Franklin’s Supermarket announces closure of all international locations, but All-n-One locations will not be affected

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA: Franklin’s LLC’s  CEO Kenn Franklin III announced today that the company will be shutting down all international locations of Franklin’s Supermarket, citing attempts to take the supermarket model international a near universal failure compared to the success of sister hypermarket All-n-One.

“Our All-n-One stores have been nearly universally successful, even competing against major mainstays in other countries, similar to how Mariana’s Gigante competes with All-n-One in Freedemia. And the All-n-One stores are still expanding. All-n-One has been a bigger success than we ever would have imagined when we experimented with the original All-mart back in 1983.”

“Franklin’s… hasn’t seen the same success. On any scale. The only country Franklin’s has been truly successful in is Freedemia. Several countries have had all locations shut down, and at this point we’re left with like two or three locations in Khaiwoon. It’s economically pointless to keep going down this path when it’s clear that the Franklin’s model has internationally been a giant failure.”

As of January 2018, all Franklin’s locations outside of Freedemia will be closed down, and no future locations will be opened outside of Freedemia.

All-n-One will continue to maintain all existing international locations and take opportunities to expand internationally, with part of the hope being that the Urban Market and Community Market formats may help reach areas that the Franklin’s model originally targeted (and failed to succeed in).

“We hope that as All-n-One’s smaller models like All-n-One Urban Market become more mainstream worldwide, that maybe we’ll see more success with All-n-One expanding to certain target areas than we have with Franklin’s.”

 

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Tweetbook CEO Katherine Nelzer, Incumbent President Angela Rosenthal, take 1st, 2nd place in 2018 Freedemian Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- The official results of Monday’s election for 2018 Freedemian President have come in after a complete hand vote to check against the digital vote was completed.

Tweetbook CEO Katherine Nelzer came in first place with 31.8% of the vote, with incumbent Angela Rosenthal coming in second place with 29.9% of the vote. The two will have a runoff election on Saturday, November 4th to see which “winning candidate” gets the role of president and which candidate becomes the vice president.

2018InitialElection
Results of the 2018 Freedemian Presidential Election. Nelzer and Rosenthal move on to a runoff election for the President seat (runner up becomes vice president).

Incumbent Vice President Patrick Houser had a strong showing, with 23.4% of the vote, and Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington’s controversial campaign did quite well considering, raking in 13.8% of the vote in a very difficult field of candidates. Economist Derrick Barson, despite having dropped out, got about 0.8% of the votes, with Actor Craig Schulderman (who had also dropped out) snatched up 0.1% of the vote.

Some of the remaining 0.1% or so of votes were scattered among many, including a couple familiar names like temporary security committee leader Marco Nelson and Graham State Executive Diane Wooten-Whitaker, both of whom ran for the vice presidential seat in 2016.

Runoff for the “top of the ticket”- Possibly a very tight race

Even just looking at the numbers at face value, it already looks like a close race. Nelzer won 1st place with only 1.9% more of the vote than Rosenthal received.

However, there’s also another factor that makes this even more open to change- with the runoffs, the voters who voted for someone other than Rosenthal or Nelzer will have to choose between the two. With the exception of Barson’s 0.8% that would likely go to Nelzer, there’s about 38% of the votes cast that acts as a near tossup.

Complicating matters further, earlier polls and exit polls imply VP Houser took a massive amount of votes from Rosenthal, considering he presented himself as the other experienced candidate as the current Vice President, and those votes could be enough to sway the election in Rosenthal’s favor. Add onto that the fact that polls showed among all voters 89% strongly trusted Rosenthal’s leadership and 92% believed the country was moving forward under her lead, and Nelzer could be facing a perfect storm.

Rosenthal and Nelzer are both widely popular, and it’s going to be extremely close. With that many votes up for grabs, there is no guarantee that Nelzer will retain her narrow lead.

Meet the last 2 candidates one last time:

Incumbent Angela Rosenthal is currently one of the highest esteemed presidents in Freedemian history, and was the favorite for reelection early in the campaign. Her moves to make citizenship easier to obtain for law-abiding individuals and families; her spending reallocation act transferring money from military spending and elections to healthcare, infrastructure, and education; and her pushes for Freedemia to take its stand on the global stage in technology, innovation, and tourism have been huge steps forward for the country. Rosenthal is actually the reason for the shorter campaign period, as she pushed for election reform earlier in her term including a drastic reduction in funding for campaigns.

