Friday, March 21, 2014


News Links, March 21-22, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Ukraine to Impose Wealth Tax on Deposits; Run on Ukrainian Banks Coming?
China's Highsee Iron And Steel Group Possibly Facing Bankruptcy: Report
Bank of England Admits that Loans Come FIRST … and Deposits FOLLOW
Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits
Caterpillar Global Retail Sales Continue Sliding, Drop For 15th Month In A Row; LatAm Tumbles
Fallout From Snowden Hurting Bottom Line of Tech Companies
Mt. Gox has found 200,000 bitcoins worth around $114 million
China Faces "Minsky Moment" on Ponzi Financing
Tumbling Chinese yuan sets off 'carry trade' rout, triggers derivatives contracts
China default watch list grows
Spain Needs 'Diet' to Narrow Budget Gap, Employers Say 

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Weakening rupiah behind Tigerair Mandala trouble
Airline Passengers Are Feeling the Squeeze
Sometimes it's cheaper to buy a new ticket than to pay the airline's change fee
Lufthansa pilots vote for strike

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russian forces seize two Ukrainian bases in Crimea
US, Europe sanctions target Putin's inner circle
The "Sanction Spiral" Elegantly Spirals Out of Control
S&P downgrades Russian outlook to 'negative'
Fitch downgrades Russia's debt from stable to negative
Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares To Announce "Holy Grail" Gas Deal With China
Forget Russia Dumping U.S. Treasuries … Here's the REAL Economic Threat
'US Foreign Policy Blowback': How US Disregard for Intl Law Set Stage for Crimean Crisis
Why Is the U.S. So Hypocritical in Foreign Policy?
Netanyahu orders IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran during 2014
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon have ordered the army to continue preparing for a possible military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities at a cost of at least 10 billion shekels ($2.89 billion) this year, despite the talks between Iran and the West, according to recent statements by senior military officers.
Taliban suicide attack on Afghan police station kills 11
Bomb explodes on runway of Libya's main airport in Tripoli
Gunmen storm upmarket Kabul hotel home to foreigners and frequented by diplomats
Iran, six powers lock horns over nuclear reactor that could yield plutonium
EU ready for sanctions if Ukraine crisis worsens - Merkel
EU options on Russian energy stranglehold few and pricy
Buffoon Bluffery; What are Sanctions Really About?
Gunmen ram explosives-laden tanker into Iraq police HQ
Missing radioactive material may pose 'dirty bomb' threat: IAEA
About 140 cases of missing or unauthorized use of nuclear and radioactive material were reported to the U.N. atomic agency in 2013, highlighting the challenges facing world leaders at a nuclear security summit next week.
The US Promises to Go to War For More Than 54 Countries

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Rio de Janeiro to get federal troops to quell recent violence
On Austerity Chopping Block, Students & Faculty Occupy University
Ukraine-Europe deal may cause unrest in east

## Energy/resources ##
It's Official - Oil Industry Enters The New Era Of Austerity
Thermal coal prices to drop further on oversupply, weak demand
The Honeymoon Is Over: Ukraine To Stun Citizens With 40% Gas Price Hike
Syndicates causing JB diesel shortage (Malaysia)
Diesel, propane shortage lead gas stations to shut down (Yemen)
Gas stations around the capital have had to shut down this week following increased shortages of diesel fuel and propane gas.
"The Oil and Gas Weapon Won't Work": Davis & Leggett on Ukraine.
Before contemplating the use of US oil and gas as a strategic weapon, it might be useful to review a few key fundamentals. First, consider the following oil production, consumption and import/export numbers reported by British Petroleum for 2012. Russia produced 10.6 million barrels per day (mbd), consumed 3.2 mbd, leaving 7.4 mbd available for export. The United States produced 8.9 mbd, consumed 18.5 mbd, and imported 10.5 mbd.
Rising energy demand a threat to strained water supplies - UN
Petrobras Now Smaller Than Colombia's EcoPetrol
Oil-Tanker Glut Deja Vu Souring Ross, Ardmore Investments
The Challenges Facing Saudi Arabia Include More Than Oil
BG Group Targets Job Cuts To Rein In Costs
Nigeria hopes its gas can keep the lights on

## Got food? ##
Breakfast foods are getting pricier
Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The price of bacon is surging and the cost of other morning staples, like coffee and orange juice, is set to rise because of global supply problems, from drought in Brazil to disease on U.S. pig farms.
Beef Prices Surge Most In A Decade As Food Inflation Soars
More Than Three-Quarters of Soybeans, Corn and Cotton Grown in U.S. are Genetically Engineered
Mexican hunger crusade raises questions
Canada beef, pork production seen below USDA official estimates: attache

## Environment/health ##
The horrific toll of America's heroin 'epidemic'
Los Alamos lab turns to Texas to temporarily store radioactive waste
How Your Love Of Burgers May Be Helping To Drive Wildlife Extinct

