Saturday, December 20, 2014

 

News Links, December 21, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Oil Price Pain: Who's Next After Emerging Markets And Fracking?
Low Oil Prices Killing Off Fuel Subsidies
The Keynesian PhD Brigade Strikes Again: Sweden's Riksbank Joins The ZIRP Mania
Emerging markets: The Biggest Economic Story Going Into 2015 Is Not Oil
Fed calls time on $5.7 trillion of emerging market dollar debt
A Russian TARP? Russia Begins Rescue Of Country's Banking System
Russia Busts "Gold-Selling" Rumors, Reports It Bought Another 600,000 Ounces Taking Gold Holdings To New Record High
Global Automakers Get Blasted in Russia by Ruble Crash
US/NATO Building "New Berlin Wall" by Expanding Military Footprint: Putin
Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives
Southeast Asian wages fast approaching China levels
Saudi Arabia among world's worst for 'dirty money' flows
More than $30 billion in illicit capital flowed out of Saudi Arabia in 2012, facilitating crime and corruption, according to a new study released by Global Financial Integrity.
Dubai Financial Market's boom and bust

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Japan carrier promoted trainee pilot despite worries: govt
Air Do, which links Tokyo to cities in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in a tie-up with major carrier All Nippon Airways, was also found lax on aircraft maintenance check-ups.
Ukrainian Fund Invests in Failing Armenian Airline
Ghana Still Searching For Private Investor On New National Airline
Airfare Should Get Cheaper In 2015 Due To Plummeting Oil Prices, Experts Say
Guess what comes after plummeting oil prices. What do the experts say? -- RF
Airline industry poised to fly high in 2015
Was 2014 the year of the bad airline passenger?

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Why Iran's Influence In Syria Is Likely To Outlive President Bashar Assad's Rule
Iraq's Shiite fighters desert over shortages
War hurting Libyan oil, but NATO rules out intervention
Leaked Internal CIA Document Admits US Drone Program "Counterproductive"
What Will It Take to Be a Superpower in 2025?
The World Is Experiencing The Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II
Egyptian jihadists thank U.S. for terror designation
The new terror designation was well received by Ajnad Misr, which posted a message to its official Twitter page thanking the U.S. for the "blessing."
Israel bombs Gaza militant base after rocket hits southern Israel

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
70 Arrested in Protest Over Man Killed by Cop in Wisconsin
Anti-Cop Protesters Crash Pro-Cop 'Thank You NYPD' Rally In New York City
Protesters Mass at Mall of America on Busy Shopping Day

## Energy/resources ##
Norway Delays Arctic-Focused Oil Licensing Round Until 2015
Basic Arithmetic Letting Oil Companies Down
Chart shows oil rig count may have long way to fall
Falling oil prices, new regulations spell trouble for Bakken
Calculating The Breakeven Price For The Median Bakken Shale Well
Drilling Our Way Into Oblivion: Shale Was About Land Gambling With Cheap Debt, Not Technological Miracles
Oil markets spark fear in North Sea waters
Oil industry officials told the BBC the more than 40 percent drop in the price of crude oil is putting the regional energy sector in a state of emergency.
Controversy arises over making sure there's enough US Northeast electricity capacity
Ukraine allows firms to import electricity due to power crisis - PM Yatseniuk
The Oil Price Crash of 2014 (analysis)
U.S. oil drillers cut rigs, lowest since May-Baker Hughes
Belgium nuclear plant restarted after sabotage

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Copper cable theft delays Metro-North trains
Dozens of Metro-North trains were delayed Friday morning after thieves stole copper cables from tracks in the Bronx late Thursday.

## Got food? ##
Food Prices Grow At Fastest Pace In 3 Years, As Meat Soars (Canada)
Food Prices in Russia Soar as Ruble Tumbles Further
Climate change could cut 18 percent of world food production by 2050
US Agribusiness Licking Its Chops Over Thawed Cuba Relations

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Why You Should Consider Adopting Minimalist Principles
Jesus wasn't a big fan of consumerism but we spend up large for his birthday

## Environment/health ##
Ebola death toll in three African countries hits 7,373: WHO
Listeria Apple Outbreak: CDC Warns Americans To Avoid Caramel Treats After 28 Infected With Listeriosis
Flu Season Is Off to an Earlier Start This Year Than Last: CDC
Test tube likely last hope for dwindling white rhino species
Bears, wolves, wolverines and lynx on the rise in Europe
Fast food slows the brain, new study finds
New study finds children who ate the most fast food were found to have poorer scores in tests for maths, science and reading
Where's Rudolph? Reindeer Populations Are Disappearing Worldwide
Major U.S. cities have passed the 'tipping point' for sea level rise, according to a new study

