As Of This Briefing, We Have Commenced Operation Global Penumbra

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How Refugees Are Admitted Into The U.S.

The United States’ effort to accept Syrian refugees seeking asylum has been the subject of much controversy over security concerns and the rigor of the vetting process. Here are the steps involved in a refugee’s arrival in America

Strategies To Defeat ISIS

Following last week’s deadly Paris attacks and numerous other violent incidents perpetrated by the terror group ISIS, many governments and populations worldwide are wondering how we can eliminate this threat. Here are some strategies to defeat the Islamic State:

Obama Returns From Trade Summit With 5 Stout Ships Full Of Cardamom, Silk, And Indigo

WASHINGTON— Exhausted, berimed with salt, and haggard from his long sea journey, but nevertheless triumphant as he guided his fleet to port following the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Barack Obama is said to have made harbor in Washington, D.C.’s anchorage Monday, his five sturdy galleons choked to the very gunwales with the finest silks, casks of redolent cardamom, and great cakes of vivid dye-of-indigo retrieved from the far Orient.

Goals Of The U.N. General Assembly

The 70th United Nations General Assembly takes place this week, with member countries focusing on plans to address global sustainability, economic growth, and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other major topics. Here are the main goals of this year’s assembly:

Pope Francis’ U.S. Itinerary

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A Primer On Pope Francis’ Views

Pope Francis has garnered much international attention in the first two and a half years of his papacy, taking a more liberal approach to women’s issues, the family unit, and the environment than his predecessors. Here is a primer on prominent global issues and the pope’s views on them:

Shoddy Chinese-Made Stock Market Collapses

SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed.

Why Westerners Join ISIS

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Nicaraguan Diplomat Drops Deadly Spider Onto John Kerry’s Blanket

ISLA GRANDE DEL MAÍZ, NICARAGUA—Creeping stealthily into the bungalow where John Kerry lay sleeping after a trade summit Thursday, Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos López, illuminated only by a sliver of moon, reportedly slid open the lid of a small pine box and released a deadly Brazilian wandering spider onto the blanket of his American counterpart.

What’s Next For U.S.-Cuban Relations

After 54 years of closure, the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. each began flying their flags once more this week, a symbol of the restored diplomatic ties between the two nations. Here is what we can expect from the relationship going forward

U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles

WASHINGTON—Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles.

World Begins Another Day At Mercy Of 19-Year-Old Estonian Hacker

TALLINN, ESTONIA—With the private data of national governments and entire global industries at his fingertips, sources confirmed this morning that yet another day had begun with the whole world helplessly at the mercy of 19-year-old Estonian computer hacker Jüri Pevkur.

FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

Items Found In Bin Laden’s Compound

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified more than 400 documents and other material seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout during the 2011 raid that resulted in his death. Here are some of the items found in the former al-Qaeda leader’s compound

U.S. Worried About Living Up To Netanyahu Campaign Promises

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A Timeline Of U.S.-Israel Relations

A congressional visit from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has reportedly rankled President Obama is the latest issue in what have often been strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mankind Tired Of Having To Remind Itself Of Good In World

PARIS—In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and two ensuing armed standoffs that together left over a dozen innocent civilians dead, humankind admitted Friday that it is sick and tired of having ...

Schlubs From U.S., China Meet In Lowest-Level Talks

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Iranian Team Openly Working On Bomb In Negotiating Room

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Where Is Kim Jong-Un?

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How China Stifles Dissent

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Nation Admits It Could Probably Be Talked Into Another War

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Ugly Custody Battle Over Ian McKellen Narrowly Avoided

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Following Scotland’s referendum Thursday rejecting independence from the United Kingdom, sources confirmed that a protracted and ugly custody battle over celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen had been narrowly avoided.
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As Of This Briefing, We Have Commenced Operation Global Penumbra

Good afternoon, gentlemen, Mei-Ling, Your Grace, Madame Secretary. Welcome to the Department for Special Acquisitions and Liquidations. May I entreat you to take your seats? I thank you all for arriving early and am sorry there was not time to brief you en route. I'm sure you'll understand our need for expediency when I tell you that 18 hours and 33 minutes ago our department, sensing the worldwide sociopolitical climate was favorable to our needs, launched DSAL Project GFG-33.1 variant 4, code referent "Penumbra" in every nation you all serve and/or represent.

Please, everyone, spare me your murmurs and grumbles. After recent events in the Italian Alps, the discovery of certain...deposits in the Adirondacks, and the unforseen but certainly fortuitous crash in the Gobi, you must have at least suspected the moment was at hand. Operatives are currently working toward the goals outlined in the briefing, a document with which I hope you are familiar but which I will review now in order to be certain we are all of the same mind.

But I forget my duty as host of this august gathering. Coffee? It's quite excellent. Feel free to have some port, or a snifter of this excellent Armagnac, if you wish.

Ah, good. Now that we are all comfortable: a brief synopsis. It goes without saying that the first-approximation disposition of our globe is one of great political and financial anxiety, mixed with a certain guarded optimism. Very carefully mixed indeed, for which I must congratulate our new asst. dept. head. Well played, Mei-Ling. The cultivation and nurturing of the correct pan-cultural anxieto-psychosexual frame of reference, or "mood," is no trifling matter, and it is vital that Penumbra be carried out in a world that is ready for its implications. That Mei-Ling was able to foster this "mood" worldwide, without the creation of new churches or television networks, is a credit to all those clever lying bastards she keeps locked up on the 11th floor.

From the metaphysical to the geophysical, we go now to the map—don't blink, now, your ocular nerves will accept the retinal projection momentarily—where we see our ambitious plan for the future of the Gulf Stream is actually ahead of schedule, with all that implies for Penumbra in Europe. Luckily, the world's mere governments will still be squabbling over the Middle East, Central Asia, and the American South during the expected period of increased volcanic activity we're projecting. I'll admit, this field of study is a new one for us, and unfamiliar, but when we found our rivals were researching in the field....

We cannot afford to play catch-up. Remember Barcelona.

In any case, climactic realignment will, through drastically altered patterns of farming and tourism, also help offset the inevitable side effects of our low-level economic proxy wars on the American continent. As a sidenote, I observe that banking is still one area where we are unopposed and unequaled, although for the nth time please remember that the money question is of little importance to Penumbra. While we will lose a few trillion out of the budget, I urge you to think of that as.... Let us term it, without being cynical, an investment in large-scale urban renewal.

And the rest of the Penumbra dossier, I'm afraid, is mostly spreadsheet after spreadsheet, which any of you can read as easily as Russian—which in turn, as you'll note on page 608, will soon be as much use to anyone as Etruscan. I urge you to pay special attention to the following sections of your briefing: Tailored petro-algae, the tentative schedule for encouraging fruitful internal tensions within the Hindu faith, and for those with a flexible sense of humor, the parts dealing with China.

Again, thank you for your attention. We are in for a very active 50 years or so. Please leave the dossiers where you found them. The aides will see you to your aircraft.

Would someone wake the archbishop? Thank you, Pierre.