Tuesday, October 28, 2014


News Links, October 25-27, 2014

The rice crop is in!

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
What Unilever just Said About Consumers Around the World: "It's Really Tough out There"
What is it with these consumer-products companies that need to sell a lot of cheap stuff to a lot of consumers around the world? Over the last few days, one after the other reported what are more or less unvarnished quarterly revenue and earnings debacles.
This is the Most Self-Explanatory, Ridiculously Clear Chart About Amazon I've Ever Seen
Europe's Gong Show At Work: Back Taxes And Busted Banks
25 European banks set to fail health checks - sources
Hyperventilation Charade: EU Demands Another €2.1 Billion from UK, "We Won't Pay," Says Furious Cameron
French unemployment hits new record high
Goldman and Blackstone Enter Spanish Real Estate – Pain and Suffering for Poor People Immediately Ensues
Asia economic growth to languish as China slows: poll
European Service Prices Plunge at Steepest Rate Since January 2010; Reflections on Keynesian Stupidity
This is what Ebola is doing to West African economies
Deutsche Bank lawyer found dead by suicide in New York
Canadians may be 'buying too much car': Moody's sounds alarm on bank auto loans
Bank auto lending has grown at a compounded annual rate of 20% since 2007, "significantly outpacing" the growth of even red-hot mortgages, credit cards, and lines of credit, according to the ratings agency report released Thursday. In seven years, vehicle loans have jumped from $16.2- billion to $64-billion.
Gulf states will have to cut spending as oil price dips - Kuwait minister
Working for peanuts
Half of American workers earn less than $28,031 per year and household income now back to levels last seen two decades ago.
What Do Seven Billion People Do? Top 10 Mega-Cities by Population 2014 vs. 2030 Estimate
Italy's in terminal decline, and no one has the guts to stop it
The Scariest Number Revealed Today: $1.114 Trillion In Eurozone Bad Debt

## Gold ##
The crucial questions financial journalism won't ask and central banks won't answer
What the Swiss Gold Referendum Means for Central Banks
Fastest Pace Of Withdrawals From JPM's Gold Vault In Over A Year
Why Gold Is Undervalued

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Frontier Airlines says goodbye to Siouxland for the second time
Airlines' losses soar on high fuel costs in FY14
Legroom Doesn't Always Increase With Ticket Price, Article Says
Saga government to subsidize excess baggage fee on China-bound flight (Japan)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
ISIS Allies Carving Out Territory in Eastern Libya
Libya is falling apart with a collection of rival militias both Islamist and secular taking over various cities and regions, and the government itself controlling little more than a hotel at the town of Tobruk.
US Official: Bombing Oil Pipelines in Syria a 'Viable Option'
The US War Against ISIS Is Barely Degrading, Certainly Not Destroying The Militants
Are We Ready for the Fall of Baghdad?
Pentagon: Iraq Won't Attempt to Retake Mosul for a Year
Iraqi government says key town has been taken from Islamic State
Anti-Occupy mob roughs up Hong Kong journalists
India closer to real-time surveillance of India-Sino border
Surveillance cameras with a depth of view extending over 20 kilometers into Chinese territory have been equipped by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police a month after the People's Liberation Army entered the disputed regions of Demchok and Chumar in Ladakh, reports the New Delhi-based Times of India.
Chinese Nuclear Submarines, 'Boomers' Missiles Could Hit Hawaii, Alaska: Report
Tanzania, China sign East Africa investment deals worth $1.7 billion
Putin: Russia helped Yanukovych to flee Ukraine
The Western media will make a big deal out of this, but will almost certainly not remind the public about how Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines. -- RF
Has Putin Already Won in Ukraine? Sure Looks That Way
"Whatever We Decide Is A Disaster For Us" France Admits Putin Is Winning, Europe "Blinked"
Now we have open admissions that Putin has bested his opponents. Whatever you may think of the Russians, they are master chess players and tough fighters. -- RF
Suspicious Canada Shooting Triggers 'Minority Report' Pre-Crime Plans for 'Preventive Arrests'
Japan could deploy minesweepers off S. Korea in war with North, U.S. admiral says
In Brazilian city, homeless face 'extermination'
US General: Kim Was Never Out of Power in North Korea
Ukraine not answering queries on MH17
The Ukraine has not replied to a single query on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in the country's east after apparently being shot down, Russia's Permanent Representative at the UN Vitaly Churkin has said.
UK, US Forces Handover Last Military Bases As Afghanistan Operations Draw Down
US-Israel relations in 'crisis' after Moshe Ya'alon snubbed
Israel's relations with its key ally, the United States, have hit a new low after the Obama administration snubbed Moshe Ya'alon, the hard-line Israeli defence minister, on a visit to Washington as punishment for past criticisms of White House policy.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Climate Change Linked to Rising Violence: Report
The return of Occupy London: this time it's truly political
Activists Form Human Blockade to Stop Community from Becoming 'Gas Station for Fracking'
Hong Kong Tensions Rise Between Protesters, Opposition
Protesters keep surveyors out of proposed nuke waste disposal site (Japan)

