King of Řots at parliamentary session on 15 March; traffic in Kotōlets and Nekkar to be suspended

(Nekkar, 23 February 2017)King Verteř V Storm will attend a session of the parliament of Řots on 1 Třeesip (15 March), prime minister Vervets Bekřa Nureet himself announced today. Those who watched members of the government and parliament up close in the last week, may have suspected that something important and/or unusual was going on, as everybody seemed far more stressed and busy than normal. The last time a head of state of Řots attended a session of parliament was by King Dot XIII Tora in 3405 (= 1929), so almost ninety years ago; his successor Dot XIV Vāsterets and his successors kept themselves out of state politics altogether, with modernity arriving too rapidly for them as of the ’30s (= the ‘50s of the 20th century).

The King’s decision to attend a parliamentary session is all the more surprising because of his age: the current monarch is probably in his late 80s and succeeded his brother King Bēserets Sot (3438 – 3492 = 1961 – 2016) only two years ago. As the prime minister announced, the King’s health is in a fragile state, so any unexpected surprise should be avoided at all cost and the Codex should be followed to the letter: the 1200 year old set of rules that determine the lives of the Royal Family and most of the nobility, and which prevents any change, causing them to form a society within the society of Řots that has been living in isolation and according to medieval tradition until present day.

The visit will also require a change of schedule for inhabitants of both the royal capital of Kotōlets, the civil capital of Nekkar, and some roads between the two: as the royal family and most of the nobility are still living by the Codex, the King and his entourage are most likely not used to the existence of e.g. cars, which means that car driving will be temporarily suspended along the route the Royal Carriage will take. The Carriage will not take the highways, but rather follow the ‘scenic’ road via Tarřebo, Ōřlemup, and Vulipo. The King will spend a week in Nekkar and stay in the Merbu-Kevigu Palas in the suburb of Merp and receive guests there; he will get out only to attend the parliamentary session on the 15th. The prime minister announced that security in Nekkar will be heavily increased during that week, but citizens should not be hindered in their daily activities. In any case, citizens of Nekkar will have a day off on the 15th.

The King’s attendance of parliament also requires that its members as well as the members of the government who attend the session, need to dress up in formal attire as prescribed by the Codex. All persons in Řots who end up in a position of importance have one set made for these eventualities, but in practice, nobody ever needs to wear it and clothes are often acquired second hand from previous politicians if their sizes are more or less the same. Politicians who discover that their formal dress doesn’t fit, now have less than three weeks to make the necessary changes to their clothing.

The conduction of the parliamentary session itself will also be different than usual: speaking or asking questions in the Řosu Git (‘House of Řots’, Řots’s house of parliament) has to be done according to strict formulas so it may take longer to discuss certain topics: a general old-fashioned literary way of speaking is required, mentioning the King all the time, referring to oneself in the third person, and avoiding the suggestion that anyone but the King may have taken any decision, e.g. the minister of Housing could say: ‘By His Majesty’s Leave, His Minister of Housing and Regional Planning humbly informs the Honorable Speaker of this House that …’ instead of the more usual ‘Mr Speaker, I have decided that …’ Many politicians who are expected to speak in the Řosu Git that day will need to practice using this formal way of speaking even in spontaneous replies.

Although many are looking forward to having their first ever glimpse of a Řots monarch, there has been criticism about all the fuss that this royal surprise visit will entail. According to some, Nekkar will be struck by a week of chaos, and if the King plans to schedule more of these surprise visits, some things need to be changed – but this would essentially mean a modification of the Codex, which although not impossible, seems very unlikely.

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Starmobile, QUARTA at odds as QUARTA bans car sales advertisments on buses, trains, QUARTA property

QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA: Freedemia’s biggest transit system and their biggest car manufacturer are at odds today, as the Quentinsburgh Urban Area Rapid Transit Authority (QUARTA) bans all advertisements for car sales in stations, at stops, and on the sides of buses and trains. Starmobile-Jazzalini had been attempting to purchase New Years’ ads across the system when QUARTA announced the decision.

