Will 2011 be better than 2010? We can only hope. Many columnists agree with Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria that 2010 was a tough year. And if we read the tea leaves correctly, 2011 is going to be a hard one, too.

2010 was a year of dire natural catastrophes: according to Munich-Re, an insurance company, there were 960 earthquakes, floods, droughts and other disasters; climate change is intruding palpably in our daily lives; U.S. President Barack Obama, his approval rating at a personal low of 36 per cent, lost the House of Representatives to ever more petulant and aggressive Republicans; the euro almost failed, as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain faced insolvency; and an increasingly assertive China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy.

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