Tuesday, October 01, 2013


News Links, October 1-2, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Bundesbank's Weidmann in new sovereign debt warning
The president of Germany's central bank has warned of rising levels of government debt on bank balance sheets and has called for a regulatory overhaul.
Europe's Record Jobless Rate Seen Resisting Recovery
Unemployment in eurozone steady at 12 percent
Spain's public debt to approach 100 percent of GDP end-2014
Your Pension Is Under Attack From All Sides. Here's 10.
Pensions and "retirement": Fugettaboutit. -- RF
Shutdown And Debt Ceiling Debate Prove U.S. Not Worthy Of AAA Credit Rating: S&P
Report from UN, aged care group finds world not prepared to support growing elderly population
Debt Clocks Tell the Story: Vicious Upward Debt Spiral Gaining Momentum – Take a Look
A vicious upward debt spiral is gaining momentum. The budgets of most advanced economies,excluding interest payments, need 20 consecutive years of surpluses exceeding 2% of gross domestic product – starting now – just to bring the debt-to-GDP ratio back to its pre-crisis level.
India braces for unprecedented 'silver tsunami'
"The tipping point is closer than you think. If we don't take action, India's demographic dividend will soon be its demographic burden."
Of course we're seeing this in the developed countries already. Hordes of postwar baby boomers are growing old and expect their governments to support them. Meanwhile, pension systems are, shall we say, not up to the task. -- RF
Structural issues see Europe steel facing decline
Maersk Declines on Global Growth Concerns: Copenhagen Mover
Steelmakers in Sink or Swim Throes as Prices Drop, Solidium Says
Global Growth Hopes Fade As Baltic Dry Drops Most In 11 Months
Toshiba to cut 3,000 staff in ailing TV division
The skyrocketing cost of raising kids (Canada)
Merck to cut another 8,500 jobs, bringing workforce reduction to about 20 pct
Osram to cut 900 jobs in North America
Strawberry Fields Forever; Is a Higher Minimum Wage Really the Answer? To What?
Oxford Professors: Robots And Computers Could Take Half Our Jobs Within The Next 20 Years
Peak Walmart?
Structural declines in miles driven, middle and working-class income and rising competition from dollar stores may be leading to Peak Walmart. Walmart's model of superstores built on the edge of town with an inventory/distribution system based on high turnover may have reached the point of diminishing returns.
Eurozone's Falling Excess Reserves - Is Another Round of LTRO Required?
Long Government Shutdown May Finish Companies Like J.C. Penney and BlackBerry

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airlines shift focus from baggage fees to new services to make flying better, boosting revenue
Ever-multiplying airline fees can overwhelm fliers
'Domestic airlines may have had Rs 10k cr losses in FY13' (India)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Marine Corps assigns elite units to Pacific, Middle East, Africa
India could take out Qinghai-Tibet Railway to cripple PLA
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway — which runs between Xining in western China's Qinghai province and Lhasa in Tibet — could become a potential target for the Su-33MKI fighters of the Indian Air Force if a territorial dispute between China and India escalates into a full-scale war, according to the Kanwa Defense Review operated by Pinkov also known as Andrei Chang, a Canada-based journalist specializing in military issues.
Baghdad hit by wave of deadly car bombs
Pentagon chief, at Korean DMZ, says U.S. will not cut force in Korea
Netanyahu Makes Rounds in Challenge to US Peace with Iran
Downplaying Diplomacy, Obama Threatens to Attack Iran
Suspected al-Qaeda militants storm Yemeni army base
'Four Israelis held in Guinea for plotting coup'
China-U.S. Military Ties Grow as Countries Eye Each Other at Sea
Brazil gang in huge tablet robbery at Sao Paulo airport
Nearly 1,000 Iraqis killed in September, up 22 percent from previous month, says UN
Israeli navy orders three new warships to protect gas fields
Governmental Travel Controls

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Wiretapping, China Policy Fuel Taiwan Protesters' Discontent
Police fire rubber bullets at protesters (South Africa)
Rexton road blocked by shale gas protesters (Canada)
Thousands march in Haiti's capital to protest government, some clash with riot police
Tibetan man self-immolates in Sichuan to protest Chinese rule

