Tuesday, May 27, 2014


News Links, May 27-28, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
First Germany, Now Austria Demands An Audit Of Its Offshore Held Gold
The Size Of The Derivatives Bubble Hanging Over The Global Economy Hits A Record High
According to the Bank for International Settlements, the total notional value of derivatives contracts around the world has ballooned to an astounding 710 trillion dollars ($710,000,000,000,000).  Other estimates put the grand total well over a quadrillion dollars.
World shares hover near all-time high
Asset markets around the world continue to be supported by record-low interest rates in most of the world's big economies.
The CEO got a huge raise. You didn't. Here's why.
RBS slashes U.S. mortgage business, hundreds of jobs: FT
Prince Charles: reform capitalism to save the planet
World's Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth
China Launching "Global Gold Exchange" In Shanghai
Government Plan Would Transform Israel Into The World's First Cashless Society
What happens when there's a power outage? -- RF
China to become No. 1 economic partner, Asia-Pacific region experts say
Volkswagen's Sales Disaster Continues
Tesla Scores Junk Bond Rating from S&P
Barclays Caught Red Handed Manipulating Gold

## Airline Death Spiral ##
What's next for air fares?
Long-haul first class air travel dwindling despite Etihad and Emirates innovation
Virgin Australia cuts seats for third-straight month
Air Berlin considers splitting in two - report
The company, Germany's No.2 airline after Lufthansa, earlier this month said it was looking at all options, including its business model, as it prepares to launch a fundamental restructuring aimed at restoring the loss-making airline to profitability.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Vietnam accuses China in sinking of fishing boat in disputed South China Sea
Thai army gets down to work on economy, stifles dissent
Boko Haram attack kills 31 Nigerian security personnel
US Secretly Training and Funding 'Elite' African Commandos
DoD Distances Itself From US Hacking Indictment of PLA Soldiers
'Chocolate king' is landslide winner in Ukraine, rejects annexation of Crimea
Separatists in Ukraine seize Donetsk airport, rail station, declare martial law
Scores of pro-Russia gunmen killed in fighting at airport, Ukraine says
Int'l Arrest Warrants Sought for Israeli Commandos Over Raid on Gaza Flotilla
A victory based on anguish, rage and denial. Who's who in the Europe's far right parties
U.S. Military's 'Iron Man' Suit Prototype Could Debut Next Month
Barack Obama announces plans for 9,800 US troops to stay in Afghanistan
NATO Scrambles F-16 Jets Over Lithuania After Russian Warplanes Allegedly Enter Airspace
When A "Pivot" Becomes A Boomerang: Obama's Russian Sanctions Folly
Study Shows US Government's Drone Killing Strategy Is Having Zero Impact On Al-Qaeda Attack Numbers

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Brazilian Team Jeered in Rio as World Cup Preparations Start
South Africa's Sugar Workers Plan First Strike for 17 Years
Protesters burn vehicles, buildings at New Caledonia nickel mine
Iraq using barrel bombs, hitting Fallujah hospital: HRW
Protesters clash with police over Spain squat eviction
Police clashed with protesters who burned bins and vehicles in Barcelona on Monday as anger boiled over at the eviction of activists from a well-known squat.

## Energy/resources ##
Shale drilling bust: Shakeout Threatens Shale Patch as Frackers Go for Broke
The U.S. shale patch is facing a shakeout as drillers struggle to keep pace with the relentless spending needed to get oil and gas out of the ground. Shale debt has almost doubled over the last four years while revenue has gained just 5.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of 61 shale drillers. A dozen of those wildcatters are spending at least 10 percent of their sales on interest compared with Exxon Mobil Corp.'s 0.1 percent.
Oil Shale's Future: Resources Aplenty, But Challenges Loom
Big Oil Spending More, Getting Less in Production
Increased spending by major oil and gas companies has failed to boost production, according to a recent analyst report.
Despite increased spending, oil majors are seeing flat or declining production as they struggle to replace reserves, according to a recent analyst report.
Official: Gas shortage for electricity will not be resolved before September (Egypt)
Ukraine's new president faces looming energy crisis
Russia and Ukraine are headed toward another showdown, this time over Kiev's unpaid gas bills, in a dispute that could disrupt natural gas deliveries to Europe.
Yemen imports 60.000 tons of diesel to tackle shortages
Yemen has imported about 60,000 tons of diesel as the country has been facing an acute fuel shortage for more than a month, Premier Mohammed Basindwa said.
Streetlights to cost more to run (Australia)
Sun, Wind Combine To Give Germany A Bit Of Free Electricity
Russian firm studying world's largest coal-fired plant to supply China
Exxon, BP Defy White House; Extend Partnership with Russia
Canadian oil-by-rail exports rise more than 50%, reaching record high of 160,000 bpd
Hedge Funds Buy Oil Sensing Supply Shortage
Pakistan hopes for Russia's support in overcoming energy crisis — minister
Securing India's energy a major challenge for new PM Modi
Offshore Iceland: the Next Arctic Opportunity?
Made in China: The Middle East's Oil Boom
As the world's second-largest consumer of oil, China in the past decade has relied heavily on the Middle East to secure the resources required to fuel its ascendancy to become an economic superpower. In doing so, it overtook the U.S. as principal investor in the Middle East and played a pivotal role in transforming the region by lifting its economic and living standards.

