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    Daily Digest 1/17 – Venezuela’s Economic Woes, Executive Action On Minimum Wage?

    by DailyDigest

    Friday, January 17, 2014, 6:01 PM


The End of the Natural Gas Renaissance: Bill Powers (Kevinoman0221)

Shale gas is not the foundation of U.S. energy security that conventional wisdom claims it is, says Bill Powers.
“We’ve seen numerous shale plays head into decline. We’ve seen big declines from the Haynesville as well as the Barnett. The Fayetteville is in decline; there have been further declines in the Gulf of Mexico and Wyoming. But what has really changed is the North American natural gas market has become extremely unbalanced. . .Across the U.S. over the next several years, I predict we will see spikes of very high prices, which will fall back to higher levels than they previously reached.”

Precious Metals Manipulation Worse Than Libor Scandal, German Regulator Says (sand_puppy)

“That the issue is causing such a public reaction is understandable,” Koenig said, according to a copy of the speech. “The financial sector is dependent on the common trust that it is efficient and at the same time, honest. The central benchmark rates seemed to be beyond any doubt, and now there is the allegation they may have been manipulated.”

Q&A: Venezuela’s economic woes (westcoastjan)

There are also regular blackouts – Caracas was hit twice in 2013, but they are much more frequent in the rest of the country. And there is a dollar black market.

Canada loses patience on Keystone XL, tells U.S. to decide (Michael W.)

Obama is under heavy pressure from environmental activists to veto the northern leg, and Washington seems in no hurry, despite the growing irritation in Ottawa. Canada is the largest single supplier of energy to the United States.

Anti-NSA Blackphone: Encrypted smartphone designed to liberate users from total surveillance (sand_puppy)

A darkened photo on the Blackphone website is the only hint as to how the device will look, and no specifications have been announced, though the producers say the phone will be manufactured in security-conscious Switzerland.

Obama weighing executive action on minimum wage? (Suzie G.)

Asked what “cons” the president had identified, Sanders declined to say, noting that this had been a private meeting. But it seems fair to speculate that Obama, like some others, could be worried that raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors could be counter-productive, sapping momentum in the broader debate over whether to raise the minimum wage for all workers, by allowing opponents to argue that some have already been helped.

Beijing Citizens, Shrouded In Pollution, Flock To Giant Screens To View Artificial Sunrise (pinecarr)

You know it’s bad when…The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city’s natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises. Following this week’s practical shutdown of the city of “beyond index” levels of pollution, as The Mail Online reports, residents donned air masks and left their homes to watch the only place where the sun would hail over the horizon that morning.

Norway’s Arctic Dreams are Shattered by Rising Costs and Taxes (James B.)

The NPD also added that Shell has delayed its Linnorm field in the Norwegian Sea, which was expected to begin pumping 100,000 barrels a day, and now Statoil are considering the future of the 50 million barrel Trestakk project. Other projects that have been delayed include the Maria development by Wintershall, and RWE’s Zidane project in the Norwegian Sea.

John Olaisen, an analyst at ABG Sundal Collier, explained that “pretty much all of the projects in the Barents Sea are in danger and I’m reasonably sure that all of the gas projects in the Barents Sea will be put on hold for many years.

Extreme Weather Wreaking Havoc on Food as Farmers Suffer (ftealjr)

“Extreme weather events are a massive risk to agriculture,” said Peter Kendall, president of the U.K. National Farmers Union, who raises 1,600 hectares (3,953 acres) of grain crops in Bedfordshire, England. “Farmers can adapt to gradual temperature increases, but extreme weather events have the potential to completely undermine production. It could be drought, it could be too much rain, it could be extreme heat at the wrong time. It’s the extreme that does the damage.”

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