Thursday, January 09, 2014


News Links, January 9-10, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Malaysia Default Risk at 2-Month High on China Slowdown Concern
The cost of insuring Malaysia's sovereign debt climbed to a two-month high on concern growth in China, the nation's biggest export market, is slowing.
US to EU: Use More Public Funds to Backstop Your Banks
Household and Non-Financial Credit in Spain Sink, Government Debt Expands; No Recovery in Sight
Spain Youth Unemployment Rises To Record 57.7%, Surpasses Greece
Italian Unemployment Hits 37-Year High
Secrets and Lies of the Bailout (US)
The federal rescue of Wall Street didn't fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come
Study: Bulgaria has the largest grey economy in the EU
The Western Balkan Economies - Informal, with Huge Unemployment and Unreforming
Richest Danes Face Benefit Cuts as Universal Welfare Abandoned
Dubai Plans to Crack Down on Home Flipping That Fed Bubble
As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal's Expansion?
Philippines typhoon rebuilding may cost 50 pct more this year than estimated
India to seek foreign investment in giant, creaking rail network

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Kansas City International Airport to close one of three terminals
Air rage, winter storms and passenger rights
Airlines up capacity for local flights, but what about fares?
Moody's downgrades Qantas to "junk" status
Airlines cut back services
Thailand's Civil Aviation Department has now officially confirmed 56 flights have been cancelled, from Singapore and Hong Kong until late February. It said airlines claimed there was reduced travel demand forcing them to cut back services to the Thai capital.
Airlines go on buying spree for 8,200 new jets; old planes get sent to desert chop shop
With the price of fuel nearly 4 times what it was 10 years ago, airlines need to replace aging, gas-guzzlers
Weather flight disruptions cost $1.4 billion
Hawaiian CEO: Airfares are fair

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
United States sending more troops and tanks to South Korea
Iran, big power nuclear talks hit snag on centrifuge research
Police purge in Turkey spreads to regions
We want a United States of Europe says top EU official
Iraqi government holding off on waging an offensive against al-Qaida in Anbar province
Fallujah Tribes Ready to Fight Iraqi Army
Decision on attending peace talks brings main Syrian opposition group to brink of collapse
Two weeks ahead of an international peace conference on Syria, the country's main Western-backed opposition group stands on the brink of collapse, dragged down by outside pressures, infighting and deep disagreements over the basic question of whether to talk to President Bashar Assad.
South Sudan government moves to retake key towns as US warns of 'all-out civil war'
Russia Places Region Near Sochi on Alert as Six Found Dead
Numerous Explosives Discovered Near Winter Olympics Site

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Preparing For Civil Disobedience? London Mayor Wants Water Cannons In London By The Summer
Thai anti-government protesters march, consumer confidence slumps

## Energy/resources ##
Will Ford's solar-powered car be the future of autos? No! Here's why...
The huge gap between how much power a car needs and the amount generated by its rooftop PV panels helps one understand the gap between how much power industrial society needs and the amount provided by all the world's vast solar arrays. Caught up in the excitement over renewables, people tend to lose the perspective required to understand the colossal scale of industrial society and its similarly colossal energy consumption. And recall that even renewables are fossil fuel extenders. -- RF
Brazil's Energy Sector Faces Considerable Challenges Going Forward
According to Wagner Freier, former petroleum geologist with Petrobras, "There were a lot of government authorities saying the reserves of Brazil were 50 billion barrels, 100 billion barrels, even 240 billion barrels, more than Saudi Arabia." Unfortunately, he says, "Lots of wells have been drilled in the pre-salt area, and the well comes up dry." The cost of developing these pre-salt basins is increasing as well, with current estimates putting the required aggregate capital at a staggering $237 billion, making this oil some of the most expensive on the planet.
Offshore wind builders to cut more projects in world's top market
Britain has built the world's biggest offshore wind energy market but there are signs it may have reached a tipping point as companies cancel and sell off projects in the face of steep costs.
Libyan oil crisis swells as militias refuse to end shutdown
Libya's PM warns may sink oil tankers nearing east ports
Iraq's Oil-Fueled Comeback Story Threatened by Anbar Violence
Another Fiery Derailment Hits Booming Crude-by-Rail Business (Canada)
Thousands of railcars need updating after crude crashes: Greenbriar CEO
Spain was powered primarily by wind last year
S. Korea moves toward building world's fourth-largest oil hub
Thailand seeks LNG, new energy resources as gas reserves dwindle
Thailand is seeking more imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and looking to other energy sources such as coal and renewables as domestic gas reserves will likely last only another seven years, senior Energy Ministry officials said on Thursday.
Extreme Cold Weather Freezes US Fuel Supply
The US has been recently hit with cold weather that has broken records in many states, including in New York where the minus 16 Celsius managed to break a record that had stood since 1896. This arctic chill has forced natural gas and gasoline pipeline operators to reduce flow and refineries to scale back production, after some systems have started to fail under the extreme conditions. The instruments that control the flow have failed and some product has thickened or turned to jelly in some of the lines.
Kashagan oil restart plans under review
Arctic chill exposes weakness of U.S. natural gas system
UAE to take control of oil fields from western majors
India's coal imports rise 20 percent to help fuel new power plants
Coal use in Germany the highest in 24 years
China steps up coal capacity even as pollution mounts
UH Dives Deep to Advance Subsea Engineering
"The easy oil is gone," Franchek said at a recent Focus on Energy event that was put on by the UH Energy initiative and the Graduate School. He talked about the extreme environment and about the costs associated with drilling for oil in such an extreme environment, where equipment failures can cost billions of dollars.
Shale gas, peak oil and our future

