Unruly Bluesage lawmakers disrupts Belphenia Grand Court ruling

REMIVILLE – A dozen of Bluesage lawmakers supporting Bluesage leader Gordon Itani’s efforts of overturning the ban on the Siikesilla, became unruly during the Grand Court’s initial meeting since Friday, delaying the final decision on whether Belphenia would uphold or overturn the ban, according to Belphenia State Television, the country’s state-run news broadcaster.

Luisa Windmere, the Grand Court’s head judge, tried to get the unruly Bluesage leaders to stop disrupting the court meeting and making rants about the Siikesilla ban. But one Bluesage lawmaker, Deanna Mure, slammed her laptop on the defense table and starts an angry outburst with the judge, blaming an Edaleria religious police force who had Edaleria lawmakers to create the Siikesilla ban in July 2012.

On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday’s meetings, Mure was up to her usual: outbursts, insults, cursing, and sometimes blaming the Sword of the Neredgers faction for enforcing the ban in the state of Northwest Belphenia. “I am not going to lie, but the Sword of the Neredgers were at fault for enforcing the Siikesilla ban by expelling people out of the guild for possessing the amulets from Karolia”, she said.

But the religious police had enough of Mure and the Bluesage lawmakers’ angry outbursts. “Their thoughts on the Siikesilla ban is absolutely botched”, said Kayeil Rockspell, leader of the Workers’ Party of Belphenia. Another judge, Nolan Rourke, downplayed Mure’s opinions as “spiritually disgusting”, according to national news outlets including Earthland News Network and Sakura News Center.

On Tuesday, Mure and other Bluesage lawmakers started angry outbursts again during the Grand Court decision until Belphenia’s prime minister walked inside the courtroom and denounces their support with Gordon Itani’s overturning the Siikesilla ban as “promoting wicked spirit forces in which it can compromise the spiritual might of the Theocratic People’s Kingdom of Belphenia”, prime minister Erza Beard said in disgust. Before the court meeting ends, Luisa Windmere ordered Deanna Mure and other Bluesage lawmakers to leave the courtroom.

State and national lawmakers, legal guild organizations, government agencies, and the religious police will cooperate with each other and review Itani’s case and his involvement in overturning the Siikesilla ban in all Belphenian states and prefectures, before making the final decision in the near future.

The Grand Court’s final decision will take place on September 30 on whether the Belphenian government uphold or overturn the Siikesilla ban.

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Freedemian Spending Reduction and Fund Reallocation Act (SRAFRA) now law

QUENTINSBURGH- It’s official- as President Angela Rosenthal signed the act this morning, the Freedemian Spending Reduction and Fund Reallocation Act has become law. The act was passed by the House of Populus and the House of Equal Representation yesterday, with a huge majority in support of the bill. 

In the House of Populus, only Reeds state voted 5 out of 6 opposed, mainly for fear that the military reductions were too drastic and since it was home to Fort Elwood Military Base that their state would see negative effects of the reduction, even without threat of war. 

In the House of Equal Representation, the decision was far more landslide with 30 out of 33 representatives voting in favor, with only two from Reeds State and one from Anneita State voting against.

The act, which mainly consists of reducing presidential campaign funding, reducing military spending and reallocating those and other funds to healthcare, education, technology and transportation, was primarily the brainchild of Vice President Tom Morganson. 

Since the proposal of the bill, the public’s view of Morganson has greatly improved- while just less than a month ago he had about a 48% approval rating and about 49% indifferent, he now has about 73% approving of his work in office, higher than even his ratings as mayor of Graham City beforehand. He has mentioned several times that he has learned a lot from working alongside President Rosenthal, and he says that’s one of the reasons his leadership has improved since before the 2014 election.

So far, within the two years or so they’ve been in charge, the Rosenthal-Morganson administration has done more than any other administration in the same time, with the exception of previous president Cara Harolds, who spent a lot of her time as president working to quickly fix problems created by her predecessors.

President Rosenthal hopes that SRAFRA would also help move the country towards some of her other goals, such as reemerging as a world leader in education and technological innovation, further improving the transportation network, including high frequency high speed commuter rail, and continuing to have positive peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

President Rosenthal, VP Morganson propose reduction in FFP presidential campaign funds, reduction in military spending, funds diverted to healthcare, education, transportation

QUENTINSBURGH- For the first time in a year or so, Freedemian Vice President Tom Morganson has been at the forefront of Freedemian politics as the proponent of a major bill. 

