The pace accelerates, especially in Greece and Asia, which the Fukushima reactor complex undergoes a tremendously dangerous spent fuel removal. . .after the jump.
We begin at home, via China Daily USA:
China increases US debt holdings
Figures released on Monday showed that after shedding US debt in August and hitting a six-month low at $1.28 trillion of holdings, China picked up $25.7 billion in September, remaining the largest foreign holder of US debt at $1.29 trillion.
From Bloomberg, Bankster Behaving Badly pays the piper:
JPMorgan Reaches Record $13 Billion Mortgage Pact With U.S.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. reached a $13 billion deal with the U.S. Justice Department that ends probes into the bank’s sale of mortgage bonds, the largest amount paid by a financial firm in a settlement with the government.
From Bloomberg, plutocratic kitchen porn:
Espresso Machines at $20,000 Bring High Design Into Homes
“A Kees van der Westen is pretty much the holy grail,” says Dave Ringwood, head of equipment customization, restoration and design at Olympia, Washington–based Espresso Parts LLC.
They’re also among the most expensive on the market. Van der Westen’s smallest, least-costly model, the Speedster, retails for about $8,800, while his largest, the Spirit, goes for $20,000.
Bloomberg also covers reality for the 99%:
Wal-Mart Touts $98 TV in Weakest Holiday Season Since ‘09
U.S. retailers are discounting earlier than ever as they brace for the weakest holiday shopping season since 2009.
From Quartz, a much-needed reminder:
Beware the looming corporate debt cliff
US corporations are issuing more bonds than ever (paywall), rushing to take advantage of rock bottom interest rates before the Federal Reserve winds back its loose monetary policy. But with every binge comes a hangover, and 2018 could be the year when the real impact of this year’s borrowing bonanza begins to hit home.
From the Lodi News-Sentinel, another harsh reality:
Ties to military take a toll on teens, study shows
Teenagers with family members in the military were more likely to contemplate suicide if their relatives were deployed overseas multiple times, according to researchers from the University of Southern California.
After analyzing survey data from 14,299 secondary school students in California — including more than 1,900 with parents or siblings in the military — the researchers found a link between a family member’s deployment history and a variety of mental health problems, including “suicidal ideation,” or thoughts about suicide.
Salon notes another ongoing tragedy:
Privatization is undoing Brown v. Board of Education
Our school system is increasingly “separate and unequal” — and we have Michelle Rhee’s political allies to thank
And from Quartz, great expectations unfulfilled:
US cars won’t be running on low-carbon biofuels next year as planned—because there aren’t any
The US government is bowing to the reality that the biofuel-powered future is not going to arrive as soon as it had hoped. In 2007, Congress passed a law setting quotas for the production of low-carbon biofuels to fight climate change. This year, for instance, the country should be producing 1.75 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels – go-go juice made from the inedible parts of plants. It has not quite worked out that way.
The Contributor covers big box thuggishness:
Labor Board: Walmart Threatened, Disciplined or Terminated Employees for Participating in Strikes and Protests
Federal officials said Monday they are prepared to file formal complaints against Walmart for allegedly violating the legal rights of protesting workers last year.
To Canada next, with a National Post update:
Locked out: Rob Ford loses key staff and office access in mayoral shakeup at Toronto City Hall
‘The locks have been changed, security has been changed,’ Deputy Mayor Kelly said as the mayor’s office was physically split up
And the take from David Horsey, editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times:
BBC News has the latest:
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has given up alcohol
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has given up alcohol after a “come to Jesus moment”, as city councillors all but stripped him of power.
A summation from The Guardian:
The political brilliance of Rob Ford
The Toronto mayor took hard drugs and admitted it – and still the voters are fond of him. His ‘typical guy’ act has revealed Canada’s renegade side
The Financial Post covers an interesting development:
OECD calls for Bank of Canada rate to more than double to 2.25% by end of 2015
Just last month, the Bank of Canada dropped a mini-bombshell by adopting a neutral position on interest rates, after long insisting that any eventual move would be up.