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Emails Reveal US State Department Influenced Sony's "The Interview" so as to Encourage Assassination and Regime Change in North Korea
The emails also reveal that a RAND corporation senior defense analyst who consulted on the film went beyond "blessing" and outright influenced the end of the film, encouraging the CEO of Sony Entertainment to leave the assassination scene as it was (in spite of misgivings at Sony) for the sake of encouraging North Koreans to actually assassinate Kim Jong-Un and depose his regime when the movie eventually leaks into that country.
German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls.
How CNBC Peddles Imperial Washington's Lies And Propaganda: 'Yats' Is Our Man
Staples Says 1.16 Million Cards Affected in Breach
EU banks counter rising cybercrime as traditional hold-ups decrease
Industry Fears Massive Losses Through Espionage
Ukraine forms 'ministry of truth' to regulate the media
Krugman Joins the Anti-Putin Pack
Official Washington's "group think" on the Ukraine crisis now has a totalitarian feel to it as "everyone who matters" joins in the ritualistic stoning of Russian President Putin and takes joy in Russia's economic pain, with liberal economist Paul Krugman the latest to hoist a rock.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Hubbert's pyramids: the way to ruin is rapid
Rogue Mexican police units leave trail of bodies, including U.S. citizens
Chrysler Expands Air-Bag Recall to 3.3 Million Vehicles
No festive cheer behind the wheel - road rage is worse at Christmas

## Japan ##
Influenza epidemic spreading across Japan
Safety improvement order issued to Airdo airline
Activist challenges secrets law with anonymous whistle-blower website
A Japanese Internet activist and academic is challenging the recently passed state secrets law by setting up a website aimed at  making it easier for government officials to leak sensitive information to the media without getting caught.
Hundreds of Fukushima evacuees sue Tepco for ¥6 billion
Reforms devised for feed-in tariff system
Government sets goals for fertility rate, draws a blank on measures
The government came up with targets for the fertility rate but failed to present any specific step to end the population decrease that could "endanger the sustainability" of Japan.
Ironically, it is the current socioeconomic system that threaten's Japan's sustainability. The current population of 127 million far outstrips the country's ecological carrying capacity. Japan's estimated population during the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the country existed in self-imposed isolation and was entirely self-sufficient, was about 30 million. -- RF
Abe to designate special zones for local revival
30,000 more a year 'should leave Tokyo'
Department store sales fall for 8th month in Nov.
Reforms devised for feed-in tariff system

## China ##
China offers $3 billion in aid and loans to neighbors: Xinhua
China has offered more than $3 billion in loans and aid to neighbors Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos to improve infrastructure and production, and to fight poverty, state media reported on Saturday.
Beijing pushes 'go south' policy at Greater Mekong summit
China is steadily pushing ahead with what is seen by many as its "go south" policy aimed at forging closer relations with Southeast Asia. This push includes the planned establishment of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is to help finance infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
Just What Is China Buying?
In Sri Lanka's Post-Tsunami Rise, China Is Key

## UK ##
UK households to pay $1.6 bln for backup power plants
British households will pay nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to help guarantee the country's electricity supply in 2018/19, after a government auction determined who will provide backup power capacity.
Drones given as Christmas gifts will lead to soaring privacy complaints, watchdog warns
The true cost of food
NHS 'buckling under strain' as Christmas approaches
NHS crisis grows as young Britons turn their backs on family doctors
Britain's GP black holes: The North is running out of family doctors, figures show
Local government shake-up: British cities seek to raise own taxes and go it alone
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Britain's atomic power plants 'could be attacked by drones'

## US ##
The Big Winner in the Rental Home Shortage: Wall Street
Corporate landlords are benefiting from the worst U.S. rental-housing shortage in more than a decade as construction trails demand and more Americans opt to lease rather than buy.
Junk Bonds Are Going To Tell Us Where The Stock Market Is Heading In 2015
Police stop pursuing nearly 79,000 fugitives
In March, a USA TODAY investigation identified thousands of fugitives who police said they would not pursue if they fled the state, usually because they did not want to spend the time or money needed to get them back. The decisions, typically made in secret, allowed old crimes to go unpunished and offered fugitives a virtual license to commit new ones, often as close as in the state next door.
Obama Launches Task Force on '21st Century Policing'
New law to combat electricity theft in Oklahoma City
Just in Time for the Holidays, Another Wall Street Giveaway
Your police raid outrage of the day
The Feds Want to Replace Your Driver's License with a National ID Card
RadioShack Kept Alive by $25 Billion of Swaps Side Bets
Aging Tsunami: In Montana, Aging in Place Takes a Village
Change the names and it sounds just like the Japanese countryside. -- RF
So-Called 'Dumb Money' Flees Junk Debt. The Market Quakes
Dollar Store Nation
Largest percentage of Americans on food stamps while stock market disconnects from working class Americans.
2 Police Officers Killed in Brooklyn Shooting
Nonemployed: As robots grow smarter, American workers struggle to keep up
US Airstrikes Targeting ISIS Cost Over $1 Billion, Pentagon Says
Drought: Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes
Dynasty: Jeb Bush v. Hillary Clinton: the Perfectly Illustrative Election


Thursday, December 18, 2014

 