Katherine Nelzer has become a familiar household name. Founder and CEO of the social media site TweetBook, Nelzer has become more politically outspoken in recent years, especially pertaining to the growing global cyber-security threat. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. “A pacifist society can still be a secure one. Cyber warfare is a thing, and we need to be prepared.”

Nelzer also believes that in this changing society technology is key. She supports Houser’s pushes for things like nationwide wifi and data, and, like Barson, believes incentivizing the tech industry could be one of the most important moves to help make Freedemia even more of a world leader. She cites Stepstone Technology and BuyGolly.com as two of the successes she hopes to see repeat in tech innovations nationwide, and hopes, like Houser, to see Freedemia become a champion of smart cities as a global example. Nelzer is open to the concept of public-private partnerships to fulfill the infrastructure and technology plans, with the goal of shrinking the government and further growing the economy.

Both candidates have announced plans to move forward with ideas proposed by Patrick Houser, including large investments in green infrastructure and modern solutions for renewable energy such as wind turbines, water turbines off the coast, solar farms, more desalination plants, and lining motorways with solar panels and wind turbines.

Řots Government approves construction of new international airport near Nekkar

(Nekkar, 7 July 2017) – The government of Řots has approved the contruction of a new international airport near the capital, Nekkar. This was announced by traffic minister Gerben Arva Larin this morning. The new airport will replace the existing one, which has been considered too small and out of date. “The facilities at the current airport are not of this time anymore”, the minister said. “Expanding and modernising it at its present location is not possible according to experts, so the government decided to select another site and build a new airport from scratch.”

This new site will be in the province of Māp, east of the towns of Īssikem and Sorteka approximately 35 kilometers from the city centre of Nekkar, where an area will be ‘cut out’ and added as an exclave to the province of Nekkar. The new airport should attract commercial, business, and cargo flights and will include a large business area; the government intends to promote Nekkar as an alternative international hub.

Zenergy revives classic scroller Alice Cadd in new exclusive game for the ZeeBoy Platinum

Back in the days of the ZeeBox, MegamerGames dominated home consoles and Zenergy dominated the handheld market. It was almost a given in Freedemia until the release of the GoGamer that if you owned a handheld, it was probably a ZeeBoy. Zenergy later would get knocked out by MegamerGames’ newer and better handhelds, ending with the ZeeBoy Silver, and wouldn’t return until the ZeeBoy Platinum earlier this year. However, the ZeeBoy had its share of good games, though a lot of them were largely forgotten in the shadows of MegamerGames’ Snapster the Turtle and Zoball. One of those characters is coming back for the first time since 1998.

Megamer had just hit it big with Snapster the Turtle, one of the world’s most well-known gaming icons today. But at the time, Zenergy had a character from their own scroller that was perhaps the second best well known, a young girl named Alice Cadd.

Alice Cadd in Wonder World was Alice’s debut on the ZeeBoy, and served as Zenergy’s direct answer to Snapster.  As the story goes, Alice was a young orphaned girl living in Dicia. Upon saving an old woman she was told that her mother was still alive, but that she had been trapped in the wild lands of Wonder World by the evil Tortoisia (many believe that Tortoisia was actually meant to be a jab at Snapster the Turtle himself!). Alice sets out to save her mother, armed with a very strong poke. Like Snapster in his games, Alice did have a couple gadgets of her own, including a scooter, a glider, and a submarine, but she had to buy them using coins collected in the levels. Alice Cadd was notorious for the dice-based miniboss battles, where Alice would have to guess the number the boss would roll to win. (The actual boss battles would improve in game 3, Tortoisia’s Revenge, where the number the boss rolled would instead represent a move they would do, that Alice would have to be ready to fend against.)

