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      Cyber Nations Forum Rules   07/03/2016

        Cyber Nations Forum Rules  
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Imperator Azenquor

Serene Republic of Vaule News Thread (v2.0)

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VNN News: C-FOR to oversee referendum, EACo reveals new project
 
 
“With the fall of the United People’s Republic of Khabarovsk and the reintroduction of peacekeeping forces to the region the Peacekeeping force for the Former Cyrantia (C-FOR) has once again been deployed to ensure security and stability in the region. While most municipal and local institutions in the former Khabarovsk remain functional, the Peackeepers have assumed responsibility for security, border control and crime prevention as well as humanitarian resource distribution.
 
According to an official release from the offices of C-FOR an official petition was received requesting that the territory of the former Cyrantia become an Autonomous Community within the Vaulian constituent state of the Greater Russian Empire. Such a move, the petition indicated, would help to preserve the indigenous culture, permit a wide degree of self-governance and would not leave the people of the territory left to wonder if their local authorities would once again collapse. The Commanding Officer of C-FOR received the petition and pledged to forward it to the government for consideration.
 
After initial consideration, the government urged the people of the Former Cyrantia to vote on a clearly defined measure regarding the future status of the territory. Accordingly the local administrators of the territory have been asked to conduct the referendum once updated voter registries are available. If the residents of the territory approve, the Prime Minister suggested, then the government would consider how to proceed.
 
In other news, the East Asia Company has announced its intention to expand into the production and delivery of natural gas. Previously the Company’s main focus was oil production and mining and to a lesser extent whaling and seal hunting. According to EACo CEO Lord Dmitri Petrovic, the company is seeking to reorient it’s priorities towards the energy sector while also ‘exploring the utilization of renewable and cleaner fuels’ for energy production.
 
Lord Petrovic also used the opportunity to announce that the first oil produced from the North Sakhalin and Anadyr oilfields would be extracted later this month. He stated that this additional oil production would significantly raise the annual oil production of the Serene Republic of Vaule and would generate much needed additional revenue for both the East Asia Company and the Russian government. Asked by a journalist if the company intended to continue to invest in oil exploration despite it’s push for renewables, Lord Petrovic stated that ‘while exploration remains a priority’ that the company will not be devoting ‘as much manpower and financial resources’ towards new exploration for the short term.” –R. Porter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Former Cyrantia becomes Autonomous Community, Local elections begin [/b][/u]
 
 
[i]“The residents of the former Cyrantian territories, including the former Yoitsu region, went to the polls today to decide whether or not the region should join the Serene Republic of Vaule as an Autonomous Community or if the region should remain as a protectorate until a new local government arises to seek independence. Voting began across the former Cyrantia at 8:00 am local time and ended at 4:00 pm today with more than 320 polling stations set up across the region. The polls were overseen by officials from the Vaulian Electoral Council (VEC) as well as by a group of local representatives.
 
When the voting ended and the results were tabulated, the VEC announced that the majority of the residents of the territory had approved the measure. With a turnout of 72% of eligible voters, the measure was supported by 69.7% and rejected by 30.2% of the voters. With the measure approved by a significant margin, the C-FOR peacekeeping unit has been ordered to ‘standby’ to receive an updated security mandate and to train local security personnel. Additionally, voters will shortly be asked to go to the polls again to elect a Constituent Assembly to draft a governing charter for the soon-to-be Autonomous Community.
 
In other news, after a significant delay, local and municipal government elections will be held tomorrow morning. Voters across the Serene Republic will elect City Councilors, Provincial Governors and Mayors. Under the current Constitution, each City Council consists of 10 Councilors and a Mayor, while each province elects a single Governor. These local elections mark the first time that the Electronic Voter Identification System (ELVIS) will be used in lieu of a paper voter registry. The Vaulian Electoral Council (VEC) revealed that although the system has undergone rigorous testing, all election officials have been instructed to keep the paper voter registry as a backup should the need arise. The Council, nonetheless, has expressed its ‘full confidence’ in the ELVIS system and has hinted that the system may be adopted for national Parliamentary elections as early as next term.
 
On the political side of things, the youth avalanche during the last local elections which saw a myriad of candidates from the Vaulian Blue Guard and the S.V.A.R.Y. youth organization leap into local politics seems to have dissipated somewhat with the two organizations electing to join newly formed political factions. Voters will choose between the candidates of the center-left Liberal faction or the center-right Conservative faction. With the changes to the landscape at the local level, few election analysts are attempting to predict how the vote will go.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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VNN News: Imperial Coronation to take place after Independence celebrations
 
 
“After weeks of feverish speculation, the Imperial Palace has finally made an official announcement regarding the coronation. Since the death of His Most Orthodox Royal Highness Imperator Pyotr, many have wondered when his eldest son, His Royal Highness Prince Nikolas Aleksandr Peaceheart, would be crowned Imperator. The speculation was put to rest this morning when the Imperial Chief of Staff gave a short statement to the press. While many expected the statement to address the upcoming Independence celebrations, few expected the issue of the coronation date to be resolved as well.
 
According to the statement, His Royal Highness Prince Nikolas Aleksandr has opted to hold his coronation ceremony in early July days after the completion of the fourteen day long 350th Vaulian Independence celebrations. The decision, the statement revealed, was taken after ‘careful consultations with the Orthodox Church and the government’. It was decided, the statement said, that holding the coronation would be a fitting event to conclude the celebrations. It is widely expected that the coronation will be held on July 2, a date of particular significance to the late Imperator and his family.
 
With the matter of the coronation settled, the Imperial Chief of Staff also revealed several details of the upcoming Independence celebrations. The 350th celebrations will be a nationwide event involving every city, region and Autonomous Community of the Serene Republic. For two weeks the nation will celebrate the history and culture of Vaule and her people. The celebrations will also include events dedicated to His Excellency President Zhukov, Father of the Nation, and to each Imperator and Imperatrix to rule since Imperator Stefan IV in 1675. Special events will also be held at schools and public squares across the nation during the celebrations.
 
The Independence celebrations will begin with a torch lighting ceremony at the ruins of the Sygh-Varthys fortress and a special torch relay that will see the Independence torch traverse the length and breadth of the Serene Republic before ending with a special ceremony at the Imperial palace. Officials remain tight lipped about the details of the celebrations, but have pledged that the event shall ‘be one of the greatest independence celebrations that the nation has seen in quite some time’ and will be a ‘fitting celebration of those individuals from all walks of life who have helped to shape the Vaulian nation’.
 
In preparation for the Independence celebrations, a number of restaurants and bars have announced ‘independence specials’ for the fourteen day period. The five star restaurant Mikhail’s will be doing a series of special dinners, one for each day, that include cuisine from all of the regions and provinces. In an unusual show of unity, all bars and pubs have slashed their prices by as much as 75% for the celebrations. In fact, our reporter discovered, the price of a single glass of vodka at a well known bar in the capital will be as low as NRR $0.20.
 
We will continue to follow these and other events as they occur. This is Ray Porter reporting, for VNN News.” – R. Porter
 

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VNN News: Census data collection ends, MRP causes outrage
 
 
“The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported today that the data-collection phase of the national census has been completed. According to the NBS, its officials completed a multi-pronged data gathering approach which combined mandatory census forms being directly submitted to the NBS as well as data collection by census officials. According to the NBS, the new census data will allow the government to make key decisions regarding the allocation of resources and tax policy as well as urban development planning. The population statistics, the NBS revealed, will also impact housing and population planning policies.
 
Unlike previous population censuses which primarily focused on numbers, ethnicity, religion and employment statistics, the current census also included several detailed questions to gather information on family income, housing conditions, education statistics and other key data. The census information is currently being compiled and analyzed by the Ministry of the Interior, after which it will be published.
 
In other news, a heated debate took place in the Regional Parliament of the East Ingushetia Autonomous Community today over the legality of the currently enforced headscarf ban. According to reports, a female MRP from the Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) was in the midst of addressing the Regional Parliament about her party’s opposition to the headscarf ban. In the midst of her speech, she was interrupted several times by Ilya Tadic an MP from the majority Vaule National Movement (VNM). Despite the Speaker’s attempts to restore order, Mr. Tadic leapt to his feet and shouted:
 
‘Why are you allowed to be here?!’
 
When the Speaker demanded an explanation, the MRP launched into a quite controversial speech in which he said:
 
‘The separatist member opposite, who has taken a short break from advocating the treasonous dismembering of the state, is the shining example of why not all women should be permitted to vote. If we wish, Mr. Speaker, to fix the problems of this province we should simply make it illegal for separatists to vote and to hold office. After all, if they want to create their own treasonous state, then they have no business voting in this state.’
 
