Sunday, January 17, 2016


News Links, January 18, 2016

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
US Freight Volumes Fall For First Time In 3 Years As Baltic Dry Crashes Under 400
Consensual Hallucination Fades, Global Stocks Crushed
Oil Bust Could End Dollar Domination
Azerbaijan's Economy In Dire Straits As Oil Prices Keep Tanking
Photographers Capture the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor
As oil prices bottom out, it's not just fragile petro-states in trouble
Saudi Arabia plans new sovereign wealth fund - sources
Norway Pushes Panic Button: "We're In A Crisis Now, We Can't Deny That"
Wal-Mart closed over 10 percent of Brazil stores in restructuring: sources
Wal-Mart Rubs Salt on Deepening Retail Wounds
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Closing 269 Stores Worldwide, Including 154 In US
The Bitcoin Obituaries – Bitcoin Has Supposedly Died (Or Will Die Soon) 88 Times
Stock Plunge: Global Market Rout Shows Mounting Risks To World Economy
Warren Buffett hurting, on pace to lose $2.3B
German gold repatriation update
Black Friday (a collection of charts)
More bad news coming: Canadian corporate earnings will be 'awful,' fund managers warn
"Everything Has Come to a Standstill": Political Fallout Hits Business in Spain
Fed To Bring Back QE, Gold To See '€œMother of all Rallies' - Peter Schiff 2016 Forecast
The Deflation Monster Has Arrived — And it sure looks angry
Dallas Fed Quietly Suspends Energy Mark-To-Market On Default Contagion Fears
Just 62 people now own the same wealth as half the world's population, research finds
Currency Wars Keep Global Gold Miners In Good Shape
Venezuela president declares economic emergency as inflation hits 141%
Why Are JP Morgan & RBS Warning Us To Sell Stocks On Any Rally?
AIIB: Chief of China-led bank says US, Japan are welcome
Iceland Sentences 26 Corrupt Bankers To 74 Years In Prison
Iceland just sentenced their 26th banker to prison for his part in the 2008 economic collapse. The charges ranged from breach of fiduciary duties to market manipulation to embezzlement.

## Cut, baby, cut! ##
Walmart to close 269 stores, lay off 16,000
Job cuts and bankruptcy hit the resources industry
Russia Will Cut Spending on All State Programs in 2016 Budget
Aker Solutions to Cut up to 900 Jobs in Norway

## War on cash/cashless society ##
Cash Confiscation, Wave of the Future
In the near term, the War on Cash will no doubt proceed as planned, with the avowed purposes of "convenience" and "crime prevention," so that governments can monitor everyone's financial transactions and banks can skim by means of negative interest rates and fees because your money will be captive. But ultimately the internet and power grids will fail, and digital money will go POOF (that includes Bitcoin). Prepare yourself for that day. -- RF
UK transport network continues on its journey to a cashless future
A Sure Sign Of Progress: E-payments Surpass Paper-based Payment Methods In India
Changes On The COMEX As Bankers Increase War On Cash & Gold

