Thursday, February 27, 2014


News Links, February 25-28, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
China's yuan might ultimately challenge dollar: ECB's Mersch
Walmart International: Lousy Economies 'Everywhere We Operate'
Saxo Bank's Steen Jakobsen Warns of Global Economic Vacuum, China Slowdown, Germany Growth Negative, 30% S&P Correction
The lost generation of Spain's unemployed youth
Rome days away from bankruptcy
Discount stores flourish as recession habits persist (Europe)
Incentives are coming for payments by phones
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox goes dark in blow to virtual currency
Too Big To Fail? Crypto-Community Calls For Mt. Gox Bitcoin Bailout
Ukraine Hryvnia Down 17% in Two Weeks as Run on Banks Intensifies; 7% of Bank Deposits Withdrawn in 3 Days
This is no recovery, this is a bubble – and it will burst
South Korea Reform Plan Resembles Japan's Abenomics
Canadians on target for record year of personal debt despite better end to 2013: TransUnion
French Joblessness Surges To New Record High (Up 30 Of Last 32 Months)
Ghanaians Cut Savings to Keep Babies Fed as Prices Soar: Economy
G-20 growth target may burn out global economy

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Qantas to Cut 5,000 Jobs by 2017 Amid A$252 Million Loss
Delta to award frequent flier bonus based on ticket price
SpiceJet sparks another fare war as airlines face lean season
AirAsia X reports loss in 2013
THAI loses 1.2 Billion baht in 2013
Ryanair says cross Atlantic fare will be under $20
The airline would charge for meals and baggage, O'Leary said. It would also rely on "a very high number of business or premium seats" to cover the cost of the flight, he said.
Regional airlines face 'irreversible collapse' (Australia)
American Airlines Drops Bereavement Fares
Latest airline perk: Safe distance from the masses
The idea is to provide an exclusive experience - inaccessible, even invisible, to the masses in coach. It's one way that a gap between the world's wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else has widened.
United Has Seen 22,500 Flight Cancellations Already in 2014, Guess About Guidance

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Ukraine protesters nominate legislator for new PM
Yatsenyuk, 39, is a millionaire former banker who served as economy minister, foreign minister and parliamentary speaker before Yanukovych took office in 2010. Widely viewed as a technocratic reformer, he appears to enjoy the support of the U.S.
Russia Mobilizes Military, But Who Really Threatens Ukraine?
Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
Rise in West African piracy prompts boost to shipping security off Angola
China blames Philippines for latest South China Sea incident
Viktor Yanukovych 'is in Moscow', says Russian news agency
Two Russian Warships Enter Black Sea Through Bosphorus; Another Docks In Cuba
Iraq signs deal to buy arms, ammunition from Iran - documents
Baghdad bombings leave scores dead and more injured
Obama's War Against Civilization
Qatar's foreign domestic workers subjected to slave-like conditions
Passenger planes could be protected from terrorists by laser defence shield

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
'US Troops Out Now': Philippine Protesters Push Against Base Expansion
Backlash: Woman attacked in SF punk bar for Google Glass
Gunfire by night becomes new norm in downtown Bangkok
Labor Protests Clog Seoul's Streets
Protesters are back in the streets in Caracas

## Energy/resources ##
Must read: Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending
Dream of U.S. Oil Independence Slams Against Shale Costs
The path toward U.S. energy independence, made possible by a boom in shale oil, will be much harder than it seems. Just a few of the roadblocks: Independent producers will spend $1.50 drilling this year for every dollar they get back. Shale output drops faster than production from conventional methods. It will take 2,500 new wells a year just to sustain output of 1 million barrels a day in North Dakota's Bakken shale, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Iraq could do the same with 60.
Mining industry rushing to raise investment, Reuters survey shows (Canada)
A trickle of new investment into global miners has created a tidal wave of interest among hundreds of small mineral explorers desperate for cash, a Reuters survey shows, setting the stage for a competition to raise funds that some are sure to lose. The mining sector has been in a prolonged downturn. Only months ago, it was nearly impossible for small explorers to find investors, reducing some companies to raising as little as C$50,000 ($45,100) at a time.
Russian Lukoil Halts Oil Supplies To Ukraine Odessa Refinery
Investors Mount Attack on Norway in $20 Billion Oil, Gas Row
"The tax increase on the Norwegian shelf comes at the worst possible time as oil companies all over the world are struggling with cash flow and value creation."
Is the Natural Gas Revolution All It's Cracked Up to Be?
Fossil Fuels to Keep Dominating Energy Consumption Mix
Despite more than 25 years of efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption and boost renewable energy use, fossil fuels will keep dominating the global energy consumption mix, said International Energy Agency (IEA) Chief Economist Fatih Birol.
Energy-starved Pakistan sets sights on coal
Petrobras aims to be among world's 5 largest oil companies in 2030
Geelong refinery sold as Shell's oil production continues to decline
What the Resource Curse Means for Afghanistan
Royal Dutch Shell shuts Nigerian oil pipeline
Royal Dutch Shell PLC's UK:RDSA -0.32% Nigerian unit said Thursday that the Nembe Creek Trunk oil pipeline was shut down to stop leakage caused by oil theft.
China Cutbacks Put Burma Oil Terminal, Pipeline in Doubt
Pakistan: US Won't Let Us Finish Iran Gas Pipeline
U.S. Moves One Step Closer To Offshore Drilling Along East Coast
Blackout hits entire Mindanao grid (Philippines)
ERCOT narrowly avoids rolling power blackouts during extreme cold (US)
Rolling blackouts in Indonesia

