A paranoid, largely authoritarian world that's defined by the ongoing three-way cold war between the Anglo-American-Indian alliance, the Russo-Chinese EastBloc and Nazi-led New Europe. Halifax got in, secured a white peace while the USSR-Germany bled themselves white by 1947, especially after the Japanese leadership decided to declare war in response to Soviet arms being found with chinese rebels. This proved to be a rather unwise decision, as the Soviet Union was willing to continue the war until 95% of Japan had died under continual firebombing raids.
By the mid-late 1950s, the world configuration had been set up. There was the AngloBloc in the Americas, with India as it's biggest piece in Asia. Then there's the communists in most of eastern asia, along with the USSR. Lastly was and is New Europe, centered around Germany.
Once the new configuration had been set up, the world's attention shifted to space and proxy wars. Germany led the way, but all followed in time. The years from the late 1950s, to the early 1990s when alarming cost projections stopped with putting the flag on mars were marked by constant achievements on the high frontier.
Out of the three blocs, the Anglo-indian one is the most powerful on an economic and military front with it's advantage coming in recent year. As both the fascists and communists either start growing slower the Anglo-Indian bloc has started to roar ahead of the rest of the world. Decades of investment in infrastructure and education in India, Latin America and the former colonial bits of the British commonwealth is beginning to pay dividends in a big way. All of the states in this bloc are democracies of varying degrees of liberalization -- security states, conscription and other paranoid features remain in place. They are also all far more militarized than in this world -- imagine the post 9/11 outburst of patriotism as the norm, combined with each state doing half OTL soviet spending in terms of percentages on military purposes. India is still a relative backwater, but has an economy the size of OTL's. The US's allies in Latin America range from middle-income to developed in the more functional bits like the southern cone. Britain's former colonies in Africa are backwards, but clearly on the right track.
The biggest reason why this bloc is so powerful is the United States of Americas' sheer economic size. The addition of the Philippines as a state in the 1940s, combined with lucking out on a more rational, and thus productive economic policy. Infrastructure, education and healthcare are better-funded, since the rich people 1) need the middle class/proles to stay on board for having a cold war 2) fascists with UHC means that there's less of a perception of it leading to the gulag. The 430 million Americans could in theory match up with either of the two continental blocs on their own, but when US power is combined with the rest of the Anglo-Indian bloc end up roaring ahead of both of the competition.
The second most powerful, largely due to numbers and not economic size is the EastBloc. This is a Soviet-Chinese alliance dominating the bulk of continental Asia. In this world due to communist economics (largely) remaining in place, Asia is known for being an overpopulated tech backwater. That said, the economies of the EastBloc continue to slowly grow given a long, slow process of economic reform encouraged by different leadership post-Stalin's death(Beria kept the authoritarianism and cult of personality going but lightned up on econ), combined with Mao's death during the soviet-japanese war -- these days economic policy is more of a soft communism. Think Tito's Yugoslavia, Hungary's goulash communism and some of the earlier portions of Deng's economic reforms in bits and pieces. That plus having the world's most polluting factories in the developed bits ike the USSR, Japan, Korea, Manchuria and Mongolia.
Despite a 95% death toll, Japan is the success of the EastBloc thanks to generations of pragmatic leaders. It's standard of living is similar to OTL East Germany during the communist era, but adjusted upwards for higher technology. Prodigious Breeding has allowed the population to grow back up to 10 million people since 1949, with projections of 25-30 million people by 2100.
Thirdly is fascist New Europe led by Germany with it's lesser partners of Italy and a continued Vichy France. Europe is grey, militarized and authoritarian. Think 70s or 80s USSR/Eastern Europe but with more full store shelves due to freer economics than the USSR. Recently, the current Fuhrer has started quietly talking with other high ranking members of the Partei about perhaps doing a public statement that maybe the first Fuhrer shouldn't have focused as much on the Jews as he did -- the fact that half died on the way to Madagascar created PR problems when the news came out in the late 50s. Besides that, the Reich is busy with internal power struggles over the apparent Wehrmacht sabotage of secret government Faster than light travel efforts.
Madagascar is a truly ugly mess -- it's an apartheid state run by the Jews and Slavs who got dumped there in the 50s. Every so often someone too loudly proposes relaxing it to say OTL South Africa pre-1980s, but people proposing that have a way of ending up in trouble.