The ZeeBoy would see 2 sequels, Alice Cadd in the Magic Fortress, and Alice Cadd 3- Tortoisia’s Revenge. Alice even got a racing game to compete with SnapsterCart by MegamerGames, called CaddCar Racing for the ZeeBoy 2.  However, the last Alice Cadd game (though the plot wasn’t actually related to the original 3 games), Alice Cadd in Karate Kate Land, would come out on the ZeeBoy 2 in 1998. The ZeeBoy Silver saw no new Alice Cadd games, though it did get a rerelease of the original 3 games with slightly improved graphics (32 bit instead of 8 bit).

The new game, Alice Cadd 4- A Dicey Situation brings Alice Cadd back for the first time in years. Zenergy plans to use the newer 32-bit graphics from the ZeeBoy Silver’s rerelease of the original trilogy. The game will be a ZeeBoy Platinum exclusive, and is one of the first games for the ZBP that actually threatens to have an impact on competitor MegamerGames. Zenergy is reportedly working on a 3D Alice Cadd game as well, with some isometric levels alongside more fully 3D experiences. That game is expected for the New Year’s shopping season next year.

Meet the candidates in Freedemia’s 2018 Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- The campaign season for Freedemia’s presidential election is well underway now. The presidential campaign period in Freedemia stretches from late April to early October during major election years, with the runoff election for president and vice president taking place in November. The Freedemian Funding Party goes through a vetting process and narrows the candidate list down to approximately 5 candidates to get ballot access, though others can get access by way of petitions in all 11 states.

This year, 6 candidates made the cut, 2 by default, 3 by FFP vetting, and one by petition. Former Vice President Marco Nelson, long considered a front runner, actually decided not to run, remaining a foreign policy advisor in the Rosenthal-Houser administration after Houser extended the olive branch this past vice-presidential election.

  1. President Angela Rosenthal
  2. Vice President Patrick Houser

The first candidate is President Angela Rosethal, and the second is Vice President Patrick Houser. As is normal, the incumbent president and vice president, if they choose to run again, do not have any charges or investigations open against them, and are not at the end of their term limits, are automatically pushed into the next round.

Incumbent Angela Rosenthal is currently one of the highest esteemed presidents in Freedemian history, and is the obvious favorite for reelection. Her moves to make citizenship easier to obtain for law-abiding individuals and families; her spending reallocation act transferring money from military spending and elections to healthcare, infrastructure, and education; and her pushes for Freedemia to take its stand on the global stage in technology, innovation, and tourism have been huge steps forward for the country. Rosenthal is actually the reason for the shorter campaign period, as she pushed for election reform earlier in her term including a drastic reduction in funding for campaigns.

Former newscaster and Incumbent VP Patrick Houser’s biggest accomplishments have been on the health side of things. Along with Rosenthal, Houser spearheaded the moves for making drinking water free and accessible for all Freedemians, tackling the restroom shortage, and more than quadrupling the amount of funding for private urgent cares across Freedemia to reduce the amount of people going to the emergency room. Houser has also championed a green infrastructure plan hoping to help the country continue to go modern and go green, including roadside wind turbines, water turbines, solar farms, nationwide wifi for the digital age, etc. As a former newscaster himself, Houser also proposed an act that holds media sources more responsible for inaccurate reporting, especially where investigations or national security interests are involved.

  1. Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington

Mayor Lily Mae Clarington was a major supporter and leading advocate for Amendment 30, which made public nudism and barechested equality constitutional, allowing public nudity nationwide as long as it is not accompanied by indecent behavior. Clarington has pushed for the banishment of dress codes and censorship altogether, as the city of Vandover did several years ago under her leadership. Like Houser, Clarington has pushed for investment in infrastructure. Clarington is a big advocate for making Freedemia a global hub for tourism, hoping to bring the success Laneston and Vandover have seen with nudism and movies and that Quentinsburgh has seen with arts and music to the rest of the country. Clarington also wants to essentially shrink Freedemia’s military by 85%, saying she’d like to see Freedemia truly become a center for peace, pacifism and diplomacy.

Clarington has surprised many by openly campaigning barechested, and is known for being a proud nudist who would frequently go nude on the job as mayor. Clarington also is pushing for legislation that regulates the actions of and breaks up the “clothing industry”, saying large clothing corporations are hurting and creating a negative body image for Freedemians and people all around the world.

