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A place to put national factbooks, embassy exchanges, and other information regarding the nations of the world. [In character]
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Postby Estmere » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:53 pm

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ESTMERE WILL CONTINUE PUSH FOR ACTION AGAINST ETRURIA DESPITE PARTIAL LIFT OF LE MONDE BAN

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Prime Minister Richardson warned that a continued ban of Le Monde online was "intolerable".
Ashcombe, Estmere - The Estmerish Government will continue to push for action against Etruria by the Euclean Community and International Council for Democracy despite the lift of a ban on the circulation of Le Monde's Etrurian print edition, Prime Minister Richard Rupertson said.

Le Monde, which was previously barred from distributing its Etrurian-print edition and had its Etrurian-language website blocked by the government of First Citizen Francesco Carcaterra, was given permission to continue circulation of its printed editions yesterday. Etrurian Foreign Minister Adriano Vinci said the ban was lifted in order the "hopes of maintaining cordial relations with neighbours". The Gaullican-based Le Monde, which is partially owned by the Gaullican Government, had its print and online editions banned after it refused to comply with a government request to remove a story reporting on Etrurian war crimes during the Solarian War. War crimes allegations were criminalized by the National Dignity Act, which was passed earlier this month. News outlets that report on war crimes allegations can face a fine and further punishment for reporting on the subject.

The apparent u-turn came after heavy pressure from the Euclean Community, which was quick to defend Le Monde and the right to a free press. EC President Alexis Walker indicated that she had directed the Euclean Commission to work closely with the Euclean Council in order to draft sanctions against Etrurian government officials in response.

However, it seems the Carcaterra Government was unwilling to confront the EC over the issue and has stood down, while moving to save some face by maintaining the ban on Le Monde's website until the article at the center of the dispute is removed. Thus far Le Monde has consistently refused to remove the article.

Prime Minister Rupertson indicated that the Euclean states will continue to seek punishment of Etrurian for the ban.

"While [the lift of the ban on] Le Monde's printed edition is certainty progress and a step in the right direction, the continued policy of blocking Le Monde's website must come to an end" he said.

"So long as this ban remains in place, the EC will pursue reasonable, retaliatory measures against the Etrurian government. The free and fair press is the cornerstone of the democratic process. Not only has the Etrurian government show consistent disregard for the Etrurian free press, it has now waged direct warfare against the Euclean free press. This will not be tolerated in any form".

The delegations of Estmere, Gaullica, and Werania to the ICD are expected to introduce a measure to condemn the Etrurian government for the Le Monde ban.

"Until the ban is fully lifted, we must continue to pursue action against the Etrurian government for its flagrant attempts to undermine the free press" Estmere's permanent representative to the ICD, Simon Carlson, said in a statement jointly issued with the representatives from Gaullica and Werania.

The ICD is also set to debate the Etrurian government's suppression of student demonstrators, which saw several deaths and significant violence.

The Rupertson government has traditionally been hesitant to pursue action against Etruria, opting for a more conciliatory approach. However, it appears the government remains committed to action against Etruria for moving against Le Monde.

The EC has also indicated it intends to proceed with sanctions against Etrurian officials "unless the Le Monde ban is totally lifted", according to High Commissioner Tereza Řezníček. Specifics are expected to be unveiled by the Euclean Council in the coming days.

An emergency meeting of the Euclean Conference that was said to be called by President Walker is also "likely to be cancelled" said one senior commissioner.

Mr. Rupertson is expected to travel to Kesselbourg later this week to meet with Ms. Walker and senior EC officials to discuss the Etrurian situation.



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Postby Estmere » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:54 pm

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EC UNVEILS NEW SANCTIONS FOLLOWING ICD VOTE TO CONDEMN ETRURIA OVER LE MONDE BAN, STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS

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EC Foreign Director Toryd Hæsaug praised the new sanctions published by the Euclean Council while in Florena.
Kesselbourg Kity, Kesselbourg - The Eulcean Council has published a new round of sanctions it is recommending be put in place against Etrurian government officials. The sanctions are in retaliation for the ban of Le Monde's Etrurian language site and violence used against student demonstrators, both in relation to the newly enacted Etrurian law known as the National Dignity Act. The law bans discussion of war crimes allegations made against Etruria during the Solarian War, resulting in consequences for academics and the press alike.

The Chair of the Euclean Council, Alexandru Verean, said the sanctions were "another measure of accountability" and warned that, should the Etruria government continue to "act against democratic principles" or "further antagonize the EC", more sanctions will follow.

The sanctions target government officials, many of which are from the ruling Tribune Movement, for their role in the Le Monde ban or crackdown on students. Among those facing sanctions are Minister of Civil Security General Ercolano Tauriello, Minister of Education Elisabetta Riolo, and Telecoms Minister Fabio Cesare Farfani, and General Vincenzo Medici, who heads the Federal Police Service. In addition, Interior Minister Tullio Quagliariello will see further sanctions placed on him. He was previously sanctioned as part of the EC's response to Tribune-led judicial reform.

The EC's Foreign Director, Toryd Hæsaug, praised the sanctions immediately after they were publicized.

"These sanctions are key to ensuring that the Etrurian government is held accountable for its transgressions against democracy, against free speech" he said.

Hæsaug also issued a warning for the Etrurian government, saying that "the EC will continue to review the possibility of further sanctions against government officials should Etruria continue on its current regressive track".

Shortly after publishing the sanctions, the Euclean Council passed a resolution endorsing the proposed sanctions for a vote in the Euclean Parliament. Support for the sanctions is strong within the Parliament. The three parties in the Grand Coalition have all offerred public support for new sanctions and have backed sanctions in the past. EucloPar Speaker Vivien Vallette said a vote will take place "within the week" and offered strong support for the sanctions, arguing they hold officials who "want to turn Etruria into a police state accountable". After they win the approval of the Parliament, the sanctions will be sent to the Euclean Commission for full implementation.

EC President Alexis Walker declared her support for the sanctions soon after arriving in Florena. "These are a reasonable and leveled response to Etrurian government policy".

Retaliatory sanctions have seen support throughout the EC. Weranian Chancellor Otto von Hößlin said "we hope the sanctions will encourage the Etrurian government to change course and ensure democracy is upheld in southern Euclea". Estmere's own Prime Minister Rupert Richardson praised sanctions, saying they were "essential" following "direct provocations of the EC and attacks on the free speech of Eucleans, not just Etrurians".

"Will we be letting the Etrurian government dictate what our own free press can publish? I certainly do not think so".

Previously, both Werania and Estmere opposed further sanctions against the EC. Dietrich Wittmann, Werania's ex-chancellor, and Richardson initially formed a pact to oppose the efforts of a coalition of EC memberstates to pursue more far-reaching action against Etruria for the passage of the Judical Reform Act. However, Wittman's resignation and replacement by von Hößlin saw Werania move closer to Kesselbourg on the issue. Richardson has previously said Estmere would oppose further sanctions against Etruria. The Richardson government had also strongly rebuked Floren officials over what was then a proposal to ban war crimes allegations in Etruria. Foreign Secretary Anne Buckett went as far as suggesting Floren Premier Rosa Escudero should resign. Richardson had supported a re-conciliatory approach to Etruria, hoping to re-normalize relations. However, the exit of Wittmann weakened Estmere's position on the issue of new sanctions. EC internal politics had also shifted as President Walker moved to restore harmony and create a cohesive approach to Etruria in the wake of the Pietramontecorvino Incident. The botched Glytteronian mission to sneak out high ranking Etrurian ex-officials who were under investigation for corruption and the landslide re-election of the Tribume Movement seemed to end the possibility for reproach.

Richardson confirmed that Estmere would continue pushing for sanctions earlier this week, further walking back his previous promise of no new sanctions. He offered a strong rebuke of the Etrurian government, a sharp departure from his previous stance, and said Estmere will back sanctions "until the continued policy of blocking Le Monde's website" came to an end. He also visited Kesselbourg to meet with Walker and top EC officials, in what was described as "very productive talks" by EC High Commissioner Tereza Řezníček.

The announcement of fresh sanctions follows a vote by the International Council for Democracy to condemn Etruria over the Le Monde Ban and violent tactics used by police against demonstrating students. The vote was dominated by support from EC members and partners. It was brought forward through a joint effort of the Estmerish, Gaullican, and Weranian representatives.

The condemnation upheld the freedom of the press, both domestic and international, and the right to demonstrate.

"The International Council for Democracy continues to support the freedom of the press in all of its forms and the right to peaceful protest. The actions of the Government of the Popular Transetrurian Federation go against these principles, for which they must be swiftly condemned' it read.

The vote followed an hour long debate among representatives from the governments of ICD members.

Satucin was one of the states who backed the measure. In explaining the nation's support for sanctions, Prime Minister, Martin Allaire, said that "in a real democracy those in charge must be prepared to face what they do not agree with, and not to ban it".

However, a number of ICD states opted to abstain or vote against the condemnation. The government of Marirana issued a statement saying: "Whilst we condemn violence by all parties - both government and protesters - we believe that states reserve the right to fight against fake news and its agenda, whatever its source".

The vote came after an hour long debated among the permanent representatives.

Within the EC, the condemnation has won near-universal praise from EC and government officials.

"ICD action represent a long-overdue change in how the world deals with Etruria, and the issues it creates" - Melcion Auleda, First Speaker of the Generalitat of Florena.

Foreign Director Hæsaug said that the "ICD had acted to protect the democratic principles it was founded to safeguard" by issuing the condemnation.

He also said that the condemnation, which was issued before the Euclean Council unveiled new sanctions, provided the EC with a "mandate for action" against Etruria.

Many EC leaders are in the Floren capital of Demora for a remembrance ceremony for victims of war crimes committed against the Floren population by Etruria during the Solarian War. The normally high profile event will see most members of the Euclean Convention, and several high ranking officials within the Euclean Commission have indicated that an "unofficial meeting" of the Convention will be taking place tonight.

President Walker initially planned to call an emergency meeting of the Euclean Convention over the Le Monde ban, but cancelled the efforts after the Etrurian government lifted the ban on Le Monde's print version.

"EC policy on Etruria and its future relationship with Etruria will be discussed tonight. We'll be gauging just how far the member states are willing to take this" one senior official within the Commission said.

A spokesperson for President Walker declined to comment on the prospect of an unofficial meeting of the Convention, but pointed out that "many members will be in Demora tonight".



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Postby Estmere » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:55 pm

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Marilyn Albridge - 6 July 2018

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BUCKETT, RICHARDSON DEMAND LIFT OF LE MONDE BAN, AMENDMENTS TO JRA AS EC PONDERS NATURE OF ETRURIAN SANCTIONS

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Commissioner Helmutssun (right) said while sanctions are temporary, changes have to be made for them to go.
Ashcombe, Estmere- Foreign Secretary Anne Buckett and Prime Minister Rupert Richardson have stated that, in order for EC sanctions on Etrurian officials to be lifted, the Le Monde ban must come to an end while provisions of the Judicial Reform Act that are viewed by the EC as undemocratic must be altered. Their comments come amid a greater debate within the Euclean Community that began yesterday when Glytteronian Taoiseach Frank Casarnach said the sanctions on Etrurian officials were temporary and could be rolled-back if Etruria met EC standards.

Casarnach said that the EC sanctions against Etrurian officials were "temporary measures" that can be "rolled-back should the rule of law be restored in Etruria".

The EC currently has sanctions in place on a number of Etrurian officials. The first round of sanctions was implemented in March in response to the Judicial Reform Act, which the EC argued was undemocratic and eroded the independence of the Etrurian judiciary. The second round was implemented yesterday following a successful vote in the Euclean Parliament. Sanctions were implemented in retaliation for the ban of Le Monde's Etrurian-language website and a violent crackdown on students demonstrating their opposition to the National Dignity Act. The legislation is responsible for both incidents.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs Anne Buckett said that sanctions were "always viewed as a temporary measure to spur change" by the Etrurian government.

