Tuesday, October 31, 2017


News Links, November 1, 2017

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards/global cooling/deflationary collapse ##
Big Oil Has Learned To Live With Lower Oil Prices
In an environment where central banks have crushed yields, investors have become so desperate for any yield they can get, no matter what the risks, that borrowers are totally taking advantage of this desperation.
Sears Holdings Exhausts its Last Credit Facility
It risks running out of money just before the holiday selling season.

## Airline death spiral ##
The Fat Years for U.S. Airlines Are Coming to an End
While summertime profits were fine, and travel demand remains robust, a number of airlines are facing higher bills from a variety of factors: labor contracts, significant airport renovation projects, technology spending, and fleet upgrades.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
South Korea will buy more U.S. weapons, develop more advanced missiles and receive a more consistent presence of U.S. military nuclear weapons to defend against North Korea, according to agreements reached between top U.S. and South Korean military leaders that concluded in Seoul Saturday.
By shelving THAAD dispute, China hopes to counter US hard line
Bahrain Wants Qatar's GCC Membership Frozen
In a series of messages on Twitter, Al Khalifa said that Bahrain would not attend the next GCC meeting if Qatar is present, and criticized it for refusing to comply with the demands of the Saudi-led coalition that had imposed a blockade on Qatar.
Talk about meddling! How America Spreads Global Chaos
Beyond the well-publicized military build up on man-made islands in the South China Sea, China has built up its fleet of fighters to the extent that it operates a daily, aggressive campaign to contest airspace over the East China Sea, South China Sea and beyond, U.S. military officials here in the region said. China has also taken several other non-military steps that are viewed as attempts to make it much more difficult for the U.S. to operate there and defend allies in the future.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Sacked Catalonia leader calls for opposition to Madrid's rule
IMF projects deficits of $320B for Mideast oil exporters
The Middle East's oil producers are bracing for continued pressure from lower oil prices, with the International Monetary Fund projecting cumulative budget deficits of $320 billion over the next five years.
Saudis Need $70 Oil To Break Even
Iran skips UN conference on nuclear energy in Abu Dhabi
President Donald Trump has scrapped environmental regulations and supported fossil-fuel production in the first year of his presidency. But if success of such policies is judged by the price of gasoline, there's little to show. By every measure of affordability, the cost of filling up has increased relative to the major economies of the world.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Tech firms must do more on extremism: World Economic Forum
U.S. tech firms such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc should be more aggressive in tackling extremism and political misinformation if they want to avoid government action, a report from the World Economic Forum said on Monday.
EU may struggle to prove cyber attack links, warns expert
EU governments are reportedly planning to respond to cyber attacks as an act of war, but a cyber security expert says links to nation states may be hard to prove
Uranium-Gate: The Informant Cometh
This gets more bizarre by the minute. -- RF
Pentagon to Keep Afghan War 'Progress' Metrics Secret

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
NY Times Uncritically Says Fake News Debate Supports Chinese Style Censorship
Nothing surprising about this. The US already has a China-style one-party system, so why not China-style internet censorship? Then all US fake news will be government-approved. -- RF
"Suddenly I realised, wow, they actually hold so much power," she said. Facebook "can crush us just like that if they want to".
Superstorms are the least of NYC's worries. -- RF
The Americans who can't read
The US has more citizens who are illiterate - some 16 million people - than many of its developed counterparts.
Singapore Is Finding It Harder to Grow, Literally
In Singapore, sand is just as precious a resource as oil and water. Securing a steady supply is proving to be trickier these days.
This is a solution? It just lards more on top of something that's already unsustainable. -- RF
What Trump's Iran action means for Japan's energy interests
Post-sanctions, Japan expanded its interests in Iranian oil, as well as other sectors. If the nuclear deal is scuttled, don't expect Tokyo to acquiesce easily to a new sanctions regime
Unfortunately, as internet control tightens around the world, we'll see that China isn't an aberration, but rather a bellwether. -- RF
China tests new spy drones in near space 'death zone'
High-altitude unmanned vehicles tasked with military intelligence gathering can fit inside a shoebox and cost just a few hundred yuan
China's mangrove swamplands are disappearing at an alarming rate. These saltwater marshes, unique to tropical and subtropical areas such as southern China's Pearl River Delta, serve as spawning grounds for aquatic life, major stops for migratory birds and shields for coastlines. However, mangroves have grown expendable in land-scarce coastal regions as land reclamation became an easy path to higher tax revenue, economic growth and better livelihoods for locals.
Disruption to online and mobile services has become more of a problem for banks in recent years, as lenders cut branch networks and steer customers towards those digital platforms.
Benefit cuts main cause of surge in demand for children's services, warn council leaders
Local authorities say cuts to financial support for families such as housing benefit have seen demand for child protection services rise to levels they are unable to meet

## US ##
The Bitter Irony about Today's "Real Disposable Income"
In the data today on personal income and outlays for September was a hefty shot of reality that many Americans have been feeling in their wallets on a daily basis: On a personal level, per individual, or "per capita," the disposable income adjusted for inflation looks lousy. In fact, it declined in September and has been declining since May.
"Relying on consumer savings to move the economy forward is not going to last for long," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

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