Thursday, December 14, 2017


News Links, December 15, 2017

Canada Home Values Hit "First Quarterly Decline since Q1 2009" as Household Debt Binge Hits New High
Stressful Year Ahead for Spanish Banks
Malaysia issues draft regulations for crypto currency businesses
Could Central Banks Dump Gold in Favor of Bitcoin?
I would not rule it out entirely. But let's look at this rationally. Why would a cryptocurrency be acceptable backing for anything? The power grid/internet combination that underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as digitized fiat currencies, is extremely fragile, and to believe that this system will always be there for us is fantasy. The more the world goes "cashless," the greater the danger. Remember Puerto Rico.  -- RF

## Airline death spiral ##
Most airlines avoid flying over North Korea

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
'Bad news for our enemies': EU launches defense pact
European Union nations, now unfettered by Britain's decision to quit, achieved a 70-year-old ambition on Thursday to integrate their defenses, launching a pact between 25 EU governments to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together.
Trump's Illegal Syrian Mission Creep
Even as the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria collapses, the U.S. government is keeping about 2,000 soldiers in-country despite lacking any legal right to be there.

## Migrants/refugees ##
Parisians threaten hunger strike over migrant street camps
Paris residents furious that hundreds of migrants are sleeping on the streets of their neighbourhood are threatening to launch a hunger strike unless the authorities remove the squalid pavement camps.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Kazakhstan: Coal Miners Declare Strike in Plea For Higher Pay

## Energy/resources ##
Also, besides the $15 billion BHP spent to produce its unprofitable shale oil and gas resources, it also suffered $12 billion worth of impairment write-downs on its supposed "high-quality" shale assets in 2015 and 2016.
Climate Change Could Take the Air Out of Wind Farms
Big offshore wind farms power Europe's drive for a carbon-free society, while rows of spinning turbines across America's heartland churn enough energy to power 25 million US homes. But a new study predicts that a changing climate will weaken winds that blow across much of the Northern hemisphere, possibly leading to big drops in clean wind energy.
'Tsunami of data' could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025
The communications industry could use 20% of all the world's electricity by 2025, hampering attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially.
'Chock full': Enbridge warns its pipelines near maximum capacity as Canadian oil prices crash
It has led to a doubling of the discount Canadian producers must accept for their barrels, as they miss out on the oil price rally
The Death Of Europe's Coal Industry
More than half of Europe's coal plants are already bleeding cash, but by 2030, the percentage of coal plants in Europe that report negative cash flow could explode to an estimated 97 percent.
Study: Teen behavior worse in areas with high air pollution
Oil and gas fracking connected to low birth weights in infants, landmark study finds
Pregnant mothers who live near shale oil and gas fracking face an elevated risk of giving birth to babies with health problems, according to a landmark study.

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Cyberattacks: The Biggest Threat To OPEC
The Oil And Gas Industry Is Under Attack
Almost two-thirds of oil and gas companies have recently had a serious cybersecurity incident, and only a small minority of them felt confident that their defense capabilities match the threats, a new survey from EY has revealed.
"Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process—including two million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law," Schneiderman said in an announcement today. "Yet the FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation."
"It doesn't play like a human, and it doesn't play like a program," said Hassabis, an expert chess player himself. "It plays in a third, almost alien, way. It's like chess from another dimension."
The Deep State's Christmas Present to America: Surveillance That Never Ends

## Propaganda/censorship/fake news/alternative facts ##
How Government Agents Troll Online to Divide and Confuse
The real story of online deception isn't about the Russians. Sure, the Russians certainly have their own programs to disrupt and steer online discourse. But how quickly the public has forgotten about the U.S. government's own internet troll program.
The Foundering Russia-gate 'Scandal'
Taking on water from revealed FBI conflicts of interest, the foundering Russia-gate probe – and its mainstream media promoters – are resorting to insults against people who note the listing ship.
Silencing of Courageous Documentaries
Historically, documentaries have told important truth in powerful ways and often challenging powerful groupthinks, but such brave films are becoming an endangered species.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Switzerland is Prepared for Civilizational Collapse
American exodus? 17,000 US defense suppliers may have left the defense sector
A large number of American companies supplying the U.S. military may have left the defense market, according to a study announced Thursday, raising alarm over the health and future of the defense industrial base.
Moon and Xi agree on avoiding new Korean war, but little else
Lack of joint statement after their summit shows relations remain frosty

## UK ##
Infested communities give up trying to eradicate bed bugs
Bed bugs are now so resistant to poison that entire communities have given up attempting to eradicate them are learning to live alongside them, experts have warned.

## US ##
Chemical Warfare Drills by Homeland Security Will Turn Humans into Lab Rats, Many Fear
Thieves target cell tower backup batteries
Police in North Jersey say they are taking note of a growing number of battery thefts from cellphone towers. Thieves are going after the low-hanging fruit, or in this case, copper, which they sell for scrap metal.
Because of poor cellphone reception. -- RF
What, "Replacement Demand" from Hurricane Harvey Overhyped?
Houston-area auto sales rise, but not nearly enough. Carmageddon returns to US.

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