Sunday, March 15, 2015


News Links, March 16, 2015

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Ships Beached for Scrap as Returns Reach Record Low
Scrap yards are preparing for record numbers of freighters as shipping rates tumble to all-time lows. Owners may demolish 40 million deadweight tons of dry bulk carriers, more than double last year's total, according to Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo. Rates to ship commodities slumped 66 percent last year amid a glut of capacity, the worst performance since the global recession.
Global Cooling Alert: Metallurgical (Steel) Coal Down From $330/ton To $115/ton And Heading Lower
Britain's plan to join China's 'World Bank' angers Washington
The British are hedging their bets regarding which side their bread will be buttered on during the coming decades. -- RF
Rate cuts: 24 so far and there's more to come
An interest rate cut from South Korea Thursday takes the number of central banks that have stepped up their monetary easing this year to 24 and that number is likely to rise, analysts say.
RED ALERT – IBM Moves to Create a Centralized, Central Bank Controlled Blockchain for Currency Control
How Does Wall Street Work? Only One-Quarter Of Investment Bank Revenue Comes From Activities In The Real Economy
China has become main banker in Latin America
Russia seeing 'surge' of investment from China
A slew of Chinese companies are investing in Russia, according to the CEO of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, who said it was helping to negate the void caused by international sanctions.
P2P: A shadow banking sector has gotten 65 times larger
Big Squeeze Coming: Emerging Market Corporate Debt Maturities To Soar In Next 5 Years
Deep cuts at Heinz boost 2014 profits to more than $650 million
H.J. Heinz Co. slashed more than 7,000 jobs since going private in 2013, the Pittsburgh ketchup maker disclosed Friday in a financial report that shows aggressive cost-cutting boosted profits.
Iceland officially drops EU membership bid
No more Blue Banana, Europe's industrial heart moves east
How Long Before Cash is Banned?
Cashless transactions will work only as long as there is stable, reliable electricity to run the systems. -- RF
Gold still has a shot at $2,000 an ounce
You have got to be kidding. It won't stop at $2,000. But don't use your gold right away; wait until after the initial shake-out. People's primary concerns at first will be food and fuel. -- RF
Endgame: Power Struggle in Brussels and Berlin over Fate of Greece
Japan, Vietnam affirm their partnership on maritime security
Sisi says Egypt needs $200-$300 billion to develop

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Aerotropolitan ambitions: China's frenzied building of airports includes work on city-sized projects
Lufthansa needs a deeper overhaul: CEO
Lufthansa Debuts New Premium Economy Class on Airbus A380
U.S. airlines set record for filled seats and international travelers
United Airlines to cut jobs at Lambert
U.S. Airlines, Airports Wage War Over Passenger Facility Tax
Air Transat plans more seats in bid to save money
Discount airline needs to cut $100 million over 3 years as losses widen
Hawaiian Airlines Joins the Slimline Seat Club
Airport Baggage Handlers, Security Guards, Wheelchair Attendants Raise Concerns Over Working Conditions (US)
Seat sprawling: An uncomfortable problem for all fliers
Sinking under debt, Kansai airport privatisation presents test for Abe (Japan)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Atrocities Committed by U.S.-Trained Iraqi Forces — Again
Investigative reporter James Gordon Meek broke an important story this week: He revealed that U.S.-backed forces in Iraq are committing the same type of horrific war crimes — wanton killings of prisoners, beheadings, torture — as the Islamic State fighters on the other side of the front line.
Allies a Key Factor in New US Sea Strategy
US To Send Drones, Humvees To Ukraine, Boost Russia Sanctions As Moscow May "Deploy Nuclear Weapons In Crimea"
Afghanistan Gave CIA Money To Al Qaeda For Diplomat's Ransom: NYT
Chinese fighter jets scrambled after bombing kills four
Bahraini protesters clash with police at anti-regime demonstration
Kerry Waxes Hopeful On Iran Nuclear Deal
South American Nations Reject US Measures Against Venezuela Officials
South American nations on Saturday rejected the U.S. decision to label Venezuela a security threat and sanction seven officials, lending President Nicolas Maduro regional support in the diplomatic dispute with Washington.
Officials: US to Keep Higher Level of Troops in Afghanistan
In its Desperation, Scandal-Riddled Spanish Government Criminalizes Solidarity Among Citizens
On Tuesday, March 10, 19 Spanish citizens were rounded up in dawn raids by the Madrid police. They are accused of committing a crime against the Spanish state. That crime? Trying to prevent, through passive, non-violent resistance, the forced eviction of a local resident. If found guilty, the suspects could face crippling fines.
Bibi Faces Political Oblivion As Israel's Election is Too Close To Call
'We Have To Negotiate In The End' With Syria's Assad, Kerry Says
Syrian Opposition Mulls Leaving Assad in Power
US shuts down Saudi embassy amid security fears