## Airline death spiral ##
American Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing At San Jose Airport
United's Quest to Be Less Awful
Family Offloaded From Flight At Mumbai Airport For Alleged Unruly Behaviour
Unruly passenger delays Oman Air flight
Man uses microchip implanted in hand to pass through airport security
Concerns grow over noise pollution from new flight routes above central Tokyo
Kuwait Airways Drops Flights to Avoid Israeli Passengers
Trusted Traveller scheme to replace air rage?
No pilot, Air India flight delayed for nearly 2 hours
Korean Air, Asiana struggle to retain pilots
Iceland pilot shortage on the horizon
What's the Government Doing About Soaring Airline Complaints? This. (US)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Saudi Arabia: A Weak Kingdom On Its Knees?
Will Reckless Saudis Seek War with Iran? Six Factors
Southeast Asia at risk as ISIS sets its sights globally
This is the Pentagon's new strategy to defeat ISIS
ISIS Shifts Focus To Libya As Pressure In Syria, Iraq Builds
Jakarta Terror Attack Was Funded by ISIS: Indonesia Police
Islamic State kidnaps 400 civilians in Syrian city of Deir al-Zor: monitor
Doubling Down on a Failed Strategy: The Pentagon's Dangerous 'New' Base Plan
Netanyahu: Iran has not stopped its development of nuclear weapons
Has Israel stopped its development of nuclear weapons? -- RF
After Iran Nuclear Sanctions Lifted, US Issues Fresh Embargo Over Ballistic Missile Program
Japan's Abe calls for Putin to be brought in from the cold
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is pressing for President Vladimir Putin to be brought in from the cold, saying Russian help is crucial to tackling multiple crises in the Middle East.
China launches new AIIB development bank as power balance shifts
France Sets Arms Export Contracts Record of $17.5B
Space Mining Could Set Off a Star War
EU, Israel Battle Over West Bank: Israeli Leaders To Sabotage European Settlement Resolution
George Soros-funded books burned in Russia
Russian forces to stay in Syria 'indefinitely' under deal with Assad
Newly published details of the deal, signed before Russian airstrikes in the country began, suggest Moscow may maintain a long term military presence in the Middle East
Populist Wilders Says EU Is Finished as He Leads Dutch Polls
NZ Newspaper: An 'Honor' To Welcome Small Pacific Rim Countries As They Sign Away Much Of Their Sovereignty
Washington Post Journalist, Three Others, Freed From Iran Prison
In negotiating to free Americans in Iran, U.S. blinked on new sanctions
Sanctions Lifted Against Iran After Nuclear Watchdog Verifies Compliance
After Me, the Jihad: Gaddafi's Unheeded Warning to the West
Al-Shabab Attack: Kenya Launches Search-And-Rescue Mission As Islamist Group Claims 100 Killed
Iraqi city of Ramadi, once home to 500,000, lies in ruins

## UAVs ##
Army Special Operations Want Multi-Intelligence UAVs
Korean Air Launches $333.5Mln-Worth Mass Production of Spy Drones
South Korea's largest airline Korean Air said Sunday it has signed a $333.5 million deal on the mass production of reconnaissance drones with the military procurement agency, local media reported.
Drone Legislation to Require Owners To Buy Insurance, Get License Plates – Constant GPS Tracking
US Air Force highlights UAV staffing strain
Metropolitan police conduct drone-capturing drill ahead of Tokyo Marathon (Japan)

## Migrants/refugees ##
Denmark's new plan to deter migrants: Seize their valuables
Hoping to diminish Denmark's appeal to migrants, the country's government plans to force asylum-seekers to hand over any valuables worth more than $1,500 to help cover their housing and food costs while their cases are being processed.
Swiss, like Danes, seize assets from refugees to recoup costs
Refugees arriving in Switzerland have for ten years had to turn over to the state any assets worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs (913.6 pounds) to help pay for their upkeep, broadcaster SRF reported on Thursday (14 January), revealing a practice that has drawn sharp rebukes for Denmark.
Migrant influx to Greece continues unabated through winter
EU's Farcical Plan to "Quasi-Automatically" Redistribute Refugees
Last Autumn, the European Commission and Angela Merkel hatched a plan to redistribute 160,000 migrants from overloaded countries to countries less overloaded. Results so far: 272 refugees relocated. In the meantime, another 400,000 or so refugees have poured in.
Migrants arriving in Greece find Europe's welcome has worn thin

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Next Up In The Workers Paradise——Strikes And Labor Unrest In China
Germans protest against racism after New Year's Eve sex attacks
Protesters interrupt mayor's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast
Anti-fracking protesters block entrance to power station construction site
Attackers Yell 'ISIS, ISIS' During Hate-Crime Beating: Police