"The nature of most these sanctions is a temporary nature. They were not intended to be a permanent fixture. In the instances where policy can be adjusted by the Etrurian government, sanctions act as an agent of change. We hope to spur the governments towards action that restores the rule of law within Etruria and ends attacks on the democratic process".

However, she said that some sanctions "could not be lifted" pointing to the sanctions put in place on officials involved on the violent crackdown on student demonstrators. "The deaths caused by this violence cannot be changed, it cannot be adjusted like government policy can be. As such, those sanctions are permanent. Let them serve as a deterrence for the use of further violence against citizens peacefully expressing their opposition to government policy and exercising their rights as citizens in a democracy".

Buckett also said the EC should avoid "name-calling" and argued the bloc to "avoid using the demeaning rhetoric of the Tribunes". This came after Gaullican Foreign Minister Augustin De Troumpe labelled First Citizen Carcaterra a "homme mauvais". De Troumpe went on further to say that the Etrurian leader was a "thug in political clothing".

"There is no room for this rhetoric in our discussion" Buckett said.

Prime Minister Richardson echoed the sentiments of his Foreign Secretary, saying that the sanctions "were always temporary".

"This was the reason I withheld support for the first round of sanctions until the [Judicial Reform Act] had come into effect" he said.

However, he warned that the sanctions would be "going no where" unless the Etrurian government lifted the Le Monde ban and "restored judicial independence".

"If that is not done, I will refuse to back the sanctions lift" Richardson said.

Kesselbourg initially declined to comment on the nature of sanctions. However, earlier today a number of EC officials waded into the debate.

The Commissioner for Legal Affairs and the Rule of Law, Mâþja Helmutssun, said that "some of the sanctions are viewed as temporary in nature yes, and should the Etrurian government work to restore the rule of law their status will be reviewed and they would potentially be lifted".

"In the past the Euclean Community has implemented sanctions on a number of states. Often, these sanctions are lifted once our concerns are relieved through direct action. Should the Etrurian government act accordingly, this policy would be applied. The Community uses sanctions with the intent to cause change. When change occurs, we react and adjust our policy accordingly." he said.

The EC's Foreign Director, Toryd Hæsaug, said he shared the view of Helmustssun, pointing to the same precedent cited by the Commissioner.

"The Euclean Community has lifted sanctions when states made the changes we viewed as necessary to the democratic process. There is no reason that cannot be done in the Etrurian instance".

He confirmed that the EC would only move to lift the sanctions if the Le Monde ban was ended and the provisions of the JRA that the EC viewed as problematic were altered, agreeing with Commissioner Helmustssun that "action begets more action".

Sources close to Tereza Řezníček, the High Commissioner of the Euclean Community, indicate that Helmustssun's views "reflect that of the Commission as whole".

The Etrurian government has thus far been largely silent on the issue of lifting sanctions, a possible indication that there is a split response among government officials.

Notice: This story was edited to include comments from EC officials regarding the temporary nature of the Etrurian sanctions.



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Marilyn Albridge - 12 July 2018

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EC APPEARS TO WALK BACK GAULLICAN FOREIGN MINISTER'S COMMENTS ON PURPOSE OF ETRURIAN SANCTIONS

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High Commissioner Rasa Šalaševičiūtė said the sanctions were an "agent for change" not one to "scold or reprimand".
Ashcombe, Estmere- The senior voice on the Euclean Commission has publicly walked back comments made by Gaullica's controversial Foreign Minister. High Commissioner Rasa Šalaševičiūtė said that Minister Augustin De Troumpe's take on sanctions was "misguided". She disagreed with his view that sanctions against Etrurian officials were a punishment, instead arguing they were an "agent for change".

"The sanctions in place against members of the Etrurian government are not meant to scold or reprimand them. Instead, they in place as an agent for change. We hoped that, through sanctions, we would be able to bring back the rule of law in Etruria, we would be able to lift the Le Monde ban" she said.

Šalaševičiūtė spoke out against Gaullica's chief diplomat further, saying that the receptiveness of First Citizen Carcaterra proved that "many disparaging remarks" made against him by De Troumpe were "falsehoods". Carcaterra was labelled a "homme mauvais" by De Troumpe, who also called the Etrurian leader went on a "thug in political clothing".

"The EC remains committed to the restoration of the rule of law in Etruria and the restoration of the freedom of the press, both Etrurian and Euclean. If the Etrurian government stops undermining judicial independence and lifts the Le Monde ban, a number of the sanctions currently in place can be lifted". However, she later went on to say that some sanctions were "irreversible".

"Unfortunately, the damage has already been done in some cases. A stacked court looks as though it has come to fruition, and unless that changes some of the sanctions put in place over the [Judicial Reform Act] would remain in place. In addition, the deaths of student demonstrators cannot be reversed, and those sanctions too will remain in place".

Talk of lifting sanctions began a week ago when Glytteronian Taoiseach Frank Casarnach said the sanctions on Etrurian officials were temporary and could be rolled-back if Etruria met EC standards. Casarnach said that the EC sanctions against Etrurian officials were "temporary measures" that can be "rolled-back should the rule of law be restored in Etruria". His comments generated response from a number of national governments, with De Troumpe among them. His remarks generated instant controversy and were indirectly condemned by Foreign Secretary Anne Buckett who said that the EC should avoid "name-calling". His comments were also condemned by Weranian officials, who bemoaned their "bellicose" nature.

The EC currently has sanctions in place on a number of Etrurian officials. The first round of sanctions was implemented in March in response to the Judicial Reform Act, which the EC argued was undemocratic and eroded the independence of the Etrurian judiciary. The second round was implemented yesterday following a successful vote in the Euclean Parliament. Sanctions were implemented in retaliation for the ban of Le Monde's Etrurian-language website and a violent crackdown on students demonstrating their opposition to the National Dignity Act. The legislation is responsible for both incidents.

The Estmerish government has previously clarified its position on sanctions. Last week, Buckett said that sanctions were "always viewed as a temporary measure to spur change" by the Etrurian government. This view is in line with that of the Commission. A statement released by her office confirmed the Secretary stands by her comments.

Prime Minister Richardson told reporters he was in "full agreement" with Šalaševičiūtė.

"The High Commissioner is right, the EC remains committed to the restoration of the rule of law in Etruria and the freedom of the press. Estmere too is committed to those democratic notions, and we will support measures to lift sanctions if the Etrurian government acts accordingly".

EC President Walker has remained largely silent on the Gaullican diplomat's controversial comments. She has previously agreed that sanctions were temporary and issued a statement after Carcaterra announced that judicial reform was a temporary measure.

She declined to comment on the incident when pressed. However, a close Walker ally and surrogate, Maude O'Kane, said in an interview that the De Troumpe's comments were "out of line".

O'Kane, who leads the pro-Walker One Euclea think tank, urged the minister to apologize for his "personal attacks" on the Etrurian First Citizen. However, she also urged Carcaterra to "right his own wrongs" and apologize for calling the Euclean President a "tawdry woman" in an address to the Etrurian Senate.

"Respect is a two way street, and one side cannot expect an apology without working to maintain a mutual respect".




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Postby Estmere » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:56 pm

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Stephen Bute -21 February 2019

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WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO CONFRONT OUR OWN POPULIST PAST

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Queenson's, Vimont's, and FitzClearance's recent trip to Etruria is alarming.
Ashcombe, Estmere - It is almost as if ghosts of politics past have appeared mysteriously in Etruria. Many in Estmere have expressed their shock that a number of Estmere First's former top brass have gone to visit Etruria. The arrival of these long unseen spectres in Solaris comes at the invitation of the ruling Tribune Movement. The three ghosts are: former Flurian Governor Maximilien FitzClarence, former Justice Secretary Alexander Queenson, and former mayor of Warminster Renée Vimont. They are attending a larger event to restore the sovereignty of nations, something Etrurian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Galizia believes has been taken from international institutions and the global elite.

This came as no surprise to me. What many in Estmere, or perhaps I should more accurately say Ashcombe and its suburban counties, viewed with shock and awe is in fact hardly shocking. Estmere First is well and alive still. The party is the fourth largest in the Lesser House and in the rural regions of the country remains vibrant, operating at all levels of devolved governance. Many voters, disillusioned with the return of the Federal Appeal alliance and political elites centered around Ashcombe, long for the party's return.

Outside of the Metropolitan Counties, the reputation of the defeated and in many ways disgraced party is much kinder. Throughout Wealdland, the distaste for the populist movement is much stronger than it is in its twin republic. This is reflected in both the number of Wealdish seats and the vote-share Estmere First received in the 2016 election. While the party's appeal to the working class once resonated with many in Estmere's industrial heartland, support has steadily dropped since the Avery Government was ousted in the 2012 election. In the 2016 election the party eked out 11% of all votes cast and won just four of the constituencies. This is down substantially from the 2008 election when the party received 29% of all votes cast and captured twenty three seats. While the party was never at its strongest in Wealdland, it was once robust and influential.

In Flurland, the case was - and still is - very different. In the 2006 devolved elections, the face of Estmere First, Maximilien FitzClarence, was elected to serve as governor. This was the first major office won by EF. The party also swept into the Flurian General Assembly. While it short of a majority, it managed to become the largest party. The party's success was fueled by the discontent many in Flurland, specifically its rural counties, felt for then Prime Minister Albert Read, Ashcombe, and the Euclean Community. The 2005 Recession and Estmere's slow response to the crisis angered many in Flurland, who faced rising prices and a stagnant economy. The success of EF in the the Flurian elections in 2006 was replicated two years later in the 2008 general election. The party was catapulted by the decision of Sandford & Poole's decision to downgrade Estmere's credit rating from AAA to AA. The Avery brothers led the party at a national level, but FitzClarence remained incredibly influential as Governor of Flurland. He played a significant role in the party's special form of nationalism.

FitzClarence cared little for Wealdland, and was very public about his perception of Flurland's twin republic. He has spoken very negatively of the Swathish, calling them "dirty" and "lazy" on multiple occasions. "They drink from the breast of the state as if it is the breast of their mother. You have long grown now, my Swathish friends. Suck from the state no more. Earn your own living, for that is the Estmerish way". His distaste for the Swathish extended to the Weranians at large, once stating that they were "socialist, monarchist swine with a specialty in historical revisionism".

"It is Gaullica, not Werania, who has influenced our culture the most. The dominate tongue in this land is directly descended from the Flurian tongue, which is in and of itself descended from Gaullican. Every chapter of our nation's history is dominated by the Flurians, proud individuals who drove the Weranians north after conquering Hennehouwe. Proud individuals who later drove the Gaullicans south during the Great War. These are Flurian, no these are Estmerish, accomplishments - not Weranian ones" he remarked at a 2011 celebration marking the birth of Richard Harcourt.

Further speaking on the Great War, FitzClarence once infamously declared that High Warden Michel Dumaresq, a functionalist collaborator who staged a mutiny during the government's messy withdrawal from Ashcombe, was a "hero for refusing to surrender his country to the Weranians".

I include these quotes from FitzClarence to remind many of the university educated, middle class readers of this paper of what he was said. The FitzClarence of today is still that FitzClarence. Just because he is barred from public office does not mean he is gone. It does not mean he is no longer influential. It does not mean he is no longer a threat.

It was through controversial statements such as those listed above that FitzClarence shaped the new nationalism put forth by Estmere First. No longer was the country happily multi-cultural, celebrating the three distinct ethno-linguistic groups that dominate it. Instead, there was one identity - and that identity was rooted in his own Flurian identity. He was tapping into something felt by many throughout Flurland. As I spoke to many voters in the rural counties before the 2008 election, I discovered that many felt isolated and left-behind in their own way.

