Daily Digest

Daily Digest 10/16 - The New Global Economy Threat, States Start Foreclosure Inquiry, Offshore Wind Power Wins Backing

Saturday, October 16, 2010, 9:12 AM
  • The new threat to the global economy
  • All 50 States Start Inquiry Into Foreclosures
  • Flying Fewer Planes, Airlines Find Stability
  • Inflation Unplugged
  • Multi-Trillionaires & Commodity Bubbles
  • Is America On A Burning Platform?
  • U.S. to Investigate China’s Clean Energy Aid
  • Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Backing

Our 'What Should I Do?' guide has steps to cook, see & stay warm in times of power outage


The new threat to the global economy (jdargis)

Concerns about currency tensions are intensifying as the US trade deficit rockets and the Federal Reserve mulls another round of quantitative easing (QE). But it is not the US and other developed countries that should be worried.

All 50 States Start Inquiry Into Foreclosures (jdargis)

“The country’s housing finance system remains fragile, and I intend to maintain our focus on addressing this issue in a manner that is fair to delinquent households, but also fair to servicers, mortgage investors, neighborhoods and most of all, is in the best interest of taxpayers,” Edward J. DeMarco, the agency’s acting director, said.

Inflation Unplugged (Ilene)

Sure they talk about the weak Dollar or the strong Yen (but rarely the strong Pound or Euro, because it is contrary to the average viewer’s vision of America and we don’t want to upset the viewers, do we?) but who ever shows you a simple and obvious chart of the S&P or any other index priced in a foreign currency? How hard is this to understand?

Multi-Trillionaires & Commodity Bubbles (Ilene)

Now, when a bill comes in, they just crank up the presses and drop the fresh bills in an envelope. Unfortunately, after a while, the people who provide goods and services paid for by you and your government, begin to catch on that those bills are suddenly very easy to come by, and they begin to demand more and more of them as exchange. It’s a little hard to picture unless you run it into the abstract but think of it like an auction, where 5 people have $5 each to bid on 5 items. Well those items (commodities) will get somewhere between $0 and $5 from the bidders, right? Now, what happens if one of the bidders prints himself up $45 additional dollars? Now he can bid $10 on each item and the other bidders will get nothing.

Is America On A Burning Platform? (JimQ)

The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon. There are striking similarities between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government. The fiscal imbalance meant the US was on a path toward an explosion of debt. With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiraling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks.

Flying Fewer Planes, Airlines Find Stability (jdargis)

The steep jump in oil prices, starting three years ago, forced the airlines to slow orders of new planes. Then, as the recession hit, more than a dozen airlines went out of business, and higher financing costs made it harder to establish new ones. A string of mergers among the big carriers further shrank the number of players. And even low-cost airlines, which once provided the most feisty competition, lately have shown signs of caution.


U.S. to Investigate China’s Clean Energy Aid (jdargis)

The economic tension between the United States and China escalated on Friday, as the Obama administration pledged to investigate Beijing’s subsidies to its growing clean energy industries while delaying a politically volatile report on the Chinese currency.

Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Backing (jdargis)

Google and Good Energies, an investment firm specializing in renewable energy, have each agreed to take 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the project. They are likely to bring in additional investors, which would reduce their stakes.

If they hold on to their stakes, that would come to an initial investment of about $200 million apiece in the first phase of construction alone, said Robert L. Mitchell, the chief executive of Trans-Elect, the Maryland-based transmission-line company that proposed the venture.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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Fears re French protests disrupting fuel supplies?

Here's an interesting discrepancey in news reporting.  It is regarding protests in France over raising retirement age to 62.  As part of that, there have been strikers blocking fuel storage depots, causing gasoline shortages in Paris.  It sounds like the situation is changing/evolving, but US online media has "surprisingly" little to say about it over the last day or two.  More from other countries.  Check it out...

From Egypt::: http://www.egyptiangazette.net/news-13301-Fuel%20supplies%20low%20as%20protests%20hit%20France.html :

Frequent strikes in the last few weeks have hobbled French trains and airports, closed schools and docks, and left garbage piling up in the southern port of Marseille.