## Energy/resources ##
27 Billion Barrels Worth Of Oil Projects Now Cancelled
Science opens routes to energy recycling
While I applaud efforts like this, there's no way such technologies will ever be implemented on a scale that equals fossil fuels. Renewables harvest solar energy in real time, while fossil fuels offer us millions of years of solar energy stored in highly concentrated form. We have to expend much energy with renewables just to harvest the sun's energy. There are also some elements of pseudo-science in this piece. For example, "energy recycling" doesn't make any sense. You can't recycle energy; you use it once, and it's gone. And then there's this whopper: "water provides the energy for a chemical reaction that propels a vehicle." Say what? Water doesn't provide the energy for anything because once oxygen and hydrogen atoms bond to form water, they give up all their useful energy. Splitting water requires some other energy input. Remember the jatropha craze? It was going to provide us with a cheap source of liquid fuel. The plant can be grown on "marginal land"! Well, it turned out that growing it on marginal land produced only marginal returns; to extract lots of oil the plants need fertilizer. There is no free lunch. -- RF
Saudi petrochemical groups hit by oil price fall
Oil outlook 2016: Collapsing crude, the return of Iran and deeper capex cuts
BHP Billiton dividend cut looms as it takes $7.2 billion shale charge
Changes afoot for U.S. coal industry
Oil Prices Plunge 5% As Traders Fear A Wave Of Iranian Oil
Texas ERCOT power use rises 2.2 pct in 2015 amid record demand
BHP Billiton writes down $7.2bn of shale assets
Nature strikes back? The power grid's greatest enemy has four legs and a bushy tail
Across the world blackouts are happening and power grids are being shut down. From Europe to America, and across Asia and Africa, we're losing the cyberwar. But the enemy is not who you might think: it is squirrels.
Citigroup Says Iron Ore Risks Tumbling Into $20s on Demand
EDF, Areva take extra 1 bln eur provision on nuclear waste storage project
Qatar to Hike Gasoline Prices by 30 Percent at Midnight
Qatar will raise its subsidized gasoline prices by at least 30 percent at midnight Friday, the state fuel company said, the latest Gulf country to cut its subsidies as global oil prices have hit a 12-year low.
California Methane Leak: Here's Where Over 400 US Natural Gas Storage Facilities Are Located [MAP]
EU officials to visit Iran in February to develop energy ties
Iran's Oil Will Just Make Life Worse for Gulf Rivals
Oil Plunges To $28 Cycle Lows As Iran Supply Looms, Stocks Slide
World Economic Forum Ranks Water Crises as Top Long-term Risk
The great condensate con: Is the oil glut just about oil?
U.S. facing glut of ethanol

## Got food? ##
Climate extremes threaten Australia's wine industry
Winemakers in Australia's oldest growing region fear a ruined harvest after heavy rainfall, while vineyards in the country's west are under threat from bushfires, undermining efforts to recover from a near decade-long run of lower exports.
Thailand reports progress in illegal fishing clampdown ahead of EU visit
Chipotle Outbreak: Burrito Chain To Close All Stores On February 8 For Food Safety Meeting
Saudi Arabia buying up farmland in US Southwest
Over the long run, this won't help KSA because industrial agriculture will fail and the costs of shipping any harvested food to KSA will be prohibitively high. Further, food shortages and unrest in producer countries will likely put the kibosh on food exports everywhere. Rule of thumb: If a country isn't self-sufficient in food, it has too many people. -- RF
China steps up efforts to cultivate promising bread basket
Same problem here. -- RF
U.N. food agency calls for $50 million to help drought-ravaged Ethiopia
South Africa to import up to 6 mln tonnes of maize: minister
California farmers brace for water shortage despite El Nino
FDA Approves Genetically Engineered Potato

## Lifestyle solutions ##
How to build an earthbag home for $11.50 per square foot

## Environment/health ##
Dozens feared exposed as Sierra Leone confirms new Ebola case
New Ebola Death In Sierra Leone Leads To Quarantines Of More Than 100 People
Killer whales risk extinction off Europe from banned chemicals
First was El Nino, now brace for La Nina
Botched French drug trial leaves 1 brain dead, 5 others hospitalized
Zika Virus: Five Things You Need to Know
Zika Virus: CDC Issues Travel Warning For Pregnant Women
Zika virus blamed for brain damage in Hawaiian newborn
Employee Wellness Programs Not So Voluntary Anymore
Oceana latest to call for end to Shell's Alaska program
Brown bears shun hibernation amid warm winter in Pyrenees
Bird Flu Returns to U.S. Poultry Industry With Indiana Case
Why Are Venomous Sea Snakes Washing Up on California Beaches?
All Flint's children must be treated as exposed to lead
Scientists Test Vaccine Against Deadly Dengue Virus in Brazil
Emergency rooms: our ice-fuelled epidemic of hospital violence (Australia)
How Did Americans Get So Fat, In Seven Charts
California officials delay plans to mitigate massive gas leak
No Jail Time for Delta 5 in Historic Case That 'Welcomes Jurors to Climate Movement'
A jury in Washington state on Friday found that the defendants in the potentially groundbreaking "Delta 5" case, who in September 2014 blockaded an oil train in Everett and this week argued they were compelled to act over the threat of climate change, were not guilty of obstruction.
Toxic chemicals in Scottish waters wiping out killer whales