"Ashcombe cares for little but itself" one elderly woman, who claimed to never have missed an election, told me. "It promotes a life that does not exist here". She later told me that she was once a loyal member of the National Union Party, but felt abandoned by Read who "cared more for pacifying the global elites than he did taking care of his own people".

This was when I recognized that Federal Appeal was doomed going into that election. Many political commentators and academics failed to see it. This is not because they did not want to, but they could not want to. The Estmere many of them thought existed, the one that did exist in Ashcombe and the Metropolitan Counties, was limited. Beyond the Pale, many were tired of politics as usual. They felt betrayed by the Euclean Community, the organization their country worked so hard to create. The 2010 referendum on leaving the Euclozone was the culmination of this sentiment and while it failed, the EC remains unpopular in the Flurian heartland.

Following the 2016 election I again felt compelled to visit the rural counties of Flurland. I found that the situation was largely unchanged. Many in Flurland continue to feel left behind and some remain resentful. Voter turnout in Flurland has dropped in all elections since 2012 when Estmere First was defeated at a federal level. The Progressives, who led a fierce campaign under Agatha Sharpe managed to oust William Avery. It was then that Sharpe decided to ensure Estmere First could never rise again. Much to the dismay of her junior partner in the coalition, the NUP, the government investigated all of the scandals of the EF era. William Avery was indicated and eventually convicted of sexually assaulting a number of students during his tenure as a headmaster, a truly shocking revelation for much of the nation but one that many of his supporters refused to accept. His younger brother, Philip Avery, was also indicated and likewise convicted for his role in a scheme to seek political retribution against President Walter Eaton and Ashcombe Mayor Mary Stone. A number of senior EF government and party officials were indicated for various crimes, ranging from corruption to drink driving. Each and every indictment was polarizing, especially in Flurland, but they were also crippling for the party. A base in rural Flurland was unsustainable, and the indictments saw support for EF evaporate in the Metropolitan Counties.

Perhaps the final nail in Estmere First's perceived coffin was the decision of the Justice Secretariat to charge FitzClarence with hate speech against the Swathish. This was particularly polarizing. Despite his controversy, he remained popular in Flurland. He swept the 2010 governor's race and easily won re-election, in the same year Estmere First failed to win both the presidential election and the Euclozone referendum. Yet, FitzClarence was ultimately forced out of office after he was found guilty of hate speech. He was replaced by the Speaker of the Flurian General Assembly, Mark Bern - a member of the NUP. Speaking to voters today throughout Flurland, this is what caused member of them to exit the system. "I will never vote again" one voter told me in a small village in Iwade. Another from an even smaller hamlet in Lythe said he would only consider voting "if FitzClarence were on the ballot".

The campaign spearheaded by Sharpe was successful, but at what cost? Yes, Estmere First has been effectively dismantled. It is at its weakest point yet. Support for it has dropped substantially at all levels of government. However, the actions of Sharpe's Justice Secretariat have driven a considerable number of voters out of our nation's democratic system. That exit is unhealthy for our democracy and ultimately it is unsustainable. The current government must consider adopting policies that would appeal to or otherwise bring many of these voters back into the system.

Yet, despite Sharpe's successful efforts, these ghosts have still reappeared. The three hope to reinvigorate the nationalist movement in Estmere. They have been silent on their plans for the future, but the fact that they are once again planning is concerning. Even though FitzClarence himself is barred from public office, his political tact must not be underestimated. He remains very popular in the Flurian heartland, something many in Ashcombe seem to forget. I would advise Prime Minister Richardson, who spends little time outside of Ashcombe, the visit the rural counties of Flurland. The republic is home to the majority of his party's base and should not be ignored. If he continues to do so, and continues to ignore the sentiments of the Flurian voter, the 2020 election could take him, and most of us, by surprise.



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Written by Stephen Bute, he has been a assistant professor of political science at the University of Saint Filbert since 1995 and is the author of numerous books and analyses of Estmerish and Euclean politics, focusing on nationalism and right-wing politics. His most recent book Heartland: A Journey Through the Center of Estmerish Populism focuses on his experience touring the rural counties in Flurland, the epicenter of support for Estmere First.

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FITZCLARENCE, BARRED FROM HOLDING OFFICE, SIGNALS POLITICAL RETURN WITH NEW PARTY

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The ex-Flurian governor said it was time "tell Ashcombe to go to hell".
Ardougne, Fluerland - Maximilien FitzClarence, the former Governor of Flurland and prominent Estmerish nationalist, has announced the creation of a new political party. The ex-governor, who is legally barred from holding office, announced that the party had submitted an application to the Federation Electoral Office and was planning to contest the upcoming elections to the Euclean Parliament.

Addressing those gathered, FitzClarence said it was "imperative for the Flurian people to remind Estmere of its purpose. During my tenure as governor, we did that each and every day. That fight has no ended. We must come to battle for our nation for our nation once again".

The party, which applied as Maximilien FitzClarence - Party for Democracy will also contest all local elections in Flurland. Local elections take place the same as the Euclean elections, Saturday May 18th. Opinion polls have indicated a drop in support for the National Union Party, which leads the Federal Appeal coalition.

"We must remind those in power that they are accountable to the people - not to the faceless bureaucrats in Kesselbourg, not to Alexis Walker. When we vote on 18 May, we tell Ashcombe to go to hell. The urban elite do not define our nation".

The controversial ex-governor confirmed he himself is not running for office. "I was persecuted for my unalienable right to free speech. I will not be running for office, but I will be leading this movement".

Following the 2012 general elections and the return of Federal Appeal, the Justice Secretariat charged FitzClarence with hate speech against the Swathish. The decision was highly polarizing, as he remained very popular in Flurland. He swept the 2010 governor's race and easily won re-election, in the same year Estmere First failed to win both the presidential election and the Euclozone referendum. Yet, FitzClarence was ultimately forced out of office after he was found guilty of hate speech. He was replaced by the Speaker of the Flurian General Assembly, Mark Bern - a member of the NUP.

In February, he attended the Forum for National Restoration hosted by the Etrurian Turbine Movement. The gathering of prominent right-wing nationalists did not go unnoticed by the Euclean Community, especially given the timing of the meeting. The ex-governor was joined by former Justice Secretary Alexander Queenson and former mayor of Warminster Renée Vimont, both of which joined him for today's announcement. The collapse of Estmere First and the party's lackluster performance in recent elections and polls has led to some discontent among its Flurian wing, which remained highly influential.

The party is not yet officially recognized and able to contest the upcoming elections. The Federal Electoral Office (FEO) must review the application. A spokesperson for the FEO said a decision would come sometime next week. "With elections approaching, it is only fair to ensure every application is reviewed before the deadline".



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FEO REJECT'S FITZCLARENCE'S NEW POLITICAL PARTY ON BASIS OF NAME, FORCING PARTY TO REAPPLY BEFORE EUCLEAN ELECTIONS

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The FEO said that name of the proposed party was "misleading".
Ashcombe, Estmere - The application of the new political party sponsored by ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence has been rejected by the Federal Electoral Office (FEO) on the basis of its name. The FEO's Executive Commission, the organ responsible for reviewing applications for new political parties, ruled that the name of the party would be "misleading to voters".

"As Mr. FitzClarence himself will not be running for elected office, the inclusion of his name in the name of the party would potentially indicate that he was in fact standing for election himself".

Thew new party applied as "Maximilien FitzClarence - Party for Democracy".

The FEO said that the party was still able to reapply and that the rejection of its application did not prevent another.

"All new political parties have until the 1 May deadline to submit an application, this includes re-submissions" a statement released by the FEO said.

Mr. FitzClarence is legally barred from holding elected office. Following the 2012 general elections and the return of Federal Appeal, the Justice Secretariat charged FitzClarence with hate speech against the Swathish. The decision was highly polarizing, as he remained very popular in Flurland. He swept the 2010 governor's race and easily won re-election, in the same year Estmere First failed to win both the presidential election and the Euclozone referendum. Yet, FitzClarence was ultimately forced out of office after he was found guilty of hate speech. He was replaced by the Speaker of the Flurian General Assembly, Mark Bern - a member of the NUP.

His new party is planing to contest the upcoming elections to the Euclean Parliament. It is also planning to contest all local elections in Flurland. Local elections take place the same as the Euclean elections, Saturday May 18th. Opinion polls have indicated a drop in support for the National Union Party, which leads the Federal Appeal coalition.

Addressing those gathered, FitzClarence said it was "imperative for the Flurian people to remind Estmere of its purpose. During my tenure as governor, we did that each and every day. That fight has no ended. We must come to battle for our nation for our nation once again".

The party, which applied as Maximilien FitzClarence - Party for Democracy will also contest all local elections in Flurland. Local elections take place the same as the Euclean elections, Saturday May 18th. Opinion polls have indicated a drop in support for the National Union Party, which leads the Federal Appeal coalition.

Speaking on the FEO's decision, the controversial ex-governor said he "respected" the decision.

"This will not stop is from contesting the elections. We have already submitted a new application. The FEO should now have no reason to deny our constitutional right to political voice" FitzClarence told reporters.

His party reapplied as National Interest - Party For Democracy. A spokesperson for the FEO confirmed the Executive Commission would review the application.

"All applications must be submitted before the first of May. However, decisions may come at a later date".

The party is still not yet officially recognized. As such, it is not legally able to contest the upcoming elections or begin campaigning.



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FITZCLARENCE'S NEW POLITICAL PARTY GETS FEO APPROVAL, WILL CONTEST UPCOMING ELECTIONS

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While his party won approval, FitzClarence is barred from running.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence is set to lead a new political party, despite his ban from running for or holding elected office. His newly proposed party, the National Interest - Party For Democracy, has been approved by the Federal Electoral Office (FEO) in time to contest the upcoming elections.

Elections will be held for the Euclean Parliament and localities on Saturday May 25th. The campaign will officially begin on the first of the month. NI-PDF will contest both elections. FitzClarence has previously announced the party intends to contest all local elections within Flurland.

"[Flurland] is not just the heartland of conservatism, but the heartland of our country" said after announcing his party's intentions.

Opinion polls have indicated a drop in support for the National Union Party, which leads the Federal Appeal coalition. The NUP usually performs the strongest in Flurland. However, over the past decade the party has seen its support drop. Flurland was crucial to the rise of Estmere First, FitzClarence's former party.

A recent poll that included the proposed party showed polling just over 12%, with a significant drop of the ruling NUP which received 20% in support.

The FEO's ruling comes close to the deadline for new applications. FitzClarence's party ran into some trouble with its first application. It had originally applied as "Maximilien FitzClarence - Party for Democracy". However, the FEO's Executive Commission, the organ responsible for reviewing applications for new political parties, ruled that the name of the party would be "misleading to voters".

"As Mr. FitzClarence himself will not be running for elected office, the inclusion of his name in the name of the party would potentially indicate that he was in fact standing for election himself".

FitzClarence is legally barred from holding elected office. Following the 2012 general elections and the return of Federal Appeal, the Justice Secretariat charged FitzClarence with hate speech against the Swathish. The decision was highly polarizing, as he remained very popular in Flurland. He swept the 2010 governor's race and easily won re-election, in the same year Estmere First failed to win both the presidential election and the Euclozone referendum. Yet, FitzClarence was ultimately forced out of office after he was found guilty of hate speech. He was replaced by the Speaker of the Flurian General Assembly, Mark Bern - a member of the NUP.

Swathish officials within Wealdland have denounced FitzClarence's political return. Uthgerd Haroldsson, the Governor of Wealdland, said it was "alarming that someone convicted of hate speech against Estmerish citizens would be allowed to engage in political activities".

MPs for the Party of the Swathish, a separatist party, have pledged to introduce legislation that would prevent anyone who is barred from elected office from engaging in any political activity.