News Links, December 19, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
$49bn wiped off value of Gulf stock markets
Russian Ruble Crisis Spreads Across US, Emerging Markets And BRIC Nations
Gold repatriation: The "Core Four" Nordic Bank Run!
IMF Now Ready To Slam The Door On The U.S. And The Dollar
China Prepares To Bailout Russia
Benefits of Cheaper Oil Not Trickling Down to Asia's Consumers
Swiss National Bank will cut interest rate to minus 0.25%
Ford shuts doors of Belgium's Genk plant
Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers
Many Western companies suspend sales in Russia
Russia Has Begun Selling Its Gold, According To SocGen
Crude And Credit Are Calling—–And Their Message Is Not Bullish
U.S. stocks within striking distance of records after monster rally

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airline pilots face sunbed levels of UV radiation in cockpits
Spending 56 minutes behind the controls at 30,000 feet is the equivalent of 20 minutes on a sunbed, the University of California has found
Seat Kickers Passenger Complaint: Airline 'Seat Kickers' Are No. 1 Complaint Of Passengers
Airlines play the Grinch with new add-on fees
Baby triggers air rage on flight from Chongqing to HK
SAS to slash costs as profits nose dive
Air France warns again on profits, pledges cost cuts
Cash-strapped Indian airline SpiceJet grounded

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
A pessimist's guide to the world in 2015
Islamists rout Syrian government troops, reflecting the war's complexities
The Assad regime sustained a major setback in northern Syria this week with the loss of two major military bases, and the big winner in the battle was al Qaida's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, which led the assault and captured what's thought to be an enormous arsenal.
The Syrian Army Is Shrinking, And Assad Is Running Out Of Soldiers
As easy targets thin, Syria air strikes by U.S. allies plunge
Report: US Ground Troops Clash With ISIS in Iraq's Anbar Province
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Drive Islamic State From Mount Sinjar; Hundreds Of Trapped Yazidis Liberated
US-Russia Relations: Obama Signs Bill Giving Weapons To Ukraine, Allowing Economic Sanctions Against Russia
Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announce a new era in US-Cuba relations
There's no do-gooding going on here. The US has finally admitted that the economic blockade, assassination attempts, and whatnot lasting five decades have been unsuccessful is effecting a change in government and bringing Cuba into the US orbit. It's just a new tack. And if Cuba can be made into a US vassal state, it would presumably be another blow to Russia. -- RF
As Russia unveils nuclear subs with underwater drones and robots, the stealth race heats up: governments pour cash into secret armies
White House Brags Sanctions Put Russia On 'Brink of Collapse'
This sounds strangely complacent coming from a country whose own economy has already begun to collapse. -- RF
Russians rush to buy cars and computers as rouble tumbles
Japan eyes providing patrol boats to Indonesia to fight piracy
China's Pivot Toward Europe May Cut USA Out Of Deal
Sri Lanka shows security value of China's Maritime Silk Road
Under the concept of the "Maritime Silk Road," the PLA Navy is ready to project its power into the Indian Ocean through the establishment of naval base in Sri Lanka, David Brewster, a researcher from the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne wrote in his recent article for the Tokyo-based Diplomat.
FBI: 199 Americans Kidnapped in Mexico in 2014
U.S. slaps sanctions on Swiss, Dutch companies over Syria
MEPs back Palestinian statehood bid
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnap 100 women, children in Nigeria
Iran to conduct 'massive' military exercise

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Italian Reaper Drones To Be Used for Crowd Monitoring
Police used pepper spray on mall crowd, witnesses say
Indigenous protesters clash with Brazil police inside National Congress
Police, anarchists clash in Barcelona