## Got food? ##
El Nino threatens to return, hit global food production
China's smog suffocating agriculture?
Agriculture Secretary Announces $3 Million for a New Program to Improve Pollinator Health
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide close to $3 million in technical and financial assistance for interested farmers and ranchers to help improve the health of bees, which play an important role in crop production.
Dangers of Fracking Farmland: Our Food Supply's at Risk
California Drought Threatens to Destabilize Agriculture Markets
Locked in the 'Doomsday Vault': Samples of more than 20,000 crops from 100 nations added to 800,000 existing stock at seed bank that will protect the world's biodiversity in the event of a disaster
31 Percent Of All Food In America Is Wasted – And Why That Is About To End
U.S. Lets 141 Trillion Calories Of Food Go To Waste Each Year
'Yoga Mat Sandwich'? Plastics Chemical Found in Over 500 Food Items

## Environment/health ##
Smell of forest pine can limit climate change - researchers
Geoengineering: Path Towards Further Climate Chaos
Heat extremes increase despite global warming hiatus: scientists
Malaysia, Singapore grapple with prolonged dry spell
New Study Confirms One of Agent Orange's Toxic Legacies
The researchers found that from 1971-1982, Air Force Reservists who flew C-123 aircraft which had been used to spray Agent Orange and continued to be used for other operations were exposed to levels of dioxin that exceeded U.S standards.
It still isn't over: The polar vortex is about to hit for the third time
Fukushima's radioactive water reaches the West Coast of Canada

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Obama Asks Court To Make NSA Database Even Bigger
Smartphone giants want your body
Smartphone makers are fighting for space on your wrist and your head, lucrative real estate for a new wave of high-tech devices if only they can persuade you to wear them.
Reddit Censors Big Story About Government Manipulation and Disruption of the Internet
Data Breaches Couldn't Get Worse? Now An Onslaught Of Attacks On Healthcare Networks And Even Devices
Switzerland Shifting From Bankers to Bunkers in Data Push
First contagious WiFi computer virus goes airborne, spreads like the common cold
'Truly Shocking': Govt Spies Hacked into Live Webcam Chats of Millions
Energy firm cyber-defence is 'too weak', insurers say
Boeing Is Working On a Self-Destructing Phone For Spies
Identity theft tops consumer complaints...again

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Eating Our Seed Corn: How Much of our "Growth" Is From One-Time Cashouts?

## Japan ##
Air pollution PM2.5 levels rise across Japan, 10 prefectures issue warnings
Water treatment system at Fukushima plant halts
Japan to hand over plutonium to US
21 dead in Japan from virus spread by mites
Abu Dhabi to almost double Japan oil stockpile
Abu Dhabi has agreed to nearly double a strategic crude stockpile in Japan to 1 million kilolitres as the nation's demand for oil grows in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Wam reported.

## China ##
China's looming water crisis
In a report by the Chinese News Service, Jiao Yong, Vice Minister of Water Resources, said, "China has more than 400 cities short of water, some 110 of which are facing serious scarcity." A study by the China's Ministry of Water Resources found that approximately 55% of China's 50,000 rivers that existed in the 1990s have disappeared.
Beijing Pollution: How Bad Does It Have to Get for a Red Alert?
Crisis Gauge Rises to Record High as Swaps Avoided
China's official PMI seen hitting eight-month low
China's Xi to run Internet security body: state media

## UK ##
Co-op to report worst results in history
Rise of Generation Rent as home ownership hits 25-year low
Payday loans customers seeking debt advice almost double in number

## US ##
Winter extremes heating up spring power prices: analysis
Sony Closing 20 Retail Stores, Cutting 1,000 Jobs In US
Since 2000, There Are 29 Percent More Big Banks and 24 Percent Fewer Small Banks
Army Gives Out $500,000 Armored Trucks for Free (video)
The U.S. Army is giving away 13,000 armored trucks, worth about $500,000 each. The 20-ton MRAPs, or Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected trucks, were built specifically to save U.S. soldiers from roadside bombs in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now the trucks are patrolling U.S. city streets. U.S. law enforcement agencies have received the lion's share of this high-powered military surplus.
Twinkies Bankruptcy Exposes Peril to Some U.S. Pensions: Economy
Presenting the #1 financial haven for dictators and criminals
America's Beleaguered Middle Class
Standard & Poor's 500 index closes at record high
America in 25 years: Here's what to expect
Some predictions are accurate, I think, but others are totally unrealistic. For example "cities and suburbs merge into giant metropolises" is laughable. -- RF
Chicago PD Believes It Can See The Future, Starts Warning Citizens About Crimes They Might Commit
Kerry decries 'new isolationism', says U.S. acts like poor nation
L.A. man loses U.S. Supreme Court case involving warrantless search
Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Now Hits $4.16 Trillion

And finally...
Last orders at restaurant that invented tiramisu
Fluffy Fighting! The official pillow of the Japan Pillow Fighting Association debuts
Chinese couple braves toxic smog for wedding photos, look like something out of a horror movie