"These people should not be entitled to run a political party, they should not be allowed to serve as political advisers, they should not be able to fund a party's campaign, nor should they be allowed to vote" said Cuthbert Boorman, an MP for the PS and one of the bill's intended sponsors.

FitzClarence himself has denied to comment on outcry over his political return, saying it was "not worth paying attention to the squabbling of the foolish".

"After years of disastrous governance from the [NUP], we must focus on their failures - and learn from them. We have no time for anything else".



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NUP POLLING POORLY AS ELECTION DAY LOOMS CLOSER, DLP AND NI-PFD MAKE GAINS

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Richardson is under increasing pressure as his party prepares for losses.
Ashcombe, Estmere - The governing Federal Appeal coalition led by Prime Minister Rupert Richardson is facing political threats from both the left and the right. A new opinion poll has shown that the Democratic Labourers' Party is likely to receive the highest vote-share in the upcoming elections to the Euclean Parliament. They have overtaken the Progressives, who had been leading opinion polls for several weeks. The newly formed National Interest - Party for Democracy has also taken third place in the poll released by the University of St. Stephens, with the National Union Party trailing behind.

This is not a new trend, but rather the continuation of an old one. Opinion polls have indicated a drop in support for the National Union Party, which leads the Federal Appeal coalition, for some time now. However, the party has now dropped to fourth place. Should the results of the upcoming Euclean elections reflect this, it will be a major embarrassment for Richardson.

The formation of the NI-PFD, led by controversial ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence. The newly proposed party that he is slated to lead was been approved by the Federal Electoral Office (FEO) late last month in time to contest the upcoming Euclean and local elections.

The NUP usually performs the strongest in Flurland. However, over the past decade the party has seen its support drop. Flurland was crucial to the rise of Estmere First, FitzClarence's former party. It is likely that the return of the popular yet highly controversial ex-Flurian governor is in part responsible for the NUP's poor performance in the latest poll. For his part, FitzClarence has promised to protect the interests of Flurland at a time in which he views them as "increasingly under attack".

He has previously stated that "[Flurland] is not just the heartland of conservatism, but the heartland of our country". The NI-PFD will stand for traditional values, which the ex-governor believes to have been "abandoned" by the Richardson government and the NUP.

FitzClarence is legally barred from holding elected office as a result of having been found guilty of hate speech against the Swathish. His political return has been met with controversy, with elected officials n Wealdland denouncing FitzClarence's political return while MPs for the Party of the Swathish, a separatist party, have pledged to introduce legislation that would prevent anyone who is barred from elected office from engaging in any political activity. Such legislation has not yet been introduced.

The drop in support for the NUP has put the prime minister under increasing pressure within his own party. Senior NUP officials bemoan the "lack of action" on behalf of Richardson in recent years.

"We have banned straws, that is our major accomplishment. Oh, but I can't forget the plastic bags as well. That is our legacy of action" one senior parliamentarian said on the condition of anonymity.

Voters have cited dissatisfaction with a lack of increase in wages, low levels of social welfare programming, limited expansion of public infrastructure, and little improvement in education and housing quality.

The latest poll shows the DLP at 25%, the Progressives at 22%, the NI-PFD at 20%, and the NUP at 19%. With less than two weeks to go, the NUP is facing an uphill battle. Elections will be held for the Euclean Parliament and localities on Saturday May 25th.



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WITH GRIM EXIT POLLS AND LOCAL ELECTIONS RESULTS FOR NUP, MINISTER FORCES LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE TO RICHARDSON

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Finance Secretary de Fay announced her challenge to Richardson.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Following a major defeat in both the Euclean and local elections, a senior government minister has announced her plans to launch a party leadership challenge to Prime Minister Rupert Richardson.

Matilda de Fay, who has served as Secretary for the Federal Treasury since 2016, said in an interview this morning that her party "must seek to replace [Richardson]" following its recent defeats.

"We have failed to show the Estmerish electorate that we are a party of action, and they have in turn shown us they are no pleased with the status quo".

Exit polls show that the National Union Party (NUP), of which both Richardson and de Fay are members, received about 16% of the vote in yesterday's election to the Euclean Parliament. Based on that result, the party is projected to send 19 Members of the Euclean Parliament (MEPs) to Kesselbourg, down from 32 elected in 2014. The party lost support to the newly formed National Interest - Party for Democracy (NI-PFD), led by controversial ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence.

The party also suffered a major defeat in local elections, losing over 900 seats and control over six county freeholder boards. The NI-PFD made huge inroads into NUP support in local elections as well, with the new party winning 457 seats across Flurland.

She has received enough endorsements from NUP parliamentarians to initiate a leadership contest. The NUP's caucus head in the Lesser House confirmed he had received enough letters of support for de Fay in order to start the process. Party rules stipulate that a quarter of the party's sitting parliamentarians must endorse a candidate in order to initiate a challenge. There are currently 169 NUP members of the Lesser House, meaning that at least 43 parliamentarians have endorsed de Fay.

Oswald Fitzwarren, who chairs the NUP parliamentary caucus, said a vote of the party's caucus would take place on Wednesday. In order to win, a candidate must secure a majority vote. In a two-way race, if there is less than five percent separating the two a second vote must be held. The rules change should a third candidate enter the race. Under that process, votes are held until the two candidates who receive the most support remain.

Richardson has refused to comment on the leadership challenge, but has himself admitted the election results were "more than disappointing".

A spokeswoman for the prime minister said his team was prepared to fend off the leadership challenge. "We have a report of how many letters of support [de Fay] has received, we are not worried heading into Wednesday".

Exit polls for the Euclean elections project gains for the Democratic Labourers' Party (DLP), who is projected to come in first place. The DLP is expected to receive roughly 25% of the vote and 31 MEPs. They are followed closely behind by the Progressives, who are projected to receive 23% of the vote and send 27 MEPs. NI-PFD is set to come in third place, beating out the NUP by winning approximately 16% of the vote and are expected to send 19 MEPs. Should these projects hold, the NUP will for the first time come in fourth place.

Finalized results for elections to the Euclean Parliament will not be released until the end of June once voting has taken place in all member-states of the Euclean Community.



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RICHARDSON ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION AFTER NARROW VICTORY IN LEADERSHIP CONTEST

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Rupert Richardson has served as prime minister since 2016.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Prime Minister Rupert Richardson has announced he will resign the office in the coming weeks after surviving a leadership challenge by less than two dozen votes.

Richardson held a press conference after the vote to announce his decision. "After years of service to our country, I have decided it is best for me to step aside. The Estmerish electorate showed us that they would like a change, and I must respect their desires. Serving as prime minister has been the highest honor of my life, and I would like to thank the Estmerish people for providing me with the opportunity to serve".

The vote saw all 169 sitting National Union Party parliamentarians participate. Richardson received the backing of 86 parliamentarians while de Fay won the backing of 69. 14 parliamentarians abstained and did not cast a vote for party leader.

He was challenged by Matilda de Fay, who has served as Secretary for the Federal Treasury, who was highly critical of the prime minister following heavy loses for the National Union Party in last weekend's local election and projected losses in the Euclean elections. The party lost over 900 seats and control over six county freeholder boards.

Exit polls from last weekend's vote show that the NUP received about 16% of the vote. Based on that result, the party is projected to send 19 Members of the Euclean Parliament (MEPs) to Kesselbourg, down from 32 elected in 2014. The party lost support to the newly formed National Interest - Party for Democracy (NI-PFD), led by controversial ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence.

Richardson had come under increasing pressure in recent months as frustrations grew within his own party over inaction. The situation worsened after the formation of the nationalist NI-PFD, which took support away from the NUP in the traditionally conservative regions of Flurland. Several senior sources within the prime minister's party vented frustrations over lack of policy pursued.

In a rebuke of his critics, Richardson said he was "proud to leave behind a legacy of stable leadership in the face of growing tensions in Euclea and the world, of helping the Euclean Community remain on a sensible path, of defending international institutions from manipulation, and of working to help preserve the planet".

The contest was triggered after de Fay received enough endorsements from NUP parliamentarians to initiate a leadership contest. Party rules stipulate that a quarter of the party's sitting parliamentarians must endorse a candidate in order to initiate a challenge.

With the prime minister set to resign as party leader, a second ballot will be held to choose his successor. Oswald Fitzwarren, who chairs the NUP parliamentary caucus, said a vote of the party's caucus would take place a week from today Wednesday. In order to win, a candidate must secure a majority vote. In a two-way race, if there is less than five percent separating the two a second vote must be held. The rules change should a third candidate enter the race. Under that process, votes are held until the two candidates who receive the most support remain.

Several parliamentarians have already announced their candidacy. Among them are Reginald Wilton-Smythe, Secretary for Justice, Holly Willson, Secretary for Welfare and Social Inclusion, Bruce Bolton, a former Secretary for Defence, and backbencher Augustine de la Ware.

Sources close to Secretary de Fay will not be contesting the second ballot and will instead back the candidacy of Wilton-Smythe.



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WILTON-SMYTH TO BECOME PRIME MINISTER FOLLOWING VICTORY IN NUP LEADERSHIP VOTE

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The Justice Secretary will lead the party into the 2020 general election.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Justice Secretary Reginald Wilton-Smyth is set to take over the National Union Party, the senior member of the Federal Appeal coalition, after winning the party's leadership vote. He will replace the outgoing Rupert Richardson, who announced his intent to resign after a narrow victory in a challenge to his leadership over a senior cabinet minister.

Despite fending off the challenge lodged by Matilda de Fay, the prime minister won by less than two dozen votes and several key parliamentarians abstained. After his poor performance in the contest, he announced his resignation last Wednesday after the vote was held. A fresh vote was held today, which saw Wilton-Smyth claim victory over Bruce Bolton, a former Secretary for Defense. Two other candidates expected to contest the vote bowed out after announcing their bids, and the second ballot narrowed. Holly Wilson, Secretary for Welfare and Social Inclusion, and backbencher Augustine de la Ware removed their names from the ballot over the weekend and both opted to publicly support the Justice Secretary.

Wilton-Smyth won the support of 105 of the NUP's 169 parliamentarians, while Bolton received the backing of 62. Two parliamentarians opted to abstain and did not case a vote in the second ballot. The Justice Secretary, who has held his post since the current government took over in 2016, received the backing of the entirety of the NUP's sitting cabinet ministers.

Celebrating his victory, Wilton-Smyth thanked those who backed his candidacy and promised to "commit his government to action".

"We will tackle key issues that challenge our way of life" he said. He has pledged to change the government's approach to foreign policy, promising to work closely to Anne Buckett, the head of the Progressives and current Foreign Secretary, in order to "ensure Estmerish, Euclean, and democratic values are upheld throughout the world".

Wilton-Smyth warned that the "forces of illberalism are assembling" in order to "usurp democratic norms and challenge our very way of life". The Justice Minister has been a vocal critic of Xiaodong, the Union of Zorasani Irfanic Republics, and Marolevia and has been an advocate for international action against states he views are "anti-democratic and rogue".

During his tenure as Justice Secretary, he has been known for cutting leisure time for prisoners, introducing a work-pay regiment for prison labor, privatizing services, and successfully lobbying the government to hire three thousand additional prison guards. He has come under pressure for a number of these reforms, but was able to implement his agenda with minimal issue.

The prime minister-in-waiting also supports doubling defense spending, increasing agricultural subsidies, consolidating and cutting funding to government services, eliminating public sector unions, maintaining a balanced federal budget, the reintroduction of the national service, and re-criminalizing recreational drug use.

He is set to take control over the government next week, with Richardson set to resign before Tuesday's cabinet meeting. Wilton-Smyth is expected to shake up his cabinet, promising to put a cabinet in place that "represents the entire nation, not just those from the cities and coastal suburbs".