This Friday at a press conference at the Capitol Mall, Morganson, alongside President Angela Rosenthal, presented a bill that would change some funding in Freedemia. The bill, officially titled the Spending Reduction and Fund Reallocation Act of 2015, or SRAFRA for short, largely centers around two main reductions, a reduction of funding for presidential candidates through the Freedemian Funding Party and a reduction of military spending for the Freedemian Guard.

Morganson spoke to the crowd, speaking directly to the public for the first time since January of this year. “This bill is not about cutting corners. It’s about putting money in the best places possible for the benefit of the nation.”

The first part of the bill centered around a large reduction in the funding for presidential candidates through the Freedemian Funding Party, otherwise known as the FFP. The FFP was created so the top five candidates that are included in debates and in the main election would be on equal footing when it came to funding. Currently, each candidate gets about f’20 million to carry out their entire campaign. Morganson’s proposal through SRAFRA is to reduce that number to f’2.5 million per candidate, saving the nation a whopping f’87,500,000 per election. Morganson says looking at the 2014 election, two and a half million Freedins should be far more than enough.

“We can look at the numbers from 2014 and see just how little is really needed to fund a campaign. President Rosenthal, who was at the time my competitor, won the election spending less than  f’1,000,000. I spent about f’17,250,000, losing the election, and to be completely honest, if I had spent my money more wisely like President Rosenthal, I wouldn’t have needed nearly that much.  Our opponent and my good friend, Marco Nelson, spent about f’4,000,000 and barely made a blip on the election radar. I can speak from experience that that much money is not needed to win a presidential election, and that this taxpayer money is better off elsewhere.”

The second part of the bill was for a huge reduction in the Freedemian Guard’s military budget. The Freedemian Guard, Freedemia’s military including the Airborne Forces, Naval Forces and Land Forces, has two primary purposes, and hence two primary budgets. One is for military actions, such as defense, offense, international conflicts, domestic disputes (within country disputes), etc. The other is for acting in the case of a natural disaster or something smaller scale and more in protection of the citizens than in militaristic protection of the country. Both get several billion Freedins a year for expenditures, with the environmental and citizen protection part receiving about f‘25,000,000,000 and the militaristic part receiving about f’75,000,000,000.

The Freedemian Guard has had to act in several natural disasters over the last few years. In 2003, when Lake Trenchent overflowed due to excessive rain, flooding most of San Grande and Trenchent, the Freedemian Guard underwent the largest operation since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake of 1983 that struck Graham City hard and damaged some buildings in Quentinsburgh and as far north as Laneston and Vandover. The Guard has also acted in the cases of several smaller conflicts, such as Harnett’s Rebellion in 1975, when the city of Personsboro had to take some land from a local farming family, who in turn attempted to shut down the city and had to be confronted by the Guard, and the Summer Edwards Incident in 2009, where a teenage girl and her friends took over a Franklinsburgh middle school and had a standoff with police and the Guard that lasted for several days. However, the Freedemian Guard has not had to been used for large scale international or even domestic militaristic action for almost a century. Freedemia has never been to war, and has never been threatened with war. Even now, Freedemia has very good relations with nations all around the world, and no known conflicts with any others. Morganson said looking at these facts, and considering all of these years of not going to war has resulted in quite a large stash of saved military funding, it’s time to reduce military spending.

“We currently spend about 75 billion Freedins a year on military spending. We only use about 5 million a year, if that, and we have a military surplus just from the last decade of about f’749,950,000,000. That is MORE than enough to keep Freedemia safe for several years, if not several decades.”

Morganson’s proposal through SRAFRA would reduce the annual spending amount to 5 billion Freedins, at least until a case of military threat or a severely lowered surplus arises. 

Just those two cuts alone would save Freedemia about f’280,087,500,000 every four years. There are other smaller cuts in the bill as well that bring the overall amount saved to about f’375,000,000,000. Under Morganson’s plan, the huge amount of money saved would go towards more efficient and cheaper healthcare, more affordable education, technological innovation through domestic companies like Stepstone Technology and through research institutions like Quentins State International University, and improved transportation.