A global story from Channel NewsAsia Singapore:
OECD lowers growth outlook on risks for emerging markets
Growth in advanced economies will pick up speed this year and next, but mostly at a slower pace than forecast as new risks loom, especially from emerging economies, the OECD said on Tuesday.
Another from Kyodo News, covering a sorry story continuing:
TPP chief trade negotiators begin talks to sign deal by year-end
From New Europe, the bankster solution:
Organisation predicts modest growth for eurozone but stubbornly high unemployment
OECD: fixing Europe’s banks key for global growth
The Independent carries a similar opinion:
Satyajit Das: Zombie banks are just one of the problems the eurozone still faces
Das Capital: European governments are resorting to tricks to resolve their banking problems
EurActiv covers a seemingly hopeful European sign:
Furore over tax evasion opens door to new EU proposal on corporate tax
EU leaders responding to the public outcry over tax evasion by multinational companies have triggered a quest for pan-European solutions to tax fraud, but the debate has also enabled the European Commission to return to a controversial proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB).
Reuters offers another mixed message:
Eurozone recovery fragile but no deflation risk: ECB’s Praet
There is no risk of deflation visible in the euro zone economy but its recovery is fragile with inflation low and credit subdued, ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet said on Tuesday.
And New Europe points to another weakness:
However, VW is the world’s largest R&D investor
EU firms stay behind in R&D
From EurActiv a rebuff to intolerance:
Commission: Refugee push-backs are illegal
The European Commission indirectly warned Greece and Bulgaria today (19 November) to stop turning down Syrian refugees at their borders with Turkey, after the UN issued a similar call just a few days before.
The London Telegraph takes us to Old Blighty and private security contractors behaving badly:
Government refuses G4S’s £24.1m for ‘wrong’ tagging bills
NAO report finds G4S and rival Serco continued to charge for tagging criminals many years after removing the electronic equipment from their homes
Chris Grayling, the Justice Minister, launched an investigation in July after discovering evidence that the taxpayer had been overcharged, in some cases for tagging prisoners who were dead or back in prison.
And The Independent points to a massive threat:
£1,430,000,000,000: Britain’s personal debt timebomb
Britain faces a timebomb as the cost of living crisis forces more people into crippling debt they will not be able to repay, according to a major study published today.
Another real estate bubble threat-in-the making via the London Telegraph:
Help to Buy must be ‘carefully monitored’, warns OECD
OECD revises up growth UK forecasts by more than any other G7 country over the next two years but warns Government mortgage subsidies could undermine affordability
Ireland next, with hard tiimes ahead for seniors, via the Irish Times:
Pensioners in troubled schemes to face cuts under new law
Insolvent and restructured schemes to balance brunt of cuts between workers and retired members
On to Iceland, with a political dispute from the Reykjavík Grapevine:
Central Bank And Prime Minister At Odds Over Debt Relief
The Central Bank of Iceland believes Iceland’s economy could be greatly damaged if the bank is required to fund government debt relief plans. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson dismissed the objections as politically related.
Vísir reports that Már Guðmundsson, the chairperson of the Central Bank of Iceland, told reporters that if the government intends to legislate funding to pay down household debts across the country through the use of a Central Bank-funded “debt correction fund”, this would be equivalent to simply printing more money. “And I don’t need to explain to you what effect that would have,” he said.
Norway Next, with Reuters:
Norway needs to wean economy off oil: finance minister
Weak productivity growth is the Norwegian economy’s biggest challenge and reducing reliance on its massive offshore oil sector is the new government’s main priority, finance minister Siv Jensen said on Tuesday.
To Holland next, with bad news from DutchNews.nl:
OECD sees Dutch economy contracting next year
The Dutch economy remains weak and will contract by 0.1% next year, according to new forecasts from the OECD.
On to Germany with a warning from Deutsche Welle:
Denmark’s populists on the rise
The latest surveys indicate that Denmark’s far-right Danish People’s Party is poised to do well in local elections. This could be a boost for similar parties across Europe, which aim to join forces.
An upbeat story from Bloomberg:
German Investor Confidence Rises for a Fourth Month
German investor confidence rose to the highest level in more than four years, signaling that the economic recovery in Europe’s largest economy remains on track even after a third-quarter slowdown.
