Tuesday, March 04, 2014


News Links, March 4-5, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Banks From Spain to Italy Massaged Balance Sheets, Moody's Says
Ukraine seeks $15 billion from IMF
Ukraine: From Breadbasket To Basket Case
Another bitcoin site bites the dust
UK lawyer says 'hundreds' ready for bitcoin class action
Singapore tops list of most expensive cities for 2014
PIMCO To Buy Billions In European Toxic Debt
Japan-South Korea political tension straining economic ties
U.S. staring contest with Japan stretches out TPP talks
U.S. economy headed for "substantial slowdown": Dan Gross
Why Europe will balk at Russian sanctions
Gold smugglers innovate to get past customs at Indian airports
Learning to embrace the informal economy
Neuwirth has developed a deep respect for the ingenuity and sheer pluck he's encountered in the world's slums and street markets, and he paints a decidedly different portrait of the workers he has met and the system in which they operate. Where a police officer might see an unlicensed street vendor or an economist a competition-threatening smuggler, Neuwirth sees determined, entrepreneurial men and women striving for decent lives in places where aboveboard jobs are in short supply.

## Airline Death Spiral ##
The end of airlines predicted by no other than former Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon in July 2008
Singapore's Tiger Airways could pull out of Indonesia - sources
Higher airport tax in klia2 could cut passenger loads, budget airlines' profits (Malaysia)
Abbott Government urges Labor to axe carbon tax to help Qantas
Qantas: Australia Considers Allowing Foreign Ownership
Worst time for air travel since 9/11
Regional airlines say subsidies are urgently needed (Australia)
Iberia: six successive years of losses. Now will 2014 finally see a return to profit?
Carry-on crackdown: United enforces bag size limit
Airlines cancel nearly 2,300 flights
Airline Rewards Cards Are Sinking in Value

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russia Successfully Tests ICBM Near Caspian Sea
Putin brings down Crimea tensions; Kerry in Kiev
US prepares $1B aid package for troubled Ukraine
Of course the US doesn't have the $1B, which it will borrow from someone else. -- RF
The Backstory to the Russia-Ukraine Confrontation: The U.S. and NATO Encirclement of Russia
Russia And China Stand In Agreement On Ukraine – And That Is Very Bad News For The United States
An Important Second Listen to the "F--k the EU" Ukraine Recording
Trade Talks Cancelled as Obama Threatens Russia Sanctions
Putin Advisor Threatens With Dumping US Treasurys, Abandoning Dollar If US Proceeds With Sanctions
Why Budget Cuts Could Cripple The US Army For Many Years To Come
Hagel's 'Defense Cuts' Are Smoke And Mirrors (Ron Paul)
Oil Piracy Moves to Angolan Coast with $8M Heist
An oil tanker hijacked for a week off Angola last month has been returned to the authorities, but not before hijackers managed to siphon $8 million worth of diesel fuel from the ship for sale on the black market.
US Expands Military Net over Africa, Checking China's Influence
Israel issues figures on huge settlement expansion
The Israeli Bureau of Statistics revealed a 123 percent increase on construction of the illegal settlements moments before Netanyahu met Obama at the White House

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Global riot epidemic due to demise of cheap fossil fuels
From South America to South Asia, a new age of unrest is in full swing as industrial civilisation transitions to post-carbon reality
Jailed opposition leader calls for more Venezuela protests
Thailand may extend state of emergency despite scaled-back protest
Pro-Russia protesters occupy regional government in Ukraine's Donetsk
Egypt's new prime minister faces labor crisis, strikes