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
How the NSA Targets Those with 'Keys to Digital Kingdoms'
Though accused of no wrongdoing whatsoever, spy agency targets personal computers of individuals whose job it is to protect online networks
Video of the Day – Reporter Reveals White House Press Conferences are Entirely Scripted Nonsense
Surprise, surprise! -- RF
Hack attacks battled by net's timekeepers
Google Says It's Beefed Up Encryption Because Of NSA Revelations
Obama Press Attacks Degrade the First Amendment In The Name of Security
Wearables, EVs, IoT: Charting How Big Data Affects Our Lives
Newspaper executives attacked in Hong Kong, prompting press freedom concerns
Hong Kong Morning News Media Group, Ltd. Vice President and Director Lei Lun-han and senior executive Lam Kin-ming, whose employer is preparing to launch a news publication, were attacked during their lunch break on Wednesday by four men wielding pipes.
'We'll Eradicate Twitter,' Turkey's Prime Minister Vows
Turkey's Erdogan faces backlash over Twitter ban
Google Refuses Turkey's Requests to Yank YouTube Videos
SK Telecom to compensate its 5.6 mil users for overnight service failure
Police phone-tracking contracts often kept secret
Will 'Guns, Guards and Gates' Really Terror-Proof the Grid?

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Oil Limits and the Economy: One Story, Not Two
Extreme Makeover: Infrastructure Edition
Joking aside, the reason that so much is spent on infrastructure with so little result is the high costs of energy, labor, and materials. But many people still don't get it. -- RF
As Carmakers Turn Up The Recalls, Consumers Tune Out

## Japan ##
Labor shortage undermines fiscal stimulus through public works
A shortage of construction workers is hampering government plans to buoy the economy with a massive injection of public works spending in the fiscal 2014 budget.
Japan passes record Y95.88 tril budget
'Barefoot Gen' A-bomb manga yanked from school libraries in Osaka city
4,000 attend Tokyo rally against PM Abe's plan to reinterpret Constitution

## China ##
Food waste is next target on Beijing's frugality drive
China to allow direct yuan, New Zealand dollar trades
China's yuan falls into the danger zone
Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate Co's Looming Bankruptcy Scaring China's Developers
Caixin: Haixin Steel Debt Bigger Than Reported
One of China's largest private steel maker Shanxi Haixin Iron and Steel Group Co.,Ltd failed to repay  bank loans that came due in early March. But the steel mill in China's coal heartland probably owes banks almost seven times more than previously reported.
Bloomberg hints at curb on articles about China
China to introduce tiered gas prices for household users
Chinese carmakers see growth hit a wall
Smaller shipyards to be put into drydock

## UK ##
Britain to import Russian gas under 2012 deal as tensions mount
Britain will begin this year to import gas from Russia under a formal contract for the first time, just as European calls to loosen Moscow's grip on energy supply mount because of the crisis over Ukraine.
Many students living in poor accommodation, says NUS

## US ##
Where Inequality Is Worst In The United States
Most studies agree that large urban centers, which were once meccas of upward mobility, consistently have the highest level of inequality. The modern "back to the city" movement is increasingly less about creating opportunity rather than what former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called "a luxury product" focused on tapping the trickle down from the very wealthy. Increasingly our most "successful cities" have become as journalist Simon Kuper puts it, "the vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself."
Kansas could make it a felony to report unfounded allegations of police abuse
A pretty awful new bill (PDF) in the Kansas legislature would require anyone filing a complaint against a police officer to swear an affidavit before the complaint will be investigated. If any portion of the complaint is later shown to be false, the complainant could then be prosecuted for perjury.
Clinton: 'Let's Be Clear,' Military Option for Iran 'on the Table'
Likely presidential candidate calls Israeli government policies exemplary as she receives lifetime achievement award from American Jewish Congress
Long-term jobless face a dark future in U.S.: study
Sprint cuts jobs, closes stores as part of broader plan
David Stockman on CNBC: Fed's whole Taper Kabuki Is a Farce
As snow melts, bills from Old Man winter are what piles up now
The Peak Oil Crisis: Our Harsh Winter Continues
U.S. Spends $1 Trillion a Year on Defense and Security
Bleak picture for minority kids in public schools
Do Not Make Fun Of Those That Have Fallen Out Of The Middle Class – You Could Be Next
Boeing U.S. tanker program seen $1 billion over budget
Dying Memphis Neighborhood Foretells Next U.S. Crisis: Mortgages
Investor exhaustion with investment properties hits: Blackstone's acquisition pace has fallen by 70 percent from peak last year.
U.S. Market Swimming Against an Ominous Global Tide
"QE Was A Massive Gift Intended To Boost Wealth", Fed President Admits

And finally...
'Sellotape selfies' take over from 'no makeup selfie' as the latest online trend
CNN host speculates flight 370 may have been swallowed by a black hole

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