Sunday, December 15, 2013


News Links, December 14-16, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Ireland is first euro country to exit bailout, but faces at least 2 more years of austerity
Euro zone employment shows no change in third quarter
Spanish Debt-To-GDP Surges To New Record High
Canadian household debt ratio climbs to record in third quarter as mortgage borrowing hits $1.13-trillion
Europe's banks need €110 billion to keep credit ratings
Europe's 50 biggest banks need capital injections of up to €110 billion to remain strong enough to sustain their credit ratings, Standard and Poor's has said.
Are Philippine Stocks Heading For A Bust?
'Eurovegas' giant casino plan in Spain cancelled
The IMF wants you to pay 71% income tax
Peugeot-Citroen reeling from GM retreat
Peripheral Europe's New Normal: 50 Applicants For One Minimum Wage Job
Barrick laying off 1,500 Pascua-Lama workers in Argentina: government
French central bank secretly trades the gold market almost every day
The IMF Disagrees With Zero Hedge

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airlines seek new ways to handle unruly travelers
Fighting soccer fans, fashion models screaming obscenities and a French film star relieving himself in the gangway are just a few well publicized examples of what airlines say is a growing trend of abusive passenger behavior on planes.
Global unrest is spilling over into the world's passenger aircraft cabins. And with flying becoming an increasingly unpleasant experience, the frustration and irritation building in people are amplified when packed into a can like sardines. If cellphone use is approved, watch for the inevitable temper flare-ups as annoyed passengers verbally and perhaps even physically assault yakkers. -- RF
American Aviation Infrastructure Crumbling Under Growing Passenger Numbers, Costing US Economy Tens Of Billions Every Year
10 things airlines won't tell you: Prepare for higher prices and fewer perks
Those Terrible Bag Fees Are Keeping The Airline Industry Afloat
Frequent flier unease: Program changes, fees loom over travelers
China's Growing Hunger For Air Travel Has Created A Pilot Shortage
Airlines expect to fly high in 2014 with global profits of €19.7bn
Attempted airfare hikes fail to take hold
Budget deal will cost air travelers a little more
As Airlines Merge, Public Airports Stand to Gain - Or Lose

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
U.S. to boost Israel defense missile funding by $173M
Pakistan stands by Iranian gas pipeline
Saudi Arabia seeks TOW missile deal
Saudi Arabia has asked the United States for more than a thousand tube-launched, optically-tracked wire-guided missiles and associated equipment and services.
Does the US Have Enough Military Bases?
U.S., Chinese warships narrowly avoid collision in South China Sea
China bitterly attacks Japanese prime minister over air zone remarks
Drones over the skies of Europe?
China and Kenya Expand Cooperation With Railroad Project
Iran Bristles as US Expands Sanctions Blacklist
Japan-ASEAN call for freedom of air and seas, with tensions high over China
Attack on Iraqi gas pipeline leave 18 workers dead
Russia Stations Tactical, Nuclear-Capable Missiles Along Polish Border
S.Korea's Nov Iranian oil imports up, but still meet sanctions waiver target
Minister Says Iran Will Continue Nuclear Talks
Nigerian Navy Decries Inability To Effectively Tackle Maritime Crime
Japanese envoy stabbed in Yemen kidnap attempt
Japan extends patrol ship carrot to Vietnam, plus ¥96 billion loan
Japan and Vietnam will discuss the idea of providing Japanese patrol ships to the Vietnam coast guard to help counter China's growing claims to contested reefs and islands in the South China Sea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday.
South Korea's parliamentary adopts resolution against Japan's 'collective self-defense'
Israeli soldier killed by a Lebanese soldier who opened fire across the border into Israel
Law and Disorder in Spain

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
12 Wuhan petitioners attempt mass suicide in Beijing
Italy's "Pitchfork Protests" Spread to Rome; Interior Minister Warns of "Drift Into Rebellion"
Looting sweeps across Argentina as police strike, demand pay rise (gallery)
Are We Headed For Class Warfare?
Thousands march for sacked Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro
Bangladesh could be set for prolonged unrest
Bulgarian anti-government protesters blockade interior minister in restaurant
Clashes in Madrid as demonstrators rally against anti-protest bill
Ukrainians pour into streets in massive rally

