digital infrastructure exceeding limits of human control, industry experts warn
This is just one of the components of industrial/technological civilization. Here too we are reaching the limits of complexity, and the system shows signs of buckling. -- RF
Typing error sends Tel Aviv Stock Exchange plummeting
Instagram, other sites go down
Rage: Average worker 'suffers desk rage twice a day'
Another sign of the debilitating and destructive malaise building in modern industrial/technological societies. There's road rage, air rage, desk rage, and who knows what other kinds. Rage is everywhere, and it's going to boil over as it becomes a seething cauldron of civil unrest that will tear societies apart. Have a nice day! -- RF
The Doomsday Machine
Up Against Hard Limits: Food and Finance
We are reaching hard limits in food production and financial engineering.
Silicon Valley can't save America's dying economy

## Japan ##
Russia Offers to Help Clean Up Fukushima as Tepco Calls for Help
Faulty tanks leave radiated water with nowhere to go
Tepco Faces 132 Olympic Pools Worth of Radioactive Water
Contaminated waste piling up
More cleanups planned in Fukushima where radiation levels have rebounded
Formin Kishida makes fact-finding visit to Chernobyl
Japan may dip into budget reserves to fight Fukushima toxic water
And it's just the beginning. Watch as Fukushima absorbs ever-growing piles of money, and then as the decommissioning and cleanup efforts for NPPs around the world demand more money and time than ever imagined. Remember, decommissioning Chernobyl may take 100 years, while Britain's Trawsfynydd plant, a small NPP which had no major accidents, is projected to take 90 years for decommissioning. As industrial society founders and money runs out, even the staunchest nuclear power advocates and apologists will find themselves admitting that nuclear is one of humanity's biggest mistakes. Clean energy, my ass. -- RF
"Limited Freedom of Speech" For Japanese Bureaucrats To Cover Up The "Dire Fiscal Condition"
Japan's debt-funding costs to hit $257 billion next year: document
Japan firms still not convinced to hire more, brace for sales tax increase
Japan to introduce internet 'fasting camps' for addicted kids
Japan's Iran crude imports stabilizing for now, gloomy weather ahead
5,680 hospitalized for heatstroke last week
Localized heavy rain increases by 50%
Japan budget requests likely to top ¥100 trillion for second year in fiscal 2014

## China ##
Huge debts send China's steel industry to verge of bankruptcy
Eighty six of China's major medium-and-large steel enterprises incurred more than 3 trillion yuan (US$486.4 billion) in total liabilities as of June, or a debt ratio of 69.74%, signaling that the industry is on the verge of bankruptcy, reports Beijing's Economic Observer, citing figures from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).
24-hr fast food stores become shelters for the homeless in Beijing
City drivers may be charged 'congestion fares' to ease traffic
SHANGHAI plans to charge drivers fares when roads are most congested and look into further vehicle restrictions based on  traffic and environmental conditions, according to a traffic white paper issued by the city today.
Tackling local government debt is China's biggest challenge: survey
China tightens the screw on the internet
Fire and Water: China's Looming Coal Problem
According to a new WRI analysis, more than half of China's proposed coal-fired power plants are slated to be built in areas of high or extremely high water stress. If these plants are built, they could further strain already-scarce resources, threatening water security for China's farms, other industries, and communities.
Overcapacity a serious problem in Coal Industry

## UK ##
HS2 is a 'grand folly' and should be scrapped, business leaders warn
Everyone to pay more to insure flood risk homes
Post Office staff in fresh strikes
Police under fire over arbitrary terror arrests at UK borders
'We're going to work until we're unable to'