## Energy/resources ##
Is Cellulosic Ethanol All it's Cracked Up to Be?
The EPA has long promoted cellulosic ethanol as the future of biofuels, but technical challenges have kept production far below targets. A recent rule change allows RNG, renewable natural gas, to qualify as cellulosic biofuel even though RNG is not cellulosic, but this helps the EPA to appear to be meeting their goals.
That Was Quick: Energy Junk Bond Losses Hit $40 Billion, Spreads Widen To 1000 Bps
Bond investors, already stung by the biggest losses from U.S. energy company debt in six years, are facing more pain as the plunge in oil leads analysts to predict defaults may more than double.
2015 Outlook for Oilfield Services Inescapably Tied to Tumbling Crude Prices
The impact of falling prices has been working its way into the services companies' financial results since the summer, just as it has through the offshore drillers that have seen their share prices fall by 50% to 70%. The oil patch is a tough place to make a living these days, and most observers believe it is going to get tougher.
Why Talisman Energy Inc is the first — but not last — victim of the oil price slump (Canada)
Canadian Oil Producers Slash 2015 Capital Budgets
Canadian oil producers deepened 2015 spending cuts on Wednesday, as Husky Energy , MEG Energy and Penn West Petroleum joined those hacking back capital budgets in response to tumbling crude prices.
Brent steady above $61 as companies cut upstream investments
North Sea oil industry 'close to collapse'
Bankers See $1 Trillion of Zombie Investments Stranded in the Oil Fields
In a stunning analysis this week, Goldman Sachs found almost $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects at risk. They looked at 400 of the world's largest new oil and gas fields -- excluding U.S. shale -- and found projects representing $930 billion of future investment that are no longer profitable with Brent crude at $70. In the U.S., the shale-oil party isn't over yet, but zombies are beginning to crash it.
Shell sheds some Norwegian operations
Few Big US Land Drillers Set To Ride Out Oil Downturn As Winners
Large U.S. onshore drilling firms that operate new, faster rigs are best placed to weather the looming downturn brought by slumping crude prices and could gain market share from smaller drillers with considerable debt and outdated equipment. Drillers are trimming rental rates for rigs and idling older machines as their clients, oil producers, slash 2015 spending.
Comstock Suspends Drilling In Eagle Ford Due To Plunging Oil Prices
Generator woes raises blackout risk (South Africa)
How power outages will hit our pockets (South Africa)
South Africa is very likely to have electricity shortages for the next three to five years and possibly longer for big projects. The costs are enormous: in money, direct economic growth and perceptions too. Technology innovations will also be affected.
New York Diesel Supply Crunch Boosts Premium to Nine-Month High
A shortage of diesel around New York Harbor and speculation that colder weather will boost heating oil demand has driven the premium for spot deliveries of the fuel to the highest level since March.
More Aucklanders can't afford heating
Nearly 6 per cent of dwellings in Auckland never use heating, according to a new survey by Statistics New Zealand.
LNG Export Hopes Fading Fast For US
Don't Expect Low Oil Prices To Last For Long
Norwegian oil production down 5 percent
Chevron cancels Canadian Arctic drilling as oil prices slide
Chevron Shale Exit Shreds Ukraine's Hope of Energy Independence
Cold spell brings record snowfall and power cuts (SKorea)
Pipeline And Nuclear Shortages Send New England's Utility Bills Soaring
Consumers in New England got a shock in their utility bills this month. A 40% increase over the previous month. National Grid , the largest utility in Massachusetts, decided that electricity prices for this winter would rise to 24¢/kWh, a record high.
Sweden doubles waste fee for nuclear power plant operators
Sweden's government has decided to almost double a fee nuclear power plant operators pay to the nuclear waste fund, in order to help it cover the rising costs of decommissioning, the environment ministry said on Thursday.
Japan gov't seeks nuclear decommissioning costs be passed to all power users
Coal India workers threaten 5-day strike, stokes output worries
Blackout fears spark Philippine power-plant expansion
Ukraine power units idled as coal reserves shrink
Some 20 power units across Ukraine have been idled due to a lack of coal and the latest data shows coal reserves at plants have fallen by another four percent, state-run energy firm Ukrenergo said on Wednesday.

## Got food? ##
Russian Food Suppliers Have Begun Halting Shipments
"Farming with Native Beneficial Insects" Means Solving for Pattern
Food shortage puts world in danger, says Food and Agriculture Organisation
UN says Ebola-hit nations at risk of hunger
Back to the future: Scientists want 'rewilded' crops to boost agriculture
EU ministers set 2015 fishing quotas; campaigners say still too high

## Environment/health ##
Public Health's Response to Decline: Loyalty to the 1%
Where is All the 'Missing' Plastic? At the Bottom of the Ocean, Study Finds
Out of Control Fracking Well Forces Evacuations
Le Pen launches 'patriotic' environmental movement
Marine Le Pen's National Front has launched the "New Ecology" movement. The French nationalist party's take on environmental activism will include opposing international climate negotiations and promoting nuclear energy.
5 Million Kids Aren't in School Because of Ebola
Ebola centres overflow as Sierra Leone steps up fight
WHO: Ebola virus death toll rises to 6,915
Feathered Forecasters? Tiny Birds Knew Killer Tornadoes Were Coming
Driven by Climate Change, 'Nuisance' Flooding to Become Commonplace in US Coastal Areas
Report gives USA low grades on preparing for disease
Volume of world's oldest water estimated

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
United States of Newspeak – Obama Calls Executive Orders "Presidential Memoranda" to Avoid Scrutiny and Issues Most in History
Secret WTO Trade Deal Threatens Internet Freedom, New Leak Reveals
TISA Leak: EU Data Protection and Net Neutrality Threatened
Reflecting 'Global Surge in Authoritarianism,' 2014 Marks a Brutal Year for Journalists
US officials: North Korea ordered the Sony hack
The Evidence That North Korea Hacked Sony Is Flimsy (Wired)
Sony cancels the Dec. 25 release of 'The Interview'
Sony's Costs From 'The Interview' Likely Near $200 Million
'Team America' screening canceled at Texas theater
Sony Hack A 'Serious National Security Matter': White House
U.S. Considering 'Proportional Response' to Sony Hack, White House Says
Buffett's Smart-Grid Idea Takes Over Your Washing Machine
Napoleon vs. Cheney: "Interrogation That Actually Works"; Icing on the "Hate-Cake"
Snowden spying leaks prompt millions to protect data
Jeans made that will prevent 'digital pickpocketing'
Syrian Electronic Army Hacks International Business Times Website
When will Facebook have more dead than living users?
Hollywood's Secret War On Net Neutrality Is A Key Part Of Its Plan Stop You From Accessing Websites It Doesn't Like

