Friday, 22 May 2015 18:44

World News Desk 05-22-2015

From Jenna Orkin:

Glaciers Thought To Be Stable Melting at Alarming Rate

“A sudden and massive melting of glaciers in a part of the Antarctic that was thought to be relatively stable has been detected by satellites monitoring the polar ice sheet, scientists have said.

Many glaciers in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula have become unstable since 2009, releasing vast amounts of ice into the sea equivalent to about 56bn tonnes of meltwater each year, the researchers said.

Multiple glaciers along a stretch of coastline 750km long have suddenly and consistently started to shed ice into the ocean at a constant rate of 60 cubic km or 55 trillion litres of water each year, they report in the journal Science.

This would make this region of Antarctica, which until 2009 showed no signs of melting, the second largest contributor of sea level rise in Antarctica, with no indication of it waning, they said…”

Broke Kansas To Tax Poor People By Placing $25 Limit On ATM Withdrawals   

“…If, as the above suggests, the Governor was already unpopular with low-income Kansans, the situation isn’t likely to improve anytime soon because as The Washington Post reports, the state will now place a $25 daily limit on ATM withdrawals using a state-issued benefits card. 

Via WaPo:

“Legislators in Kansas, not trusting the poor to use their money wisely, have voted to limit how much cash that welfare beneficiaries can receive, effectively reducing their overall benefits, as well.

The legislature placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits…””

Kansas City Fed In Recession Territory After Respondent "Laid Off 8% Of Workforce In 2 Months"

“For the 5th month in a row, Kansas City Fed missed expectations by an inmcreaisngly large amount. May's -13 print is the worst since April 2009, and is the biggest drop since 2009. Every single individual component also tumbled led by orders, backlog, number of employees and average workweek.Firmly in recession territory, the respondents comments are stunningly reminiscent of the great recession (or depression)...”

Boiling ourselves to death: Temperatures on Earth hit another record high, here’s the projected effect on humans  

“The last 12-month period has seen the highest global temperatures on the planet, according to figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and, even though we’re barely halfway through, it’s clear that 2015 is set to be record breaking year.

Not since the 1970s have land and sea measurements dropped beneath the expected average and all the data from environmental watchdogs points towards a steady rise currently at one degree C above where it should be.

It might seem like just a small amount but yet the geographical impact is reported on a daily basis at the polar ice-caps and coastal regions, and what about the direct human effects? Just in case you need enlightening on how climate change projections like these would affect you and yours, take a look at these five reasons how we could be boiling ourselves to death…”

Lake Is So Polluted It Caught Fire

“Whoever said water couldn't burn didn't pollute hard enough.

Residents in Bangalore, India, were alarmed earlier this week when a local lake caught fire. For several weeks, Bellandur Lake has been covered with several feet of toxic foam that some have said resembles snow from far away, according to The Hindu. Beneath the snow-white lather, the water has turned black from chemicals and sewage…”

City Limits: How Localizing Is the Key to Our Urban Future

“NEW YORK -- What is the actual extent of the city? As megacities, sprawl and megalopolitan regions increasingly characterize urbanization, it gets harder and harder to recognize either the location or the logic of boundaries. But, while our cities are no longer walled, each is still enclosed in multiple visible and invisible membranes that define it both internally and in relation to the planet.

Cities have always been understood in terms of supporting "sheds" -- watersheds, food sheds, energy sheds, knowledge sheds, population sheds -- but as modern cities have grown, their edges become ever more elastic and discontinuous. Where once food came from the periphery and varied with the seasons, a trip to the supermarket now offers products that -- in defiance of time and space -- arrive from every corner of the globe: the average grocery cart contains items that have travelled thousands of "food miles."

This can result in huge environmental costs and a food chain dominated by predatory multinational companies, not to mention rock-hard, genetically modified produce, armored to travel. Ours is increasingly an age of great sameness…”

China illegally fishing in Africa, Greenpeace study finds

“Chinese companies have been illegally fishing off the coast of West Africa, environmental campaign group Greenpeace said in a study Wednesday, at times sending incorrect location data suggesting they are as far away as Mexico.