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
U.S. sees jump in cyber attacks on critical manufacturers
The US Thinks China May Have Stolen Military Robot Designs
Facebook Busted Trying To Fake Support For Its Net Neutrality Positions In India
MH-17's Unnecessary Mystery
Nearly 18 months after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, one of the troubling mysteries is why the U.S. government – after rushing to blame Russia and ethnic Russian rebels – then went silent, effectively obstructing the investigation into 298 deaths.
Indonesia Blocks Radical Websites After Deadly Militant Attack In Capital
How Big Brother is riding shotgun in your driverless car
Driverless Cars: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Electric cars: Mechanics with no specialist training 'risk death when tinkering with the vehicles'
U.S. and EU firms warn of 'enormous' consequences if data pact talks fail
Tourism agency to share purchasing history of foreign shoppers with stores (Japan)

## Propaganda ##
U.S. Radically Changes Its Story of the Boats in Iranian Waters: to an Even More Suspicious Version
Too Many "Think Tanks" Are Just Kool-Aid Fueled Group Think
How Neocons Banished Realism
The grip that neocons and liberal interventionists have on Official Washington's opinion circles is now so strong that "realists" who once provided an important counterbalance have been almost banished from foreign policy debates.
WPost's Deadly Lack of Realism
The Washington Post's neocon editors advocate one regime change after another, oblivious to the death and destruction that their strategies have unleashed across the Mideast and now into Europe – and reflecting a lack of realism about what U.S. foreign policy can achieve.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
What's Eroding the Middle Class?
This erosion of a self-employed, independent middle class was an important pre-condition for the collapse of Rome and the French Revolution.
L.A.'s New Stadium Not All It's Cracked Up to Be, Economists Say
The most expensive stadium in the country isn't expected to be a significant boon to the Los Angeles economy.
Welcome To The New Normal: The Dow Crashes Another 390 Points And Wal-Mart Closes 269 Stores
The Ascendance of Sociopaths in U.S. Governance
Washington DC's Roads, Transit Score Badly in Engineers' Report
Arkansas' 2,800+ structurally deficient, functionally obsolete bridges
The Future of Jakarta: Urbanization Reaches a Breaking Point
Not just megacities, but also all big cities, are unsustainable. When that SHTF moment arrives, there will be a mass exodus  and chaos; formerly bustling cities will become a no man's land ruled by gangs and packs of feral dogs. -- RF
Here are five good reasons not to host the Olympic Games
Davos report warns of EU disintegration

## Japan ##
Corporate Bond Rates Go Negative in Japan; No End to Central Bank Madness
Shortage and aging of bus drivers explains shift in accident causes
Gasoline hits 80-month low at pump
Japan to tackle child poverty in Okinawa
Sleazy animal-trade business underpins Japan's ever-popular zoos
Problems with prototype reactor threaten Japan's nuclear fuel recycling plan
Children of collapse: Japan's deflated generation
As persistent deflation turned into a source of low-level apprehension that limits ambition, Japan's young people get stressed over small price differences between shops and keep count of their savings in notebooks.
Nikkei-FT interview: Abe rips G-2, says China's maritime moves 'cannot be tolerated'
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday called the notion of the U.S. and China controlling the Pacific as a so-called Group of Two "outdated." In an exclusive interview with The Nikkei and the Financial Times, he also expressed strong concern about Beijing's efforts to change the status quo in the South China Sea.

