But the day—and this wild year—had one more stunner left in store. One more banner headline. One more scramble to staff a huge global story.

“Kim Jong Il is dead,” the desk editor told me.

I suppose, in the last days of this wild year, no headlines or late-night calls should surprise us anymore. Not even the news that a twenty-something dictator-in-training is now in charge of a poor, dangerous, and unpredictable nuclear nation.

It’s enough to start me thinking again about that old parlor game, the New Years’ predictions. What might 2012 possibly bring, to match its predecessor? But then I think, Wait! Not so fast. 2011 probably isn’t finished with us yet.

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Thomas Nagorski is executive vice president of the Asia Society.