After the controversial and shocking outburst, the Speaker expelled Tadic from the chamber. The unnamed MRP from the Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) demanded an apology and a condemnation of the comments by the Vaule National Movement (VNM). Instead, the VNM used its numerical majority to quickly vote down the initiative and to end the parliamentary session. Despite the move, the ILP MRP insisted on continuing her speech. As she spoke, the remaining VNM members walked out of the Regional Parliament and her microphone was switched off.
 
In response to the incident, the Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) has submitted a written complaint to the Office of the Speaker of the Regional Parliament and to the Office of the Regional Governor charging that the VNM had utilized ‘unethical and unconstitutional’ means to end the debate. The complaint also demanded that ‘steps be taken to prevent a recurrence’ of such a situation. Failing such steps, the complaint suggested, the ILP opposition would contemplate withdrawing from the Regional Parliament in protest.”-R. Porter
 

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[b]VNN News: Census figures released, analysis begins[/b]
 
 
[i]“As promised, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) today released the summary version of the 20XX national census. The four page document, released to the public today, is the precursor of a much more detailed 150 page report that will be sent to Parliament by the end of this month. Prime Minister Boskovic and the cabinet will then carefully examine the census data and decide whether or not to implement the various recommendations made by the NBS in its official report.
 
The summary report issued by the NBS includes additional population data which was not included in any prior census. For example, the census includes data on internet access, the fertility rates and the infant mortality rate by region as calculated by the Ministry of Health. Additional information on median income and access to healthcare, and educational facilities was also collected by the NBS.
 
With the summary in hand, analysts from across the political spectrum have begun to examine the data and have made predictions for the next decade, and conclusions regarding the current data. According to our own analysis, the census indicates that the Serene Republic has seen a sustained population explosion over the last 20 years which has resulted in a total population of 66,030,000 and an average growth rate of 7%. In terms of ethnicity, the population boom has seen Vaulians (as a percentage of the overall population) increase from 65% to 72% and Zemlyans increasing from 6% to 7% of the population. The most significant population decreases were among the Buryatians (from 11% to 6%), the East Ingush (10% to 6.5%) and the indigenous communities (7% to 4%).
 
In what will likely be a worrying sign for the government, the poverty rate has only declined marginally from 18.7% to 17.4% while unemployment has risen from 17.2% to 18.4%. According to economists from the NextGen think tank, the government will have to seriously implement strategies to increase the standard of living and to fix the broken social safety net or ‘risk losing tens of thousands of potential workers’ over the next ten years. If not addressed, the economists suggested, the situation could be a ticking time bomb for the state’s finances.
 
We have included the official report form the NBS, and we have also made it available on our website. We will continue to keep you informed about these and other issues. From us here at VNN, happy Revolution day and Good night.”[/i]-R. Porter
 
===
 

[b][u]Official Census of the Serene Republic of Vaule (Const. State of G.R.E.) 20XX[/b][/u]
 
[b]Total Population:[/b] 66,030,000
[b]Population by age group:[/b] 0-14 (29%), 15-67 (64%), 68+ (7%)
 
[b]Demographic Breakdown:[/b] Buryatian (6%), Vaulian (72%), Sakhan (1.5%), East Ingush (8.5%), Zemlyan (7%), Indigenous (5%)
 
[b]Religious demographics:[/b] Buddhist (3%), Vaulian Orthodox Christian (70%), Islam (7.5%), Atheist (15.5%), Indigenous (4%)
 
[b]Linguistic Demographics (primary language):[/b] 
Vaulian (75.8%)
Russian (87.6%)
Buryatian (8%)
English (2.1%)
Arabic (0.02%)
Ingush (12%) 
Indigenous Languages (8%)
 
[b]Literacy Rate:[/b] 97%
Men: 96.1%
Women: 99.8%
 
[b]Male:Female ratio:[/b] 1:0.89
 
[b]Life Expectancy:[/b] 70.3 years
Male: 69.3 years
Female: 71.2 years
 
[b]Fertility rate:[/b] 3.52 children born per woman
[b]Infant mortality rate:[/b] 3.72 deaths per 1000 live births
[b]Population growth rate:[/b] 7.1%
 
 
[b]Poverty Rate:[/b] 17.4%
[b]Unemployment Rate:[/b] 18.4%
[b]Inflation (official):[/b] 10.03%
 
[b]Internet access index:[/b] 56.2%
[b]Broadband access index:[/b] 32.1%
 

 

 

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[b][u]VNN News: PM’s budget negotiations drag on, new political movement to form[/b][/u]
 
 
[i] “Vaulian Prime Minister Boskovic is continuing to have a rather unremarkable tenure in office. The Prime Minister, whose Slavic Unity Party fell short of winning a majority in Parliament, is facing an uphill battle to pass a budget due to strong opposition by the united nationalist parties. As a result of this opposition, and the Prime Minister’s unwillingness to compromise on the budget, the Serene Republic of Vaule will likely not have a budget for the second year running. The Prime Minister has urged all parties to continue the negotiations until a budget can be agreed upon, but the New Nationalist Front (NNF) has expressed skepticism at continuing the negotiations in the absence of compromise from the Slavic Unity Party (SUP).
 
The additional delays in approving a new budget have not gone down well with large segments of the public. Several advocacy groups representing a diverse collection of workers and pensioners have lambasted the government for its failure and have singled out the Prime Minister for the harshest criticism. According to the United Retirees Association (URA), the SUP administration’s failure to approve a new budget would have a serious and detrimental impact on the lives of retirees in the Serene Republic. The organization revealed that without the passage of a new budget, the state pensions of retirees would not be adjusted to take into account inflation and the cost of living. In some cases, this could mean a net reduction in income of up to 3.2%. This, the URA reports, is not acceptable treatment for those who have served in key state and government jobs for several decades and should be rectified immediately.
 
The Ministry of Finance has revealed that it is concerned about the failure to adjust the tax brackets and the possible economic fallout of not having a budget for two years in a row. The Ministry has nonetheless expressed some cautious optimism that a deal will be reached soon.
 
As the pressure mounts, there is a credible rumor that a new political party is being formed to counter the Slavic Unity Party and to attempt to channel the divided nationalist vote into a single political organization. While much of the details about this new political party are not yet public, we have learned that a think tank of economists, lawyers and former judges has been formed by the group and has been tasked with drawing up key policy proposals. It is understood that once this process is completed, the group will register as a political organization and demand early Parliamentary elections. While under normal circumstances, such a demand could easily be brushed off by an incumbent government, the mounting pressure on the Boskovic administration could translate into a determined drive to oust the Prime Minister. Political analyst and former MP Maria Gaznayev has suggested that the demand could harden the battle lines inside the Parliament and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
 
While speaking to us from Yuktobania earlier, Ms. Gaznayev said:[/i]

‘This situation has rapidly become a minefield for the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister compromises too much on the budget, then he will be seen as weak and ineffective, but if he refuses any compromises then he risks quite a large public backlash. Additionally, the nationalist opposition in Parliament strongly believes that they can win this battle against the Prime Minister. With a frustrated public and a possible new party emerging, they feel that they can run the risk of refusing to accept anything less than a full compromise from the PM. If the demand for early elections is made, and there is significant public support, then the opposition is likely to harden their stance feeling that they could stand to gain seats if they can portray the Prime Minister as an out of touch failure.
 
However, the opposition could be making a losing gamble if the new party manages to successfully siphon voters away from them by presenting itself as a new and competent group not tainted by career politicians.’-M. Gaznayev

 

[i]"With the continuing negotiations and threats of early elections and a possible political crisis, it's just another day in Sygh-Varthys. We will continue to watch these and other stories as they unfold. This is Ray Porter, for VNN News."[/i]-R.Porter

 

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[b][u]VNN News: New Party forms, calls for early elections [/b][/u]
 
-VRV Logo
 
[i]“After fevered speculation and persistent rumors, former Economist and Professor Dr. Pavel Rokossovsky today announced the formation of a new political party. In a speech at the University of Sygh-Varthys, Dr. Rokossovsky announced the creation of the Vaulian Revolutionary Vanguard party (VRV) and laid out his party’s vision for the country. The former Economist has portrayed the VRV as a genuine center-right political party with a clear economic vision for the future. Rokossovsky also used the opportunity to challenge Prime Minister Boskovic’s administration and to call for early Parliamentary elections.
 
