Interested in hearing your opinion on the possibility of occasional events/missions. I can't remember if somewhere in the recess of the forum this has already been discussed and decided on so I will lay it down anyway!
These would be pop ups (like the UFO intercept screen) which would have a world government make a request or demand of you. These would be very occasional (one a month or less - probably ticker based) and be things like;
North America requests 200 laser rifles. Completion of this mission will enable the North American's to automatically deal with all future fighter/scout crash-sites. Time Limit: None. (Obviously these missions would only occur after the correct tech had been unlocked but might be a nice alternative to clicking away lower value missions in the mid-late game).
Europe requests increased XCOM patrols above their territory due to increased alien activity. Completion of this mission will lead to +10 approval rating - Time Limit: 1 Month
Africa demands immediate XCOM assistance with a terror site in Cape Town (I believe this is already in the game anyway!)
Asia demands 3 alien power sources to alleviate severe power shortages across the continent. Completion of this mission will lead to increased funding from Asia; 100,000 p.m. Time Limit: 2 Months.
I understand that this suggestion may be unworkable but I thought it might open an interesting discussion as to how you could make manufacturing useful (while not wholly profitable) and also alleviate some issues with the monotony of clearing small crash sites in the mid-late game. It would also give people a reason to send out Aircraft on patrols other than to try and find enemy bases.