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
When civilisation collapses, will you be ready? (The Economist)
Here's What's Wrong with Corporate America--and the U.S. Economy
Will we ever tire of navigating the multiple layers of intermediaries between the customer and the provider, while corporate profits soar to unprecedented heights?
On the layers parasitic intermediaries, recall this item from November 7. -- RF
Just In Case You Think Bubble Finance Is Working: 25 Charts That Say, No Way!
Mazda recalls 2,800 cars in Mexico to check Takata air bags
Mercedes recalls 4,871 cars, SUVs in U.S. for possible oil leak
Jaguar recalls 1,571 sedans in U.S. for possible braking issue
Oil: Déjà Vu All Over Again

## Japan ##
Abe's Post-Election Agenda: Defense And Security Issues To Dominate
A good read. -- RF
Abe-Kuroda Pleas to Japan Inc. Unheeded as Companies Hoard Cash
Two days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured a pledge from Japan Inc. to do their best to boost wages to revive the world's third-biggest economy, data showed companies hoarding record amounts of cash.
Chinese Criminals Blamed for Record Japan Bank Cybertheft
Japan to revise scheme to deal with rush of solar power
Japan's trade ministry said on Thursday it plans to change a feed-in-tariff scheme by making it possible for utilities to limit renewable power output more flexibly while trying to lower guaranteed payments to providers of such power.
Japan auto lobby sounds alarm over weak domestic sales
Japan Targets Wealthy With Exit Tax
Japan's trade balance in red for 29th month
Personal assets in Japan at record high
Many of these paper assets could become worthless at the drop of a hat. -- RF
JR Tokai starts construction of maglev train stations
Waste of money. -- RF
Tokyo Gas takes wraps off its first hydrogen filling station
Waste of money. -- RF
Smaller ¥3.4 trillion stimulus package eyed to prop up economy
More struggling to get handle on student loans
An increasing number of students are struggling to pay education loans and more than 6,000 lawsuits were filed over the fallout in the 2013 academic year alone.
Six tons of tainted water leak at Fukushima No. 1 during Korean safety tour
Japan suggests nuclear decommissioning costs be passed to all power customers
The government says reactor decommissioning costs ought to be passed on to all customers even after the electricity market is opened to newcomers in 2016.
Note the article on Sweden above in the energy section. Nuclear plant operators and governments are beginning to see that decommissioning will cost far more than they thought. But no matter how much money they set aside, there will never be enough. Watch for unmitigated disaster as the world's nuclear power system falls apart. -- RF
Draft hints at replacing decommissioned nuclear reactors with new ones
Ain't gonna happen. -- RF

## China ##
China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers
China is aiming to purge most foreign technology from banks, the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies by 2020, stepping up efforts to shift to Chinese suppliers, according to people familiar with the effort.
As China's Economy Slows, So Too Does Growth in Workers' Wages
Inside Beijing's airpocalypse – a city made 'almost uninhabitable' by pollution
China to require every kid to play soccer
Chinese corporate failures pegged to rise

## UK ##
Missing - the 50,000 jobless teens who have dropped off the radar
Councils 'pushed to breaking point' by new cuts

## US ##
Officials finish sweep of federal labs, find handful of misplaced microbes
NASA says it would take 11 trillion gallons of water to end California's drought
Who Really Runs the United States? Jamie Dimon
David Stockman: Energy Crunch Will Morph Into a Replay of the Housing Crash
Cuomo Administration To Ban Hydraulic Fracking In New York State
10 U.S. Cities Most At Risk From Power Outages
Cheap Oil Jamming Rails Means Higher U.S. Power Bills
U.S. electricity costs are poised to reach the highest level since 1999 because railroads are too clogged to deliver enough coal to power plants.
Helicopters flying over Dallas part of Special Operations training
Smash and grab burglars strike two Boulder trailheads on Wednesday
Smash and grab: Caught On Camera: Burglars Ransack Belmont Computer Store


