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33 Provinces in 33 Days (News Thread in Laeral, Open)

A place to put national factbooks, embassy exchanges, and other information regarding the nations of the world. [In character]

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As a fictional Laeralite, which party would you vote for? Feel free to post explaining your response

Socialist Party (Jean-Pierre Nury)
47
17%
Progressive Party (Tanvi Misra)
37
14%
New Democratic Alliance (Liu Mei-han)
27
10%
Conservative Party (Bernard Errante)
43
16%
Laeralian People's Party (Damien Vendorme)
17
6%
Laeral Unbowed! (Hsieh Pai-han)
42
15%
United Right
27
10%
Green Party/Laeralian Ecology
17
6%
Women's Alliance
6
2%
Secular Democrats
11
4%
 
Total votes : 274

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Laeral
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Posts: 393
Founded: Sep 19, 2016
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Laeral » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:34 am

Le Pays
Wang Bao Sentenced to 15 Years for Zhou Killing

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Wang Bao appears in court to accept the verdict.
By Maxime Lu
15th June 2019

Lushui- Wang Bao was convicted today of murdering Christian Zhou only days before last year's second-round elections. Wang fatally stabbed Representative Christian Zhou with a kitchen knife in a politically-motivated attack while the Representative was campaigning in Cordeliers. The presiding judge announced the jury's verdict and sentenced Wang to 15 years in prison, with the possibility of parole.

Wang, a 24 year-old member of the paramilitary organization known as the Rén Self-Defense League (RSDL), became influenced by militant Rén ideology through exposure to radical websites and conspiracy theories. Wang believed that Zhou, a member of the Conservative party, was a co-conspirator in a plot to oppress Rén nationwide, and shouted "death to the collaborators" during his attack. Although the RSDL has disavowed Wang's actions, RSDL members have been known to espouse radical militant ideology. RSDL spokeswoman Zhao Hua said the group "supports efforts to punish the criminal Wang Bao for his illegal actions". Although six protesters were present at the sentencing, none claimed affiliation with the RSDL.

Following the violent riots in Cordeliers that left three dead, the site of the trial was moved to Lushui, Minsheng. Wang pleaded not guilty, and accepted a public defense attorney during the case. Throughout the case, Wang maintained his composure, speaking rarely. The prosecution brought forward numerous witnesses, include eyewitnesses and police officers involved in apprehending Wang.

Security was tight throughout the case, which was followed by nationwide media. A guilty verdict was almost universally expected. Following only ten minutes of deliberation, the jury found Wang guilty of murder, after the state decided against charging Wang with the rarely-used charge of "crimes against democracy". Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison, nearly the maximum possible sentence. Wang accepted the verdict calmly, even acknowledging reporters as he was led off. Wang will be held in a detention facility in Minzu province.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Laeral
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Laeral » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:41 am

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Del. Damien Vendorme (@damien_vendorme_english)
Just now from Laeralsford, Laeral

Very glad to see that the murderer Wang Bao will be locked up for a very long time. His brutal murder of Rep. Christian Zhou was a crime against the very foundations of our democracy. Rén militancy and militias such as the Rén Self-Defense League remain a danger nationwide, and strong legislation is still needed to prevent these groups from threatening peace and order.

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Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Laeral
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Laeral » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:14 pm

Les Couloirs

Within the Corridors of Power

Trade Ministry to seek new trading partners
Chen gave Kerlile, Xiomera, Shuell, as examples to Commons committee
By Lilie Hollande, published July 15th, 2019
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Laeralsford- Speaking before the Assembly of Commons Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Minister Raoul Chen said that his ministry will work to open trade relations with nations such as Kerlile, Xiomera, and Shuell. "One of my chief priorities," Chen said, "is to open up relations with emerging economies which Laeral historically has not shared economic ties with, in order to pursue mutually beneficial trade with those nations."

Minister Chen, a Progressive member of the Commons, was invited by the Foreign Affairs subcommittee to discuss his goals as he nears his six-week mark in office. Representative Léo Chapelle, a New Democrat, asked Chen to describe his views on expanding trade with economies seeking access to Laeralian markets, including those, such as Kerlile, which have uncertain or dubious human rights records.

Chen has announced plans to open trade talks with Kerlile, following reported exploratory talks at the Tofino Leaders Summit in February 2019. According to press relations from the Trade Ministry, future trade relations would likely be limited in scope. Laeral and Kerlile have historically had chilly relations, particularly following the autocratic matriarchy's intervention against Laeralian forces in the Second Lauchenoirian Civil War. Xiomera and Shuell, meanwhile, are authoritarian states with severely limited human rights for their citizens.

Rep. Gao Heng, newly elected as leader of the Socialist caucus in the Assembly of Commons, criticized Chen's statement later that day. "The Martin government's decision to seek commercial ties with dangerous authoritarian states such as Kerlile is a troubling move which will help the repressive governments of these nations stay in power," said Gao. "Any trade deal with these nations will be bad for Laeralian workers, bad for the citizens of these nations, and bad for Laeral's moral legitimacy in the field of foreign relations."

In a subsequent interview, Chen denied that trade relations with these nations is unethical. "Expanding trade relations with these nations, when done carefully, will allow for ideas of democracy, human rights, and Laeralian values to enter these nations and reach citizens which we have been unable to reach otherwise," he said. "Specifically, allowing Laeralian cultural media such as books, movies, and songs to enter these nations can play a significant role in developing their civil society and offering an alternative to the systems in place in their countries."

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About the Author

Lilie Hollande is a Political Correspondent for Les Couloirs. She previously worked as a political writer at Le Auvergnat, and before that, she was on the staff of several members of the National Assembly. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and Political Communications from Sun Jia-wei National Open University. She lives with her fiance and two cats in a 'cozy' apartment in Laeralsford, and in her free time enjoys cheering for Laeralsford AC, trying new restaurants, and following election news.
You can follow her at @liliehollande on Setsuzoku. Direct any comments, corrections, or vaguely-coherent rants to her inbox at lilie.hollande@lescouloirs.net .
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Kerlile
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Posts: 6
Founded: Sep 28, 2017
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Kerlile » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:59 pm

Kerlian News Service

International Edition


President Arnott welcomes idea of trade with Laeral
18th July 2019

President Rebecca Arnott has today welcomed the idea of opening trade relations with the Allied Provinces of Laeral, after Laeralian Trade Minister Raoul Chen suggested on Monday that his ministry would work towards opening trade relations with Kerlile, along with Shuell and Xiomera. In a speech made to various Kerlian business leaders at a dinner in Grapevale, President Arnott said that she would welcome the opportunity to trade with Laeral, and hopes to open negotiations on trade quickly.

“It is time that Kerlile began to develop better relations with the other nations of the world, and trade is a big part of that. I look forward to discussions with Laeral, and I hope we can have a productive trade relationship going forward,” she said. She also mentioned that she would be seeking trade deals with a number of other countries, including Shuell and Libertas Omnium Maximus – the latter of which Kerlile has been in negotiations with since February.

