Tuesday, September 17, 2013


News Links, September 14-16, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Spanish public debt reaches record level
The figure has risen to 942.8bn euros, equal to 92.2% of the country's entire economic output, the  bank said.
India Housing Bubble Bursts; Panic Coming Next
Pakistan Steel Mills on verge of closure
A Giant Sucking Sound from the East – Gold Miners Weekly
Sweden's Banks Face Extra Buffer as Private Debt Hits Record
Sweden's financial watchdog said banks in the largest Nordic economy will probably need to hold extra capital to reflect households' record debt burdens.
Euro-Zone Employment Fell Again In Second Quarter
The idea that the eurozone storm is over is delusional. It's merely resting
India to buy $4.3 billion of World Bank bonds
The Indian government approved its central bank buying $4.3 billion in special bonds of the World Bank to raise India's borrowing limit to $21.8 billion.
Quarter of Canadians spend more on housing than they can afford
Greek civil servants lose holiday perks for computer use
Greece's Unemployment Nightmare Has Gotten Worse
Portugal's economic progress under review
Oil strikes cost Libya $130 million per day
We're half way through job cuts: UBS CEO
Quarter of Switzerland's 103 private banks may go bust within three years
Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils
Five years later, Lehman bankruptcy fees hit $2.2 billion

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Delta Air Lines Rolls The Dice On A $199 Bundle of Fees
Discounts to hit airlines in Europe
Baggage is costing airline passengers millions, report reveals
Airline industry low margin business

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US consulate in Afghanistan attacked by Taliban
Al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri urges 'lone-wolf' attacks on US to damage its economy
I don't know why he would bother. The US itself is doing a great job of trashing its own economy. -- RF
Major Reduction Announced in Iran's Uranium Stockpile
Nicaragua, the Canal to Rival Panama?
US, Russia Reach Deal on Syria's Chemical Weapons
Securing Syria's Weapons May Require US Troops
Top secret memo reveals Saudi Arabia sending death-row inmates to fight Assad in Syria
Syria: nearly half rebel fighters are jihadists or hardline Islamists, says IHS Jane's report
Assad: Israel should be first to disarm
Syria President Bashar Assad said Thursday that Israel should be the first to disarm from weapons, since it has nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. He added that all countries in the Mideast should be held to international protocol in order to achieve stability in the region.
Israel has 80 nuclear warheads, report says
Country reportedly stopped producing atomic weapons in 2004 but possesses enough fissile material for up to 190 warheads
Head of Syrian Rebels Calls for Terrorist Attacks On America
Brazil's Rousseff urged by top advisers to cancel U.S. visit
Tribesmen blow up Yemen's main oil export pipeline: government official
Iraq violence: Bombs cause mayhem across Iraq
India tests nuclear capable missile with range as far as Beijing
Standoff in Philippines may worry some investors
A deadly standoff in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines is resurrecting worries about that region's stability and might even take away from the whole country's reputation as one of Asia's hottest economies.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Police move in with tear gas, ending occupation of Mexico City center by striking teachers
Egypt hit by pro and anti-Mohammed Morsi protests
Turkish police use tear gas as protests resurface
Mass anti-government march in Poland against reform
Teachers experience a growing number of angry, abusive parents (US)
Greece based for fresh protests
Protesters clash with police as tension rises over Cambodia poll
Some 8,000 march in Tokyo against restart of any nuclear power plants

