I don’t own a crystal ball, nor do I have any special psychic powers or connections to the Almighty that would grant me privileged insight.

But I do understand a little bit about what is going on in the world, and it’s a challenge to look ahead and try to figure out what a new year may bring.

The following are 10 predictions that I am willing to make for the new year that we just began. Every year brings with it major news developments, exciting sporting accomplishments, political intrigue, public scandals, celebrity gaffes, natural disasters, and other headlines.

We can take a look back at the end of 2010 and see how I faired with these:

1) Israel-Iran War: There is just no way that Israel can allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. If the mullahs are not overthrown and Ahmadinejad kicked out on his apocalpyse-desirous butt within the first few months of the year, Israel cannot wait much longer. It’s a bit of an upset that the Israelis have waited this long. This will be huge.

2) American Congress: The Republican Party will make major inroads in both Houses of Congress in the 2010 mid-term elections. Probably not enough to take over either House, unless of course the Obama administration continues to bury the U.S. in debt and continues to take over private industry. My bet is the Dems up for election will paint themselves moderately enough to salvage a slight Dem majority.

3) Terrorism in the West: There will be a moderate-to-major successful Islamofascist terrorist attack somewhere in either Great Britain or the United States this year. The radical Islamists have sworn to keep coming at us, they continue to make actual attempts, and we keep getting lucky most times. Our luck will run out somewhere, some time.

4) American Financial Debacle: Unemployment will continue to rise, credit will continue to remain tight, the housing market will continue to stagnate. The policies that the Obama administration is utilizing simply do nothing to spur ongoing economic growth. There will be calls for more stimulus, just what we need (sic). At some point in the year the Fed will raise interest rates to stave off inflation, worsening many areas of the economy. The stock market will end the year lower than the final 2009 levels.

5) Natural Disaster: The world has been rocked in recent years by major tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, more so than at any time. Or does it just seem that way because we now have 24-hour news coverage? In any event, the U.S. got away without a major hurricane striking the mainland in 2009. We won’t be as lucky in 2010, and look for at least one other major event elsewhere in the developed world this year.

6) The Sports World: Predicting champions is the longest of long shots, but here goes. The Super Bowl will see the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots. How’s that for a homer pick? Want another one? Okay, the Philadelphia Phillies will defeat the New York Yankees in a World Series rematch. The Chicago Black Hawks will win the Stanley Cup by downing the New Jersey Devils. The Cleveland Cavaliers will upend the LA Lakers for the NBA title. Kansas wins the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

7) Olympics Incident: The Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver next month. The largest sporting event on earth remains the greatest attraction for television, athletes, fans – and terrorists. Watch for some attack or attempted attack at some venue. If Vancouver lucks out, or makes it’s own luck with tremendous security, the real challenge is next. London hosts the 2012 Summer Olympics, and that one should be a real security challenge.

8) Celebrity Deaths: We all know there will be some. The usual suspects this time around include Billy Graham, Nancy Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Dick Clark, Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kirk Douglas, Betty Ford, Nelson Mandela, Jerry Lewis, Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden and Abe Vigoda, who I personally think may never die. But the real challenge is predicting the younger folks who really shouldn’t go, but who end up in accidents or overdoses or as homicides/suicides. Put me down for a couple on the longshots: Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.

9) Science and Sci-Fi: There will continue to be no proof of intelligent life on other planets. No flying saucers or other beings will visit/invade the earth. The H1N1 virus will fade from the headlines amid warnings from the medical community that some major disease will eventually break out among humans that will indeed cause a worldwide crisis, and they will be right – eventually. By the way, your life can already be tracked via things like GPS on your cellphone and via your debit/credit card usage. This will become even more invasive in the coming year.

10) Weight Loss: Okay, here is the biggie. Yours truly will lose weight, a great deal of it, and get in the best shape that I have been in since my police academy days two decades ago. This is the one that I hope actually comes through for me. Well, this and the Republicans making strong Congressional gains. I am starting the effort this coming week. Wish me luck.

So there go ten areas where I am willing to go out on the limb with some general and specific predictions. It will be a great year for some, a terrible year for others, the last year on earth for some, the first year for others.

In short, in the end it will be pretty much like any other year. It’s all ahead of us right now. It will be interesting to take a look back in 11 months or so and reflect on this article with the knowledge of the reality of what actually occurred.