Sunday, February 23, 2014


News Links, February 22-24, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Corporate cuts keep economy afloat (Australia)
WHEN the euphoria of the G20 settles, the reality presented by corporate Australia this week is a national economy just barely ticking along with profit growth driven almost entirely by cost-cutting and with revenue growth of just 2.6 per cent.
S&P expects Ukraine debt default if political crisis that's left more than 70 dead isn't resolved quickly
France is looking straight down the barrel of a deflation shock
Bank Runs Begin In Ukraine As Russia's Largest Bank Halts Lending
China Starts To Make A Power Move Against The U.S. Dollar
Even China's Economists Are Singing the Blues
United Technologies' Sikorsky unit to cut 600 jobs
Sikorsky Aircraft, the helicopter unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), on Friday said it would lay off 600 workers beginning in the next few weeks, citing continued "challenging and unstable economic conditions."
Jumeirah launches $685 Friday brunch
Project Midas: "Bad Bank" for "Bad Bank Debt"
G-20 Agrees To Grow Global Economy By $2 Trillion, Has No Idea How To Actually Achieve It
Corporate Colonialism: Winners and Losers of Global 'Free' Trade
However, as Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged, there will be "winners and losers" along the way. The winners will inevitably be the same as always: big industry, big agriculture and big finance, including, of course, big domestic players such as Mexico's Cemex and Chile's Antofagasta. As for the losers, they will be the rest of society, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable.
Seen On An ATM In Western Australia
Spain's crash landlords: empty homes spawn black housing market
The hundreds of thousands of empty homes across Madrid has spawned a black market for cheap housing in which groups illegally break into, and then let, repossessed properties.

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Thai Airways suffers net loss of B13bn
Weather, terror threat unlikely to hurt airlines' bottom lines
NYC Airport Fog Slows Travel as 7,000 Flights Delayed
Union to fight United Airlines' decision to cut 240 jobs in Canada
Qantas staff fear 3000 jobs may go as airline cuts costs
Spirit Airlines performing well but not immune from the cost creep virus spreading among US carriers
Brazil's airlines wobble as the economy wobbles and infrastructure upgrades lag expected growth
Air travel chaos as unions vow to strike at same time (Ireland)
Shortage of pilots is impacting regional airlines like Allegiant
Protest against new airport for west of France turns violent

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Caracas Chronicles: Riots in Venezuela Continue 19th Day; Best Wishes but a Sober Assessment
Oil Thieves of the Niger Delta
Crowds hail Ukraine ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko
Whereabouts and legitimacy of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych unclear
Tymoshenko ally in presidency role
US tells Russia to keep troops out of Ukraine as Crimea flashpoint looms
Militants shoot down Iraqi helicopter and occupy northern town
Mexico captures No.1 drug kingpin 'Shorty' Guzman
US expands military net over Africa, checking China's influence
U.S. Adopts Israeli Demand to Bring Iran's Missiles into Nuclear Talks
Taliban attack kills 19 Afghan soldiers in eastern Afghanistan
China, eyeing Japan, seeks WW2 focus for Xi during Germany visit
New Jet-Powered Drone Can Kill 1,800 Miles From Home Base
Stealth subs to increase combat capability of Russia's Black Sea Fleet

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Turkish police clash with protesters over Internet restriction laws
Tens of Thousands in France Say No New Airport!
Competing Marches Bring Hundreds of Thousands to Streets of Venezuela
Thailand crisis: Deadly attacks on opposition rallies
Police fire tear gas at Istanbul anti-government protest

## Energy/resources ##
The Peak Oil Crisis: A Winter Update
A good read. Tom Whipple, who has followed peal oil for years, here gives an update and summary of the global oil production situation. -- RF
South Africa's Eskom lifts power emergency, system still tight
Gold Rush Ghost Town Bodes Ill for California Power Flow: Energy
8-hour outages leave residents reminiscing about good old days (India)
German utilities should pool ailing hard coal plants, union says
North Sea oil companies 'must drill together' to maximise production (UK)

## Got food? ##
Cod shortage hits Cape Cod
Falling catches have forced the fisherman of Cape Cod to tie up their boats and turn to the American government for a bailout to save the region's fishing community from a spiral of decline.
DIY Seed Starting Kits (Video)
WHO warns of food crisis in South Africa
Hunger and malnutrition, fueled by poverty, unemployment and the price of food and petrol have left many families battling to meet their basic household needs.

## Environment/health ##
Fracking Boom Leaves Texans Under a Toxic Cloud
Study Confirms Tar Sands Contamination First Nations Warned of for Years
The study by Environment Canada shows that tailings ponds, open 'lakes' that hold toxic bi-products from tar sands mining, are leaching into groundwater and contaminating Alberta's Athabasa River.
Ottawa sinkhole shuts down part of Laurier Avenue, creates major transit delays
Coal-ash dumps threaten community

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Why Would the Federal Communications Commission Ask Newsrooms About Their Story Selection Process?
Matt Taibbi quits Rolling Stone, joins Glenn Greenwald
Neiman Marcus Hackers Set Off 60,000 Alerts While Bagging Credit Card Data
Venezuela's Internet Crackdown Escalates into Regional Blackout
Google Will Soon Know You Better Than Your Spouse Does, Top Exec Says

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Failing health becomes Greek tragedy
Gold and the beast: a brief history the Roman conquest of Dacia
See the future of the globalized economy. -- RF
The urban hyenas that attack rough sleepers
London is infested by urban foxes. Delhi is besieged by urban monkeys. Addis Ababa is plagued by urban hyenas who have moved in to the city from the surrounding hills and taken up residence in the capital.
Internal report says Parks Canada buildings in worse shape than claimed
Broadband 'blackspot' map ignores crumbling copper (Australia)

## Japan ##
Japan Trade Deficit Swells to Record as Import Costs Surge
The Madness of Abenomics In One (Crazy) Chart
Can Japan Be Switzerland? Abe's Goal With 'Collective Security'

## China ##
Chinese cities outstripping whole countries in infrastructure debt
Spending by the city of Wuhan on infrastructure construction alone is equivalent to the UK's expenses for updating and enhancing the infrastructure of the entire country, according to British media. The city is part of a countrywide, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure upgrade.
China Plans Massive 1,500 Tonne Gold Storage Vault
Beijing raises pollution alert, limits factory activity
"The Pig In The Python Is About To Be Expelled": A Walk Thru Of China's Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder Reset