But now the airline industry is getting worried, after all of France's 12 fuel-producing refineries went on strike and many depots were blocked by protesters. Police were called in to force three crucial fuel depots to reopen Friday, including one outside Marseille.

The Civil Aviation authority sent out an advisory Friday night to airlines requiring short- and medium-haul flights to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport …quot; one of Europe's key hubs …quot; to arrive with enough fuel to get home, spokesman Eric Heraud said.

"They must come with a maximum capacity in their fuel tanks," Heraud said by telephone. "Obviously, these instructions apply only to short- and medium-haul flights" of less than four or five hours because trans-Atlantic flights cannot "double carry" fuel.

As fearful drivers headed to the pumps, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde urged the nation not to panic.

"Today, there is no reason, no reason, I repeat, to panic because there is no risk of shortages," she told BFM-TV on Saturday, noting that only 230 of the country's 13,000 gas stations were out of fuel. "There are weeks of reserve."

The Ecology Ministry, however, said fuel stocks at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport were good only until Tuesday and the fuel pipeline to the airport was working only intermittently.

"I don't say we can't guarantee beyond Tuesday ... we will find other solutions," a ministry spokesman told The Associated Press. He said France had not yet resorted to emergency fuel imports from neighboring Italy or Spain. He could not be identified by name in keeping with ministry policy.

From Voice of America, "French Protesters Rally Over Pension Reform",   http://www.voanews.com/english/news/French-Protesters-Rally-Over-Pension-Reform-105100329.html:

Tens of thousands of people are marching in cities across France in the latest protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's efforts to raise the retirement age.

Workers marched in dozens of cities Saturday, with the largest crowds assembling in the capital, Paris.

Saturday is the fifth day of strikes that have cut train services and grounded flights.  Walkouts at oil refineries have cut fuel supplies.

French officials have given oil companies permission to tap into their own emergency stocks, but have insisted there is no reason for drivers to fear a gas shortage.

On Friday, French riot police forced through blockades of protesters to reopen fuel depots, while refinery workers cut a fuel pipeline to Paris and its airports.

Saturday's protests are the latest in a month full of demonstrations and strikes that have affected transportation, hospitals and schools across the country.  

 And here's a report from the UK for good measure, "Gas shortegae spectre looms in France", at http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/96436: .  Note, though, that this is dated Thursday, October 14th:

Rattled Sarkozy administration officials urged drivers not to rush to the petrol pumps on Thursday.

They insisted that stocks will last despite the shutdown of refineries by a general strike in defence of the right to retire at 60.

Panic buying triggered tail-backs at petrol stations and local shortages on Wednesday, when strikes shut down 70 per cent of France's refining capacity.

"There will be no shortage of petrol at the pump if there is no more panic buying," Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau told television viewers. He claimed France had "as much as we need for at least a month."

Transport was still not back to normal on Thursday, although officials insisted that public transport in Paris was running to schedule.

But state rail company SNCF said national services were disrupted for the third day in a row, with only four out of 10 high-speed trains running from Paris.

Strikers were boosted by a message of support from British transport union leader Bob Crow.


 And then here is the AP's report, "French minister: No fuel shortage at Paris airport" at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i2a0z-aXoUxB9P01zDOp-s8tpZTA?docId=c03f3ea34c9b45e2896b71efc70d39ad (the whole thing):

PARIS (AP) — France's transport minister insists there are "no worries" about refueling planes at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, despite strikes that have forced aviation authorities to order some planes to arrive with enough jet fuel to get back home.

Strikes and blockades at a dozen French refineries and oil depots are part of widespread protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62.

Facing some shortages, French drivers have flocked to gas stations, worried about filling up their cars.

But Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau told Europe-1 radio Sunday that Paris' main airport is "perfectly fed by a pipeline" now after fuel began flowing again this weekend. He conceded that fuel stocks are weaker in the cities of Nice and Nantes.