## Energy/resources ##
Falling Coal Prices Wreaking Havoc With Corporate Balance Sheets
The slide in oil prices has raised speculation that oil companies in the U.S. could be forced to cut back on production, but a market slump in another commodity is also putting pressure on producers. Coal markets are currently experiencing a supply glut that is showing no signs of recovery.
Putin urges West to help Ukraine with funds for Russian gas
Eastern Europe Shivers Thinking About Winter Without Gas
INFOGRAPHIC: What's Ahead for an Overpopulated Planet
U.S. Said to Join Russia in Blocking Nuclear Safety Moves
Even as relations between Russia and the U.S. have sunk to a post-Cold War low over the crisis in Ukraine, the two powers have come together to press their shared interest in resisting more stringent safety guidelines, said the diplomats. The U.S. is the world's biggest nuclear-power generator, while Russia exports more reactors than anyone else.
15 Big Oil sell signals that warn of a 50% stock crash
Is Turkey entering an energy bottleneck?
We have very serious problems in our natural gas supply. Even if we do not have any political friction with Ukraine or Russia, in the days when temperatures drop below -5 °C our natural gas demand will not be met.
Energy Economics - Crash Course Chapter 19

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thieves target sewer grates
Thieves steal storm drain covers in Fort Worth
Catalytic Converter Thieves Target Silver Lake for Scrap Metal
Thieves hit another power substation, stealing copper ground wires
Thieves pry brass plaques from soldiers' gravesites
Parishioners left 'desolate' after historic bells stolen from West Suffolk church

## Got food? ##
GCC food imports demand forecast to hit $53bn by 2020
The GCC's regional food import bill will rise to over $53 billion by 2020 as its soaring population has resulted in imported products accounting for up to 90 percent of all food supplies, it has been announced.
California – A Food Powerhouse in Peril

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
From Home-Grown Tomatoes to Home-Made Pasta Sauce
A Wood Pellet Stove Turns Waste Wood Into Home Heat

## Environment/health ##
NYPD Stunner: Cops Exit Ebola Victim Apartment, Dump Gloves, Masks In Sidewalk Trash Can
New York, New Jersey to Quarantine Ebola-Risk Fliers
World Health Organization Says 4,922 Killed And More Than 10,000 Infected By Ebola
Pentagon builds units to transport Ebola patients
'Stop the Toxic Treadmill': EPA Sued for Approving Controversial Herbicide
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
Microbes released from melting permafrost speed up climate change
A newly discovered microbe appears to be releasing massive amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, as permafrost succumbs to rising global temperatures.
USA's ravenous $1.5B problem: 5 million wild pigs

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Now Everyone Wants to Sell You a Magical Anonymity Router. Choose Wisely
Cash, credit or debit? Retail hacks force 'freaked out' holiday shoppers to rethink
Treating Putin Like a Lunatic
Official Washington treats whatever comes out of Russian President Putin's mouth as the ravings of a lunatic, even when what he says is obviously true or otherwise makes sense, as the New York Times has demonstrated again.
SOCOM Wants To Start Data Mining the Open Web
US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is building an open-source data-mining program that will run automatic keyword searches across a variety of websites and databases, allowing its operators to build a better picture of their operating environment in as close to real time as possible.
New technologies pluck out voices at distance
Elon Musk warns against unleashing artificial intelligence 'demon'

