Tuesday, September 29, 2015


News Links, September 30, 2015

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Saudi Arabia Withdraws Billions Of Dollars From Asset Managers To Cut Deficit From Falling Oil Prices
Having a little cash flow problem, are we? -- RF
This is When Bonds Go Kaboom! — The toxic miasma of "distressed debt."
Global Deflation—-More Evidence
China Industrial Profits Fall Most Since 2011 as Growth Ebbs
The Great Commodities Collapse: Oil, Copper and Glencore (And Yellen's Magical Thinking)
Glencore Drops to Record Low as Investec Sees Value Evaporating
Swiss Watchdog Opens Bank Probe Into Precious Metal Collusion
Russia's Sinking Ruble 2015: Mobile Phone Sales Drop Amid Uncertain Economy
Global Deflation Strikes Again – Cash Short Petro-States Pulling AUM From Big Equity Managers
Data: S&P 500 joins rest of world in correction
Corporate restructurings take the spotlight as commodity rout continues (Canada)
Glasenberg Loses $500 Million in One Day on Glencore Share Drop
Qatar Fund Loses $5.9 Billion on Holdings in VW, Glencore
Whipping on Wall Street: Dow falls more than 300 points, Nasdaq loses nearly 150
India's RBI Cuts Key Interest Rate, Surprises With Extent Of Cut; Markets Regain Some Ground
Market Rout, Volkswagen Fiasco, China Sink German IPOs
Is Glencore The Next Lehman? The World's Largest Commodities Trading Company Is Toast
Forget Glencore: This Is The Real "Systemic Risk" Among The Commodity Traders
BofA Issues Dramatic Junk Bond Meltdown Warning: This "Train Wreck Is Accelerating"
Traders Flee Emerging Markets at Fastest Pace Since 2008
Junk Bonds: The Next Big Bubble Ready to Burst
German Inflation Drops Below Zero in Euro-Area Price Alert
UBS Is About To Blow The Cover On A Massive Gold-Rigging Scandal
Not Enough Gold To Pay All Holders Of Gold Obligations
Glencore Could Trigger A Global Derivatives Nuclear Meltdown

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
BofA to cut 'a couple of hundred' jobs: WSJ
Hudson's Bay cutting 265 jobs, streamlining North American operations
Chesapeake Energy lays off 740 workers companywide
Shell Malaysia to Axe 1,300 Jobs by 2017

## Airline death spiral ##
Tangled web surrounds United's aborted Atlantic City routes
Ghost airport? $313 million Illinois airfield struggles to keep flights
United Airlines Faces Steep Ascent In Not-So-Friendly Skies
New Airline Seating Could Change the Way We Board Planes
Great Lakes Airlines sees financial trouble
Student loans could help avert U.S. airline pilot shortage: union head
The head of the world's largest pilots union urged the airline industry on Monday to find ways to alleviate the rising costs of aviators' schooling, saying a shortage of regional airline pilots looms in the United States.
Russia closes its airspace for Ukrainian airlines from October 25
Skymark launches new management team as it implements turnaround plan

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Russian Bear Supplants American Eagle in Syria, Beyond
Britain To Send Troops To Somalia For Training
Iran President Hassan Rouhani Blames U.S. For Spread of Mideast Terror
Iraq Switches Sides——Joins The Coalition Of The Un-Washington
Engineering Humans for War
Taliban breaches major Afghan city for first time since 2001 with assault on Kunduz
38 Dead After Saudi Arabia, Head of UN Human Rights Panel, Bombs Wedding in Yemen
This Happened In September: The UN Launched 'The Global Goals' – A Blueprint For A United World
Very little of this will be achieved. But they will try hard. -- RF
Air Force staging aircraft, personnel at Turkish base in Diyarbakir

## Migrants/refugees ##
Norwegian intelligence agency says arrival of refugees is increasing national security threat
German president warns of limits to number of refugees
At U.N., Hungary Defends Blocking Migrants, Says Fences Not 'For Fun'
The Latest: Hungary wants global refugee quotas

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Moldovan protesters call on government to resign
Beware the rise of radical Right as migrants arrive in Europe, says German spy chief