In a blistering attack on the Prime Minister, Dr. Rokossovsky suggested that he was not significantly committed to the job and that he viewed the Premiership as ‘a stepping stone to a position in the federal government’. The VRV leader also highlighted the Prime Minister’s ‘extreme mismanagement of the economy’ and his ‘absolute incompetence’ regarding certain key matters of state. Citing Prime Minister Boskovic’s lack of political experience prior to being elected to the Premiership, the VRV leader suggested that ‘now is not the time for an inexperienced leader’. It is therefore, Dr. Rokossovsky suggested ‘extremely essential for the nation’ that elections be held sooner than the current expiration of the Parliamentary term. ‘The nation cannot afford seven more months of Vladimir Boskovic’s leadership’, Dr. Rokossovsky said.
 
Asked to outline his party’s vision, Dr. Rokossovsky suggested that the party would undertake the following initiatives:
-Reform of public and government institutions to maximize efficiency at all levels.
-Top to bottom reform of the Social Safety Net, including Healthcare access and state pensions.
-New limitations on the funding of political entities, and new ethical standards for politicians.
-Economic liberalization and a reduction of state presence in non-key industries.
-Reform of the tax system and revenue collection.
-Reduction of unemployment by 3.5% in the first two years.
-Judicial reforms including harsher penalties for drug trafficking and corruption.
-Increased production of public housing projects to meet demand.
-Eliminating unsustainable government subsidies.
-Overhaul of the Vaulian education system
-Restructuring the Armed Forces of the Serene Republic.
-Increasing transparency in the issuance of government contracts
-Creation of an independent Corruption investigation body separate from the police.
-Passage of legislation clarifying Right of Abode in the Serene Republic.
-Legalization of Divorce.
 
Dr. Rokossovsky spent much of his two and a half hour speech explaining how his party would implement each of the aforementioned initiatives if elected to government. He also gave a rather ambitious timeline of 5 to 7 years for all of the initiatives to be implemented.
 
The launch of the VRV could have a lasting impact on the political scene. The party’s policy platforms and its stance against the Boskovic led Slavic Unity Party (SUP) administration is proving to be popular with a number of Nationalist bloc voters. Some suggest that the VRV may be just what the Nationalists need to rejuvenate enthusiasm and to win over disaffected SUP supporters. The New Nationalist Front (NNF) and its leader Vladimir Prevalsek have welcomed the creation of another right-of-center political party and have used the opportunity to support the demand for early elections. On the other side, the Prime Minister’s Slavic Unity Party (SUP) has rebuffed the calls for early elections and has sought to challenge the criticisms leveled by Dr. Rokossovsky. The SUP has sought to shift the blame to the Parliamentary Opposition for frustrating it’s efforts at governing the country and has reminded the nation that the SUP fell short of an electoral majority in the Parliament.
 
When asked what impact the VRV would likely have on the political landscape, the SUP spokesman suggested that ‘despite all its initiatives and fancy presentations’ the VRV may end up doing nothing more than splitting the already divided Nationalist vote.
 
One thing is certain, however, the Prime Minister’s government will now face renewed pressure to call an early election over the next few weeks. The SUP government will also have to decide whether it wants to take on the VRV now, or wait six months with the possibility that the organization could gain additional support during that time. We will continue to report on these and other stories. 
 
This is Ray Porter reporting, for VNN News.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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VNN News: PM concedes after no-confidence threat, heraldic office reveals Imperator’s title
 
 
“After an initially robust refusal to hold early elections, the Prime Minister and his Slavic Unity Party (SUP) government have been forced into an embarrassing about-face by the Parliamentary opposition. While Prime Minister Boskovic insisted that his administration could continue in office for the rest of their mandate, he faced sharp criticism from the New Nationalist Front (NNF) and the Union of Patriotic Right Forces (PRF). Despite a valiant effort by the Prime Minister and his party to answer the criticisms and to rebuff the growing calls for early elections, the New Nationalist Front introduced a motion of no confidence in the government.
 
In record time, the no confidence motion was endorsed by the PRF and the government was left hanging by a thread. Without the support of any other party in the Parliament, and without a majority on it’s own, the Slavic Unity Party (SUP) was left to rely on the hope that the Party for Social Justice (PSJ) would block the motion. The Prime Minister sought to appeal directly to PSJ leader Bryon Svatek for support, even going as far as offering a cabinet reshuffle to give the PSJ three Ministerial portfolios. His emotional appeal to be allowed to finish his mandate was shot down by Mr. Svatek who responded with only eight words: ‘It is time for you to go now.’
 
With the government on the edge of implosion, the Prime Minister suddenly shifted tack and attempted to avoid being ousted by the motion of non-confidence. While on the floor of Parliament, the Prime Minister sent a request to the Office of the Imperator asking for the Parliament to be prorogued for two months to allow him to remain in office and to call an election thereafter. When the response from the Office of the Imperator came back it became clear that the Crown would not intervene as the Prime Minister requested. As the Opposition pushed for a vote on the non-confidence motion, the Prime Minister tendered his resignation to resounding cheers in the Parliament.
 
In other news, the Royal Heraldic Office (RHO) issued an official announcement ahead of the Coronation of Crown Prince Nikolas Aleksandr. In a short statement, the RHO revealed that once he is crowned, Prince Nikolas Aleksandr shall be officially referred to as:
 
“ By the Grace of God the Eternal and the Just, His Most Orthodox Royal Highness Nikolas Aleksandr, Imperator of Vaule (and her Overseas territories and Dominions), Emperor of Buryatia, Sultan of the East Ingush Peoples, King of Vancouver, Commander of the Organization of the Zodiac (and all forces assembled under her noble banner), Duke of Faronne, Knight of the Order of St. Stephen, Light of the Vaulians, Defender of the Orthodox Faith (on Earth in General, in Vaule in Particular), Custodian of the Holy Church, Co-Tsar of the Greater Russian Empire, Dei Electus et Divinum Rex. Head of the Most Serene and Noble House of Li-Guttorp-Farrone-Zenn-Peaceheart”
 
Also, the RHO revealed, that upon the Crown Prince’s coronation, Her Royal Highness Imperatrix-consort Sofia II shall lose a number of her titles and will thereafter be officially referred to as:
 
“Her Royal Highness Sofia II, Dowager Imperatrix”
 
As is customary, the RHO has circulated an official document recording the change in titles, and the new Imperial Order of Succession once Prince Nikolas Aleksandr takes the throne. In a rather unusual and curious move, however the RHO has declared the title ‘Duke of Sygh-Varthys’ as reserved. Such an action is usually only taken when the Imperial Family is expecting an addition. The move is seen as strange since the title Duke of Sygh-Varthys cannot be bestowed on anyone not of Royal birth.”-R. Porter
Edited by Imperator Azenquor

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[b][u]VNN News: Boskovic faces leadership challenge, VEC readies for election[/b][/u]
 
 
[i] “After an embarrassing defeat in the Parliament a few days ago, Prime Minister Vladimir Boskovic has faced a surprise leadership challenge from within his Slavic Unity Party (SUP). The individual behind the leadership challenge has not been named, but a spokesman for the SUP has confirmed that the individual had gained enough support to force a vote by party delegates. Prime Minister Boskovic could not be reached for comment on the developing situation.
 
Asked how the process would proceed, the SUP spokesman revealed that the leadership challenge would require an Emergency meeting of the Slavic Unity Party’s 1000 delegate General Membership Council. At this meeting, the spokesman revealed a series of votes will be held until a single candidate has obtained the support of at least 510 of the assembled delegates. When asked about the likelihood that Prime Minister Boskovic would be able to successfully see of the leadership challenge, the spokesperson expressed some nervousness but claimed that the party was ‘mostly united’ behind Mr. Boskovic and that the leadership challenge, particularly so close to the election constituted a ‘deliberate attempt to sow disunity in the party’.
 
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Vaule Revolutionary Vanguard Party (VRV) has seized on the leadership challenge as evidence of the ‘dysfunction and disunity’ within the Slavic Unity Party (SUP). In a harsh political attack ad, the VRV has asked how Prime Minister Boskovic can effectively lead the nation if he cannot effectively lead his own political party. The ad also claims that the Prime Minister would spend too much time ‘watching his back’ against further leadership challenges and not enough time tackling the nation’s problems.
 