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 

News Links, December 17, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Crashing crude may blow a $1.6 trillion hole in the global oil sector, annually
Major Oil Countries See Currencies, Stocks Decline As Investors Flee From Falling Crude Oil Prices
Spanish Judge Exposes Too-Big-to-Fail Bank Robbery
China, Russia Dump US Treasurys In October As Foreigners Sell Most US Stocks Since 2007
Bankia's saga of lies, deception, and fraud should (but probably won't) culminate in the imprisonment of a former IMF president, crippling fines for the auditors (Deloitte), and fireworks at financial regulators.
We Just Witnessed The Worst Week For Global Financial Markets In 3 Years
India's Rapidly Cooling Inflation Supports Case For Rate Cut
India's industrial output unexpectedly shrinks
France Cut by Fitch, Kicked by Bundesbank, Jilted by Logic, Has Newfangled Solution: Sunday Shopping. And Blows it
Dubai Crashed, Qatar Crashed, And The Rest Of The Gulf States Got Smoked
Mind The Global Dollar Short——Its A $9 Trillion Time Bomb
Russian Ruble, Turkish Lira, Ukrainian Hryvnia Hit Record Lows; Global Currency Crisis on Deck
Russia Defends Ruble With Biggest Rate Rise Since 1998
Moscow: Russia's Ruble Decline 'Critical,' Central Bank To Act Further
A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia
Russia Contagion Spreads To European Banks : French SocGen, Austrian Raiffeisen Plummet
China's Factory Gauge Declines as Stimulus Case Builds
Household debt hits record as 'biggest risk' to Canada's economy tops 162% of disposable income
Yes, it's possible for a gold-backed renminbi to dethrone the dollar
Gold Imports 'Phenomenal' In India - 571 Percent Surge To 150 Tonnes in November
The Hidden Costs Of Cheap Oil
Low Oil Prices Could Point To A More Serious Problem
Junk Bond Yields going up 1,000% again? Up 70% so far!
Indonesia steps in to defend financial market

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Vince Cable: air traffic firm skimped on investment
Sen. Schumer Calls For Federal Investigation Of Rising Airfares Despite Industry's 'Record Profits'
China Promises to Punish Passengers in Mid-Air Meltdown Incident
SpiceJet is beyond the point of return: Is Maran's airline in a death spiral?
Airlines get $1 billion from baggage fees
More cuts: Is Memphis now just another city for Delta?
Delta continues to pull back in Memphis. The airline announced in 2013 that it would drop Memphis as a hub and has whittled away at its presence there ever since. Now, after yet another round of cuts revealed on Friday, it appears Delta's retrenchment in Memphis is nearly complete.
Korean Air to be sanctioned for nut rage cover-up
Eight bizarre types of air rage
A survey by the International Air Transport Association suggested that 43 per cent of airlines experienced more than 100 cases of unruly passengers in a year. We round up the more bizarre cases of air rage that have come to light in recent years.
Egypt's unprofitable national airline hires U.S. firm for restructuring

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Anything But Progress: US Data Shows Little Results in ISIS War
60-plus nations nominally in the coalition and over 1,000 airstrikes between Iraq and Syria, the US has thrown myriad data at  Congress to try to prove "progress" in the war on ISIS. Yet a closer inspection reveals anything but.
Baltics Up Defense Spending As Russia Buzzes Borders
GCC establishes joint military command -- Arab NATO

Denmark Claims North Pole Via Greenland Ridge Link
Scientific data shows Greenland's continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it, Denmark's foreign minister said.
Watch as more countries come up with their own versions of the nine-dash line. -- RF
US, Europe Arms Sales Decline For Third Year In A Row, Russia Sees Spike In Sales
Global arms sales by top 100 defense companies in the world fell for the third year in a row, while Russian arms sales went up by 20 percent, according to new data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Sweden-based independent think tank.
Netanyahu years continue surge in settlements
The population of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank has continued to surge during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's years in office, growing at more than twice the pace of Israel's overall population, according to newly obtained official figures.In revenge, Pakistani Taliban strike school, killing at least 141
Low Oil Prices Bad For Stability In Nigeria Amid Boko Haram Violence, Upcoming Elections
Russia Says U.S., NATO Increased Spy Flights Seven-Fold
As hard as it is to believe - given the strength of the "Russia-is-doomed" meme - Crude oil prices for Russia (in Rubles) are unchanged since February... This is important as all costs are Ruble denominated while revenues are USD denominated, leaving Russian oil companies' margins insulated despite the dollar decline in price.
Desalination out of Desperation
Severe droughts are forcing researchers to rethink how technology can increase the supply of fresh water.
Chevron Pulls Out Of $10 Billion Gas Deal With Ukraine
Ukraine's bid to rid itself of its dependence on Russian energy just took a huge hit.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
The unforgeable passport? It may have arrived
Researchers in the Netherlands have found what they say is a way to make it impossible for criminals to forge passports, ID cards or credit cards.
This of course assumes that we'll have the power to run the necessary electronics and the internet. Even temporary power outages would wreak havoc on such a system. -- RF
Sony hackers reference 9/11 in new threats against theaters

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Richard Branson shelves submarine plan to take tourists to bottom of oceans
It's the kind of defiant hubris one expects from a dying empire. -- RF
Electrics, hybrids, fuel-cell cars... Futile attempts to save a dying system. -- RF
About 300 Chinese said fighting alongside Islamic State in Mideast
About 300 Chinese people are fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Monday, a rare tally that is likely to fuel worry in China that militants pose a threat to security.
Hospitals and fire services to be run 'outside the public sector'
Hospitals and fire services will be run "outside the public sector" as the Conservatives dramatically shrink the state and cut costs, a senior minister has disclosed.
Dalai Lama: British government needs Chinese money
The Dalai Lama says Britain kowtowed to China over the protests in Hong Kong because its "pocket is more or less empty"

## US ##
Insolvent Scranton PA Pensions Rise 80%, Fire Fund to Run Out of Money in 2.5 Years; Bankruptcy Looms
What Choice Do We Have?
The bottom line for the vast majority of us is that there is an extremely high price to be paid for independence from fealty to the State or Corporate America.
How NYC's Biggest Real Estate Project in a Generation is Being Financed by Selling Green Cards to the Chinese
The Empire is falling on hard times. -- RF
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson came to this South Texas outpost on Monday to inaugurate a 50-acre detention center that will hold up to 2,400 migrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, becoming the largest immigration detention facility in the country.
Housing starts collapsed in November. They weren't good, they weren't even so-so as media reports intimated. The seasonally adjusted annualized number which the paid flacks report is absolute nonsense. It's fiction.