Part of why New Europe remains fully competitive with the other two blocs is the fact they have a close alliance with the Arabs. This gives the Reich an oil weapon it can use to penalize followers who deviate, along with reward those nations which remain fully cooperative.
Society remains quite conservative, in part due to the militarization. As a result, social mores lag a bit in many ways; gay people are only now slowly getting to a mid-1990s level of acceptance, while mandatory paternity testing is in place. Even the democracies have quite strict pornography laws and school uniforms being the norm even in the United States. Television in the non-democracies is strictly censored, while in the democracies while it's not still full-on 1950s level it's rather tame compared to OTL; couples sleeping in seperate beds hasn't been the norm since the late 1970s, and there's no problem with having white/asian couples as the main characters on shows, even though white/black couple at most can either be backround characters or merely semi-recurring cast members.
Eugenics is a thing in every bloc. This ranges from tax policies that encourage people in the 'right' kind of job(read: either has a college degree or has made it to the upper echelons of trade school) to have more kids, to SS rape camps. Sterilizing people convicted of rape or certain violent crimes is the norm -- the US for example will offer it as part of a plea bargain where you can get two years and sterilization rather than 10 or 20 years.
Offworld involvement: Not much given it's level of dangers. The Reich was quite close to a successful crosstime program on it's own efforts, but after a few incidents including one with a fleet of stolen panzer tanks being used to break into SS HQ leading to the loss of everything related to it, the Partei has dropped funding for it's program. Granted, the fact that they were intending to make a Faster than lighr ravel drive and not crosstime travel would have ruffled feathers on Reich-3, but nobody wants yet one more set of Nazis running wild in the multiverse.
Other notes: Technology is a bit ahead of OTL's even if some civilian applications get delayed a bit for security reasons -- the internet was only allowed to be released in the early 2000, and didn't experience something like it's OTL mid 2000s expansion until the mid 2010s. Cellphones being a harder sell to governments only got released in the early 2010s, and thanks to convenient interpretations of patent law by a government not wanting smartphones to be a thing still are mostly only a phone. Voice calls, texting and video calls.
6) (name redacted)
One of several tax haven worlds, where rich people have summer/winter homes and store their gold in deep basements. If you have a few hundred million dollars and the check clears, you're welcome here. IF you have a few billion and want your own (small) caribbean, polynesian or meditteranean island you're welcome here after the check clears -- a few islands like Jamaica or Cyprus that are too big to just be sold have been split into 5-10 owners.
In recent years, due to a desire to avoid further rises in the costs for keeping the coordinates certain of the 'weirder' activities of the rich expats like cannibalism, underage sex tourism, hard drug shooting galleries, human sacrifice to Balathlu among other thing have been pushed to some of the other tax haven worlds or underground. As a result, some of the hollywood set have either decided to go elsewhere or pay off local authorities enough to get away with it.
There are rumors of all of the above being done in compounds out in the wild, away from cities. Some of this has been confirmed to be true with the necessary hush money being raised, half of the other stuff is probably all true but nobody's verified it and the rest? Nobody knows about the rest or to be honest REALLY wants to know about the rest.
The Bilderberg Group holds their yearly meetings here since the late 1990s. The Davos group has considered moving it's operations here in recent years.
The Andes Mountain, inner Afghanistan, the amazon, inner burma are all the sites of massive grow-ops for Center's druglords. Even with the gradual abolition of prohibition on various "soft" drugs on Center and the colony worlds, there is still a massive amount of money in the hard stuff. Besides, there are markets on worlds which still have soft drug prohibition. This last, Interdim Inc., and a few of Center's governments partially wink at in exchange for recieving some of the proceeds since after all one needs local money to be able to operate in worlds which have Jefferson Davis on the US $5 bill.
Besides Center's rich people, this world acts as the operating base for both Interdim's own security forces, plus the black ops types they hire for missions they want both plausibile deniability along with a healthy ignorance of orders about "keep civilian casualties under 500" or "Don't fight Romans with panzers". The most notorious verison of this is the group of mercenaries named the Black Corps led by Reich-7's version of Otto Skorzeny who negotiated getting a free ticket offworld in return for breaking into SS headquarters to retrieve the conveyer, along with the kidnapped extraction team.
