Wednesday, August 14, 2013


News Links, August 11-14, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Banks cut 5,500 branches across Europe in 2012
"Banks cut 5,500 branches across the European Union last year, 2.5 percent of the total, leaving the region with 20,000 fewer outlets than it had when the financial industry was plunged into crisis in 2008."
Eurozone banks need to shed €3.2 trillion assets by 2018 to comply with Basel III
Report: Bundesbank expects new bailout for Greece within months of German election
Greek economy shrinks 4.6 percent in second quarter
Greece stuck in recession, bailout targets at risk
Emerging World Loses Growth Lead
Auckland's New York House Prices Prompt Lending Curbs: Mortgages
Real-Time Tax Data Indicates U.S. Economy Rapidly Losing Steam
Canadian housing boom in '9th inning'
Heinz to cut 600 jobs in North America after sale of company
Gold replaces narcotics as the biggest smuggled item in India
Dubai's property bubble puzzle
Europe's slowdown forces Finland to turn to Russia again
"After decades of pursuing trade with western Europe, Finland is becoming dependent on Russia again as that country's burgeoning middle class and wealthy investors provide opportunities for growth lacking in recession-hit Europe."
GM plans gradual pullout of S.Korea as labor costs surge
"General Motors Co. (GM.N) has begun gradually cutting its presence in South Korea after mounting labor costs and militant unionism triggered a rethink of its reliance on the country for a fifth of its global production, three individuals familiar with GM's thinking said."
VW brand suffers rare sales drop as Europe ails
"Volkswagen Group reported a rare dip in global sales of its core VW brand in July and said business conditions may remain tough for an industry beset by slumping demand and overcapacity."
Saudi marine transport firms suffer losses due to Egypt unrest
"Recent political upheavals in Egypt have caused terrible losses to Saudi investors in the marine transportation sector along the Red Sea. According to familiar sources in the sector, the volatile political conditions have caused losses of billions of riyals to Saudi businesses."

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Commercial fights closed down at Gary-Chicago Airport
No Fire Sale Of Malaysia Airlines
"Talks about the sale of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has resurfaced, with several parties believed to have sent in proposals to the Government to buy over the loss-making airline, industry sources said. However, it is learnt that no deal has been formalised yet."
First Trans-Atlantic Commercial Flight Landed 75 Years Ago Sunday
The party's over as dollar, fuel crimp the good times
Ryanair Pilots Accuse Budget Airline Of Neglecting Safety, Call For Inquiry
Society's elite take off first in China's air traffic scheme
Engine parts fell off jet bound for Dubai
Federal government, 6 states sue to block proposed airline merger of US Airways, American
In blocking American-US Airways merger, government relies on executives' words to build case
DOJ Suit Seen Delaying, Not Killing Big Airline Merger
Past Airline Mergers Haven't Lived Up to Promises
Flight delays snarl China's civil aviation sector
GOL Q2 Loss Wider than Expected

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Why Are We at War in Yemen? (Ron Paul)
Note: You need only be "suspected" in order to be gunned down. -- RF
Iraqi Kurdistan opens official crude oil trade route via Iran
"Iraq's Kurdistan region is exporting crude oil by truck to an Iranian port for shipping to Asia, industry sources say, using a trade route that is likely to anger both Baghdad and Washington."
U.S. pullback in Lahore another sign of growing al Qaida violence in Pakistan
Zimbabwe strikes deal to sell uranium to Iran, according to report
Chinese yachtsman blocked from islands disputed with Japan
China Tests Japan on Island Claims After Philippine Success
Germany eyes bumper GCC arms deals this year
Bombings in Iraq kills 69 during holiday, despite government promise to increase security
U.S. Says Iraq Bombers Are "Enemies of Islam"
"The United States condemned Saturday's wave of bombings in Baghdad, calling them 'cowardly attacks' perpetrated by 'enemies of Islam.'"
Attacking people with drones, however, it not cowardly. -- RF
Anti-U.S. Hostility Ramps Up in Egypt
Reactor Powered Up On First 'Made in India' Nuclear Sub
India, Pakistan exchange more gunfire, ceasefire under strain
Sudden Flood of Asylum Requests at U.S./Mexico Border
Israel approves nearly 1,200 new settlement homes
Russia starts build on missile radar system