President Rosenthal had a good amount of positive things to say about the bill. “This is how the Freedemian Government was meant to work. I would have never come up with this on my own. I stand with my colleague Tom Morganson on these issues, and this is a bill I can proudly endorse.”

The Freedemian Legislature (or in this case, just the House of Populus and House of Equal Representation) is set to vote on this on Monday. The House of Decisions has already voted to not send the bill to the public for a vote. If SRAFRA, affectionately known by some reporters and large amounts of the public as the Morganson Funding Act, passes, the reallocation would go into effect immediately and the reductions would fully go into effect with the 2016 budget.

Progress Party rejects Bast Hulme Gabiř as prime minister of Řots after a month of negotiations

(Nekkar, 27 September 2015) – After a small month of intense negotiations, the Progress Party (PA) has rejected Bast Hulme Gabiř as the new prime minister of Řots. Bast Hulme Gabiř, the popular non-partizan Dakarevu Ebit (ombudsman), was put forward by the Constitutional Court just before New Year. PA Leader Bekřa Upel Urana announced his party’s decision in the early morning, after another night of talks with Bekřa Upel Urana and representatives of the Workers’ Party ŘPP and other left-wing parties that supported the Court’s candidate, claiming that the PA in order to make this government work, had to accept too many ‘unwelcome policies’. “Especially the ŘPP have done their very best to promise us alternative policies to make accepting a government under Bast Hulme Gabiř more worthwile for us, but it just wasn’t enough”, Bekřa Upel Urana said.

This means that the Constitutional Court has to present another candidate within five days. It is widely expected that Vervets Bekřa Nureet, the leader of the Farmers’ Party (DP) that won last month’s parliamentary elections, will now be given a chance to form a government. In this case again, it will be the PA who will act as kingmaker; without it, the DP and the Feudal Party PP will be unable to find a suitable majority in the Řosu Git, the parliament of Řots.

Still incumbent prime minister Kar Basil Ītase (who will remain in office until her successor has been officially appointed) criticised both the Court and the political parties, including her own, the ŘPP, that the first round of negotiations has taken too long and caused the country to loose precious time. Although not the longest government formation ever yet, the current one has indeed taken more time than usual.

Belphenian Grand Court to decide whether to overturn Siikesilla ban

REMIVILLE (Sakura News Center) – The Grand Court of Belphenia agreed on whether to decide to overturn the ban on the Siikesilla under Bluesage leader Gordon Itani’s request.

The decision came in days since Bluesage prefecture leader Gordon Itani complained about the declining tourism industry in Bluesage, blaming the government for hinder Bluesage’s tourism by imposing the ban on the Siikesilla in a government meeting where Itani’s complaints about the ban drove Belphenian prime minister Erza Beard to anger. He recently argued that the Karolian government is looking to expand international trade opportunities and cultural trade.

“I really know now why Bluesage leader Gordon Itani drove all the way from Bluesage to get the government to lift the ban on that trash Siikesilla. That’s a load of nonsense”, Erza Beard said during an emergency meeting with the Belphenian government and the national religious police in Remiville’s Scarlet Heart Gardens on September 21.

Belphenia’s ceremonial leader Reiko Beard said that she decided to help Itani to add more tourist attractions and resorts to the affected area rather than eliminating the Siikesilla ban, but Itani refuses Reiko’s offer and walked out of the meeting place. “He seems he doesn’t know how to focus on other good things that doesn’t involve Karolia’s amulets, the Siikesilla”, a religious police officer said. Itani eventually walked back inside the meeting place with Seralia City mayor Marie Dunn.

Dunn, angered, walked up to the podium before the Grand Court judge and told the judge that Itani should not focus on the Siikesilla and explained that she opposes Itani’s actions. She also explained that the local governments in Seralia Prefecture spent much time on stopping the Bluesage leader from traveling to Remiville and had been warning Itani that dealing with Erza Beard, Prime Minister of Belphenia, “is serious business”, said Katelyn Oshani, a member of the Workers’ Party of Belphenia.

The national religious police also denounced Itani’s actions as “promoting wicked activities with the Siikesilla and should resign as Bluesage leader”, said Josh Koenig, the leader of the religious police while standing before Luisa Windsea, the Grand Court’s head judge serving the prefecture and state of Sakura.

Windsea said that the Grand Court ruling will take place September 25 on whether to decide to overturn or uphold the Siikesilla ban in all Belphenian states and prefectures. If the ban was overturned, people who possess the Siikesilla will be released from prisons and detention centers immediately.