And finally...
Top 10 modern Christmas cracker jokes
Mom calls into C-SPAN to tell her pundit sons to stop arguing


Sunday, December 14, 2014

 

News Links, December 15, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Mr. Market Is Back—-Plunging Oil Prices Are Busting The Money Printers' Bubbles
Obama's high-tech deal with China in trouble as WTO talks break down
Bail-In and the Financial Stability Board: The Global Bankers' Coup
WTO Talks On Duty-Free Trade In IT Goods Collapse
Is Germany Already Signaling The Complete (Economic) Collapse Of The European Union?
Must read: Russia's Proposed Interbank System Threatens Global Economy
With oil trading below US$60, provinces brace for impact of global oil price shock (Canada)
Global Credit Markets Have Proclaimed An End To The Recovery
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat
Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise - flocks of sheep included
Inside Wealth: Some of the rich collect art. Others collect passports.
Along with stock and real estate portfolios, the global rich are now buying a new form of economic security: passport portfolios. Wealthy investors from around the world are increasingly shopping for visas or citizenship in other countries, hoping for a personal hedge against their own volatile governments or economies.
Australia's once-vibrant auto industry crashes in slow motion
There has been a car industry in Australia for about as long as there have been cars. But within two or three years, the last of the continent's auto plants will go dark.
Barclays 'may have automated currency rigging'
Barclays and Deutsche Bank may have programmed automated trading platforms to systematically rig the currency markets, a US regulator has alleged.
France Goes After Actor Salaries; Sunday Shopping "Reform" French Style
Italian Debt Soon to Be a Rotten Asset… everything's fine!
Consumer Price Deflation for 15 Consecutive Months in Spain, CPI Now -0.4 Percent
Europe Is Following Italy Into A Minefield Of Permanent Austerity And Debt Crises
David Stockman Talks Historical Dominoes—–Rise Of the Warfare State And Keynesian Central Banking
The Millenaire mall: coping in low-growth France
The Coming Wealth Transfer: There's nowhere to hide (except in hard assets)
Oil Prices Go Down, Russia's Gold Buying Goes Up
Sales Of Silver American Eagles Rise To Record High For Second Consecutive Year

## Airline Death Spiral ##
AirAsia flight diverted after passenger throws hot water on flight attendant
The latest case of air rage — a seemingly growing genre of conflict — came Thursday when a Thai AirAsia flight bound for Nanjing, China was forced to return to Bangkok after an unruly passenger threw scalding hot water on a flight attendant
UK airspace manager calls glitch unprecedented
South African Airways Mulled Scrapping Champagne, China Flight
"The business is chronically under-capitalized and government have indicated that they are not going to recapitalize SAA," the Johannesburg-based airline said in a presentation dated November 2014. An aging fleet, competition from carriers including Emirates and a weakening rand have all contributed to a funding shortfall, it said.
Special Report: EU funds help Poland build 'ghost' airports
Around 80 airports in Europe attract fewer than 1 million passengers a year, and about three-quarters of those are in the red, according to industry body Airports Council International.
Shortage of fancy seats slows Boeing's year-end jet deliveries
Aircraft-seat suppliers are struggling to meet the demand for new high-end, lie-flat seats for business and first class in big widebody jets, and the supply-chain squeeze has begun to slow Boeing jet deliveries.
Airlines continue to fall out of favour with first class
Why the second-busiest international airport is often so nightmarishly fragile
Air Fares Unchanged By Low Oil Prices

