Sunday, December 22, 2013


News Links, December 21-23, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Warning: European Guidelines for Looting Your Bank Accounts Are Now Official
Standard & Poor's downgrades European Union's credit rating, stripping it of AAA
"The Chinese Don't Want Dollars Anymore, They Want Gold" - London's Gold Vaults Are Empty: This Is Why
China credit crisis fears as central bank injects funds
China's central bank has rushed to pump money into the stalling banking system but markets across Asia still fell sharply amid fears that the world's second-largest economy faces a credit crisis.
McDonald's Japan Falls on Store Closures, Outlook: Tokyo Mover
The Japan business of the world's largest fast-food chain plans to shut 74 outlets in the country, where it had 3,170 stores at the end of October, as customer numbers were below expectations, it said yesterday.
Canadian consumer debt expected to rise 4% to record $28,853 next year, TransUnion says
Unfit for Next Crisis; Laughable Banking Union Revisited
Once Again, Irish Youth Are Leaving For A Better Life Overseas
Italian families spend 5, 000 euros less than six years ago
Rich using mega warehouses to avoid taxes
Note: Alert readers will recall this article from last month. More perks for the New Aristocracy. -- RF
Ford, GM pull out of Australia. The end of an auto industry?
General Motors and Ford have announced plans to stop manufacturing in Australia. Toyota may follow. 
Credit Suisse Fraud Exceeded $1 Billion: N.J.'s Hoffman
Portugal top court blocks austerity pensions cuts
Nevertheless, pensions are finished. It's just a matter of time. -- RF
India planning gold confiscation and gold market interventions?
Chinese gold demand now may exceed world mine production
Lucky country dodged $2 a litre bullet – for now (Australia)

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Frequent Flier Programs Undergoing Changes
U.S. Airlines Made $4.7 Billion on Baggage and Change Fees in First 9 Months of 2013
Budget passage clears way for hike in air security fee
More Americans depend on commercial flight, but fewer happy with it
Air rage attacks are a growing problem in China
Haneda departure, transit fees to rise
Passengers departing on international flights from or transiting via Tokyo's Haneda airport will see increased facility usage charges added to their ticket prices from April 1.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
White House says it would veto Iran sanctions bill
Iran Says European Banks May Handle Some Oil Payments
Rouhani Takes On Revolutionary Guards in Iran Power Test
Syrian minister: Saudi Arabia is our top enemy
Freed Gitmo Detainee: 'We Were Subjected to Meticulous, Daily Torture'
President Obama Orders US Troops to South Sudan
China denounces Japanese military strategy
The slavery episodes continue: Qatari workers facing a "severe food shortage"
US Military Aircraft Comes Under Fire in South Sudan
A U.S. military aircraft came under fire Saturday during a reported evacuation mission in South Sudan, leaving four U.S. service members wounded, one critically.
Bomb attack kills officers in Iraq's Anbar province
Icons of Egyptian Revolution Jailed By Military Junta
Japanese SDF fighter jets scrambled after Russian patrol planes fly near Hokkaido
Chinese ships log 73rd Senkaku pass
Japan's MSDF, Indian navy hold 1st joint exercise in Indian Ocean

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters gather across Thai capital, demand PM resigns
Amazon workers in Germany to continue strikes in 2014
Protesters vandalize Google bus, block Apple shuttle, slash tires, smash window
As tech-driven housing costs and evictions soar, anti-gentrification protesters in San Francisco and Oakland on Friday again blocked private shuttle buses filled with tech workers commuting to Silicon Valley.
'Throwing Fuel on a Fire': Mass Protests Promised After Tar Sands Pipeline Moves Forward
Air Jordan 11 release causes brawls across the US

## Energy/resources ##
Argentina in nationalisation threat after blackouts
Blackouts looms large ahead of Christmas and New Year in Bangalore
Spain reviews power auctions after threat of price rise
Data Privacy Laws Could Make Managing Oil, Gas Data Flows Difficult
Data privacy regulations proposed in reaction to information leaks by Edward Snowden and the threat of spying by the United States could make the operations of global oil and gas companies more cumbersome, a law expert told Rigzone in a recent interview.
The Shale Energy Revolution in North America is Changing the World
Here's a paean to shale drilling and fracking. The part that most deserves attention is where the author discusses EROEI. He admits it's lower than conventional wells, but says, "So what?" It's just a matter of paying more money for the energy, he claims. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. In actuality, low-EROEI hydrocarbons require a "subsidy" to make them viable. As I've pointed out repeatedly, people can no longer pay the full price, so the development of junk energy is being subsidized by debt accumulation, unemployment/cheap wages, crumbling infrastructure, government dysfunction, and an an increasingly impoverished populace. -- RF
Algae converted to crude oil in less than an hour
They key part is, "The goo contains about 10 percent to 20 percent algae by weight. The rest is water. This mixture is piped into a high-tech pressure cooker where temperatures hover around 660 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of 3,000 pounds per square inch to keep the mixture in a liquid phase." The reason we have benefited from such a high energy return on oil until recent years is that nature did the pressure cooking for us, eliminating the need to create these high temperatures and pressures ourselves. The article gives no clue about the energy return, but despite the process improvements cited, it can't be very high once you deduct the high energy input. Just as with shale hydrocarbons, oil sands, and other low-EROI junk energy, the required subsidies will just accelerate the decline of industrial society. Have a nice day! -- RF
Must read: If Mexico is the next Brazil in oil production, brace for disappointment
This nicely supplements my comments on this article last week (December 17-18 links) on the pipe dreams already taking over the minds of investors and the public with regard to the obviously unrealistic expectations for a Mexican oil renaissance. Amigos, the oil news just gets worse and worse, but to spin that into modern cornucopian fairy tales, the media keep cranking up the hype. -- RF
Norway's Giant Johan Sverdrup Oilfield Delayed a Year
Romania slashes renewable energy subsidies
Romania will cut its support scheme for new wind, solar and small hydro renewable energy projects from January, a government decree said today (17 December), to avoid overcompensating producers and curb price increases for industry and homes.
Monkeys damage solar panels
Monkeys are damaging solar panels at energy and sustainable development projects in Saudi Arabia, an official from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) said here recently.
OPEC Cut Not Needed in 2014, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq Say
Harsh criticism for India's nuclear safety regime
Energy crisis in Egypt heats up coal controversy