The NUP was dealt heavy electoral defeats last month in both the Euclean and local elections. The party lost over 900 seats and control over six county freeholder boards. Exit polls from the Euclean elections show that the NUP received about 16% of the vote. Based on that result, the party is projected to send 19 Members of the Euclean Parliament (MEPs) to Kesselbourg, down from 32 elected in 2014. The party lost support to the newly formed National Interest - Party for Democracy (NI-PFD), led by controversial ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence.

The formation of the nationalist NI-PFD, which took support away from the NUP in the traditionally conservative regions of Flurland. Some political commentators view Wilton-Smyth's comments as an attempt to court voters that backed FitzClarence's new party in the Euclean elections.



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WILTON-SMYTH SHAKES UP CABINET, BRINGING IN PROMINENT BACK-BENCHERS

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Aveline-Duquesne is the first aristocrat to serve in the cabinet in over two decades.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Prime Minister Reginald Wilton-Smyth has shuffled the cabinet he inherited from his predecessor, Rupert Richardson. Seats held by the Progressives have gone unchanged, with the incumbents remaining in their posts. However, he has sacked or shuffled the bulk of his National Union Party's secretaries.

The new prime minister, who took office last week after Richardson tabled his resignation before Tuesday's cabinet meeting, announced his decisions in relation to the cabinet secretaries this morning. In a brief statement, he said his appointments were "representative of the whole of Estmere, not just the metropolitan elite". New secretaries occupy seven of the eight cabinet offices held by members of the NUP.

The only secretary to survive the shuffle was Matilda de Fay, who was named Secretary for Education and Research. de Fay, who previously served as Treasury Secretary, mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Richardson that ultimately led to his resignation, creating an opening for Wilton-Smyth. She announced her decision to back the ex-Justice Secretary soon after he announced his intent to launch a leadership bid.

The new Secretary for the Federal Treasury is Geraint d'Auvergne. The parliamentarian for Bouillon and Marband has previously served in the state administration of Flurland, serving as State Treasurer for six years. after which he was elected to the Federal Parliament. d'Auvergne backs reducing the corporate tax rate to 16%, down from 23%. He has also called for cuts to social services, being especially critical of the welfare state, calling for a broad cut in funding for Social Protection programs. In the past, he has also supported reducing taxes on the richest citizens, arguing they move their money elsewhere to tax havens within the Euclean Community and arguing that cuts in the tax rates for the highest earnest would result in the creation of new jobs as they would have more money to invest.

Êdouard Aveline-Duquesne, a parliamentarian for Great Saint Ouen in rural Flurland, has been named the next Justice Secretary. The seventy-two year old aristocrat will succeed Wilton-Smyth as head of the Justice Secretariat. His appointment marks the first time a member of Estmere's largely unspoken of aristocracy has served in the cabinet since the cabinet of John Braithwaite in 1988. Aveline-Duquesne is the Marquis de Vardonville and while his title awards him no political privileges, his family has remained prominent in their native County Lythe and enjoyed positions of political power for generations. His voting record is similar to Wilton-Smyth's own, a staunch conservative who has at times rebelled against the government on policies Aveline-Duquesne has deemed as "culturally liberal" and "incompatible" with Estmere.

Previously, he has said that the government is "too generous" when it comes to sentencing for criminals. He has called for aggressive policies to prevent crime, backing the hiring of an additional ten-thousand police officers nationally. Aveline-Duquesne also supports the reinstatement of the death penalty, arguing it was the "ultimate deterrent" for committing "any heinous crime".

The most controversial of his picks is Roseline Perrier as Secretary for the Euclean Community. Her duties will include sitting as a member of the Euclean Council and representing Estmere in Kesselbourg permanently, essentially acting as the country's ambassador to the Euclean Commission and other institutions. The parliamentarian for Maufant-sur-Oise, who has held the office since 1984, was a staunch opponent to Estmere's membership in the Euclozone and backed the failed referendum called by former prime minister Richard Avery that would have seen Estmere leave the Euclean currency union.

Vernon Geary has been named as Secretary for Housing and Urban Matters, Lilianne Harcourt as Secretary for Culture, Tourism, and Sport, Bênardin Saint Hélyi as Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Matters, and Louis Le Maistre as Secretary for Welfare and Social Inclusion. All three are back-benchers that represent constituencies located in sparsely-populated counties in Flurland.

Wilton-Smyth's picks all largely come from constituencies located in central and western Flurland, one of the more conservative regions of the country where the NUP has lost support to right-wing parties in recent years. Following the parties projected loses in last month's Euclean elections and the heavy loses faced in the local elections to the newly formed National Interest - Party for Democracy, the new prime minister promised to put together a cabinet that "represents the entire nation, not just those from the cities and coastal suburbs".

The controversial ex-Flurian governor Maximilien FitzClarence leads the nationalist NI-PFD, which took support away from the NUP in the traditionally conservative regions of Flurland in last month's elections. Some political commentators view Wilton-Smyth's rhetoric and cabinet picks as an attempt to court voters that backed FitzClarence's new party last month. However, some of his cabinet picks have drawn ire, with one ally of the out-going prime minister warning elevating "polarizing" voices would "fracture the party, the country, and the Community". The warning was dismissed by a spokesman for Wilton-Smyth, who said the new prime minister had "delivered on his promises to assemble a cabinet that truly reflects the country".



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ONLY POLITICAL CHANGE WILL END ZORASAN'S WATER SHORTAGE

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So long as the Generals and Clerics rule behind the scenes, Zorasan will thirst for water and freedom.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Last night over 10,000 people took to the streets in the southern city of Saravan in demand of a lasting solution to the chronic water shortages that are gripping southern Zorasan. While it is always heartening to see Zorasanis express their democratic rights, the sad truth is that the protests will not be enough. Only dramatic change will save Zorasan from both tyranny and never-ending drought.

In some ways the water shortages are both a result and apt symbol for Zorasan today. People stand dehydrated of water, while standing deprived of both liberty and freedom, in many ways the water shortage is the manifestation of Zorasan’s suffocating reality. For Zorasan is a nation of contradictions, falsehoods and lies, its entire governing system depends upon them, it is perhaps exciting, if risky, that the latest bout of water shortages could see the entire façade collapse.

To many foreigners, Zorasan has a system to be envied. It’s non-partisan, in that it is illegal to form a political movement, club, group or party, anywhere in the country. When compared to the hyper-partisan and tribalistic natures of some democracies in Euclea and elsewhere, this seems to be a viable alternative. It is true, Zorasan is devoid of tribalism, mundane party activities and divisive elections. The lack of parties means that each single-member constituency election is built around the candidates only, and what they can do for their local seat. In the legislature, this means that every member is free to cooperate with whomever and vote in any way they see or feel fit. Yes, it is true that every MP is dedicated to their constituency to a greater degree, some could argue, than a Estmerish MP or a Gaullican Senator, since they also owe loyalty to their party, but look deeper and that democratic gravitas is consumed by reality.

At every election, local, state and national, every candidate is vetted. Every candidate is vetted by the Joint Committee for Political Unity, a body of 12 prominent clerics, generals and admirals, who are in turn unelected, unaccountable and entirely detached from oversight. These 12 men go through the files of thousands of candidates and select them. And as you can imagine, they only select a certain type of candidate – one’s who either support the military’s oversized role or at least, never made a public criticism of the military or Irfanic clergy. As any aspiring politician in Zorasan would know, if you wish to even contest a race, you need to make sure you never did a thing, said a thing or tried anything, that could be construed as anti-military or anti-irfan, you’ll go through life up until your selection, offering praise and support for the cleric-military deep state.

As a result, every politician in Zorasan is beholden to the military and the clergy for their position and status. In return, all both institutions ask for, is complete and total obedience and independence. If the military wants a budget increase, it gets one. If the Irfanic clergy want a billion-dollar renovation of a Beytol or Shrine, they get it, without question, oversight or scrutiny.

Then, there is the National Arbitration Council, a body of generals and clerics tasked with overseeing all legislation’s viability with both the constitution and Irfanic law, known as Esafkar. If the generals see a law that supposedly violates the constitution, they veto it, if the clerics see a law that violates religious law, they veto it. The clerics and the generals deny and block the legislature’s power to free itself of their control, but also ensure their domination is uncontested.

This is not the idealistic non-partisan democracy many see, this is the cold and dark truth.

With parliament held down, the clerical-military deep state is free to repress liberty elsewhere, unimpeded by politicians. On the face of it again, Zorasan to many has a vibrant free press, of hundreds of publications, blogs and newspapers. Yet again, you dig deeper, and you find the harsh reality of Zorasan. Many newspapers, magazines and outlets are owned by the same people, primarily, many fall under the Great Soldier Foundation, a colossal holding company owned by the military. In fact, some estimates put the total percentage of media owned by the military at 44%, that includes two of the biggest newspapers, the state broadcaster Morvarid and hundreds of regional newspapers. Pro-military newspapers also outnumber neutral ones, they are in turned owned by long-standing businesspeople with strong ties to the military enterprises. Even with a significant advantage in reach, readership and sheer size, the deep state is further aided by censorship. The National Administration for Broadcasting and Media Affairs is the military run body dedicated to media certification and censorship. It covers printed media, online media, television and radio. It is tasked with protecting Zorasani society from “anti-Irfanic tendencies, unsavoury depictions of authority, religion and society and to ensure a patriotic media.” In reality, it supresses autonomy, creativity, criticism and independence of thought. Journalists and artists alike can either be imprisoned for violating laws, some of which don’t exist on the statute book, or worse. As writing this, 156 journalists are in prison for writing articles deemed “anti-social.”

What these political and media-based realities entail is the much of the façade, Zorasan presents to the world. On the surface, it looks like a unique democracy, one where service to the people is prized above party-loyalty and ideology. But in reality, the civil state is entirely hollow and imprisoned in an intricate prison designed to maintain ultimate power and control within the shadowy claws of the military and clerical establishments. The Zorasani deep state is real, but its so deep and pervasive that it is the state. This deep state, so powerful it is, that it is able to arbitrarily detain, torture and murder opponents and critics at will, it is able to act with impunity and craft a foreign policy many care little for or even support. This sad affair is made only worse by State President Evren Volkan and First Minister Farzad Akbari, who not only acquiesce to the deep state, but actively and enthusiastically serve it.

But what does this have to do with the water shortage? Well, everything.

The military is correct in that climate change can be blamed, but not exclusively. In truth, the water shortage is an issue long in the making. The obsession and addiction to industrialisation, expanding and modernising the petrochemical industry did succeed in lifting over 85 million people out of poverty and delivering Zorasan as a potential future great power, but it has quite literally sucked the land dry, at the expense of the people. This is exacerbated by the state-owned water company being strong armed by the military into fuelling industry, rather than agriculture. Infrastructure has been left to rot, or much needed infrastructure has been re-used for oil and gas. Once vital pipelines carrying water, now carry oil and gas to Xiaodong and once limited aquifers are now dry. Profit and growth over public health, that defines Zorasan today.

The army caused this crisis through its thirst for profit, now it has left millions thirsting for water. But the law makers of Zorasan can do nothing, because they cannot call out of the army for doing so, nor can they act sufficiently because the military will block them from denting their profits. That’s not ignoring the reality that the army uses water as a political tool. The only way Zorasan can overcome this crisis, is to become aware of its sad reality, to realise there is no freedom or liberty, that change is the only necessity now. The state must be freed and with it, will come the waters of life and freedom.



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Wirrten by Assad Ekarat, a former Zorasani centrist MP, who fled the country in 2003 following the arbitrary arrest and torture of his eldest son. He has since established a special non-governmental organization dedicated to aiding Bahian and Coian asylum seekers in Estmere. He has been a vocal critic of the Zorasani government, denouncing the influence of the military and state control over everyday life.


