Tuesday, October 28, 2014

 

News Links, October 28-29, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
German Business Morale Weakens At Lowest Level In Almost 2 Years
Why Germany's households are more fragile than you think
El-Erian: "Europe Is One or Two Rounds of Sanctions From Recession"; El-Erian Far Too Optimistic
Stock markets threatened by collapse in Chinese consumer demand
The capitulation of the Chinese consumer threatens to drag stock markets around the world into a death spiral as one of the pillars of global growth is undermined.
Another Unbelievable Stress-Free Test; Whitewash Math and Deferred Tax Assets
In an effort to fool the public into believing the latest round of bank stress tests were actually designed to find stress, the ECB found 25 scapegoats, with the biggest losers in Italy and Greece.
Iran mulling currency side step
Using national currencies for trade deals between Iran and Russia is high on the list of items to be discussed during upcoming talks, an Iranian lawmaker said.
Italian banks hit hard by European test results
Forget "Free Trade"--Focus on Capital Flows
Where is the "free trade" in a world in which the comparative advantage is always held by mobile capital? And what gives mobile capital its essentially unlimited leverage? Central banks issuing trillions of dollars in nearly-free money to banks and other financial institutions that funnel the free cash to corporations and financiers, who can then roam the world snapping up assets and arbitraging global imbalances with nearly-free money.
Europe's Glacial Growth Lowers Prospects for Job Seekers 
Pump and Dump: How to Rig the Entire IPO Market Without Raising ANY Money
Europe's bank test celebrations mask mounting challenges
Why Do Banks Want Our Deposits? Hint: It's Not to Make Loans.
Ukraine unlikely to receive IMF loan tranche this year - finance minister
Total War over the Petrodollar
A meditation on the circumstances surrounding the death of Total SA's chief executive, Christophe de Margerie. -- RF
The European Central Bank Embarks on Asset Purchases
These three charts show McDonald's biggest problem

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Dutch arm of Air France-KLM to shed 7,500 jobs: report
Fuel costs weighed on JAL's first-half operating profit
Airplanes of the future are windowless

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Kobani Death Toll Crosses 800 As Kurds Await Reinforcements From Iraq
Pakistan experts expect more defections to the Islamic State
Suicide bomber in Iraq kills 27 Shi'ite militiamen near Baghdad: police
Syria Says Providing Military Support to Kurds in Kobani
Afghanistan looks to China as US troop withdrawal continues
Afghanistan has requested assistance from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in its fight against the Taliban, according to an Oct. 24 report from Duowei News, a media outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
Poland to move 1000s of troops toward eastern border
Pakistan and Iran exchange mortar fire on border
India to build 6 submarines
U.S. may join Japan-Aussie sub project
Saab finalizes $5.4 billion Brazil order for 36 fighter jets
Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System To Be Altered For Use At Sea
Netanyahu to expedite plans for 1,000 new settler homes
Mexico Arrests Four Gang Members, Uncovers New Mass Grave In Search For Missing Students
Saudi Arabia Sentences 3 Lawyers to Jail for Tweets
Scientists spot Russian sub in Arctic Ocean
Israel's ranked as Middle East's best military
Saudi Arabia carries out 61st execution of 2014
Libya near 'point of no return', U.N. says as fighting toll rises

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Cologne Hooligan Riot: Alleged Neo-Nazis Clash With German Police In Anti-Salafism Demonstration
African Boys Attacked at Bronx School, Called "Ebola": Advocacy Group
Italians Rally in Rome to Protest Renzi's Labor Rules Change
Do Hong Kongers Think The US Is Behind Occupy Protests?
It would be naive to think that the US is not somehow involved. Perhaps not pulling the strings, but stirring the pot to facilitate unrest, thereby creating a headache for China. -- RF
Holding Computers Aloft, Thousands March in Budapest Against Anti-Democratic Internet Tax
Demonstrators oppose state secrecy law (Japan)

## Energy/resources ##
Fracking, a 'False Premise' that manufactures 'False Promises'
Ukraine Facing Harsh Winter Due To Coal Shortages
Big changes in US heating oil (Platts video)
Sulfur levels used in heating oil in the US Northeast are tightening and about to get tighter. Some of these new restrictions requiring states to cut the maximum sulfur content in home heating oil by 75% will be in full force this winter. John Kingston, director of news, and David Henry, associate editor, US diesels, discuss how the restrictions could affect distribution companies and the potential affect of a supply squeeze on diesel.
WTI falls below $80 per barrel, Brent sheds gains
Solar Struggles To Compete With Other Renewables On Cost
Why Oil Prices Are About To Settle
Low oil prices threaten Norway's Arctic, UK's mature fields
Big oil and gas finds in waters along Europe's northern edge may remain undeveloped now that oil prices have dropped, keeping potential supply of over a billion barrels of oil equivalent out of the market for the foreseeable future.
Copper Surges After Report Mysterious London Buyer Has Cornered Up To 90% Of Market
Shell may abandon Arctic drilling plans without lease extension: letter
A variety of unanticipated delays may force Shell to abandon its roughly $6 billion venture in Arctic waters if the Obama administration does not extend its leases by five more years, according to a company letter made public this week.
Maersk: Drilling Industry Dip Could Last Into 2016

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Don't Park Tractors in Houston, Equipment Theft Capital

## Got food? ##
Warm autumn hits fruit prices as too much is produced (UK)
Shashe farmers demonstrate practical food sovereignty

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Own Physical Gold and/or Silver? Here Are Some Ideas On How To Store/Hide It