In other news, the Vaulian Electoral Council (VEC) has revealed that it has completed all of the necessary measures in order to hold the Parliamentary elections. In a short statement released to the press this morning, the VEC revealed that it had concluded it’s pre-election checks of all electronic voting systems and has almost completed it’s general audit of all polling stations across the Serene Republic. The Electoral roll, the VEC revealed, has been continually updated since the last municipal elections one year ago and is already finalized. When asked about voter identification systems, the VEC confirmed that the recently tested Electronic Voter Identification System (ELVIS) will be used to identify eligible voters for the upcoming elections.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Gov’t pledges greater transparency, EIAC MRP proposes loyalty oath[/b][/u]
 
 
[i]“In the first press conference held by the Vaule Revolutionary Vanguard (VRV) administration, Interior Minister Filip Brankovic pledged that the new government would take ‘concrete steps to improve transparency, combat corruption and to close the distance between the people and the elected governing institutions’ during the first six months of the administration. Mr. Brankovic revealed that the Prime Minister has ordered a detailed ‘top to bottom’ audit of all governing institutions and their day-to-day operations so that the government can identify areas for greater efficiency, find methods to increase accountability and transparency and can be brought ‘fully up to speed on the financial status of each Ministry, department and agency’.
 
The drive for increased transparency will also be felt in Parliament as well. The Interior Minister revealed that all MPs will soon have their annual income tax documentation and expense claims published so that they can not only be reviewed by the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, but by the wider public as well. The government also intends to require additional information from all MPs on the assets held prior to taking office as well as detailed information on links to any private entity, NGO, or business interests. While Mr. Brankovic acknowledged that publishing the information alone will not fight corruption, he reiterates that it increases transparency by putting the information within reach of the public. He also reassured those present that the government intends to undertake a series of anti-corruption policies that will have ‘significantly more strenuous requirements’ and will have ‘sharper regulatory teeth’ for those who fail to comply.
 
On the matter of Parliamentary use of available technologies, the Interior Minister said that it was ‘an absolute disgrace’ that the full text of laws approved by the Parliament can only be obtained via a written request to the Parliamentary Archives. Instead, Mr. Brankovic suggested, the entire Parliamentary archive will be examined and digitized so that the public will have full and easy access to the full text of each bit of legislation that has been approved by Parliament. Going forward, he revealed, Parliament will establish a website with details on each Member of Parliament, each bill before Parliament and each bit of legislation approved or rejected.
 
When asked about the Prime Minister’s schedule for the first 72 hours, Interior Minister Brankovic revealed that the Prime Minister has scheduled meetings with the heads of all Autonomous Communities and the Governor of the Vancouver Territory to discuss the financial status of the various Autonomous entities, as well as a meeting with the Armed Forces Military High Command. The Prime Minister is also scheduled to travel to Novosibirsk to meet with City Council officials early tomorrow morning.
 
In other news, the first session of the East Ingushetia Regional Parliament since the last election got off to a stormy start this afternoon. After Members of the Regional Parliament (MRPs) were sworn in by the Speaker in a formal ceremony, a Vaule National Movement (VNM) MRP suggested that the Regional Parliament should consider drafting a law that would require all MRPs, civil servants and G.P.S.R. Officers in East Ingushetia to swear ‘an oath of loyalty to the Vaulian state and to the Imperator as the Monarch of the Vaulian state’ and that individuals who ‘once sought to undermine that state’ should also pledge that they have ‘halted all such treasonous activity’. The MRP claimed that individuals who fail to swear the aforementioned oath of loyalty should be barred from holding elected office in East Ingushetia or from holding crucial positions in the civil service or the police force. In response to the suggestion, Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) leader Mohammed Rashid stated that ‘such a law would constitute a thinly veiled witch hunt against the ILP and it’s supporters’ and was simply another move by the VNM to ‘solidify it’s hold on the province by pushing those opposed to Governor Bakiyev from the political scene’. Another MRP from the VNM suggested that while he was ‘concerned that such a law could be misused’ he was prepared to reserve judgment until a draft text is brought before the Regional Parliament for discussion.
 
While the Regional Parliament has only discussed the possibility of such a law being introduced, we conducted a poll in East Ingushetia asking whether or not persons would support such a law if it was passed by the Regional Parliament. The results of the poll, as expected, were significantly divided along ethnic and political lines. Among the ethnic Vaulian population surveyed, 43% would support the law, 32% would oppose it, while 25% were unsure. Among the ethnic Ingush population surveyed, 12% would support the law, 61% would oppose it, while 27% were unsure. The results are also notable when examined by political party. According to the survey results, supporters of the Vaule National Movement (VNM) would overwhelmingly support such a law (71% in favor, 22% against, 7% undecided) while supporters of the Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) would overwhelmingly oppose such a law (19% in favor, 64% against, 17% undecided).
 
To get a greater insight into the discussion, we interviewed Political analyst and former VNM insider Maria Gaznayev. We asked her if the proposal is likely to reach the stage of being introduced to the Regional Parliament and if it would pass.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

[i]“The key here is that the suggestion of this ‘loyalty oath’ was not made by the leader of the VNM in the Regional Parliament. This could indicate either one of two things. One: the leadership of the VNM has not discussed such a proposal at all, and that the suggestion came about solely at the initiative of the member who raised the subject. Or Two: the party leadership wishes to introduce a ‘loyalty oath’ but is concerned that it may not have the backing of the entire VNM or it could face a huge public backlash. So rather than having the leader, who is basking in the aftermath of a 7 seat electoral gain, introduce the controversial policy, they send out a backbench MRP to do it for them. So the MRP might very well simply be testing the waters. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some backlash against it, or if Governor Bakiyev comes out against it, the VNM would react by distancing itself from the MRP and his proposal. I suspect that we will begin to see more on this matter when the VNM is pushed to take an official  position on it.”[/i]-Maria Gaznayev

 

[i]"In other news today, Lord Dmitri Petrovic, CEO of the East Asia Company, has announced his retirement after fifteen years at the company. Lord Petrovic's tenure was marked by the rapid expansion of the company into sectors ranging from container shipping to whaling, but the last two years of his tenure was marred by a persistent corruption scandal within the Company which saw eight officials jailed and at least twenty officials reassigned to new posts. It is unclear at this time who will succeed Lord Petrovic when he retires at the end of this month, however sources suggest that his Deputy Alexei Ulyanov is the frontrunner to succeed him."[/i]-R. Porter.

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[b][u]VNN News: New Parliament Information portal online, EACo undertakes reforms[/b][/u]
 
[i]“After discussing the issue of public access to the full text of legislation in his first press conference a few days ago, Interior Minister Filip Brankovic announced today that a new Parliament Information portal has been brought online. This information portal can be accessed via the website ‘www.parl.gov.srv’ as of noon today. While the website is still under construction, the Interior Minister revealed, information on the current government and legislation now before the Parliament is entirely up to date. Mr. Brankovic noted that the digitization and sorting of all previous laws passed would take quite some time, so those areas of the website will not be complete for ‘quite some time’. Nonetheless, the Interior Minister revealed, his office has already made significant headway in the process.
 
Mr. Brankovic stated that the creation of the web portal, and the initial reform of Parliamentary administration, are the first steps in the government’s plans to increase transparency and accountability in government. He also sought to assure the public that the transparency project is not one that would be abandoned by the government before it is complete. He also pledged to keep the public informed on the status of the various projects and their implementation.
 
In other news, the East Asia Company has made a number of changes since the announced departure of CEO Lord Dmitri Petrovic. In a short statement today, the company revealed that it would no longer be involved in the weapons production and servicing industries. Instead, the company revealed, the EACo subsidiary formerly engaged in arms manufacturing would be sold to another entity or privatized. In order to do so, the East Asia Company would need the approval of the Vaulian government to transfer it’s Arms Manufacture license to the new entity. Should approval be given, the statement revealed, once the process is complete, the East Asia Company would ‘no longer employ the individuals previously employed by the defunct department’.
 