Advertisements aren’t nonexistant in the QUARTA system by any means. While an effort is made to limit the trainside/busside ads to certain spots, non-intrusive ads can be found all throughout the system, especially inside trains and buses and at stops and stations. Recent improvements to QLine trains have even made it possible to have ads that change as the train ride continues, acting similarly to a billboard, announcing different businesses as the train gets closer to certain stops.

QUARTA’s decision comes around the same time that QUARTA and the cities in the Quentinsburgh metropolitan area changed their signage ordinances to direct retail signage to pedestrians and transit riders. As the area has attempted to move away from car reliance, QUARTA and the cities have attempted to shift the paradigm of residents to transit, walking, and biking as the defaults and driving as secondary.

The decision to ban advertisements for car sales was an attempt to move further towards that goal, according to QUARTA CEO Kellen Hyrper. “Car advertisements try to present auto driving as the “Freedemian Dream”, a luxury, a convenience, something to aim for. There’s nothing wrong with having a car to use in moderation, but it shouldn’t be viewed as the goal to get away from using transit. And it would be counterproductive to promote this in our transit system.”

Starmobile has split stakes here, and different divisions seem to have different responses. Starmobility, the bus/train/industrial truck manufacturing division of Starmobile, actually makes a large majority of QUARTA’s buses, and they’ve been partners for many years, with QUARTA being their largest client. Starmobility is very much against making this a big deal as they and QUARTA benefit mutually from their partnership. On the other hand, Starmobile-Jazzalini’s primary car sales divisions have sometimes relied on the advertising and the mentality of “Cars are cool!”, even in a country like Freedemia where transit isn’t seen as second class.

 

King Mearh dies: ten days of national mourning declared

HREAWIRC, 5 DECEMBER 2017 | King Mearh I of Wyster has died this morning. The 96-year old monarch passed away sitting down in his favorite reading chair after breakfast, according to Prime Minister Cillyh Ocurmen, who addressed the nation shortly after noon. The Prime Minister praised the Mearh’s many years of service to the country, more than 47 of which as king. Funeral arrangements will now be discussed with the new Queen, Mearh’s oldest daughter Atheanne, and the rest of the royal family. The Prime Minister declared ten days of national mourning, during which public life in Wyster will have a sober character.

Mearh I sie Soormeth was born at Fryhaec Castle, near the village of Bocyme in county Orsearre on 27 February 1921. His father was Hrevyn sie Soormeth (later king Hrevyn III), his mother Rynne Countess Caen. Wyster was just experiencing its Fourth Republic under Chairman Peus Ghaarn, a brilliant political strategist who turned out to be increasingly ruthless and paranoid as he got older; he was elected in 1915 under the Third Republic, but he managed to gain such political dominance that he changed the constitution in 1920 and establised the Fourth Republic, in which it was almost impossible to depose him without force. Force came in the form of a six year civil war. At the end of this war, the Wystrian monarchy was restored under King Hrevyn III, a grandson of the previous king Hrevyn II (1859-1860 and 1895-1902). As his father became king, Mearh became Crown Prince.

Mearh studied political history and diplomatic studies, both in Wyster and abroad. In 1947 he married Soor Countess Meerwyth (1924 – 2008), with whom he had two daughters, Princess Atheanne (*1949, who is now the Queen of Wyster) and Princess Learre (*1955). When Mearh succeeded his father as King of Wyster in 1970, Princess Atheanne became his heir apparent. Mearh’s life as Crown Prince was not without problems. As a student he got into trouble already for driving under influence and getting involved in a mass fight that damaged several houses and shops in Hreawirc. His marriage was tumultuous and Crown Princess Soor is said to have been ready to leave the country on more than one occasion. In 1961 he was essential in closing a lucrative arms deal between Wyster and Karolia, which gained him a lot of praise initially until it emerged six years later that he mediated for two other parties as well at the time of the Wyster-Karolia deal and facilitated illegal arms trade in the process. Several politicians of Wyster then demanded that Mearh be excluded from succession and that the throne should pass directly to Mearh’s daughter Atheanne after Hrevyn III’s death. According to sources, Hrevyn III threatened to abdicate on the spot if this proposal was put into practice and Atheanne (who was barely 18 years old at the time) refused to step in.

