Welcome to a new year! It's time to stop worrying about all the terrible things that happened globally and locally in 2014, and focus on speculating about the terrible things that will probably happen in 2015, and look ahead at the especially awful shit that's coming up on the calendar. So away we go:
January 1: Russia's Economic Problems Will Spread to Its Neighbors
New Year's Day is the first day of existence for something called the Eurasian Economic Union, which is a European-Union-style economic bloc made up of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan; Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are slated to join this year. This all might have seemed like a good idea to the member countries, most of whom signed up back in May, but now the whole thing "looks like a disaster," according toBusiness Insider's Mike Bird.
From Google. Retrieved December 31, 2014
Russia's economy is showing no signs of emerging from the drain it seems to be circling, and while it's fun to imagine Putin freaking out about his currency turning into toilet paper, there are now going to be consequences for other countries. For instance, Kazakhstan, which was showing signs of economic improvement, is now going to be irreversibly bogged down by a bunch of partnership agreements that no longer benefit its people. "The EEA says it's open to new members," writes Bird, "but it doesn't look like there's going to be a rush of countries trying to sign up."
Starting Friday: A Huge Crop of Bad Movies
Every January, Hollywood—just having glutted itself on holiday season box office receipts, takes what's known in the industry as a " dump." Some movies that are meant to be box office bonanzas always get delayed when the studios realize how awful they are, and the traditional month for releasing all this detritus is the month when people are too snowed-in and depressed to go to the movies anyway.
Debuting Friday is The Woman in Black 2. This Daniel Redcliffe–less sequel to a Daniel Radcliffe horror movie "quickly devolves into predictable shock tactics, drippy wartime romance and scenes in which the characters leaf tremulously through Victorian photo albums and spout exposition," according to Time Out.
Other exciting debuts include a comedy called Mortdecai, in which Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow do fake British accents, and Veronika Decides to Die, a Sarah Michelle Gellar movie that was completed in 2009 and has finally clawed its way to a release despite no apparent interest from audiences anywhere.
January 3: The New GOP-Dominated Congress Starts Doing Stuff
There's nothing to look forward to as the 114th Congress gets started, no matter where you stand politically. It's going to be a nasty fight, with the newly empowered Republicans feeling butthurt about Obama's executive actions. They appear likely to attack on Obamacare, immigration reform, and the Keystone XL Pipeline with the most gusto, and Obama is poised to fight back with vetoes. Get ready for more gridlock, in other words.
Soon: A Shitty Report Card from the UN
In the year 2000, the United Nations created a program called the Millennium Development Goals, which were meant to be achieved by 2015. It was an ambitious plan born out of extreme, millennial optimism, and if you like humans, reading the list now will make you cry.
Did we "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger?" No. Seventeen percent of people in the developing world live on $1.25 a day or less. Did we "achieve universal primary education?" No. UNICEF's most recent numbers placed us nowhere near that goal.
A lot of strides were made in many of the more vaguely defined areas on the list like, "promoting gender equality and empowering women," "reducing child mortality," and "improving maternal health." But reading a goal like "combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases" when is Ebola expected to kill thousands more in 2015, is pretty depressing.
All Year: Election-Related News Is Coming
In the United States, the never-ending election cycle means we're always hearing about the next horse race, even if almost half of us won't actually vote. There's a two-year lull after a presidential election, but now that's officially over, and we can be expected to hear the dreaded word "Iowa" a lot when we turn on the news. There's no real Republican frontrunner, meaning lots of wild speculation will dominate the coming months. On the Democratic front, there are going to be a lot of attempts to to "destroy" Hillary Clinton.
For a little perspective, the UK is having a general election in 2015; so is Canada, our largest trading partner (Conservative Stephen Harper is expected to win again). Argentina will be electing new leadership during a horrible debt crisis, and Myanmar is meant to be having its first democratic election in decades, though it's not looking like the results are going to be very democratic at all thanks to the military's outsized role in politics there.
But cheer up—2016 is right around the corner.
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