Preview: 2016 through the crystal ball

It's that time of the year again when news publications produce their predictions for the coming twelve months in a desperate bid to pad out their pages. But LSM decided to break ranks and get detailed and reliable prophecies from world-renowned astrologer Isaac Bickerstaff. He looked at his crystal ball and tarot cards in a special and surpisingly affordable 'consultation' and here's what he says the stars have in store for Latvia in 2016!

JANUARY

Many will awake around midday on January 1 with headaches.

Just one day later, Estonia's President will marry a Latvian, says Isaac Bickerstaff in his first sensational prediction. Her name (for it will be a she rather than a he, despite the introduction in Estonia of civil partnership laws at the start of the year) will be something like 'Ineta' or 'Iveta'. If this unlikely prediction proves true, we can take it that all the other predictions must be equally accurate.

The arrival of the first refugees causes controversy when many of them turn out to be highly skilled surgeons and university professors. Health care workers and teachers threaten strike action over unfair competition so the first intake is returned like an unwanted Christmas gift and a fresh batch of unskilled manual laborers is imported, to general public acclaim.

The search for a new Prime Minister will continue throughout January.

FEBRUARY

Latvia's skeleton champion Martins Dukurs reveals his new sledge – a tea tray. He wins every round of the championship while subsisting on a diet of custard creams and herbal tea. Latvia's bobsled team follows suit by leading at St Moritz after the first run in a modified dustbin, however tragedy strikes on the second run when the lid flies off. They must be content with silver.

The search for a new Prime Minister will continue throughout February. Martin Dukurs' brother is talked of as a possible candidate, but it comes to nothing as no-one can remember his first name.

MARCH

Latvian NBA star Kristaps Porzingis, now universally regarded as the best player in the league, will take to playing games using only his left hand as otherwise basketball is “too easy”.

Harvard researchers looking into the Porzingis phenomenon sweeping the United States publish a paper saying Latvian language skills improve your points tally by an average of 19% leading to a sudden surge in demand for Latvian classes across the States. South Central Los Angeles is twinned with Balvi as a result.

The search for a new Prime Minister will continue throughout March.

APRIL

Latvian exporters become excited when Kim Jong Un declares his love of Riga sprats. Tons of the fish are prepared for shipping before someone notices North Korea is under international sanctions.

With the smell of sprats becoming overpowering in the Latvian capital, Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs orders the entire catch be dumped as far away as possible. A fleet sets out but on reaching the south Atlantic it is seized by pirates from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Though initially disappointed to find a cargo of small fish instead of gold or AK-47s, the pirates turn out to be crazy about sprats. They spread the word throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Demand soars and the departure of the African Sprat Fleet becomes a monthly occurrence. Usakovs claims the credit and says he should be Prime Minister. The Democratic Republic of Congo offers him the job. He accepts.

MAY

Discontent with the inability to find a Prime Minister, combined with a looming Estonian presidential election and the sight of President Ilves and his Ineta/Iveta-type Latvian bride enjoying marital bliss (see January) leads to a signature-collecting drive for the creation of a Livonian monarchy featuring Ilves and Ineta/Iveta as king and queen with President Vejonis as a Bismarck-type chancellor. Despite collecting a substantial number of signatures, the plan comes to nothing when Vejonis fails to grow an impressive enough mustache.

Baltic cooperation does however take a step forward when Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania sign deals linking their chocolate, beer and ice cream pipelines, but then takes two steps backwards when former Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius is given a one-month trial as Latvian Prime Minister.

Despite making a series of popular and effective decisions to improve government administration, Kubilius' spelling lets him down. Only later is it discovered he was actually using Lithuanian.

Lauris Reiniks wins Eurovision without even entering the competition on the basis that he just deserves it more than anyone else.

JUNE

Latvia is plagued by flyovers from Russian planes. Despite some initial panic and consternation at Latvia's lack of air cover, fear turns to joy when a series of Russian Su-35 fighters land at Spilve airfield and their highly-educated pilots ask for political asylum and arts funding from the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation.

This is granted and the combat aces immediately set about founding a ballet school of outstanding quality that only serves to attract more members of the Russian armed forces to defect in order to follow their dream of becoming the new Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Late in the month the entire Pskov attack helicopter squadron defects in order to provide a chorus for Swan Lake. Latvia now has the second most powerful air force in the world as well as the second best ballet school.

Coincidentally Mikhail Baryshnikov is asked to become Prime Minister but politely declines (in fluent Latvian) in order to read poetry in his vest.

JULY

The search for a Prime Minister finally bears fruit with Laimdota Straujuma, agreeing to come out of retirement for “one last job” on condition that “we throw away the rule book and do it my way.”

“Goddamit you're a maverick, but you get results,” replies President Raimonds Vejonis, adding: “You've got 24 hours to form a government.” By judicious use of physical intimidation and her Magnum .45, Straujuma forms a government identical to her outgoing caretaker government.

The trial of Ventspils mayor and political kingpin Aivars Lembergs finally comes to an end after nine years. Lembergs is acquitted on a technicality when he is declared clinically insane but is instead prescribed a course of 100 hours of color therapy.

AUGUST

The new government gets straight down to work on its number one priority – planning a large party to celebrate Latvia's centenary in 2018. The cabinet approves multi-million-euro schemes guaranteed to grab international attention including the World's Largest Map of Latvia, the World's Largest Cake In The Colors Of The Latvian Flag and The World's Longest Vowel, a new celebratory letter introduced to the Latvian alphabet and pronounced “ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā ā”.

Also wowing audiences in 2018 will be a concert featuring New Kids On The Block, Take That, Vanilla Ice, The Crazy Frog and That Korean Who Did 'Gangnam Style'. Oh, and Raimonds Pauls of course.

SEPTEMBER

A quiet September is enlivened when just two months into its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Slovakia suffers a nervous breakdown and says it "just can't cope with all the extra pressure".

Disaster looms with hundreds of mid-level functionaries and obscure ministers facing the prospect of having to use videoconferencing or telephones to communicate but Latvia leaps to the rescue, reviving its wildly successful 2015 Presidency at record speed. However some tourists speak of their displeasure at being turned out of their beds in the middle of the night to make way for the incoming flights from Brussels.

OCTOBER

There is a brief but tense diplomatic stand-off between Latvia and the US in October with a convincing majority in both Senate and Congress demanding Kristaps Porzingis take US nationality and run for President. Porzingis declines saying he “just wants to shoot hoops”.

Meanwhile LTV's De Facto broadcasts secret footage of what appears to be a military training camp in Zemgale run by Solvita Aboltina. Members of her breakaway “Vienotiba Brigade” are seen practising armed and unarmed combat, swearing eternal allegiance and stockpiling grey peas “for the looming SHTF situation being engineered by the global democratic elite.”

NOVEMBER

The new NBA season begins with Kristaps Porzingis announcing he will play every game hopping on one leg. Rule changes mean his 3-pointers are now worth only 1 point in order to give everyone else a chance.

In the political sphere there will be a sensation when all Harmony MPs defect en masse to join the National Alliance faction in Saeima in a cunning strategy designed to get them into government for the first time ever.

However, the plan is foiled when the National Alliance members respond by renaming themselves the National Social Democratic Alliance Party and adopt a radical manifesto promoting same-sex marriage and multiculturalism. 

DECEMBER

In a surprise move predicted by everyone, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma announces on December 7 she will resign in order to make room for “new people with new ideas”. Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis is named as likely successor but declines and moves to Tobago to become a successful sugar cane farmer.

Intelligent life is discovered on both Mars and - more surprisingly - Mercury.

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