## Environment/health ##
Liberia tightens anti-Ebola rules at seaports
Australia bans travel from Ebola-hit countries; U.S. isolates troops
BP Oil Spill Left Rhode Island-Sized 'Bathtub Ring' on Seafloor
New research shows that the BP oil spill left an oily "bathtub ring" on the sea floor that's about the size of Rhode Island. The study by UC Santa Barbara's David Valentine, the chief scientist on the federal damage assessment research ships, estimates that about 10 million gallons of oil coagulated on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico around the damaged Deepwater Horizons oil rig.
Colorado researchers working on Ebola vaccine for military
U.S. Army Troops Returning From Ebola Zones Held 21 Days
Surge In Hydroelectricity Could Spell Disaster For Biodiversity
European researchers say an unprecedented surge in the construction of hydropower dams around the world could double renewable electricity generation, but potentially at the expense of freshwater wildlife.
Syringes are now currency in heroin-addicted Myanmar
Facing Imminent Extinction, African Lions Demand Federal Protection, say Officials

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Former CBS Reporter Accuses Government of Secretly Planting Classified Docs on Her Computer
'Blimp in a Box' Deployed in Search for Cop-Killer Suspect Eric Frein
Unique ID May Follow Some Verizon Wireless Customers Online
US official urges allies to combat IS ideology
Payment Wars: How Merchants And Carriers Are Trying To Block Payment Systems They Can't Track
The wearable technology future is coming, and it sounds pretty awful
FBI Raids Federal Contractor's Home – Has the Government Identified the "Second Leaker"?
More "War on Terror" Abuses – Spying Powers Are Used for Terrorism Only 0.5% of the Time
FBI Created Fake Seattle News Story to Catch Bomb Threat Suspect
Report Reveals Wider Tracking of Mail in US
In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations.
Homeland Security steps up protection at federal buildings
Feds introduce new anti-terrorism bill (Canada)
Cyber breaches put 18.5 million Californians' data at risk in 2013: report
How the Washington Press Turned Bad
There was a time when the Washington press corps prided itself on holding the powerful accountable – Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Vietnam War – but those days are long gone, replaced by a malleable media that puts its cozy relations with insiders ahead of the public interest.
Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You.

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Post-peak Italy: the decline continues
Italy is in full collapse, with all economic and financial indicators in decline. Industries are closing down and restaurants are opening; the system is trying to adapt by tapping the remaining available resources in the form of foreign tourists.
The SUV goes from All-American to global star
US States Slashing Education Spending
State-level K-12 education spending has fallen dramatically in many states since 2008. In that time, 29 states cut per pupil spending, shifting the burden of financing education to local school districts and, in many instances, forcing schools to cut costs and even teachers.

## Japan ##
Despite Worrisome Volcano Warning, Nuclear Restart Approved for Japanese Plant
JR Hokkaido found to have ignored 260 track irregularities
Radioactive soil stored at Fukushima schools not covered by recent disposal law, has nowhere to go
Down and out in upscale Japan
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
Strong earnings no longer a magic wand for Japanese companies
Japan to create cabinet post for Tokyo Olympics
Takata air bag crisis 'has roots in rapid global expansion'
Ebola likely to necessitate biosafety facility's activation

## China ##
China "Ghost Town Index" - Here Are China's 10 "Ghastliest" Cities
Beijing Tells Its Residents to Leave Town Ahead of APEC Summit
Online financing, rising costs squeeze profits at China's midsize banks
Ebola Outbreak In China Is A Likely Scenario As A Result Of Chinese Workers In Africa: Expert
China's oil demand setting records
China Fake Invoice Evidence Mounts as HK Figures Diverge
One reason China's housing market collapse will get even uglier: home ownership is already 87%
A Chinese Soft-Landing Will Inevitably Lead To A "Very Brutal Hard Landing", Pettis Warns
China says more heavy smog expected ahead of APEC summit
China aims to reform military, online media
China will more closely manage its military and increase online limitations, a meeting of its Communist Party indicated Tuesday.
China announces plans to set up anti-terrorism intelligence system
Chinese Communist Party Members Urged to Abstain From Mahjong, Other 'Small Thrills'

## UK ##
Britain faces tight power supply this winter-National Grid
Lack of wind or nuclear problems 'could wipe out UK's spare power capacity'
Household lights could be dimmed this winter if wind doesn't blow and nuclear    plants stay offline - despite new emergency measures to prevent blackouts, experts warn
Study questions British wind energy resilience
Rising numbers of GPs turfing patients off lists

## US ##
Getting More Likely Jeb Bush Will Seek Presidency, Son Says
Durable Goods Decline Second Month; Key Take-Aways
How Will The Stock Market React To The End Of Quantitative Easing?
We Don't Have One Problem--We Have Three Interlocking Sets of Problems
The additional sets of problems added as "solutions" only guarantee that the third and final crash of asset bubbles just ahead will be far more devastating than the crashes of 2000 and 2009.
To Protect and Perve – California Cops Share Nude Photos Stolen from Citizens' Cellphones
Sheriff defends using officers, armored truck in seizure
Marathon County authorities acted appropriately when they sent two dozen officers and an armored vehicle to seize property from an elderly couple in the town of Stettin, Sheriff Scott Parks said Monday in response to critics.
Lenders Facing Soaring Costs Shutting Out U.S. Homebuyers
Does This Look Like A Housing Recovery To You?
New Home Prices Plunge the Worst EVER (in One Ugly Chart)
Cities Rebel Against Federal Immigration Enforcement Programs
A growing number of U.S. cities are rebelling loudly and clearly against a federal program designed to streamline the deportation of immigrants in the criminal justice system. From Miami to San Diego to Chicago, cities are simply refusing to hand over immigrants to federal authorities unless there is a court order for their arrest.
One Percenters Drop Six Figures at Long Island Mall
At Americana Manhasset, the salespeople know your closet better than you do. They call designers in Paris or Milan to find the perfect little black dress. They deliver soup when you're ill.
America Secretly Recruited Thousands Of Nazis As Cold War "Assets"
Guess How Much Americans Plan To Spend On Christmas And Halloween This Year…
"Stop Thanking Me for My Service" – Former U.S. Army Ranger Blasts American Foreign Policy and The Corporate State
Woman asked to stop breast-feeding in OB-GYN office
Official: Deputy not wrong to point gun at 2 men
15 Signs That We Live During A Time Of Rampant Government Paranoia
Time Warner's HBO to cut 7 percent of staff
Rental rates are outpacing wage growth: What are the implications of rising rents when wages are simply not keeping up?
Here Is The Reason For The Surge In Consumer Confidence
What's Keeping Americans From Buying Homes? Try College Debt
Scared of the Stock Market? Try Investing in Consumer Debt

And finally...
Caught on Camera: 'China's Worst Driver'
NBC News Man was dubbed by Chinese media as "China's worst driver" after numerous failed attempts to back out of a parking spot are caught on camera.
'Hello Kitty' arrested on drunken driving charge


 

News Links, October 25-27, 2014

The rice crop is in!