MegamerGames throws curveball, announces GamePhone Supernova, New Snapster App Series, GameApp Marketplace

QUENTINSBURGH- Freedemia’s MegamerGames has done it again, and this time they’ve entered a completely new market.

At yesterday’s press conference and release event, MegamerGames announced the release of a new version of their new handheld GameOne Supernova console- as a phone. Along with the new device, Megamer announced new initiatives for the mobile world.

MegamerGames is creating a new GameApp Marketplace that will be home to lots of smaller games, including some of the classics, like Superb Runnerdude. Some games, especially the new collections, will only be available for the GamePhone Supernova, while others, primarily the classics, will also be available for the GameOne Supernova. Many smaller games will be available free, such as one called 4Pong, where up to four players play Pong on a four-sided squarish screen. Bigger games will likely cost a minimal amount, more comparable to the price of an app than the price of a game cartridge. Demo versions of new games that are not available through the GameApp Marketplace will also be available for about fc75 each.

They’ve also announced a new Snapster the Turtle App game series, each game costing about f’1 for the GamePhone Supernova and about f’8 for Stepstone devices. These games will only be available as apps for mobile devices, so only owners of either the GamePhone Supernova or a Stepstone phone or tablet (currently, Megamer is hoping to work with other tech companies around the world to have apps for their app stores as well) will have access to this new series. The series will consist of games especially designed to work well on mobile devices, and will include new features for the touchscreen not seen on any other versions. Other new games optimized for mobile devices will also be released eventually in a similar manner.

Stepstone Technology may have seriously good reason to be concerned. With QuinTech gone, Stepstone is technically the only domestic company widely producing popular devices like phones and tablets, though there is some international competition. However, with the release of the GamePhone Supernova, they will have serious competition on phones. Megamer’s specialty may be games, but with a comprehensive GameApp Marketplace and basic functions, such as a calendar, email, internet browser and texting, these GamePhones running on GameOneOS may be a huge factor in the Freedemian and international markets. Megamer has made it clear that they’ve entered this sector for good, too.

The phones themselves are comparable to a very low end smartphone with a limited app store, such as the Stepstone phones before StepstoneOS or the few QuinTech phones released last year. However, the game functions are deliberately just as strong as on the original GameOne Supernova. The phone was built around the gaming console, in contrast to the console being built around the phone. The device is slightly more rectangular than the original system and the touchscreen is larger; however, the buttons are at the top and bottom (left and right of the screen if playing a game). It utilizes some features that are also included in the GameOne Supernova that no one knew about until now, such as the ability to play certain games in portrait. (No such games have been released yet, but they will be very soon.) 

While they have been working on these plans since around 2010, the demise of QuinTech showed MegamerGames that mobile devices would have to be a huge factor in their future. MegamerGames will be working on more than just games from now on, but still with the focus being on the gaming aspect.

“I want to make it very clear that the GamePhone Supernova is a gaming console, not a smartphone,” CEO Lee Burmikael explains. “However, it’s a GameOne console with phone capabilities, which helps us reach a new audience. If your priority is the console, and not the phone, I’d recommend it.”

The GamePhone Supernova will release for about f’350 (three hundred and fifty Freedins), about the price of a medium quality Stepstone phone. The GameOne Supernova will remain about f’100.

MegamerGames also announced a couple less significant but equally awesome new things at the event, such as the long awaited Snapster 3D Go 2 game, a sequel to Snapster’s one successful three-dimensional video game from the early 2000’s, and the new game Legend of Karla- Ricardo’s Revenge, the next in a long running series that took a hiatus in 2007. Other free games besides the game 4Pong include 4Brickbreak, where bricks are broken from all four sides by up to four players, and AngryTurtle, a Snapster inspired 128-bit game where Snapster slingshots radishes at Dr. Harebrain and his inventions, trying to destroy them all.

Quentinsburgh Schools considering eliminating bussing for middle and high schoolers, partnership with QUARTA

QUENTINSBURGH- Within the next two to three years, middle schoolers and high schoolers in  Quentinsburgh and surrounding areas may have a new way of getting to and from school. 