## Got food? ##
This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?
Monsanto Profit Tops Estimates on Soybeans and Roundup
Hunt for Food Sends Venezuelans to Colombian Border Towns
Honeybee shortage threatens crop pollination in Europe
Feds shut Calif. chicken plant infested with cockroaches
Doctors lobby against food stamp cuts as study links hospitalizations to dropping food budgets
Many Countries Reaching Diminishing Returns in Fertilizer Use
Diabetics May Be Getting Sick Because They Can't Afford Food

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Inside the Rise of the Tiny House Movement

## Environment/health ##
Geoengineering plan could have 'unintended' side effect
Goodbye, Manatees: Record Number of Deaths in 2013
First N America H5N1 avian flu death confirmed in Canada
Latin American rivers among most polluted in the world, says new study
Report: Fracking Operations Are Contaminating Well Water In 2 States
Sugar is as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco, warn health experts
Britain's obesity crisis could be reversed within five years if food companies reduced sugar in products by 30 per cent, health experts claim as they launch a new campaign to cut intake
While U.S. Shivers, Australia And Brazil Sizzle
More than three quarters of large carnivores now in decline

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
As NSA Slammed, EU Panel Wants to Hear Directly from Snowden
An NSA Agent Is Co-Chairing a Project to Encrypt the Web
Researchers skip computer security conference over reports of NSA collaboration on encryption
At least eight researchers or policy experts have withdrawn from an Internet security conference after the sponsor reportedly used flawed encryption technology deliberately in commercial software to allow the National Security Agency to spy more easily on computer users.
7 Things You Missed If You Didn't Read Wired's Big Story On How The NSA Is Killing The Internet
Two-Thirds of Americans Live in the 4th Amendment "Exemption Zone"
Yahoo Virus Converts Millions Of Computers Into Bitcoin Mining Slaves
U.S. Navy Mistakenly Emails Reporter Plans To Dodge FOIA Requests
The World Post: Another Media Platform for the World's Rich and Powerful?
The editorial board includes a roster of billionaires, such as Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google; Pierre Omidyar, the founder and chairman of eBay; and Walter Isaacson, the chief executive of the Aspen Institute. Former British prime minister Tony Blair and Microsoft's Bill Gates, as well as advisers to the billionaire's think tank — the Berggruen Institute—will be numbered among the publication's contributors.
Ford Exec: 'We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law' Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car
500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
12 Signs Of Extreme Social Decay In America That Are Almost Too Horrible To Talk About
If You Are Waiting For An "Economic Collapse", Just Look At What Is Happening To Europe
Central African Republic crisis: 'Like Darfur, plus anarchy'

## Japan ##
TEPCO withheld Fukushima radioactive water measurements for 6 months
Welfare recipients hit record high
Japanese Consumer Sentiment Slumps - Biggest 6-Month Drop Since 2007
Japanese households remain pessimistic over economy despite 'Abenomics' promises
Defense ministry to revamp tank landing ships for joint operations with ground troops
Japan Launches Tax-Free Investment Accounts
This is a desperate bid to get gullible people to keep the stock market bubble inflated. But there's a flaw in this thinking. If people are parking cash in regular bank accounts, the banks are investing it or loaning it. The portion that banks invest will just be invested by someone else (the depositors), while the portion that would have been loaned is now unavailable to create new credit, and because the ponzi economy is dependent on expanding debt, this will just create a new problem. The money that's not in stocks/bonds or loans is used by households to stuff their mattresses ("bureau-drawer deposits," as the Japanese call them), and there is a huge amount. Owing to Japan's culture of having a strong cash position, it will be very hard to make the public put more cash into the stock market, whether that money is stuffing bureau drawers or in bank accounts. -- RF
Japanese Keep Holding Cash, Despite New Technology
In Japan, you can use your credit card as a commuter pass to get on trains. You can buy canned drinks by swiping your cell phone across a vending-machine data pad. At first glance, it seems the cashless society has arrived. But the reality is that demand for cash keeps growing—a trend that confounds economists, and even the central bank... This wouldn't be an issue if people were spending all that cash. Yet economists say much of it is socked away at home in dressing cabinets and shoe boxes. That could be undermining Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's goal of ending years of deflation, which has depressed wages and growth.
This article, which I ran across after writing the comment on the article just above, nicely corroborates my explanation. The government will be disappointed because ultimately it will succeed in prying very little of that cash from people's bureau drawers. Mr. and Mrs. Watanabe put little trust in the government or the economy, so they backstop their household economies with healthy cash reserves. Methinks there is a lot of gold out there, too. -- RF
Japan boosts military ties with India, seeks to counter escalations by China
Spoiling for a fight? LDP drops past campaign pledge to 'never wage a war'
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has removed a pledge that Japan will "never wage a war" from the final draft of its campaign platform for this year, which is to be approved at the party's annual convention scheduled for Jan. 19.
Taiwanese urged by anti-nuclear groups to join lawsuit against reactor manufacturers
Rising Southeast Asian wages pinching Japanese firms
Tractors easy pickings for thieves in rural Japan
Criminals specializing in stolen machinery had a bumper crop in 2013. More than 120 tractors were swiped from farmland around the country. They are almost certainly destined for sale overseas, mainly in Asia.