 Here's the NYT's coverage, at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/world/europe/16briefs-PROTESTS.html, "France: Pension-Reform Protests Continue Amid Fuel Shortage Fears":

Protests and industrial action against planned pension reforms in France continued for a fourth day Friday as fears about fuel supplies intensified. Production at the country’s 12 crude refineries remained stalled by striking workers, according to union officials. There were also concerns about a possible shortage of jet fuel at the main Paris airports after news reports had quoted Trapil, a supply company, as saying that pipelines carrying jet fuel to the airports had stopped operating because of industrial action. Trapil did not respond to calls for comments.

 Canada's Montreal based "The Gazette" news seems to have more to say,in "France seeks to calm fuel fears as strike momentum builds", at http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/France+seeks+calm+fuel+fears+strike+momentum+builds/3684438/story.html

PARIS - The French government sought Sunday to calm fears of nationwide petrol and aviation fuel shortages as strikes against pension reform began to bite two days ahead of another wave of mass protests.

Officials tried to head off panic buying of petrol amid the ongoing strikes and protests that saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets for the latest day of action against President Nicolas Sarkozy's key reform on Saturday

Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau told Europe 1 radio that with 10 out of France's 12 oil refineries shut by strike action, panic buying had led to a 50 per cent jump in petrol sales last week and hundreds of stations running dry.

French Oil Industry Association (UFIP) head Jean-Louis Schilansky said service stations were now being replenished after the government authorized the use of extra-large 44-tonne trucks, usually banned for environmental reasons.

"We have 'almost normal' means to deliver to petrol stations," Schilansky told AFP.

The government has given oil companies permission to tap into their own emergency stocks, but has resisted calls to use government-controlled strategic reserves ahead of Tuesday's mass protest day, the sixth in as many weeks.

 But unions slammed the management's reopening of a crucial pipeline bringing fuel to Paris' Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, which officials warned could have run empty as early as Monday, saying untested fuel was flowing to planes.

"Turning the pumps on again was done secretly this morning around 7:00 am by a handful of managers who are absolutely not trained for this kind of operation, at the ministry's behest," said Philippe Saunier of the powerful CGT union.

"This creates a very big safety problem," the union representative in the northwestern port of Le Havre told AFP.

"Under these conditions, the strikers, who up to now were ensuring the safety of the site have decided to let management face up to its responsibilities. Safety is no longer ensured an the oil depot.

"The aviation fuel that was pumped was neither sampled nor analysed," as it should be. "Its quality is unknown," Saunier said.

France's powerful road transport workers are to enter the strike from Monday, possibly to be joined by armoured van drivers, which would hit money deliveries to cash machines.

"Truckers are happy to join the action. Next week is going to be decisive, everybody knows that," said the head of the CFDT union's transport branch, Maxime Dumont.

Truckers have vowed to begin nationwide disruption early Monday, possibly also at oil depots or "strategic sites."

Unions have said their protests may not end even after the pension reform law raising minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 is passed by the Senate this week, and planes have been told to refuel abroad before returning to France.

Unless I'm blatantly missing news reports in the US when doing a very broad keyword search, it is quite an interesting example of a big discrepancy in news reporting in US vs other countries' MSM.



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Mr. Fri
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Re: Fears re French protests disrupting fuel supplies?

Nice work Pinecarr.  The US is not very good at reporting things going on in "the rest" of the world.  I first noticed this about 25 years ago when a British co-worker pointed out the reporting of a big hurircane that moved through southern California, Mexico and Texas.  He pointed out that the US news reported a lot on the storm damage in California and Texas then said, "What's in between those two states?  How come we haven't heard one word about Mexico?  You know they must have had damage from the storm."  That was a big eye opener.

I thought I was internationally minded because I watched "World News Tonight."   What a joke.  In the last 15 years we've lived in Europe twice and were very impressed on how they report world news compared to here.  The US "world news" coverage is only things which pertain to the US.  If it doesn't affect us they don't take it seriously.

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