Spiegel covers another political development:
SPD-Left Rapprochement: A Time Bomb in Merkel’s Government
The Social Democrats sowed mistrust among Angela Merkel’s conservatives last week by declaring themselves open to a future alliance with the left-wing Left Party. Her new government could be more fragile than thought, with the SPD already positioning itself for the post-Merkel era.
And Deutsche Welle points to another obstacle:
German employers’ chief criticizes thrust of coalition talks
The newly elected leader of Germany’s employers’ federation says current talks in Berlin to form a coalition government do not have the right focus. Ingo Kramer fears industry’s interests are being given short shrift.
France next with TheLocal.fr and high anxieties:
France set to reform its ‘unreadable’ tax system
With much recent talk of France being at risk of a “social explosion” over the country’s high taxes, its under pressure Prime Minister made a promise on Tuesday to overhaul the fiscal system, admitting that it was almost “unreadable” and “very complex”.
Xinhua covers a fast shuffle:
France’s Hollande defends policies as popularity hits record low
With record low approval ratings as most of his economic promises in tatters, French President Francois Hollande justified his decisions to fix economic troubles and improve the country’s social welfare in a fresh attempt to convince discontent public.
From TheLocal.fr, yet another anxiety for Paris:
Angry French farmers set to blockade Paris
French farmers are set to bring traffic in the capital to a standstill on Thursday, as their frustration at rising taxes reaches breaking point. Their announcement comes amid widespread protests and an “explosive” social atmosphere in France
RFI English covers a labor action:
French midwives on strike for pay and status
France’s midwives deliver the vast majority of the country’s babies. But since 26 October over 70 per cent of the sector has been on strike. Minister of Social Affairs and Health Marisol Touraine has set up a working group to address midwives’ concerns, including lack of recognition and low pay.
Spain next, with ANSAmed offering a kinder, gentler assessment:
Spain: OECD revises 2013-2015 estimates for the better
Madrid will reportedly make its EU commitments
TheLocal.es covers an admission:
We got it wrong on Spain: Goldman Sachs
Global investment bank Goldman Sachs admitted recently its 2012/13 predictions for Spain had been wrong and that the country had outperformed expectations.
El País has another boost in a bankster endorsement:
One-year bill yield falls to record low at Treasury auction
Demand comfortably exceeds the 4.55 billion euros sold
From TheLocal.es, provocative diversion:
Spain orders arrest of China’s former president
Spain’s National Court authorized on Tuesday the arrest of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four of his officials as part of an investigation into the alleged genocide of Tibetans in the 1980s and 1990s
Portugal next, with an austerian landmark from EUbusiness:
Eurozone releases EUR 3.7 bn as Portugal bailout nears end
The eurozone approved Tuesday the disbursement of 3.7 billion euros in rescue loans to Portugal, taking Lisbon’s bailout to its final stage, the EFSF said in a statement.
ANSAmed brings action:
Portuguese subway employees announce more strikes
In wave of anti-austerity public sector protests
Italy next, with an austerian reality from TheLocal.it:
Italians slash spending on food
Italians are spending €2 billion a year less on food, a figure that is expected to remain stable in 2014, according to a study by Unioncamere, Italy’s chamber of commerce.
ANSAmed delivers a message:
OECD joins EU in telling Italy to cut debt
But chief economist says Rome ‘on right track’
And TheLocal.it captures despair:
Almost half of young Italians want to flee
Italy’s stagnant economy is driving its best talent overseas, with almost 50 percent of young Italians wanting to work abroad, according to a new report on Monday.
And a rare Czch headline from EUbusiness:
Czechs award first licence to import medical marijuana
The Czech health ministry said Tuesday it had awarded its first licence to import marijuana, months after the European Union member legalised the drug for medical purposes.
After the jump, Greek disaster deepens, warnings for Africa, Latin American political moves, Indian inflation and industrial weakness, the Chinese neoliberal rush, Japanese economic woes, the latest Fukushimapocalypse Now!, and more. . . Continue reading