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The Latest, Greatest Phantasmagorical Doomsday Forecast For 2012

Splitsville for Sarkozy and Bruni, Germany buys its way to a soccer championship, Greece can't kick the habit, China stimulates itself to new heights. Meanwhile, Paul Krugman can't be satisfied, even as Sarko finds a new bride. These and

2012 is gonna be a wild ride...for real (Dave Wright Photography)
2012 is gonna be a wild ride...for real (Dave Wright Photography)
Frank Stocker

Greece admits it has been giving pensions to cats and dogs for years. At a special E.U. summit, Athens promises to double the tax on all dogs except German shepherds. E.U. leaders decide Greece is back on the right track, and grants it further loans. Only the United Kingdom opposes the measure and leaves the European Union.

The U.S. economy begins to weaken again after a short recovery. U.S. Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke decides to opt again for quantitative easing and proclaims a QE 3. Nobel laureate and cantankerous Keynesian columnist Paul Krugman criticizes this measure as totally inadequate, so Bernanke announces QE 4 a day later, then QE 5, 6 and 7.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy surprisingly announces that he is filing for a divorce from Carla Bruni. The official statement explains that the first lady's Italian origins were a burden to French government bonds. The separation was inevitable for reasons of state.

The yield on German government bonds falls below 0%. In Rome and Madrid, demonstrators take to the streets and carry signs reading "The acquisition of German government bonds is a human right" and "Schäuble, please take our money." QEs 3 to 7 have done nothing for the United States, and the Fed decides to enact QE 8 through 23. Besides government bonds, the Fed is now buying up used cars, telephones, and typewriters. Paul Krugman criticizes these actions as wholly insufficient.

Surprise in Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel also wants a divorce. While there is no official explanation, it is rumored that her husband, Joachim Sauer, refused to address Merkel at home as "your majesty." Standard & Poor's reduces the credit rating of every euro zone country. "We see Europe as simply stupid," reads the statement.

China decides on a giant fiscal stimulus package. The plans calls for building a complete replica of the country – including all real estate, highways, airports, and rail lines – alongside the original one. Stock markets around the world soar by 30%. S&P upgrades China's bonds, noting that "the measure generates solid and sustainable growth" and adding "take this as an example, you stupid Europeans."

On April 22, after the first round of French presidential elections, fallout from his divorce has Sarkozy trailing. A few days later, Chancellor Merkel offers him a public marriage proposal. "If he's willing to address me as Your Majesty, I'll marry him," she says. Sarkozy responds in a televised speech, with the words: "Oui, Votre majeste."

The European Central Bank (ECB) decides to buy government bonds only on odd days between 10:43 a.m. and 11:05 a.m. when the temperature is about 12.3 degrees Celsius in Frankfurt. Bundesbank President Weidmann then requests an intensified fight against climate change.

At the Eurovision Song Contest, Lena Meyer-Landrut wins for Germany with the song "I bought you." Chancellor Merkel vehemently denies rumors that Meyer-Landrut won only because Germany agreed to buy ECB government bonds.

In the United States, the Fed enacts QE 24 to 81. It is now also buying old cutlery, scooters and used paper handkerchiefs. Paul Krugman criticizes the measures as woefully inadequate.

Greece announces that its annual budget deficit cannot be trimmed despite the government's best efforts. The deficit will instead reach 259% of GDP. Greece will, however, work to privatize its winter holiday facilities as quickly as possible. At a hastily convened summit, Euro partner countries offer their trust and grant Greece a further loan. In the quarter-finals of the European Soccer Championship, Germany defeats Greece 67-1. Chancellor Merkel brushes off claims that the victory was a condition of Germany's loans to Athens.

Britain leaves the United Nations, NATO, the Commonwealth, FIFA, UEFA and the North Sea. Prime Minister David Cameron justifies the decision on the grounds that these facilities will no longer be needed.

In the final of the European Soccer Championship, Germany plays France. England is disqualified after it leaves the UEFA. The German team wins 33-0. Rumors circle around Chancellor Merkel, but she, well... you know already.

China decides on another economic stimulus package. Each province is required to recreate another country 1:1. The Anhui province decides to recreate Germany, and will put the new Berlin next to the city of Hefei. The Guangxi province picks Greece because they share the same first letter. S&P increases China's rating to AAA.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Loan Obligation Act: all citizens are forced to borrow double their household income each month. Banks are forbidden to consider the creditworthiness of their customers. The loan packages are sold on the international financial market, and German state banks happily buy them up. Paul Krugman says what he always says.

S&P downgrades all euro zone countries to "I," which stands for "idiots' and comes after "D," for "default."

Dream wedding in the German capital: Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy tie the knot and change their last names to Merkozy.

Britain's government declares its withdrawal from all organizations in which the country is still a member. The London Parliament also enacts the Atlas Law. The law stipulates that in all British atlases and globes only Britain will be indentified by name. All other countries must be labeled simply as "outcasts." Internet access to Google Earth is closed as a precaution, and the Chunnel is renamed the "Highway to Hell."

At an emergency E.U. summit, the euro zone is converted into a monarchy. Angela is then crowned queen at a ceremony in Aachen Cathedral, and her husband receives the official title of "Petit Prince d'Europe."

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Prime Minister Cameron, duly honored for releasing the European Union from the burden of British membership.

The U.S. Federal Reserve announces QE 82-347 and begins to buy economists. Paul Krugman says nothing more.

Greece admits that the country does not really exist, and that its budget is just a fantasy. At a hastily convened Euro summit, however, the partners declare that their solidarity is not shaken and grant Greece a further loan.

In the U.S. presidential elections, Barack Obama loses to opposing candidate Paris Hilton (campaign slogan: "It's me, stupid"). She announces that future dollar bills will no longer feature old men, but rather pretty young women like herself. She appoints Paul Krugman as Treasury Secretary.

Outgoing President Obama announces a monetary policy change to reduce the budget deficit by $4.83 in 2013. Treasury Secretary-designate Paul Krugman has a tantrum and announces he will revise the policy immediately after taking office.

The OECD estimates the year's world economic growth at 0.3%. Paul Krugman explains that the weak economy is entirely the fault of inadequate measures taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve. This will change in 2013 when he is in office. Then, finally, everything will be set right.

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Photo - Dave Wright Photography

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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