Published 01/01/2007 | 00:00
Global warming , UFOs, a royal death, celebrity shocks... Jane Hardy and Grainne McCarry find out what's predicted for 2007
Adrian Eastwood (50), chairman of Eastwood bookmakers. He says:
"The England rugby side have been going through a bad patch, and sporting bets include 14-1 on England's winning the wooden spoon in the forthcoming Six Nations. Among a whole group of celebrity couples, there's a book on which will be the first couple to announce their pregnancy, and David and Victoria Beckham are 5-1 favourites. Tony and Cherie are in there as a (very) long shot, with Chantelle and Preston somewhere in between. Some of the Royal bets include odds on Zara Phillips (4-1), Prince William (7-1) and Prince Harry (8-1) announcing their engagements this year. More controversially, you can have 25-1 on the Queen to abdicate.
To be honest, I wouldn't bet on any of those. On the local front, I think there will be an Assembly at some stage of the year. The odds on that are short, but not remarkably short at 1-2."
Scheherazade Al-Tellawy (49) is a Syrian-born clairvoyant. She lives in Larne with husband Jorge and a grown-up son and daughter. She says:
"There will be a sudden death in the Royal family, a male, after a short illness. Northern Ireland won't be ruled by either the Republic or the UK - instead Europe will feature greatly in future ruling.
Terrorism in Ireland will never rise again, it has died € in people's hearts and minds.
A new Hitler, already born, will emerge in the Far East as China heads towards creating a super race and moves away from Communism.
Britain will regret its immigration law which has created a new type of terrorism involving people of European descent. A new Conservative leader, in his 40s with light brown hair, will come into power for the next two terms. The Labour party is finished.
The poisoning of Russian Alexander Litvineko, the former secret agent, has nothing to do with the Russian government. It's more to do with the link between Russia and the Al Qaida. Arab terrorists are involved and there is a link to China, also. Russia is a country to be scared of in the future, especially regarding issues to do with trade.
A scandal will come to light involving the Vatican or within the Vatican and the Catholic Church, and it will cause the Catholic faith to crumble further.
Victoria and David Beckham will definitely divorce. I have said this in the past and it is yet to happen€but it will. Nicole Kidman will also become pregnant in 2007.
A new religious order comes to light which will overpower millions, led by a false prophet who is actually a media star.
Osama Bin Laden will be sold out by one of his own. He is currently living west of Afghanistan. I am sure that Saudi Arabia is harbouring Osama. That country has two faces - one looks towards terrorism and the other face is smiling westerly towards America.
The price of oil will fall in the first six months of the new year and that will be followed by a fall in interest rates in the second half of 2007."
Neil Hewitt (42) is the director of the Centre of Sustainable Technology at the University of Ulster. He lives in Carrickfergus with wife Zoe and five children. He says:
"People will have to take on board the global climate change and curtail the use of energy resources. It will be a big challenge, but it's an ongoing issue that must be taken seriously. In 2007, we should be reducing our energy use and the emphasis should be placed on recycling. People should think about their use of transport and try to use it carefully, walk wherever they can or use public transport.
Climate change will accelerate rapidly in the next few years and 2007 should see a gradual acceleration from the previous year. There were still leaves on the trees right up until November as we've had a relatively mild winter so far apart from the current cold snap. Local flora that would normally be in hibernation at this stage can still be found in some parts and I think before long we will see a change in plant species that are normally more suited to Mediterranean climes. There will be long extended dry spells next year and a moderate winter.
Overall, the weather will be warmer than we've had on record. As regards to coastal erosion, how do we stop the power of the sea? What can we do to stop floods, droughts and storms? You can't stop nature taking its course. We may have to think of more radical solutions than we already have in place to look after the environment and the impact that we have on it."
John Clark is in his late 30s and lives in Carryduff, Co Down. He is general manager of Gordon's chain of chemists. He says:
"The big drive in perfume for 2007 will continue to be celebrity branded fragrances. The two main sellers over the Christmas period were Kylie Darling and the Beckhams' new fragrance Intimately, which comes in his and hers versions.
The first three months of 2007 will see a new perfume or aftershave being launched every week.
Kylie will also be releasing limited edition versions of her perfume which will no doubt contribute to the popularity of Darling. Celebrities creating their own brands are not a new thing, but the popularity of celebrity products was on the wane until Jennifer Lopez launched her first perfume Glow and really set the ball rolling again. Britney Spears followed suit - her fragrance has been another immensely popular scent. 2007 will see Mariah Carey, Hilary Duff and even novelist Danielle Steel all launch their first scents."
Dr Michael McBride (44) Chief Medical Officer of Northern Ireland. He says:
"The introduction of smoke-free legislation in April is the big good news for 2007. We'll look back in 10 years' time and recognise that it saved hundreds of lives, and brought about a significant improvement in general health with less people suffering heart attacks, strokes and cancer. MRSA and other opportunistic bugs will remain a challenge because of people surviving longer with new treatments and the development of better antibiotics which means we get bacteria resistant to them. We've taken steps in hospitals including a major hand-washing campaign and a change in culture to reaffirm that fighting these infections is the responsibility of us all - health professionals, patients and visitors alike. Maintaining our health isn't only about providing a sickness service in hospitals, it's also about health promotion. We can save £200bn a year by halting the rise in obesity and therefore reducing the levels of heart disease and diabetes. Half of the women in Northern Ireland and two thirds of the men are overweight. We need to deal with the causes, encourage young children to take physical exercise, make sure we eat our five portions of fruit and veg every day. On a personal note, I'm going to be a trimmed down CMO in '07. Part of my New Year's Resolution will be to join a gym and I will also be continuing to go on bike rides with my young family."
