A massive explosion in a southern Chinese city is only the latest in a series of industrial accidents that have hit China in recent weeks. While the country’s economic boom has always been dogged by environmental and safety hazards, the frequency of disasters this summer has raised new questions about whether the country can maintain its pace of expansion without doing catastrophic harm to its people and the environment. "These accidents are happening all over China, and the scale … has become larger and larger," says Wen Bo, a senior fellow with the San Francisco–based NGO Pacific Environment. "You see something you have never seen before, and then you see it again on a larger and larger scale."
The July 28 explosion at a shuttered plastics factory in Nanjing rocked the surrounding neighborhood, killing at least 10 people and injuring another 300, according to state media reports. Investigators suspect the rupture of a propylene pipeline, possibly caused by workers who were dismantling the factory, triggered the midmorning blast. The explosion collapsed nearby structures, shattered windows in the surrounding area and sent columns of acrid black smoke into the air. "I heard a loud bang that lasted for about one second," said a teacher at the Nanjing Technical College of Special Education, which is about a kilometer northwest of the factory. "My first reaction was to run downstairs because I thought it was an earthquake … As soon as I got outside the building, I saw most of the windows on the first floor were shattered."
On the same day, thousands of barrels containing toxic industrial chemicals were spotted in the Songhua River in northeast China. Floodwaters had swept the containers from a nearby storage depot and into a tributary of the river, Jilin province environmental authorities reported. Some 7,000 barrels are estimated to have been lost in the river, including 3,000 that contained chemicals used in making synthetic rubber, among other applications. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said Thursday that "no abnormalities" had been detected in a test of the river’s waters.
Those disasters were preceded by a July 16 oil spill at the port city of Dalian in northeast China. Some 1,500 tons of crude spilled into the Yellow Sea when two pipelines belonging to the state-owned China National Petroleum…
If you eat meat, the odds are high that you’ve enjoyed a meal made from an animal raised on a factory farm (also known as a CAFO). According to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40% of all farm animals. This means that pigs, chickens and cows are concentrated in a small number of very large farms. But even if you’re a vegetarian, the health and environmental repercussions of these facilities may affect you. In his book Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, journalist David Kirby explores the problems of factory farms, from untreated animal waste to polluted waterways. Kirby talks to TIME about large-scale industrial farming, the lack of government oversight and the terrible fate of a North Carolina river.
What exactly is a factory farm?
The industrial model for animal food production first started with the poultry industry. In the 1930s and ’40s, large companies got into the farming business. The companies hire farmers to grow the animals for them. The farmers typically don’t own the animals — the companies do. It’s almost like a sharecropping system. The company tells them exactly how to build the farm, what to grow and what to feed. They manage everything right down to what temperature the barn should be and what day the animals are going to be picked up for slaughter. The farmer can’t even eat his or her own animals. People who grow chickens for Perdue in Maryland have to go down to the market and buy Perdue at the store.
We collectively refer to these facilities as factory farms, but that’s not an official name. The government designation is CAFO, which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Basically, it’s any farm that has 1,000 animal units or more. A beef cow is an animal unit. These animals are kept in pens their entire lives. They’re never outside. They never breathe fresh air. They never see the sun.
Problems in China continue to mount. Money supply is growing rampantly out of control, property prices are in a bubble, exports are weak, commodity speculation is pervasive, and GDP growth is more of a mirage than real.
New local-currency loans totaled 294.8 billion yuan ($43.2 billion), compared with 253 billion yuan in October, according to data released by the People’s Bank of China on its Web site today. The median forecast of 19 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was 250 billion yuan.
M2, the broadest measure of money supply, rose a record 29.74 percent in November from a year earlier.
China’s banking regulator plans to slow new lending to between 7 trillion yuan and 8 trillion yuan next year, a person familiar with the matter said this week. China is trying to ensure that there is enough credit to support an economic recovery without increased risks of bad loans and asset bubbles.
“We believe slower credit growth in 2010 will be key to avoid a boom-bust scenario in the economy,” Wang Tao, a Beijing-based economist for UBS AG, said in a report.
The government “plans to control property prices by accelerating property investment and increasing supply,” economists Lu Ting and T.J. Bond said in an e-mailed note today. That contrasts with efforts in 2006 to cool prices by controlling investment, the economists said.
China Is Overbuilding Already
Note the insanity. China want to control prices by building more. It already has completely empty shopping centers, condos, and even a completely empty city.
China’s Empty City
That is an amazing video of a completely empty city.
China Has Trouble Maintaining Demand Growth
In spite of obvious speculation and overheating in the housing sector,
America used to mistreat her land and water like this.
This sort of thing, by the way, is how you manage to produce things with a wage of $1 or $2/day and undercut first-world producers.
When we have "free trade" with China, this is what we are supporting. This is what we’re serving up on their people. This is what our government and corporations all say is ok – so long as it is hidden from us, and happens "over there."
Make all the excuses you want America, this is what you’re supporting every time you buy anything made in China or containing Chinese componets.
Go walk around your house and pick up 10 random items. Look for the "made in" tag on the back or bottom. What’s it say? Now consider this – it is virtually impossible today to buy a piece of consumer electronics, a toy, an automobile or even a toaster without some part of it coming from China.
YOU are why this is happening.
These are not old photos, or someone’s Photoshop experiment.
They’re real, they’re current, and they are what our hedonism, demand for $20 DVD players and "cheaper and faster" from everyone has resulted in, all so our "corporations" can report "record profits."
Those "great earnings" the last two quarters were in fact generated by firing Americans and shifting yet more production over to China, where they poison their air, water and ground with wild abandon, all so we can have a "strong" stock market and our banksters can loot us some more.
In trying to assess the trajectory of the US economy, one is struck by the recent divergence between the manufacturing and the services sectors. Manufacturing in the United States has picked up steam recently in spite of some weather-related headwinds (see chart). The service sector on the other hand took a turn for the worse, which is negatively impacting the labor markets in this service-oriented economy (see story). A couple of key indicators point to slower non-manufacturing activity:
OvaScienceSM (NASDAQ: OVAS), a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of female fertility treatments, today announced the issuance of two United States patents covering its AUGMENTSM fertility treatment. AUGMENT is based on the Company's egg precursor cell (EggPCSM) technology and is being developed to improve egg quality and the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). AUGMENT will be available in international IVF clinics this year.
“The new patents strengthen and extend the protection for AUGMENT in support of our efforts to offer a potential new fertility treatment option to women and families,” said Michelle Dipp, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of OvaScience. “We continue to aggressively pursue additional pate...
Before the market opened, the weekly unemployment report came in better than expected, although the reporting of new claims has skewed in both directions by weather (e.g., my home state). The S&P 500 rallied at the open and hit its morning high 30 minutes later -- one that it would beat by a tenth of a point during the noon hour, up 0.43%. The index traded lower in the afternoon and closed with a trimmed gain of 0.17%, but that's another record high.
Tomorrow's employment report for February will be closely watched by market participants, but the pattern of late has to write off weak economic news as weather-related and celebrate goo...
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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