## Energy/resources ##
Shell to cease further exploration in Alaska
Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it would cease exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the "foreseeable future" and take a writedown of about $4.1 billion after failing to find enough oil in the region.
Germany Now Faced With Thousands Of Aging Wind Farms
However, the problem now is that a large number of the 25,000 odd turbines have become too old. Close to 7,000 of those turbines will complete more than 15 years of operation by next year. Although these turbines can continue running, with some minor repairs and modifications, the question is whether it makes any economic sense to maintain them?
Renewables were supposed to transport us into a New Age of plentiful, clean energy, and eliminate the need for fossil fuels, but the world is already littered with aging and end-of-life hardware. -- RF
How much mined material will we need to build a 100-per-cent renewable world?
These numbers are staggering. And as we've seen already, recycling of end-of-life hardware isn't as readily achieved as everyone believes. Further, there is the energy requirement for all of this, which perforce involves much fossil fuel use. My prediction stands: A renewable power system is unsustainable, and therefore cannot stave off the collapse of industrial civilization. -- RF
Oil prices fall on slowing global economic growth outlook
Oil's Hurting U.S. Power Generators, And They Don't Even Burn It
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant In Massachusetts May Close Down
With Shell's Failure, U.S. Arctic Drilling Is Dead
Citing 'Planet, Environment, and People,' Northern Ireland Erects Fracking Roadblock
India to pay $700 mln to Iran in outstanding oil dues this week
Iraq's Oil Production Seen at Risk by Barclays as Winter Nears
Why India will not meet its nuclear energy ambition
Reasons include the uncertainty around India's liability clause, financial woes of reactor suppliers and increased cost of nuclear energy
The fantasy of cheap, safe nuclear energy
Brazil's Eletrobras suspends contract with builder of nuclear plant
Will Renewables Replace Fossil Fuels?
Major companies join alliance seeking 100 percent green electricity
Kazakhstan: No changes on Kashagan
Morgan Stanley: Buy energy call is a 'nightmare'
Chesapeake Energy cuts 15% of workforce on oil slump
Midweek Sector Update: Even The Majors Are Getting Crushed In This Market
Oil Debt Bubble Facing Total Collapse
Rescue Funding Could Fall Flat For Companies Needing A Life Vest

## Got food? ##
US Farm Economy: How Globalization Soured Milk Market For American Dairy Farmers
And recall what happened to New Zealand. -- RF

## Lifestyle solutions ##
Dressing for Comfort in a Minimally-Heated Residence
Banned Books Week 2015 : Celebrate Reading Freedom With These Challenged Novels

## Environment/health ##
It's a new TV season — but here's why you might want to look away
Your TV habit might be killing you. A growing body of evidence links not just sitting in general but TV viewing in particular with all sorts of health problems. Those include obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and, yes, premature death.
Stewards of the earth: a role for humankind
Six Major US Banks Urge Global Leaders To Adopt Climate Change Agreement
Farmworkers And Pesticides: Workers Under 18 To Be Barred From Handling Pest-Killing Chemicals: New EPA Rules
More Evidence Chemicals Linked to Obesity and Diabetes, Group Says
Evidence is starting to tie hormone-disrupting chemicals to obesity and diabetes, experts said Monday, adding that regulators and researchers need to take steps to reduce human exposure to them.
New Zealand to create giant South Pacific sanctuary, banning fishing and mining
7 More People Sick with Legionnaires' Disease in NYC
In a prolonged drought, large trees are the first to go
The Worst Nuclear Disaster in US History That You've Never Heard About

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Facebook crashes for third time in less than two weeks
17.6M in US Experienced Identity Theft In 2014
The Next Coming Commodity Failure: Social Media
The Big Secret That Makes the FBI's Anti-Encryption Campaign a Big Lie
Hilton Investigating Report of Breaches Across the Hotel Chain
Junta mulls 'Great Firewall' for Thailand
Tech Company Censorship – Apple Bans App Cataloguing Every U.S. Drone Strike; Facebook Blocks Ad for "Negativity"