Preliminary discussions on trade with Laeral began at the Tofino Leaders’ Summit in Zamastan in February, which was attended by a Kerlian delegation consisting of Councillor Electra Georgiou, Minister of Foreign Affairs Katrine Porter and Minister for International Trade Ines Abbott. The latter two currently retain those positions, though it is unknown if they will be replaced by President Arnott when she announces her own cabinet. Discussions at the summit were reported to be positive.

A trade deal with Libertas Omnium Maximus is also in the process of being negotiated, following preliminary discussions which also took place at the Tofino summit. Councillor Georgiou previously called these negotiations “a sign that Kerlile is ready to productively engage with the rest of the world, with the aim of improving relations with a wide variety of countries”. Councillor Georgiou has been the strongest proponent of greater trade with other nations on the Council.

It is expected that President Arnott’s government will reach out to a variety of potential trading partners over the coming months. Shuell has been named as a potential trading partner by several Councillors over the past months, and is expected that President Arnott will reach out to Shuell soon. Notably missing from the list of potential partners is southern neighbour Lauchenoiria. Relations between Lauchenoiria and Kerlile have been traditionally hostile, and have only increased in hostility since last year’s war.
Kerlile: a totalitarian matriarchal dictatorship where men have no rights.
Men are advised to avoid eye contact with all Kerlian officials.

This nation is a puppet of Lauchenoiria created for RP purposes.

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Laeral
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Laeral » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:29 pm

Narrative: Cabinet Meeting, 18 July 2019
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Liu Mei-han, President of Laeral, was presiding over a meeting of what should have been Nicolas Martin's government. The room, situated within the East Wing of Republic House, was sparsely decorated, apart from a Laeralian flag draped from a flagpole in the corner and a large painting showing envoys coming to give their respects to an emperor of the Sen Dynasty.

Previous Prime Ministers had chosen where to convene their governments. Tanvi Misra had preferred a sitting room at her personal house in northern Laeralsford- all the better, Mei-han thought, for Misra to put her ministers at ease as she manipulated them. Her predecessor, the Progressive Chen Ting-fei, had used a room at Assembly Hall. While Ting-fei had many faults, vanity was not among them.

Prime Minister Martin had evidently 'chosen' a room which would magnify President Liu's influence. Liu had been a diplomat; she had chosen the room as she would a site for a meeting with a foreign ambassador. The room was within Republic House, Liu's own residence. The teapot on the table, and the char siu bao pork buns (Liu's favorite) sitting on the side table, even the painting hanging from the wall, reflected Liu's influence, or perhaps to the cynical, Nicolas Martin's sycophancy. Martin himself sat to Liu's left, a neutral expression on his face. The agendas for the meeting sat before the 16 assembled ministers, printed in their language of preference.

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Meeting of the First Martin Government
Thursday, 18 July, 2019

Nicolas Martin, Prime Minister| Liu Mei-han, President
Republic House, Laeralsford


Topics of Deliberation:
1. Request for Extradition of Dissidents by the Huenyan Empire of Xiomera
Del. Tanvi Misra, Minister of Foreign Affairs

2. Policy Regarding Expansion of International Trade Ties
Rep. Raoul Chen, Minister of Trade

3. Public Housing Reform Legislation
Rep. Yang Wanzhou, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs

4. Modifications to Existing Limitations on Location of Aquaculture Facilities
Rep. Antoine Lambert, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

5. Assurance of Party-line Voting among Representatives
Del. Bernard Errante, Minister of Defense


"Ministers," President Liu said. "If we will now move to the first topic of the agenda. Minister Misra, if you would kindly describe the situation." Liu knew from long years of experience that the exaggerated formality of the Chinese she adopted when speaking to an opponent could easily come off as patronizing. When it came to Tanvi Misra, she had long ago stopped trying to change that.

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"Xiomera has historically been treated as an enemy in our foreign policy," Misra began. Liu noted wryly that Misra's pronunciation of the name 'Xiomera' was in the fashion of the pronunciation of the Chinese pinyin- as beginning with the sound 'she'.

"Xiomera is an island nation located in the tropics of far Catica, which has historically been insular. They are an autocracy, and their government is no friend to ours, although we have some trade dealings," Misra said.

"The relevant statistics are on the second page of today's briefing packet," Trade Minister Chen interjected. He was a young man, with the good looks of a former teenage heartthrob- albeit one, in Liu's estimation, with significantly higher mental capacity. Misra merely nodded, although Liu knew that being interrupted must irk her.

"Yesterday," Misra continued, "Minister Chen announced that our policy will be to seek closer trade relations with their empire. We can fuss about that announcement in a moment. Regardless, their Trade Secretary, Tlanextia, responded quickly. She is interested, but with reservations. Their state-run media reported on our offer, as well."

Tanvi Misra's voice, despite having been involved in politics for over four decades, was gravelly, as if perpetually hoarse, and retained traces of the Andhran accent she had been born with. Liu had once seen a hapless vice-minister offer her a cough drop during a cabinet meeting, and Misra had stared the poor man down until he'd quickly shoved the lozenge back in his pocket.

"The Xiomerans have met us with an extradition request," Misra said. "Five of their dissidents, who create media- radio, websites, and the like- criticizing the government, live and work in Laeral." Probably in Althea, next door to the dissident Kerlians, Liu thought.

"The governments of Zamastan and Lauchenoiria have also received extradition requests, or red notices," Misra said. "It is implied that holding on to these dissidents will hurt us in the coming trade negotiations. The Xiomerans call this a justice operation, and say that they are maintaining their all-important social harmony."

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"Thought crime," said Benjamin Lin, the Minister of Justice. He was an idealist, Liu knew; he was one of those few politicians for whom the public perception matched the reality. Liu liked him; she'd sat down for tea with him a few times and found his company pleasant. He reminded her of herself, back when she'd been more naive. The Progressives had any number of people like him, and Liu had counted herself as one back when she'd been a member of that party.

"We've seen the reports on the Xiomeran justice system," Lin said. "If we send these people back, we'll be signing their death warrant. Frankly, we have the staying power here. Our economy has thrived without their resources. Our economy is larger than theirs, and we simply shouldn't be compromising our morals or our status as a safe haven for dissidents in search of their trade."

"No one is suggesting that we do as they say, Benjamin," Misra said firmly. "It would go against all that this government stands for. And Xiomera essentially has no means to force us to turn them over."

"Are there any voices in favor of acceding to the Xiomeran request?" Prime Minister Martin said, finally speaking. In theory, any member of the government could have objected, but Liu noticed that Martin only made eye contact with the four party leaders- herself, Foreign Minister Tanvi Misra, the Conservatives' Bernard Errante, and Alexis Fleury, Green party leader and Environment Minister. "I see no ministers dissenting."

"I will make it clear to the Xiomeran ambassador that we are making no plans to turn over any dissidents," Misra said. "If they want to negotiate trade with us, than they will have to find something else to bargain for."

