Tuesday, December 24, 2013


News Links, December 24-25, 2013

Posting will be sporadic over the holiday season.

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Russia Crisis Haunts Deutsche Bank's Smith Seeing China Bust
China's cash crunch threatens Shadow Banking shock
The credit squeeze in China is no longer a local issue and any misjudgment by the central bank will have global ramifications
Singapore Slowdown May Hurt Banks in 2014 (video)
Pump! Margin Debt: yet another new all-time high.
In yet another sign the stock market is wildly over-priced, NYSE margin debt (borrowing money "on margin" to make leveraged bets) reached a new all-time high in November.
How Bitcoin fits into the "End of America" Hypothesis 
Drop in gold price fuels buying frenzy in Saudi Arabia
I wouldn't buy gold with my worst enemy's cash: Strategist
Lately we've been treated to a slew of articles on how the "gold bubble" has popped, and we shouldn't touch gold with a 10-foot pole. This just underlines the desperation of governments, banks, stock markets, and other parties who want us to help keep the stock market bubble inflated by putting our faith in fiat currencies and our money into stocks and other paper wealth. Of course everyone will make their own decisions. If you can make money on the stock market and manage to pull out before it crashes, more power to you. -- RF
J.S. Kim: Of course the big banks predict that gold will crash
The Times of India: "Almost Every Passenger on a Flight from Dubai to Calicut Was Found Carrying 1kg of Gold"
Saudi unveils record $228 bn budget for 2014
Junk Loans Top '08 Record as Safeguards Stripped: Credit Markets
The amount of loans to the riskiest U.S. companies ballooned to a record this year, propelled by unprecedented demand for floating-rate debt that offers protection from rising interest rates.
Public outcry as banks run out of cash (Zimbabwe)

## Airline Death Spiral ##
One More Thing To Hate The Airlines For: Slimmer Seats
Airlines squeezing in even more seating
I assume this will lead to even more air rage. -- RF
Air rage: Airline group pushing for updated laws for flightsThe International Air Transport Association said fewer than 500 incidents of unruly behavior were reported in 2007, while more than 6,000 were reported in 2011.
More air rage: Flight attendant repeatedly screams 'F*** YOU at passenger
Still more air rage: Indonesian official blocks runway in air rage outburst
Cuts in air service stifling midsized cities
As the U.S. airline industry continues to shrink, dozens of small and midsized cities are scrambling to try to maintain their economic lifelines.
Norwegian Air Dreamliner grounded in U.S. due to technical problems
Airlines Say 'Happy New Year' With New Fees
The Worst Airline Fees

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
US Army's New Laser Weapon Can Shoot Down Mortars and Drones
Turkey's Halkbank says Iran business complies with law
Assad's secret oil lifeline: Iraqi crude from Egypt
The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has received substantial imports of Iraqi crude oil from an Egyptian port in the last nine months, shipping and payments documents show, part of an under-the-radar trade that has kept his military running despite Western sanctions.
Chadian peacekeepers fire on protesters in Central African Republic
Russia Sends Over 75 Armored Trucks To Syria
Japan to supply ammo to South Korean troops in South Sudan
Libya oil minister demands oil ports be reopened by force
China commits $6.5 billion for Pakistani nuclear project
China has committed $6.5 billion to finance the construction of a major nuclear power project in Pakistan's port city of Karachi as it seeks to strengthen ties with its strategic partner, Pakistani officials said.
U.N. Sends Another 5,500 Peacekeepers to South Sudan

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Rail Strike Intensifies (SKorea)
Protesters surround Diet building to oppose restart of nuke reactors (Japan)
'Merry Frackmess!': Elves Erect Gas Drilling Rig on Governor's Front Lawn (US)

## Energy/resources ##
Indonesia's Pertamina To Produce 17% Less LNG In 2014
Indonesian state-owned energy firm Pertamina will produce 17 percent less liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2014, a company official said, reflecting an overall decline in gas production at the world's fifth-largest exporter of the fuel.
Bahrain will lift diesel prices to cut subsidy burden
UBS Analysis: Efficiency and Solar Create 'Difficult Road' for Global Utility Sector in 2014
Asia Fuel Oil-Jan arb flows may fall 13 pct on higher freight rates
Fuel oil shipments into Asia are expected to slip to a two-month low in January as higher freight costs make it difficult for traders to break even, hampering the flow of the fuel from the West, a survey of shipping and trade sources shows.
Egypt says to complete $1.5 bln payment to oil firms this week
Egypt will complete payment this week of $1.5 billion of the $6.3 billion it says it owes oil firms, a state executive said on Monday, in line with a plan aimed at restoring confidence in an economy hit by nearly three years of political turmoil.
French strike keeps a third of oil refining sector shut
Upstream Development Hit by Tensions in East, South China Seas
Hopes of developing the potentially rich oil and gas resources in the East and South China Seas receded further after China recently made unilateral high-profile moves to boost its claim over the disputed region. The heightened tensions ensure that these hydrocarbon assets will remain untapped for now, and as they have been over the last few decades, while interested developers of these upstream assets wait for the geopolitical frictions to blow over.
Statoil, Total Withdraw from Turkey Pipeline Plans
Smart Grid Technology, Now Spreading Across U.S., Will Raise Energy Prices to Reduce Demand