The number of Chinese-flagged or Chinese-owned fishing boats operating in Africa has soared in recent decades, from just 13 in 1985 to 462 in 2013, the international advocacy group said.

It said it found 114 cases of illegal fishing by such vessels in periods totalling eight years in the waters off Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The boats were mainly operating without licences or in prohibited areas.

Among them, 60 cases involved vessels of the China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC), a state-owned company charged with developing fishing in distant seas…”

"If The Public Knew About Obama's Lies And Cover Ups, Mitt Romney Might Be President" - Judicial Watch

“When it comes to the countless lies of this administration (and that of the next one under Hillary Clinton) one has to just throw in the flag.

Days after Seymour Hersh exposed the biggest lie of Obama's first term, a lie which we learned was also facilitated and perpetuated by the CIA as well (the topic of the latest Frontline documentary "How the CIA Helped Make “Zero Dark Thirty”"), we get yet more evidence of the administration's lies this time on a topic dear - and sensitive - for the person who may well be the next US president, Hillary Clinton, who as a reminder made up a story that the September 11, 2012 Benghazi embassy attack was a product of spontaneous protests of an obscure YouTube documentary by an American producer that lampooned Muslims.

Only later did the administration concede that the attack was a terrorist operation.

And now, according to a declassified Defense Department document obtained by Judicial Watch we learn that the Obama administration knew that "al Qaeda terrorists had planned the Benghazi attack ten days in advance." Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior level individuals including then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council were given intelligence within hours of the Benghazi attack describing how it had been planned at least 10 days in advance “to kill as many Americans as possible…””

Plains All American Pipeline Ruptures; 21,000 Barrel 4-Mile Oil Slick On Santa Barbara Beaches

“Emergency officials and Exxon Mobil were responding Tuesday afternoon to a ruptured pipeline that was leaking crude oil into the ocean off the Santa Barbara County coast, authorities said. The Santa Barbara County office of emergency management has identified the responsible party as Plains All American Pipeline.

As The LA Times reports, by 3:45 p.m., the leak had left a 21,000 barrel four-mile-long sheen of oil extending about 50 yards into the waters along Refugio State Beach in Goleta, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson…”

The Morning Email: Why Latvia Could Be The Next Ukraine   

A $2.46 billion securities fraud judgement against HSBC has been reversed

“CHICAGO (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday reversed a $2.46 billion judgment against HSBC Holdings in a long-running securities fraud class action stemming from a consumer finance business it bought more than a decade ago.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said HSBC and three former Household International Inc executives were entitled to a new trial over whether "firm-specific, nonfraud factors" contributed to a plunge in Household's share price that was the basis for the shareholder lawsuit, which began in August 2002.

"As things stand, the record reflects only the expert's general statement that any such information was insignificant," Circuit Judge Diane Sykes wrote for a three-judge panel, referring to a witness for the plaintiffs, law professor Daniel Fischel. "That's not enough…"”

George Soros Warns "No Exaggeration" That China-US On "Threshold Of World War 3"

“While admitting that reaching agreement between the two countries will be difficult to achieve, George Soros - speaking at The World Bank's Bretton Woods conference this week - warned that unless the U.S. makes 'major concessions' and allows China's currency to join the IMF's basket of currencies, "there is a real danger China will align itself with Russia politically and militarily, and then the threat of world war becomes real."

Much in global geopolitics depends on the health and trajectory of the Chinese economy,was the undertone of George Soros' comments as he spoke this week, but as MarketWatch reports,

“Billionaire investor George Soros said flatly that he’s concerned about the possibility of another world war.

...

If China’s efforts to transition to a domestic-demand led economy from an export engine falter, there is a “likelihood” that China’s rulers would foster an external conflict to keep the country together and hold on to power.

...

To avoid this scenario, Soros called on the U.S. to make a “major concession” and allow China’s currency to join the International Monetary Fund’s basket of currencies.This would make the yuan a potential rival to the dollar as a global reserve currency.