"Speaking of trade deals," Bernard Errante said, "we need to discuss how our policy decisions are made. Specifically with regards to a certain minister's decision to upend our trade policy in a Commons committee session."

Raoul Chen, the Trade Minister, blanched. President Liu leaned back in her chair. She wanted to see how this would play out.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Laeral
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Postby Laeral » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:28 pm

La Sentinelle


Laeral | World | Politics | Investigations | Culture | Opinion


Zamastanian Cruise Ship Collides with Freighter in Alyeskan Sea

Felicia Li; July 19, 2019 at 8:20 p.m.
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Passengers on board ZCRS Bonello await transport onto the Laeralian cargo freighter Viercourt.
Source: Matthew Cagle


Laeralsford- A Zamastanian cruise liner, ZCRS Bonello, collided with a Shuellian-registered cargo ship at around 1:00 Friday morning off the Shuellian coast, leaving 21 dead, according to the Zamastan Coast Guard.

The ZCRS Bonello, carrying 2,241 passengers according to its manifest, struck the Shuellian freighter SNV Lidérc, crushing forward passenger cabins on the cruise liner. 17 passengers are believed dead, including two Laeralian citizens. The freighter, registered to the corporation Souller GMbH, reported four sailors killed in the collision.

Following the collision, the Laeralian cargo freighter Viercourt, carrying a cargo of manufactured goods from Legionas, diverted course to assist the cruise liner. Bonello reported a loss of navigational control following the collision and was towed to a Shuellian shipyard, with over 200 passengers transferred to Viercourt.

The cause of the collision was not immediately apparent; conditions were clear and calm at the time of the collision. Both captains of the vessels involved in the collision were arrested upon reaching the Shuellian shore, in advance of the expected joint investigation.

The cruise liner Bonello was registered to the Illycretes Seas Cruise Line, of Zamastan, and was sailing northwest through the Alyeskan Sea, while the freighter Lidérc was carrying cargo to a Gonhogian port. Marquis, the Althea-based mercantile firm which operates the freighter Viercourt, released a statement saying that the company is "happy to be of assistance to those unfortunate individuals involved in this tragic accident", while Transport Minister Elise Pernot applauded their actions. The Minister declined to release the name of the two Laeralians killed in the accident, citing the privacy of the families affected.

Zamastanian Transportation Secretary Madeline Essy, whose nation lost 13 dead in the accident, sent her condolences to the families of the dead while applauding Laeralian and Shuellian efforts to respond and promising a full investigation into the accident. "Justice will be done," Secretary Essy said.


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Author: Felicia Li
felicia.li@lasentinelle.net
Setsuzoku: @felicia_li

Felicia Li is a Chief International Correspondent for La Sentinelle, and the former Bureau Chief of La Sentinelle's North Hespia office in Noskv, Kvask. Li has worked for La Sentinelle for over 20 years; in her free time, she enjoys ice skating and engaging with history. She grew up in Sendrasi before receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from University of Therese and a master's degree in International Business from the University of Laeralsford.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Laeral
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Postby Laeral » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:29 pm

La Sentinelle


Laeral | World | Politics | Investigations | Culture | Opinion
Trending: IDU Olympics | T&R Commission | Council of Kerlile


Truth & Reconciliation Commission Ends Deliberations, Passes Punishment

Philippe Rouyer; July 26, 2019 at 2:17 p.m.
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Councillor Anita Patel of Kerlile, in a still from a 2017 state media broadcast. Patel received a 20-year sentence from the Commission.
Source: Kerlian Human Rights Initiative


Sanctus- The Nicene, Sanctaria-based Truth & Reconciliation Commission today passed its judgments, fining various combatant nations of the Second Lauchenoirian Civil War millions of Sanctarian Pounds in reparations and sentencing government officials of various nations to prison sentences.

The Matriarchy of Kerlile received the brunt of sentences, being ordered to pay 450 million Sanctarian Pounds for distribution to various other nations and being barred from signing new trade agreements with Haven Accords signatory nations for five years. High-ranking government officials were given prison time: Councillor Anita Patel, who oversaw the mistreatment of hundreds of prisoners of war, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Colonel Chloe Conde and Major Amanda Littlewood, both military officers presiding over the execution of prisoners, received 25 and 15 years, respectively. Kerlian Defense Minister Lucia Casci received 15 years in prison as well.

Various figures of other nations received lighter sentences for crimes ranging from terrorism and attempted assassination to identity fraud and kidnapping, all committed during the Lauchenoirian conflict. Various members of the Lauchenoirian government and military received prison sentences, while the Republic of Conternia and the Republic of Libertas Omnium Maximus were both fined 150 million pounds. No Laeralians were charged.

Laura Moore, the controversial former Prime Minister of Lauchenoiria who was initially overthrown during the early stages of the war, was not charged with any crimes, sparking discussion of her potential return to politics. Jonas Kelley, a government official allegedly responsible for the mass internment of Laeralian citizens prior to the declaration of war, was found not guilty, as was Kerlian ex-President Joanna Greenwood.

Laeralian prosecutors, led by Therese Lu-Marechal of the Justice Ministry, led the case against Lauchenoirian General Eduardo Sanchez, who was found guilty of enabling war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Lu-Marechal also prosecuted would-be assassin Henderson Long, who attempted to murder ex-President Brennan during the 2018 Laeralsford Dragon Boat Festival. Long received 10 years in a mental institution. "I'm satisfied with the findings of the TRC," said Lu-Marechal. "While many Laeralites hoped that Jonas Kelley and [Kerlian] President [Joanna] Greenwood had been found guilty, I'm satisfied with the steps this Commission has taken to bring justice for the crimes committed during this conflict."

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission was set up by the terms of the Haven Accords, the peace agreement ending the Second Lauchenoirian Civil War. All decisions are binding upon the treaty's signatories. Although difficulty was anticipated in extraditing the high-ranking Kerlian officials, such as Councillor Patel, all signs indicate extraditions being carried out in a timely fashion, according to Isabella Monaghan, Executive Director of the Laeralsford-based Kerlile Human Rights Initiative. "[Kerlian President] Rebecca Arnott has signaled her commitment to extradition, marking the first time that a Kerlian Councillor has been punished for her actions," Monaghan said. "Patel was well-known for her support of torture and human rights abuses, and her sentence is well-deserved."

President Liu Mei-han hailed the Commission's findings as "just", with no comment on the status of the planned Laeral-Kerlile trade agreement, which is presumably defunct. Lauchenoirian Prime Minister Josephine Alvarez, herself a leader in the Lauchenoirian Resistance during the war, embraced the TRC's judgments. "The war is over, and those guilty of crimes committed during it will now be punished," she said. "This is a time for Lauchenoiria to move on from the past, to heal our wounds, come together and move forward."