## China ##
Beijing strengthens police powers in South China Sea
The Chinese government has announced that it is strengthening the implementation of police powers in the South China Sea, demanding that all foreign fishermen acquire approval from its authorities prior to operating in regions "belonging to China."
Chinese Gold Demand Strong At Start Of 2014
First wave of Chinese IPOs gets underway
China Vehicle Sales Beat 20 Million as Smog Chokes Cities
Air pollution claims 350,000 lives in China a year: report
China energy safety probe exposes 20,000 potential risks
China has uncovered nearly 20,000 disaster risks in its oil and gas sector during a nationwide safety probe following a pipeline blast that killed 62 people last year, the country's safety watchdog said on Thursday.
China abolishes its labour camps and releases prisoners
China tries to get grip on shadow banking

## UK ##
Britain is reaching 'a tipping point in its use of antibiotics', says Wellcome Trust director
Professor Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said Britain is reaching a tipping point in its use of antibiotics beyond which people will start dying of everyday infections
RWE npower joins British utilities cutting energy bills
The six had angered the public by unveiling above-inflation price rises, but agreed in December to pass on savings from a government plan to shift some environmental taxes away from energy bills in an effort to cut soaring costs in the run-up to an election due in 2015.
One Week Into 2014, UK Royal Mint Runs Out Of Gold Coins
Royal Victoria Hospital: Porter 'fed up of seeing nurses cry' over A&E problems

## US ##
Arctic chill exposes weakness of U.S. natural gas system
Macy's cutting 2,500 jobs as it reorganizes on heels of strong holiday season
Macy's Inc. is cutting 2,500 jobs as part of a reorganization to sustain its profitability.
Holiday Shopper Traffic Tumbles 14.6% As Online Sales Miss Expectations
Deep discounts fail to woo U.S. holiday shoppers
U.S. retailers posted their lowest holiday sales growth in four years after shoppers stayed at home despite some of the biggest discounts and promotions since the recession, retail industry tracker ShopperTrak said.
Several retailers cut fourth-quarter profits after weak holiday sales
Several major retailers slashed their fiscal fourth-quarter profit forecasts this week in the latest sign that Americans didn't spend briskly during the holiday shopping season.
"This Chart Is A True Representation Of The Employment Crisis In This Country"
Two Tier Travel Becoming a Reality in the US?
95% Of Total Consumer Credit Lent In Past 12 Months Is For Student And Car Loans
Here's the Giant Shoe About to Drop on the Economy
Rising Rates Could Make Interest on U.S. Debt as Big as the Defense Budget
Stock market's slow start may bode ill for 2014
U.S. is 'taking from the young,' top business lobbyist says
'Polar vortex' price tag: $5 billion
The "polar vortex" that sent a brutal shot across the bow of the United States will likely cost the nation $5 billion in lost revenue, an analysis indicates.
Barges Pile Up Near Louisiana Canal on 90-Year-Old Lock Work
Federal heating subsidies in spotlight after cold grips nation
The nation is emerging from a deep freeze but with winter just beginning, the federal safety-net program for home heating becomes all the more important – and there's less money for it now than last year. 
2014 Will Be Another Terrifying Year For Puerto Rico Bond Investors
Obama orders review of U.S. energy infrastructure
President Obama Unveils Poverty-Beating "Promise Zones"
Why does this remind me of Dubya's "ownership society"? -- RF
How The College Bubble Will Pop
Majority of Congress members now millionaires

And finally...
Things rich people do: vacation in 'shanty towns' and pretend to be poor
Do poor people get to vacation in five-star hotels and pretend to be rich? -- RF

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