While 94% of Freedemians identify as pacifists or non-agressionists, most do want to see a small but strong military to protect the nation, and it is unclear how voters will respond to her drastic proposed military cuts.

  1. Economist Derrick Barson

Derrick Barson is an economist, formerly an economics instructor at Hayes University in Quentinsburgh and now an economist working for the Freedemian Liberty Economic Institute based out of Franklinsburgh.

Barson’s proposals largely center around personal freedom, smaller government, and public-private partnerships, essentially helping shrink the government while stimulating the economy. Barson has proposed decriminalizing sales of marijuana products and wants to increase protections for “victimless crimes” when performed on private property. Barson advocates for helping competition by deregulating certain industries and proposes allowing non-governmental groups to take on some roles currently held by government organizations. Barson proposes fully privatizing infrastructure and simply providing some funding, pointing to FreedemiRail as a successful example and pointing out that most transit systems in Freedemia are private companies already and that private partnerships for road construction and maintenance could be successful. Barson believes private companies should be responsible for the type of green innovation Houser has proposed, and has expressed a willingness to work with Houser on his proposals as long as they were simply incentivized and not carried out by the government.

  1. TweetBook CEO Katherine Nelzer

Katherine Nelzer has become a familiar household name. Founder and CEO of the social media site TweetBook, Nelzer has become more politically outspoken in recent years, especially pertaining to the growing global cyber-security threat. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. “A pacifist society can still be a secure one. Cyber warfare is a thing, and we need to be prepared.” Nelzer also believes that in this changing society technology is key. She supports Houser’s pushes for things like nationwide wifi and data, and, like Barson, believes incentivizing the tech industry could be one of the most important moves to help make Freedemia even more of a world leader. She cites Stepstone Technology and BuyGolly.com as two of the successes she hopes to see repeat in tech innovations nationwide, and hopes, like Houser, to see Freedemia become a champion of smart cities as a global example.

  1. Actor Craig Schluderman

Craig Schluderman is an actor who plays President James Glasner on the comedy crime show National Security. While Glasner was just a role, Schluderman has always been interested in politics. He had joked on TweetBook back in December about running, posting “Maybe what we need now is a President James Glasner to move us forward” with a link to an interview with comedian Greg Harveyman on the Late Night Show about Schluderman’s views on global politics today. Millions of signatures came in, giving Schluderman the ballot access he needed to be candidate #6. Schluderman’s campaign so far has emphasized Freedemia’s growing presence on the global stage, and has pushed for more diplomatic presence in global affairs. Schluderman believes Freedemia has a responsibility to equal rights and justice, and proposed reducing relations and trade with countries that currently have a record of discriminating based on race, gender, or religion or of human rights or war/land/border violations. On the domestic side, Schluderman wants to crack down harder on improper practices in the rice farming and mining industries that are so large in Freedemia to make them safer for workers.

This election is expected to bring up a lot of important issues that are expected to continue to make a difference in Freedemia no matter who is elected. A major upset could still be possible. While Rosenthal is still the favorite, if for no other reasons than her being loved by the people, being the incumbent, and being successful so far, it appears the issues this election centers around are not the same issues Rosenthal championed just 4 years ago. Between Houser championing health, green technology and innovation, Clarington championing tourism, pacifism, and body image, Barson championing fiscal responsibility and privatization, Nelzer championing cybersecurity and technological advancements, and Schluderman championing social justice and labor reform, Rosenthal surprisingly has the weakest platform, or at least the least bold one. Rosenthal has been so successful in her first term that she doesn’t have many unique campaign goals for a second one.

The first PWN poll coming out today shows an interesting trend. President Rosenthal is in the lead, as expected, with 29% of the vote. However, Vice President Houser is actually very close behind with 27% of the vote, slightly unusual for an incumbent vice president, who would normally come in second but largely behind the current president. Nelzer is in third with 18% of the vote, Barson in fourth with 11%, Schluderman in fifth with 8% and Clarington in sixth with 6%, most of which is coming from her home region of Laneston/Vandover. Marco Nelson, though not running, still managed to rake in about 0.4% of the vote in the poll as a write-in candidate.

meta-chart (4)

Schluderman seems to be in second in the sparsely populated states of North and Guijarros, both home to large amounts of rice farms, and Nelzer seems to be in second to Houser in Trenchent State, the tech capital of Freedemia, where Rosenthal is in a surprising third. Houser is leading by a large margin in his home state of Franklins, getting a whopping 57% of the state’s votes with Rosenthal trailing with 16% in Franklins. Barson did best in the Savvenahsburgh area, known for being very lenient on “victimless crimes” and for championing privatization.