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Filipino farmers destroy genetically modified 'Golden Rice' crops
Greek police end riot at migrant detention camp
Police impose curfew after Buddhist mob storms Sri Lankan mosque
French farmers threaten to slaughter hens amid egg price protest
Egypt unrest: Clashes erupt in Cairo, kill 1 and wound 11

## Energy/resources ##
Must read: Powder River Basin producers finding it more costly to get to coal reserves
"'There's very little low ratio coal out there anymore,' said Al Elser, BLM's assistant district manager for solid minerals in Casper, Wyoming."
IIRC, Powder River Basin coal is some of the cheapest in the world. But as this article shows, the "easy coal" is pretty much gone. That of course means rising prices, and declining net energy. As with oil, coal is not going to literally "run out," but price increases will create an increasing drag on the economy. It's all downhill from here. -- RF
Must read: The Coming Shale Write-Downs
I don't know how anyone can read frank investor talk like this and still believe that shale drilling is going to make the US into the new Saudi Arabia. The bad news is coming even sooner than I'd expected. -- RF
Must read: A Cautionary Tale Evolves over Shale Gas
What a shame that The Oil Drum is closing down. It's honest articles like this that steer energy thinking down more realistic paths. Here too, it's painfully obvious that the promise of shale gas has been grossly overblown. Shale gas operations are hemorrhaging red ink in massive quantities, but the cheerleaders in the mainstream media are still tooting their propaganda horns about what a bonanza we've got. -- RF
Must read: America: Exporting our way to energy independence?
"Production decline rates for natural gas wells in the United States are averaging around 32 percent PER YEAR. That means about one-third of U.S. production must be replaced EACH YEAR just to stay flat. And, that's really all that we've been doing for the last 17 months.But the situation is likely to get much worse. Here's why: Gas from shale deposits is rising as a percentage of total U.S. production. Shale gas wells decline much faster than the current overall rate (which includes conventional gas wells), between 79 and 95 percent in the first three years. That means some 80 to 90 percent of all existing shale gas production must be replaced every three years."
Still more shocking facts that you won't hear from your mainstream-media cheerleaders. -- RF
Must read: Stumbling Blocks to Figuring Out the Real Oil Limits Story
Another thoughtful piece from "Our Finite World." Although the original peak oil story has changed somewhat, this does not at all mean that our situation has improved. As I've said again and again, it isn't a matter of how many barrels of oil we can extract, but about how much it is costing, and how much energy society is left to work with. Many people claim that high oil prices really aren't that much of a problem, and that people are "shrugging off" high energy prices. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As the author of this piece shows, consumers have reached their limit and can't pay any more, which is behind declining consumption. -- RF
Plans for 'world's largest solar farm' collapse
Dozens Die in North Asia Heat Wave as Power Supply Strained
"Air-conditioning in South Korea's public buildings has been shut off as the government yesterday warned of power shortages. China has opened air-raid shelters as makeshift cooling stations, while thousands in Japan have been hospitalized for heatstroke."
Time Magazine Video on Sail Transport Trends: Getting on the Bandwagon
Fracking technology drives resurgence of sand mining
Nuclear Renaissance: Nuclear power turns off South Koreans after Fukushima
"A survey shows that 63 per cent of respondents consider nuclear plants to be unsafe; government vows to review policy as power demand soars"
Diesel shortage: Monitor Community Drumming licenses (Malaysia)
Iran to Sign New Nuclear Power Plant Deal with Russia – Minister
New deal to connect Israel to European electric grid
CSG and New South Wales' looming energy crisis (Australia)
China to Become Biggest Net Oil Importer by October, EIA Says
PetroChina to Develop Giant Iraqi Oil Field with Exxon Mobil
Libya oil unrest stores up future economic troubles
Dismantling of large-scale nuke plants begins at last
Energy Quote of the Day: Geopolitics and Oil Supply
"Investment bank Simmons & Co's commentary on the International Energy Agency's August Oil Market Report highlights geopolitical risk facing global oil supply. The report shows that Opec supply fell by 165,000 barrels per day from the previous month, even as Saudi Arabia lifted output to a 12-month high."
Iran's oil sector withstands sanctions
Three Nails in the Coffin of Peak Oil
This is from The Oil Drum, and worth reading. It is a curious title, because the second half of the post, starting with "Points," in various ways shows that we've entered an entirely different — and quite grim — energy regime. And indeed I would say it argues for a different title. Personally, I still maintain that in terms of net energy we are past peak, and even the author offers evidence of that. But read it and decide for yourself. -- RF
Libya's two largest oil export terminals closed again
Global Air Conditioning Needs Could Grow 50 Times Greater Than US Demand
Is Elon Musk's Hyperloop just a pipe dream?
Jakarta can't ignore food, energy and water crises