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
What Unilever just Said About Consumers Around the World: "It's Really Tough out There"
What is it with these consumer-products companies that need to sell a lot of cheap stuff to a lot of consumers around the world? Over the last few days, one after the other reported what are more or less unvarnished quarterly revenue and earnings debacles.
This is the Most Self-Explanatory, Ridiculously Clear Chart About Amazon I've Ever Seen
Europe's Gong Show At Work: Back Taxes And Busted Banks
25 European banks set to fail health checks - sources
Hyperventilation Charade: EU Demands Another €2.1 Billion from UK, "We Won't Pay," Says Furious Cameron
French unemployment hits new record high
Goldman and Blackstone Enter Spanish Real Estate – Pain and Suffering for Poor People Immediately Ensues
Asia economic growth to languish as China slows: poll
European Service Prices Plunge at Steepest Rate Since January 2010; Reflections on Keynesian Stupidity
This is what Ebola is doing to West African economies
Deutsche Bank lawyer found dead by suicide in New York
Canadians may be 'buying too much car': Moody's sounds alarm on bank auto loans
Bank auto lending has grown at a compounded annual rate of 20% since 2007, "significantly outpacing" the growth of even red-hot mortgages, credit cards, and lines of credit, according to the ratings agency report released Thursday. In seven years, vehicle loans have jumped from $16.2- billion to $64-billion.
Gulf states will have to cut spending as oil price dips - Kuwait minister
Working for peanuts
Half of American workers earn less than $28,031 per year and household income now back to levels last seen two decades ago.
What Do Seven Billion People Do? Top 10 Mega-Cities by Population 2014 vs. 2030 Estimate
Italy's in terminal decline, and no one has the guts to stop it
The Scariest Number Revealed Today: $1.114 Trillion In Eurozone Bad Debt

## Gold ##
The crucial questions financial journalism won't ask and central banks won't answer
What the Swiss Gold Referendum Means for Central Banks
Fastest Pace Of Withdrawals From JPM's Gold Vault In Over A Year
Why Gold Is Undervalued

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Frontier Airlines says goodbye to Siouxland for the second time
Airlines' losses soar on high fuel costs in FY14
Legroom Doesn't Always Increase With Ticket Price, Article Says
Saga government to subsidize excess baggage fee on China-bound flight (Japan)

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
ISIS Allies Carving Out Territory in Eastern Libya
Libya is falling apart with a collection of rival militias both Islamist and secular taking over various cities and regions, and the government itself controlling little more than a hotel at the town of Tobruk.
US Official: Bombing Oil Pipelines in Syria a 'Viable Option'
The US War Against ISIS Is Barely Degrading, Certainly Not Destroying The Militants
Are We Ready for the Fall of Baghdad?
Pentagon: Iraq Won't Attempt to Retake Mosul for a Year
Iraqi government says key town has been taken from Islamic State
Anti-Occupy mob roughs up Hong Kong journalists
India closer to real-time surveillance of India-Sino border
Surveillance cameras with a depth of view extending over 20 kilometers into Chinese territory have been equipped by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police a month after the People's Liberation Army entered the disputed regions of Demchok and Chumar in Ladakh, reports the New Delhi-based Times of India.
Chinese Nuclear Submarines, 'Boomers' Missiles Could Hit Hawaii, Alaska: Report
Tanzania, China sign East Africa investment deals worth $1.7 billion
Putin: Russia helped Yanukovych to flee Ukraine
The Western media will make a big deal out of this, but will almost certainly not remind the public about how Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines. -- RF
Has Putin Already Won in Ukraine? Sure Looks That Way
"Whatever We Decide Is A Disaster For Us" France Admits Putin Is Winning, Europe "Blinked"
Now we have open admissions that Putin has bested his opponents. Whatever you may think of the Russians, they are master chess players and tough fighters. -- RF
Suspicious Canada Shooting Triggers 'Minority Report' Pre-Crime Plans for 'Preventive Arrests'
Japan could deploy minesweepers off S. Korea in war with North, U.S. admiral says
In Brazilian city, homeless face 'extermination'
US General: Kim Was Never Out of Power in North Korea
Ukraine not answering queries on MH17
The Ukraine has not replied to a single query on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in the country's east after apparently being shot down, Russia's Permanent Representative at the UN Vitaly Churkin has said.
UK, US Forces Handover Last Military Bases As Afghanistan Operations Draw Down
US-Israel relations in 'crisis' after Moshe Ya'alon snubbed
Israel's relations with its key ally, the United States, have hit a new low after the Obama administration snubbed Moshe Ya'alon, the hard-line Israeli defence minister, on a visit to Washington as punishment for past criticisms of White House policy.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Climate Change Linked to Rising Violence: Report
The return of Occupy London: this time it's truly political
Activists Form Human Blockade to Stop Community from Becoming 'Gas Station for Fracking'
Hong Kong Tensions Rise Between Protesters, Opposition
Protesters keep surveyors out of proposed nuke waste disposal site (Japan)