Claire Chandler (40) is a professional astrologer from London. She has a particular interest in the astrological interpretation of Northern Ireland politics. She says:
"Paisley probably will share government with Sinn Fein, but only because it will be in his best interests to do so. He definitely won't like it, but he has no other choice. The politicians can make a new foundation for democracy in Northern Ireland.
There's a lot going on behind the scenes. People are being brought into line that are straying.
The issue of policing that is holding everyone back is about to break and they will reach a resolution on this by the end of January. People will suddenly realise that they can trust one another. Extreme political parties will continue to do well in the next election, but in 2008 there will be a big change for everybody involved. Voters will begin to change their ideas, discovering and thinking for themselves.
We are coming to the end of a cycle which began in 1995 and will finish in 2008. It involves ideas and the way people think about what is happening around them. I can see the idea of a separate identity forming. Dissidents, if they do break away to form their own entity, will do so democratically.
I think there will be a couple of events that happen - I can't be specific with dates - that will shock them into getting a grip and sorting out the political situation."
Brian Rowan (48) is a security expert. He lives in Holywood, Co Down, with his wife and three children. He says:
"I don't think anyone is going to relax in 2007. All the talk in the intelligence world is of the high number of individuals who are currently under surveillance in the UK. The figure currently stands at 1,600 and this situation looks set to continue.
Only a fool would predict the threat of terrorism is going away. The threat is out there and is coming from many more groups than ever before. For more than 30 years the major threat to UK security came from the IRA, but not anymore.
This has been eclipsed by terrorism on a worldwide scale. What really brought it home was the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and then the London bombs last year.
In terms of the situation in Northern Ireland, what was once unthinkable is possibly going to happen - power sharing between Sinn Fein and the DUP. The IRA is in meltdown as are the loyalist paramilitaries.
War zones around the world are now looking to the situation in Northern Ireland to find the solution to their problems.
Some people may be looking for an alternative to the Adams-McGuinness leadership, but I don't think they can stop the political process from working."
Kenneth Sharkey (54), president of Ulster Farmers' Union. He says:
"I think 2007 will see a continuation of the completely unpredictable weather we've been having over the past few years since 2002 which was the wettest year on record in Northern Ireland. This plays havoc with farming - if it's too wet the crops won't grow and if it's too dry, as it was this summer, the crops won't grow either. But from an agricultural point of view, farming can become part of the solution to climate change. There's great potential on farms here to grow bio-fuels, for example. Willows, a short-rotation crop, can be turned into woodchip and put into a burner to generate heat which can be converted into electricity. And oil seed rape is a good fuel crop. With the UK green target of getting 5% of the fuel in our cars and lorries from renewable crops by 2010, it's a solution whose time has come. At the UFU, we're pushing very hard to create policy conditions favourable to this technology. In the Republic, the tax on bio-fuels is zero, whereas here it's 30p per litre. I predict a very exciting future if we get those policies right."
Carl Nally (35), UFO investigator based in Dublin, and author, with Dermot Butler, of the Conspiracy of Silence (Mercier Press). He says:
"There will definitely be a huge increase in unidentified flying object activity around Newgrange, Co Meath, in 2007 and 2008. It's the oldest building on the planet and it's not surprising there is this activity. When the people who built Newgrange arrived in Ireland, it's said they came in clouds of smoke, and the druids arrived in flying machines - this is folklore, but it proves there's a link between ancient and super-modern. Also, we've noticed an increase in Irish and British airways pilots reporting triangle-shaped objects flying in close proximity to planes. In 2004 two Aer Lingus aircraft were damaged by UFOs and I would expect this sort of incident to continue.
There are UFO hotspots which will have more sightings, one of them is south Armagh where there have been eight or nine separate observations over the last few years. Also Carlingford, where UFOs have been seen coming and going over the sea, including a cigar-shaped UFO which seemed to move by propulsion, using a technology we're not yet aware of."
Pippa Arlow, joint MD of Citigate Smarts advertising agency, Belfast. She says:
"What has already begun but will get bigger in 2007 is what we call 'brand integrity'. Consumers have become more knowledgeable about brands and services, and they now look at the ethical behaviour of the firms they deal with or buy from. Decades ago, people didn't really care how a company behaved, but they do now. You only have to think of the Bono Product Red campaign, involving companies such as Armani, American Express and Gap, all signing up to send a percentage of their profits to charities fighting Aids in Africa, to see what's happening. The world has become a smaller place, and price isn't the only deciding factor for consumers any more. People - and this is being led by the younger generation - are buying into values. At Citigate we now have a separate corporate responsibility division. Altruism is creeping in to the equation and that's cheering."