Tuesday, December 31, 2013

 

News Links, December 31, 2013

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
China local government debt surges by 70%
China has local government debts of 17.7 trillion yuan ($2.9tn), up 70% from three years ago, according to an official report.
Tax revenues worldwide recover from recession
It would be nice if the article discussed the raising of tax rates. Here in Japan, income tax rates have been raised, and in April the consumption tax (sales tax) will be raised from 5% to 8%. So it's disingenuous to suggest that tax revenues are growing because of a "recovery" while picking people's pockets to cover up for mismanagement, waste, Ponzi-economy failure, and net energy decline. -- RF
Brazil Raises Tax For Debit Card Purchases Abroad By 1600 Percent
According to a statement by Brazil's finance ministry, the increase would raise an estimated $221.9 million a year in additional revenue for the government.
Low interest rates cannot continue for ever: German FinMin
Cheaper gold brings new customers to Dubai in droves
At 20 years, NAFTA boosted trade, did little for wage gap, environment in Mexico
While it changed the country in some fundamental ways, the treaty never met many of its sweeping promises to close Mexico's wage gap with the United States, boost job growth, fight poverty and protect the environment.

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airline Fees Will Only Get Crazier in 2014
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL): Can Airlines Continue Capacity Cuts To Improve Yields?

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
2 suicide bombings kill 31 people in southern Russia, raise concern on Sochi Olympics
Two suicide bombings in as many days have killed 31 people and raised concerns that Islamic militants have begun a terrorist campaign in Russia that could stretch into the Sochi Olympics in February.
Canada Lays Claim to Seabed Below North Pole
Cocaine Is Evil: The gruesomeness of the drug trade rivals any atrocities in history
Iraq Teeters on the Edge as Political Violence Spikes
This is What Really Happens in the Drone Program from an Insider
Death toll in Congo attacks rises to 100: government
A new dictator takes Iraq to the brink

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Is America About To Reach A Breaking Point? Anger Grows As Unemployment Benefits Get Cut
Shots fired at German ambassador's residence in Athens
Fighting erupts as Iraq police break up Sunni protest camp
Buenos Aires residents protest over 'heatwave power cuts'

## Energy/resources ##
Buenos Aires power supply disrupted in heatwave
Hunger and conflict in wake of oil drought
South Korea may need five more nuclear plants for 2025-2035
China may raise Iran oil imports with new contract: sources
China may buy more Iranian oil next year as a state trader is negotiating a new light crude contract that could raise imports from Tehran to levels not seen since tough Western sanctions were imposed in 2012, running the risk of upsetting Washington.
Gazprom Flag Planted Firmly in Arctic
South Korea to raise domestic gas prices by 5.8 pct
South Korea will raise domestic natural gas prices by an average 5.8 percent from Wednesday to reflect costlier imports and to meet rising demand following the shutdown of some nuclear reactors, Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) said.

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Cable theft causes train disruption

## Got food? ##
Special Report: Lost hooves, dead cattle before Merck halted Zilmax sales
Israel puts price control on food products to curb soaring prices
Food Price Pressure to Rise (US)
Was 2013 Really The Year Of The Paleo Diet?
Foodmaker says pesticide residue far more damaging than thought (Japan)

## Environment/health ##
Big Marijuana: Is It The Future?
Train collision in North Dakota sets oil rail cars ablaze
Amazon forest loss risks water security across South America
Radiation? Seals, Sea Lions, Polar Bears, Bald Eagles, Sea Stars, Turtles, King and Sockeye Salmon, Herring, Anchovies and Sardines In The Western Part of North America All Suffering Mysterious Diseases At the Same Time

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Greenwald: NSA Stories Also Reveal Perilous State of Mainstream Journalism
"It really is the central view of, certainly, American and British media stars," declared Greenwald, "that when, especially people with medals on their chests, who are called generals, but also high-ranking officials in the government, make claims, that those claims are presumptively treated as true without evidence, and that it's almost immoral to call them into question, or to question their veracity."
Cash machines robbed with infected USB sticks
New computer memory can hold data 20 years without power
OMsignal Delivers Wearable Technology That Captures Your Bio-Data
MI5 whistleblower launches defense fund for whistleblowers
How The NSA Hacks Your iPhone (Presenting DROPOUT JEEP)
French telecom operator Orange threatens to sue NSA over cable tapping

## Japan ##
Homeless Japanese Being 'Recruited' To Clean Up Fukushima Disaster
Investigation reveals systematic exploitation of homeless by big business and organized crime
Consensus Now Believes Abenomics "Recovery" Will Fail
Whereabouts of 4,200 kids unknown
Electricity futures trading to start
Sony plans more staff cuts in foundering electronics segment

## China ##
Chinese police kill eight in Xinjiang 'terrorist attack'
Foreign Warplanes Active in China's Defense Zone
China's Defense Ministry said this week it monitored nearly 800 foreign warplanes within the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone during its first month.
Multinationals laying off employees in China, elsewhere
International firms are now laying off or plan to let go of their workers globally amid a sluggish global economy, according to the Beijing-based Economic Observer.
China Pressures Officials to Stop Smoking
China's Local Debt Swells to 17.9 Trillion Yuan in Audit
The Taper And The China Credit Power Struggle Squeeze
Talk about financial engineering! But this hocus-pocus is what makes the world go around these days. -- RF
Opposition within Chinese gov't to Beijing's new air defense identification zone

## UK ##
English Heritage 'can't cope' with backlog of crumbling buildings
Homes still without power as UK prepares for month of storms

## US ##
Feds announce drone testing sites in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia
Despite more gadgets, electricity usage in US homes is falling to levels last seen in 2001
U.S. population growth slows to just 0.71%
Declining electricity usage and population growth have much to do with the high cost of energy. -- RF
Americans on Wrong Side of Pay Gap Run Out of Means to Cope
Joke Headline of the Day: "Pending Home Sales Rise"; Five Housing Headwinds
Overthrow the Speculators (Chris Hedges)
Money, as Karl Marx lamented, plays the largest part in determining the course of history. Once speculators are able to concentrate wealth into their hands they have, throughout history, emasculated government, turned the press into lap dogs and courtiers, corrupted the courts and hollowed out public institutions, including universities, to justify their looting and greed. Today's speculators have created grotesque financial mechanisms, from usurious interest rates on loans to legalized accounting fraud, to plunge the masses into crippling forms of debt peonage. They steal staggering sums of public funds, such as the $85 billion of mortgage-backed securities and bonds, many of them toxic, that they unload each month on the Federal Reserve in return for cash. And when the public attempts to finance public-works projects they extract billions of dollars through wildly inflated interest rates.
Municipal Bonds Wrap Up Tough Year
Municipal bonds are on track to post their worst annual performance in nearly two decades as 2013 ushered in more financial woes for U.S. cities.

And finally...
Robbers hand back out-of-date cellphone
A man robbed by two men in New York's Central Park said they returned his cellphone when the outdated gadget apparently failed to meet their standards.
Beggars can't be choosers, but robbers can. -- RF
The Most Ridiculous Things That Happened In Air Travel In 2013




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