## Energy/resources ##
Falling Coal Prices Wreaking Havoc With Corporate Balance Sheets
The slide in oil prices has raised speculation that oil companies in the U.S. could be forced to cut back on production, but a market slump in another commodity is also putting pressure on producers. Coal markets are currently experiencing a supply glut that is showing no signs of recovery.
Putin urges West to help Ukraine with funds for Russian gas
Eastern Europe Shivers Thinking About Winter Without Gas
INFOGRAPHIC: What's Ahead for an Overpopulated Planet
U.S. Said to Join Russia in Blocking Nuclear Safety Moves
Even as relations between Russia and the U.S. have sunk to a post-Cold War low over the crisis in Ukraine, the two powers have come together to press their shared interest in resisting more stringent safety guidelines, said the diplomats. The U.S. is the world's biggest nuclear-power generator, while Russia exports more reactors than anyone else.
15 Big Oil sell signals that warn of a 50% stock crash
Is Turkey entering an energy bottleneck?
We have very serious problems in our natural gas supply. Even if we do not have any political friction with Ukraine or Russia, in the days when temperatures drop below -5 °C our natural gas demand will not be met.
Energy Economics - Crash Course Chapter 19

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thieves target sewer grates
Thieves steal storm drain covers in Fort Worth
Catalytic Converter Thieves Target Silver Lake for Scrap Metal
Thieves hit another power substation, stealing copper ground wires
Thieves pry brass plaques from soldiers' gravesites
Parishioners left 'desolate' after historic bells stolen from West Suffolk church

## Got food? ##
GCC food imports demand forecast to hit $53bn by 2020
The GCC's regional food import bill will rise to over $53 billion by 2020 as its soaring population has resulted in imported products accounting for up to 90 percent of all food supplies, it has been announced.
California – A Food Powerhouse in Peril

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
From Home-Grown Tomatoes to Home-Made Pasta Sauce
A Wood Pellet Stove Turns Waste Wood Into Home Heat

## Environment/health ##
NYPD Stunner: Cops Exit Ebola Victim Apartment, Dump Gloves, Masks In Sidewalk Trash Can
New York, New Jersey to Quarantine Ebola-Risk Fliers
World Health Organization Says 4,922 Killed And More Than 10,000 Infected By Ebola
Pentagon builds units to transport Ebola patients
'Stop the Toxic Treadmill': EPA Sued for Approving Controversial Herbicide
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
Microbes released from melting permafrost speed up climate change
A newly discovered microbe appears to be releasing massive amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, as permafrost succumbs to rising global temperatures.
USA's ravenous $1.5B problem: 5 million wild pigs

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Now Everyone Wants to Sell You a Magical Anonymity Router. Choose Wisely
Cash, credit or debit? Retail hacks force 'freaked out' holiday shoppers to rethink
Treating Putin Like a Lunatic
Official Washington treats whatever comes out of Russian President Putin's mouth as the ravings of a lunatic, even when what he says is obviously true or otherwise makes sense, as the New York Times has demonstrated again.
SOCOM Wants To Start Data Mining the Open Web
US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is building an open-source data-mining program that will run automatic keyword searches across a variety of websites and databases, allowing its operators to build a better picture of their operating environment in as close to real time as possible.
New technologies pluck out voices at distance
Elon Musk warns against unleashing artificial intelligence 'demon'

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
A Pink Slip for the Progress Fairy
Although a bit long, this is very interesting and informative if you are interested in the process of collapse. Although I agree that "this time is different" certainly cannot be a reason for supposing that industrial civilization won't collapse like all previous civilizations, in the case of industrial civilization there are some unprecedented differences (call them "this-time-is-different factors" if you like) that could accelerate collapse and make it much worse. First, there are far more humans than before, making for a population that is both dense and highly mobile. That is why Ebola could readily expand into a global pandemic. It's also why a crop failure, or just the inability to deliver food when and where it's needed, could starve millions in no time. Second, industrial civilization is global in scale, and everything is tightly networked and optimized. The system is complex and fragile. Trade and finance are woven into this system, which is becoming increasingly digitized, making it highly vulnerable to power outages, server problems, hacking and other sabotage, natural disasters, or many other kinds of disruptive events. Third, industrial civilization has found and largely consumed the high-grade resources, forcing us to move on to lower-grade, more expensive resources. Fourth, ecosystems are under heavy attack and being rapidly degraded. Fifth, climate change is putting further stress on societies and economies. Sixth, economies are wheezing under a crushing debt load that grows heavier daily. Because the economy grows by expanding debt, governments have no choice but to keep piling it on. These and other factors create a toxic brew that could explode into planetary chaos at any time, resulting in catastrophic disruption and the deaths of billions. Have a nice day! -- RF
Dangerously defective air bags raise questions about automakers' ability to handle gigantic recall
Corporate-controlled technologies and their aftermath
2014: The Last Good Year

## Japan ##
Lawmakers in tsunami-hit region eye casino to hasten recovery
The BOJ's Moving Target: 2% in Three Years?
Finance Ministry wants to squeeze more children into classrooms, close elementary schools
Tourists to be quizzed on African stays as Japan braces for Ebola
Miyagi town protesters block gov't survey of proposed radioactively contaminated waste site
Senior Japan official calls for Abe to delay sales-tax hike
Tokyo govt to issue foreign currency debt
The Tokyo metropolitan government said it will switch part of its planned ¥20 billion's worth of debt securities for retail investors into Australian dollar-denominated notes.
Coal cheapest way to produce power
Just 800 km apart, Japan holds military drills with Russia, U.S.

## China ##
China Factory Races to Produce Ebola Protective Suits
Burst Chinese Housing Bubble Leads To First Annual Price Decline Since 2012; Prices Drop In Record 69 Cities
China's auto market growth may halve to 7 percent this year: industry body head
What the Heck Happened To Macau? High-rollers from Mainland China are backing off.
China 10,000 Tons of Gold Reserve? Could Have Been Done With Ease
Home Prices Drop in 69 of 70 Chinese Cities; Did the Pool of Greater Fools Run Out?