## Energy/resources ##
Surprise, surprise! Some North Dakota drilling 'becoming uneconomic'
The Peak Oil Crisis: California's Bubble Pops
Must read: Inexpensive oil vanishing at alarming rate
Energy Quote of the Day: 'Corn Ethanol Mandate is Bad Policy'
This is so stupid that it's hard to know where to begin. Yes, a mandate is bad policy. But so is corn ethanol itself. The energy yield of biofuels is too low to sustain industrial society, and biofuels are just fossil fuel extenders, anyway. But you can't expect energy-illiterate politicians and lobbyists to understand that. -- RF
Clyde Russell: China Oil Demand Growth to Miss Forecasts
Zambia Power Outage Strands Copper Miners
Aging Plants Struggle to Keep Pace With Rising Electricity Demand
Some 200 mcm daily gas shortage awaits Iran's winter
Propane shortage, frigid temperatures prompt LePage to declare civil emergency (US)
Gov. Paul LePage issued a limited emergency proclamation on Friday to ensure that heating fuel delivery trucks can operate for extra hours in light of frigid temperatures and a propane shortage across Maine and beyond.
Water-stress study: India among high-risk nations
Libyan militia leader says oil terminals will remain closed, accusing government of corruption
The head of a Libyan militia that has shut down most of the country's oil terminals for months said Sunday they will remain closed because the government has failed to meet his group's demands- mainly a share of revenues for their eastern region.
Egypt to repay part of debt to oil companies in Egyptian pounds
'Watch what we do, not what we say': Shell cancels U.S. gas-to-liquids plant

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Firms hit hard by rise in metal theft
Thousands Worth of Copper Stolen from Utility Poles

## Got food? ##
Abe Breaks Micro-Farms to End Japan Agriculture Slide: Economy
At present, Japan's agricultural system is comparatively small in scale and involves more manual labor. That is good because it will facilitate the switch back to more human labor when the unsustainable fossil fuel-based system collapses. But Abe's plan will aggravate the problem. -- RF
EU court annuls GM potato approval, dealing blow to Commission
Europe's second-highest court on Friday (13 December) overturned a decision by the European Commission to allow the cultivation and sale of a genetically modified potato developed by German chemicals group BASF.
Agriculture the most promising market for drones
Waiter . . . there's a bug in my soup

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
How to Build a Rocket Stove Using Cement Blocks
Some Winter Survival Tips From The US Marine Corps

## Environment/health ##
Fossil Fuel's Wastewater Creating Earthquake Boom (US)
'Historic' snow storms spread havoc and misery across the Middle East
Gadget garbage: UN study predicts increase in electrical waste by a third by 2017
The mountain of refrigerators, cellphones, TV sets and other electrical waste disposed of annually worldwide is forecast to grow by a third by 2017, according to a U.N. study released Sunday.
Coast Guard proposal to ship fracking wastewater on rivers raises fears about spill potential
Bottled Water Leeches 24,000 Chemicals into Your Body, Study Finds
For Some, Scented Fabric Softeners No Laughing Matter (Japan)
Higher Ethanol Blends Carry Hidden Risks For Nearby People, Buildings

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
NSA officials consider Edward Snowden amnesty in return for documents
FireEye report: Chinese hackers target foreign ministries
Secret U.S. Stealth Drone Flies Out Of The Shadows
Chinese Ag Scientists Charged With Stealing Patented Seeds
CIA, Caught in Colossal Lie, Lost Agent in Iran in 2007
"The NSA Is Coming To Town" (video)
After 'cataclysmic' Snowden affair, NSA faces winds of change
Retail Big Brother – Mannequins Are Now Using Facial Recognition Technology

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Life without power under spotlight (South Africa)
For one of the better economies on the continent, it is shameful that we now have electricity and water supply problems. While paying hefty taxes to maintain a good standard of living, you still see reports that some neighbourhoods have no power for hours on end.