## Got food? ##
Top 5 GMO Myths Debunked
5 Surprising Genetically Modified Foods
Indonesia at the crossroads: Addressing food security
Drought takes toll on rice crop (China)
Video of 'lame' cattle stirs new concern over growth drugs
Making Sauerkraut and Other Fermented Vegetables
Food prices to go up as farmers battle hardship (India)

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Downsizing in retirement turns less into more

## Environment/health ##
Hot, Dry Winds Help Spread Deadly Valley Fever Infections
How Long Will You Live? Take This Test -- But, If You're American, Don't Get Your Hopes Up
The Empire doesn't even make it into the top 50. -- RF
The Algae Is Coming, But Its Impact Is Felt Far From Water
Troubling question remains of where to store radioactive waste
Lac Megantic: Cleanup to stretch into next year
Utilities help prevent repeat of 2003 by trimming trees, but with significant outcry
Tea farms wither amid heatwaves in E China
As Heatwave Grips Northeast Asia, 'A Major Catastrophe' Underway
Study: Human impacts on ecosystems go beyond species loss
America's new $60 trillion deadliest enemy: An economic time bomb lurks in climate change

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Secure E-Mail Companies Say There's No Such Thing Anymore
The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system
The NSA Is Commandeering the Internet
The Pirate Bay Celebrates Its 10th Birthday With New Web Browser
Tracking devices hidden in London's recycling bins are stalking your smartphone
Return Lots of Merchandise? Retailers May Be Tracking You
Phone Hackers Build Networks to Deliver Legitimate Ads and Malicious Code
We Are Legion: Anonymous' Presence in the U.S. Military
Race for encrypted email systems heats up
Snowden: NSA Story Needed the 'Courage' Major Media Outlets Have Abandoned
Gmail users cannot expect privacy while sending mails: Google
Lavabit's Ladar Levison: 'If You Knew What I Know About Email, You Might Not Use It'
"Let's Put The Whole Elephant Out There": President Obama's Speech and Bulk Searches of Americans' Emails (ACLU)
The threat from cybercrime? 'You ain't seen nothing yet'

## Systemic breakdown/collapse ##
The Big Shift: The End Of The Era Of Great Invention
"We're moving from an era when inventions paid off to an era when copying and theft makes more money."
Small Texan Communities Dry Up as Fracking Industry Takes Water
"The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes."
Colorado Seed Vault Is Fort Knox For The World's Seeds

## Japan ##
A Quadrillion Yen And Counting – The Japanese Debt Bomb Could Set Off Global Panic At Any Moment
Post-Upper House Election, Japan Confronts Its Old Age Social Welfare Crisis
Nuclear Expert: Fukushima Is 'Emergency Without End'
Fukushima workers exposed to radiation
Japan Studies Ice Wall to Halt Radioactive Water Leaks
Japan's Economy Grows Less Than Forecast as Investment Drops
Japan PM Abe considers cut to corporate tax - Nikkei
"Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering a corporate tax cut as a way to offset the potential economic drag of a planned two-stage hike in the sales tax, the Nikkei economic daily reported on Tuesday, citing government sources."
Japan machinery orders fall in a sign of weak capex
TEPCO: Peak power demand hits new high for this summer