## Propaganda ##
The Power of False Narrative
"Strategic communications" or Stratcom, a propaganda/psy-op technique that treats information as a "soft power" weapon to wield against adversaries, is a new catch phrase in an Official Washington obsessed with the clout that comes from spinning false narratives.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Two-Tiered Justice: How DEA Agents Commit Egregious Acts with Zero Accountability
Nine charts that spell "collapse." -- RF
South Africa 'a country at war' as murder rate soars to nearly 49 a day

## Japan ##
Tokyo cops arrest man for adding Hitler moustaches to Abe posters
It won't make any difference. -- RF
Another chapter in the international story of disappearing pensions. -- RF

## China ##
China August industrial profits fall 8.8% y-o-y

## UK ##
David Cameron: UK troops to go to Africa to help counter extremists
Up to 300 soldiers will be deployed in South Sudan as part of a peace-keeping mission while a further 70 will be sent to Somalia to support attempts to defeat the terrorist group Al-Shabab.

## US ##
A "reinterpretation" of Amendment 4 of the US constitution. -- RF
Slash, baby, slash! -- RF

## The Candidates ##

Sunday, September 27, 2015


News Links, September 28, 2015

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflation ##
Mind The Slow Lane: Caterpillar, Copper and Lumber All Followed China Slowdown
This Bubble's Days Are Numbered—–Market Tops Are Sprouting Up Everywhere
Tracking the Implosion of Brazil; Be Careful of What You Wish; Perfect Storm; Email from Brazil; More Intervention Madness
Emerging Markets Are Facing a Big Foreign FX Debt Bill
Wall Street braces for grim third quarter earnings season
The Stock Markets Of The 10 Largest Global Economies Are All Crashing
Glencore Drops to Record Low as Goldman Flags Credit Concern
U.S. Takes Step Toward Support for China's Reserve-Currency Bid
War on cash: Goodbye $100 Bill? Ex-Central Banker Demands All High-Denomination Banknotes Should Be Abolished
Premiums Rise and Delivery Delays Increase on Silver Coins and Bars
Time to dig deep? Big miners face a big problem
Most industrial commodities are oversupplied, with the feared slowdown in China only deepening the miners' woes
Cuban President Raul Castro Says US Embargo Is 'Main Obstacle' To Cuba's Development
It Gets Ugly in Biotech
Volkswagen Fallout Hits Mexican Economy
Buy Gold While You Still Can!

## Airline death spiral ##
Airports decry $65M cut in funding bill
More than 30 million Americans will need passports to take domestic flights
Ukraine bans Russian airlines as part of war sanctions
The hidden extras airlines use to boost their profits
Arik Air May Be Bankrupt – Report
MidAir USA files for bankruptcy, is late on Melbourne rent
Airbus tells A320 suppliers to cut prices 10 percent
Record number of guns found in U.S. airport searches: TSA
10 Ways Monopoly Airlines Use 'Calculated Misery' to Make Flying an Increasingly Overpriced Nightmare

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Syrian transition could include Assad: Turkey's Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a fierce critic of Bashar al-Assad, on Thursday suggested for the first time that the Syrian president could have a role to play in a future political transition.
US Support Of Syrian Rebels Illegal, Russian President Vladimir Putin Says
Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday branded U.S. support of rebel forces in Syria as illegal and ineffective, saying U.S.-trained rebels were leaving to join the Islamic State group with weapons supplied by Washington.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Brawl erupts at refugee centre in Germany
Oil, Bonds Go Their Separate Ways
The rebound in oil prices has not been enough to stop the bleeding at many US energy companies, whose bonds keep weakening - and whose ability to muster fresh capital is dwindling away.

## Lifestyle solutions ##
Three Strategies to Make Your Life Easier as Times Get Harder

## Environment/health ##
The lost forests of the Middle East
Oh, brother! -- RF

## Propaganda ##
Obama's Flak Demeans Putin's Posture
Afraid of neocon criticism, President Obama is going out of his way to insult Russian President Putin prior to a summit meeting. Obama's press secretary mocked Putin as "desperate" and accused him of displaying poor posture in a meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Bridge report highlights Oregon's shaky infrastructure
Global Markets: It's Getting Ugly Out There
You'd have to be in full denial mode not to see that it's getting ugly out there in global markets: currencies are melting down, trade and shipping are tanking, commodities are swooning and global stock markets are increasingly on central-bank life support.
This vision assumes we're going to have lots of cheap energy. But guess what... Although small towns with hinterlands will likely thrive, big cities will turn into largely depopulated no-man's lands ruled by gangs and packs of feral dogs. -- RF