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HEAT WAVE BRINGS SWELTERING TEMPERATURES TO ESTMERE, EUCLEA WITH THE POTENTIAL OF BREAKING RECORDS

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Beach-goers in Great Yaremouth have embraced the beach to escape the heat.
Nation-wide, Estmere - Estmere and countries throughout Euclea are bracing for the onset of a much dreaded heatwave, which could bring temperatures as high as 40 degrees to parts of the country.

Temperatures were expected to reach 35 degrees or more on Monday, and climb even further until the peak on Thursday and Friday. The heatwave is also anticipated to continue into next week, but has the potential to break over the weekend.

The south of the country – including most of Flurland - will be worst affected by the rising temperatures. The heatwave is centered around the middle of the continent, hitting a number of countries and causing wide-spread disruption.

The government is encouraging people to remain in doors when possible and to remain hydrated. The Secretary for Healthcare, Edgar Allerton (Ps), said that "ensuring you remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is incredibly important. Even if you do not feel thirsty, make sure you are consistently drinking fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol, as these are adverse to remaining hydrated".

Allterton and the Healthcare Secretariat are working closely with local governments to ensure people have access to water. Shelters are being opened across in the country in schools and senior centers to provide a place for populations most at risk during the heatwave to escape the rising temperatures. Children, the elderly, and the homeless are most at risk of suffering from heat-related health complications.

In some southern cities, such as Warminster and Catherby, humidity has exasperated the problem. Today, much of central and southern Flurland record temperatures rising above 40 degrees. In the major cities, humidity. Local governments are taking extra caution as a result, and are encouraging residents to check in frequently on their neighbors.

"Do not leave your children unattended, and watch out for your neighbors - especially the elderly. If you have an elderly neighbor, consider inviting them over for tea or a meal. For their safety, it is best if they do not remain alone" a spokesperson for Warminister's Municipal Department of Health said.

Organizer's of the city's annual pride parade, set to take place this coming Sunday, are considering postponing the event if the heat-wave doesn't break before the weekend.

Temperatures brought by the heat-wave are set to the among the highest since weather was recorded in Estmere. The heat-wave could also set records in countries throughout the Euclean Community, with the possibility that temperatures will be higher than at any point in record history in many member-states. Abmormally high temperatures have been reported as far north as Werania and as far south as Florena. Aimilia has already recorded its hottest ever temperatures.

A weather system over the Gulf of Assionare is creating high atmospheric pressure over the region, drawing up hot air from southern Euclea and Badawiya, raising temperatures. Climate activists have pegged the unusually high temperatures to global warming caused by climate change. Angela Matthiasson, a member of the Progressives who servers as Secretary for Energy and the Environment, said the heat-wave was a "wake-up call" and that the world needed to act faster in combating climate change.

An ally of the Prime Minister, Reginald Wilton-Smyth, dismissed Matthiasson's concerns, saying the climate "naturally warms as it has throughout history".

Last month's Euclean election results saw a surge in support for Green parties throughout the EC, who have brought the issue of climate change to the forefront of Euclean politics. EC President Walker has vowed to renew the bloc's efforts to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.



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KENNFORD CITY CENTRE EVACUATED DURING "MAJOR INCIDENT", CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM ON SITE

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The Federal Crisis Response Team is on the site of the incident.
Kennford, Estmere - Kennford's city centre was evacuated this morning as police dealt with an unconscious individual and a "suspicious package". The area immediately surrounding the city's famed abbey was evacuated as police cordoned off the area to the public. Kennford Metropolitan Police have also issued a shelter in place warning for the rest of the city.

At around midday police said: "We're currently dealing with an on-going incident in Kennford city centre.

A spokesperson for the department said that there is an "ongoing major incident" in Craweford Circus, located across the street from the Kennford Abbey. "Earlier today, officers discovered an unconscious man slumped over a park bench. Upon contact, the officers realized the individual was comatose".

Soon after their discovery, which took place around 9:45 EST, the area was closed to the public, with officers arriving to put up police barricades as they evacuated residencies, businesses, and the abbey.

The department called in support from the Federal Crisis Response Team, to deal with what police have described as "unusual and alarming traces" found on the unconscious man's face. After conducting a search of the area, agents from the FCRT found a "suspicious package" in a nearby trashcan. Police declined to comment on the exact nature of the package found.

He has been taken to an area hospital and is being treated, police have confirmed.

Officers and emergency response personnel from neighboring municipalities have been seen arriving in Kennford to support the city's police in their efforts to respond to the incident.

In a statement released by Reginald Wilton-Smyth, the prime minister said the developments were "cause for national concern" and said his office was "closely monitoring the situation".

The deputy prime minister, interior secretary, and justice secretary were all spotted arriving at the prime minister's residence soon after police in Kennford began responding to the incident.

Police have asked all members of the public to avoid traveling to or around Kennford until the lock down is lifted as the incident has "left members of the public at risk. Both the government and law enforcement have declined to comment on the specific nature of the incident.



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POLICE PUBLISH INFORMATION ABOUT KENNFORD INCIDENT AS COUNTER-TERRORISM AGENCY JOINS INVESTIGATION

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The Justice Secretary said the government was treating the incident "with great alarm".
Kennford, Estmere - New information published by law enforcement has shed light on a major incident that resulted in the evacuation of Kennford's famed city centre. Saturday morning, police began to cordon off parts of the city and placed the rest into lock down after finding an unconscious individual and a "suspicious package". The area immediately surrounding the city's famed abbey was evacuated as police cordoned off the area to the public.

Kennford Metropolitan Police, in coordination with federal law enforcement agencies and the Secretariat for Justice, have released new information. They have confirmed that the individual involved in the incident has died after medical staff at Ormond University Hospital. The man, who police have identified the man as a man of Pardarian origin in his fifties-sixties, is said to have suffered from a chemical attack.

Police are urging those who were at Craweford Circus and Kennford Abbey between 8:45 and 9:45 EST to contact the their offices. In addition to serving as potential witnesses, a spokesperson for Kennford police said the chemical attack "posed a risk to members of the public" and that it was "imperative" to ensure those with potential exposure were examined in hospital.

The authorities have also confirmed that the body of a dog was also discovered at the scene, who died from exposure to the same chemical. "Those who were indirectly exposed could be at risk" the spokesperson said.

However, the Chief Constable of the Kennford police, Elizabeth Warden, said in a press conference that " advice from the Federal Office for Public Health indicates that, based on the evidence to date, currently there doesn't appear to be any immediate risk to the public at large.

"We can confirm that a small number of emergency services personnel, including some police officers and staff, were assessed immediately after the incident.

"I would like to sincerely thank members of the public for their continued assistance and for respecting the cordons which remain in place in and around the Craweford Circus area".

She also confirmed that the police department had requested support from federal agencies, including the Federal Office of Counter-Terrorism, and that they would be joining the investigation.

"In many cases, it is likely the department will have to defer to the expertise of [federal] agencies. If warranted, they will assume jurisdiction over this investigation".

The federal government has also began to comment on the case, with Secretary for Justice Êdouard Aveline-Duquesne stating that his office was treating the incident with "great alarm".

"As facts are made known to us through this investigation, we can be more sure of the nature of this incident. However, what I will state now, and state categorically: if this was a terrorist attack, the Estmerish government will be responding accordingly through all channels available to us".

When asked if the government had seen evidence to incident that this was a terrorist attack, the Justice Secretary declined to comment.

The prime minister is set to post-pone a meeting with Euclean President Alexis Walker, as he plans on visiting Kennford on Wednesday. A statement released by his office echoed Aveline-Duquesne's comments, adding that "appropriate action will come when warranted".

Parts of Kennford's centre city are still cordoned off to members of the public, but many who were previously evacuated have been allowed to return to the neighborhood. The lockdown was also lifted yesterday, but police have used residents to use caution.



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PROTESTERS IN JINDAO RALLY IN SUPPORT OF INDEPENDENCE FROM XIAODONG, CATCHING ESTMERISH DIPLOMATS OFF-GUARD

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Nearly 700,000 demonstrators gathered in favor of Jindanese independence.
Jindao AAT, Xiaodong - Renewed protests in Jindao have seen over seven-hundred thousand take to the streets to demonstrate in favor of the territory of the autonomous territory from Xiaodong.

Protests began on Sunday following the vandalization of the Mathran consulate, plastering pro-democracy messaging on the diplomatic office's walls. An estimated fifty-thousand protested against the planned extradition of the two vandals. However, after days of continuous demonstrations, the motives of those protesting have evolved. Demonstrators are critical of rising authoritarianism in Xiaodong and human rights violations committed by the state. Thousands in the territory are now calling for secession from Xiaodong, with some even demanding the return of Estmerish jurisdiction over the ex-colony.

The size, scope, and motivations of the new demonstrations has caught Estmerish diplomats completely off guard. The existing Xiao-Estmerish Jindao Treaty of 1990 resulted in the transfer of jurisdiction over the island territory in 1996. It marked the end of Estmere's colonial empire, signaling the end of Euclean colonization of Coius that had lasted close to two centuries. The treaty binds both Estmere and Xiaodong to certain obligations regarding Jindao's autonomy. Under the treaty, Estmere fully recognizes Xiaodongese authority over the island. Ashcombe also pledges not to influence political activity in Jindaom, with Rongzhuo making similar promises. However, the protests pose a significant challenge to obligations under the treaty as diplomats in Ashcombe fear a heavy-handed response from the Xiaodongese government.

Estmere first established jurisdiction over Jindao following Gaullica's defeat in the Great War, when the island's sovereignty was transferred to Estmere. By 1950, democratic reforms were introduced in Jindao, bringing it more in line with Estmere's other colonial possessions. In the 1960s, the Jindanese culture emerged as a separate one to that of the mainland, with more Euclean influence, creating a culture clash between those on the Xiao mainland and those living on the island.

A poll conducted by a Jindanese polling agency showed that of 39% participants would back independence if a referendum was held while 46% would vote to remain a part of Xiaodong. 15% of respondents said they "didn't know" or "didn't have an opinion". The poll has the highest showing of support of secession from Xiaodong since the transfer took place in 1996 and presents serious challenges for Estmere and Xiaodong.

Commenting on the developments, Foreign Secretary Anne Buckett said it was "imperative" that authorities in Jindao and Xiaodong allow protests to "continue peacefully".

"The right to peaceful assembly and demonstration is a universally recognized by members of the Community of Nations under the Declaration of Universal Natural Rights, of which Xiaodong is a signatory".

She reaffirmed Ashcombe's support for the continuation of democracy in Jindao and backed the political authority of the Biao, the Jindanese government. When asked about calls for independence from Xiaodong, she said that referendums were "an agent of democracy" and should one be held by the Biao, it would "not violate the terms of the [1990 transfer agreement]".

Prime Minister Reginald Wilton-Smyth has also commented on the developments in Jindao. Echoing Buckett's statements, he said it was "crucial to Xiao-Estmerish relations" that the protests be allowed to continue peacefully. The prime minister also stated that the territory's independence was "not impossible" and said he felt return to Estmerish authority was a "novel idea", but unlikely.

In recent years before becoming prime minister, Wilton-Smyth has been highly critical of Xiaodong and the rise of authoritarianism in other states. After winning his party's leadership contest following the resignation of Rupert Richardson, the prime minister warned that "forces of illberalism are assembling" in order to "usurp democratic norms and challenge our very way of life". Previously, he had described Xiaodong as an "anti-democratic and rogue" state.

His comments are a departure from traditional Estmerish policy, which has sought to embrace potential adversaries like Xiaodong and attempt to bring them into the establish international system as partners.

Rongzhuo has not yet commented on the protests or the Estmerish response.



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Postby Estmere » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:03 pm

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PM: IT IS 'WITHOUT QUESTION' ZORASAN IS BEHIND KENNFORD INCIDENT

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Prime Minister Wilton-Smyth said the "rouge" state was behind the attack on Ekarat.
Ashcombe, Estmere - The Estmerish government has accused agents working on behalf of the Union of Zorasani Ifranic Republics of carrying out an "assassination" of a polilitical dissident this past weekend, staging the Kennford Incident in order to silence a powerful critic of Zorasan.

