Thursday, May 01, 2014

 

News Links, May 1-2, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Standard & Poors downgrades 15 European banks, cites reforms
Greek Nightclub Basements Focus of Tax-Evasion Dragnets
This chart is a hair-raising picture of Canadian home prices that makes the torrid excesses of the US housing bubble look banal
U.S. economy grows at a glacial 0.1 percent
IMF approves $17 billion loan package for Ukraine
Ukraine's East Unravels as IMF Warns on Financing
Is the Credit Bubble Popping? Carlyle Group Warns on Frothiness and Junk Bond Deals Get Pulled
US Economy Is a House of Cards
The US economy is a house of cards. Every aspect of it is fraudulent, and the illusion of recovery is created with fraudulent statistics. American capitalism itself is an illusion. All financial markets are rigged.
German bank KfW issues first Renminbi bond in Frankfurt
German state-owned development bank KfW issued the first Renminbi bond in Frankfurt on Tuesday, making another important step to promote Frankfurt as a financial center for RMB.

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Must read: Airlines Offering Fewer Flights, Fewer Seats
A government watchdog confirmed Wednesday what airline passengers are finding when they try to book a flight: Service to communities of all sizes is declining, but especially to small and medium-size airports. There are fewer flights and fewer airplane seats available than there were seven years ago, the Government Accountability Office said. Smaller destinations were particularly affected, with flights down as much as 24 percent and seats down as much as 18 percent since 2007. Flights have also declined 9 percent and seats 7 percent at large airports.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russia Strengthening Relationship With Iran
U.S. concerned by Iranian, Russian energy deal
Kiev: Forces "helpless" to restore order in east
Ukraine's acting president conceded Wednesday that his police and security forces were "helpless" to stifle unrest in the country's east, where pro-Russia gunmen seized more buildings, walking into the police station and mayor's office in this mining hub without resistance.
Western Sanctions On Russia? Think Twice
Angered and frustrated Western leaders want to impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine. However, the U.S. and its allies should really think this through before taking any action because those most likely to feel the negative impact of the sanctions are not the Russians, but the Europeans countries friendly to the United States.
Putin Parties With German Ex-Chancellor, Sanctions Be Damned
Russian President Vladimir Putin is a master at this game. Even as the sanction spiral concocted by the US and the EU is supposed to strangle his ambitions for the Ukraine, whatever they may be, and as the threat of war or civil war is hovering over the country, he set up a photo op of incomparable ingenuity. And his confidant, ex-Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder stepped in it with gusto, sanctions be damned.
Why The War Party Is Playing With Fire: Much Of Putin's Military-Industrial Complex Is In Eastern Ukraine!
Putin wants troops out of Ukraine's east
Ukraine to restore conscription after admitting it has lost eastern front
Video appears to show Mexican mayor taking orders from crime boss
PLA launches emergency drills ahead of possible NK nuclear test
Death toll in Philippine clashes rises to 26
EU Firms Help Power China's Military Rise
As China boosts its military spending, rattling neighbors over territorial disputes at sea, an AFP investigation shows that European countries have approved billions in transfers of weapons and military-ready technology to the Asian giant.
Putin gives green light to sale of S-400 missile system to China
China to conduct naval drills with Russia in East China Sea
China said on Wednesday it would conduct joint naval drills with Russia in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, in what it called a bid to deepen military cooperation.
New U.S. Stealth Jet Can't Hide From Russian Radar

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Agrarian Uprising Against Free Trade and 'Government Lies' Sweeps Colombia
Second agrarian uprising in less than a year met with tanks, soldiers, and riot police
3 dead in train station attack in China, CCTV reports
Turkish police fire tear gas on May Day protesters in Istanbul
Blasts in train at India's Chennai kill passenger, alert issued