Hrevyn III died in 1970 and Mearh succeeded him as King of Wyster. Although he was initially unpopular in political circles, a large part of the population considered him a ‘man of the people’, for taking risks and putting protocol aside. His marriage calmed down a bit and under influence of his wife Queen Soor, the new King slowly discovered his role as monarch. He showed that he was there as King not only to party but also to support the people, for instance when a landslide all but destroyed two villages in county Troc in 1984 and after the shooting attack in the Promynad Stadium in Hreawirc that left nine visitors dead and several dozens injured in 1991.

The new millennium saw a calmer agenda for the King, with his daughters taking over several official tasks. Queen Soor died in 2008. Although the King’s health remained good until the very end, he became frail, with a faltering voice. His last public appearance was in June 2014; after that, he only made a couple of appearances on television.

Queen Atheanne (68) is the new head of state of Wyster, although her coronation will be scheduled after the ten days of mourning only. The Queen doesn’t have any children, so her younger sister Princess Learra is the heir presumptive; Learra’s eldest son Prince Thyllyn (35) is second in line.

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.

PWN Politics- Recapping the events leading up to Monday’s Freedemian Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- Here’s a recap of the events that led up to Monday’s election.

September 5th, 2017- Schluderman drops out, endorsing Nelzer. 5 candidates remaining in the race

Actor and comedian Craig Schluderman dropped out of the race Tuesday with a television and auto phone call announcement endorsing Katherine Nelzer.

September 15th, 2017- Freedemian legislature decides to delay the election two Mondays while they discussed a bill for Ranked Choice Voting in National Elections

QUENTINSBURGH- Seemingly out of the blue, the House of Populus decided to finally take on a bill proposed many times before to save the country money by incorporating ranked choice voting into presidential elections, thus eliminating the top 2 runoff. Due to possible conflicts of interest with both President Rosenthal and Vice President Houser running for president, the House of Decisions voted for the bill to be able to pass if both the House of Populus and the House of Equal Representation passed the bill with more than 65% of the vote.

September 17th, 2017- Poll released shows Clarington taking votes from Houser, Rosenthal and Nelzer neck and neck, Barson stagnating at 3%

QUENTINSBURGH- Getting closer to election day, in early September, a poll released showed that with Nelzer and Clarington gaining more support, Houser is starting to struggle, dropping into third place.

meta-chart (13)

September 19th, 2017- Freedemian legislature votes to delay voting/discussion on the bill until after the general election but proceed in January with goal of approving Ranked Choice Voting for all future elections, ending the Freedemian tradition of runoff elections

QUENTINSBURGH- A resolution passed with 44 out of 47 Poplators and 32 out of 33 Representatives, stating that Ranked Choice voting is worth moving forward with at a later time for the 2022 election, but that due to possible conflict of interest with the election having been so close, they would delay moving forward with crafting the full proposal until January under the new president.

September 22nd, 2017- Oddly no campaign events scheduled for Barson, raising suspicion that he may be dropping out

FRANKLINSBURGH- Several news outlets observed that the newest press releases for Barson didn’t actually have any public events planned. Often in the past this has been a sign that a candidate is strongly considering dropping out of a race and endorsing an opponent.

September 27th, 2017-  4 candidates remaining, as Derrick Barson drops out

QUENTINSBURGH- Economist Derrick Barson dropped out of the race on Wednesday Sept 27th, announcing his decision at an event in Sean Bond Park in Quentinsburgh. He didn’t explicitly endorse any candidate in the race, but he did express confidence in Patrick Houser and Katherine Nelzer especially, based on discussions they had over various issues. “Both candidates have proven they are willing to work with private companies to stimulate the economy while also giving our country a 21st century infrastructure for the green and digital age,”  he mentioned in his speech. Barson also expressed confidence in President Rosenthal’s leadership, though he did express hope that she would consider the newer ideas her opponents have suggested. He also gave a shoutout to Clarington and Nelzer for being open to discussions about reducing penalties for victimless crimes in Freedemia.