In return, China would have to make similar major concessions to reform its economy, such as accepting the rule of law, Soros said…””

40 Percent of Unemployed Have Quit Looking for Jobs  

Missing Morgan Stanley Trader Found Dead 

UK Government Quietly Rewrites Hacking Laws to Give GCHQ Immunity  

“The UK government has quietly passed new legislation that exempts GCHQ, police, and other intelligence officers from prosecution for hacking into computers and mobile phones.

While major or controversial legislative changes usually go through normal parliamentary process (i.e. democratic debate) before being passed into law, in this case an amendment to the Computer Misuse Act was snuck in under the radar as secondary legislation. According to Privacy International, "It appears no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner's Office, industry, NGOs or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes... There was no public debate."

Privacy International also suggests that the change to the law was in direct response to a complaint that it filed last year. In May 2014, Privacy International and seven communications providers filed a complaint with the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), asserting that GCHQ's hacking activities were unlawful under the Computer Misuse Act.

On June 6, just a few weeks after the complaint was filed, the UK government introduced the new legislation via the Serious Crime Bill that would allow GCHQ, intelligence officers, and the police to hack without criminal liability. The bill passed into law on March 3 this year, and became effective on May 3. Privacy International says there was no public debate before the law was enacted, with only a rather one-sided set of stakeholders being consulted (Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, Scotland Office, Northern Ireland Office, GCHQ, police, and National Crime Agency)…”

EU scrapped pesticide laws 'after US TTIP pressure'  

“EU moves to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility were shelved following pressure from US trade officials over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal, newly released documents show.

Draft EU criteria could have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). But these were dumped amid fears of a trade backlash stoked by an aggressive US lobby push, access to information documents obtained by Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe show.

On the morning of 2 July 2013, a high-level delegation from the US Mission to Europe and the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) visited EU trade officials to insist that the bloc drop its planned criteria for identifying EDCs in favour of a new impact study. By the end of the day, the EU had done so.

Minutes of the meeting show commission officials pleading that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards”…”

Soil Association: 'If we don't take care of our soil, we won't be able to feed people in 50 years'  

“If the world doesn't take better care of its land then "we won't be able to feed people in 50 years," the head of the Soil Association has warned.

Appearing on Desert Island Discs, Helen Browning said the ultimate purpose of organic farming is take care of the soils upon which food production relies.

"We've already degraded about 40 per cent of our soils internationally, and that's happening here as well. If we don't take care of our soils, we won't be able to feed people in 50 years."

It has been estimated that around 12 million hectares of land have been abandoned around the world due to degradation - that's an area equivalent to the combined size of England and Wales' agricultural land.

Though evidence on the extent of the impact soil degradation has impacted world food production is scarce, some experts think it is responsible for the loss of around 20 million tonnes of grain crops every year.

And a study from the University of Sheffield last year found there may only be 100 harvests left in the UK…”

 

From Rice Farmer:

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
'If you ain't cheatin, you ain't trying': four global banks plead guilty to felony charges of fixing the price of dollar and euros

The Gloves Come Off: Moody's Warns Of Greek "Deposit Freeze" As Schauble "Won't Rule Out Default"

Greek economy is bleeding 600 jobs a day, €22m in GDP

China Bails Out Brazil In $50 Billion Regional Power Grab

Slum squeeze: overseas students taking turns to sleep in overcrowded Melbourne high rises

For Caterpillar, This Is What The "Second Great Depression" Looks Like

Mideast youth unemployment rises amid post-Arab Spring chaos

Growing Global Inequality Gap 'Has Reached a Tipping Point'


## Airline Death Spiral ##
The Absolute Worst Practice of Airlines Today

Baggage handlers stealing from checked bags

Cathay Pacific flight attendants hold Hong Kong airport sit-in to protest airline's treatment

12 Things You Need to Know About Frequent Flier Programs

Airline Ticket Fees Could Be Going Up, Again

Airline Rally Unwinding as American Spurs Price War Selloff

Man strips naked at airport, upset about overbooked flight


## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##

Obama’s Strategic Shift
President Obama has belatedly detected the looming catastrophe in Syria and Iraq as Sunni terrorists gain ground. He also grasps the need for Russian and Iranian help. But his administration remains infested with neocons and liberal war hawks who could sabotage the needed deals.