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Author: Philippe Rouyer
philippe.rouyer@lasentinelle.net
Setsuzoku: @philippe.rouyer

Philippe Rouyer is an International Correspondent for La Sentinelle, and the Deputy Bureau Chief of La Sentinelle's West Hespia office in Sanctus, Sanctaria. Rouyer has worked for La Sentinelle for over 30 years, beginning as one of La Sentinelle's first foreign correspondents, covering conflicts in Zamastan and Central Hespia. He hails from Aumont, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in West Hespian Studies from University of Aumont. He was formerly a freelance author.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Laeral
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Laeral » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:08 pm

Les Couloirs

Within the Corridors of Power

Priya Misra talks Kerlile hack with Trivian Ambassador
Priyanka Misra and other Foreign Affairs officials met with the Trivian Ambassador behind closed doors, with Trive's recent Kerlile hack on the agenda
By Mila Sheng, published August 6th, 2019
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Laeralsford- Priyanka Misra, Progressive party Representative and confidante of Foreign Minister Tanvi Misra, visited Trivian Ambassador Jessie Price behind closed doors, accompanied by Foreign Ministry officials. While the topic of the meeting was listed as "international security", sources within the Foreign Affairs delegation say that Misra's purpose was to convey a clear message: back off from Kerlile.

Trive took responsibility for a five-hour hack of state broadcasting within Kerlile, playing a video which condemned Kerlile as a "rogue state" and announced that the Trivian government was granting citizenship to all male Kerlians. The Kerlian government reacted quickly, convening an emergency meeting of the Council of Kerlile and announcing an immediate embargo on all Trivian goods.

This attack is believed to have emboldened hardliners within the matriarchal state's hierarchy, according to the Kerlile Human Rights Intiative. A proposed bill decriminalizing emigration from Kerlile was removed from consideration, while President Rebecca Arnott announcing that a similar hack "will be considered a declaration of war.” The Trivian government has yet to respond.

Rep. Priyanka Misra, the daughter of Foreign Minister Misra, led the delegation, accompanied by members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs's Central Hespia staff, including Victoire Brodeur, Secretary for Central Hespian Affairs. Misra declined to comment on the meeting, describing it as "a private discussion on issues of international security".

Sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs describe the Trivian action as a major headache for Minister Misra. "Tanvi Misra is furious with Trive," said a source within the ministry who spoke on conditions of anonymity. "We all are. This hacking stunt sets our ministry's efforts back months, and so the Minister sent Priya Misra to tell the Trivian ambassador how displeased she is." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a restrained statement last night, saying that the hack was "not conducive to developments towards human rights within the Matriarchy of Kerlile," and "an unfortunate decision on the part of the Trivian government".

Trivian Ambassador Jessie Price, a member of the Trivian royal family, declined to discuss the content of the meeting. "I had a productive meeting with Representative Misra and Secretary Brodeur," said Ambassador Price, "and their message will be conveyed to the highest levels of Trivian government." Ambassador Price also stated that friendly relations with Laeral remain a priority of her embassy and the Trivian government.

This incident places greater strain on an already busy Foreign Ministry, which has been struggling to defuse the trade conflict between Zamastan and Xiomera, as well as working to enact trade deals with Shuell and Xiomera under Prime Minister Martin's pro-trade policies. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is certainly busy at present," said Philippe Taurine, spokesperson for the Association of Foreign Affairs Staff, "but we have some of the smartest people in Laeral working with us, but morale is high and we are ready to face any challenge that may lie ahead."

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About the Author

Mila Sheng is a Foreign Affairs Correspondent, currently working for Les Couloirs. She works freelance for a variety of news publications, bringing her experience as a 15-year veteran of the Foreign Service to analysis of Foreign Ministry policy. She graduated with a degree in International Relations from Laeralian International University, serving as a Public Diplomacy specialist in posts from Eiria to Samudera Darussalam. She now writes for Les Couloirs, La Sentinelle, and other publications. You can find her at @milasheng on Setsuzoku, or visit her website and blog at milasheng.com.
Last edited by Laeral on Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Laeral
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Postby Laeral » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:13 pm

Les Couloirs

Within the Corridors of Power

Hsieh expels party members for anti-democratic comments
Three members of Laeral Unbowed! were expelled from the party for comments made via official email
By Malcom Cadiou, published August 7, 2019
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Hsieh Pai-han, Executive President of Laeral Unbowed!

Hanshui- Hsieh Pai-han, leader of the Laeral Unbowed! party, has expelled three high-ranking party members for online messages criticizing Laeralian democracy and endorsing authoritarian rule. Representative Luan Ju, Representative Ju's Chief of Staff Teng Ping, and party employee Sang Tu, have all been officially expelled from the party as of this morning.

According to a statement released by party leadership, the three party members exchanged messages on a private chat server over the course of three months discussing their complaints regarding the nature of democracy. "Why do we even have elections when the ghosts [a derogatory term for Arrivée Laeralites] just rig them all?" wrote Teng on a Chinese-language message dated April 18th. "The tigers trick the chickens into voting their way, so they can just keep preying."

"I thought Liu was different," wrote Rep. Luan, "but I've met her. She sold out, no matter how she pretends. A ghost PM? Smells like puppet to me." In other comments shared among the private server, the three discussed the possibility of changing electoral laws after winning an election to hinder opposition parties, as well as calling for a strongman to lead Laeral. "Gramont had the right idea," wrote Sang in late June, "b/c sometimes strong leaders are needed. When the suits can't decide, someone has to take charge. Might as well be someone who looks out for Rén?"

Representative Hsieh Pai-han, Executive President of the party, denounced their ideology at a press conference. "These malefactors do not stand with our party whatsoever," Hsieh said. "That's why I'm immediately expelling them from our movement. Democracy is a core part of our nation, and despite its flaws, it remains the best way for ordinary, hard-working Laeralites to be heard." Hsieh also said that he had refused suggestions to suspend their memberships in favor of immediate expulsion.

Luan and the other Laeral Unbowed! members made their remarks on an online server hosted by the party. It is unclear whether they had ever made similar remarks in public. "It's deeply concerning that Laeral Unbowed!'s leadership failed to root out the authoritarian sympathizers at the highest levels of their party," said Rep. Kevin Cheng, Deputy Leader of the People's Party caucus. "One wonders how long Mr. Hsieh and his colleagues were aware of these individuals' beliefs."

Representative Luan Ju will leave the Laeral Unbowed! caucus, although as he has not resigned from the Assembly of Commons, he will retain his seat until the next election, sitting as an independent. "I made some comments in a private online discussion between friends," Luan said. "I'm deeply disappointed that certain individuals have taken these remarks out of context and used it as a pretext to dismiss me from the position to which I was elected by the people of Laeral, without so much as an appeal."

Luan's Chief of Staff, Mr. Teng Ping, will retain his position. Sang Tu, an employee with the policy planning staff of Laeral Unbowed!, has been laid off immediately. Both declined to comment for this article.