September 30th, 2017- Last debate before election shows a strong showing by Clarington, but not enough for her to catch up- meanwhile in polling, Nelzer’s lead growing, Houser catching up to Rosenthal

meta-chart (14)

PERSONSBORO- The final debate showed discussion on the bigger issues such as infrastructure and military.

Clarington gained a lot of support on the military side- despite standing by her controversial 85% standing military reduction, she did express, for the first time, support for Katherine Nelzer’s drastic increase in cybersecurity measures and incorporating them under the military umbrella. “I don’t think Freedemia is threatened by actual physical military forces. We’ve pretty much successfully stayed out of combat for our entire lifespan as a country. But our lack of cybersecurity protections is a real threat that could destroy everything we’ve worked so hard for over the years. I’d be happy to have a large military if that military was focused on protecting our country in the digital age.”

Clarington even had something to add herself: “I’d feel it would be a good idea to also look into the threat of biowarfare and medical threats like viruses that could be spread by enemies. I don’t think it would be in our military persay, but it could be a major part.” Nelzer wholeheartedly agreed with the biowarfare consideration.

OpEd: 140 years later, let’s remember what really happened to Kristoforo X

By MAYA ABELDARME and TOMAS GALIXENU (via TeleMaura News Ingerish) –

In just under two weeks, Mauretia will come up on one of its most intentionally overlooked anniversaries. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone even mention it. The tale of 16 July 1877 seems to be a story no one wants to remember. How does abdication only get passing mention in the history books? Our country has gone to great lengths to expunge King Kristoforo X from its annals. No one complained when he was outright omitted from a recent Vuwo! article ranking all our monarchs from best to worst. (We think many did not even notice!) His grave in Lalla Maga is marked by a small block of limestone that is weathering. The marker might as well read, “Here lies a disgraced king that his country will not even acknowledge existed.” The site has deteriorated so poorly that the cemetery was forced to exhume the body and re-lay in a proper hole that would not collapse down the hillside. While we would never defend the king for his actions in the wake of the plague, we believe it is time for our country to recognize the truths of his tortured life, stop ignoring him, and honor him with a proper burial.

Here is how the story usually goes: The death of Queen Pitra during li Mawaṭo Ravo (“The Great Death”), along with much of the ruling government, unleashed a period of political chaos. The country was still at the peak of the plague with thousands dying by the week. Prince Kristoforo was quickly hurried away to The Island to retain succession. The story we always hear then continues to say that he was a reclusive and ineffective king. The country voted four years later to force abdication. That’s it. Nothing more.

Over a century later, we know what really happened in between 1873 and 1877. King Kristoforo X is really a tragic figure. The new king was crowned unceremoniously in a carriage as it scurried away from his dying family in Sansu Andaros li Apostili. The monarch was very ill himself, coughing violently. In the recent exhumation, the forensics and archaeology team noted that he likely suffered broken ribs in such a frail state. When the royal shuttle arrived on The Island, the king had to be carried into the building. He was unable to walk and could not handle the light or sound. He remained bedridden for days. During this time, word leaked out about the decimation of the ruling classes. The public demanded to know where their new king was and what he planned to do. The inexperienced and frightened staff in the royal palace said nothing to the outside world. (Frankly, we as a nation are fortunate Commonia or some other malevolent power did not attack us during this time. We would have been powerless.)

Consider that King Kristoforo, while ill, was tossed directly into the travails of running a collapsing country. He never had the time to mourn the death of his wife or mother; he suffered tremendously from hallucinations and chronic, debilitating pain from plague and treatment-related aftereffects in his central nervous system; and he had no political help in his sequestration, because the plague had claimed so many of the experienced individuals. Only years after the abdication did the truth of his conditions become public. In reality, that was part of the problem. The king wanted so desperately to be seen as strong, so he said nothing of his health. Yet, when he suffered worst and was absent, the opposite occurred. The king could have been a symbol of hope by walking beside his people and visibly sharing their burdens. Instead, he hid and appeared uninterested.