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Secretive D.O.D. Drone Dodges Defenses At Hypersonic Speed
Libyan conflict parties clash over control of eastern oil ports
Britain to send hundreds more troops to Iraq, says defence secretary
South China Sea Dispute: Philippines And Vietnam Allies In Position Papers Against China
Vietnam and the Philippines expressed support for each other this week against claims made by China in the hotly disputed South China Sea area. The battle over a cluster of resource-rich islands and strategic maritime territories in Southeast Asia is now being fought before an arbitration tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Islamic State militants shoot down Iraqi helicopter
Islamic State fighters seize town in Anbar province, killing 19 police
Iran advisers boost anti-ISIL battles in Iraq
Iranian military commanders deployed in Iraq played a key role in recent victories against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters throughout the country, according to Iraqi security officials and Shia militia leaders. 
U.S. Congress readies new sanctions on Russia
Russia says will react if U.S. imposes new sanctions
Russia Warns May Send Troops To Ukraine After Congress Unanimously Votes To Give Lethal Aid To Kiev
Russian plane has near-miss with passenger aircraft over Sweden
Swedish authorities say military plane turned off transponder to avoid commercial radar and came close to collision
Ron Paul On Drones, Bombs And Invasions—–They 'Torture' Entire Civilian Populations
The international smuggling ring paying off Western border officials to bring refugees into Europe
Violent Dutch gang-war spreads across Europe
China's New Stealth Fighter Jet Can Take Down American Counterpart, Developer Says
Ranks of 'disappeared' growing in Southeast Asia
Navy Declares Laser Weapons Ready to Protect Ships in Persian Gulf
And to help lock down Middle East oil. -- RF
The Rise of Asia's Mini-Marines
Across the Pacific Rim, regional powers are creating new marine infantry units... Since 2009, India, Australia and Japan have all announced the creation of seagoing infantry forces.
Turkish Police Detain 24 in Raids on Media Outlets

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Italy trade unions strike over Renzi's labour reforms

## Energy/resources ##
Power struggle: Six-hour blackout as power grid collapses (Pakistan)
After a six-hour long blackout across much of the country except Karachi, electricity has partially been restored in many areas following a massive breakdown the national power grid suffered because of a technical fault at Tarbela power station on Friday morning.
Fact or Fiction?: Geoengineering Can Solve Global Warming

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Norwegian Newspaper Discovers Cellphone Surveillance Equipment Around Country's Parliament
Aftenposten's report claimed the newspaper found IMSI-catchers -- also known as 'stingrays' -- placed inside fake mobile phone stations near government and parliamentary buildings in Oslo. Some of the spy devices were also located near Prime Minister Erna Solberg's residence.
Must read: 10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2014 America
New Evidence that US Government Intentionally Lied Us Into Iraq War

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Shopping Cart Rage Is A Thing Now, Especially Around The Holidays
Sure, you've heard about road rage but did you know that shopping cart rage is a real and growing problem that is playing out in supermarkets across the country? In fact, its an epidemic that was first documented by researchers in 2005. Since then cases of shopping cart rage have been increasing in frequency – especially around the holidays.
Road rage, air rage, shopping cart rage... More people are seeking the good life even as energy constraints shoehorn everyone but the super-rich into increasingly small spaces, both physical and mental. Keep expecting more blow-ups as rage boils over everywhere. -- RF
Big data analysis coming to math classes
The Yomiuri Shimbun IBM Japan Ltd. and a Chiba-based nonprofit organization have jointly developed a special program in which guest lecturers are sent to middle school to teach students in math classes how to utilize big data.
The reason is the lack of a credible opposition. No one has any new ideas. -- RF

## China ##
Record Oil Tankers Sailing to China Amid Stockpiling Signs
The number of supertankers sailing to China jumped to a record in ship-tracking data amid signs that the oil-price crash is spurring the Asian nation to stockpile.

## UK ##
Low pay and zero-hours contracts rise dramatically, figures show
New figures have revealed the dramatic spread of low-paid, insecure and casual work across the British economy since the financial crash of 2008. In that year, one in 20 men and one in 16 women worked in the casualised labour market. Now, one in 12 of both men and women are in precarious employment, which includes zero-hours contracts (ZHCs), agency work, variable hours and fixed-term contracts, according to new TUC data.
Air traffic meltdown caused by unprecedented computer failure
Green policies to add up to 40pc to cost of household electricity
Official figures - initially withheld by ministers - show steep rises in the price of electricity by the end of the decade to pay for the Government's policies to tackle climate change
Revealed: 20 nuclear shutdowns per year
The reactors of nuclear power stations across Britain have been shut down 20 times a year because of faults - prompting fears over safety and the UK's energy supply.

## US ##
City hunger and homelessness, in 10 charts
Most Americans' best days are behind them (interactive map)
Median household income peaked at least 15 years ago in 81 percent of U.S. counties. That means that when incomes are adjusted for inflation, most middle class households are actually earning less money than they did years ago.
Nostradamus like spending bill will ensure big banks never fail with your money.
Austin's abandoned homes sometimes lie untouched for years
Look around town and you will find homes with rotting wood, holes in the roofs, and other problems. Sometimes, the process to fix the homes or have them torn down can take years, leaving neighbors with concerns and taxpayers paying for upkeep.
Towns struggle to deal with homes abandoned after Sandy
Even juror pay at risk in squeezed North Carolina system
Trial by jury, a cornerstone of the American justice system, has become a luxury North Carolina is struggling to afford.
Here's what fiscal pain in Kansas will look like
Slumping oil prices paint grim picture for Alaska state budget
Dick Cheney Says CIA Interrogators Should Be 'Praised,' Calls Torture Report 'Flawed' On 'Meet The Press'
Why Millennials are stuck living at home with parents
The impact on first time home buying, renting, and the 2015 housing market. Big jump in foreign EB-5 visas.

And finally...
Man hires crane for dramatic marriage proposal, crane topples and crashes into neighbor's house


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