## Energy/resources ##
Report: India mulls energy ties to Iran
The Indian government is considering setting up a company specifically for exploration and development of Iranian oilfields, authorities said.
Clean Energy Damaging Europe's Competitiveness
The economic crisis has forced many European countries to reassess their clean energy policies, heavily reliant on substantial, and often irrational subsidies, that have started to severely bite into the seriously strained European budgets. So far, Spain, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria have decided to retroactively tax renewable energy operators.
Twenty (Important ) Concepts I Wasn't Taught in Business School - Part I (The Oil Drum)
Excellent. This is so much more sensible than the articles written by the Cornucopians, who have been laughing because The Oil Drum will become an archive. Note especially the final sentence in #15: "Net energy is what societies should be focused on, and most don't even know what it is." That is exactly what I've been saying ad nauseam! And as you can see by the author's graph, we are currently on the part of the curve where net energy is dropping very fast, which is also what I've been saying. -- RF
Russia has only 7 years before oil crisis?
RAR Energia gravity-powered perpetual motion machine
Take a gander at this humongous machine. Series of photos shows it under construction. But does it work? -- RF
Impact of Trucker Shortage on Oil and Gas Industry
The shortage of trucking professionals in the United States has left many energy companies with concerns over how their products, supplies and equipment will be delivered.
Energy deficit in Argentina has become dramatic, admits YPF CEO Galuccio
Argentina's oil and gas corporation YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio admitted that the 'energy deficit' of Argentina has become a serious challenge since the country has started to face a serious shortage of light oil for refining.
US calculate the true cost of mountaintop coal
Brazil cools on nuclear power plans; favors wind

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thieves strike Miami County radio tower in broad daylight
Investigators are on the hunt for a couple of bold thieves who ripped off a radio tower during the day while carrying a rifle… But authorities say the case is especially troubling. Not only did the men pull this off in the middle of the day last week, they came well-armed.
Copper thieves disrupt 911 service service

## Got food? ##
Healthy [sic] Italian diet suffers as economic crisis bites

## Environment/health ##
'Rivers On Rolaids': How Acid Rain Is Changing Waterways
Genetic modification blamed for rejected Washington alfalfa crop
If confirmed, it would be the second known case of GM contamination in a major American crop since May, when university scientists confirmed the presence of a banned GM wheat growing in a farmer's field in Oregon.
Experts say future water scarcity threatens Pakistan
Wifi ­a Thalidomide in the Making?
Florida overrun with herpes-infected feral monkeys
Hundreds Missing as Historic Floods Continue to Ravage Colorado
New Mexico governor declares state of emergency due to floods

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The All-Too-Real Cyberthreat NOBODY is Prepared for (Aurora)
Cyberattacks threaten electrical grid
Your Smartphone Tells You Where You Are, Someone Else Is Watching
Fisa judge: Snowden's NSA disclosures triggered important spying debate
The NSA's "Transparency" Thwarted... By A Fax Machine
NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports
Are You Prepared? 71% Of Cyber Attacks Hit Small Business
Cost of flying Northrop's Global Hawk down over 50 percent: sources
Future war: Arms industry shows off next-gen drones in London
System outage delays JetBlue flights
After Edward Snowden's revelations, why trust US cloud providers?
The NSA's activities are a massive blow for US computer businesses

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Study proposes tolling interstate system to pay for reconstruction
With large portions of the 46,000-mile Interstate Highway System wearing out and needing replacement, but with few federal and state dollars do it, one possible solution goes back to how most roads were originally built: tolls.
Why Utility Downgrades Are a Big Deal
Here's a situation filled with irony. Green Beans gleefully proclaim that "the grid is dead," not realizing that the grid stands for and supports the large-scale, energy-intensive industrial/technological civilization they all want to maintain. And now it's starting to fall apart. So what happens to the much-ballyhooed smart grid? But there's an even more ominous problem: The hundreds of nuclear power plants around the world are grid-connected, and depend on receiving grid power to keep their systems running when they are down for maintenance and inspections. Without grid power, they depend on diesel generators. But what if the diesel engines don't work or run out of fuel? Fukushima is an example of the consequences. Despite all the talk about "living off the grid," the grid is an integral part of industrial civilization, and because plans for maintaining that civilization call for large-scale power installations (whether thermal, nuclear, PV, wind, or whatever), the grid is an absolute necessity. -- RF
Marc Faber On Protecting Wealth In The Coming Collapse
Big in Japan, and About to Go Global: The 'Silver Economy'
Silver refers to the color of aging people's hair, i.e., the world population is rapidly growing older, as the article points out. Of course, many see this as a major business opportunity because people can make money manufacturing adult nappies, providing nursing care services, and the like. In reality, however, they won't be making nearly as many nappies as they think, or providing the extent of nursing care services they expect. That's because one of the major factors behind falling birth rates — net energy decline — will also curtail manufacturing and services. Everything will just be too expensive. For this reason as well, humanity will make a U-turn, backing away from the nuclear family and returning to the extended family, where the elderly will live at home and receive care from their children and grandchildren. As noted previously, pensions are also disappearing thanks to net energy decline. This too will help bring back the extended family. In another trend, young people are unable to leave the nest, or once having left, return, because there are no jobs. Even if people work full time, many cannot get a living wage. These and other factors will force people to take refuge with one another, and inexorably kill off the nuclear family. -- RF
AP IMPACT: Thousands of US bridges that carry millions daily have multiple safety red flags (+ video)