## UK ##
January surplus of £4.7bn smallest in four years
Government's finances weaker than expected for month in which it usually receives more than it borrows because of tax receipts

## US ##
Wall Street Landlords Buy Bad Loans for Cheaper Homes 
Senior, 64: 'I'm never going to be able to retire.' (video)
Exploding student loan debt threatens the housing recovery
Detroit bankruptcy plan includes deep pension cuts
$1 Trillion Student Loan Problem Keeps Getting Worse
Indiana man faces felony theft charge for allegedly stealing hot dog
Windstream says cutting 400 jobs to increase efficiency
Federal water allocation to California farms hits record low
California's Water Woes Deepen: 'A Bellwether of Things to Come'
More U.S. workers take second jobs
Powerball, Mega Millions give state budgets a lift
Typically, low-income and hard-up people play the lottery, so states are benefiting from a gambling system that preys on the poor in order to bolster their budgets. In effect, lottery losers are voluntarily paying an extra tax in order to buy an infinitesimally small probability of winning. Of course, this happens in all countries with lotteries. -- RF
Most Economically Thriving U.S. Cities Have Greatest Income Inequality

And finally...
Real Life Doll Uses Hypnotherapy To Become Brainless
Woman arrested at Toronto airport had 10,000 diamonds hidden in body
Former general: Forget the sword; Jesus will return with an AR-15


News Links, February 20-21, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Peter Schiff: US 'Careens' Toward Twin Crises
Spotlight on Ukraine: Riots in Kiev, EU Weighs Sanctions, Emergency Meetings; Fear of Default Contagion Spreads
Singapore's Soaring Land Prices 'Suicidal' for Developers
Emerging Markets at Risk From Carry Trade Unwinding, BofA Says
The Vultures are Circling: Puerto Rico May Wave Its Sovereign Immunity
It is only a matter of time before Puerto Rico defaults on its debt. Banksters are enticing PR with a little more money on the condition that PR waive its sovereign immunity and agree to a New York venue in the case of default.
China Manufacturing Deteriorates at "Moderate Pace"
China Is a Growing Worry Among Fund Managers
Global investors are increasingly worried about a sharp slowdown in China, which has eclipsed the U.S. Federal Reserve's cutbacks in its bond-buying as the biggest perceived threat to the global economy, according to a survey of fund managers by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
Panama Canal expansion in doubt yet again as saga grinds on
A deal to resume work on the multibillion-dollar Panama Canal appeared in doubt on Thursday, just hours after an apparent breakthrough, in the latest twist in a protracted dispute over massive cost overruns.
Italian banks' bad debt cleanup to expose bigger capital gap
Kiev Chaos Jumps Borders as Markets Teeter: East Europe Credit
Ukraine's assets hit, Russia's rouble sets all-time euro low
IMF urges European Central Bank to mull cutting interest rates below zero
Caterpillar Global Retail Sales Decline For 14th Consecutive Month
China crisis shock waves could hit Mongolia hardest: UBS
Crash of 2014: Like 1929, you'll never hear it coming
Hong Kong gold exchange eyes 1,500-t warehouse in mainland China
Asia Imports Huge 80% Of Swiss Gold And Silver Exports In January

## Airline Death Spiral ##
U.S. Said to Warn Airlines on Possible Shoe-Bomb Threat
SAA shows loss on all international routes

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pacifism thawing, Germany looks for bigger role in regional security
Ukraine Moves Toward Martial Law as Western Region Splits
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych moved to quell a growing insurgency by granting sweeping powers to the army and police after a region declared independence from his government, risking wider conflict.
EU imposes sanctions as Kiev returns to flames
Ukraine crisis: Deadly snipers extinguish lives of Kiev's protesters
Weapons stolen, buildings burnt in Ukraine
Violence and anger protests have gripped Ukraine. The country which is going through worst civil disorder is facing the heat of angry mobs. Violent protesters have now stolen and seized deadly weapons, which can be used against the state.
China Training For "Short, Sharp War" With Japan, US Navy Warns
Japan pushes for formal bilateral ties with Taiwan to counter China
China tells North Korea it will never allow peninsular war
Suicide bombers target Iranian center in Beirut
'Iron Man' Helmet Set to Revolutionize Battlefield
Turkey's embattled Erdogan seeks wider powers for spy agency

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Brazil land disputes spread as Indians take on wildcat miners
Venezuela unrest kills fifth person, Lopez faces court
Venezuela protests escalate as students, security forces clash
Thai protesters target businesses linked to PM; farmers rally
Pussy Riot Beaten With Horsewhips In Sochi
Photos From the Anti-Government Protests in Ukraine

## Energy/resources ##
Oil Train Derailments Reaching Crisis Point
Will the U.S. Follow the U.K. Into Power Shortages?
South Africa's Eskom declares power emergency
South African power utility Eskom declared a second emergency in three months on Thursday, saying the national system was severely constrained after outages at some of its generating units.
The Problem With Condensates
While accidents involving traditional crude resulted in environmentally damaging oil spills and fire, this ultra-light crude can detonate like a bomb.
Is demand destruction in energy at hand?
Offshore Wind Industry Slowed by Birds, Bombs, Sharks
Birds, sharks and unexploded bombs from World War II are being blamed for holding up offshore wind farms, raising doubts about the costs of the technology.
Ancient Technique Lets Forests Produce Timber Without Killing Trees
Why an Accidental Leak Should Send Shivers Up Big Oil's Spine
One of the largest accidental releases of oil in Alberta's history isn't a burst pipeline and it doesn't involve a train of tanker cars derailing into a river. It's also not a thing of the past. It's been going on for about a year and it's still happening. An estimated 12,000 barrels of bitumen and water has now risen from giant cracks in the forest floor at an underground oil sands project run by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
Pole fires cripple Melbourne power grid (Australia)
Tens of thousands of Victorians were left without power on Sunday after pole fires wreaked havoc across the state's electricity grid.
Coal imports by Indian power companies surge - minister
Cold weather and price of propane fuel firewood shortage (US)
Big retailers can't meet demand for wood fuel pellets (US)