Iraq: 25,000 Shiite Militiamen Gather to Retake Ramadi

Senators call for new military surge in Iraq
Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Wednesday called for a new military surge in Iraq to counter the fall of Ramadi and to reset what they said is a failing U.S. war strategy.

In Syria and Iraq, ISIS Has Taken Upper Hand From U.S.-led Coalition

In reversal, U.S. official admits Iraq troops reeling from Islamic State offensive

Tunisia designated non-NATO ally, promised more financial aid

China warns U.S. plane over South China Sea

Asia-Pacific militaries seek to develop amphibious skills

How a 19th Century Shipwreck Could Give Canada Control of the Arctic

France Boosts Arms Spending, Eyes C-130 Buy

Israel’s Plan to Kill Lebanese Civilians

Asia migrants: Malaysia orders search and rescue for boats

U.S. sanctions Iraqi airline as Iranian front in scheme to buy planes

Finland tells 900,000 reservists their roles 'in the event of war'
Amid rising tension with Russia, Finland takes the rare step of sending letters to every military reservist

 

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Protests Force Mining Billionaire German Larrea To Halt $1.4 Billion Copper Project In Peru

McDonald’s Workers Protest Outside Shareholders’ Meeting


## Energy/resources ##

Slow Oil Price Recovery Heightens Upstream Default Risk
The default rate among the exploration and production (E&P) sector’s weaker companies is expected to more than double during the next 12 months, according to a new report from Moody’s.

Clock Running Out For Struggling Oil Companies

What does nuclear power cost? Old plants dispel easy answers

Shell’s boss claims the world will face a massive energy crisis if fossil fuel production scaled back

Saudi, partners turn down Chinese requests for extra oil

North Sea oil and gas firms told to collaborate to ensure the area has a future

THERMAL COAL-South African cargoes hold premium as power shortage bites
South African physical coal cargoes maintained a premium over Australian and European prices as rolling power black-outs due to a severe shortage in electricity generation threatened coal mining and ship loading capacity.

Externalities: The IMF Tells a Half-Truth

India to eclipse China as top coal importer in 2015

Yingli’s Possible Bankruptcy: Not An Isolated Case, Says Wolfe Research

Gusts of opposition hit Kenyan wind farm project

Petrobras Turns to China for $10 Billion to Avert Crunch


## Got food? ##
Congress Moves to Eliminate Labels Showing Consumers Where Meat Comes from Following WTO Ruling

El Niño 2015 Could Make Food More Expensive, Especially Coffee, Chocolate And Rice, Experts 

 

## Environment/health ##

California Governor Declares State Of Emergency As Santa Barbara Oil Spill Worsens Dramatically

California Oil Spill: Biologists Eyeing Extent of Damage to Waters, Wildlife

Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed large numbers of dolphins, study suggests

Warm seas keep planet on course for a hot 2015 as El Nino builds

'The Bees Can't Wait': White House Plan to Save Pollinators Falls Short, Say Experts

## Intelligence/security/internet/cyberwar ##
South Korean Parents Will Be Required to Have Government-Approved Spyware on Teens’ Smartphones

As the national-security-state virus spreads around the globe, South Korea will gradually become more and more like North Korea. And of course many other countries will, too. -- RF

Google a step closer to developing machines with human-like intelligence
Algorithms developed by Google designed to encode thoughts, could lead to computers with ‘common sense’ within a decade, says leading AI scientist

This is How the Clowns at the DEA Screen for Drug Dealers on Amtrak

It's never been so difficult to look unsuspicious. -- RF

Saudi Arabia is Making a Play to Head the U.N. Human Rights Council

Dating website hack leaks data of 4M users

'Weaponizing Vulnerabilities': New Snowden Doc Reveals Spy Agencies Targeted Smartphones

The NSA Plan to Find Bin Laden by Hiding Tracking Devices in Medical Supplies


## Propaganda ##
The CIA and the Myths of the Bin Laden Raid

False Comparison of N. Korea to Iran

MH-17: Australian news show bristled at being caught broadcasting misleading images

 

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##

Senate Democrats demand more money for Amtrak repair backlog
Senate Democrats on Thursday demanded that Republicans provide more money for Amtrak so the railroad can tackle a $21 billion maintenance and repair backlog, including replacing tunnels more than a century old.