## US ##
As Long As You Don't Eat, Price Inflation Is Under Control
Treasury predicts US will hit debt limit in mid-October
First Signs of Hyperinflation Have Arrived: US National Debt Can Travel From the Earth to the Sun and Back a Stunning 83 Times!
The real national debt, despite having been falsely frozen at the falsely advertised figure of $16.699 trillion for more than 90 consecutive days for no other reason than it has reached the designated limit, clocks in at a whopping $220 trillion if you include all unfunded, off-balance liabilities such as Medicare and Social Security.
U.S. Growth Rate Worse Since Recovery
That's because there has actually been no "recovery." We're watching a steady decline with ups and downs and bubbles. And it's going to get worse. -- RF
Durable Goods Orders Plunge 7.3%, Nondefense New Orders for Capital Goods Plunge 15.4%; Plunge to Accelerate?
New Jersey nuclear plant shut down after leak
Resort And Hotel Fees Soar To New Heights
In bustling Houston, it's a case of 'Build, baby, build!'
Wildfire enters Yosemite, threatens San Francisco water, power
Dishwashers Beat Clothes as U.S. Moms Use Hand-Me-Downs
Outlook for Jobs and Confidence in Economy Sink
Study raises question of who will care for aging baby boomers
Orders for long-lasting US factory goods fall sharply as businesses cut back on spending
Jackson Hole Presenter Warns: "Bottom Could Fall Out Of The Economy As It Did In The Great Depression"
Reinventing Feudalism in America: How can existing home sales go up when mortgage applications are falling?
The epic crisis in retirement savings: Vast majority of Americans unprepared for retirement. Median retirement savings for those 25 to 34? Zero dollars.
Prepare for War: Pentagon Crafts "Limited Strike Plans" for Syria
Bubbles Bloom Anew in Desert as Buyers Wager on Las Vegas
Welcome to the Housing Recovery: Rents are Rising, Incomes are Falling
Pentagon Weighs Firing Thousands Under 2014 Spending Cuts
People in their 60s carrying more debt, usually a mortgage
Neofeudalism marches on: Wealth distribution in US rivals a modern day Gilded Age: In 2013 wealth inequality at record levels. 72 percent of wealth in US held by 5 percent of the population.
Survey of business economists calls deficits in 2020s and 2030s the biggest US fiscal problem
S.C. capital's plan for the homeless? Ban them
Regulators, Bitcoin group discuss digital currency
The worm is turning for investment real estate: American Homes 4 Rent posted a net loss of $14 million. Wells Fargo announces layoffs for 2,300 due to drop in refinancing activity.
Nuke Plant to Shut Doors: Environmental Victory But Vital Work Still Ahead
Once it ceases functioning, the plant will be in a state of "safe store" and remain shuttered as its radioactive components cool for up to 60 years.
Money for proper decommissioning will run out before those 60 years have elapsed. This will be just one of hundreds of nuclear disaster sites ringing the globe. -- RF
McMansions are back -- and bigger than ever

And finally…
Police seize painting of Vladimir Putin in a negligee
Japan wife kills cheating husband with coffee cup

Friday, August 23, 2013


News Links, August 22-23, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Panic Flip-Flop Moves by India Central Bank Fail to Halt Currency Plunge
Spain's 'Real' GDP Could Be 21% Lower Than Reported
Mexico sharply cuts '13 growth forecast
Bundesbank warning on "Abenomics"
Fed confusion leads to 6th straight loss for Dow
Peak Gold
Target blames Canada and cautious shoppers as it warns on year
India Risks Permanent Damage… Are BRIC Nations the New PIIGS?
India's status as an economic powerhouse in jeopardy as country falters
Are emerging markets facing an 'abyss'?
Istanbul Skyline Reflects Cheap Dollars Now Growing Scarce
Recent Study: Overcapacity in the European Light Vehicle Market
Scandinavia's Richest Economy Stumbles as Euro Area Rebounds
Norway, western Europe's biggest oil and gas producer and home to a $760 billion wealth fund, is struggling to spur demand just as the rest of Europe surfaces from half a decade of economic pain. According to DNB ASA (DNB), the country's biggest bank, Norway will be the only European nation of the 15 it tracks whose economic growth won't accelerate next year. The biggest drag comes from consumers, who have hesitated to spend as house price gains peter out and private debt mounts.
Revealed: $130bn Dubai mega projects launched in the last year
Crisis of market confidence after Nasdaq shutdown
The world's second-largest stock exchange stopped dead for three hours Thursday, paralyzing trading in stocks with a combined value of more than $5.9 trillion, as an unexplained technical problem sparked a new crisis of confidence in U.S. financial markets.
Why Asian Markets Are Collapsing In 3 Simple Charts
The Grand Experiment: Offloading Risk onto the State
Offloading risk onto the state does not make the risk vanish; it simply concentrates the risk of collapse into the state itself.
Six reasons why mass tourism is unsustainable
Hussman: I Would Be Remiss Not to Tell You That the Stock Market Will Probably Crash