The first televised debate is expected to be on June 10th, aired on PWN.

Opinion: Constructing QUARTA’s Trams was the biggest waste of taxpayer money in recent Quentins History

QUENTINSBURGH- The following is an opinion editorial by recently hired QDOT transit planner Greg Sullivan, who specializes in helping find cost-effective transit/roadway solutions. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PWN News.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about QUARTA potentially wasting taxpayer money with a few of their big infrastructure projects.

A lot of the discussion arose again when QUARTA announced plans to put emergency call buttons at every QLine Metro entrance, in every metro station, in/at every park and ride, and at all major bus stops and transit centers. I think this is largely unnecessary. Quentinsburgh is one of the safest cities in the world, and QUARTA is one of the safest transit systems in the world. Most metro stations already have these buttons on the platforms, and transit centers and park and rides usually have either existing buttons, a staffed building, or phones that already serve this role. But it’s an understandable move. QUARTA has been safe for years, and it seems like they’re making sure that continues to be the case. I still think that the cost may be worth more than the benefit in a system already known for safety, though.

I think there’s also a strong argument that QLine metro lines 11 and 12 (constructed originally as lines 10 and 11 and running most recently as lines 9 and 11) were a waste , as the area seems like bus rapid transit, like QLine 15 off the coast, may have been a more effective and more reasonably priced alternative that would have worked very well in the area. While the area is growing, it’s still not big enough to have truly needed a heavy rail line, even if it’s just a local one. These lines could have been built as BRT and simply rebuilt as a light rail as density and demand grew enough to warrant it.

But there’s one part of the QUARTA system that is the single biggest waste in the system’s history, and that’s the construction of the 3 stand-alone trams; the PlaneTrain, the Fairgrounds Tram, and the Geolympiad Shuttle.

For one, these trams aren’t linked to the main metro system track-wise. They don’t use the same train cars (in fact, they don’t even use the same company! Tram cars are made by Starmobility, while subway cars come from Chang y Sainz) and thus cannot be linked into the main system. You can see evidence of that along the Geolympiad Shuttle, where the tram LITERALLY runs ALONGSIDE the metro line 2 for two whole kilometers. That’s TWO MILES OF REDUNDANT TRACK. There’s also a one-station redundant stretch along Clayton Road.

This also leads to “island routing”, or lines that literally seem to go nowhere productive and can’t be expanded without certain parts being redundant. Take the Fairgrounds Tram, for example. QUARTA has been looking for a way to extend it and make it more effective for years. The problem? The subway system surrounds the tram and serves the area well enough that there’s nowhere to expand the tram without it being an even bigger waste of money than it already is.

But the biggest problem is the fact that PRACTICALLY NO ONE RIDES THEM.

As implied by the names of the three trams, the Fairgrounds Tram, Geolympiad Shuttle, and PlaneTram, these lines were built for very specific venues and in some cases, very specific events as well.

The Geolympiad Shuttle tram got huge amounts of riders DURING the 2016 Pancontinental Games in Quentinsburgh, as visitors/spectators used the tram to get back and forth from venue to venue. Ridership was easily in the hundreds of thousands. But that ridership only lasted through the Geolympiad itself. Currently, the most ridership on the entire line is Read University students using it as an extra way to get across campus or a way to connect to nearby metro lines that do not come far into campus. A little extra amount comes from those going to Quentinsburgh Firestorm baseball games, or the Horizon Plaza Mall and Hotel Complex (also built for the Geolympiad). Ridership today? only 5,000- on a good day. To make matters worse, the area is already surrounded by subway routes. Something as simple as a couple infill stations and a really reliable bus circulator could have done the trick, for the Geolympiad and even today for the occasional rider.