Given the nature of arms manufacturing in the Serene Republic, it is unlikely that the government would permit the Arms Manufacture license to be transferred to a wholly private entity or to a company or corporation not based in Vaule. In fact, it is being suggested that the government may consider another public-private partnership as the solution in this situation. The statement from EACo notably did not reveal how the slimmed down company would replace it’s profitable arms production department. This has sparked fears among some that the company’s profits are likely to take a multi-million dollar hit in the coming months. In fact, according to last year’s financial estimates, arms production contracts brought EACo nearly NRR$472 million.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Voting begins in Cyrantia after Autonomous Community Charter approved[/b][/u]
 
[i] “After approving an Autonomous Community Charter in a public referendum last month, the residents of the newly created Cyrantia Autonomous Community (CAC) will head to the polls again tomorrow as they elect their representatives to the government of the Autonomous Community. Under the terms of the Autonomous Community Charter, the Cyrantian Autonomous Community shall elect a 50 member Regional Parliament to manage the affairs of the Cyrantian people. Notably, unlike the Novaya Zemlya Autonomous Community, the Regional Governor of the CAC will not be directly elected by the voters. Instead the Regional Governor will be appointed from the political party or parties that control the majority of the seats in the Regional Parliament.
According to the Vaule Electoral Council, two political parties have successfully registered to appoint candidates to stand for election to the Regional Parliament. The first party, the Cyrantia Conservative Party (CCP) is a slightly center right political party that has campaigned predominantly on social issues. The second party, which registered only last week, is the Cyrantia Liberal Party (CLP) which is a center-left party which describes itself as being ‘Social Democratic’ and has campaigned on purely economic issues. The two parties have already announced their slate of 50 candidates and are in the home stretch of campaigning ahead of tomorrow’s voting.
 
Once the election is over, the new Regional Parliament will be tasked with appointing the Regional Governor and approving a regional flag and coat of arms to represent the Cyrantian Autonomous Community. Work also needs to be done to upgrade infrastructure and transportation systems in the region, which will need to be coordinated by the Regional Government. To aid in this effort, the Vaulian Prime Minister Rokossovsky has announced that the Ministry of Transport will be allocating NRR$2.8 million to start the repair and upgrading of the transport network in Cyrantia. Further funding will be available once the Regional Government is able to begin collecting revenue.
 
In other news, the prostitutes’ union (P.R.O.S.S.I.E.) has expressed alarm at reports of non-union members offering their services illegally at prices significantly lower than those agreed upon by the union. The union has strongly condemned the illegal activity and has urged the police to take appropriate action against the lawbreakers. The union president also sought to remind the public that all members of the union have an easily identifiable Identification card which must be produced upon request. Individuals who are not in possession of this card, may not be members of the organization. The organization will also be holding it’s annual meeting later this month.
 
In the East Ingushetia Autonomous Community (EIAC), days after the suggestion of a controversial loyalty oath by a Vaule National Movement (VNM) MRP, the Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) has decided to once again raise the controversial issue of the ban on headscarves in the province. The ban, which was passed by the Regional Parliament nearly 14 years ago and was reinforced by approval in a public referendum 8 years ago, is still law in East Ingushetia. The ILP has decided to raise the issue of the ban and its infringing on the rights of observant Muslim women as a core issue for the current Regional Parliament to address. The party has also signaled that it is prepared to take legal action to have the ban declared unconstitutional should the need arise. 
 
The revived campaign by the ILP will likely gain significant traction with the public, but that traction will not likely transfer to the Regional Parliament where the Vaule National Movement has a solidly comfortable majority and where the Regional Governor is staunchly in favor of the ban.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Prostitutes on strike, CAC Election results[/b][/u]
 
[i]“Several days of negotiation between the Bureau of Special Services (BSS) and the Prostitutes’ Representative Organization for Security, Social Investment and Entrepreneurship (PROSSIE) have ended without a conclusive agreement to address a number of issues raised by the union. The BSS, which under the Legalization of Prostitution Act is the sole entity licensed to manage all jobs covered under the now defunct Prohibition of Immorality Act, had been locked in negotiations with representatives of PROSSIE since last week. According to a press release from the BSS, those meetings occurred after PROSSIE raised objections with what it termed the BSS’s failure to sanction non-union members who were illegally engaged in the trade and to certain aspects of the mandatory healthcare requirement enforced by the BSS.
 
Under the terms of the law creating the BSS, and by extension PROSSIE, all individuals participating in the trade must be registered with the BSS and members of the union. Individuals who do not meet this requirement, yet attempt to participate in the trade, should be slapped with a 30 day jail sentence and a fine of approximately NRR$700,000. According to the spokesperson for PROSSIE, hundreds of non-members have been engaged in the trade despite not possessing registration documents with the BSS as required by law. This, the spokesperson argues, infringes upon the ability of law abiding members to ply their trade without unfair and illegal competition by individuals seeking to ‘undercut the standards agreed upon between the union and the BSS’. The spokesperson also revealed that the union holds the BSS as being primarily responsible for the situation as it has thus far failed to report the offenders to the authorities. The BSS has countered that allegation by stating that it considers the situation a ‘law and order’ issue and that the duty falls to the Guardians of the Peace of the Serene Republic (G.P.S.R.) to track down and arrest the offenders.
 
Adding to the friction between the union and the BSS, is the issue of health insurance. According to the standards agreed by the BSS, all individuals are required to have health insurance that meets the minimum standards set out by the organization’s guiding principles. However, the BSS guidelines prohibit members from accessing group health insurance plans and instead requires each individual to purchase their own health insurance. While PROSSIE has consistently called for its members to be allowed to sign on to a group health insurance plan, the BSS has balked at allowing them to do so. According to a statement from the union, while negotiations were underway, it was discovered that all administrative employees of the BSS receive subsidized health insurance as a part of an organization wide healthcare plan. PROSSIE offered the suggestion that it’s members could be permitted to sign up for that plan, but the proposal was rejected outright. After a careful consideration of all of the issues, the spokesperson revealed, the union has taken the decision to withdraw the services of it’s members for the next 16 days and to suspend negotiations with the BSS until that time. In the interest of resolving the situation, the spokesperson continued, the union would be meeting with the Minister of Labor and asking for his intervention in the dispute.
 
In other news, the Cyrantia Autonomous Community (CAC) has it’s first elected government since it joined the Serene Republic of Vaule. The last of the ballots were counted last night, and the results of the election certified by the Vaule Electoral Council (VEC) this morning. According to the VEC, with a turnout of 61.82% of eligible voters, the Cyrantia Conservative Party (CCP) won 54% of the vote while the Cyrantia Liberal Party (CLP) won 45%. This result gives the CCP a majority of 2 seats in the Cyrantia Regional Parliament for a total of 27 seats, while the CLP will hold the remaining 23 seats in the 50 seat legislature.
 
With the results certified, the Regional Parliament is expected to meet as early as tomorrow morning to appoint the province’s Regional Governor and to begin discussions on the symbols of the province and the creation of additional regional institutions. The Autonomous Community will also benefit from a planned government infrastructure project which could see hundreds of thousands of rubles in support to projects in the province over then next two years.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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VNN News: PROSSIE strike continues, Gov’t awards Arms license
 
 
“The Bureau of Special Services (BSS) has confirmed that all of its employees who are members of PROSSIE remain on strike at this time. The current strike has now lasted for seventeen days and shows no sign of nearing resolution. The strike was called by the prostitute’s union over the alleged failure of the BSS to act against unregistered prostitutes and it’s unwillingness to negotiate over healthcare plans for the members of the union. The Ministry of Labor has intervened in the dispute and is holding negotiations with representatives from both sides. These negotiations have yet to achieve a conclusive result and there are few details on the substance of the negotiations. A spokesperson for the Labor Ministry confirmed that the negotiations are continuing and that both sides are sitting around the negotiating table and attempting to hammer out a deal. When asked how long the union would have it’s members on strike, the Labor Ministry directed us to contact the union itself.
 
We reached out to a spokesperson for PROSSIE, who confirmed that negotiations are underway but reiterated that the strike would last for ‘as long as is necessary’ for the demands of the workers to be met. Adding further tension to the already tense situation, the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Special Services (BSS) was covertly recorded stating that the organization should ‘contemplate firing a handful’ of the striking PROSSIE members in order to ‘create a better atmosphere for negotiations’.
 
In other news, the Vaulian Government today announced that it has awarded the state’s sole arms manufacture license to the newly created VaulTech Industries (VTI) This license means that the VTI will be the sole entity licensed to produce local armaments for the Vaulian Army and the sole entity permitted to import and export weaponry within the Serene Republic of Vaule. The company is a 60-40 partnership between the Vaulian Government and the private company VaulTech Research Company (VTRC) under the leadership of Dr. Maximillian Vladimirovich Reaver (ret. Gen.).
 
