Financial crisis strikes East Asia, causing severe recession for the first time in nearly forty years. APEC members raise tarriff barriers in an effort to stimulate their economies, but these protectionist tactics backfire and deepen the economic misery.

Newly-elected Japanese Social Harmony party reduces the power of the defence treaty with America and implements a policy of military neutrality and political isolation, while secretly stockpiling a nuclear arsenal.

International Space Agency sets up outposts on the Moon and on Mars.

A chinese bioweapon escapes and devastates Szechuan province; China blames America and starts building up troops throughout its territories.

Iran occupies and then annexes a weak Iraq.

Kurdish nationalists finally manage to tear off a chunk of Turkey into a separate homeland. Russian backing is suspected.

Continuing EU unemployment causes a calcification in politics and a resurgence of conservative Victorian values.

America continues to fragment into ethnic factions - Uhuru movement sweeps through the middle-class black community, while the South China Group represents disparate (mostly Chinese) Asian communities.

French biotechnology firm Rhone-Poulenc develops the first 'Clotis' [CLOnal TISsue] tank, a hybrid bio/machine genetic construction engine which allows the 'building/growing' of organs, tissues and small animals.

Eight American CIA agents are caught operating an espionage network in the Chinese Ministry of the Interior. The quick guilty verdicts and subsequent hangings of the men incenses Western governments. China is expelled from the Group of Ten economic club.

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