Unknown to Center, the Black Corps have more than the one conveyer that they were given to help set up operations. Through a mix of occasional hits on illegal chop shops, black market activity for another one and a very energetic recent raid on Reich-3 they now have three conveyers.
Several other mercenary companies and special forces groups working for InterDim's security forces or various national governments are also based here both for legal reasons and for convenience but none are as... flashy as the Black corps.
Offworld involvement: Unless you know the coordinates or luck into finding it, good luck finding it. The only off-planet workers are second or third sons of people not quite rich enough to make the cut who are promises residency as a citizen after working 20 years. You have alot of butlers with roman numerals after their names.
Other notes: The annual fees to keep it off various crosstime-related registries are now running into the billions. Interdim Inc.'s executives are just a little bit creeped out by the human sacrifices to unpspeakable gods. Otto Skorzeny has offered to personally deal with the worst for a relatively modest fee, but so far has gotten only "no" as a response.
Nicholas Trist followed orders in this world. The Mexican-American war ended up with Mexico's northern tier of states being added to the US in addition to our world's gains. The orignial proposal, which went along lines of latitude was discarded in favor of a modified form using old state lines.
Mexico itself went a different path in the late 19th and 20th centuries without it's northern tier of states. At first changes were relatively minor, but once Diaz got into power come the 1870s things began divirging even more. Once Diaz died, thanks to a more united nation with less of a wild north to worry about his heirs were able to establish a conservative regime that'd be familiar to people from Salazar's portugal. In the mid 1940s, a different leader independently rediscovered Franco's Spain-type governance. Nowadays, Mexico's government is like a mix of pre-80s PRI Mexico combined with pre-2000s Turkey. It's not a democracy, nor is it capable of playing one TV but it works enough to have the rule of law being largely accepted. By 2014, Mexico's economy is at say OTL Puerto Rican levels with it's more developed northern area being as well off as say Portugal. This is a country that only sends a trickle of immigration rather than a flood north. As a result of that along with no OTL issues with cartels, it's relations with the United States are actually halfway decent.
Mexico aside, the rest of the world's history stayed largely the same for most of the 19th and 20th century, with an unusually low amount of butterflies. Changes started slowly picking up in the mid and late 20th century, with the net effect of essentially delaying certain political/social trends to the point where as of late 2014, the world in many ways looks like a higher-tech version of OTL late 2002. Yes, even down to the terror groups hitting a building in NYC,along with the Pentagon -- the fact that the terrrorists were based out of the Islamic Republic of Aden doesn't really matter, since they're still lead by a Bin Laden.
The good ol' USA looks like 90% OTL late 2002 US, even down to a Bush in the white house but there's that pesky 10% difference -- things like 60 stars on the flag, Cuba's having an unreconstructed dixiecrat in the senate whose been serving since 1961 and Texas having only half it's OTL size. The biggest of these differences is the fact that there being more sunbelt-type land in the US caribbean states and what was North Mexico in OTL to reduce prices, any real estate crisis is probably going to be an issue in the 2020s or 2030s and hasn't yet become an issue. Illegal immigrants tend to be from central and south America, with the past 10-20 years seeing a slow surge in illegal immigration from the Philippines.
Overall, all of these areas are largely anglophone with none having movements for bilingualism stronger than OTL California. The combinaiton of earlier annexation means that spicy food aside, they're more Americanized than OTL Puerto Rico. Think more the Southwestern states for levels of americanization.
As far as Mexico's former northern tier, they're essentially extensions of OTL's southwest but south of the Rio Grande. The closest things to exceptions from the rule would be Tamaulipas, Baja California and in these last few years Sonora starting to act as serious competitors to Florida/Cuba -- warm beach states, might not be a good fit for the Southwest example but still clearly sunbelt. These states are sunny, prosperous and send mostly republicans with a few conservative democrats to DC.
The United States includes a couple other areas it doesn't in OTL, but they default to being essentially either Miami Vice with a spanish accent(Cuba) or seedier version of it(the DR, Puerto Rico). The "Island States" are known for their tourism.
