NASA lands the first man on Mars after a decade of delays.

Afghani terrorists detonate (possibly accidentally) a nuclear device in Novosibirsk,  killing over 40,000 people and irradiating the region. Russia invades Kazakhstan in order to "retaliate and secure its borders". Central Asia erupts in violence as factions declare for or against the Russian invasion.The source and instigators of the explosion are never found/recovered.

The NSA ('Apparatus') completes the North American Data Network Project NADAN (nicknamed The Great Wall of America) to protect American networks against intrusion and damage from hostile hackers. NADAN also includes the implementation of key escrow encryption by the federal government.

Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA), in co-operation with NSA and FinCEN, takes over continental North American network security. Rechristened as the Data & Information Security Agency, it soon gains police powers and begins developing sophisticated 'softwar' programs for military purposes.

US deploys troops to counter Chinese insurrectionaries in the Philippines.

Mongolia absorbed by China after a lightning-fast attack.

Iran tests first atomic bomb despite world outrage.

Japan and America develop sophisticated ballistic defence systems - codenamed Athena/Medusa.

Mercosur countries federate their armed forces and rename themselves the Amazonia Confederation.

European Union now encompasses nearly every country on that continent West of the Ukraine.

America and Amazonia resign from APEC, shattering trans-pacific co-operation amidst accusations of racism on both sides.

Time-Warner-Turner now controls 34% of all American media.

First anti-cancer viral treatments in general use.

Genetics Control Council established to regulate health and genegineering.

Birth of the European Stock Exchange, dually based in Frankfurt and London. Global financial markets fully computerised and integrated - arbitrage suffers.

First optical-photonic computers developed by Intel-Formosa Semiconductor partnership.

High-power electric hydrogen-fuel-cell cars introduced in Japan and the West.

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