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Air India's 787 Dreamliners still without clearance to fly to Japan
Asiana Airlines to cancel Fukushima flights due to radiation fears
LATAM Airlines Group SA : Chile Latam Airlines Posts $329.8 Million Second-Quarter Loss
Hard months ahead for European airlines
Airline lawsuit seeks to stop rising fares, but it's too late
Officials in three states fight suit against American Airlines-US Airways merger
Air New Zealand to axe 180 jobs
Indian airlines on way down, says India Ratings
Adria Airways reports EUR1.4 million operating loss in first 7 months of 2013, EUR5.9m improvement

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
American, Israeli And Jordanian Troops And CIA Agents Have Entered Syria, Le Figaro Reports
Egyptian Islamists blamed for attack on 60 churches
Military Dictatorship Takes Shape on Nile
Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak released from jail, taken to military hospital in Cairo
EU suspends arms sales to Egypt over crackdown
Activists say more than 200 killed in gas attack near Damascus
Number of Syrian child refugees reaches one million according to UN
Mediterranean Gas Outlook Threatened by War
This article starts by informing us that "The population in the eastern Mediterranean region is expected to increase by as much as 35 percent in the next 20 years." Since economies in that region — not to mention everywhere else in the world — are already unsustainable, all the gas in the world isn't going to change anything. -- RF
Flouting International Rejection of Weapons, US to Supply Saudi Arabia With Cluster Bombs
US 'backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria, blame it on Assad govt': Report
Israel: Rockets Fired from Lebanon Breach Iron Dome Defence System
Israeli jets bomb Lebanon target after rocket strike
Asia-Pacific navies to hold joint drill in S. China Sea
The navies of the 10-member ASEAN and eight other countries, including the United States, Japan, China, Russia, India, will participate in a joint exercise in Indonesian waters of the South China Sea next year, the Indonesian Navy announced Thursday.
How the U.S. is encircling China with military bases
US terror blacklisting angers Pakistan madrassa staff

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protest near restaurants to check food price rise (India)

## Energy/resources ##
Humanity Officially Outgrows the Planet
Humanity uses more resources than the world can renew, meaning that our current way of life is not sustainable, and that at this rate the world will one day just run out of resources.
What's that? Did I hear someone mention "sustainable growth"? -- RF
Uranium miners face new hurdles as Fukushima disaster worsens
Energy Quote of the Day: The Link Between Geopolitical Unrest and US E&P Capital Spending
Solar Manufacturers May Boost Capacity as Demand Surges
Our Clean Energy Future
A sanguine piece posted on The Oil Drum. I only wish it would go so well, but I think proponents are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. At this scale, the system is unsustainable no matter where our electricity comes from. -- RF
'Worrying' decline in oil and gas production (UK)
Clashes Erupt at Libyan Oil Terminals
Clashes erupted Tuesday at oil terminals that had been closed in Eastern Libya, oil officials said, the latest evidence of mounting tensions in the oil exporting nation, after an unauthorized tanker was blocked from entering another port Monday.
Why Your Solar-Powered Home Is Still Light Years Away
A Review of Richard Heinberg's 'Snake Oil'
New Enhanced Oil Recovery Technique Boosts Production to 85%
No mention of cost. Remember: It's not how much oil, but cost that counts. -- RF
Wind Turbine Makers Poised for Return to Profitability
Wind-turbine makers are poised to make their first profit in years after shutting underused factories and abandoning a drive for growth at all costs.
Another S. Korea nuclear reactor shuts down
China, Indonesia to Join Exxon at Giant Iraqi Oilfield
China and Indonesia are set to join Exxon Mobil's $50 billion project to develop Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield, company and industry sources said on Thursday.
Vacant Positions in Marcellus/Utica Shale Regions Hard to Fill
Engineering positions continue to be a challenge to fill in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, reported the Marcellus Shale Coalition, (MSC) a gas drilling industry trade group. The organization released its annual workforce survey Wednesday, which found that one of the most difficult positions to fill in 2012 were in professional fields, around 49 percent.

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal Thieves Target Historical Markers, Signs
Light poles a favorite among scrap metal thieves
Arrests on charges related to theft of scrap metal are rising fast in Dayton, so fast that the Dayton Police Department has an entire division devoted to curbing it.