## Energy/resources ##
Must read: Shale Drillers Feast on Junk Debt to Stay on Treadmill
The U.S. drive for energy independence is backed by a surge in junk-rated borrowing that's been as vital as the technological breakthroughs that enabled the drilling spree. While the high-yield debt market has doubled in size since the end of 2004, the amount issued by exploration and production companies has grown nine-fold, according to Barclays Plc. That's what keeps the shale revolution going even as companies spend money faster than they make it.
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the pitiful truth about the "shale revolution." If this is what we're counting on to prop up industrial society, we're in even worse trouble than I thought. -- RF
North Dakota's Bakken Still Years Away From Gas Utilization
Saudi Oil Faces Summer Heat Challenge: Chart of the Day
Saudi Arabia will probably have to sustain production above 10 million barrels a day for the longest period in more than 30 years as it meets the summer surge in domestic demand and compensates for production losses in Libya.
France caught between nuclear cliff and investment wall
France must decide in the next few years whether it wants to continue its nuclear-driven energy policy at a cost of up to 300 billion euros (246.8 billion pounds) or if it wants to embark on an equally costly route towards using other fuels.
No matter where you look, there's no cheap energy any more. -- RF
Fossil fuel subsidies growing despite concerns
RWE to close oil-fired power plant in southern England next year
Britain is at risk of a power capacity crunch in the 2020s as nuclear stations come to the end of their life and coal and gas plants shut because they cannot afford to add technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to comply with EU laws.
Gazprom ditches plan to build South Stream to Italy
Brazil World Cup 2014: São Paulo is facing 'imminent water rationing'
Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source
Venezuela to crush cars, bikes to build houses
Report: North Sea Drilling, Deal Activity to Remain Low
Drilling and deal activity on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) will remain at a "steady low" for at least the next year, according to a new report from business consultancy Deloitte. Deloitte said that poor weather and high costs already had an impact on the amount of exploration and appraisal work conducted by operators in the region during the first quarter.

## Got food? ##
Farmers borrowing cash in record numbers with crops stuck in rail backlog (Canada)
Western Canadian farmers still stuck with last year's harvest  are turning to the government for credit help in record numbers, and insiders fear problems could cascade through the agricultural economy as the new planting season gets under way.
Pork giant cancels IPO amid soaring US prices, virus
Manitoba reports more cases of virus that has killed millions of pigs in U.S.
US pork group sees prices up 10% to 12% due to pig virus
Excellent: Open Source Seed Initiative aims to keep seeds free from patents
Affordable healthy [sic] diet 'too expensive for many' (UK)
Get Ready for Even Higher Milk and Beef Prices
Field of (Bad) Dreams: Increased Drought Takes Toll on Midwest Corn (US)
Across the Midwest, a cold and wet spring has slowed the pace of corn plantings — as of Monday 19 percent was in the ground versus the usual 28 percent for this time of year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The slow start could slash yields. In the future, hotter and drier conditions due to global warming could also put a dent in corn yields, according to a new study.

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
The slow death of purposeless walking

## Environment/health ##
Study: MERS-CoV from Saudi camels matches human isolates
The Aging World
Mysterious Kidney Disease Slays Farmworkers In Central America
Real-life Atlantis? The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising
The superbugs the WHO warns we should fear
Crude oil train derails in Lynchburg, Virginia, causes explosion
Severe flooding swamps Florida Panhandle, Alabama
The cost of the Great Recession on the body may surpass damage to bank accounts
The bad side of the biofuel boom
Between 2006 and 2011, farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of Great Plains grasslands into corn and soybean fields… It's a rate that keeps pace with deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The State Department's OPD At Work On The Ukraine File—The Office of Propaganda And Disinformation, That Is
US Navy attempting to recruit cryptologists through Facebook game
Can Police Search Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant? The Supreme Court is About to Decide
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Defends Rules That Will Destroy Internet As We Know It
Shoppers Suprisingly Willing To Give Up Privacy For Deals
Hackers Can Mess With Traffic Lights to Jam Roads and Reroute Cars
Crackdown on National Security Reporting Tanked US Press Freedom: Report
Snowden, Poitras Awarded for 'Truth-Telling'
"When Clapper raised his hand and lied to the American public, was anyone tried? Were any charges brought? Within 24 hours of going public, I had three charges against me." — Edward Snowden
US State Department adopting social media to counter Al-Qaeda propaganda
FBI Releases Heavily Blacked Out Sandy Hook Records
Officials Say Russian Hackers May Retaliate for Sanctions
Chinese spies may have read all MPs emails for a year (Australia)
Creepy website exposes your Facebook profile