## China ##
China's $1 Trillion GDP Lie
China Is a Major Problem; Central Banks Up Against the Wall
RBC: China Still Headed for a Severe Slowdown
"Any celebration over the strong data released by China on Thursday may be short-lived. Even though Chinese exports and imports both rose significantly in July, its economy is headed for a severe slowdown, warns Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management."
Bird Flu Aftereffects: Big Chinese KFC Supplier DaChan Reports 1st-Half Loss
China Faces Years Of Slowing GDP Growth, Top Strategist Says
China Poised to Gain Control as Shipyard Shakeout Looms: Freight
Beijing Plates Harder to Win Than Roulette Spur Loopholes: Cars
China to set up more private banks to help small firms
Too Much, Too Fast: China Sees Backlash From Massive Growth
China Urbanization to Hit Roadblocks Amid Local Opposition
Inside China's Real Estate Bubble
How Fast Can China Grow? Not as Fast as Most Analysts Think
China's Jiangsu province calls $126 billion bank debt manageable: paper
Nothing to see here, folks. Move right along. -- RF
Bottled Water Market Quickly Turning Chinese
Chinese shipping firm opens Northern Sea route
China slowdown exposes debt stress in raw materials
"China's slowing economy has hammered businesses supplying the raw materials for growth, with coal and aluminum firms at risk of defaults and closures after clocking up at least $490 billion of debt in a rush to expand."
Aluminium smelters braced for shutdowns

## UK ##
Gloomy prospects for UK youths who've never held jobs: report
"One-half of U.K. young people who are not in full-time education have never held a job, a leading U.K. think tank said on Wednesday, ahead of the release of the country's official monthly unemployment numbers."
Britain had fourth-highest decline in wages in EU
UK faces desperate shortage of science and maths teachers
Gibraltar tensions soar as UK threatens legal action over border checks and Navy sets sail for Med
Rail fares 'to rise by 4.1%' in England as unions protest
Fracking 'threatens God's glorious creation'
"The Church of England has told parishioners that fracking causes environmental problems and risks lasting harm to 'God's glorious creation'."
Street lights staying off in Stratford on Avon
Uttlesford streetlight switch-off spreads across Essex

## US ##
10 years after record blackout, US electrical grid faces new and emerging threats
Not even death stops banks from deducting fees
Facing Bankruptcy Unknowns, Detroiters Take Revitalization Into Their Own Hands
Worse Than Paying Taxes? Paying Someone Else's---And IRS Can Make You Do It
Boomers Replace Their Children as No. 1 Market for Autos
Analysis: Detroit crisis may give lift to muni bond insurers
Fantastic… but this is the same as a crime wave giving a lift to locksmiths and security companies. -- RF
Crime-weary Chicago sees progress, but some kids still caught in crossfire
Two natural gas pipelines in the US were ruptured over the weekend
Thousands Leave U.S. Over Taxes---5 Rules If You're Tempted
Undercover Agents Infiltrated Tar Sands Resistance Camp to Break up Planned Protest
U.S. posts $98 billion budget deficit in July
Unsealed court-settlement documents reveal banks stole $trillions' worth of houses
Power Companies Urged to Shield U.S. Electric Grid
13 signs the Big Bank Conspiracy is a moral threat: Goldman's 'soul sick' pathology is spreading
Corn Price Collapse Continues
Elon Musk Hyperloop Ambitions Will Likely Have to Wait
As Head Of NSA Review Group Obama Appoints Same Person Who "Apologized" For Lying To Congress
Texas aims to be commercial spaceflight hub
Students work more as college costs rise
Air Force nuclear unit in Montana fails inspection; general says it 'fumbled' key exercise
US Army trains in small Wisconsin town
US Treasury Finally Admits The Truth: It's All POMO
Boomerang kids: Nothing wrong with living at home
Nuclear renaissance: San Onofre Plant Closure a Billion-Dollar Hot Potato That Could Cost Ratepayers

And finally...
Dumb Criminal of the Week: The Guy Who Lit a Cigarette While He Was Allegedly Siphoning Gas from his Neighbors' Cars
Dutch farmer builds water slide for his pigs
'Suppository' Gaffe Makes Politician The Butt Of Jokes

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