## Got food? ##
Chemicals leaching into food from packaging raise safety concerns
The New Aristocracy: Private Equity Predators and the Great American Farm Grab
Half of US farmland being eyed by private equity interests
In the not-too-distant future, many of us will perhaps be working as serfs in those fields. I have repeatedly said that the people who work the land should own it. -- RF
Troubles for Tea
The eat of battle – how the world's armies get fed
Choose the Best Garden Fence to Keep Critters Out
Hot Pockets Recalls 8 Million Pounds of Meat Due to "Diseased and Unsound Animals"

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Make time for something other than money

## Environment/health ##
China confirms H5N1, goat plague cases
The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) today confirmed outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in poultry in southwest China's Guizhou Province and goat plague in northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Some New York City streets closed due to falling ice, snow
New Yorkers got a reprieve from the relentless winter weather on Wednesday only to find that the season's wrath created a fresh menace of large chunks of snow and ice falling from skyscrapers to the sidewalks below.
Health experts warn of water contamination from California drought
Whistleblower Fired After Voicing Safety Concerns at Nuclear Site
Bumblebees infected with honeybee diseases
Scientists Fear Ecological Disaster In Nicaragua's Planned Canal
Google offers bird's-eye view of global deforestation
Drought Damages Vines as California Wineries Go Thirsty

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Edward Snowden Wins Role at U.K. University
Can Twitter Predict Major Events? A New Study Says Yes
License-Plate Tracking Technology Sought by U.S. Customs
Stores can see where you go by tracking your phone
Your phone apps know more about you than you think
U. of Maryland data breach affects 300,000
Homeland Security shelves license-plate tracking plan
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security shelved a plan to have a vendor build a national license-plate tracking system after criticism from privacy advocates.
Malware makers 'tailor' Android threats geographically
Israel Electric Opens Cyber-War Room to Defend Against Power-Grid Hacks

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Zombieland: A View Of Amerika From I-35 North
Pakistan's energy crisis threatens tree canopy
In an alarming trend, the people turn to firewood as shortage of natural gas and electricity hits them hard
As energy regimes around the world fail, people will chop down whatever trees they can find. Yes, the Picasso paintings will eventually be consigned to the flames by desperate people. -- RF

## Japan ##
Japan's January trade deficit hits record $27.3 billion
New highly radioactive leak at Japan's Fukushima plant
TEPCO says 100 tons of tainted water leaked at Fukushima
Japan to fast-track some nuclear reactor restarts
Crops and vineyards in eastern Japan ruined by heavy snow
Empty shelves: Snow hinders food distribution
Meanwhile, our village, still cut off from the outside world (except for a few vehicles allowed through a back road at certain times), got emergency food supplies yesterday, which we distributed to all households. -- RF

## China ##
Fears over a 'tail risk' hard landing in China are growing
Japan secretly developing nuclear weapons: Yazhou Zhoukan
China removes $8bn from money markets to control lending
China's manufacturing slows to seven-month low
PLA to build wharves in Hong Kong's Central District
Economists React: Another Bad Sign for China's Economy
Chinese economy's fragility under renewed focus

## UK ##
'Public health emergency' declared as one in six GPs was asked to refer a patient to food banks in the last year
British Gas reports dip in profits as energy costs rise
British Gas chairman in blackout warning
Rick Haythornthwaite, Centrica's newly appointed chairman, says the threat of power blackouts in the UK is no longer the "figment of a scaremonger's imagination".
UK suffers wettest winter on record
Attention on Retention as Engineering Skills Shortage Continues

## US ##
The Young Subprime Debt-Slave Generation
Neofeudalism: The United States of Poverty and Inequality
New report shows that no matter which state you live in, the 1% are making even more gains as the rest fall back
Wealth gap is widest in some affluent US cities
Housing Bubble II: What's Ruining Home Sales? Not The Weather!
The Retail Real Estate Implosion
The Rental Bubble Is Also Bursting
The Chart That No "US Manufacturing Renaissance" Believer Wants To See
The US witnesses an unexpected drop in capacity utilization
Philly Fed Unexpectedly Back in Contraction; Weather Blamed Again
Tough winter creates menace: Ice from high-rises
U.S. Government Will Back Loans For Nuclear Power
Natural gas soars on threat of another polar vortex in March
Propane shortage strikes Mid-Missouri
Staying warm became pricier in January
Retailers report tomorrow, but it won't be pretty
Companies not parting with cash as economy wilts
Crude oil tops $103
Electricity Rates Triple For Some Area Customers
Sbarro closing 155 stores
Usurious Returns on Phantom Money: The Credit Card Gravy Train
Attorney: Teen was shot for having Wii controller in hand
Correction, says Wal-Mart, We Definitely Do Not Support Higher Wages
Pothole pain: The cost of this winter's pitted roadways
In 2013 The Fed Bought 150% More Treasurys Than All Foreigners Combined
Why Cheap Just Isn't Enough Anymore for Walmart
After Market: Stocks Rally, S&P 500 Closes In on Record High
Coloradans fuming over secret deal to privatize highway toll lanes