## UK ##
Millions face years on the breadline: Britain has more long-term low-paid workers than ever
A generation of Britons is destined to spend years languishing in low-paid jobs barely above the minimum wage, with the number in poorly paid work at a historic high, a major report will reveal this week.
UK power margins tighten further for winter, but gas stocks high
Clocks going back 'adds £24 to winter energy bills'
Street lights to be switched off

## US ##
"They Just Want The Money!" The IRS Can Now Seize Accounts On Suspicion Alone
50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 28,031 Dollars A Year
22% of Workers Would Rather Die Early Than Run Out of Money
For the Bottom 90% of Americans, Financial Security is Slipping Away
Cutting Through Washington's Housing Recovery BS: September New Homes Sales Were Below 1966 Level!
Evidence of Another Even More Sweeping Housing Bust is Already Starting to Appear
NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism
Port squeeze threatens US retailers' holiday stocking plans
7 things the middle class can't afford anymore
A Mystery Bidder Offers $3 Million for 6,000 of Detroit's Worst Homes
Hillary Clinton's Statist Economics—–Then And Now
May the gods have mercy on us. -- RF
Federal Reserve to take away the punch bowl
Detroit $1,000 Home Program Fails To Make Progress

And finally...
Professor suspended from top university for giving off 'negative vibes'
3 Chinese men arrested for buying too many diapers (Japan)


Thursday, October 23, 2014

 

News Links, October 23-24, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
UK's Lloyds to cut 9,000 jobs over next three years: sources
Sears to close stores, lay off about 5,500: Seeking Alpha
Kimberly-Clark to cut up to 1,300 jobs worldwide
Cut, baby, cut! -- RF
40% of Eurozone Banks Are In Bad Shape
Russia Adds A Record 1,200,000 Ounces Of Physical Gold To Their Reserves
India Gold Demand Surges 450% and Bank of Russia Demand At 15 Year High
Peak Ponzi: Only 13% Of Loans In Bulgaria's Fourth Largest Bank Had Valid Collateral
French Private Sector Output Falls at Sharpest Rate in Eight Months; Tale of Two Europes
S&P warns Europe crisis not over, France output falls
Late Payments by Ibex Companies Hits €47 Billion, 169 Days (3 Times Legal Time Limit); Ibex vs. DOW
McDonald's Franchisees Say The Company Is Bankrupting Them
McDonald's franchisees are furious that the company's aggressive promotions and costly restaurant upgrades are squeezing their profits, according to a new survey. "Growth for McDonald's is over," one franchisee wrote in response to the survey by the financial services firm Janney Capital Markets.
Why Amazon Is Crashing: Jeff Bezos' Nightmare Quarters In Charts
Saxo Bank CIO Jakobsen Predicts Another "Shock Drop" in Markets; Addicted to Cheap Money
Crude oil plunge could hit big banks' bottom line: Scotia Capital
Oil Shocks And The Global Economy
Traffickers use prison ships, abductions to feed Southeast Asian slave trade
Manufacturing moving from China to US: survey

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Saudi airspace among most dangerous in the world
Saudi airspace has become one of the most potentially dangerous areas to fly in the world, with the rate of near-crashes surpassing seven times the global average.
Hawaiian Airlines posts $5M loss from Hurricanes Iselle and Julio
Fears lasers will lead to air tragedy
Airlines Hike Prices on Domestic Flights
The five biggest U.S. airlines all increased their base fare on domestic flights in the past week, despite declining fuel prices and apprehension over the potential spread of Ebola.
Airfare hikes not easy for fliers (and carriers)
HAL posts third quarter loss
Holiday airfares are rising amid record airline profits
Don't expect the once-struggling airline industry to pass its good fortune on to travelers during the holidays
Fuel costs ease, US airline profits soar

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Iraq seeks thousands of tank rounds
Iraqi Security Forces In Baghdad Set Up New Mobile Checkpoints To Prevent Car Bomb Attacks
U.S. arms crate bound for Kobani defenders may have fallen into Islamic State hands
How To Stop ISIS: Greenlight Its Neighbors—-Syria And Iran
This is one of the most sensible proposals I've seen in a long time. -- RF
Al Qaeda Wants Xinjiang In The Islamic Caliphate -- But Uighur Leaders Say No
Turkey kidnap plot raises doubts about U.S. troop safety
Islamic State militants seize Iraq village, press assault on Yazidis
Washington's Feckless War On Russia Is Accelerating The Empire's Decline
The Next Big Thing: The Growth in Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean
US-Backed Ukraine Army Used Cluster Bombs Against Its Own People: Reports
Neocon Sabotage of Iran-Nuke Deal
Congressional neocons are determined to sink negotiations to constrain but not end Iran's nuclear program – all the better to get on with bombing Iran at the heart of their agenda.
Six officials 'disappear' in latest Pyongyang purges
Lone-Wolf Attacks Rise in New Era of Asymmetric Warfare
Ottawa Shooting Lockdown: Shooter Killed In Parliament Building, Soldier Dead
Belarus Wants to Criminalize Unemployment
Ottawa Shooting: FBI Urges Vigilance On US Border With Canada
Jerusalem Attack: Palestinian Man Drives Car Into Pedestrians In East Jerusalem, Killing Baby, Wounding Several Others
Moscow investigating crash involving Total boss
Mexican citizen journalist has her own murder posted on her Twitter account

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protesters burn city hall in Mexico town where 43 students vanished
Masked assailants Wednesday set fire to the city hall in Iguala in a rampage triggered by the failure of Mexican authorities to resolve the case of 43 missing student teachers.
Two killed in Sierra Leone riot over Ebola blood test
Protesters Clash With Ferguson Cops After Michael Brown Autopsy Leaked

