Friday, December 27, 2013


News Links, December 26-28, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
After a year, Bundesbank repatriates only 37 of 700 tonnes of gold
The Gold Rush Spreads From China And India To Saudi Arabia
Gold becoming scarce in Mexico too
Hike in Indian gold tax to fight trade imbalance squeezes wedding budgets, spurs smuggling
Indian Bitcoin Exchanges Halted As Government Shifts Capital Control Attention Away From Gold
After bad year, insurers face potential ice-storm hit
IMF says Cyprus support for Troika austerity 'sputtering' as slump drags on
Soaring compliance costs clip wings of Mideast, African banks
Spain king: Millions need unemployment relief
The Probability Of A Stock Market Crash Is Soaring
U.S. 10-year yield hits 2-year high, seen higher in 2014
March of state companies resets global trading patterns
As U.S. and European banks drop out of commodity trading, Russian, Chinese and Gulf state firms are filling the gap in an attempt to exert greater control over the pricing of the raw materials on which their economies so heavily depend.
A Trip Through The Bitcoin Mines
Bloomberg TV Anchor's Bitcoin Stolen On Primetime TV
Survey: Most young adults worldwide don't have a bank account
Turkey's Erdoğan Will Probably Hang in There. The Economy May Not
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may soon be forced to call early elections, as Turkey's currency and stock market are tanking and foreign investors are unloading its sovereign debt in the wake of a widening corruption scandal.
Further gloom in store for lira as it hits record low
France Wants To Tax YouTube And Facebook Videos
Rail strike vexes South Korean government
A railroad workers' strike is giving the government of President Park Geun-hye headaches and starting to put the brakes on economic activity.

## Airline Death Spiral ##
The Rise of Checked Baggage Fees (video)
U.S. airlines want to stay cell phone free
The year in aviation: Major changes afoot
Unruly Passengers? It's the Seats, Stupid
Airline passengers are unruly because they're stressed, uncomfortable, irritated. Why? In large part, because the airlines are intent on cramming more bodies into fewer, smaller seats. As the claustrophobia quotient rises, so does the tension. And as the tension increases, so do the number of outbursts.
Southwest Airlines struggles with being on time
Budget airline extras can double flight prices
5 Major U.S. Airlines That Charge You Excessively

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
British to begin training Burmese military
British military officials will travel to Burma within days on a controversial mission to begin training the country's brutal military, as the UK joins an international scramble for influence in the nation.
Thai Premier Proposes Political Reform Council to Ease Unrest
Egypt's military-backed interim government declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
Explosion hits bus in Egyptian capital, wounding 5
Ukraine expects remaining $12 billion of Russian bailout in early 2014
U.S. Marines deployed to Uganda for evacuation of Americans from South Sudan
Putin says new post-Soviet economic union with Belarus and Kazakhstan ready for 2015 launch
Turkey Increases Defense Spending in 2014 Budget
String of Palestinian attacks has Israel fretting over potential new violent uprising
Freedom of navigation pits Japan, U.S. against China
US sends Hellfire missiles to Iraq amid surge in violence
South Sudan rebels seize oil wells, mediators urge talks
South Sudan government agrees to truce with opposition
Oil-rich South Sudan teeters on the brink
South Sudan this week saw heavy fighting with as many as 500 killed or wounded, as army factions clashed in the capital following months of political tension in the oil-rich nation after the president dismissed his deputy.
Egypt arrests dozens under anti-terror law, one killed in Cairo
Militants seize Yemen oil ministry building
World powers, Iran to resume expert nuclear talks on Dec. 30
Forgotten by Most Americans, Iraq is Still a Source of Profits for U.S. Weapons Makers
Israel plans 1,400 more West Bank settlement homes, official says

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
TV licence inspectors three times more likely to be attacked by a householder than an animal (UK)
Officials enforcing the £145.50 TV licence were physically assaulted by a member of the public 271 times and savaged by animals 89 times between 2008 and October 2013, BBC discloses
Rocks, tear gas fly as Thai protests heat up
'Never Bend': Thousands Protest New Air Base After Okinawa Switch
The signs people are holding are more accurately translated "Never give in" or "Never knuckle under." -- RF
Death threat, fistfights as power outages linger (US)
Three dead, 265 arrested, as Muslim Brotherhood protesters clash with police
Turkey: Anti-government protesters clash with police

## Energy/resources ##
Record-level metals storage in 'shadow warehouses'
The world's metal is slipping into the shadows. Banks, hedge funds, commodity merchants and others are stashing tens of millions of tons of aluminum, copper, nickel and zinc in a hidden system of warehouses that span the globe.
Pentagon Says Rare Earth Elements Less at Risk
Struggle for resources at root of Central Africa religious violence
Peak demand: the sound of a single hand clapping
On-The-Job Deaths Spiking As Oil Drilling Quickly Expands (US)
Colombia Plans Raid to Seize FARC Rebels' Tungsten Mine
No power till 2014: Homes could be without electricity until after new year, utilities warn (Toronto)
Canada Has a Bad Case of Oil Sands Fever
Cost of nuclear power proving high, DAE in a fix (India)