Prior to the award of the license, the government ordered a battery of tests to be conducted on all employees assigned to work with the new firm, and even Dr. Reaver himself, in order to determine who should be qualified to handle key data and information. Once the tests were completed to the satisfaction of the government and Military Intelligence, the license was officially granted. Wasting no time Dr. Reaver has already arranged meetings with key civilian and military officials to discuss arms maintenance and the provision of new equipment. VaulTech officials have also held preliminary meetings with officials from the East Asia Company which previously held the arms license."-R. Porter
 
VauleArmsCo_zps83b44f20.png
-VaulTech Industries flag
Edited by Imperator Azenquor

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[b][u]Turnip Times: A few grumpy old men, and the Tanzanian Mumba Jumba![/b][/u]
 
 
[i]”Hello television viewers. No need to adjust your sets, no need to change the channel. Thanks to an abundance of alcohol and an opening in the programming timeslot, the Turnip Times is now a half hour show as well as a newpaper. We will do our best to summarize the important events across the globe as only we at the Turnip Times can. We’re your hosts Jim & Tim Denisov. Now without further ado, let’s begin.
 
At the Vatican today a large group of grumpy old men have gathered to elect the next Grumpy Pensioner in Chief or Pope as his supporters will call him. The various frontrunners are only distinguished by their proximity to the afterlife.”[/i]-Jim
 
[i]“Perhaps one could say it’s a contest to see who is nearest to God?”[/i]-Tim
 
[i]“Which reminds me Tim, if God is all-knowing, then why does their need to be a conclave? Shouldn’t God simply anoint the Papal successor?”[/i]-Jim
 
[i]“Sure Tim, but maybe God’s an undecided voter. I for one hope the next Pope chooses the name Vader, or Voldemort.”[/i]-Tim
 
[i]“In other news, the Tanzanian government appears to have brought down the holy, unfiltered and apocalyptic wrath of the Athenian Federation upon itself. So it looks like the Tanzanian Jumba has turned out to be a lot more of a Mumba Jumba after all.”[/i]-Jim
 
[i] “Well, ladies and gentlemen. That’s all we have time for today. Join us again next week at the same time, unless we’ve already been cancelled by then. This is Jim & Tim Denisov reporting for the Turnip Times. Turnip Times: Vaule’s sarcastic official news source since 1492”[/i]-Tim
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Palace announces arrival of new Prince, PM announces marathon Parliament sessions[/b][/u]

 

 

[i]"The Imperial Palace today surprised much of the nation by announcing the birth of a new Prince. The announcement was particularly surprising in light of the Palace not announcing or otherwise suggesting that Her Royal Highness the Imperatrix-consort was expecting. The newborn Prince has also acquired the title Duke of Sygh-Varthys which was placed in reserve by the Royal Heraldic Office (RHO) two months ago. The statement from the Palace read as follows:[/i]

 

On behalf of [b]Her Royal Highness Sofiya II, Dowager Imperatrix[/b], the Imperial Palace hereby announces the birth of [b]His Royal Highness Prince Pyotr Sforza[/b], named in honour of his late father His Most Orthodox Royal Highness Imperator Pyotr.
 
Pursuant to Imperial Law, the Order of Succession to the Throne has been amended. Additionally, the Royal Heraldic Office (RHO) has announced that the newborn prince shall be referred to as:
 
[b]His Royal Highness Prince Pyotr Sforza, Prince of Vaule and Buryatia, Duke of Sygh-Varthys, Princeps

Nobilis et Regius Stellata[/b]

 
[i]Prime Minister Rokossovsky has congratulated the Imperatrix-consort on behalf of the government and has wished both the Dowager Imperatrix and the newborn Prince the best.
 
In other news, Prime Minister Rokossovsky has announced that his government has completed it's initial audits since taking office and that several matters of 'significant concern' have been uncovered. The Prime Minister's office is remaining tight lipped on the details, but we understand that additional investigations have now been launched by the Interior and Finance Ministries. Additionally, the Prime Minister has requested that the Speaker of Parliament hold three marathon 12 hour Parliamentary sessions in order to allow the government to have sufficient time to introduce a 'plethora of new legislation' and to have that legislation debated and approved as soon as possible. While the Prime Minister's office has not revealed how many bills it plans to bring to the floor during the marathon sessions, a source close to the Parliament Speaker has suggested that the government will introduce a record breaking 15 bills during the first marathon session.
 
Seemingly predicting Opposition allegations of the Prime Minister using his supermajority as a rubber stamp for his policies, the Prime Minister's request suggested that the three sessions be at least one week apart to permit all members of Parliament and the public to carefully scrutinize the planned legislation. Nonetheless the Slavic Unity Party (SUP) has accused the government of attempting to 'bury' the Opposition under paperwork to 'distract' them while they 'undertake their true agenda'.
 
The Office of the Speaker of Parliament has confirmed receiving the Prime Minister's request and has confirmed that the Speaker does not oppose the request."[/i]-R. Porter
 

 

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[b][u]VNN News: PROSSIE strike ends, first marathon Parliament session to be held tomorrow[/b][/u]
 
 
[i]“After a two and a half week long strike which crippled much of the prostitution industry, the sole legal union representing prostitutes has struck a deal with the Bureau of Special Services to resolve the key issues of dispute. According to a joint statement released by the union president and the Director of the Bureau of Special Services (BSS), the agreement was reached after ‘careful negotiation and deliberations between the parties to address the key matters at the heart of the dispute’ and the strike has been officially called off.
 
Under the terms of the deal, the Bureau of Special Services shall offer all members of PROSSIE a rebate of an undisclosed percentage of the fees they pay monthly to the BSS. This rebate, the statement revealed will permit the members of the union to obtain their own private healthcare at less direct cost to them. Under the previous arrangement, the union members would be required to take out their own private healthcare plans and pay for them entirely out of pocket. While the union initially demanded that it’s members should be placed on the same health plan that is offered to administrators and civil servants, the union president stated that the agreement was ‘an acceptable compromise’. On the thorny issue of unlicensed individuals plying the trade without membership in the union or without the necessary registration with the BSS, the organization and the union have agreed that ‘in principle’ it is mostly a police matter, however the BSS has pledged to vigorously urge the Guardians of the Peace of the Serene Republic (G.P.S.R.) to actively pursue such individuals. To ease the process, the deal also mentions that the BSS will share it’s database of BSS registered union members with the police to allow them to immediately detect unregistered practitioners.
 
In other news, the first of the marathon Parliament sessions requested by Prime Minister Rokossovsky has been scheduled for tomorrow morning. Instead of the usual schedule, the Parliament will meet for a record-breaking 12 hour session in order for the government to introduce several ‘vitally important pieces of legislation’. The Prime Minister has assured members that none of the legislation introduced will be put to a vote during the same session that it is first presented to the house, in order to ensure that members have a chance to debate the legislation and to study it closely. Despite these assurances, a handful of Opposition MPs have accused the government of using it’s overwhelming supermajority to stifle debate and to ‘force through a barrage of legislation early on in the Parliamentary term’.
 
Also in the news, the Regional Parliament of the East Ingushetia Autonomous Community (EIAC) today rejected an Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) introduced motion to lift the ban on the Islamic headscarf or hijab in the Autonomous Community. The measure was swiftly defeated by the Vaule National Movement (VNM) MRPs who countered the initiative by announcing a proposed new law that would extend the headscarf ban from public places and government buildings to universities, schools, airports, hospitals and private businesses. Under the proposed law, it would also be illegal for an individual to wear an Islamic headscarf when taking a picture for any form of Identification document or drivers’ license. The VNM has presented the bill as being a ‘necessary initiative to halt the spread of Islamism and Sharia throughout the province’ while the ILP has denounced the move as being ‘a blatant attempt to suppress religious freedom and to undermine the personal liberty of members of the Muslim faith’.
 
When asked to comment, Regional Governor General Artim Bakiyev would not state whether or not he supported the proposed bill, but would only say that if the bill was approved he would consider signing it into law.”[/i] – R. Porter
 

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[b][u]Turnip Times: Elektion Specialski![/b][/u]
 
 
[i] “Ladies and gentlemen, it is once again election season. When for a single week, every politician in the country will be simultaneously bending over backwards to gain your vote only to immediately forget that you exist the day after they are sworn in. But not to worry, friends we at Turnip Times will cover all of the election excitement with our new and improved Elektion Specialski! So grab a crate of vodka and pull up a chair as we make mundane election politics fun.
 
We at Elektion Specialski have crunched the numbers and twisted the figures in order to predict the election results. According to our 99.5% accurate research, there will be 10% less voter fraud this time around. Bad news for United Russia I’d say. Also we predict that the government will be switching to picture only ballots for the literacy-impaired among us, a move that would double the support for the Communist Party of Russia. Nonetheless, our prediction is that the other greedy bastards will defeat the incumbent greedy bastards with 60% of the vote. We can also predict that Antonio the Chicken will be returned as the Duma Member for Novaya Zemlya South-east, and a vegetable with a remarkably rude shape will be elected as Speaker of the Duma.
 