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About the Author

Malcom Cadiou is a Political Editor for Les Couloirs. He graduated with a Master's in Political Science from the Laeralsford Institute of Political Studies. He's been called "one of the sharpest minds in Laeralsford" by Le Diplomate, and is the author of the book Pale Red Politics: How Nicholas Brennan Won in 2010 and Minority Rulers: Arrivée in Western Laeralian Politics. His work has been published in numerous journals and scholarly articles. He can be reached at malcom.cadiou@lescouloirs.net , and is active on Setsuzoku at @malcomcadiou.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Postby Laeral » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:38 pm

Le Pays
Liu Inaugurates Riverlands Global Mall, East Hespia's Largest

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The Riverlands Global Mall includes over 800 stores, an aquarium, and Hespia's longest zip line.
By Joseph Changarnier
11th August 2019

Hanshui- President Liu Mei-han and other dignitaries were present today to inaugurate the new Riverlands Global Mall, Laeral's largest shopping center with over 700 stores and features such as an on-site aquarium, children's play areas, and the longest zip line in Hespia.

"The Riverlands Global Mall is a shining example of what Laeral and Laeralites can accomplish through industry and cooperation," said Liu at the mall's opening ceremony, which was attended by over 12,000 spectators. "With the opening of this mall, we demonstrate Laeral's advancement and Laeral's progress as a society. This mall shows that Laeral is open and ready to do business."

The Riverlands Global Mall, a project of the Wanxia Investment Group and supported by loans from the Ministry of Finance, has a total area of 410,000 square meters over five floors, and includes 720 stores as well as play areas and food courts. As befits a mall named for the Riverlands region, it features an onsite aquarium showcasing both the species of Laeral's rivers and lakes as well as exotic species from abroad, including sharks and stingrays.
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President Liu joins local children in playing at a ball pit
in one of the mall's playspaces.

Visitors to the mall can also try the mall's zip line, which, at over 1400 meters, is the longest zip line in Hespia, extending from a point on the mall's fifth floor, across the mall's interior, and then outside and across the Zhongshui river.

The mall is located in the suburbs of Hanshui, and took over 28 months to construct. While the mall's designers projected 40,000 shoppers visiting daily, preliminary numbers indicate that visitor numbers will in fact be lower. Analysts predict that the mall will begin to turn a profit in around three to five years, especially once the Hanshui metro transit system's planned expansion to the mall is completed.

The Riverlands Global Mall is not without its critics. Rep. Tan Xirong, leader of the Radical Left party, has said that the mall is "throwing money out the window", noting that investment incentives and tax credits granted to the mall by the provincial government totaled over 1.24 billion Marks. "This mall is a giveaway to major corporations and developers, built using money that could have gone to housing, education, and other pressing needs Nanhaians face daily," said Tan. Some local leaders also opposed the development on ecological grounds, with crowds of protesters appearing at local government forums on the mall. "Over a dozen square kilometers of wetland habitat were filled in for the construction of the mall," said Emmanuelle Fu, a local activist. "This is another concerning example of politicians and developers putting aside our environment in search of profit." Mall ownership noted in a statement that the mall is majority powered by renewable energy, including a solar farm located on the mall's roof.

"I'm honestly very excited about what the new mall will bring to our community," said Lang Yuehong, a PP Councillor for Hanshui Municipality's 11th arrondissement, including the site of the mall.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
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Postby Laeral » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:17 pm

Les Couloirs

Within the Corridors of Power

Greens' Leader Fleury Calls for Ban on Advertisement of Skin-Whitening Products
Environment Minister Alexis Fleury has called for tougher regulations on the marketing of controversial yet popular skin-whiteners.
By Josephine Poirier, published August 20, 2019
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A woman walks past an advertisement for skin-whitening products at a mall in Nanhai.

Laeralsford- Representative Alexis Fleury, leader of the Green party, has said that he will introduce a bill shortly to prohibit cosmetics manufacturers from advertising skin-whitening cosmetics, citing mental and physical harm to consumers of these popular products. This legislation did not appear in the coalition agreement signed by the Greens and three other parties, raising talk of dissension within the governing coalition.

"This legislation will help dismantle the culture of unattainable beauty standards that uses racialized imagery to sell medically unsafe skin products," said Fleury in a speech on the Commons floor. "Women across Laeral, particularly Rén and Desi women, are being sold these products that perpetuate ideas of beauty as whiteness. Statistics show that teenage girls are the demographic most affected by feelings of negative self-worth, while suicide is the third-most prominent cause of death for teenagers in Laeral."

Fleury announced that he will soon be releasing the "Skin Whitener Safety Act" which would ban skin-whiteners from being advertised in posters, magazines, TV, billboards, or any other medium, as well as passing stricter limits on the use of mercury, a common active ingredient in skin whitening products.

Skin whiteners, also known as bleaching creams or skin brighteners, make up a significant portion of Laeral's cosmetics industry, and are extremely popular among Laeralian women and teens. Skin whiteners make up a whopping 55% of the cosmetics sold in Laeral, and commercial skin-whitening products such as New Brightness and Fair & Radiant are mainstays of Laeralian drug stores.

According to a study produced by the Ministry of Inclusion and Women's Affairs and cited by Fleury in a press release, depictions of beauty in the media have contributed to self-esteem and body-image issues among Laeralian youth. The study asked young Laeralites to describe someone who is "pretty"; 71% used the words 'fair' or 'light' in their response. The study also found that 62% of Laeralian teenage girls, and over a third of teenage boys, said they had experienced feelings of ugliness or self-loathing due to their skin tone or complexion.

Industry groups criticized the proposed legislation, with the Laeralian Beauty Association saying in a statement that the proposal would "amount to a ban on free speech", while highlighting industry efforts to phase out mercury in their products. The LBA is expected to spend significant lobbying effort against this legislation.

Rep. Xing Yawen, the No. 4 People's Party representative, said that the proposed legislation was "concerning". "I'm obviously very concerned by the efforts by my honorable colleague Representative Fleury to suggest that women are unable to make decisions for themselves," she said. The LPP is expected to whip its members against the legislation.

Within the governing coalition, government ministers largely avoided questions. Prime Minister Nicolas Martin declined to comment on whether the cabinet had endorsed the legislation. Justice Minister Defense Minister Bernard Errante, a Conservative, said only that his party would "give due consideration" to the bill. Émeric André, leader of the Progressive caucus in the Commons said that he had not yet had a chance to read the bill.

While the parliamentary right is expected to oppose the legislation, some left-wing figures endorsed the legislation. Rep. Charlotte Brochard, leader of the Women's Alliance, said that she applauded "this effort to fight colorism and damaging beauty standards," while the Socialist and Radical Left leaders also seemed inclined in favor of the legislation. Rep. Fleury has said that the bill would be brought into committee within two weeks.

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About the Author

Josephine Poirier is an undergraduate at the G.E. and Adrienne Lematre University Honors Program, majoring in Political Science. She hails from the Althea suburbs, and is currently interning with Les Couloirs, having just returned from a study abroad program in Tofino, Zamastan. Her work has been published in Lematre University's undergraduate political science research magazine. She has interned with several members of the National Assembly, and her hope is to one day become an elected official. In her free time, she is a member of the Lematre University debate team, and enjoys reading and playing with her cats. She can be reached at josephine.poirier@lescouloirs.net.
Last edited by Laeral on Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Postby Laeral » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:14 am

Narrative: Fleury and the Greens
August 21, 2019
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Alexis Fleury, Environment Minister and leader of the Green Party, had been having a great day until his coalition partners found him. The skin-whitener legislation of course hadn't been approved by the coalition. The reactionaries- the Conservatives in particular- never would have approved any legislation infringing on their precious corporate freedoms. So Fleury had decided to go around them.