And finally...
Italian cleaner accidentally throws modern art in the bin
The strange subculture of rubber duck racing

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


News Links, February 18-19, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Analysts say NZ economy ready for collapse
Japanese GDP and Exports Seriously Underperform Expectations
Turkey economic model faltering
Financial analysts now include Turkey among the so-called Fragile Five economies at risk of a downturn.
Two-Week Price Inflation in Argentina hits 30%
Spanish Bad Loans Hit Record; Surge Most In A Year
Bank of America warns US dollar is in trouble
"Money Launderer Until Proven Innocent" - Italy Imposes 20% Tax Withholding On All Inbound Money Transfers
Survey shows growing distrust against the euro in France
US Household Debt Climbs by Most Since 2007, Mortgage Debt Leads the Way; Annually Student Debt and Autos Lead the Way
Given stagnant wages and higher taxes, the only way households can increase spending is to go further into debt.
Bank Runs Spread To Thailand

## Precious metals ##
Silver Surges By 6% In Shanghai - Longest Run Of Gains Since 1968
China Overtakes India as Top Gold Consumer
Gold Jewelry Is Back In Demand
Global Gold Coin And Bar Demand Surged 28% To Record 1,654 Tonnes In 2013
Demand for gold in Japan up threefold

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Relentless Snowstorms Forcing Highest Number Of Flight Cancellations In 25 Years
Airlines Drop 500 Flights in U.S. Northeast Storm Plan
Malaysia Airlines forecast to post core net loss of RM1.01bil in FY13
Computer problems delay United flights nationwide

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iran 'may send forces to Pakistan for captured guards'
Iran at talks: No scrapping any nuclear facility
Venezuela leader expels US officials amid protests
U.S. Navy to deploy 'Star Wars'-like laser system this summer; electromagnetic rail guns not far behind
Egyptian militants warn tourists to leave or face attack
Eurozone crisis is just getting started
Withdrawal from Politics of Disillusioned Shia Leader Muqtada al-Sadr Will Only Add to Iraq's Political Turmoil - But He May Not Officially Retire
Report: Israeli arm dealers tried to sell arms to Iran through Greece

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thai PM under siege, lengthy protests take toll on economy
Police, Protesters Clash in Thai Capital as Two People Killed
Riot police move in against Kiev protest camp
As things finally look safe, global unrest hits
At least two killed in Guinea protests over power cuts
Protest over power tariff hike
Protesters flood streets as Venezuela opposition leader arrested

## Energy/resources ##
'Big oil' getting smaller as production keeps falling
The biggest western oil companies are continuing to see their oil output decline, despite record investment in recent years spurred by sustained crude prices in excess of $100/barrel, according to data released by the companies.
Russian Lukoil Considers Re-Entry into Iranian Oil
Iranian Oil Exports Increase After Nuclear Deal
Shaking off some of the restrictions of international sanctions, Iran managed to boost its oil exports by 100,000 barrels per day in January. According to the IEA, Iran was able to export 1.32 million barrels per day last month, with the increased flow going to China, Japan, and India.
Banks sitting on huge stockpiles of raw uranium
In the past four years banks have amassed low-grade stockpiles of the nuclear fuel ingredient larger than those held by Iran, and enough to run China's nuclear plants for a year.
Another Nation Goes Coal Critical
Vietnam became the latest country to say it is seeking coal imports. Officials stated they are trying to secure about 10 million tonnes of thermal coal yearly--starting in 2017. That's of course a little ways out. But it appears even now Vietnam's changing supply-demand dynamics are beginning to impact the regional market.
Cold Weather Cuts into Oil and Gas Production
Egypt's energy quagmire could sink Sisi
Libya Oil Output Falls to 375,000 Bopd, Protest Affects El Sharara Pipeline
China Looking At Role In Cyprus Natural Gas Plans

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Police: Power cut in Peru when wire, conductors pilfered

## Got food? ##
15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING
Milk could go up 60 cents a gallon
Price of Beef Has Reached a Record High
U.S. food companies find going 'non-GMO' no easy feat
The hurdles are so high that the growing "GMO-free" trend could result in a price spike for consumers, industry experts say. Eighteen years after GMO crops were introduced to help farmers fight weeds and bugs, they are so pervasive in the supply chain that securing large and reliable supplies of non-GMO ingredients is nearly impossible in some cases.
Grocery Manufacturers Want Foods with GMOs to Be Labeled as 'Natural'
Food prices soar as incomes stand still

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Passive Solar Design: Creating Sun-Inspired Homes

## Environment/health ##
Growing industrialization threatens the deep ocean's ecosystems, considered key to the health of the planet
Beyond marine life depletion, the deep sea also is being threatened by the search for new sources for energy and precious materials. Oil and gas exploration now routinely targets seabeds in more than a thousand meters of water depth. Demand for modern technology devices—from cell phones to hybrid car batteries—has fueled a push by the mining sector to deep waters in search of new sources of metals and other materials.
Deep-sea mining 'must responsibly respect ecosystems'
Train accidents stir worries about crude transport
Toxic Chemicals Linked to 'Global, Silent Pandemic' Striking Children Worldwide
Nanomotors controlled inside living human cells for the first time
Promises of Prosperity, Fracking Delivers Devastating Toxic Emissions
Fracking Well Blowout Causes Oil And Chemical Wastewater Spill In North Dakota (Updated)

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Cyberattack on Energy Sector would be 'Devastating'
Reporting From the Web's Underbelly
Docs Show NSA Targeted Wikileaks, Assange Vows Legal Fight
France's Snecma targeted by hackers - researcher

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Reaching Limits to Growth: What Should our Response Be?
Oil limits seem to be pushing us toward a permanent downturn, including a crash in credit availability, loss of jobs, and even  possible government collapse. In this process, we are likely to lose access to both fossil fuels and grid electricity. Supply chains will likely need to be very short, because of the lack of credit. This will lead to a need for the use of local materials.
Health systems, neoliberalism, and the end of growth: The World Health Organization in denial
5 Economic Collapses That Changed History
Is Atlanta's 'snowpocalypse' panic a depiction of societal collapse?