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
A Pink Slip for the Progress Fairy
Although a bit long, this is very interesting and informative if you are interested in the process of collapse. Although I agree that "this time is different" certainly cannot be a reason for supposing that industrial civilization won't collapse like all previous civilizations, in the case of industrial civilization there are some unprecedented differences (call them "this-time-is-different factors" if you like) that could accelerate collapse and make it much worse. First, there are far more humans than before, making for a population that is both dense and highly mobile. That is why Ebola could readily expand into a global pandemic. It's also why a crop failure, or just the inability to deliver food when and where it's needed, could starve millions in no time. Second, industrial civilization is global in scale, and everything is tightly networked and optimized. The system is complex and fragile. Trade and finance are woven into this system, which is becoming increasingly digitized, making it highly vulnerable to power outages, server problems, hacking and other sabotage, natural disasters, or many other kinds of disruptive events. Third, industrial civilization has found and largely consumed the high-grade resources, forcing us to move on to lower-grade, more expensive resources. Fourth, ecosystems are under heavy attack and being rapidly degraded. Fifth, climate change is putting further stress on societies and economies. Sixth, economies are wheezing under a crushing debt load that grows heavier daily. Because the economy grows by expanding debt, governments have no choice but to keep piling it on. These and other factors create a toxic brew that could explode into planetary chaos at any time, resulting in catastrophic disruption and the deaths of billions. Have a nice day! -- RF
Dangerously defective air bags raise questions about automakers' ability to handle gigantic recall
Corporate-controlled technologies and their aftermath
2014: The Last Good Year

## Japan ##
Lawmakers in tsunami-hit region eye casino to hasten recovery
The BOJ's Moving Target: 2% in Three Years?
Finance Ministry wants to squeeze more children into classrooms, close elementary schools
Tourists to be quizzed on African stays as Japan braces for Ebola
Miyagi town protesters block gov't survey of proposed radioactively contaminated waste site
Senior Japan official calls for Abe to delay sales-tax hike
Tokyo govt to issue foreign currency debt
The Tokyo metropolitan government said it will switch part of its planned ¥20 billion's worth of debt securities for retail investors into Australian dollar-denominated notes.
Coal cheapest way to produce power
Just 800 km apart, Japan holds military drills with Russia, U.S.

## China ##
China Factory Races to Produce Ebola Protective Suits
Burst Chinese Housing Bubble Leads To First Annual Price Decline Since 2012; Prices Drop In Record 69 Cities
China's auto market growth may halve to 7 percent this year: industry body head
What the Heck Happened To Macau? High-rollers from Mainland China are backing off.
China 10,000 Tons of Gold Reserve? Could Have Been Done With Ease
Home Prices Drop in 69 of 70 Chinese Cities; Did the Pool of Greater Fools Run Out?

## UK ##
Millions face years on the breadline: Britain has more long-term low-paid workers than ever
A generation of Britons is destined to spend years languishing in low-paid jobs barely above the minimum wage, with the number in poorly paid work at a historic high, a major report will reveal this week.
UK power margins tighten further for winter, but gas stocks high
Clocks going back 'adds £24 to winter energy bills'
Street lights to be switched off

## US ##
"They Just Want The Money!" The IRS Can Now Seize Accounts On Suspicion Alone
50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 28,031 Dollars A Year
22% of Workers Would Rather Die Early Than Run Out of Money
For the Bottom 90% of Americans, Financial Security is Slipping Away
Cutting Through Washington's Housing Recovery BS: September New Homes Sales Were Below 1966 Level!
Evidence of Another Even More Sweeping Housing Bust is Already Starting to Appear
NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism
Port squeeze threatens US retailers' holiday stocking plans
7 things the middle class can't afford anymore
A Mystery Bidder Offers $3 Million for 6,000 of Detroit's Worst Homes
Hillary Clinton's Statist Economics—–Then And Now
May the gods have mercy on us. -- RF
Federal Reserve to take away the punch bowl
Detroit $1,000 Home Program Fails To Make Progress

And finally...
Professor suspended from top university for giving off 'negative vibes'
3 Chinese men arrested for buying too many diapers (Japan)

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