## Got food? ##
Home (and hungry) for the holidays: Families struggle to feed kids during school break (US)
McDonald's Takes Down Employee Help Site After Controversy
McDonald's Blames Outside Groups for Controversy
Food prices; a bricks and mortar problem for Indian economy
Local Meat Production Won't Solve Global Food Woes

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
How to Stop Emotional Eating and Spending

## Environment/health ##
Judge says Macondo claimants do not need proof
UK supermajor BP has failed to persuade a federal judge to require businesses seeking to recover money over the 2010 Macondo oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico to provide proof that their economic losses were caused by the disaster, according to a report.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
China-made software collects text data without users' knowledge (Japan)
The government's National Information Security Center has warned about 140 organizations, including government ministries and agencies as well as universities and research institutes, not to use a Japanese-language input method editor developed by Baidu Inc., China's biggest search engine company, after it was found that text data typed into computers is sent to the company's server without the users' knowledge, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
Baidu denies its Japanese input system abuses users information
Russian probe finds that Arafat's death was natural; not caused by radiation
This is the most ironic thing the U.K.'s new porn filters have blocked
Federal judge finds NSA phone surveillance is legal; ACLU 'very disappointed,' promises appeal
UN States Unanimously Agree: Even the Walls Have Ears
The War on Terror's Jedi Mind Trick
Grad student proves NSA can link metadata to your identity with 'marginal effort'
How Your Data Are Being Deeply Mined
Very instructive... and disturbing. -- RF

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Wall Street Adviser: Get Guns and Ammo for the Collapse
Over 80% of public worried about Japan going under: survey
Detroit's abandoned buildings draw tourists instead of developers
1997 Asian Crisis Redux - Thailand Is Imploding

## Japan ##
Japanese Prime Minister Visits Contentious War Shrine
Tons of contaminated water likely leaked from barriers at Fukushima plant
An estimated 225 tons of radioactive rainwater likely leaked from cracks in the barriers surrounding storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, seeping into the surrounding soil, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Dec. 24.
16 Japanese reactors up for restart safety checks
Junk energy: Methane hydrate gets budgetary OK
Okinawa OKs relocation of U.S. air base from Futenma to Nago
Japan ranks high in child poverty rate among 31 nations surveyed
PM Abe's surprise Yasukuni Shrine visit draws strong reactions
Okinawa governor gives go-ahead for new US base, but opponents gear up to fight the decision
Excellent: The Japanese Feel The Heat From The Big Lie Of Abenomics
Japan's Nishimura Calls for Quick Corporate Tax Cut to Under 30%

## China ##
China debt grows to $4.6 trillion
Rising Home Prices Reflected in Chinese Character of the Year
'10-year battle' to solve city's air pollution (Shanghai)

## UK ##
Ministers scrap £20m scheme to keep elderly warm
Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said: "It is shameful to be scrapping this scheme when we know this country has such a huge problem with winter deaths."
Toshiba nears majority stake in UK nuclear project- CEO
Blackouts continue amid fresh storms

## US ##
When Soaring Margin Debt, Sign of Investor Confidence, Turns Into A Nightmare On Steroids 
The big deleveraging since the financial crisis? An urban legend. In the corporate and financial world, money is free and debt is king. Households might have deleveraged a notch, but everything else has gone on a borrowing binge. That's what the Fed wanted: borrow and inch out further on that thinning limb of risk.
222,000 Californians facing loss of jobless benefits
1.3 million Americans losing jobless benefits as emergency program expires after 5 1/2 years.
More than 1 million Americans are bracing for a harrowing, post-Christmas jolt as extended federal unemployment benefits come to a sudden halt this weekend, with potentially significant implications for the recovering U.S. economy. A tense political battle likely looms when Congress reconvenes in the new, midterm election year.
This Is What It's Like To Work Full Time And Still Be Poor
Southwest Got 10,000 Applications For 750 Flight Attendant Jobs In Just 2 Hours
Federal conference spending is leaving Las Vegas
Santa Claus rally sends markets to record highs
The Stock Market Has Officially Entered Crazytown Territory
Local courts reviving 'debtors' prison' for overdue fines, fees
Citizens take law into own hands after cash-strapped Ore. county guts sheriff's office
53% Increase in Books Banned by U.S. Schools
Natural Gas Prices Rise to Highest Levels in Over Two Years
Atlanta Battles Public Urination With Pee Detectors in Subways
No Austerity for Military Budget in 2014
Poll: Majority of Americans say economy is in bad shape, won't improve
Electric cars to remain niche: US Energy Information Administration
Crude oil overtakes $100 per barrel
Number of States With Gas Price Below $3 Drops to Three
Video surveillance of downtown Houston to expand
Fed Balance Sheet Clearly Over $4 Trillion

And finally...
10 truly bizarre Victorian deaths
Man spots Virgin Mary on tie-dye shirt
Woman arrested for flinging peanut butter at brother
Merry Christmas From the TSA (hilarious video)
Chairman Mao's old home to reopen inside luxury mall
The Shanghai home where Mao Tse-tung first read Marx has become the centerpiece of a luxury shopping centre that calls itself a cradle of "cosmopolitan chic"
Oh, brother! Super-yacht not big enough? 'Seasteads' offer libertarians the vision of floating cities for the future

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