The Staggers 3 December 2012 Ten things you won’t hear about while everyone discusses Kate Middleton’s pregnancy News keeps happening, although it might not seem like it at the moment. Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi has reportedly defected from Assad’s regime. Makdissi, who is part of Syria’s Christian minority, had previously staunchly defended the regime’s crackdown, but is now said to have “left the country”. There are also reports that the UN is pulling its staff out of Syria, meaning that aid missions outside the city of Damascus will be suspended. There’s a pretty important economic event happening in the UK on Wednesday, when George Osborne will deliver his Autumn Statement (yes, it is December, but he doesn’t seem to know that). The FT have a handy outline of what you can expect if you like tax, rather than cooing over the possibility of twins, here. Five EU states have summoned their respective Israeli ambassadors to protest against Israel’s authorisation of 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Spain has requested a €39.5bn bailout from the EU for its struggling banking sector. The Telegraph reports that “€37bn of that will go to the four big banks, while €2.5bn will be dropped into the ‘bad bank’ which is soaking up much of the country's toxic property assets”. Kim Jong-Un is probably going to start testing missiles again quite soon. Paul McCartney will appear in the final print edition of The Dandy, before it goes online-only. Apparently, he’s a big fan. Despite the so-called “shareholder spring” earlier this year, where shareholders voted against remuneration packages for FTSE100 bosses, executive pay is still up 12 per cent in the last 12 months. The DRC government has regained control over Goma, but the M23 rebels are still only a few kilometres away, according to Reuters. It looks like Italy is going to have a centre-left prime minister come the spring – Pier Luigi Bersani has retained control of his party, which is ahead in the polls. The BBC says he’s a a slow-talking cigar-smoking former-communist, in case you were wondering. Some people think the world is going to end on 21 December, so French authorities are going to pre-emptively close a mountain just in case. Apparently, the doomsday cultists “believe the Pic de Bugarach is an ‘alien garage’ and that extraterrestrials are quietly waiting in a massive cavity beneath the rock for the world to end”. › Why Kelvin MacKenzie is wrong to diss the north Pic de Bugarach, aka Mayan doomsday mountain. Photograph: WikiCommons Caroline Crampton is a writer and podcaster. She was formerly an assistant editor at the New Statesman. Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!