The idea itself had been hatched a few weeks ago. The Greens were a minor party- everyone knew that. With only 10 seats in the Commons, they had come into the governing coalition through sheer luck and electoral mathematics. But now that they'd taken a share of the media spotlight as a governing party, Alexis knew that a single issue that the Greens could advocate and show to voters could be enough to catapult them into the ranks of the major parties in the next election.

Enter skin-lighteners. None of the major parties had clear stances on the issue. Even though the new Women's Affairs minister had mentioned something about it a few months back, she'd shown no willingness to move forward on it. But the Greens couldn't afford to let what would soon become their signature issue be taken up by the entire coalition. With three larger parties involved, the Greens would be obscured and forgotten. Like always. And so Alexis had decided to ignore the coalition agreement and bring the issue forward to the public.

He hadn't expected so much to come of it. He'd been sure to drop a few words in a few ears- the Women's Alliance had pledged their support quickly, as had the Radical Left- but the media had swarmed over it as well. Apparently the issue had struck a nerve or something, and soon the beauty industry was sending its lobbyists to overwhelm the bill. They'd been everywhere- young women and men from the Laeralian Beauty Association in sharp business suits, armed with brochures and talking points about cosmetics industry jobs and the 'right to consumer choice'. Alexis had been expecting the People's Party and the parliamentary right to come out against the bill, but there were worrying signs of New Democrats and even Progressives, nodding their heads when the beauty industry reps spoke!

And then a young man from Delegate Misra's office had come to make him an offer he couldn't refuse.


September 1, 2019
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Despite her own feelings on the issue, Tanvi Misra knew that her life for the last few weeks would have been much easier if Alexis Fleury could have kept his idea for a bill quiet. But life, and politics, never seemed to be easy.

Despite her own statement to Benjamin Lin just a week ago that she found the idea of regulating skin-whiteners to be an expensive fancy, a waste of valuable political capital on a pointless culture war issue, Misra sympathized with the bill. It was a damn good bill, that could help a good number of people, and just because she was a lighter-skinned Desi didn't mean that she hadn't seen the harm skin-whiteners could do.

She had an interest in getting the bill passed. Having the bill shot down by the Greens' own coalition partners would have exposed the coalition government's weakness, and at all costs, the Opposition and the voters needed to think that the coalition was united. If they sensed weakness, they'd strike. She'd find a way later on to make clear to the Greens that they needed to play in line.

She'd worked out a deal with Fleury. For her part, she'd done her best to turn away the lobbyists and win the votes for the "Skin Whitener Safety Act" to pass. Her whips had been in contact with every Progressive Representative, while the New Democrats, under Jeremie Naudeau, were pulling in favor. She'd done her best to get the Conservatives in line; nevertheless, there were going to be many of them who'd balk at the 'nanny state' trying to restrict 'consumer freedom'. She'd consider it a victory if a decent number abstained. She'd have to make up the numbers from the leftist parties. The Desi Caucus had resoundingly endorsed the legislation (thanks to her membership, and her relatives', she could make them dance to her tune) while a handful of the Rén caucuses (the Red Lotuses and a few others) had come out in favor as well.

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Rep. Kiran Rai, New Democratic Party


Fleury, in return, had endorsed the coalition line that the legislation had been a coalition priority all along. He'd accepted her chosen list of co-sponsors (including the New Democrats' Kiran Rai, the Progressive Indrani Dara, and others) as well as letting the co-sponsorship in the General Assembly go to the Progressives who needed the achievement for their reelection campaigns. He'd refrained from putting in any of the amendments that the Women's Alliance and the other leftist parties were pushing for, and he'd pledged a few favors to Misra in the future.

The debate had been going on for some time before a vote was held. Misra had been watching it on the TV in her office at the Foreign Ministry. Her niece Indrani had given an excellent speech in favor, as had Fleury, the New Democrats' Jeremie Naudeau and Kiran Rai, and the Women's Alliance leader, Charlotte Brochard. The People's Party had trotted out their own female lawmakers to speak against, but Misra wasn't concerned. She knew the votes were there in the Commons. Misra's personal assistant was tallying up the votes as they came in, and cheered as the 194th vote in favor was cast. She passed the notes on a sheet of paper to Misra.

People's Party: All 87 Against.
Progressives: All 67 For.
New Democrats: 59 For, 10 Abstaining.
Laeral Unbowed!: 38 For, 3 Abstaining.
Misra had dispatched Benjamin Lin, from her party, to win over the ethno-nationalist right. As it turned out, framing the legislation as blow struck against imperialist beauty standards had clearly paid off.
Conservatives: 29 Against, 9 Abstaining. This was an unpleasant shock, and Misra raised an eyebrow as she looked at the totals. A handful of moderates- many of whom she'd thought of as yes votes- had abstained (including Bernard Errante), but the majority had voted against. Including Gwendoline Schneider, the Education Minister and, Misra had suspected, the real power within the Conservative party. This was concerning, especially as the Conservatives held the balance of power in the General Assembly.

The Socialists, the Radical Left, the Greens, the Women's Alliance, and the Communists (such flavors of ideological diversity on the Laeralian left!) had uniformly come out in favor; the Secular Democrats (an outfit to support the Gao minority group) had voted against. 229 votes in favor overall- a sizable majority, but not the two-thirds needed to bypass the General Assembly. The landscape was more difficult there, with a strong People's Party and Conservative presence. It was going to be a close vote there, and Misra grimaced internally at the thought of having to take on that particular political fight. She was getting too old for this political horse-trading.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Postby Laeral » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:49 am

Les Couloirs

Within the Corridors of Power

Skin-Whitener Bill Faces Close Fight in General Assembly
Here's a look at the Skin Whitener Safety Act's chances in the General Assembly.
By Josephine Poirier, published September 2, 2019
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Green leader and Environment Minister Alexis Fleury has emerged as a key backer of the legislation.

Laeralsford- Having passed the Assembly of Commons by a 229-136 majority, with 22 abstentions, Alexis Fleury's Skin Whitener Safety Act faces a difficult test in the General Assembly, where opposition to the bill is entrenched. Yesterday saw party leaders, activists, and industry lobbyists descend upon Delegates to the General Assembly, ahead of today's scheduled vote on the legislation.

Progressives, including GA Speaker Sophie Meng, have rallied behind the legislation, as have the Assembly's Socialist lawmakers. With their combined 29 votes, only four more are needed for passage, with President Liu's tie-breaking vote. Prime Minister Martin, a New Democratic Delegate, has pledged that his caucus will vote in favor, delivering an additional five votes presuming no defections.