## Energy/resources ##
Oil: Geology is Crushing Technology
Philippines looks to big companies' gensets to avert power shortage
The Philippine government said on Tuesday it would count on big businesses with diesel-fuelled power generators to avert rolling brownouts in 2015, as it struggles to get authority from the country's Congress to tackle a looming electricity shortage.
B.C. remains 'high-cost environment' despite lower LNG tax rates, industry group says
Another big petrochemical project in the US might hit some supply constraints
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Significantly Cuts Nuclear Safety Budget
Shale Boom's Allure to Wall Street Tested by Bear Market
Norway's Seismic Surveyors Say Hit by Lower Oil Price
Norway's Arctic Oil Ambitions Threatened by Slump in Oil
Saudi Arabia's Crude Oil Supply Said to Fall in September 

## Got food? ##
Report: 21 US cities restrict sharing food with homeless people
Harvesting Sweet Potatoes
Low Inflation? The Price Of Ground Beef Has Risen 17 Percent Over The Past Year
Ebola Outbreak Threatens Food Crisis in West Africa
Ebola Epidemic 2014: Liberians Threaten To Break Quarantine Over Food Shortage
Protecting Chickens From Predators
Seeding change
73% of seed crops are now 'owned' by 10 corporations – while community and grassroots initiatives are working to keep global diversity alive.

## Environment/health ##
Official WHO Ebola toll near 5,000 with true number nearer 15,000
Obama's "Ebola Czar" Thinks Overpopulation Is Top Challenge
US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations
All travelers who come into the U.S. from three Ebola-stricken West African nations will now be monitored for three weeks, the latest step by federal officials to keep the disease from spreading into the country.
Doctors: CDC's New Ebola Tracking Plan Is Political Theater
New York's First Ebola Case? Doctor Treating Ebola Patients In Guinea Rushed To Bellevue Hosptial
Ebola crisis: Mali confirms first infection case
Texas plant converts CO2 to baking soda: Project funded in part by a U.S. economic recovery grant.
Report: Fracking in California dirty business
Maker of Camel cigarettes bans smoking in workplace

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Poll: 70 Percent of Young People Harassed Online (US)
CIA Apparently 'Impersonated' Senate Staffers To Gain Access To Documents On Shared Drives
The Challenges of Defending Your Child's Mind from Propaganda
Cybercriminals prey on Ebola fears to get inside your computer
Bluetooth spying beacons uncovered in LA & Chicago
Devices identical to those secretly planted in New York City phone booths have been installed in public spaces in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Citizenfour's Escape to Freedom in Russia
Xiaomi Moves International Users' Data Out of China

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
What's Avant-Garde Now? Social Innovation
Special report: America's perpetual state of emergency
Eight Pieces of Our Oil Price Predicament
Nissan recalling 260,000 vehicles globally with Takata air bags
Water Crisis Seen Worsening as Sao Paulo Nears 'Collapse'

## Japan ##
Japan's power failure: Bid to forge national grid stumbles
Japan's exports up in September, deficit persists
The Keynesian Yen Trashers Blather On—-But Japan's Trade Accounts Are Still Deteriorating
Destroyers with ballistic missile defense capability heading to Japan
Two U.S. Navy destroyers with ballistic missile defense capabilities are being forward deployed to Japan, the U.S. Navy announced.
BOJ Sees Bigger Chance of Fall in CPI Below 1%
Dismantling of reactor building cover begins
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun dismantling the cover of a reactor building to remove debris as part of preparations for removing the nuclear fuel from a spent fuel storage pool.
Special isolation ward for Ebola unveiled
Honda executives to take pay cut after fifth Fit hybrid recall
Hitachi Maxell to trim 250 jobs in battery unit
17 new coal power stations planned in Japan despite high levels of greenhouse gas emissions

## China ##
Panel: China Expanding Submarine Capabilities
PLA may transfer 100,000 soldiers to Xinjiang: report
Mapping China's Bursting Real Estate Bubble
Boeing and Chinese partner to make jet fuel from 'gutter oil'
China Scores Cheap Oil 14,000 Miles Away as Glut Deepens
China is finding oil supplies 14,000 miles away, aided by the global rout in prices that's left producers vying for new markets.

## UK ##
Pensioners can only afford to heat one room: government advice
The impact of the startling price of energy has been revealed by a government leaflet released today, which recommends that pensioners only heat one room in their house in order to stay warm without breaking the bank. It raises the question of just how desperate energy bills are making life for retirees.
How many "excess deaths" this winter? -- RF
'Full nest' parents spend £1,200 a year keeping adult children at home
Parents with adult children still living at home forced to take out loans and cut back on groceries, survey finds
The BBC is Using Anti-Terror Surveillance to Find Tax Dodgers
Tesco scraps profit outlook as accounting black hole deepens

## US ##
So, just how rich is Congress? Richer than you.
Chris Christie Says He's 'Tired of Hearing About the Minimum Wage'
Tennessee Woman Sentenced to Jail for Not Mowing Her Lawn
Fort Lauderdale Latest City to Restrict Feeding Homeless
Activists demand comprehensive federal data on Americans killed by police
The Fed's Assault On Savers—–Backdoor Repudiation Of The Federal Debt
'Walmart Moms' think America is in the 'crapper'
Out of control: "War on Terror" Targets Unlicensed Underwear – Department of Homeland Security Raids Maker of World Series Panties
Vote all you want. The secret government won't change.
Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn't have changed policies much even if he tried.
Which is essentially the point I made on July 18. Obama is not in charge, any more than Bush was. From POTUS on down, American elected officials largely do as dictated by the system; they actually have little discretion to make any substantive changes. So again, dumping on Obama, or any previous president, is barking up the wrong tree. -- RF
Firewood a hot commodity as rural Minnesotans ready for winter
After last year's long cold winter spiked propane costs and left firewood piles burned to nothing, White said rural Minnesotans are stocking up on anything to keep their homes warm.
Americans' love of central heating will lead to tragedy, as the struggle to heat entire homes, instead of just a few rooms, will exhaust fuel supplies much faster. -- RF
Is the US economy in for another harsh winter as energy companies struggle to stockpile fuel?
While we joked about it getting cold in Ukraine as they argued with Russia over supplies, it might be the other side of the Atlantic that faces the bigger chill.
Truck Driver Shortage Top Challenge for Heavy-Duty Fleets
The Top 10 U.S. States Where Chinese Are Investing in Real Estate
Why Are Chinese Millionaires Buying Mansions in an L.A. Suburb?
U.S. jury convicts ex-Blackwater guards in 2007 Baghdad killings
Man arrested after jumping fence at White House
Unused vacation days at 40-year high
California community suffers as wells dry up in drought
"It's Very Extreme" - Drought & Drug Cartels Drain California's Aquifers At Record Rate
US Manufacturing PMI Tumbles, Biggest Miss In 14 Months
Schools install gun detection technology