Addressing a packed press conference, the prime minister said that evidence obtained by authorities during the investigation into the incident said it was "without question" that Zorasan was behind the attack.

"Based on the information gathered by law enforcement and counter-terrorism agents on the ground, and reports complied from the intelligence community, it we can confirm that the Union of Zorasani Ifranic Republic was behind the assassination carried out in Kennford Saturday morning".

The identity of the victim, Assad Ekarat, was also made public for the first time during his address. A former Zorasani centrist MP, Ekarat fled the country in 2003 following the arrest and torture of his eldest son. He has been a vocal critic of the Zorasani government, denouncing the influence of the military and state control over everyday life. Recently, he has spoken-out against the Zorasani military's role in the country's ongoing water crisis, where protests have dogged the government. Ekarat was a longtime contributor to the Ashcombe Herald, regularly contributing as a guest columnist.

"As a nation that not only believes in but cherishes the rule of law, we will give the police the space and time to carry out their investigation properly. Make no mistake, however. It is without question that the attack was organized and conducted by the Zorasani state in an attempt to silence a political dissident who spoke out against the totalitarian, anti-democratic, and fanatical nature of the regime in Zahedan".

Wilton-Smyth also called on Estmere's Euclean and global allies to "stand in solidarity, stand in defense of freedom and liberty" and "condemn the rogue elements behind this heinous attack".

"We in Estmere are not afraid. We do not fear you and let me be clear: you will not strike terror into our hearts or murder people on our streets any longer".

His remarks come before this weekends meeting of the Euclean Convention in Hennehouwe, where leaders of the Euclean Community will gather to nominate the next Euclean Commission. Working in tandem with the foreign secretary and newly appointed Euclean secretary, the prime minister is expected to pursue a series of sanctions against Zorasan. He declined to speak to their nature, but said that Estmere will "not sit idly by" and will call the international community to "stand up for the rule of law, free speech, and human rights".

An investigation into the attack is still ongoing. The government has been slow to publicize any information related to the assassination, with a spokesperson saying the government did not want the press or public to "influence" the outcome. Local police in Kennford are working in coordination with federal police and counter-terrorism officers.



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ESTMERE ESCALATES TENSIONS WITH UZIR, SENDING FRIGATES TO THE MAZDAN AND PLANS TO TABLE CONDEMNATION AT THE CN

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A squadron of Estmerish frigates have arrived in Lalgat.
Ashcombe, Estmere - The Estmerish government has escalated its ongoing dispute with the Union of Zorasani Ifranic Republics, with a squadron of frigates arriving in the Marathi port city of Lalgat . The move comes after a firm rejection of claims by Ashcombe that agents of the Zorasani state assassinated a political dissident in Kennford last weekend by the UZIR's president.

Three Estmerish frigates were dispatched last week and arrived in Mathrabumi this afternoon, according to the Mathri press. The Defense Secretariat has declined to comment on the arrival of the ships, but pictures out of Mathrabumi being circulated in the international press and online confirm that three Estmerish Valor-class frigates have docked in Lalgat .

A spokesperson for the prime minister said that the government remained "committed" to defending Estmerish sovereignty and stated that "all options were on the table".

Tensions continue to flare over the Kennford Incident, which saw the murder of Assad Ekarat, a former Zorasani centrist MP a vocal critic of the Zorasani government. Ekarat routinely denounced the influence of the military and state control over everyday life in Zorasan. Recently, he had spoken-out against the Zorasani military's role in the country's ongoing water crisis, where protests have dogged the government. Ekarat was a longtime contributor to the Ashcombe Herald, regularly contributing as a guest columnist.

The Zorasani State President, Vahid Isfandiar, denounced Estmere this morning for promoting false claims against it and promised to fight any attempts by Estmere and its allies to pursue economic sanctions in retaliation for the poisoning. Mathraumbi has said it will back any moves back Ashcombe to secure sanctions against Zahedan and Valentir has also offered support to Estmere. After sharing information related to the assassination with the EC's police agency, Euclolaw, its director backed the "authenticity" of the evidence presented by Estmere.

However, the EC itself has not taken a firm position as its leaders just finished negotiations to nominate the next Euclean Commission. President Walker has said the incident was "cause for alarm" and promised that the EC would support action following the conclusion of an investigation into the assassination. Many of its member states have kept quiet as well, as their leaders met with Reginald Wilton-Smyth this past weekend in the Hennish capital. Sources confirm the Kennford Incident was discussed at great length.

Isfandiar's comments came before the Estmerish representative to the Community of Nations announced she would work with Estmere's partners to secure a condemnation to denounce the UZIR for its role in the Kennford Incident. Foreign Secretary Anne Buckett indicated that the government was "working closely" with its allies and that sanctions were a "strong possibility"

"To put it simply, yes we are working on sanctions against Zorasan. A state cannot assassinate a dissident in another country and expect to simply get away with it".

Rebuking President Isfandiar, Buckett also said the "desperation" of his argument was "further evidence that Zorasan was behind the assassination of Mr. Ekarat".

"We have heard this rhetoric before, it comes whenever Zorasan is desperate enough to use it".

An investigation into the attack is still ongoing. The government has been slow to publicize any information related to the assassination, with a spokesperson saying the government did not want the press or public to "influence" the outcome. Local police in Kennford are working in coordination with federal police and counter-terrorism officers. However, Ashcombe has shared parts of its findings with the Euclean Community and several of its international partners.

As the investigation continues, the government is likely to present all of its findings before the international community.

"We are not acting without cause" Wilton-Smyth said during an interview with the Gaullican Le Monde over the weekend. "While there is a sense of charm and joviality behind the ridiculous notion advanced by the rogue Zorasani state that Estmere is a colonial power hopelessly grasping at its former imperial glory, it is far from the truth. We stand in defense of our ideals, ideals shared by those who love and cherish freedom and democracy throughout the world".

He also claimed that it was "clear that the number one threat to the democratic way of life was the UZIR".



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Postby Estmere » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:58 am

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DEFENSE SECRETARY REJECTS ZORASANI CLAIMS ESTMERE VIOLATED TERRITORIAL WATERS, DENOUNCES "SMEAR CAMPAIGN"

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Defense Secretary Henry Edwards said the UZIR's claims were a "fabrication".
Ashcombe, Estmere - Claims by the Union of Zorasani Irfanic Republics that its territorial waters were violated by three Estmerish frigates were rejected by the Estmerish government. The claims come after news broke that three Estmerish frigates had unexpectedly arrived in Mathrabumi.

According to reports from news sources allied with the Zorasani government, the three Estmerish frigates entered Zorasani territorial waters at 9.04am local time. Two Zorasani destroyers on patrol intercepted and approached the three ships, which had entered 3 miles into Zorasani waters. Following an exchange of radio messages and warnings, the Estmerish ships returned to international waters.

Defense Secretary Henry Edwards claimed that the alleged violation "never took place" and rejected claims advanced by the Zorasani government.

"There was no violation of Zorasani waters by the Estmerish Federal Navy. This is simply a fabrication, another false claim from a rouge government desperately trying to distract from the fact that it carried out an assassination of a political dissident in Estmere".

He went on to call it "part of an orchestrated smear campaign" against the Estmerish government for "speaking about the true nature of Assad Ekarat's death".

However, the Zorasani foreign ministry continues to alleged that Estmerish ships violated the UZIR's territorial waters. A spokesperson said Edwards was "delusion" and claimed the Zorasani government would publish evidence to back its claims.

The claims come amid rising tensions in the region. Regional governments have called for a deescalation of the ongoing dispute between Estmere and Zorasan. The Karzari government has denounced the arrival of the Estmerish frigates while Kituk's High Represenative has been vocal in his criticism of Estmere over the issue. However, the Kituki leader also said that " must be justice "if Estmere's claim that Ekarat was assassinated by agents of the UZIR is true.

The ongoing dispute was triggered by the Kennford Incident, which saw the murder of Assad Ekarat, a former Zorasani centrist MP a vocal critic of the Zorasani government. Ekarat routinely denounced the influence of the military and state control over everyday life in Zorasan.

Estmere and its regional partners, namely Mathrabumi and Valentir, have promised to pursue sanctions on the Zorasani government over Ekarat's murder. A vote to condemn Zorasan is expected to be brought before the Community of Nations.

The government has promised to publish its findings in the lead up to the CN vote. An investigation into the assassination is still ongoing, however the government argues it has been able to gather enough evidence to support its claims that Ekarat was assassinated on the orders of the Zorasani state. Thus far, the government has been slow to publicize any information related to the Kennford Incident, with a spokesperson saying the government did not want the press or public to "influence" the outcome. Local police in Kennford are working in coordination with federal police and counter-terrorism officers.

Parts of the government's findings have already been shared with the Euclean Community and several of Estmere's international partners, who have supported the authenticity of the findings.

Prime Minister Reginald Wilton-Smyth dismissed the new claims from Zorasan as "nonsense" and backed Secretary Edwards.

"Why should anyone trust a the government of a rouge state?" the prime minister commented.



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GOVERNMENT ON THE DEFENSIVE AFTER UZIR PRESENTS EVIDENCE OF NAVAL INCURSION, DEFENSE SECRETARY TO RESIGN

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Sec. Buckett said "theatrics and podium-pounding" would not distract from Ekarat's murder.
Ashcombe, Estmere - The Estmerish government is facing heavy criticism for statements previously made regarding claims the Estmerish Navy violated the Union of Zorasani Irfanic Republic's territorial waters. The Zorasani government has previously claimed that the three Estmerish frigates that had recently docked in Mathrabumi were involved in the naval incident. Following the outcry, the defense secretary has announced his intent to resign.

Rejecting the UZIR's claims, Defense Secretary Henry Edwards on Friday said the naval incursion "never took place" and said the claims were "simply fabricated". He further accused the Zorasani government of launching a smear campaign against Estmere over the Kennford Incident, of which the territorial violation claims were a part of.

However, evidence published by the Zorasani foreign ministry released camera footage from one of its own ships that reportedly intercepted the three Valor-class frigates. Javan Borazjani, the UZIR's Foreign Minister, said that his government would lodge a complain to the Community of Nations. He said the incident was a "despicable display of gunboat diplomacy" and that Estmerish was conducting "warlike operations" in the Solarian Sea.

"This footage, alongside detailed radar data from the Revolutionary Navy and Air Force will corroborate reality” he told reporters at a press conference. It is a strong rebuttal of Secretary Edwards' claims that the incident never took place. An analysis of the footage published by the Zorasani navy clearly shows one of the Valor-class frigates which was identified by its wide cabin and naval jack.

Edwards announced in a statement released via Twitter that he would be resigning from the government. "I cannot, in good faith, continue to serve as Secretary for Defense".

Opposition parliamentarians have begun calling for a legal inquiry into whether or not Edwards knowing mislead the public and international community in his claims and if there was any legal wrongdoing. A spokesperson for the Justice Secretariat said no such investigation was needed as Edwards had "done the proper thing by resigning".

Opposition leader Robert Spencers (DLP) said the entire affair was "disgraceful" and said the prime minister was "tarnishing Estmere's international standing". He renewed calls for an early general election, claiming that the escalating crisis could only be resolved with the National Union Party "out of power and Wilton-Smyth on the backbenches".

Anne Buckett, the Foreign Secretary, said that the fallout from last week's naval incident did "little to distract" from the assassination of Assad Ekarat by "known agents of the Zorasani state".