## Japan ##
Snow-clogged roads trigger food shortages, send vegetable prices surging
Hungry drivers, shoppers find shelves bare
Expressways gradually cleared after heavy snow in Japan, but thousands still isolated
Japan's economy grows 0.3 percent in fourth quarter of 2013
Japan's economy grew 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2103 from the previous quarter, or 1.0 percent in annualized terms, the government said Monday.
That's hardly different from no growth at all. Truly, growth is dead. -- RF
Weak spending shows Japanese consumer doubts about Abenomics
Bank of Japan holds fire despite soft GDP, expands loan programs
New rate hike by Hokkaido Electric
Tokyo Gets Impatient on Reactor Restarts
Eager to restart reactors, utilities increase spending on safety by 60%
Japan's Trade Gap With China Expected to Grow
65% to curb household spending due to sales tax hike: Mainichi poll
People will soon feel the failures of Abenomics

## China ##
China Bank Loans: Reform Or Bust
The record 1.3trn yuan of loans extended by Chinese banks in January suggest that authorities have loosened credit to limit the possibility of a sharp economic slowdown amidst the ongoing shadow banking crackdown. While this may allay fears of an imminent collapse, new stresses on the banking sector suggest that lending growth will have to weaken and the economy will continue to slow.
China Folds On Reforms - Bails Out 2nd Shadow-Banking Default After "Last Drop Of Blood" Threats
China concerned at Japan holding weapons-grade plutonium
Toxic smog threatens millions of Chinese lives
Gold price signals China credit bubble bursting as investors seek safety
China's "unfolding credit crunch" is having an unforeseen and dramatic impact on gold prices as investors urgently stock up on the precious metal as a form of financial protection against a sharp correction in the world's second largest economy.
China Fooled the World (But It Cannot Last)
Chinese Iron Ore Stockpiles Rise To Record As End Demand Plummets
China mopping up liquidity flood before G-20 meeting

## UK ##
Street lights switching off
TWO THIRDS of street lights will be switched off across the county overnight in a bid to save half a million pounds a year. The move will see hundreds of residential streets plunged into darkness between midnight and 6am with only selected roads, bends and junctions left lit up.
Average UK house price hits £250,000, ONS says

## US ##
U.S. Plunges to #46 in World Press Freedom Index, Below Romania and Just Above Haiti
Oil price above $100 on US heating fuel demand
Half of U.S. prison sex crimes involve staff toward inmates: fed study
Woman Arrested For Not Returning Movie Rented In 2005
When the housing market is owned by Fed banks: Federal Reserve went from holding zero in mortgage-backed securities to over $1.5 billion.
Are U.S. consumers crumbling?
US consumer debt rises in Q4 by most since 2007
Capital One says it can show up at cardholders' homes, workplaces
The credit card company's recent contract update includes terms that sound menacing and creepy.
Water in America: Is It Safe to Drink?
CBO report: Minimum wage hike could cost 500,000 jobs
Oil and Gas Projects Face Labor Shortage
Crude oil tops $101
Student Loans Hit Record $1.08 Trillion; Delinquent Student Debt Rises To All Time High
China Sold Second-Largest Amount Ever Of US Treasurys In December: And Guess Who Comes To The Rescue
What we know about income inequaliy: America's disappearing 'middle-skill' jobs and falling wages
Top States for Cigarette Smuggling
Unemployment Becomes Top Worry Among Americans

And finally...
Man calls 911 over wife's stuck zipper
This Is What Happens When You Watch Mainstream Media TV News (video)

Sunday, February 16, 2014


News Links, February 15-17, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
China Banks' Bad Loans Reach Highest Since Financial Crisis
Chinese banks' bad loans increased for the ninth straight quarter to the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis, highlighting pressures on asset quality and profit growth as the world's second-largest economy slows.
Most government debt per person (table)
Japan stands head and shoulders above the rest. How long before the crash? -- RF
World asleep as China tightens deflationary vice
20 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire
Spain's underground economy is booming
Crazy weather disrupting economic activity worldwide
TPP: Obama Furiously Pushes Secret Trade Deal, Opposition Grows
Obama Mexico Visit Spotlights 20-Year Legacy of Job Loss from NAFTA, the Pact on Which Obama's TPP Is Modeled
Foreign banks bracing for tough U.S. Fed capital rules
Mexican Cartels Are Getting Into the Oil Business, and Business Is Booming

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Middle East airlines must consolidate to survive -- IATA
Airlines Seek Rebound From Most Cancellations Since Sandy
Iberia pilots drop strike threat and accept 14% salary cut
Willie Walsh, head of Iberia and BA parent group IAG, says 'bold' deal was only way to save airline from decline
Republic Airways says lack of pilots to cut 2014 profit
Norwegian Air Swings to Loss But Leases More Dreamliners
Canceled! Airlines scrap record number of flights
Mother Nature isn't entirely to blame. A mix of cost-cutting measures and new government regulations has made airlines more likely to cancel flights and leave fliers scrambling to get to their destination.
Government can't save Qantas Airways Limited
Despite growth in passenger numbers Virgin Australia can't make money since 2009
Peach stepping up efforts to hire pilots