Japan's consumer price slide skips daily necessities
Japan's consumer prices fell overall in August on cheap oil -- the first decline since the country's current round of monetary easing began in April 2013. But rising food costs held larger sway over consumers' economic outlooks.
Researchers: More than 70% of No. 2 reactor's fuel may have melted
More than 70 percent of the fuel may have melted in one of the three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that suffered meltdowns in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster, researchers reported on Sept. 26.
This will accomplish nothing but increase complexity and the need for much more energy (money) to establish, operate, and maintain the new ministry. Because the point of diminishing returns has long since passed, the primary effect of this action will be to hasten Japan's decline. -- RF
Startups in China to face a wave of closures
The number of startups in China forced out of business by increasing challenges to securing funding is set to rise significantly, according to the Beijing-based Economic Observer.
The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom's electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
How the World Views US 'Clown Show'
Some Americans may be amused by the "clown show" that is modern U.S. politics, particularly the Republican presidential race. But the crude insults and gross bigotry are seen around the world, reducing the appeal of democracy and turning more people against the U.S.

## The Candidates ##
Ben Carson: Many seeking to enter U.S. at southern border 'are hardened criminals'
Carly Fiorina Makes a Lot of Stuff Up About Everything
Bernie Sanders Gets a Foreign Policy
After 25,000 people asked, Senator Bernie Sanders added a few words to his presidential campaign website about the 96% of humanity he'd been ignoring.
Government finds new emails Clinton did not hand over

And finally...
SoftBank warns against sex with its android Pepper
Motorist sets lighter to spider at gas station, burns pump
Donald Trump Halloween wigs sold out

Thursday, September 24, 2015


News Links, September 25, 2015

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
"Doomsday" Cometh For Glencore: Mining Giant's Default Risk Just Exploded Higher
Planet's poor set to swell as World Bank revises poverty line
RBS Said to Eliminate 100 Jobs at Investment Bank in Revamp
Megaships are worsening overcapacity in the container market
IMF approves 126m euro disbursement for bailed-out Cyprus
The International Monetary Fund has approved the disbursement of another 126 million euros ($140.5 million) for bailed-out Cyprus, saying that the island nation's reform program continues to be "a success."
5 Companies Suffering the Drag of Caterpillar
Latin American Currencies Lead Emerging-Market Selloff on China
China consumers tighten belts, a red flag for the global economy
French Joblessness Surges To Record High
Taiwan's central bank cuts interest rates to stimulate demand
Russia Unemployment Soars Under Putin Amid Sanctions, Falling Oil Prices: 4.1 Million Out Of Work
More Signs Of Deepening China Distress
Brazilian real's collapse is 'astounding': Trader
Drop in Gold Output Expected as Mining Companies Lose Money
Canada's Retail Prices Jump the Most in "Over a Decade"
German consumers increasingly concerned about economy
Volkswagen could pose bigger threat to German economy than Greek crisis
The Volkswagen contagion: How the emissions-rigging scandal is spreading to Canadian firms
As VW Scandal Unfolds, Ripple Effect Extends Through Entire Auto Industry
Volkswagen Manipulated Emissions Tests In Europe, Germany Claims, As Audi And Porsche Execs Forced Out
Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern
Norwegian Krone Tumbles To 13-Year Low After Central Bank Slashes Interest Rate
Gross Tells Fed to `Get Off Zero Now!' as Economies Run on Empty
South Africa's rand hits record low against dollar

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Caterpillar slashes revenue forecast, cutting up to 10,000 jobs
Halliburton to cut layers of U.S. management and North Dakota jobs
More job cuts coming at TransCanada
HP says to cut 25000 to 30000 jobs in enterprise business