## China ##
Inside The Red Ponzi——Why China's $28 Trillion Debt Mountain Is Scary
Getting Money Out of China: What The Heck is Happening?
China's Capital Flight
China growth forecast at 25-year low
China Bank Lending Slows Dramatically, Confirming Concerns About Soaring Bad Loans
China seeks investment for disputed islands, plans to launch flights
China faces nuclear energy choice: reprocess or not?
After vote, China tells Taiwan to abandon independence "hallucination"
China's Top 1% Own One Third Of All Property In China, Says Report; Bottom 25 percent owns just one percent
Blame, anger, frustration as China's stock rescue effort looks defeated
China to clean-up 'zombie' companies by 2020: Xinhua
Missing Hong Kong bookseller appears on China state television weeping
China Sets New Gold Buying Record in 2015

## UK ##
700 more Exeter street lights go "part-time"
Cambridgeshire streetlights switch-off is confirmed - but will not start until 2am each night
It's been raining in Welsh village Eglwyswrw for 82 days in a row - and it could break records
Hundreds of Britons caught trying to join jihadis, says foreign secretary
Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London
House prices have rocketed 300% in England and Wales since 1995 – analysis
Cheap imports force UK pig farmers out of business
The great British breakfast is under threat. Agriculture experts warn that Britain's pig farmers are braced for a horrendous year, as a glut of pork on the global markets sends prices plunging and prompts an increasing number to quit.
Cuts have left Britain a fading power, says former top diplomat
Almost half of English school students failing to make the grade, says report

## US ##
What is a middle class income in America? A lot less than you think and Americans are getting poorer by the day.
Eat, Drink And Be Merry——-Tomorrow Even The Last Gasp Of Retail Spending Is Heading For A Fall
Empire State Manufacturing Index Posts Horrific -19.37, Lowest Reading Since April 2009
Industrial Production Numbers and Revisions Shockingly Bad; Autos Have Peaked
4th Quarter GDPNow Forecast Sinks to +0.6 Percent; Fed Futures Target 1 Hike in 2016; Disastrous Data Recap
Poor and Seeking Justice in Louisiana? Get in Line.
Not just oil and China, tech is falling apart
Dow plunges 500 points with growing investor fear
U.S. stocks post worst 10-day start to a year in history
'Nail in the Coffin': Obama to Halt New Coal Mining Leases on Public Lands
The Latest: Tennessee Powerball winners plan to keep working
What does any one person, or any one family, need with $327 million? The lottery system is structured in a way that is emblematic of America's winner-take-all socioeconomic system: a few people obtain incredible wealth while others sleep on the streets. -- RF
Thanks to Donald Trump, Police Brutality and Guns, the United States' Reputation Is Plummeting
4 ways the lottery preys on the poor
'Ludicrous' as Flint Tells Residents: Pay for Poisoned Water or We'll Cut You Off
Budget Cuts and Negligence Poisoned the Drinking Water in Flint, Mich.
Calls for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are intensifying in the face of evidence that he allowed 100,000 residents of the city of Flint to continue cooking, drinking and bathing in water known to be contaminated with lead.
Oregon protester arrested as tribe calls for group's removal
Big bucks: About half of retiring senators and a third of retiring House members register as lobbyists
Armed Group Occupying Refuge Clash With Environmentalists
Escape Velocity, Not——–Atlanta Fed GDP Tracker Down To 0.6% For Q4
The Citadel Is Breached: Congress Taps the Fed for Infrastructure Funding
America's growing student-loan-debt crisis

## The candidates ##
Trump's comments on barring Muslim immigrants are 'unhinged,' Bush says
GOP Opens New Front in Bid to Stop Trump
Is Jeb Bush's Campaign Dead? During GOP Debate, Florida Republican Barely Gets To Talk
Nabbed By The Vampire Squid—–Why Senator Cruz' Undisclosed Goldman Loan Is A Spot Of Trouble
Carson Campaign Loses Another Major Figure
Trump rents Iowa theater to show Benghazi movie
GOP Candidates Try to Scare the Hell Out of America
It's Official: Trump Is Now The Bookies' Favorite
The Clintons' Cheap Shot at Sanders
Peak Desperation – Clinton Campaign Deploys Strategist for Wall Street Mega Banks to Attack Bernie Sanders
Donald Trump launches Twitter broadside against Ted Cruz
Rand Paul "Baffled" by Evangelicals' Preference for War-Mongering GOP Candidates
Back story: Hillary Clinton's real views on healthcare

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