The Fairgrounds Tram is even worse. There was no real big event that warranted even the consideration of such a cost-ineffective transit project. The Quentins State Fair has seen declining visitors year after year, especially as Thrill Planet becomes more accessible, and less and less events are being hosted at the Quentins Fairgrounds. Yet we have a tram that was built especially for the Quentins Fairgrounds. Ridership, at best, is around 100 on a good, non-fair day, most going to either a small expo at the fairgrounds or trying to transfer between QLine Metro lines 1/14 and line 2 without going downtown. During the state fair that number can reach as high as 500 daily (yayyyyyyyyyyy *sarcasm*). The tram was built with the capacity of handling 15,000 passengers or more daily. A bus could have EASILY done the job.

The PlaneTram is easily the most effective and cost-worthy tram of the three, being used by hundreds of thousands of passengers every day. I wouldn’t call it a waste persay. But the same need could have been easily and effectively met by a frequently running airport shuttle bus, without the cost of new construction.

To be clear, I’m not referring to QUARTA’s small but successful trolley system. The Downtown Trolley has been running surprisingly well after some route tweaks, the James Street Trolley has greatly improved surface transportation in downtown Quentinsburgh, and the Waterside Park Tram (which, ironically, is actually a trolley) provides a quick connection to Waterside Park Isle and to Quentinsburgh Beach. All three have proven to be valuable assets to the system.

But the three standalone trams, as well as the costs of continued operation, have been a weight around QUARTA’s ankles for a long time, and will continue to be until they figure out what’s the best financial decision for the trams.

 

Zenergy Electronics rebrands as Zenergy Technology (ZT), releases first full line of devices and computers running ZComOS, teases ZeeBoy Platinum and ZeeBox17 releases for the summer

SAN GRANDE, FREEDEMIA– Freedemian electronics company Zenergy released their first official line of computers and mobile devices on Monday. The line currently includes 6 devices, the Zeno (which comes as an all-n-one desktop or a traditional-style PC tower), the ZenoBook, the ZenoBook Lite (sort of a lightweight hybrid between the ZenoBook and the Zeno Pad), ZenoPad, ZenoPhone, and ZenoPhab. The devices are the first full quality non-beta devices that Zenergy has released, and the first that run on the newly improved ZComOS.

“It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing operating systems we’ve seen in a while,” app developer Ravia commented. “It almost has that same wow factor that StepStone did when it was first released.”

Zenergy first announced the new line back in October 2015, though it had been in the works for years behind the scenes.

Zenergy has gone for the same “seamless experience” concept StepStone Technology has, with a standard UI across all computing devices (though phones especially have what one may call the “lite version”). The devices don’t actually navigate through the home “launch screen”, but through a modern-looking half-screen menu window that appears when you press either the built in Z button or click on the Z icon in the bottom left corner of the screen. (The Z Button is the default in phones, the Z icon is the default on laptops and desktops, and tablets can be adjusted to have the on screen Z Icon in addition to the Z button.) Essentially, this means your home menu is always accessible, no matter what app or program you’re in, in contrast to having to leave a program or move windows around to get back to it.

Some of the later Zenergy Beta models (such as the ZenergyPhone Beta 10) will be eligible for a software upgrade from ZComputeOS Beta 4.3 to ZComOS 1.0, but most of the older test models were not made to run the new system. Zenergy does plan on releasing one final update to ZComputeOS Beta (to be dubbed Beta 5 Final) as a final thank you to those who were early adaptors of the Zenergy computing line.

Zenergy also included a free, fully functional, official ZeeBoy emulator in every new device, as an homage to the days when Zenergy ruled handheld gaming. This may have been done in an effort to compete with MegamerGames‘ GamePhone SuperNova.

Zenergy’s market share is expected to grow dramatically in the near future as these devices hit the shelves. Currently Zenergy has about 1% of the Freedemian mobile device market, with Stepstone, Saehan Group, and Cyclo dominating.

Zenergy gaming fans will also be ecstatic to know that the new ZeeBoy Platinum and ZeeBox are coming out this June. The extent of their success may depend on the third party game offerings they’re able to attract to the platforms.

Zenergy Device (1).jpg
The release images of the smaller ZenoPad and the larger version of the ZenoPhone.