## Japan ##
TEPCO Official: Fukushima is Out of Control
150,000 tons of radioactive pollutants left out in the open
Total nuke shutdown: High costs keep gov't focus on nuclear power
Japanese Power Utilities' Coal Burning Rises to Record in August
In a sign of reforms to come, newcomers snap at heels of Japan's utilities
Tofu makers set to increase prices, first big rise in 15 years
Giant mall is already dead (gallery)
You thought ghost malls only existed in China? Take a look at this! -- RF

## China ##
Pig iron: Struggling Chinese steelmakers turn to raising swine
China to invest 80 bln yuan in oil and gas exploration this year
China eyes private funds to tackle bad-debt buildup, avoid bailout
Faced with a chorus of warnings that China risks choking on bad debts, Beijing is pushing banks to raise private capital in an effort to head off the need for a second government bailout in as many decades.
Flurry of Chinese plans to build aviation hubs raises concern

## UK ##
Boys more expensive as cost of raising a child hits almost £100,000
New research shows that on average parents will spend a staggering £99,968 on their child from birth through to the age of 11, across everything from food to schooling, clothes, holidays and childcare.
Bank of England urged to cap house price inflation at 5% over fears of 'dangerous' debt bubble
Private ambulances without paramedics being sent out to emergency patients
Private ambulances without paramedics and staffed with crews who haven't had the training to be able to give drugs to patients are being sent out to emergency calls.
Nuclear weapons: an accident waiting to happen

## US ##
1 in 5 Americans struggling to put food on the table
Factory Rebirth Fizzles in U.S. as Work Shipped Overseas
'It's not a BlackBerry, but it's helping me for now': Cellphones are now essentials for the poor
Wis. city debates cop stop of men with assault rifles
The Price of Failure: Ex-Wall Street CEOs Still Living Large
Potentially deadly amoeba found in Louisiana water system
In Devastating Detail, JPM Economist Explains Why The Growth Potential Of The United States Is Nothing Like It Used To Be
But it's important to see that behind the demographics trends and slowing technological innovation is — you guessed it — net energy decline. Unfortunately, hardly anyone can see this, and therefore they look for root causes and explanations in the wrong places. Lower net energy (= more expensive energy) discourages people from having as many children, makes it harder to expend the necessary energy on technological innovation and change, damps immigration because potential immigrants perceive dwindling benefits, and in other ways pushes everything down. Candidates for illegal immigration in particular will increasingly see the risks as being greater than potential benefits. -- RF
Military Times Survey: 75% of Troops Oppose Strikes on Syria
Danger Ahead: Our Disappearing Pensions
Pension disaster looms over the horizon
In 1980 60 percent of Americas participated in a pension program. Today it is less than 10 percent and the amount saved for retirement is startling.
FBI 'warns fuel storage companies of threat'
Report: Over 65,000 U.S. bridges in need of repair
Obama, GOP in showdown over government shutdown
S&P cuts Chicago outlook on pension concerns
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its outlook on Chicago to negative from stable, citing risks involved in how the city will address its upcoming large pension payments.
10 reasons you feel poor as ever

And finally…
5 craziest crimes of the week
NSA director modeled war room after Star Trek's Enterprise

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