And finally...
Woman spends a week in KFC to get over her break up (China)
Ebola plush toys are big sellers


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

 

News Links, October 21-22, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Forex-Rigging Fines Could Hit $41 Billion Globally: Citi
Eurozone Rotting to the Core; Four Possibilities; Beyond the Math
How Much Gold Is On Loan Worldwide?
Ebola's Economic Fallout Can't Be Quarantined in Africa
IMF Cuts Africa Growth Forecast Amid Ebola Virus, Insecurity
M&A Deals Fail At Highest Rate Since 2008
The Canary In Big Blue's Mainframe: Why IBM's Q3 Bust Marks A Turning Point
The Artists' Road to Serfdom: The Commoditization of Creative Content
Why Moody's Cut Russia to Two Notches above Junk
'Deflationary pressure is bearing down' on global economy
Epidemic: Countries Falling Ill from Oil Anemia
Why Italy is in Trouble.
Denmark's central bank to stop producing money
With more and more people paying with credit cards and their smartphones, Denmark's central bank Nationalbanken says it no longer pays to print banknotes or mint coins.

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Pilots extend Lufthansa strikes to long-haul flights
How Cheap Oil Could Become a Real Problem for Airlines
Hong Kong to begin using ebola questionnaire at airport
Ebola Outbreak: US Requires West African Travelers To Land At 1 Of 5 Airports

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Australian Ground Troops Join Fight Against ISIS After Agreement Reached With Iraq
Obama's decision to aid Kobani puts him squarely at odds with Turkey's Erdogan
Turkey relents and allows Kurdish forces to join the fight against Islamic State
Russia supports Iraq, Syria by supplying weapons, military equipment — Lavrov
Russia is supporting the governments of Iraq, Syria and other Middle East states in their fight against terrorism, including by supplying weapons to them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
Amid New Attacks On Iraqi Shiites, Iran's Rouhani Pledges More Support To Iraqi Military In Fight Against ISIS
Islamic State Earns $800 Million a Year From Oil Sales
UK Reaper drones ready to attack Isis in Syria and Iraq
More Foreign Policy Incompetence – U.S. Humanitarian Aid is Going Directly to ISIS
Reports claim Ukraine used cluster bombs in Donetsk city
Saudis probe oil pipeline blaze
Suicide bomber kills 67 in Yemen
Quadruple car bombings kill 40 in Karbala, Iraq
Iran acts to comply with interim nuclear deal with powers: IAEA
Mexico Offers Reward, Takes Over Towns In Effort To Find Missing Students
Mission accomplished: Afghan Opium Poppies Hit Record High Despite $7 Billion US Campaign
LEAKED: What Happens to Germany if Russia Turns off the Gas
South Korea Military Command: US, Seoul Officials To Set Terms For Wartime Control Transfer
Violence Against Children Is Global Epidemic: UNICEF
The Endless Bush/Obama Gift To Iraq: Complete And Total Destruction
U.S., Japan to conduct joint military drill for island defense
Russia Deploys Troops, Robots Along Entire "2nd Middle East" Arctic Belt

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Not Just Democracy: Anti-Tycoon Anger Also Spurs Hong Kong Protesters
Hong Kong court bans street occupations as police warn of 'riot'
22 dead in attack on Han Chinese market in Xinjiang, report says

## Energy/resources ##
Oil prices keep going down, but this is not good news
Long-time readers will recall that after the crash of 2008, 60% of the new oil projects in the Middle East were mothballed. And unless oil prices recover soon, this will happen again. For those who still don't understand what "peak oil" means, this is a particularly good read. -- RF
U.S. Utilities Facing Fuel Shortage Problems As Winter Approaches
Some utilities have even had to resort to using trucks to deliver coal. Several power plants have partially or completely shut down operations due to a lack of fuel supply.
Kyrgyzstan Looks to Alternative Fuels Ahead of Looming Winter Shortages
Southern Kyrgyzstan has been without gas since April, when Russia's Gazprom took over the country's gas network, and neighboring Uzbekistan said it would not work with the Russians. That has forced residents in the south to use precious and expensive electricity to cook, or resort to burning dung and sometimes even furniture.
Britons Face Power Shortages As Two Nuclear Plants Cut Production
Is France's Love Affair with Nuclear Over?
Norway unable to supply extra gas to Europe: Minister
According to Aftenposten newspaper, Norwegian Energy Minister Tord Lien sent a letter to European Union officials saying that Norwegian gas will not be an adequate source for Europe if Russia cuts off gas supplies.
Nuclear Shutdowns Put Belgians and Britons on Blackout Alert
Saudi August oil exports fall to lowest in three years
Ukraine, Russia gas deal may be just enough to get through winter
Oil Workers Earning $179,000 Expose Norway to Crude Crash
Though the blessings of energy wealth have hardly turned to a curse, the industry's labor costs, which saw the average offshore worker earn $179,000 last year, threaten to curb investment in new projects as oil tumbles.
Sumitomo's Loss Shows Shale Isn't Booming for Everybody
Power plants seek to extend life of nuclear reactors (US)
Saudi-Kuwait oilfield shutdown may force Asian buyers to spot market-trade
A production halt at an oilfield run jointly by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is expected to curb crude supply to Asian buyers - mainly Japanese and South Korean refiners - likely forcing them to turn to the Middle East spot market, traders said on Monday.
Oil nations brace for trouble as prices plunge
Oil, Gas Development in South China Sea Remains on Ice
Moscow: Ukraine expects the West to pay its $3.1 billion gas bill
Venezuela's Oil Industry So Clogged It Needs Historic Import from Algeria

