2006: What we already know

It's too early to tell if the new year will turn out good or bad. But a surprising number of facts about it can be stated with something close to certainty. Ed Caesar presents a selection
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The Independent Online

Next year, for the first time, more than 50 per cent of the world's population will live in towns and cities rather than in the countryside

30bn tonnes of greenhouse gases will be discharged

There will be more than 2bn mobile phones in use

More than 65m new cars will be made

22bn rolls of toilet paper will be used

Twenty-four nations are due to hold national elections

The sea will rise by 2mm

Around 130m babies will be born, and around 57m people will die

At least 35 nations will experience armed conflict

On 29 March, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible from over half the Earth

More than 1m people will die from acute malaria

Around 2.7trn insects will be accidentally eaten by humans

NASA will attempt to launch its first mission to Pluto

Manuel Noriega will become eligible for parole

More than 3m people will die from HIV/Aids; a further 3m will become newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa

At least 25,000 sq km of Amazonian rain forest will be destroyed

The global internet community will reach 1.21bn

Gas and electricity bills in the UK will increase

292bn cans or bottles of Coke will be sold

Tesco will open 80 new hypermarkets and 128 new supermarkets worldwide

Russia will assume the presidency of G8

One person in five will have less than $1 a day to live on

50,000 species will become extinct

More than 1bn people will watch the final of football's World Cup on 9 July

At least 13m people will be refugees

Smoking in public places will become illegal in Scotland

Austria, and then Finland, will take over the EU presidency

More than 1m people will commit suicide; a further 10m will try but fail

Roughly a third of the planet's population will be under 18

Kofi Annan will step down after 10 years as Secretary-General of the UN

Ten million people - including 4.5m children - will die from hunger or hunger-related diseases

More than 1m working computers will be thrown away

39bn barrels of oil will be pumped

The UK will produce around 400m tonnes of waste, including 30m tonnes of domestic waste

Around £350bn will be spent on advertising

Kenneth Lay, formerly of Enron, and Conrad Black, former owner of the Telegraph Group, will both stand trial

More than 900 films will be made in Bollywood

Al Jazeera will launch its satellite service, Al Jazeera International, in Europe, North America and Asia  

Around $1trn will be spent on arms

Roughly 530,000 military servicemen and women will be deployed globally; 70 per cent of them American

Patras, in south-west Greece, will be European City of Culture

Over 100,000 new book titles will be published in the UK

More than 4m British people will be on weight-reducing diets

One person in five will be Chinese

At least 6,150 square miles of Arctic sea-ice will disappear

The average Briton will spend more than 400 hours shopping

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