## Airline death spiral ##
Europe's Disappearing National Airlines
Cramped Airplane Seats: Are Airlines Violating Our Human Rights?
Scarcity of pilots threatens regional service
Passengers From 4 States May Soon Need A Passport For Domestic Flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Japanese military role in South Sudan to expand in May under new security laws
U.S. Will Station New Nuclear Weapons in Germany Against Russia
Russia vows to counter reported U.S. nukes in Germany
US-Russia Nuclear Weapons Standoff: Air Force Won't Station New Atomic Bombs In Germany Until 2020
New US-Trained Rebels in Syria Gave Their Weapons to al-Qaeda
Commander: We Tricked US Because We Needed Weapons
France Says Egypt To Buy Mistral Warships
Chinese Jets In 'Unsafe' Intercept of US Spy Plane
Chinese Military Personnel, "Aerial Assets" Allegedly En Route To Syria
The Collapse of Iraq and the Rise of ISIS: Made in America?
War Hawk Petraeus Comes Out Of Retirement to Recommend Pouring Fuel on Syria's Fire
The Rape of Afghanistan
Endgame: Putin To Bomb ISIS With Or Without Obama
Syria Civil War: Merkel Says Assad Must Be Involved In Syria Peace Talks Amid Mounting Tensions
US Drones Responsible For More Civilian Deaths in Yemen than Al Qaeda
Europe Refugee Crisis: Croatia Bans Entry Of Serbian Citizens And Vehicles Amid Deepening Border Row
Burkina Faso's President Back In Charge As Coup Fails
US Directs Up To $45 Million To Support Countries Fighting Boko Haram
Pope Calls For End Of Arms Trade
A melting Arctic: The world is skating on thin ice
Ali Al-Nimr's Crucifixion Sentence in Saudi Arabia Sparks Outcry
Israel Approves Tougher Laws to Combat Stone Throwers
Drones Armed With High-Energy Lasers May Arrive In 2017
Obama and Putin to Meet Monday, With Syria and Ukraine on Menu

## Migrants/refugees ##
Migrant crisis: Farage says EU 'mad' to accept so many
EU Refugee Crisis: How Will European Countries Pay For The Influx Of Thousands Of People?
Orban mobilizes Hungary's troops, prisoners, jobless to fence out migrants
EU chief: Close the doors and windows as millions more migrants are coming
Canada Border Wall: Americans Want More Security To Block Immigrants

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
As Pope Francis Arrives in DC, Federal Workers Strike Against Poverty Wages
Tokyo rally against security laws, nuclear restart
Thousands of people have rallied in Tokyo to protest Japan's new security legislation and the restart of a nuclear power plant in the country.
Masked protesters lay siege to Kharkiv City Hall in Ukraine
Angry Volkswagen Owners Form Twitter Lynch Mob With #BuyBackMyTDI, #VWGate, And #VWCares, While VW Remains Silent
Time to Trade in Your Jag, Benz, BMW for a Dented Econobox: Days of Rage Are Coming
Cabbies protest at city airports over Emanuel fee; drivers' lawsuit cut back
Many Injured after Xinjiang Separatists Go On a Knifing Rampage at Coal Mine

## Energy/resources ##
Kazakhstan Joins The List Of Suffering Oil Exporters
Global Divestment Movement 'Catches Fire' with $2.6 Trillion in Assets Shifted
Glencore's Zambian unit plans to cut more than 3,800 jobs: government sources
Total Cuts Oil Output Target as Prices Expected to Stay Low
Petrobras Default Looms Under $90B Dollar-Denominated Debt
Petrobras Sees 'Great Wave' of $100-Oil Never Coming Back
Total to Slash CAPEX and OPEX by Billions of Dollars by 2017
Ukraine Finds Itself Sidelined As Gazprom Advances With Nord Stream Two
Goldman Sachs: "Peak Coal" Is Here
France's Fessenheim nuclear plant won't close by 2016 -Hollande
The Shale Party's Over: "Closed" Bond Market Means "Restructuring Is Inevitable"
Oil Companies in Europe Seek Creative Funding as Lenders Retreat
Can Part-Time Work Minimize the Number of Layoffs in Oil, Gas?
U.S. average gasoline and diesel fuel prices decrease
US Coal Mines Continue To Dwindle As Weak Demand Takes A Toll

