Thursday, December 19, 2013


News Links, December 19-20, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Spanish Bad Loans Jump To New Record As Banks Come Clean Over Mortgage Defaults
European Banks Dump Massive Amounts of Subordinated Debt on Investors
Ten outrageous predictions for 2014 – all of which are possible
Retail chain Robins Kitchen collapses, Melbourne icon Dimmeys on the brink (Australia)
Saab bets on electric cars and China for revival
A year out of bankruptcy and with just two cars a day rolling off its production line, Saab is betting on an as yet unbuilt electric version of a decade old car to bring the iconic Swedish marque back from the dead.
Christie's holds first art auction in India, hoping to cultivate burgeoning ranks of wealthy
50 Foreign Companies Operating in France Sound the Alarm
Central banks will move goal posts to keep QE forever
High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network
We are heading 'toward the next crash': Former UK PM
This Shipping Expert Is Shocked By Morgan Stanley's Positive Outlook for Shippers
Caterpillar Sales Slide Simply Awful
More Trouble for McDonald's, This Time in Japan

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Not a 'bottomless pit of cash'! Emirates airlines refuses to bail out struggling partner Qantas
Increased Security Fees Could Make Flying Even More Expensive
Delta and JetBlue: No voice calls on our planes
Korean Air plans disposals to cut debts
Korean Air, South Korea's flagship carrier, and its affiliate Hanjin Shipping on Thursday announced plans to raise a total of Won5tn through asset sales to repay mounting debts.
SAS posts first profit since 2007
Low-cost airlines soaring in Japan
ANA to raise fares by 9% in Japan

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US backs Philippines, warns China over air zone
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned China Tuesday against any move to declare an air defence zone in the South China Sea, as he affirmed defence ties with long-time ally the Philippines.
UN: Burma opium production rises again
Saudi Arabia warns it will act against West's policy in Middle East
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London has claimed the country is determined to independently arm Syria rebels after rejecting the diplomatic tactics of its Western allies
'Nothing has been ruled out': Saudi ambassador
White House denounces Russian $27B Ukraine bailout
Expected Budget Cuts Won't Cure the Deadly AFRICOM Disease
China confirms near miss with U.S. ship in South China Sea
China behavior in South China Sea ship encounter 'irresponsible': U.S.
Iran, six powers to resume nuclear talks after snag
South Sudan inches closer to civil war
Russia Plans Rail-Mounted Missiles to Counter US Global Strike Program
U.S. senators make move toward more sanctions on Iran
America's secret diplomacy with Iran was in Saudi Arabia's best 'interest', says US official
Native American Studies association joins academic boycott of Israel
United Nations says opium production in South East Asia's 'Golden Triangle' up 22 per cent
France to use unarmed US-made drones to hunt al Qaeda in Mali
US Warns Israel Not to Announce More Settlement Construction

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Standoff by police, protesters in Tunisia
Thai protesters say they will rally to hound PM from office
Italian government feels fury of disaffected as 'Pitchfork' protesters march on Rome
Italy's President Warns of "Widespread Social Tension and Unrest" but Offers No Solutions; "Pitchfork Protest" Comments From Italy
Three French Total refineries extend strike action: union
EU Summit Blockaded Over 'Economic Poison' of Austerity

## Energy/resources ##
Chinese Coal Demand Slows Putting Coal Producers at Risk
Rio Tinto CEO Sees Iron-Ore Price Decline Next Year
Must read: The Real Oil Extraction Limit, and How It Affects the Downslope
How the Navy Might Spin Seawater Into Jet Fuel
We are not informed of the energy balance, although the article does say, "The initial part of the process does gobble up a lot of energy, and while the technique has become more efficient in recent years, NRL's carbon capture methods could still be more efficient." I take that to mean it still consumes more energy than it produces. There is no free lunch. -- RF
With New Nuclear Plants Underway, Workforce Shortage Looms (US)
Argentina Threatens to Seize Edenor, Edesur on Blackouts
Argentina will step in to take over electricity distribution service in the capital if companies don't resolve blackouts sparked by record demand during a heat wave this week, Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said.
Junk energy: China Finds Major Gas Hydrate Reserve in South China Sea

## Got food? ##
Amid Fields Of Plenty, Farmworkers Struggle To Feed Their Families
Food is expensive to produce, but it's being "subsidized" by paying farmworkers far less than they deserve. -- RF
Is Your Chicken Dinner Making You Sick?
For its report "The High Cost of Cheap Chicken," Consumer Reports tested over 300 raw chicken breasts, including some labeled as organic and antibiotic free, at national retailers. The study found that nearly all (97 percent) had potentially harmful bacteria, and roughly half (49.7 percent) the chicken sampled contained at least one multidrug-­resistant bacterium.
Yes, GMO foods are safe to eat: WaPo food writer
Maybe they are, and maybe they aren't. For many years it was believed that highly useful CFCs were benign, until it was discovered that an environmental disaster had been unfolding over our heads. When we introduce something new into nature, we cannot predict what long-term consequences it will have, as effects may arise in ways that we never imagined. -- RF

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
I Love To Shop, But Do I Have A Shopping Problem?