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
SXSW 2015: 'Stop The Robots' Protesters March To Stop Skynet Before It's Too Late
Canadians March Against Proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill C-51
Riot Police Arrive As 5,000 Nike, Reebok Shoe Factory Workers Walk Off The Job (China)
Brazil Protests: More Than 1M Demonstrate, Demand Impeachment Of President Dilma Rousseff
Suspect charged in shooting of police officers in Ferguson, Missouri
Thousands to protest in Frankfurt against ECB 'austerity'
French health professionals protest against government reforms
12,000 rally against nuclear energy in Taipei

## Energy/resources ##
The US Oil Bust Just Got Worse
Big Changes Needed For Big Oil To Survive
North Dakota rig count near five-year low
Watch Four Years of Oil Drilling Collapse in Seconds (animated graphic)
BP Inks $12 Billion Deal In Egypt As Country Grapples With Energy Crisis
The World's Top Five Energy MegaStructures
Slow Year Ahead for Floating Production as Industry Downturn Bites
IEA Sees Renewed Pressure On Oil Prices As US Glut Worsens
Lipstick on a pig: America as the world's swing producer of oil

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Lead worth £15,000 stripped from roof of rural church
Copper thieves cost metro church thousands of dollars
Soccer Games Cancelled After Copper Theft
Downed Street Lights Cause Headache For City Workers
$38K worth of equipment taken from N.M. power plant substation

## Got food? ##
Hotter, harder times forecast for the farm as climate changes food production (Australia)
The Failure of Modern Industrial Agriculture
Lester Brown on Peak Water
Global dependence on food imports leaves countries vulnerable

## Environment/health ##
People still dying from Ebola as WHO expert warns of declining world interest
Ebola: at least 10 US citizens possibly exposed to be flown back from Africa
Fertilizers Help Toxic Algae Thrive in Warming World
Blue-green algae blooms that can turn toxic in freshwater lakes and can kill bathers, farm animals and domestic pets that drink the water are becoming more widespread across the world, according to new research.
Traditional Chinese medicine is getting a voice at the World Health Organization
New bird flu strain has poultry farmers scrambling
Health Experts Warn Of One Billion Deaths From Smoking Worldwide By 2100, Call For Stricter Tobacco Control In Poorest Nations
Washington state governor declares drought emergency
Heat wave sets new temperature records across California
What's killing millions of starfish on the West Coast?

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Edward Snowden holds secret meeting with tech experts at SXSW
Kaspersky claims to have found NSA's 'space station malware'
Kaspersky malware probers have uncovered a new 'operating system'-like platform that was developed and used by the  National Security Agency (NSA) in its Equation spying arsenal.
Satellites: a glimpse inside a secret world
'Patriot Act 2.0'? Senate Cybersecurity Bill Seen as Trojan Horse for More Spying
India is copying China's online censorship model—and miserably failing
UK Atomic Weapons Web Traffic Accidentally Routed Through Ukraine

## Propaganda ##
The Orwellian Re-Branding of "Mass Surveillance" as Merely "Bulk Collection"
Putin eats babies: lies, damned lies, and psyops
Edits to Police Brutality Wikipedia Pages Trace Back to NYPD
Guiding Obama into Global Make-Believe (Ray McGovern)
The Orwellian concept of "information warfare" holds that propaganda can break down enemies and decide geopolitical outcomes, a strategy that has taken hold of the U.S. government's approach to international crises, especially the Ukraine showdown.
US Intel Stands Pat on MH-17 Shoot-down
Almost eight months after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine – creating a flashpoint in the standoff between nuclear-armed Russia and America – the U.S. intelligence community claims it has not updated its assessment since five days after the crash.
Video of the Day – Watch State Department Spokeswoman Squirm When Asked About U.S. Policy Against Supporting Coups
TPP: Progressives: We've Never Heard Of This "Progressive" Group Backing Obama's Trade Deal

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Stop, Hey, What's that Sound? Environmental and Political Background Hum of Civilization Tinnitus
Without affordable energy, high-rise buildings everywhere are doomed. -- RF
By Election Day 2016, taxpayers will have paid out more than $16 million to fund Bill Clinton's pension, travel, office expenses and even the salaries and benefits of staff at his family's foundation, federal records show.
According to a former top government official, your retirement could be at risk, and the escalating costs of Social Security, public pensions and health care are the primary reasons why.
Earlier this week, The Knot revealed the results of its eighth annual Real Weddings Study, and found the average cost of a wedding last year reached an all-time high of $31,213, excluding the honeymoon.
White House takes first steps in allowing a bankruptcy option for student debt. $1.2 trillion in student debt outstanding.

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