That is all from us here at Elektion Specialski, and don’t forget! Don’t vote, because for every vote you cast it gives some poor mid level official an additional ballot to change to ensure the correct result!”[/i]
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Duma Elections over, new gov’t formed[/b][/u]
 
[i]“Despite a sharp decline in support for the United Russia party, the leadership team of Kropotkin and Boskovic have still managed to hang on. The party lost its clear majority in the Duma, but remained a strong force on the political scene. While the Russian Fatherland Party benefitted significantly from the swing against United Russia, they were unable to translate that swing into an outright majority in the Duma. Sensing an opportunity, Prime Minister Boskovic quickly negotiated a coalition agreement with the Meritocratic Socialist Party (MSP) and a memorandum of understanding with the Communist party.
 
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Cabinet positions will be divided between United Russia and the Meritocratic Socialists, and the Communist party will agree not to defeat the government on budget and finance votes for a two and a half year period. In exchange for this, the United Russia led coalition will agree to postpone a handful of controversial labor law reforms opposed by the Communists.
 
A few political analysts believe that the Prime Minister has gambled with his new coalition deal and that he overlooked the prospect of a ‘natural supercoalition’ with the Russian Fatherland Party.”[/i] –R. Porter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Local Elections due, archaeologists unearth treasure trove[/b][/u]
 
 
[i] “After a two year term in office, the various local and municipal officials that collectively constitute the Local government of the Serene Republic of Vaule will once again have to turn to the electorate to seek renewed mandates. With elections due in less than three weeks, Mayors and City councilors alike are already on the campaign trail seeking to shore up support ahead of the vote.
 
Despite an upswing in voter turnout in municipal elections after the creation of the ‘Party Front’ Municipal system of two party municipal government, voter interest in municipal elections remains only lukewarm. Municipal campaigns, the Mayor of Novosibirsk revealed, do not garner as much attention or enthusiasm as their national and federal counterparts. Mayor Boris Denisov (C-Novosibirsk) knows this all too well. Asked to comment on why there is such muted interest, Mayor Denisov revealed that often times the national level Members of Parliament are the ones who reap the electoral benefits of actions undertaken by various City Councilors and Mayors. Also, the Mayor suggested, in the event of an issue with local parking, local financing or traffic collection, the public is usually quick to blame the municipal government.
 
Despite the voter apathy, polls suggest that Mayor Denisov should cruise to re-election as he is polling 71%, far ahead of his Liberal Faction rival at 15%. The Novosibirsk City Council on the other hand has a sufficient number of tossup seats to permit either faction to win control of the Council.
 
In other news, a group of archaeologists made an interesting discovery while digging through ruins in the Baikal Autonomous Community. The archaeologists were investigating a site north of Ulan-Ude where two citizens found the remains of a 17th century clay jar when they discovered the remains of an ancient fortress. The team of archaeologists began immediate excavations in the area and discovered a sealed chamber underneath the remains of the fortress. According to the archaeologists, the chamber contains ‘extremely well preserved artifacts’ which are being carefully catalogued and analysed.”[/i]-R. Porter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Marathon Parliament session begins, Opposition cries foul[/b][/u]
 
 
[i]“The first of the planned 12 hour marathon Parliament sessions got underway early this morning in Sygh-Varthys. At 6:00am the 651 Members of Parliament filed into the Chamber and waited for the opening speech by the Speaker of Parliament before the session officially got underway. Wasting no time, Prime Minister Rokossovsky addressed the Parliament outlining the urgent need to pass a torrent of new legislation and called on the Parliament to carefully examine, amend and debate each bill before the house and reminded the MPs present that it was their ‘Constitutional duty’ to draft, debate, and vote on legislation.
 
After his opening address, the Prime Minister then simultaneously introduced the first two bills to Parliament. The first bill, titled the [b]Death Penalty reform act[/b], seeks to expand the number of serious criminal offenses which warrant the death penalty while simultaneously creating a provision to allow the granting of suspended death sentences in certain cases. The proposed law also updates the previous statute to include acts of Cyber-terrorism as criminal offenses. The bill has been met with vocal opposition from human rights groups and from the Parliamentary Opposition who term it ‘unnecessary and cruel’ to expand the use of the death penalty.
 
The second bill introduced by the Prime Minister was the National Identification Card Act. This act would create a new system of biometric national ID cards to be held by every Russian citizen who holds Right of Abode in the Serene Republic of Vaule. The measure led to immediate howls of protest from the Opposition. The Shadow Minister of the Interior announced in his contribution to the debate that the government was ‘using its supermajority to force through changes at an authoritarian pace’ and that the provision in the law requiring eligible individuals to acquire the new ID cards or face fines was ‘a violation of a citizen’s fundamental right’. Other Opposition MPs raised concerns about the amount of information that would be stored on the cards and how that information would be secured to prevent its misuse.
 
After initial debates on the first to bills, and after several proposed Opposition amendments were shot down, the Minister of the Interior made a short presentation to Parliament before introducing the third and fourth bills on the government’s to do list. The third bill, titled the [b]Law governing the dissolution of marriage[/b] would officially legalize divorce in the Serene Republic. The historic bill would strike down a series of three prior laws, the latest dating back to 1991, which prohibited divorce and remarriage for any reason. The government’s move to legalize divorce has breathed new life into a political and social issue which has laid dormant since the approval of a non-binding referendum calling for the legalization of divorce in 2004. Surprisingly, the Opposition expressed vocal support for the measure and has vowed that it will be approved ‘near unanimously’ by Parliament when brought to a vote.
 
The Interior Minister also proposed a law that would make voting in federal, municipal and national elections mandatory for every individual of voting age who has been duly registered to vote. The proposed bill would impose a nominal fine for individuals who refuse to vote.
 
As the Parliament continued to debate the various bills before them and to suggest alternatives, the Prime Minister sought to make it clear to those assembled that the Parliament would not be permitted to ‘drag it’s feet on these issues’ and that the government will use it’s majority to move the bills forward to their second review phase at the end of the current twelve hour session. The Prime Minister also surprised a number of MPs present when he stated that Parliament will be required to hold a vote on all of the legislation introduced today at the end of tomorrow’s 12 hour session. The Opposition denounced the Prime Minister’s plan and have alleged that the government is seeking to push legislation quickly through Parliament to avoid ‘an adequate level of scrutiny and oversight’. The government, on the other hand, has flatly rejected the allegation that it has done anything untoward. When asked by an Opposition MP during the question period, what the government would do if the Opposition simply withdrew from the marathon Parliament sessions, the Prime Minister replied that the government would simply pass the laws anyway and that there was a ‘clear reason why the Vaulian electorate saw fit to give us a clear 2/3 majority’ of the seats in Parliament.
 
With the governing Nationalist coalition holding 80% of the seats in the Parliament and the Opposition Slavic Unity Party (SUP) holding the rest, there is not much the Opposition can do to block the passage of key legislation. Legislation requiring majority approval, analysts note, could be approved by the Vaule Revolutionary Vanguard without the support of it’s coalition partner.[/i]-Reporter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: ‘Actions not rhetoric’, East Ingushetia revisits loyalty oath[/b][/u]
 
 
[i]“The first marathon session of Parliament ended minutes ago. A twelve hour long sitting of Parliament was held in which the government introduced a barrage of new legislation in a variety of areas. Since our last news update, the government has introduced legislation to create a new, independent anti-corruption agency, to reform the national tax system by adjusting rates and eliminating a handful of ‘unnecessary taxes’, and new legislation to set the personal income tax bands for the next fiscal year. The Minister of Finance spearheaded the current round of legislation and stated that it would be only the beginning of a long and arduous process to reform the ‘bureaucratic disaster’ which is the Vaulian tax system.
 
Under the proposed new laws, corporate taxes would be slashed from 26% to a record low of 15% as an initiative to give businesses a bit more fiscal space. Value added tax (VAT) will also be brought down from 15.2% to 8%. Notably, however, the Uncontrolled Reproduction Tax (URT) will rise to 4.5% from 3.2% and the Conscription Avoidance tax will jump from 53.9% to 63%. The Finance Minister has defended the changes as being a necessary part of a new overhaul that ‘changes how we generate revenue by adjusting what we tax and at what rates rather than simply creating a raft of new taxes to cover budget shortfalls’. In his speech the Finance Minister also criticized the previous Slavic Unity Party (SUP) administration for ‘failing to address the situation despite having a clear opportunity to do so’.
 