However, the bill's passage has become less assured, as Progressive Delegate Stephen Tao (P-Bethune) indicated late last night that he will miss the vote as he attends his daughter's wedding. Without his vote, the parties in favor cannot afford a single defection. Murielle Godin, a New Democrat from Harcour, won office largely due to the second-choice votes of right-wing voters in her defeat of Socialist incumbent Gaelle Fouquet. Godin has faced immense public pressure, with right-wing organizers flooding her office with phone calls and even aggressive demonstrators. Laeralian Beauty Association lobbyists, meanwhile, have been out in force within the General Assembly.

Figures supporting the bill have been focusing their efforts on convincing Conservative lawmakers to vote in favor or abstain (as nine Conservative representatives did in the Commons) although no Conservatives have stated their intention to do so. Del. Isabelle Jacquin (C-Therese) is a key target for bill supporters hoping their appeal resonates with one of the Conservatives' few female Delegates; supporters of the bill picketed outside Jacquin's office at Assembly Hall chanting slogans in favor.

Laeral Unbowed! Delegate Li Qiang of Peichen has not signaled how he will vote, saying that he is "deliberating". Rep. Hsieh Pai-han was spotted visiting Delegate Li in the late evening for a meeting behind closed doors. As the Laeral Unbowed! caucus in the Commons voted unanimously in favor of the bill, advocates hope that Li will eventually cast his vote for the legislation. Prime Minister Nicolas Martin struck an optimistic tone Monday evening: "I do believe that the [Skin Whitener Safety] Act has the votes to succeed, and I'm looking forward to voting in favor."

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About the Author

Josephine Poirier is an undergraduate at the G.E. and Adrienne Lematre University Honors Program, majoring in Political Science. She hails from the Althea suburbs, and is currently interning with Les Couloirs, having just returned from a study abroad program in Tofino, Zamastan. Her work has been published in Lematre University's undergraduate political science research magazine. She has interned with several members of the National Assembly, and her hope is to one day become an elected official. In her free time, she is a member of the Lematre University debate team, and enjoys reading and playing with her cats. She can be reached at josephine.poirier@lescouloirs.net.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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Postby Laeral » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:50 pm

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Malcom Cadiou (@malcomcadiou)
Just now from Xiancheng Teahouse, Laeralsford, Laeral

Breaking: The General Assembly has passed the Skin Whitener Safety Act by a 34-31 margin (Del. Stephen Tao, Progressive of Bethune, was absent), ensuring its passage into law. Despite the best efforts of lobbyists and protesters on all sides, voting was among party lines. Although some Conservatives supported the bill in the Commons, all voted against in the General Assembly. Laeral Unbowed!'s Li Qiang cast his vote in favor, citing support for a rejection of "the toxic legacy of dangerous colonialist beauty standards". The New Democrats also voted uniformly in favor, despite efforts by right-wing lobbyists to sway Del. Murielle Godin (ND-Harcour). Women's Affairs Minister Felicité Marin has applauded the bill's passage, as has Prime Minister Nicolas Martin. "This bill is a valuable part of our efforts to promote public and mental health, and in promoting a just and inclusive society," said PM Martin. "I'm grateful to our Green coalition partners for leading the charge on this issue."

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Foreign Minister Tanvi Misra (@ForeignMinisterLaeral)
Just now from Laeralsford, Laeral

As indicated in my speech from Monday, I would like to offer the best wishes of myself and the government of Laeral to Xiomera and the Xiomeran people as Emperor Topilpopoca recovers at the Imperial Military Hospital. Laeral's hopes ride with those of the Xiomeran people's in this troubling time.

I would also like to urge the government of Xiomera, under Chief Justice Nopalliztli, to recall the virtue of moderation and stable governance even amidst the shock and horror that the assassination attempt has engendered. The Laeralian Embassy in Tlālacuetztla is closely monitoring the situation, particularly the situation of the environmental protesters at the Palace of Flowers and the impacts for Laeralian businesses, tourists, and expatriates as the Xiomeran government tightens security measures. It is my sincere hope that the tragedy of the assassination attempt is not compounded in its aftermath.


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Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
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Postby Laeral » Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:19 pm

La Sentinelle


Laeral | World | Politics | Investigations | Culture | Opinion
Trending: IDU Olympics | T&R Commission | Council of Kerlile


Arrest of Union Leader Highlights Labor's Obstacles in High Fells

Sébastien Neveu; September 15, 2019 at 12:48 p.m.
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Han Jung-min, leader of the Federation of Fellsian Labor Unions, at a rally in Jindong in August.
Source: Federation of Fellsian Labor Unions


Jindong- At a cafe in Jindong, High Fells, two union organizers occupy a large booth in the corner, while a handful of off-duty cleaners, having just gotten off work at a local hotel, look on with interest. A handful of brochures in Gaoese are scattered across the table, but the organizers bend over their materials to shield them from the public eye. Their backpacks are next to them on the seat, ready to leave at any moment. When another group of hotel workers, chattering with each other loudly, enter the cafe, the organizers are up and away, sweeping the brochures into their backpacks and quickly standing up and walking away.

"You just have to be careful," said one of the union organizers, who gave her name as Kae. "The government and the bosses seem to be working together against us." Last week, Han Jung-min, the leader of the Federation of Fellsian Labor Unions (FFLU), was arrested by police on charges of calling unauthorized rallies, incitement of violence, and disruption of public order. He could serve up to four years in prison.

"The charges are completely trumped-up, but people are worried," said Feng Yijun. Feng works for the Federation of Laeralian Trade Unions, which has been sending organizers across the northern border to aid their sister organization in High Fells. "They've arrested over 40 of the FFLU organizers in the past few months, taking advantage of anti-union laws dating back to the 90s, and even some new ones on the books. Big business and government are clearly in bed here in High Fells, and it's creating a really difficult environment for us to work in."
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High Fellsian flyers urging workers to become union members.

Han Jung-min leads a federation of over 200,000 unionized workers, extending across manufacturing and into the vital mining sector. A strike two months ago to protest for better health benefits at mines across High Fells was broken up by police, with dozens arrested. A 52 year-old miner, Ryong Chin-ho, remains in a coma after his skull was fractured by a policeman's baton. Minister of Mines Robert Shaw said that the crackdown was necessary "to contain violence caused by an illegal strike and restore order".

Han Jung-min has been charged with organizing 7 public rallies without a permit, mostly in the cities of Jindong and Kaenan. At a rally on September 7th, he called for striking workers to "march up to the governor's palace and show them that when workers are united, we can bring the country to a standstill." According to the government, this represents incitement of violence. "Every Fellsian's constitutional right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech does not extend to speech which threatens public stability and calls for violence, as Mr. Han's does," said Tae Da-bin, a spokesperson for the Justice Ministry.

