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Place your bets on 2009′s top stories


As part of our Year in Review package, we’re inviting you to place a virtual bet on the outcome of what we think will be some of the top stories in 2009. Clicking on one of the questions below will take you to the Hubdub news prediction site, where you can place a bet on the outcome and peruse other questions set by Reuters.

The graphs below reflect the current betting by the Hubdub community. We’re also inviting you to set your own questions on 2009 events, either via Hubdub or via the comments field below. We’ll feature the best ones here and add more of our own questions in coming days. If you create a 2009 question on Hubdub, you can flag it to us by sending a challenge to the Reuters account. We’re 100 percent likely to check it out.

Question 1: Which G7 economy will record the strongest growth in the first quarter of 2009?

Question 2: What will President Obama’s approval rating be after his first 100 days in office?

Question 3:

WTO talks collapse — does it matter?


Doha talks collapseNine days of intense talks in Geneva weren’t enough to forge a breakthrough in what remains an elusive deal in the World Trade Organization’s Doha round to open up global trade. The latest talks collapsed on Tuesday after the United States and India failed to find a compromise on measures intended to help poor countries protect their farmers against import surges, a diplomat said.One analyst said the failure could hurt U.S. exports, and therefore the economy and the dollar. Amid the current energy, food and financial crises, some analysts also said the failure of the talks would be a blow to the global economy.

Ministers could come back after the summer break for one last roll of the dice but some analysts said any deal would now likely be years away. Despite the latest failure, the United States said it remained committed to the Doha talks. “This is not a time to talk about a round collapsing,” U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab told reporters. “The U.S. commitments remain on the table, awaiting reciprocal responses.”

To dig or not to dig? The crude question

President Bush is urging Congress to end a decades-old ban on offshore oil drilling in response to consumer anxiety over record-high gas prices.

“Every American who drives to work, purchases food or ships a product has felt the effect. And families across our country are looking to Washington for a response,” Bush said.

Vacation plans dropped on fuel


Americans in dire need of a break are canceling their vacation plans — from air travel to road trips — because of soaring fuel prices.


In a Reuters/Zogby poll, nearly 39 percent of Americans surveyed said they were reconsidering their vacation plans due to record-high oil prices.