The only reason anger against him did not overflow earlier was that parliament did not want a regency during such a vulnerable time. Shortly after Prince Ferde came of age, parliament passed a resolution for forced abdication. The king was, perhaps surprisingly, not angered by the vote even though he sent his refusal about two hours later. Historians note meetings he held during this two hour window and believe he actually considered stepping aside. Even so, parliament demanded removal. They scheduled the public referendum for the morning of Monday 16 July 1877. All business and work schedules were to be canceled for the morning to allow a national vote. King Kristoforo X must have known what was about to happen. He sent for his son and had a carriage loaded with a few small number of belongings. About nightfall, word reached the palace of the provisional vote totals in Massaeya and Dara Aqarel. Heartbroken, the king quietly walked out to a loaded carriage and set off for the Aziga countryside. Aides and family alike noted that he never stopped to say anything to anyone. Prince Ferde arrived ten minutes after his father’s departure.

Across Mauretia, the final vote total was 85% in favor of abdication. Prince Ferde desperately wanted to distance himself from his father in the public perception. He quietly sent provisions to Lalla Maga to care for the ousted monarch and visited on three occasions. Yet, no public mention was ever given of the former king throughout all of Ferde’s reign. Even parliament went on ignoring the former ruler. When Kristoforo X died a couple years later, only a few townspeople and a local priest attended the funeral. It was revealed that he never once accepted the payments for anything other than his medical care. The former king died alone, ill, and impoverished.

As a people, we grieved and mourned after the plague. We moved on and recovered. But, generally speaking, we have not really forgiven. No, we probably should not be building monuments to or naming streets after Kristoforo X. He did nothing to warrant that. But, do we really have to ignore him? Can a former king at least be given a proper burial? Perhaps Queen Gabriela might even allow his body to be repatriated and buried with his family. Every year, this date in July comes and goes. Maybe in 2017 we can let Mauretia, and its former king, have the closure we all need.

Dr. Maya Abeldarme is a professor of history at the Universita Sansu Trinitu in Masqula.
Dr. Tomas Galixenu is a historian with the Bivlioteqad Nationala ad-Mauretia.

Nude drunk elite party surprises visitors of commercial centre of Bakiřvē Ots (Řots)

(Kavatořre (Řots), 1 July 2017) – A number of late night shoppers in the commercial centre of Bakiřvē Ots, in the Ēzentep district of Kavatořre near the village of Nī Tek Prusu Loko and the SAF border were awkwardly surprised last night when several dozens of partying people entered the premises – without any clothes on. Shocked passers-by called the police, who arrived shortly afterwards. It turned out to be a mixture of lower nobility and several upper class persons whose party had started at the nearby Kīvi estate earlier in the evening.

“For the sake of their privacy the police won’t mention the names of those involved, although we suspect that several pictures may pop up at social media in the next couple of hours”, a spokeswoman of the police told the press. “I can mention however that among the guests of Lord Kīvi were noted local politicians, a few captains of industry and several members of the nobility whose identities we are in the process of varifying – which, as you know, is complicated.

“The cause of this problem has been identified as an alcoholic substance that causes almost instant drunkenness and makes you feel hot so that one’s first instinct is to undress. The effect may take several hours to wear off. We questioned the assistants of a noble woman who is suspected of having brought several bottles to the party and is the only one whom we encountered still dressed.”

The noble woman was reveiled (by herself) to be Maro Tōr, the Duchess of Kartori. She is one of the few members of the higher nobility that hasn’t retreated in their castles and estates since the middle ages to live by the Codex of Řots, a set of laws and protocols that over time has made governing the country so impossible that common citizens started to form their own modern society, now almost twohundred years ago. The Duchess is often seen in high society situations and generally tends to behave oddly.

The Duchess denies having anything to do with it this time however. “Of course I didn’t bring these bottles of … what was it called? Shputs? Shlurp? … to the party? How could I? I wasn’t even aware that these nice people would react like this if they drank it! The person who sold them to me only told me that those who consumed it would have a great time!”