## Got food? ##
Chicken Sales Plummet in China, Hong Kong After Bird Flu Returns
Longer lines at New York food banks (video)
Spending cuts to government food stamp programs have taken a toll on food pantries in New York City as more and more people are relying on them to feed their families.
McDonald's website advises against eating a lot of fast-food
Mormon-centric Utah is epicenter for food storage (video)

## Environment/health ##
'Catastrophic ice storm' slams into Toronto, strands travellers across the province
Australia's Year in Review: Hottest, Hottest, Hottest...
Study: Some plants won't cope with human-induced climate change
A quarter of healthcare workers' hands contaminated with infectious diarrhea germs

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
How the NSA Paid Security Firm $10 Million to Promote Flawed Encryption
Japan seeking US assistance in counterattacking cyber criminals
Cryptolocker ransomware has 'infected about 250,000 PCs'
9 Huge Government Conspiracies That Actually Happened
Conspiracy Theories that Turned Out to be True (infographic)
Exclusive: Target hackers stole encrypted bank PINs - source
Obama can't point to a single time the NSA call records program prevented a terrorist attack

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
The next Detroit? Atlantic City and Las Vegas facing catastrophic collapse
Thousands Fall From Middle Class After RV Industry Collapse
Officials in Oregon have kept records on what happened to thousands of people who lost their jobs when RV manufacturing in that state imploded during the recession. A major swath of people have dropped from middle-wage earners to low-wage earners, which is a trend we're seeing across the U.S. Another group of people did even worse.
"Zimbabwe Likely To Collapse in 2014"

## Japan ##
No Money, No Problem, Bank of Japandemonium Takes Care Of It
Japan to auction Y155.1 tril in JGBs
Japan's Cabinet OKs record 95.88 tril. yen FY 2014 budget
Pump! Nikkei tops 16,000 for 1st time in 6 years
TEPCO finds 3 more water leaks at Fukushima plant tank barriers
Ex-Fukushima worker warns of more leaks from hastily constructed tanks
Thyroid Cancers Surge Among Fukushima Youths
Nuclear power plants in Japan threatened by volcanic eruptions: volcanologists
Nuclear power backers picking up steam on reactor restarts
Alcoholism on the rise in tsunami-hit Miyagi Prefecture
Japan Labor Shortage Could Clip PM Abe's 'Second Arrow'
Japan Steps Up Defense Spending As China Tensions Simmer
Row brewing over plan to cut civil servants' pay

## China ##
China Interest Rate Crisis Continues: 7-Day Interest Rate Doubles to 10% in One Week; China Bans Words "Cash Crunch"
China central bank calibrates squeeze to send message, avoid panic
China to impose tiered power pricing for aluminium smelters
China says carrier tests in South China Sea going well
China Confronts Workforce Drop With Retirement-Age Delay

## UK ##
Rail fares for commuters to rise sharply in January
An energy price freeze would damage Britain, the former head of BP has said
Lord Browne, the chairman of Cuadrilla, the shale gas firm, says that energy companies need to make profits so they can re-invest in infrastructure
Edward Snowden to broadcast Channel 4's alternative Christmas Day message

## US ##
U.S. Store Traffic Sinks 21% as Last-Ditch Deals Flop
Retail Sales Outlook Not So Festive
PBS Drops a Bombshell on the Federal Reserve's 100th Birthday Party
PBS promised a "debate" this past Friday night on the "benefits and dangers" of the Federal Reserve as the Fed marks its 100 years of existence tomorrow. Instead of a debate, two famous stock market historians made the same stunning announcement – that the Fed has decided its job is to push up the stock market.
On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever
Wall Street Is My Landlord; Blackstone's Home Rental Bonds Yet Another Sign of Renewed Credit Bubble
Chinese Investments In US Commercial Property Soar By 500%
US predicts vast majority of cars to still use gasoline by 2040
On This Day In History, Gas Prices Have Never Been Higher
Price of stamps to go up 3 cents
Puerto Rico Pension Fix Shows U.S. Retirement Curbs Spreading
Only 150 of 3500 U.S. Colleges Are Worth the Investment: Former Secretary of Education
Are utility stocks in a 'death spiral'?
States About To Lose The Most Unemployment Insurance
CBO: Obama Nuke Plan to Cost $355 Billion

And finally...
440-lb virgin sends partner to ER after his first time
US leads world in smartphone porn viewing

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