## Japan ##
Japan should embrace nuclear power, government panel says
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to restart Japan's idled nuclear reactors to cut the cost of fossil fuel imports used by power stations, which have swelled the trade deficit to a record and driven up electricity prices.
Again, the true cost of nuclear is not being paid, so it only appears to be cheaper than fossil fuels. If we include all the backend costs including the decommissioning of plants and the entombing and management of deadly wastes for thousands of years, the true cost of nuclear would be astronomical. Yet these lies about nuclear power being affordable and "clean" continue to be perpetrated on a gullible world public. -- RF
Japan lacks decommissioning experts for Fukushima nuke crisis, with none at regulatory level
Gov't tells mayors of plan to buy land for radioactive waste storage
Water from fire trucks didn't reach Fukushima No. 1 reactor cores: Tepco
Bank of Japan Vows to Stick with Easy Money Policy; If It Doesn't Work, Do More of It
"Defying Gravity" - Counting Down To Japan's D-Day In Two Charts
In Japan or any other country, collapse is just a matter of time. Do not be fooled by talk about "recovery." -- RF
Japan Plans to Renew Agreement With Saudi Arabia for Storing Oil
Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp. plans to renew an agreement with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. that will allow the Middle East producer to store crude in tanks on Okinawa island.
Japan to issue record 180 trillion yen in bonds for fiscal 2014
The government is forming a budget plan that would issue about 180 trillion yen ($1.72 trillion) in bonds for fiscal 2014, setting a record and raising concerns in some quarters that the market will at some point have difficulty in digesting the nation's debt, which already exceeds 1,000 trillion yen.

## China ##
Could a Shanghai Exodus Be in the Air?
If China's Economy Slows, What Happens To Its Healthcare Plans?
China pushes for urbanization drive
China will have imported 2,000 tonnes of gold this year
China to impose 'strict control' over urbanization

## UK ##
Let's admit it: Britain is now a developing country
Nearly 300,000 elderly to receive lower pensions
Shoppers to cash in as stores cut prices in 'panic' over poor sales
British high street footfall drops 3.4% ahead of Christmas retail rush
Great house price divide: London's 40% rises matched by big falls elsewhere
House prices could rise by 8% next year, says Rightmove

## US ##
Initial Claims, Retail Sales, and Job Openings – All Bad News
Sky's the limit: New towers for the rich soar in New York
United States Is Now the Most Unequal of All Advanced Economies
The United States has such an unequal distribution of wealth so that it's in the league of corrupt underdeveloped countries, no longer in the league of the developed nations, according to the latest edition of the world's most thorough study of wealth-distribution.
Cold Snap Sends Energy Prices Into Stratosphere In New England
New England Narrowly Escapes Power Outages
Kansas airport worker arrested in plot to bomb Wichita airport to support al-Qaida
Kan. suicide bomb plot latest in series of FBI undercover stings aimed at thwarting terrorism
The question that immediately comes to mind is how much of this was manipulation. -- RF
Ethan Couch Sentenced To Probation In Crash That Killed 4 After Defense Argued He Had 'Affluenza'
For Many Urban Schools, Gun Violence Remains A Daily Reality
Stockton Doomed to Another Bankruptcy; Getting Out of bankruptcy the Worst Possible Way
Despite Amazon's Big Plans, the Feds Are Grounding the Drone Industry
America's Disappearing Restaurant Chains
Little respite seen for U.S. municipal bonds in 2014
The myth of the American Dream
The American Dream is supposed to mean that through hard work and perseverance, even the poorest people can make it to middle class or above. But it's actually harder to move up in America than it is in most other advanced nations.
Homeless college students seek shelter during breaks

And finally...
Heroic Body Language: Squinching And Other Power Poses
When I tried this my wife just laughed. Your mileage may vary. -- RF
Chart of the day: Biggest Friday the 13th accidents

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