## Energy/resources ##
As Shell sells off even more major shale assets, what could be next?
"Production targets seem unlikely to be met given that North American shale gas is no longer economic to develop," Morningstar said. "Shell made a big bet there, and for now, this appears to be a bust."
At the Wellhead: Malaysia sets out a plan to reverse its oil output slide
Sarajevo trams, trolley buses grind to a halt over unpaid bills
Sarajevo's trams and trolley buses ground to a halt on Monday after Bosnia's top power utility, EPBiH, cut electricity supplies to the capital's public transport company over unpaid bills.
Is the Texas Barnett a harbinger for the Pennsylvania's Marcellus?
With similar shale gas production declines occurring in other U.S. shale formations, issues of rapid decline rates and the capital needed to sustain the U.S. shale gas industry look to be the increasingly driving realities of which the Pennsylvania Marcellus will not escape.
Europe Needs Additional Natural Gas Supply Sources
Why A US Debt Default Could Push Oil Above $130
Iran to train Iraqi oil workers
Indonesia ripe for U.S. investment in shale gas?
Indonesia is encouraging the United States to invest in shale gas exploration in the Southeastern Asian country.
Russia introduces new oil tax breaks
World's Largest Coal Miner To Run Out Of Reserves In 17 Years, Claims Greenpeace
Of course no one is going to "run out" of coal, any more than they'll run out of oil. But the economics of coal could well turn sour, and that could deal a heavy blow to India's already reeling power sector. -- RF
In sign of energy dilemma, Mexico runs low on natural gas 
It's a sign of Mexico's enormous energy crisis, even as oil remains the mainstay of the country's economy. Mexico has huge natural-gas reserves, yet those reserves are largely untapped, and the nation is a net importer of the fuel.
Egypt seeks UAE funding for natural gas delivery
Egypt has asked for a 1.3-billion pound funding from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to fund the delivery of natural gas to 800,000 Egyptian homes, head of the state-run Petroleum Authority Tarek Al-Mula told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
China's shale development gets off to slow start
It looks even worse than the US. A lot of money will be lost in the attempt. -- RF
Santos closes down Bangladesh's only offshore gas field
Bangladesh's only offshore gas field stopped permanently on Tuesday due to its uncommercial level of production.
Statoil Says Lofoten Ban Hurts Effort to Ease Oil Decline
OPEC Relaxed about Cost-Sensitive Shale Oil
Egypt in talks to extend oil product supplies from Gulf

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Thieves steal $600,000 in copper, cables (Australia)

## Got food? ##
Argentine farmers hoard soybeans as inflation hedge
Argentine farmers are hoarding more soy this season than in past years, threatening to reduce much-needed export tax revenue as raw beans become the preferred unit of savings in an economy impaired by double-digit inflation.
Can insects end world hunger?
Switch to organic farming may boost yields and incomes

## Environment/health ##
A Mistake Now Could Release 14,000 Times More Radiation than Hiroshima (Fukushima)
Phantom Phone Vibrations: So Common They've Changed Our Brains?
Our Phones Are Going to Make Us Sick, But We're Scared to Live Without Them
Why The Federal Government Wants To Redefine The Word 'Cancer'
The federal government wants to reduce the number of Americans diagnosed each year with cancer. But not by better preventive care or healthier living. Instead, the government wants to redefine the term "cancer" so that fewer conditions qualify as a true cancer.
War on illegal drugs failing, medical researchers warn
China's Plan to Reduce Coal-Fired Electricity Disastrous for Global Climate
The Eagle Has Landed … On a Wind Turbine
At least 85 Eagles have died in collisions with wind turbines since 1997, and the specter of the biggest US wind farm yet, planned for the state of Texas, where everything is big, lends new meaning to the phrase, "the eagle has landed."
Climate change pushing tropical trees upslope 'exactly as predicted'

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Greenwald, Scahill Vow To Unmask NSA's 'US Assassination Program'
American investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald say they have teamed up to prepare a report on the National Security Agency's role in what one of them described as the "US assassination program."
NSA Has Built Its Own, Secret, Warrantless, Shadow Social Network, And You've Already Joined It
7 Sneak Attacks Used By Today's Most Devious Hackers
New leak: NSA keeps Web users' metadata for year
It's Now Possible To Implant Memories Like In The Movie 'Inception'
US websites suspended after federal shutdown
Snowden in Final Running For EU Human Rights Award

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Power Failure on Aged Tracks Shows Northeast Rail Frailty (US)
Infrastructure reaching 'point of no return' (Canada)
India's crumbling infrastructure
New normal: This is the way government works now
As many perspicacious people have observed, systems become increasingly complex over time, and require ever greater energy throughputs to keep functioning, until a breaking point is reached. It appears that the US socioeconomic and governing systems have reached that point. Energy is now too expensive to keep these systems functioning at their current levels, thereby triggering systemic breakdown. Europe and Japan are likewise heading down the same path. Next will be the BRICs, which are already reeling. This breakdown will accelerate and proceed until current systems have collapsed into themselves and assume new forms that are simpler and operate at a much lower energy level. Needless to say, many innocent people who've been promised affluent lives, good jobs, and pensions are going to end up as corpses along the road. -- RF
Fingers in the dike

