Thursday, January 30, 2014


News Links, January 30-31, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Baltic Dry Index Collapses 50% From December Highs To 5-Month Lows
Hanjin Shipping to close two loss-making lines
We Are Sleepwalking Towards A Cashless Society
For years national governments have been seeking to reduce the number and size of cash transactions within and between their respective economies.
Even if you pay in cash, using a loyalty card will database your shopping information. Nevertheless, when the lights go out and servers go down, cash — and anonymity — will come back with a vengeance. -- RF
U.S. banking regulator, fearing loan bubble, warns funds
U.N. sounds alarm on worsening global income disparities
Nothing Lasts Forever; World Bank Ex-Chief Economist Calls For End To Dollar As Reserve Currency
Crisis in Argentina sparks new gold rush
In India, 2,500kg of gold is being flown in every month
Ruble Weakens to Record Low Against Basket as Currencies Slide
China Manufacturing Index Shows Contraction
Spain Misses Watered-Down Budget Deficit Targets Yet Again

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airline Passengers Aren't Guests, They're Cargo
Airfares jumped again at end of 2013
Korean Air swings to net loss
American Airlines to add seats to three of its aircraft fleets
Europe Travel Hampered as Air Traffic Controllers Strike
Hawaiian Airlines Now Selling Extra Comfort Premium Economy Seating

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Amid Ukraine protests, some defect from government
China challenging U.S. military technological edge: Pentagon official
China expands its reach by playing chicken with the US military
EU has secret plan for police to 'remote stop' cars
The EU is developing a secret plan to give the police the power to control cars by switching the engine off remotely
Countries moving geopolitically on Arctic energy, Wilson forum told
The Subhuman Conditions That Slaves And Child Laborers Face In India Are Worse Than You Imagined
Thousands of Pakistanis flee tribal belt fearing more air strikes

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thai army to deploy more troops amid warning of poll violence

## Energy/resources ##
Record year for offshore wind energy hides slowdown in new projects
Gamesa Closing Pennsylvania Plant After U.S. Wind Credit Expires
Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA (GAM), Spain's largest wind-turbine maker, plans to close a blade factory in Pennsylvania to cut costs after a U.S. tax incentive expired.
ExxonMobil Profit Tumbles As Energy Production Tapers
Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil company by market value, posted lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as it failed to offset declining production but spent heavily to find fresh reserves.
Oil Industry Starts to Squeeze Costs, Wages
Cutting the cost of everything from salaries and steel pipes to seismic surveys and drilling equipment is the central challenge for the oil and gas industry over the next five years. The tremendous increase in exploration and production activity around the world over the last ten years has strained the global supply chain and been accompanied by a predictable increase in operating and capital costs.
Why Turning a Buck Isn't Easy Anymore for Oil's Biggest Players
The problem with mining
As with oil, we are not actually running out of minerals, but the cost of extraction keeps going up. The implications for industrial civilization are screamingly clear. -- RF
Hess sells 74,000 acres of Utica shale
Hess Corp.'s chief executive said Wednesday his company decided to unload acreage in the Utica shale play in the United States because it wasn't profitable.
South Korean nuclear power plant shut; four now offline
A South Korean nuclear power plant automatically shut down on Wednesday due to a technical glitch, taking the number of reactors closed to four out of 23 and increasing the risk of power shortages over winter.
South Korea approves $7 bln reactor plans in boost for nuclear power
Iran, Iraq Plan Challenge to Saudi Control Over Oil Market
Iran expects major foreign oil investments
Chaos Breaks Out In Natural Gas, Price Tripled Since April 2012
Royal Dutch Shell halts Alaska exploration as profits fall
Oil giant Shell in Brazillian oil field sell-off
OIL giant Royal Dutch Shell is selling a £600million stake in a Brazilian offshore oil field as it continues to shake-up its business ­following its recent profits warning.
Map: Iraq's Oil & Gas Infrastructure
Low Foreign Interest in Pakistan's New Oil Blocks
California needs big steps to save water as drought worsens -governor
S. Korea''s oil consumption falls for first time in five years

## Got food? ##
Malawi Grapples With Food Shortages
California Farms Going Thirsty as Drought Burns $5 Billion Hole
Starving 20,000 at Damascus camp eating dogs, cats
Utah school takes lunches from kids with debts
Parents are angry with Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City after workers took lunches from up to 40 kids with unpaid balances and threw them away, several media outlets reported.