The number of people who'd be classified as "hispanic" in OTL in numbers for three reasons: 1) the US-mexican border being closer to their population centers 2)areas integrated into the US getting the full benefits of US money 3) specifically for Puerto Rico's case, full statehood. The same population boost Puerto Rico gained from annexation that led to there being more puerto ricans living in the mainland than in PR applies to cuba, northern Mexico and the DR too. This is starting to have effects on culture: the overall US isn't yet like Miami or LA in 2000, but there are more enclaves like that and somewhat spicier food. The combination of earlir migration north as citizens under a different cultural environment means that there is no "hispanic" pressure group -- this has already had effects in the form of weaker identity politics than OTL.
The rest of the planet is of course basically the same, with changes tending to be token ones or simple renamings of existing places. For africa: Egypt includes the northern 2/3 of Sudan, Senegambia is a thing and South Africa includes OTL zimbabwe but not KwazuluNatal. Asia? OTL except for Japanese southern sakhalin along with Taiwan being officially recognized. Haiti has a statehood party and a third of it's population being dual nationals, mostly concentrated in the island states or Florida.
 Not Osama, since he actually decided he liked the business part of the family firm better than religious fanaticism.
Offworld involvement: Not that much. It's one of the many worlds like Kerry-1. The only thing that'd really be of interest to researchers from Center is how it managed to follow such a similar history to what seems to be the default path of many worlds.
Other notes: Oddly, like Guadalupe-Hidalgo this world's United States has a George H. Bush as it's current POTUS, with some of the same advisors, including a surprisingly un-butterflied if 10 years younger Dick Cheney and one Vijay Prozak. At least the H. is for Herbert in this timeline and not Hector
It's one of those earths, well solar systems where the earth simply isn't there, either due to differences in the solar system's formation or due to disaster/warfare. Earth's moon isn't there either. Since this is one where it's during the formation of the solar system, the extra mass for it ended up going to Mars, Venus and a new, mars-like planet located in the area of the asteroid belt.
Venus is earth-sized, has a moon no less than twice the size of earth's, a day of around 4 months and is 50% less outrageously toxic. As a result, it's just on the outer edge of terraformability in a timeframe shorter than tens of millenia(only 3-5 millenia, or more realistic scientists say after a few beers eight or nine) given Center's current tech level -- some advanced worlds like Caliph or Kurzweil were able to get the process for terraforming OTL's venus down to 10,000 years in theory but good luck trying to steal the technology.
Mars is 70% the size of earth. It still has a core that's only mostly-dead, rather than 100%, which means the atmospheric pressure in say Marvin basin is a full 5% of earth's! As a result, travel to this mars has been prioritized, with terraforming efforts being in very early stages. One obvious upsize of more gravity is that it's attracted more asteroid impacts, so there's more deep craters for people to build domes in, to start off the process of introducing terraform life. Life on mars during it's wet period lasted long enough to produce tiny fossils, but nothing has been living there for a looooong, looong time.
The planet Apollo, in the asteroid belt is essentially a significantly more geologically active and more mineral/water-rich mars with the bonus of being a third larger than OTL mars. Probes have been launched from Center's orbit to it, but so far the most that's been done has been two visits given the lack of life on both apollo and Mars. Attention is starting to be paid to Apollo. Besides the fact it's arguably more terraformable than either even this world's version of mars there's the fact that it's right in the asteroid belt area, giving it convenient access for mining by outtime asteroid mining firms.
The rest of the solar system is the same as OTL, and unlike Mars,Venus and Apollo left be since there's no real compelling reason to investigate -- there's already exploitation of the asteroid belt in Center and the colony worlds all have their own asteroid belts so no point in it yet. Every so often, some investors propose exploiting this world's asteroid belt but nothing comes of it.
The fact that Venus has a moon more than twice the size of earth's OTL moon, which means it's rather more geologically active has sparked a debate about terraforming that between the "let's do it, it'd be cool" group and scientists who don't feel like putting in 20 thousand years of effort for something that'd only last half a million years if lucky.
Offworld involvement: Described above.
Other notes: Originally named void-2, for when the first manned skiffs didn't come back from there on discovery in 1986. Was renamed Halfway-there in 1999 when an unmanned probe was sent and a NASA liason who was visiting there that day mused about how getting to orbit means you're practically halfway to anywhere in the solar system.