With the new income tax bands, almost all income levels will see marginal tax increases next fiscal year. If approved by Parliament, individuals who make $90k-$200k a year will have their tax rate decline for the next financial year. According to the Minister of Finance, the new tax bands and the new tax rates will lay the foundation for the government’s new budget which will be presented next month. In an unusual move for the Finance Ministry, the tax band rates and the new income tax rates for the next fiscal year have been brought before Parliament an entire month before the introduction of the budget. Additionally, the Finance Ministry has declined to publish the estimated government revenue from the new taxes and the new tax rates.
 
In other news, the Regional Parliament of the East Ingushetia Autonomous Community (EIAC) will reconsider a previously rejected proposal to require all Members of the Regional Parliament, civil servants and police officers in East Ingushetia to swear an oath of loyalty to the Vaulian state and to the Imperator and his heirs or be removed from their positions. The idea to require such an oath was first suggested by an MRP in the Vaulian National Movement (VNM) party months ago, however at the time the idea received only lukewarm reception. However with increased concern about separatist activity and unconfirmed rumors linking separatists to the assassination of the late Imperator Pyotr, the VNM has re-evaluated the idea. 
 
According to a spokesperson for the VNM, the issue was revisited after a preliminary draft of the proposed loyalty oath legislation was drafted and circulated among party MRPs. The party sought legal advice and discussed the proposed legislation with Governor Artim Bakiyev. Governor Bakiyev concluded that ‘any individual in the province who does not swear allegiance to the Serene Republic of Vaule and to the Imperator’ has no right to sit in the Regional Parliament or to serve in the police force in the province. The Regional Governor was also quick to caution that the legislation would only target certain key positions for which loyalty to the state would not be ‘an excessive or unreasonable demand’. The Opposition Ingush Liberal Party (ILP) has opposed the proposal and has called it ‘a thinly veiled attempt to once again push the Muslim residents of the province to the fringe of the political space’. The ILP leader Mohammed Abdul Rashid openly expressed his concern that the proposed loyalty oath could be used for political ‘persecution’ and could be easily expanded to include other professions.
 
While not weighing in on the debate, Prime Minister Rokossovsky’s office has released a statement saying that the Prime Minister is ‘watching the situation in the East Ingushetia Autonomous Community (EIAC) closely’ and that the Prime Minister will meet with Governor Bakiyev tomorrow to discuss the situation. [/i]-Reporter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Imperial assassin trial to begin, East Asia Co faces uncertain future[/b][/u]
 
 
[i] “Two years after the shocking assassination of the late Imperator Pyotr, his assassin will finally face justice. Despite being arrested at the scene of the crime, the Imperial assassin Makarov has yet to be brought before a judge or to have access to legal representation. According to a spokesperson for the State Prosecutor, it was decided upon his arrest to hold Makarov without a hearing given the nature of the crime committed and the prospect of Makarov having co-conspirators in his criminal action. The State Prosecutor’s office was also concerned that due to Makarov’s role within the Office of the Imperator it would pose a serious security risk to proceed through the normal channels without completing an exhaustive investigation first. The State Prosecutor also noted that it was unclear at the time of his detention whether Makarov would face a military or civilian trial.
 
With the concerns raised, the State Prosecutor sought and obtained from the Supreme Court permission to detain Makarov for a period of one year while the investigation was underway. This permission was renewed for a second year when unspecified information was brought to the attention of the Court. Once the investigation was concluded and evidence secured, the Supreme Court withdrew the permission and set a date for Makarov’s trial to begin. Neither the court nor the State Prosecutor’s office is willing to comment on the evidence or information which led to the renewal of the detention order.
 
According to a statement from the Supreme Court, Makarov’s trial will begin in three days’ time and an initial hearing will be held tomorrow morning. At this hearing, the Court revealed, Makarov will be given access to legal representation and be permitted to indicate whether or not he will enter a guilty plea. In a historic move, the Supreme Court will permit some aspects of the trial to be televised provided that doing so does not reveal state secrets, classified information or information which may not legally enter the public domain.
 
Despite many individuals remaining tight lipped about the details of the assassination and the post assassination investigation, an unnamed source within the Office of the Imperator suggested to us that the granting of the extended detention occurred because it was proven that Makarov had links to a terrorist organization. This intelligence, our source claims, led the G.P.S.R. and the military to mount a joint operation which detained at least one co-conspirator and several other terrorists.
 
In other news, the East Asia Company is facing an uncertain future after Parliament moved to withdraw the company’s license to extract oil and natural gas in the Serene Republic. The license withdrawal, which was brought before Parliament today, means that the East Asia Company (EACo) will be required to wrap up current oil extraction operations and prepare to hand them over to a yet unnamed third party. The company will also face a crisis of viability as it loses one of it’s key revenue earners that has brought billions of Rubles into it’s coffers for the last few years. The company will also take a financial hit as it is required to put up a portion of the funding required to complete the wrap up of current extraction operations.
 
The East Asia Company could potentially withstand the loss of it’s oil revenue if it can rapidly downsize and shift it’s primary focus to its profitable shipping and transit business. The company’s leadership will also have to re-evaluate several programs and departments as it seeks to reorient the company. Regardless of the CEO’s best efforts however, it is almost universally expected that EACo shares will sharply decline when the stock market opens for trading tomorrow.[/i]-Reporter
 

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[b][u]VNN News: Gov’t announces privatizations[/b][/u]
 
[i] “After weeks of government discussion on privatization initiatives, the VRV led government has unveiled the first list of state run companies which will either be partially or entirely privatized during the next fiscal year. According to the Prime Minister, who introduced the privatization legislation in Parliament, the government should focus on governing and not on ‘running or overseeing the running of dozens of businesses’. In his address, Prime Minister Rokossovsky cited the failed privatization efforts of the first Potusek administration and claimed that the failure of that government to move forward with privatization was due to ‘obstructionism from the left and cowardice from the right’. The Prime Minister cited the current governing majority and the coalition supermajority as being a ‘historic opportunity’ to finally act on privatization.
 
Countering Opposition arguments, the Prime Minister stated that the government’s decision to proceed does not suggest that all state entities will be privatized or that the government will attempt to privatize pensions or healthcare during the process. He also urged the public to see beyond the rhetoric and to examine the impact of unprofitable state run businesses on the national budget and to understand that it is the taxpayer who has to foot the bill to keep these entities afloat.
 
According to the legislation before Parliament, the government will, within the course of the next fiscal year, sell the majority of it’s share in several companies including:
 
-Vaule Power Company (VPCo)
-Vaule Postal Service (VPS)
-Vaule Rail Co (VRCo)
-Vaulian Airways
 
According to the current law, the government has set a target of only 10% shares in the aforementioned companies by the end of the next fiscal year. Despite unveiling the initiative, and vowing to see it through to completion, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister have declined to predict exactly how much money the government will save from the privatization initiative.”[/i]-Reporter
 

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VNN News: Gov’t indicates that new state-owned oil company to be created
 
“The torrent of new legislation continues as Parliament begins it’s second marathon 12 hour session today. While previously introduced legislation was moved to it’s second draft phase, the government also used the opportunity to introduce even more legislation to Parliament. After the surprising withdrawal of the East Asia Company’s oil license, the government unveiled another surprise by introducing a bill to create a completely state owned oil company.
 
The new company, called the Vaule National Petroleum Company (VNPC), would take over the oil and natural gas extraction processes currently held by the East Asia Company and a handful of it’s smaller subsidiaries. The company would be entirely state owned and subject to a handful of new regulations and guidelines. The new organization would devote it’s entire focus to the extraction and management of oil and natural gas, unlike the East Asia Company which had a variety of wide ranging and somewhat unrelated business operations.
 
While still not officially commenting on the reasons for withdrawing the license granted to EACo, government officials took pains to add into the new legislation that the VNPC would need to make ‘effective use’ of the country’s oil resources. This has prompted speculation that EACo may have, for an unknown reason, set oil production quotas below levels that the government was comfortable with. If indeed this occurred, and the company declined to raise said quotas, then it is entirely possible that the government would opt to withdraw the license as a last resort. The move is particularly damaging after the company gave up it’s arms production division as well.
 
While the legislation is still being debated, it’s passage is widely assured. Despite the mystery surrounding some of this corporate drama, most analysts have shifted from speculating about the future of the East Asia Company to attempting to guess who the first CEO of VNPC will be and how quickly would the new company be able to step in and ramp up production.”-Reporter
 
 
 

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