## Got food? ##
Twilight of industrial agriculture: Young Farmers Break The Bank Before They Get To The Field
Indian Food Inflation Is Getting Out Of Control
Vegetable prices in India spiked  46.59% in July year over year, another ugly bullet point in the country's persistent struggle with massive food inflation.
Japan got 30 times more Russian crab than Russia 'exported'
Japan, which obtains most of its crab imports from Russia, received significantly more crab from its northern neighbor than Russia officially exported, indicating rampant poaching activity, a Russian newspaper said Tuesday.
Reviving An Heirloom Corn That Packs More Flavor And Nutrition
Food Prices to Rise 40 Percent, Study Says

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
How To Ditch 6 Common Financial Burdens
Six common subscriptions you can live without

## Environment/health ##
Lyme disease infects 300,000 a year, CDC says
Arctic shipping holds great promise for Asia
International Alarms Go Up as Fukushima Alert Level Raised
Deadly Middle East Coronavirus Found In An Egyptian Tomb Bat
Waste without Borders: Fracking's Dirty Dilemma
Many will argue that we need better regulation, but more regulation adds still more expense and complexity to the system, and demands a greater energy throughput. That in turn is acting to drag the system down and immobilize it. -- RF
Looking Down From Space at Shanghai's Awful Heat Island
Decrease in monarch butterfly population raises concern
An 'aporkalypse' has Texas fighting losing battle against feral pig menace

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
LEAKED: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 – Links The NSA
NSA surveillance covers 75 percent of U.S. Internet traffic: WSJ
NSA collected thousands of online communications by Americans
The FISA Court Knew the NSA Lied Repeatedly About Its Spying, Approved Its Searches Anyway
Russia criticizes UK on human rights after pressure on Guardian
Russia accused Britain on Wednesday of failing to live up to its own declarations on human rights by forcing the Guardian newspaper to destroy materials leaked by fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
UK Prime Minister Was Behind Guardian's Hard Disk "Pulverization"
Mixed Court Victory for Miranda as He Fights 'Frightening' Interrogations, Seizures
Is Glenn Greenwald's journalism now viewed as a 'terrorist' occupation?
The detention at Heathrow on Sunday of the Brazilian David Miranda is the sort of treatment western politicians love to deplore in Putin's Russia or Ahmadinejad's Iran.
How A Look At Your Gmail Reveals The Power Of Metadata
Darpa Wants to Save Us From Our Own Dangerous Data
"Praise God" for FEMA Video Uploaded by FEMA
Gangster State US/UK (Paul Craig Roberts)

## Systemic breakdown/collapse ##
The Fracking of "The Limits to Growth"
Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit in Packs as Humans Dwindle
Lacking Funds for Repairs, Texas to Convert Roads into Gravel Paths

## Japan ##
Japan nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level
Radioactive Leaks in Japan Prompt Call for Overseas Help
Leaking tank at Fukushima plant has no water gauge
New high-radiation spots found at quake-hit Fukushima plant
"Tepco Has Lost Control" - What Is Really Happening At Fukushima In Four Charts
As Fukushima Crisis Spirals, Expert Warns 'It's Much Worse' Than Claimed
As bad as the situation seems, Mycle Schneider, lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports, told BBC News that the situation "is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse."
All fisheries off Fukushima to be suspended amid leak at nuclear plant
6 who were minors at time of nuclear disaster newly found to have thyroid cancer
Six young people in Fukushima Prefecture, who were aged 18 or under when the nuclear crisis began to unfold there in March 2011, have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since June, prefectural authorities said Aug. 20.
Abenomics Utter Fail: Japan's Crazy Exploding Trade Deficit
The new salvation religion being preached in Japan to a hardened and cynical bunch who've lived through one of the worst bubbles and busts in recent history is this: prodigious money-printing by the Bank of Japan would devalue the yen, among other things, causing exports to skyrocket and imports to shrink. The resulting trade surplus would save Japan. But the opposite is happening – and it's happening fast!
Tokyo uses rainmaking machine for 1st time in 12 years
Defense Ministry preparing Japanese version of U.S. Marines
To strengthen protection of Japan's outlying islands, the Defense Ministry will set up a preparatory force next fiscal year that will eventually become a Japanese version of the U.S. Marines, sources said.
Corporate tax cut in Japan: Be careful what you wish for
Japan scrambles jets after Russian bomber intrudes airspace
Defense Ministry to bolster spending on Global Hawk surveillance aircraft
Intellectual theft emails on the rise
Regional board of education to ban 40-year-old Hiroshima comic from schools for being too graphic