## Environment/health ##
Dolphins in Macondo zone 'show lung damage'
Dolphins swimming in waters contaminated by oil from the Macondo spill showed higher rates of lung damage and adrenal hormone abnormalities compared to other dolphin populations, a new US study has found.
Rising sea levels torment Norfolk, Va., and coastal U.S.
Case Is Closed: Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money, Doctors Say
Deadly Coronavirus Found in Camels on Farm of Infected Owner (Qatar)
Trouble In Paradise: Chikungunya Outbreak Grows In Caribbean
Delhi: Thick smog blankets city, transport disrupted
Officials say rise of oil trains is fueling concerns about preparedness in small towns, cities
Chesapeake to pay $9.7m in settlement
US gas producer Chesapeake Energy has agreed to pay $9.7 million to restore more than two dozen sites damaged by illegal discharges of materials into waterways in West Virginia.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Greenwald Reveals 'Crux' of NSA Spying: The 'Elimination of Individual Privacy Worldwide'
Snowden: "These Programs Were Never About Terrorism: They're About Economic Spying, Social Control, and Diplomatic Manipulation. They're About Power"
Targets says about 40M credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by data breach
Secret Service investigating credit- and debit-card data theft from Target stores
White House Releases NSA Surveillance Report
A Hunger Games Banner Can Get You Locked Up for Terrorism
Mobile Phones Next Target on Cyberattackers' Radar
5 of the biggest-ever credit card hacks

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Collapse: The Post-peak Narrative
Hotels offer elusive dream of a good night's sleep

## Japan ##
Japan Posts Biggest November Trade Deficit on Record as Imports Climb
Abe labor reforms may boost Japan's 'disposable' workers, crimp wages
Fukushima's last two reactors to be decommissioned
TEPCO government aid to be increased to almost 10 trillion yen
Tokyo Electron expects full-year net loss on hit to solar business
Japan's supermarkets fight for growth in shrinking market
With rising costs joining an already long list of business woes, supermarket operators are weathering assaults on all fronts in a retreating domestic market, a brutal landscape that could set off a chain of takeovers and mergers.
Government's 2014 bond issuance to hit record
McDonald's more than halves net profit forecast for 2013

## China ##
PLA will take part in RIMPAC despite naval confrontation with US
China says woman died from bird flu new to humans
How Real is China's Growth? GDP Alternative Sheds Light
China Also Tapers, Forced To Promptly Bail Out Money Markets
Is China Dumping U.S. Treasuries?

## UK ##
Curbs on EU benefits to come into force on 1 January
Britain opens half of country to fracking
Head of Armed Forces: military risks becoming 'hollow force'
House prices in 2014 'to rise by 8%'

## US ##
The Real Numbers Behind America's Phony Recovery
IT industries set to lose billions because of privacy concerns
Pa. town latest to force drivers over and ask for cheek swabs for federal study
Drivers in a southeastern Pennsylvania town were forced off a local street and into a parking lot, so a federal contractor – aided by local police --could quiz them about their road habits and ask for a cheek swab, in a replay of an incident last month in Texas.
Former Top NSA Official: "We Are Now In A Police State"
Holiday 2013 season is shaping up to be most deal-driven _ and disappointing _ since 2008
The Multi-Pronged Mortgage Debacle Next Year (So Long, "Housing Recovery")
Mortgage Applications Collapse To New 13-Year Low
In Texas, Search Warrants Can Now Be Based on a "Prediction of a Future Crime"
Peter Schiff Explains The Harsh Reality Of Minimum Wage Hikes To The US Public
Poor Americans Lead Movement to Abandon Landlines
Generational Retirement Gap Grim for Aging Boomers
Junk-Debt Time Bomb: Ticking Till The Fed's Money Dries Up
Despite Focus on Sustainability, Companies Aren't Making Progress
The exponential growth model itself is unsustainable from the get-go. So for a business to be truly "sustainable" under the current economic regime is self-deception. -- RF
Oil approaches $99 on falling US stockpiles, cold weather pushes natural gas to 29-month high
Lew Says U.S. Ability to Borrow May Run Out by Late February
Fed Assets Reach Record $4 Trillion on Unprecedented Bond-Buying
JPM's Quiet Scramble To Refill Its Gold Vault
Pennsylvania court deals blow to fracking
Record High in U.S. Say Big Government Greatest Threat

And finally...
About one in two hundred women report having had virgin births, according to new research
Tourist distracted by Facebook falls off pier
Police: Man tried to trade live alligator for beer
Lawsuit filed over Walmart dress that prevented couple from having marital relations

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