## Got food? ##
McDonald's Gets More Expensive, Turning Off Some Diners

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Learning From Ancient Human Cultures
Homesteading: Self-sufficient couple has lived off land for 61 years

## Environment/health ##
Ebola Outbreak Update: Cuba Sends Over 450 Health Workers To West Africa, Leading Charge
At a meeting with regional leaders on Monday, Cuba announced it will send nearly 300 more medical workers to Ebola-stricken countries, adding to the 165 workers that recently arrived in Sierra Leone. The response dwarfs the response of many other larger and wealthier nations and comes days after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to step up their lackluster commitments to fight the virus.
Ebola Outbreak Opens Opportunity For Unlikely U.S.-Cuba Cooperation
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has opened an opportunity for on-the-ground cooperation between two unlikely partners: the United States and Cuba. In recent days, officials from both countries have emerged from their frigid diplomatic relationship to hint at possibilities for working side by side.
Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola
Ebola Doctors at Breaking Point: 'This Constant Feeling That the Boat's Sinking'
Untrained, Ill-Equipped US Troops Off to Fight Ebola
Photos show effects of Ebola decontamination
Sugary soft drinks may be linked to accelerated DNA ageing – study
'Major' Oil Spill Strikes Louisiana, Threatens Waterways
North Dakota Oil Spill Cleanup Continues, 1 Year After Tesoro Pipeline Rupture
Hottest September Ever Keeps Earth on Pace for Record Year
Has Prozac killed off our starlings? (UK)
Prozac and other anti-depressants in the water system could be a factor in the disappearance of starlings fro our skies, new bird study claims
Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data
Honeybees get stung by California's severe drought

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
It's Not Just Spying – How the NSA Has Turned Into a Giant Profit Center for Corrupt Insiders
Virginia Police Have Been Secretively Stockpiling Private Phone Records
FBI wants Congress to mandate backdoors in tech devices to facilitate surveillance
Mortgage completions affected by BoE system crash
Germans Clear Russia in MH-17 Case
The Der Spiegel report referenced in the article can be found here. -- RF
Apple's Mac computers can automatically collect your location information
The Most 'Distrusted' News Sources In America
In bid to keep control over messages, interviews, Modi retains state media
Staples Latest Retailer Probing Possible Card Data Breach

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Safety Watchdog Urges 4.7M Americans to Fix Air Bags
Toyota recalls 247,000 vehicles in U.S. over Takata air bags
The Failing State Next Door: The War On Drugs And Civil Order In Mexico
Politico Poll: 64% Believe America Is 'Out of Control'
Hints of anarchy (US)
Land of the Free – 1 in 3 Americans Are on File with the FBI in the U.S. Police State
In Uncharted Waters
What I see as extremes that must necessarily end badly, others see as mere extensions of recently successful policies and trends.

## Japan ##
Japan firms want government action if yen weakens: Reuters poll
Kraken to Launch Bitcoin Ops in Japan This Month
Ministry proposes lower target for food self-sufficiency to help taxpayers
Japan's new METI minister says will restart reactors deemed safe
Japanese man who 3D printed guns sentenced to two years in prison
Fukushima film shows reality sinking in for 'nuclear refugees'
September supermarket sales down for sixth month
Dept. store sales down 0.7% in Sept. for sixth straight month
Government downgrades economic assessment second straight month
Harsh working conditions persist at Fukushima plant
Japan to crack down on wealthy tax dodgers fleeing abroad

## China ##
China's Economic Growth To Slow Over Next Two Decades: Conference Board
Why Chinese Growth Forecasts Just Crashed To A Paltry 3.9% - And Are Going Even Lower - In One Chart
Debt-laden 'zombie' firms threaten China's economy
Wobegone Investors Get Fleeced Amid China's Property Slump
China may be hacking every iPhone user in the country
Hong Kong government unyielding on election reforms
Hong Kong has too many poor people to allow direct elections, leader says

## UK ##
Didcot B power plant blaze stokes blackout fears
Mark Carney launches investigation after real-time payment system crash delays house purchases
Bank of England Governor promises 'thorough, independent review' after Real Time Gross Settlement payment system, which processes £277bn a day, resumes operations after being down for 10 hours
Britain threatens Internet 'trolls' with two years in jail
Britain's five richest families worth more than poorest 20%
UK public finance worsen as borrowing rises again
Here we go again: Saharan sun could provide energy for UK homes in £8bn plan to build 100 sq km solar farm - and a very long power cable
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube told to 'automatically' hand over Isis terrorists' data
Prisoners launching 'one person riots', says watchdog

## US ##
One-third of working Americans support two-thirds of the population
The hidden figures of those not in the labor force and transfer payments.
Yellen's Clueless Comments On Inequality—-Let Them Eat 401Ks
What NCR just Said about the American Retail Quagmire
State energy plan warns of fuel shortages (NH)
Journalist Risen: 'Mercenary Class' Now Permanent Fixture in National Security State
California's drought: Getting grimmer, say experts
Friends Of Liberty Alert: Secy Robert Reich And Senator McCain Join In Universal Servitude Plan (Ron Paul)
Will Our Private Savings Be Sacrificed To Pay Down The Public Debt?
19 Very Surprising Facts About The Messed Up State Of The U.S. Economy
The Bottom 90 Percent: No Better Off Today Than in 1986
Highly educated, unemployed and tumbling down
Slave labor in America today

And finally...
Oops! Drunk woman mistakes jail for bar


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