The beleaguered FFLU has recently begun to receive help from abroad. The Federation of Laeralian Trade Unions has used its International Fund to pay for around two dozen organizers in High Fells, according to the group's website. "The Fellsian government isn't very keen on foreign help coming to the unions," said Feng Yijun, the Laeralian organizer. "I haven't been arrested yet, but one of my colleagues has, on charges of being a foreign agitator."
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Miners in High Fells often face dangerous working conditions
and little pay or benefits.

Kvaskm organizers, hoping to spread the communist collectivist state's ideology abroad, have also made their presence known within the High Fellsian labor movement, although the FFLU has officially disavowed their participation. "I have had no contact whatsoever with any Kvaskm," said Han Jung-min, "and the entire Federation of Fellsian Labor Unions stands in opposition to their ideology. We wholeheartedly and completely reject communist and anarchist ideologies."

The Mining Union of Southern Kvask, a Kvaskm labor collective, has nevertheless sent several dozen organizers into High Fells, according to a statement by the group's leader, Denja Jarvoszy. "I am greatly pleased to hear of the assistance which our comrades currently abroad in High Fells have given to the worker's cause there," said Jarvoszy. "We must show solidarity and commit ourselves fully to aiding in the struggle of the oppressed miners against greed and capitalist exploitation." Sources within the FFLU, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have said that Kvaskm organizers have been giving training to union members, as well as working within mining camps and other workplaces to urge workers to register with the union.

High Fells is consistently ranked as one of the most hostile environments for unions in the world, alongside nations such as Serriel and Shen. Under the Park regime, union activity was banned. Although expanding union membership in High Fells has been a priority of the Federation of Laeralian Trade Unions for almost three decades, union membership rates remain at around 9%, while a large percentage of workers exist in the non-regular sector, without health benefits or protection from termination.

Labor law, meanwhile, severely restricts union rights to strike and to collective bargaining. Strikes must be approved by a public ballot of union members, and the government and the employer must be informed in advance of any strike activity. Recruiting for unions is strictly regulated, and lenient termination laws allow many businesses to fire employees suspected of having supported union activity. Civil servants, including teachers, ministerial employees, and employees in the state-run media, transportation, and telecommunications companies, are entirely forbidden from unionizing. The Verity Party government, meanwhile, shows few signs of budging on labor laws.

In the meantime, the FFLU continues to expand its membership, with help from the Laeralian and Kvaskm organizers. Protests are in the works for when Han Jung-min's case comes to trial, while the FFLU is working to incorporate hospitality workers' unions. "The situation could be better," says Feng Yijun, the Laeralian organizer. "But we've just got to keep pressing forward and take every victory we can get."

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Author: Sébastien Neveu
sébastien.neveu@lasentinelle.net
Setsuzoku: @SébastienNeveu

Sébastien Neveu is the Chief Labor Correspondent for La Sentinelle, and former Deputy Bureau Chief for La Sentinelle's North Hespia office in Noskv, Kvask. Rouyer has worked for La Sentinelle for over 15 years, after a career as a media analyst for the Center for Labor Relations, an Althea-based research group. In his time studying the unions, he's embedded himself with a militant Kvaskm labor group and been tear-gassed by police at four separate rallies. He was born in Celeste, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Communications from Loiraine Provincial University.
Last edited by Laeral on Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Laeral » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:25 pm

Les Couloirs

Within the Corridors of Power

New National Anti-Corruption Commission formed with broad investigative powers
The National Anti-Corruption Commission will be an independent agency authorized to investigate corruption cases nationwide.
By Malcom Cadiou, published October 9, 2019
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Justice Minister Benjamin Lin shakes hands with acting NACC Chairperson Mickael Guitton.
Source: Justice Ministry


Laeralsford- The National Assembly has passed legislation creating the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), a new nationwide independent watchdog commission dedicated to investigating cases of government corruption. The NACC will include seven Commissioners, judicial officials appointed by the National High Court with wide-ranging authority to investigate and charge officials at all level of government.

The Assembly of Commons voted nearly unanimously in favor of establishing the commission, with all party leaders urging a vote in favor. The bill's sponsor, Justice Minister Benjamin Lin, called the Commission "a proven method in combating the scourge of corruption in all its forms," and described the commission as a major tool in promoting citizens' trust in government and encouraging foreign investment. The bill passed after less than half an hour of debate.

The NACC will supplant the National Corruption Investigation Unit, a division of the Ministry of Justice alleged to be motivated by political considerations and criticized by some on the right for choosing not to investigate quid-pro-quo corruption charges regarding former Prime Minister Tanvi Misra's 2009 visit to Serriel. "We do not see reason to investigate the charges against the Prime Minister, particularly during a campaign cycle in which she is a major participant," wrote Director Hugo Ke of the National Corruption Investigation Unit, days before the first round of the 2018 presidential election. Ke has since been transferred following criticism by numerous right-wing politicians.

While the High Court is not in session, Mickael Guitton, a member of the Ministry of Justice, will act as interim Chairperson of the NACC. Judge Di Renzhen, a sitting member of the Laeralsford Provincial Court, is believed to be a strong contender to be named Chairperson, having worked with Minister Lin in past corruption cases. Lin himself was a leader in the "Citizens March" anti-corruption movement of the early 2000s, and took a hard anti-corruption stance as Chief Prosecutor for the Laeralsford Municipal District. The NACC's structure and mandate is similar to that of the Laeralsford Integrity Commission, a similar organization hailed by anti-corruption watchdogs at home and abroad after its creation in 2007.

The NACC's investigative budget will total M140 million, with a proposed investigative staff of several dozen. The Commission will have the ability to issue subpoenas and will be able to call upon the federal Gendarmerie and local police forces for enforcement. Reports issued by the Commission will be available publicly, and all NACC hearings are stipulated to be open to the public and the media.

Manon Moreno-Wang, leader of the grassroots anti-corruption group Citizens For Fair Government, said her organization is "ecstatic" about the legislation. "The NCIU [the existing anti-corruption unit] is a flawed, toothless organization, but the NACC's structure and powers are everything we could have asked for," said Moreno-Wang. "We're hopeful that the Commission will be up and prosecuting cases soon."

President Liu, who called for the creation of such a commission on the campaign trail, posted on Setsuzoku in support of the agency, noting the commission's independence and broad mandate. "Once again nepotism and all forms of corruption have no place in a modern Laeral," wrote the President.

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About the Author

Malcom Cadiou is a Political Editor for Les Couloirs. He graduated with a Master's in Political Science from the Laeralsford Institute of Political Studies. He's been called "one of the sharpest minds in Laeralsford" by Le Diplomate, and is the author of the book Pale Red Politics: How Nicholas Brennan Won in 2010 and Minority Rulers: Arrivée in Western Laeralian Politics. His work has been published in numerous journals and scholarly articles. He can be reached at malcom.cadiou@lescouloirs.net , and is active on Setsuzoku at @malcomcadiou.
Last edited by Laeral on Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Allied Provinces of Laeral: A left-leaning East Asian nation, influenced by French colonization.
Author of Issue #808, Big Trouble in Little Dàguó, and Issue #971, Ambassadors Inextraordinary

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