## Japan ##
More civil servants stressed in Tohoku
The effects of the disaster drag on, and attempts to rebuild what was lost are aggravating the situation. -- RF
TEPCO to receive Y500 bil financing by year-end
Tokyo Electric says contaminated water leaked at Fukushima
FUKUSHIMA WATER CRISIS: Japan should request international collaboration, IAEA chief says
Japan's Household Spending Falls 1.6% In August
Maglev challenge both technical, financial
Every time they talk about this, the outlook worsens. I repeat: It will never be built. -- RF
Tokyo see two anti-nuclear protests over the weekend
Industrial Output Data Shows Japan's Economic Quandary
35% of bridges spanning expressways quake-prone
Safety of 1,183 bridges over expressways across Japan not ensured: Board of Audit
The safety of 1,183 bridges that pass over expressways -- about a quarter of all of such bridges across the country -- has not been ensured, and hundreds of them have not even been inspected at all since they were built, the Board of Audit of Japan says.
April to see sales tax hike, Abe confirms
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday he will raise the unpopular consumption tax from 5 to 8 percent on April 1 as scheduled, breaking a powerful political taboo.
Revised accounting rules for scrapping Japan reactors put in force
The government on Tuesday revised accounting rules for electric power companies to prevent their business from deteriorating sharply if they decide to decommission nuclear reactors earlier than planned.
Amigos, this is the beginning of the end. Recall my repeated statements that nuclear power will turn out to cost far more than envisioned, and that eventually the decommissioning effort will have to be abandoned for lack of money (utilities will go belly-up, and governments — if still in existence — will be weak, cash-strapped, and helpless to do anything). Eventually nuclear power facilities (power plants, fuel fabrication plants, spent fuel storage and reprocessing facilities, and what have you) will just be closed and fenced, with little or no security, and everybody just hoping for the best. It's going to be an unmitigated environmental disaster, and it's highly likely that various entities will steal deadly nuclear waste for nefarious purposes. Nuclear power proponents are among the most unrealistic people on Earth in their unfounded belief that utilities and governments will continue to exist and be up to the task of managing nuclear facilities and their waste. -- RF

## China ##
China manufacturing tepid in Sept, small firms struggle

## UK ##
Options dwindle for UK facing winter tied to tight Norway gas
Britain faces a tight winter gas season as it relies heavily on struggling Norwegian supplies and has few alternatives to source cheap gas elsewhere.
Most payday loans are used for buying food
Four in every five people taking out payday loans say they are forced to do so to buy food, research suggests.
UK seeks full cyber warfare capability
Community service roles for long-term jobless
Billions more to be cut from welfare cash before 2020 in Tory pledge for budget surplus

## US ##
U.S. third quarter earnings warning ratio is second worst since 2001
Detention Without Physical Examination of Products from Japan Due to Radionuclide Contamination
As Planet Warms, US Watersheds Go Thirsty
Nearly 1 in 10 watersheds have out-stripped water supply, with trend expected to worsen as climate heats up
Cargo Thefts Increase in Most Recent Three-Month Period
A new report shows truck cargo theft during the most recent three-month period increased in the United States, while the value of each incident moved higher by nearly double-digits.
Friction over 'fracking' grows in South
Bankrupt Cities Seek Crowdfunding For Garbage
Millennials Devastated As American Dream Becomes Nightmare For Most
U.S. municipal bond funds report $159.4 million in outflows
Municipal bond funds have now marked 18 consecutive weeks of withdrawals.
Record $217 Corporate Bond Issuance in September; Verizon Leads the Way With Largest Bond Deal Ever at $49 Billion
The bubble in corporate bonds is massive. And it's one of the things that has helped lift the stock market as well.
Half Of US Population Accounts For Only 2.9% Of Healthcare Spending; 1% Responsible For 21.4% Of Expenditures
Here's another indication of how the US population is being divided into rich elites (the New Aristocracy) and poor workers (serfs). Neofeudalism on the march. -- RF
The DNC is nearly broke
There's another budget crisis in Washington, and it's unfolding inside the Democratic party. The Democratic National Committee remains so deeply in the hole from spending in the last election that it is struggling to pay its own vendors.
You can fly, but it will be lights out at many landmarks
CNN, NBC scrap Hillary Clinton TV projects
Two television projects focused on Hillary Clinton got the axe on Monday after the programs became embroiled in partisan wrangling, including threats by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to boycott presidential debates sponsored by CNN and NBC.
Mark 2015 for the Start of a Gas-Led Economic Boom
I wouldn't count on this. Natural gas prices will have to rise substantially to make shale gas (which is now a money-loser, for those who hadn't noticed) profitable, and expensive gas is not part of the formula for a booming economy. And as time goes on, drillers must move on to still-less-profitable formations. This doesn't sound like a recipe for success. At the same time, the crushing weight of $100 oil pressures the economy as government debt spirals, the financial system implodes, and the population bifurcates into super-rich aristocrats and indigent serfs. Shale gas is going to fix this? -- RF
Sorry, we're closed: At parks and government offices, Americans begin feel effects of shutdown
The Government Shuts Down And The Microbes Win
800,000 out of work as US government shuts down
As US Government Shuts Down the Poorest Set to Lose Most
Student-Loan Defaults Rise in U.S. as Borrowers Struggle
Domestic Vehicle Sales Plunge; Miss By Most Since Jan 2009
Former J.C. Penney Outlet Stores to Close; 1,400 Jobs Lost
Small Business Hiring So Low It Is Almost Invisible

And finally…
The spy who spurned me: Anna Chapman refuses to discuss Snowden proposal
Top Saudi cleric says women drivers risk ovary problems
Worried about a Zombie Apocalypse? Chevy's Got the Truck for You

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