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
When nations go broke: Mob Justice

## Japan ##
Japanese utilities post losses, seek state support
Japan's nuclear-reliant utilities reported losses for the third straight year and warned of further electricity rate hikes to pay for surging fuel imports as they face an uncertain outlook for restarting idled reactors.
Abenomics At Work: Japan's April Output And Orders Fall Sharply
Sony Slashes Profit Outlook By 70%, Curses Abenomics
Japan's 10th Round Of QE: Still A Flat-Out Failure
Sales at department stores, electronics chains plunge after tax hike
Sweaty workers ditch ties as Cool Biz enters 10th year
Panel predicts 6-fold rise in Japan's debt by 2060
Airport testing for facial recognition slated
Pig epidemic spreads to 33 prefectures nationwide
Japan weighs corporate tax cuts from fiscal 2015
Support sought for N-waste host cities
A task force of the industry ministry broadly approved a plan on Wednesday to compile support measures for municipalities to host final disposal sites for highly radioactive wastes from spent fuel from nuclear power plants.
Disturbing trend: Japanese protesters use Nazism to attack Chinese, Koreans
Indoor veggie farms sprouting up in Okinawa

## China ##
Cutting the Fudge: China's Bloated Local GDP Numbers Go on a Diet
China's drop in new thermal power pinned on economy, war on pollution
More details of Xinjiang knife, bomb attack: 3 dead, 79 injured
China plans crackdown on iron ore import loans
China plans to get tougher on loans for iron ore imports as concerns grow that steel mills are using import loans to stay afloat in defiance of policies to reduce overcapacity in heavily polluting and lossmaking industries.
Chinese construction machine makers turning to overseas markets

## UK ##
Energy bills 'to rise twice as fast as expected' due to inefficient products
UK solar farm subsidies to be cut
Modern version of wealth and power can be 'very ugly'
Zero-hours contracts: 1.4m in the UK, ONS says
Office for National Statistics says the trend for hiring staff without guaranteeing a minimum number of hours is more prevalent than previously thought
Jobless must sign on every day: Government to dock money from long-term unemployed if they do not comply
British spaceport launch within five years
NHS is running out money claims King's Fund

## US ##
National Response Center shuts down website, transparency
Media outlets and other curious parties have been in the dark about pipeline leaks and other environmental disturbances since mid-February, and the lights could be kept off for another month. The National Response Center's website has been under maintenance since February 21st and could remain that way until the end of May.
17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine
47% Say U.S. Should Reduce Role in World Affairs
Cities, states to lose big if highway fund disappears
Harvard Poll Shows Millennials Have 'Historically Low' Levels Of Trust In Government
Gov't report says US lost $11.2B on GM bailout
Dow Closes at All-Time High with Boost from the Federal Reserve
Implosion of Housing Bubble 2 Hits Six Cities in the West
Construction Spending Growth Misses By Most In A Year
US economy slowed to 0.1 percent growth rate in Q1
Wall Street is blowing a bubble while on Main Street the block party is over. -- RF
With 1 in 3 Homes Unaffordable, Freddie Mac Prepares to Enter the Trailer Home Loan Market
About That CapEx Spending Renaissance...
Record corporate cash = record corporate debt
You may soon pay more tolls on US highways
US states may go back to electric chair and firing squads
Consumers Are Dropping, Not Shopping: Here's The Proof
US nuclear arsenal still controlled by floppy disks
Supreme Court: Pennsylvania cops no longer need a warrant to search citizens' vehicles
Two Days After Swearing Market Isn't Rigged, SEC Slaps NYSE Wrists For Rigging Markets
Nearly Half in Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland Would Leave if They Could
Another Month, Another GM Channel Stuffing Record

And finally...
Presenting The White House Decision-Making Machine




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