"Theatrics and podium-pounding will not cause us to forget that [Ekarat] was assassinated on the streets of Kennford for his political activism. Such a brazen in the midst of a major crisis in Zorasan would only be carried out by a government desperate to distract its own people from the manufactured crisis they face. Mr. Ekarat's firm denunciation of the powerful role of the UZIR's military and its responsibility for the ongoing water crisis resulted in his murder by his government, a government he was once a part of" she said at a press conference held this afternoon.

Buckett also said that the Estmerish government would expedite its efforts to present its findings in Ekarart's murder to the international community. The government has been slow to make the details of the Kennford Incident public, however it has repeatedly promised to publish its findings in the lead up to a CN vote to condemn the UZIR. An investigation into the assassination is still ongoing, however the government argues it has been able to gather enough evidence to support its claims that Ekarat was assassinated on the orders of the Zorasani state.

"It is coming within the next few days".

Parts of the government's findings have already been shared with the Euclean Community and several of Estmere's international partners, who have supported the authenticity of the findings. A much broader report of its findings is expected to be presented as the government makes its case to the international community. However, the naval incident is likely to make that process more difficult. Apart from Estmere's closer partners, support for Ashcombe in its dispute with the UZIR has not been strong.

The foreign secretary said it was time to "return to making the case" that the Zorasani government murdered Ekarat. "That must always be the focus of our discussion, not ships in the Solarian". She declined to comment on Edwards' resignation. The two have long been close partners and Edwards was one of several deputy leaders of the Progressives. However, senior officials within the party have grown frustrated with the prime minister's handling of the Kennford Incident.

One senior official, who spoke to the Herald on the condition of anonymity, said Edwards was left with "little choice" but to mislead the public over the naval incursion.

"[The prime minister] left him with little else to say, apart from a total denunciation of the claims as false".

For his part, Prime Minister Wilton-Smyth has said the developments were all part of a "desperate attempt by [the UZIR] to assert its dominance over a region it does not control".

"If Zorasan wishes to play great power, let them".

A statement released by his office said Edwards "made the honorable choice" in resigning over his false statements and reiterated that "free nations must stand together in the face of an onslaught on liberty and democracy" by "rouge governments".



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GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES FINDINGS IN EREKAT MURDER INVESTIGATION, IDENTIFIES ZORASANI SPIES AND CHEMICAL AGENT USED IN THE KILLING

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Asadi (left) and Husseini (right) have been identified as Erekat's killers by investigators.
Ashcombe, Estmere - Evidence published by the Estmerish government "unequivocally" proves that Zorasan was behind the death of dissident Assad Erekat, Justice Secretary Êdouard Aveline-Duquesne said.

The government has made a number of its findings in the probe surrounding Erekats death public for the first time. Among the information released, the government has published the identities of two men it accuses of being Zorasani agents responsible for the attack. Fahrid Asadi and Peyman Husseini were responsible for the murder of Erekat, which took place on 6 July at Craweford Circus located in Kennford's centre city. CCTV footage released by the government show the two men arriving in Kennford on 4 July.

"These two men entered our country using authentic passport identification from another country. These passports were for all intents and purposes real, not forged documents" the justice secretary said. He declined to name the country in question, but said the government had been "looking into the matter extensively" and said that any government found having assisting Zorasan in the assassination of Erekat would "face the music".

"After entering our country, Asadi and Husseini traveled to Kennford where they remained for several days. It is from the residence that they were lodged that they coordinated and conducted their attack on Assad Erekat. Kennford Metropolitan Police, in conjunction with federal law enforcement, have conducted a series of interviews related to their stay".

Aveline-Duquesne refused to comment on a raid conducted by Kennford police last week that local media have speculated is related to the Erekat investigation. However, a spokesperson for Kennford police had previously confirmed the raid was carried out alongside federal police. The justice secretary promised that "those responsible the attack, both directly and indirectly, would face justice" for their involvement.

"The Justice Secretariat, federal agencies, and local police are receiving cooperation from our Euclean and international allies. Justice cannot be escaped, not for those who poisoned Mr. Erekat or for those who ordered his murder".

Information about the chemical agent allegedly used by Asadi and Hussein has also been publicized. Investigators found traces of the Osfoor agent on Erekat, his dog, and a coffee cup located in a trash can nearby. The nature of the agent is secretive, but it is believed to have been by Zorasani scientists for use by the country's intelligence services and is claimed to be among the deadliest ever made.

"We know that, for much of recent history, this particular toxin has been mass produced in Zorasan almost exclusively, which only emboldens our findings and further brings us to the conclusion that the Zorasani regime had Mr. Erekat brutally murdered" Aveline-Duquesne said.

The agent has previously been used in the murders of Masood Karimi in say 2006, Kazdeh and Hussein Amini in 2009 (a married couple), and Aslan Cetinkaya in 2011- all of which had ties to the UZIR.

The government reached its determination after three laboratories in Estmere concluded it the chemical traces found were Osfoor. This was verified by two laboratories elsewhere in Euclea, one in Gaullica and one in Werania.

Prime Minister Wilton-Smyth said the government's findings were "impossible" for Zorasan to reject, but expected it would "make a faux attempt to claim it was in fact exonerated" by them.

Until now, the government had been slow to publicize any information related to the Kennford Incident, with a spokesperson saying it did not want the press or public to "influence" the outcome. Parts of the government's findings had previously been shared with the Euclean Community and several of Estmere's international partners, who have supported the authenticity of the findings. However, in the government has publicized its findings in the lead up to a Wednesday vote at the Community of Nations to condemn Zorasan for the Erekat assassination.

International support for Estmere has been growing, with the Gaullican and Weranian governments firmly backing Ashcombe. Etruria, which has long been at odds with the Euclean Community, has also pledged support for Estmere. A number of Estmere's international partners have also backed the government over the incident.

Wilton-Smyth thanked the international community for its support, saying it was was proof that the "free world stands together, united in the face of evil".

The UZIR, backed by its ally Xiaodong, has rejected all claims that it is behind the death of Erekat. It has accused Estmere of fabricating the incident and tensions have increased drastically after three Estmerish frigates violated Zorasani territorial waters.



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EREKAT'S WIDOW, ESTMERISH GOVERNMENT REJECT 'FICTIONAL' ZORASANI CLAIMS THAT HIS DEATH WAS RELATED TO DRUG-TRAFFICING

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Sajida Erekat called on the international community to reject the UZIR's "falsehoods".
Ashcombe, Estmere - The widow of the Zorasani political dissident whose assassination triggered an international crisis has spoken out against claims by the Zorasani government that his death was the result of involvement in drug-trafficking, not an attempt by the UZIR to silence his criticism. Sajida Erekat called the claims "entirely fictional" and said the murder of her husband by the UZIR was "cold, calculated, and absolutely devastating.

"The Zorasani regime has tortured my son, and now they have murdered my husband on the streets of the city that offered us sanctuary from their tyranny. [First Minister Farzad] Akbari has a;ready killed Assad once, I will not let them kill him again with unfounded, fabricated slanderous attacks".

During an address before the Zorasani Popular Council, the first minister accused Erekat of embezzling funds from the charities he led and acting "as a drug kingpin, smuggling in narcotics from Asteria to be distributed and sold across Kennford".

Akbari says his claims are backed by the Zorasani intelligence agency, RESAT. However, neither the first minister or RESAT have provided evidence to support their allegations of Erekat's criminal involvement. The Estmerish government has also accused RESAT of carrying out the assassination of Erekat, having identified two Zorasani nationals, Fahrid Asadi and Peyman Husseini as the RESAT agents behind his murder. The Estmerish government has published CCTV footage showing the two men arriving in Kennford on 4 July, two days before Erekat's killing.

Estmerish investigators have determined that the Osfoor chemical agent was used to kill Erekat. The agent is widely produced in the UZIR and was developed by Zorasani scientists for use by the national intelligence agency. It has been used in several high-profile killings over the past two decades. In all of these cases, the victims were Zorasani citizens living in a self-imposed exile, similar to Erekat. Osfoor is considered a highly deadly chemical agent and exposure to it is almost always fatal.

The Zorasani first minister instead alleged that Erekat was killed by a Minervan drug-smuggling ring as the two developed a rivalry over drug-trafficking in Estmere and northern Euclea.

"These claims are completely and totally unfounded. My husband was no drug-runner, he was an advocate for human rights, he spoke out against the tyranny he saw in his own government, he established charities to help victims of state oppression, when no one else criticized the Zorasani military's role in creating a water crisis that has devastated parts of the country, he did. If you want to know why my husband was murdered, read the piece he wrote for the [Ashcombe] Herald about the ongoing water crisis" his widow said tearfully.

On 30 June, Assad Erekat published an opinion piece in the Herald criticizing the Zorasani military for its role in the water shortages parts of the country currently face. Less than a week later, he was murdered while walking his dog on 6 July in Kennford. The Estmerish government claims that the UZIR moved to silence Erekat after protests against the water crisis continued to grow and he called for political reforms in the Herald.

"To world governments, I beg you not to be tricked by these falsehoods. The regime desperately wants to save face in the wake of tomorrow's vote at the Community of Nations. When the time comes, show them you are not so foolish".

Erekat has received significant support from within Estmere, with many government officials commending her for sharing her story. Foreign Secretary Anne Buckett, who attended the press conference held by Erekat, called her an "incredibly brave women" and denounced what she labeled "unfounded slander" being advanced by the Zorasani government.

"For the leader of a country to go before the legislature and speak to such a false narrative, to advance so many lies, is deeply troubling. It is yet another sign that the Zorasani government cannot be trusted" Buckett said.

Support for Erekat on social media has also been strong, with users praising her resolve and calling her a "hero".

At a surprise conference held in the Gaullican capital, the prime minister also backed Erekat. "She is very, very brave" he told reporters gathered at the summit between officials from Estmere, Gaullica, Werania, Etruria, and EC President Alexis Walker.

"She speaks nothing but the truth in the face of such visceral lies spat at her by a hateful, oppressive government. Sajida is a formidable women and free peoples everyone grieve alongside her".

Touting support from the Euclean Community, Etruria, and a number of other international governments, Wilton-Smyth said that the "gig was up" and warned Zorasan that it would face condemnation by the international community.
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The prime minister used
water as a prop as he spoke.

"Tomorrow, you will see what the free world thinks of your failed attempt to silence critics of your tyranny" he said addressing the Zorasani government. "Was it worth it, all over this?" he said has he held of a plastic cup of water and took a sip.

"Is that not most refreshing? It is a shame that your own citizens lack access to one of the world's resources all humans have a right to - water. You are willing to murder your own people, not just with chemical agents, but through terminal dehydration".

His remarks have been criticized as insensitive, with opposition leader Robert Spencers saying they "distracted from the government's argument, damaged Estmere's credibility, and disrespected the widow of a man murdered for his activism over the issue of water access".

"The current crisis, which the prime minister has let escalate out of hand by playing imperialist, is no laughing matter".

Tensions continue to flair between Zorasan and Estmere, as Senria has offered its full support to Estmere. The Phuli government has also opted to expel Zorasani diplomats over the issue, lending further credibility to evidence presented yesterday by Justice Secretary Êdouard Aveline-Duquesne.

Until recently the government had been slow to publicize any information related to the Kennford Incident, with a spokesperson saying it did not want the press or public to "influence" the outcome. Parts of the government's findings had previously been shared with the Euclean Community and several of Estmere's international partners, who have supported the authenticity of the findings. However, in the government has publicized its findings in the lead up to a vote at the Community of Nations to condemn Zorasan for the Erekat assassination. Tomorrow, the International Assembly will vote on a condemnation put forward by the Estmerish delegation that would condemn Zorasan for its involvement in Erekat's murder.

The UZIR, backed by its ally Xiaodong, has rejected all claims that it is behind the death of Erekat. It has accused Estmere of fabricating the incident and tensions have increased drastically after three Estmerish frigates violated Zorasani territorial waters.



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© The Ashcombe Herald 2019


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Last edited by Estmere on Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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