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russia warns West against interference in Ukraine
Navy Chief: US Would 'Help' Philippines In South China Sea
The United States will "help" the Philippines in the event that China occupies disputed islands in the South China Sea, the US Chief of Naval Operations said Thursday.
Radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr 'to retire from politics'
Chinese military port approved in Hong Kong
New Israeli Unit Targets Syrian Border Threats
Cash-Strapped Malaysia Looks To Lease Fighters

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Iraq unrest grows as militants seize control of northern city
Bahraini policeman dies after bomb explosion
Beijing tightening the screw on Uighurs in Xinjiang autonomous region
Thai police fail to reach deal with protesters
'Chavistas' march in Venezuela, opposition protests continue

## Energy/resources ##
Big Oil Sheds Assets to Fix Balance Sheets
The oil industry may be in the midst of entering a new phase of high costs and slower growth. New oil discoveries are harder to come by, and the scramble to replace depleting production is costing more and more. The days of the large discovery that is easy to tap into are gone. Now, the industry has to go to the ends of the earth to get more oil. And for years, the majors were happy to do so – capital expenditures rose significantly over the last decade for most of the largest oil companies.  But the main problem? Production for many of them has not increased in a corresponding fashion.
South Korean Gas Stations Struggling
The number of gasoline stations in South Korea have plummeted for the fifth year in a row, the Korean Times reports. According to the Korea Oil Station Association, stations have been shutting down because of decreasing margins from the sale of gasoline.
UK To Get Hands-On In Quest For Remaining North Sea Oil
It's not that North Sea oil is running out... But the oil is getting harder and more expensive to recover. And many of the firms with the skills to do so complain they can't get access to the infrastructure they need because it is owned by major oil companies that are focused elsewhere in the world and see little benefit from helping competitors.
Future not looking bright for US giant solar power station
A Week of Safety Mishaps from the Energy Industry
Winter slows oil production in North Dakota
Brazil rations water in 140 cities amid worst drought in decades
Maintaining the Grid as Residential Solar Power Increases

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Copper thieves hit art and buildings in Toronto parks
Copper thieves lift Virgin Media cables in northwest London
Power cuts at 32,000 Yorkshire homes in year of cable theft woe

## Environment/health ##
Climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflict
Wavier jet stream 'may drive weather shift'
11 Toxic Chemicals Affecting Brain Development In Children

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Syrian Electronic Army hacks into Forbes
Earwax and underarm odors: New ways to investigate and identify you
You Don't Need to Be a Sexter to Want a Self-Destructing Message Service
Ron Paul Launches Clemency Petition For Edward Snowden
Australia Faces New Spying Claims but Abbott Says Information for Protection Only
NSA Australia allies 'spied on US law firm' in Indonesia row
Kickstarter says hackers got customer data
Merkel, Hollande to discuss European communication network avoiding U.S.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Certainty, Complex Systems, and Unintended Consequences
The rampage of the top predators.
Watch as the bail-ins proceed, as desperate governments and other top predators grab whatever they can. -- RF
If America Continues To Go Down The Same Path As Europe, This Is What Life Will Be Like…

## Japan ##
No end in sight for N-reactor checks
Minor fire hits nuclear fuel plant in Ibaraki Prefecture
Heavy snow kills 12 in Japan, disrupts power and flights
IAEA backs controlled discharge of tainted water into sea from Fukushima plant
Lack of bids threatens to keep Fukushima evacuees in temporary lodgings

## China ##
Swelling Debt Spreads Among China's Local Governments
China's traditionally underdeveloped provinces have long faced debt pressures. Increasingly, though, they are being joined by more-developed provinces that overreached, betting on resources or property investment as their paths to prosperity.
Chinese Capital Markets Frozen As Bad Loans Soar To Highest Since Crisis
China's January crude oil imports hit record high
China Savers' Penchant for Property Magnifies Bust Danger
China plans to build 4 carriers, including nuclear: report
Power, steel, cement suggest China's economy not so buoyant
China's Record New Credit Boosts Outlook for Economic Growth
China Tiger Moms Turn Guardians of One-Child Policy as Law Eases

## UK ##
U.K. Home Prices Hit Record High Amid London Boom
'Letter bombs' sent to British military
UK weather: Billions could drop off the economy as storms continue
With Porn Filters Going Oh So Well, UK Roars Ahead In Expanding Them To Include 'Extremist' Content

## US ##
The Rise (and Rise and Rise) of the 0.01 Percent in America
Industrial Production Declines, November and December Revised Lower; String of Unexpected Events Continues
Unexpected Happens Again:
• The unexpected decline in industrial production (the most since May of 2009) follows

• The unexpected decline in retail sales which in turn followed
• The unexpectedly weak jobs report in February
• Which followed a Huge Miss in ISM; Largest Decline in New Orders in 4 Years
• Which followed a Big Miss: Nonfarm Payrolls +74,000 vs. 205,000 Expected in January
Keep watching as economies "unexpectedly" collapse. -- RF
The True State Of The Economy: Record Number Of College Graduates Live In Their Parents' Basement
Feel the love: Dow jumps nearly 130 points
Obama signs increase in U.S. debt ceiling
Possible radiation leak at New Mexico military nuclear waste site
Obama: Figure out how to satisfy US water needs
Cold weather slams U.S. factory output, spurs growth fears
10 weapons Wall Street uses to manipulate you: No quantum computer needed for this profit-making machine
California's New 'Dust Bowl': "It's Gonna Be a Slow, Painful, Agonizing Death" For Farmers

And finally...
10-Year-Old Steals Parents' Car, Crashes It, Tells Cops He's a Dwarf (Norway)
'Moon rock' given to Holland by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin is fake

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