Our Social Depression

GM says you don't own your car, you just license it

Takata air bag recall could take years to complete, amid drastic shortage of replacement parts

The Era of Impact (The Archdruid Report) 


## Japan ##
Japan debt plan needs BOJ to keep rates low for years -sources

Japan unveils $110 billion plan to fund Asia infrastructure, eye on AIIB

City that makes Sharp TVs to subsidize purchases by residents
For decades, the city of Yaita in Tochigi Prefecture has served as a production hub for Sharp Corp. Now it’s pitching in to boost the struggling company’s fortunes by helping residents buy its higher-end products.

Lower House OKs bills on accessing customer, banking data
The Lower House approved legislation Thursday that would, if enacted, enable the government to access citizens’ bank deposit records and loosen the rules around how companies use personal customer information.

Japan’s First International Drone Exhibition

Chinese bombers fly between southern Japan islands

Reforms and acquisitions: Record 61 Japanese companies post 100 billion yen or more net profit

Key to dismantling reactors: Waste disposal

The money will run out before the dismantling and waste disposal are completed for even one reactor. -- RF


## China ##
China's Richest Man Sees Half His Net Worth Wiped Out In Seconds After Bubble Stock Instacrash

Crash Contagion: Second Chinese Billionaire Wiped Out In Seconds After Stock Instacrash

Over 1,000 university websites have security loopholes

China Manufacturing PMI Contracts Third Month, Output Index at 13 Month Low

Is China Under The Skyscraper Curse?


## UK ##
Income poverty affects third of UK population

Fresh spending squeeze has already begun, says George Osborne
Chancellor tells government departments to make immediate start on finding £13bn of further cuts – with goal of announcing savings by July

Stop scaremongering and prepare for further cuts, Theresa May tells police

May's plan to censor TV programmes condemned by Tory cabinet colleague

 

## US ##
GOP Lawmakers Rip Obama For Not Being Faithful Enough to Saudi Arabia

The unemployed are dropping out like flies

At a time when 8.5 million Americans still don't have jobs, some 40 percent have given up even looking.

When Will Our Justice Department Jail the Criminal Bankers?
People of little means in our country are routinely being incarcerated for minor crimes. Meanwhile, big-time criminals engaging in major financial crimes that effectively involve the theft of billions of dollars from the public aren’t being prosecuted. Today we learned of yet another huge settlement by five of the largest banks operating in our country. The list includes JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS.

If Your Parents Are Still Paying Your Bills, You're Not Alone

Hedge Fund Vultures to the Rescue in Puerto Rico

Existing Home Sales Lower Than Any Economist's Estimate; Rising Supply a Good Thing?

Number of NYC Apartments for Rent Above $50k/Month Triples Since ’08; 82% of U.S. Construction = Luxury Units

America’s rent crisis shows no sign of letting up

China has overtaken Mexico as the source of the largest number of immigrants to the U.S. – the Far East is the new Southwest.

Lawmakers Slam Proposal To Use Medicare Money To Help Americans Who Lose Jobs Due To Free Trade Agreements

Six Baltimore police officers indicted in death of Freddie Gray

Monthly Cash Crunch Time In The Hand-To-Mouth Economy

Chart Of The Day: The Relentless 65-Year Decline In The Labor Force Participation Of Men

Aircraft carrier $370 million over cost cap by Pentagon estimate

Senior DHS Official Charged With Assaulting Juvenile Remains in Key Position

Commuting In America's 30 Biggest Cities: US Workers Still Dependent On Cars To Get To Work

 

## The Clintons ##

Hillary Clinton Aides Blocked the Release of Public Records

How UCLA Tried to Negotiate a Lower Speaking Fee, but Hillary Clinton Refused and Demanded $300,000

Clinton's Benghazi emails show correspondence with adviser

Clinton campaign to hold first major event June 13

Poof! CNN's Jake Tapper disappears from Clinton Foundation website: Column

 

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