## China ##
'Low' consumption growth rate reflects China's slowdown
Politics, Cost of Living Push Hong Kong Residents Overseas
China grid says half of $100 bln high-voltage network under way
Overcapacity a Serious Problem in Coal Industry
Second-tier cities see oversupply of office space
China's College Grads Face A New Reality: Fewer Jobs
China mulls pension reform to ease financial burden
CHINESE experts have proposed a new pension scheme, raising the pension age, to ease the financial burden of an aging population. The new scheme suggests that the initial pension age for both men and women should be raised to 65 as of 2030 from the current retirement age of 60 for men and 50 for women.
Zombie borrowers haunt China's shadow banks
Call it the new China Syndrome: Although Asia's biggest economy is slowing down markedly, credit continues to surge. Dead-end projects and dying industries are sucking up an ever-larger portion of new credit, while more productive  borrowers are starved for funds.

## UK ##
UK's secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowden leaks
TUC: Pension changes will make millions worse off
Record numbers of Britons have no plans to retire
Government fails to record financial surplus in July
Planned homes remaining unbuilt, say local councils
400 British citizens emigrate every day
More than 400 British citizens are leaving the country every day in a drain on    talent that is leading to the "disappearance" of skilled middle-class professionals, a senior Conservative MP has warned.
Secret wind farm report into house price blight
Unbalanced and unsustainable – if something cannot go on forever, then it will stop
Cuadrilla Resumes Drilling at Balcombe
Record Investment in the UK Oil & Gas Industry in 2013
Despite the fact that production in the North Sea is declining rapidly and the current government claims to be the greenest ever; the UK oil and gas industry is set to receive record high investments in 2013.

## US ##
SWAT Cop Says American Neighborhoods Are 'Battlefields,' Claims Cops Face Same Dangers As Soldiers In Afghanistan
'People think everyone who is poor gets welfare, and it's just not true'; How the myth of the welfare queen died
Students get financial aid at highest rate since WWII
More college students are receiving more financial aid, including loans and grants, and most of the increase is coming from federal sources, new data show.
Up In Flames: Cigarette Taxes Create Opportunity For Revenue And Crime
Colorado county to vote on secession
School Security Changes Have Parents Dropping Kids At The Curb
Health insurance now costs $16,000 for average family
Defending the Grid Against Electromagnetic Pulses and Geomagnetic Disturbances
California fracking causes fracas
'Travesty of Justice': Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years
Wells Fargo gives 60-day layoff notices to nearly 300 in Charlotte
33 Shocking Facts Which Show How Badly The Economy Has Tanked Since Obama Became President
However, to be fair I wouldn't blame Obama for all of this; the decline of the US economy was baked in the cake years ago and is proceeding according to natural laws. -- RF
J.C. Penney Is Circling The Drain
Sears and J.C. Penney: Which Will Disappear First?
Detroit's Stray Dog Epidemic: 50,000 Or More Roam The City
UPS to End Insurance Coverage for 15,000 Working Spouses
USDA: Rural population needed not for farming but for cannon fodder
Fracking leaves property values tapped out
Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison
The Real Reason to Sell Municipal Bonds
It's a recovery!: US households taking in less income than when recession ended in June 2009, report says
Income Stats Suggest American Dream Is Dead
Colorado Town May Issue Licenses To Shoot Down Drones
Why you're feeling poor despite the recovery
American households have yet to regain income lost during the financial crisis. The median level is still $3,400 lower.
Daniel Ellsberg: US on Verge of Becoming Police State Under Obama
13 Things the Government Is Trying to Hide from You
U.S. government's debt load is worse than Japan
U.S. a 'Few Weeks' From Breaching Debt Limit, Lew Says
This muni-bond selloff looks like Lehman all over again: Janney
Big Banks Will Get Crushed From Rising Interest Rates
North Dakota looks to protect sensitive lands
North Dakota oil and gas regulators have nominated 40 sensitive sites in the western part of the state to be protected from increased exploration activity.
The cost of fighting wildfires soars – and you're paying
Climate change, dry weather, and past forest management practices have created conditions where forests spark quickly and burn long. But much of the increased cost comes from protecting large communities on vulnerable land that used to be free of people. There are now more than 47 million homes in areas at high risk for wildfires, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and several universities, with nearly 10 million sprouting in so-called "wildland-urban interface" areas between 2000 and 2010 alone.
Just one of many factors creating further drag on an already unsustainable system. -- RF

And finally…
Man banned from farms after admitting sex with goat
Madrid buskers must audition before being allowed to play

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