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Excellent: Simpler Ways to Stay Warm
Long-time readers know that I have always advocated heating efficiency by basically heating the body, and keeping space heating to a minimum (for example, in my home we heat only the family room). Whether or not you agree, the age of central heating is but a moment in human history, after which we will perforce return to traditional practices of keeping warm in the winter (and cool in the summer). Now is the time for people to reacquaint themselves with traditional practices and begin to implement them — before it's too late. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Catching the mother of all bed bugs
Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear
Showering in Formaldehyde? Fresh Fears in West Virginia
West Virginia official says residents are breathing cancer-causing agent after chemical spill
China smog fears spur call for ban on New Year fireworks
Simple way to make stem cells in half an hour hailed as major discovery
Bird Flu Isn't Just China's Problem Anymore
As the first human cases of H7N9 bird flu infection outside of China begin to emerge—in Taiwan and Hong Kong—health officials around the world are preparing for a potentially perfect storm for a massive flu outbreak.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
7 ways to stop NSA spying on your smartphone
Snowden Gets Nobel Peace Prize Nomination for 'Contributing to More Peaceful World Order'
Forget Metadata … The NSA Is Spying On EVERYTHING
Hackers attack Yahoo Mail accounts

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
A Forecast of Our Energy Future; Why Common Solutions Don't Work
If 3 Inches Of Snow Can Cause This Much Chaos In Atlanta, What Will Economic Collapse Look Like?
This Detroit neighborhood is so bad that $1 homes could be a rip-off

## Japan ##
Japan Looks Offshore for Cobalt Needed for Industries
Japan Sees Trouble Ahead as Trade Pact Stalls
TEPCO to create frozen walls to stop water leaks
1,415 sue builders of Fukushima nuclear plant
NHK radio regular quits after anti-nuclear commentary nixed
A veteran radio show commentator quit his job at Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) after the public broadcaster told him to drop the subject of nuclear power during the Tokyo gubernatorial election, sources said.
Is Abe headed for his next health crisis?
Thai political turmoil taking toll on Japanese firms
Gov't report shows growing population concentration in Tokyo region
Facial ID tech to be set at station

## China ##
Chinese Homebuyers Thronging Sydney Make Mini-Bubble Frenzy
Biggest Money Fund Shuns Companies on Default Risk: China Credit
China's biggest money-market fund has cut its holdings of corporate debt by more than 50 percent and sought safety in deposits as rising borrowing costs increase the threat of default.
8 new H7N9 cases ahead of live poultry ban
PetroChina delays operation of refineries on overcapacity
Shadow banking: China's wobbly house of cards
China Manufacturing Back in Contraction, Staffing Declines at Sharpest Pace Since March 2009.
China Panel Makers Turn Solar Farmers to Counter Glut

## UK ##
More than 270,000 poorest households in England face £80 council tax rise
London Plans to Use Heat from the Underground to Keep Homes Warm

## US #
Propane shortages prompting state officials to act
Supply problems in several states where propane is a crucial heating source have prompted governors and other officials to take action against vendors, investigate claims of price gouging and increase aid to low-income customers.
Fed to reduce pace of bond buying by another $10B
$1.2 trillion student loan bubble ready to pop
Cold Man Winter strikes water pipes; insurers deluged
America's largest insurance company, State Farm, says it has had so many claims for frozen pipes—28,000 in the Jan. 4-9 period of extreme cold—that it declared the situation a "catastrophe," allowing it to bring in more adjusters to handle the overload. It said the payout for such claims can be as high as $15,000.
Subprime Called Safer Makes Comeback as 'Nonprime': Mortgages
The Housing Slowdown Has Already Begun
No, The Plunge In Home Sales Was "Not" Due To Cold Weather
Housing Bubble 2.0: "More Flipping, Bigger Profits, In Less Time" With 156,862 Homes Flipped In 2013
American State of the Union: A Festival of Lies
32 Statistics That Obama Neglected To Mention During The State Of The Union Address
Why millions of Americans will never retire
Further reductions to the corn ethanol mandate wanted
Detroit May File $18 Billion Bankruptcy Plan in Two Weeks
Report: Detroit has highest childhood death rate in country
17 California communities running out of water
Need to see a doctor quickly? Avoid Boston, try Dallas
The MyRA Propaganda Begins: "A Start To A Secure Retirement" Promises Treasury Secretary

And finally...
Explosion caused by cow farts literally blows the roof off barn in central Germany, one bovine treated for burns
White House says it will review petition to deport Justin Bieber

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