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Navy arrests undersea cable thieves (Indonesia)
Copper thieves cause more than $1,000,000 in damage (US)
Dark overpasses and unlit exits are becoming common discoveries for road crews in Kentucky, and the frequency of those crimes is increasing.

## Got food? ##
Growing grocery bill: Here's why food prices are on the climb
Higher meat production costs to filter to US consumers
Pork industry fights drought, disease
Costs dry up summer milk (Australia)
A STEEP rise in the cost of electricity outlined in the recent Western Australian State Budget will increase the pressure on WA's embattled dairy industry according to producers.
The Social Cost of GMOs
The Future of Corn Production May Be Underground
Here's an idea that is obviously not going to get very far. -- RF

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Minimalism: A guide to living without and embracing a clutter-free life
A New Memoir About What Happens When You Get Rid of All Your Stuff

## Environment/health ##
More in US die from prescription narcotics than car crashes, guns, suicide
Researchers create easy, cheap way to trap bed bugs

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Hacker, creeper, soldier, spy
Matt DeHart, a former U.S. soldier seeking asylum in Canada, claims he's wanted for working with Anonymous. The U.S. says he may be a spy — and more
Not Wikileaks, Not Snowden... White House Outs CIA Station Chief
Scahill: 'Eagerly awaiting the indictment of the White House official who outed the CIA Station Chief'
Most Shocking for Last? Greenwald Teases NSA Spying "Finale"
Connected Devices as Common as Electricity by 2025
Worried about security in a world where everything is connected? You should be.
Obama Administration Spent a Fortune Monitoring Occupy Protests, including Flash Mobs and Yoga Classes
License Plate Readers Stir Controversy in California as the NYPD Prepares to Use Drones
China Condemns US for "Unscrupulous" Global Cyber-Surveillance
After long wait, Malaysia releases jet data
"It's a whole lot of stuff that is not very important to know," said Michael Exner, a satellite engineer who has been independently researching the calculations. "There are probably two or three pages of important stuff, the rest is just noise. It doesn't add any value to our understanding." He and others said the needed assumptions, algorithms and metadata to validate the investigators' conclusion were not there.
Spotify Warns That It Was Hacked

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Mindanao suffers P2.3B losses due to brownouts (Philippines)
The power shortage in Mindanao has caused billions of pesos in losses to the Gross Regional Domestic Product of the island in the last 74 days.
Israel's top general in West Bank warns: Power blackouts will lead to violence
Israel Electric Corporation threatening to cut power twice a day to different parts of the West Bank, over $458 million debt.
The 911 overhaul — a signature public safety imitative of the Bloomberg era — is years behind schedule and nearly $1 billion over budget.
Broke and Broken? The Psychological Effects of Poverty (infographic)
Clean up Detroit's blight? You'll need $2B, report says

## Japan ##
Nuclear regulator OKs plan to build underground ice wall at Fukushima plant
LDP proposes 'super regional' banks
Finance minister complains his taxes shouldn't be used to fund health costs of 'lazy'
Four-legged lawn mowers to return to Tokyo housing complex
Govt set to prepare possible MERS outbreak
Japan spends 17 billion yen for nuclear waste; price per unit triples
Japan gets first LNG cargo from Papua New Guinea
Bank of Japan Seeks to End Stimulus, Currency Market in Disbelief
Gov't to dispose of contaminated soil outside Fukushima within 30 years
Space-based power stations on the horizon
It would be expensive energy, and expensive energy is what the world doesn't need. -- RF
291 taken to hospital for heatstroke in one week

## China ##
China busts 23 'terror, religious extremism' groups: Xinhua
China's Real Estate Captain Calls Out The Titanic
Cash-hungry Chinese developers cutting bargains on homes
China's 'Golden Era' for Property Over, Vanke President Says
China central bank faces decisions as housing slump looms
China's 430 Million Families Shrink and Age
Beijing to build artificial island in South China Sea

## UK ##
Couples shun weddings for foot on property ladder, analysts say

## US ##
Retail Death Rattle Grows Louder
How much do Americans earn? Average income data for individuals and households. Stagnant income growth for American families.
Manhattan's Billionaire Row of Condo Towers Spreads South
Delaware's infrastructure is in rapid decline
Sky Could Fall on North Dakota's Oil if We're Not Careful, Shale Boss Says
Sharp rise in West Coast oil trains, fears abound
Gas Still Over $4 in Californi
Americans Watch Only 17 TV Channels
People only need so much banality. -- RF
The Housing "Recovery" in Four Charts
Median CEO pay crosses $10 million in 2013
Seven States Running Out of Water
State Tax Data Running Flat: No "Escape Velocity" Among Hard-Money Payers
"The Market's Not There" - One World Trade Center Lowers Asking Rents By 10%

And finally...
Handwritten word could be worth about $10,000

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