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Thieves steal scrap metal, copper pipes from IOW churches

## Got food? ##
The case for owning farmland in one simple statistic

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
What's the big deal about tiny houses?
House Mouse Control
I have found that the "patrolling house cat" is fantastic. No need for traps at my house. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Navy sailors have radiation sickness after Japan rescue
Texas reports high level of influenza with six dead
Saudi announces new MERS death
The Saudi health ministry announced Saturday a new MERS death, raising to 56 the number of people killed by the coronavirus in the country with the most fatalities.
More cities ban polystyrene foam, citing environment (US)
In Iceland, where folklore is more than just stories, concern for elves holds up road project
Fountain of youth or at least delayed aging may be possible

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Japan seeks cyberwarfare capability
U.S. Air Force plans to add 1,000 new cybersecurity personnel
Google reveals sharp rise in requests for removal of political content
The sound of secrets: New hacking technique infiltrates by hearing — or touch
Stolen Target Credit Cards Are Selling For $20 - $100 Each
NSA dragnet included allies, aid groups and business elite
Forecast: 2014 will be year of encryption
California to introduce first 'smartphone killswitch' bill
NSA Paid Encryption Company $10 Million to Create Backdoors for Them
NSA program stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Bankruptcy Casts Shadow Over Detroit's Plan To Fix Streetlights
Helicopter gunships used in Mexico resort battle

## Japan ##
Japanese government to bear more Fukushima cleanup costs for Tepco
Japan will chip in more taxpayer money and other financial support to help Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co clean up the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter century, officials said on Friday, the latest government lifeline for the embattled utility.
New leak of radioactive water reported at Japan's Fukishima
Japan to extend Fukushima radiation cleanup work by up to 3 yrs
Tepco to create firm for decommissioning
Japan Inc. Hoards Record Cash as Abe Targets Wage Gains
Japan forecasts GDP growth of 1.4 percent for fiscal 2014
Japan Unveils Record 2014 Budget Draft as Debt Burden Mounts
Rotting corpse found at US base in Japan
Japan to launch energy-saving initiative covering 10,000 homes
Why not decades ago? Such efforts everywhere just show how desperate the situation has become. -- RF
Regional economic funding to fall 40%
Fiscal 2014 budget includes ¥610 million cut for municipalities
Surprise, surprise! Carrying Hokkaido snow to Tokyo for cooling fails
Trucks and trains used to transport snow from Hokkaido to Tokyo to determine the feasibility of using snow for air cooling emitted three times more carbon dioxide than the emission reductions achieved in the experiment, it has been found.

## China ##
Pollution from China grounds flights in Tibet
Cleaning China's air to cost US$290bn over four years
China money rates climb further despite central bank efforts
China Austerity Campaign Extends Beyond the Grave
China aims for target of 6 million public homes in 2014

## UK ##
Ofgem's plan to keep the lights on: Factories to be paid to cut back electricity use
Lights will be dimmed but not go out, says electricity chief
A National Grid manager dismissed warnings about blackouts this winter saying a dramatic surge in demand for power would only result in the lights being dimmed
10 per cent fall in new developments in towns and cities raising fears about countryside
Apollo Theatre collapse fire crews set to be axed

## US ##
Obama administration says U.S. debt ceiling could be hit in February
FAA to select 6 cities for drone testing
All-Cash Home Sales Hit Record 42% of Sales
5 Reasons why the real estate re-boom is about to slow way down
Report Suggests NSA Engaged In Financial Manipulation, Changing Money In Bank Accounts
Number of cargo theft incidents falls while load value jumps, FreightWatch reports
U.S. nuclear weapon plans to cost $355 billion over a decade: CBO report
The Obama administration's plans for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including modernization of bombs, delivery systems and laboratories, will cost the country about $355 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Friday.
Snyder Issues Executive Order on UP Propane Shortage
North Jersey Residents Infuriated By Repeated Power Outages
Why 40% of consumers will spend less this Christmas despite better job security
Budget crunched: Cutting smaller sports a growing trend at cash-strapped universities
Online shopping is popular, but remaining challenges keep it from reaching its full potential
More Americans are deciding to shop online this holiday season instead of heading to crowded stores. But that alone won't save what is turning out to be a ho-hum Christmas for department stores and clothing chains.
For Those Who Care About America's Future, A Stocking-Stuffer Of A Book: 'The Crash of 2016'
The Taper Is On – 8 Ways That This Is Going To Affect You And Your Family
Woman sues over vaginal, anal exams in El Paso drug search
Why Is Blackstone Gobbling Up Properties? (video)

And finally...
"Whatever" most annoying word for fifth year in a row
North Korea sends fax to South, threatens 'merciless' attack 'without notice'

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