## Energy/resources ##
Ukraine Refinery Halts Amid Tensions with Russia
Russia's Lukoil has reportedly halted all oil supplies to Ukraine's Kherson refinery in Odessa ostensibly over unpaid debts as  political chaos engulfs the country with the refinery's director and top executives walking out.
Rosneft to Spend $83 Billion to Develop Siberian Oil Field
As the situation in Ukraine continues to unravel and Washington and the European Union consider how to respond to Moscow's moves, the unhappy fact for Brussels is that the Russian Federation provides roughly a third of the EU's energy needs.
New Report Finds Oil Sands Production Costs Below U.S. Tight Oil
This doesn't mean oil sands production is cheap; rather, it spotlights the very high cost of producing crude oil with shale drilling. -- RF
EU Commission worried about Ukraine gas supply, not Europe's
Refinery Fire Leaves One-Week Supply of Airplane Fuel (Moscow)
Nigeria, 17 Other African Nations Account for 15% of World Oil Production
Must read: Total's CEO Discusses Rising Costs, Meeting Global Demand
"We have to reduce demand in a cost-efficient manner, but also be competitive to satisfy the markets." … "Today we are not able to meet demand. It's that simple."
A frank admission of the need for demand destruction. And whose demand will be destroyed first? -- RF

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal theft summit to highlight victims and costs

## Got food? ##
Escargot could follow the dodo, scientists warn
France's snails have been contaminated with the New Guinea flatworm, which could "wipe out" snail populations

## Environment/health ##
European flood risk could double by 2050
The chemical dangers in food packaging
Climate change affects fish living in the deepest parts of the ocean, scientists claim
Haze Shrouds Malaysian Capital Amid Forest Fires and Drought
Scientists: Melting Ice May Unleash Giant, Ancestral Viruses
More terrifying than super storms, killer droughts and rising seas, researchers revealed Monday that global warming-induced ice melt can potentially unleash ancient viruses, prompting future threat to human health.
Sleep Problems Plague Device-Dependent Children
Is Roundup the Cause of 'Gluten Intolerance'?
A compelling new peer-reviewed report from two U.S. scientists argues that increased use of Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide (trade name Roundup) could be the cause of the epidemic of symptoms labeled as "gluten intolerance."

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Navy Commander Who Interrogated Alleged 9/11 Terrorist Mastermind KSM Found Murdered
360 Million Newly Stolen Credentials Being Sold On The Black Market

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Winter Horror Show: Attack of Car-Eating Potholes

## Japan ##
With too few borrowers, Japan's regional banks are urged to merge
Japan to regulate and tax Bitcoin trades: Nikkei
Radioactive water still a challenge three years after Fukushima disaster
Technology and working conditions for decommissioning process still lacking
Japan's plutonium stocks safe: IAEA
Number of cases of people fraudulently receiving welfare sets record
Tokyo's Metropolitan Police, 4 other prefectures deploy facial recognition systems

## China ##
Beijing's Smog Ain't Going Nowhere
Facing angry public, China to tackle air pollution
Chinese oil demand growth slumps on slowing economy
Chinese Physical Gold Demand YTD 369t Up 51 % Y/Y

## UK ##
Sugar tax may be necessary, England's chief medical officer says
123 jobs under threat at Newport's Orb Electrical Steelworks
Boris Johnson: Children at risk of radicalisation by their parents should be in care

## US ##
Buffett Says Pension Tapeworm Means Decade of Bad News
"Citizens and public officials typically under-appreciated the gigantic financial tapeworm that was born when promises were made," Buffett wrote in his annual report to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) released on March 1. "During the next decade, you will read a lot of news –- bad news -– about public pension plans."
RadioShack closing 1,100 stores as troubles grow
Divers Find 65-Foot Crack In Columbia River Dam
Theme parks 'out of reach' for some families
The Debt Bubble Expands as Auto Loan Amounts Hit a New Record
Arctic cold sets records in eastern United States
Bernanke Starts to Cash In (Gets $250K to Speak in the United Arab Emirates)
Leftovers from Afghanistan and Iraq Wars: 1,558 Amputations; 7,224 Severe Brain Injuries; 118,829 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
California's $600 Billion Sinkhole
What Student Loans Are Really Used For: The Depressing Case Studies
Puerto Rico's travails hit muni bond firm that bet big
Gasoline Prices Up for 25 Consecutive Days
Redwood Poaching Causes California Parks To Close

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