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Coalinga copper wire thieves chop down power poles, cause $50,000 in damages
Thieves rip cable from busy Glasgow to Edinburgh line causing delays

## Got food? ##
'Doomsday Vault' sees its first withdrawal
Caught On Tape: Anarchy - When Chicken Prices Hit Record Highs
The U.S. Doesn't Have Enough Of The Vegetables We're Supposed To Eat

## Lifestyle solutions ##
Financial Independence via Self-Employment: How Do We Do It?
As the current system continues to disintegrate, enterprising individuals will find ways to not only survive, but also thrive. One good strategy is to combine several "occupations." And whatever you do, growing food — i.e., being a part-time farmer — is always a good idea. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Herbicide scrutiny mounts as resistant weeds spread in U.S.
What Is Hepegivirus? New Virus Similar To Hepatitis C Discovered In Blood Supply
Rising sea levels and stronger storms increase flood danger
The Cost Of Cancer Drugs: Patients Vastly Overpaying For Treatments, Study Finds (US)
Parents who don't vaccinate children won't get benefit payments, Australia proposes
NASA: Oceans' phytoplankton numbers are trending downwards
Sumatran rhinos likely to become extinct, conservationists warn
Singapore Blanketed In Haze Blown In From Indonesia, Conditions Expected To Worsen
Scientists: Drought stressing California's Giant Sequoias
How The US Subsidizes Cheap Drugs For Europe: Is Europe Freeloading Off Pricey Medicine In US?
Drug prices: Which companies may be the next targets?

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
OPM Hack Update: At Least 5.6 Million, Not 1.1 Million, US Government Employees' Fingerprints Stolen In Vast Data Breach
Mind-Reading Experiment Sends Thoughts Over the Internet
New cryptography method seen as security game changer
Ad blockers rise as ads annoy, bog down websites
Audit finds slipshod cybersecurity at HealthCare. gov
Russia says ready to restart anti-terrorist cooperation with USA: RIA
It's official: North America is out of new IPv4 addresses
Snowden Treaty Launched: Effort To Get Countries To End Mass Surveillance

## Propaganda ##
U.S. Air Force Requires Airmen to Praise Troubled Stealth Fighter
China Propaganda Video Shows Foreigners Praising 'Supercharismatic' President Xi Jingping
Extremist Heartland Institute Attacks Pope Francis On Climate, Claims Paganism Has Entered Catholic Church
A Prized Iran-Nuke Myth Unraveling
Blunting the Pope's Environmentalism
The Sneering at China's President Xi
In mainstream U.S. media, it's always a "safe play" for pundits to sneer at foreign leaders and countries that interfere with American hegemony, thus guiding the public toward unnecessary hostilities, a phenomenon now playing out in the treatment of China and President Xi.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
How PowerPoint is killing critical thought
When This Caterpillar Dies, We Don't Get a Butterfly
Rewarding Failure – Volkswagen CEO to Receive $32 Million Pension
VW emission recall could be the most expensive ever

## Japan ##
Moscow says if Japan wants peace deal, it must 'recognize' postwar 'historic realities'
2 Chinese ships continue surveying Japan's EEZ
The Russians and Chinese are already planning how to carve up Japan. -- RF
100 local governments hit by cyberattacks, mainly from abroad, as personal ID number use approaches
Part-time wages reach record high
A survey shows hourly wages of part-time workers in Japan registered a record high in August for the third month in a row due to labor shortages.
Volkswagen Gets Blamed for the Fiasco in Japan
Japan to launch defense procurement agency
Japan Manufacturing PMI Borders on Contraction as New Export Orders Plunge
Abe unveils 3 new arrows for reviving economy
Government looks to widen more expressways for traffic
Hokkaido Electric abandons plan for reactor restart by March end
Japan Dumbs Down Its Universities

## China ##
Chinese military: Beijing may find troop cut quest an 'assault on fortified positions'

## US ##
GOP Vexed over Pope on Climate Change
In the pocket of the oil industry, key Republicans continue to sow doubts about the science on climate change, an attitude that may extend to their annoyance with Pope Francis if he raises the issue when he addresses Congress.

## The Candidates ##

And finally...

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