Brazil, India and Africa (represented by South Africa) are granted permanent seats on the Security Council, but without veto powers.

Palestinian State swamped by refugees fleeing Israeli retribution after a massive fire sweeps through West Jerusalem.

Central Asian republics descend into civil war as rival factions fight for control of the lucrative oil fields. Russia claims sovereignty and bars UN peacekeepers from intervening.

America completes the hugely-expensive orbital Athena/Medusa ballistic-missile defence system.

Drought and famine strike in China once again as decades of breakneck industrialization take their toll in deforestation, desertification, salinization and pollution. The Gobi Desert swallows Inner Mongolia. Ecological breakdown lowers life expectancy all along the Gold Coast.

First wave of baby-boomers begin to retire, nearly overloading the medical system and leading to a long series of government deficits. Taxes increase inexorably to provide the latest treatments for retirees.

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