Quentinsburgh Metropolitan Public Schools, the school system servicing Quentinsburgh, Northcross, Gillepsie, Highfield, Mathersboro, Caroll Hill, Frankin Hill and other nearby areas, currently runs school buses daily to get elementary, junior high and high school students to school everyday. The signature greenish-yellow buses run through neighborhoods each morning and afternoon taking students between their homes and their schools.

However, this is also quite expensive. Quentinsburgh and the surrounding areas within the QMPS district are home to over a million students. The buses must be maintained and periodically replaced. Buses often wind through neighborhoods, using up a lot of fuel. Many of these school bus routes run through areas that are already home to transit provided by QUARTA, Quentinsburgh’s public transit system, and even with low prices on fuel and domestically produced buses, the program costs taxpayers over a billion Freedins each year.

However, this may change in the near future. QMPS has announced that they are strongly considering eliminating school buses for junior high and high school students and are currently looking into a partnership with QUARTA to provide the transportation.

Under this plan, elementary school bus routes would continue running. However, the routes for junior high school and high school would be eliminated, with the exceptions of neighborhoods not connected by public transit. Middle schoolers and high schoolers would receive free passes to the entire QUARTA transit system, including bus, subway, BRT and commuter rail, good for the entire school year and funded by money that would have been paying for redundant school bus service.

This plan would mean changes in QUARTA’s operation as well. Most of Quentinsburgh is centered along specific ‘corridors’ with the most density. Due to this, most QLine metro lines follow these corridors. However, most of these corridors also have bus routes, and oftentimes they will run nearly the exact same route. QUARTA would also make steps to reduce redundancy, altering some bus routes to better serve neighborhoods and schools along the route.

However, on some corridors, the bus route is so important and ridership is so high that QUARTA needs to run large accordian buses to meet demand. These buses are usually far too large to service the smaller neighborhoods where the students and the schools often are located. In these cases, QUARTA has proposed the creation of “Neighborhood Routes”, routes that vaguely run the same route as their crosstown counterparts, but specifically serve schools, neighborhoods with high populations of students, and other important but often to the sides destinations like hospitals, libraries and job centers along the route. These routes would run much less frequently than the normal routes, primarily at rush hour peak times, and would run with buses large enough to meet ridership but small enough to go through smaller neighborhoods. 

These routes would simply be labeled with the letter “N” after the bus number. For example, route 20C would run crosstown, while route 20N would run the neighborhood route.

QUARTA will also make an effort to make more routes especially catering to the transportation needs of the student population in areas not currently serviced as much. 

While this technically would short term result in a large increase in cost for QUARTA on creating some new routes and changing others, by reducing redundancy within the QUARTA system and alongside the huge cost reductions for QMPS, the overall cost to taxpayers would actually go down significantly. The area will also reap the benefits of having the buses be public transit now, so other riders who are not students can also get where they need to go, including teachers and school staff.

There is some opposition the the idea, largely concerned parents, wondering about the safety of their kids riding public transit every day. However, Quentinsburgh is considered one of the safest cities in the world, and QUARTA one of the safest transit systems. QMPS has stated that they will place a school representative on each neighborhood bus route to make sure the students are safe only if the need becomes evident. However, they do not expect that to be necessary.

“The safety of our students is always our first concern,” states superintendent Zachary Slaney. “However, we don’t expect to see any negative effects from this change. QUARTA already has safety precautions in place, and we will be working with them to make policies that work in the best interest of our students.”

Slaney points out that many students who live directly along a transit route already choose to ride transit alone to school, with no financial assistance, as well as the fact that that QUARTA has not seen a crime related incident, student related or otherwise, for over 25 years. He also points out others walk or bike to school and that none would be forced to ride transit.

Some supporters believe it is safe and that it will help teach students important life skills like time management and make them slightly more independent. Others also pointed out the fact that for the first time, if students miss the bus, they could actually catch the “next bus”, which would reduce the number of absences of students not being able to make it to school after missing the bus.

The change will be primarily seen in the denser areas already served by public transit, such as Quentinsburgh, Northcross, Mathersboro and Gillepsie. Areas like Caroll Hill and Franklin Hill will likely not see as many school bus routes eliminated.

QUARTA is continuing to work out the details with QMPS. The change could officially go into effect as early as the 2016-2017 school year. However, it depends on how fast QUARTA can figure out where the populations of students are and what neighborhoods, schools, and destinations need to be serviced.