The Federal Record is the largest newspaper in Staynish by circulation in the Federation of Bana, and seeks to provide coverage of local, national, and world news to the city of Newport and the entire Federation.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Original date of publication: September 25th, 2020
OPINION: The Tavari are at it in Novaris. Again.
Editor’s note: This editorial is a statement of opinion from the Record’s Editorial Board, which is independent from the Record’s news staff.
At the very least, the Tavari are certainly persistent. Today, they have decided to lead a military occupation into Karolingia (or rather, the former Karolingia), alongside Durakia, under the auspices of the League of Novaris, an organization that barely wants the Tavari present at all. This will be the second time this century that the Tavari have committed soldiers to an effort in the Arkian-speaking areas of Novaris. We can only hope that it will go better than the first.
To be clear, we acknowledge that Tavaris does have a legitimate interest in Novaran security. Some five million Tavari live in Rodoka, the island in Novaris that Tavaris recently made a fully integrated province. And, of course, the current situation in the former Karolingia is deplorable, concerning, and in demand of quick action. This editorial is not taking a side one way or another on the appropriateness of the League’s action, but it does seek to place attention on the actions of Tavaris in particular.
Of late, the Tavari have made, or at least are attempting to make, efforts to normalize relations and institute cooperation with the Federation of Bana. This is certainly commendable and long overdue, but while Federal Premier Maku Mtebe breathlessly repeats in statements to the Federal Congress and to the media that the Tavari are acting in good faith, this development in Novaris should give us pause.
The current Tavari Defense Minister is Nama Oren Kantoresh, who is without a doubt the leader of the war hawks in the Tavari governing coalition, and who is quite possibly the most ardent advocate for Tavari militarism that that country has seen since the Fifth War. It was under her guidance in the same position decades ago that led Tavaris into the Arkian Civil War. Now, despite her promises that with her second chance she would be more reasonable, she has quite literally placed Tavaris in an almost identical situation.
This is, of course, in addition to the recent Tavari involvement in Rodenia and Puntalia. While the whole world can plainly see the evil in the Arcturian situation, and while Tavaris is a fellow member of the UCA along with Puntalia, it should be noted that their UCA membership is itself an indicator of their militarism. Somehow, the Federation has managed not to involve itself in any of these matters, and we seem to still be doing alright.
How is the Federation supposed to believe the Tavari are dedicated to peace when we see with our own eyes that they are clearly dedicated to involving their military in nearly every arena they can? How are we supposed to accept Tavari “good faith” when they place their loudest pro-war voice in charge of their vast military, a vast majority of which continues to be stationed at the maritime border between our countries?
There will be growing pains with our detente with Tavaris many times in the coming months and years. This is natural and to be expected. At this very moment, there is a protest in Tavaris at the newly-opened Banian Embassy, large for Tavari standards though somewhat modest globally. We wouldn’t ask the Tavari to completely and instantly abolish any and all ill will towards the Federation any more than they could ask the same of us. But we cannot simply abandon scrutiny either. This is a country whose sole foreign affairs agenda in all of living memory has been to vex and frustrate the Federation. Now - not later - is the time to be critical of Tavari words and deeds, lest we end up with egg on our face - or worse - in the future.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Date of original publication: August 29th, 2020
Tavari Civil Servant, Two Others Killed in Knife Attack in Newport
NEWPORT, Federal District-- Two Tavari citizens are dead and one is in the hospital after a stabbing attack in the busy Harborside shopping district on Saturday. The attacker, who has not yet been identified by the Federal District Police, has been arrested and is being held without bond on charges of murder and attempted murder. The victims have also not been named by the police, who state that they are still in the process of notifying the families. However, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Tavaris reports that one of the deceased is Donar Endat Vatria, a civil servant in the Tavari Ministry of International Trade in the country for “early trade negotiations” between Tavaris and the Federation of Bana. The other two victims, who the Embassy did not name, are said to have been staffers of the Alliance of Northwest Gondwana.
The attack took place in the mid-afternoon along the sidewalk on Harborside Boulevard, one of the most famous shopping areas in the country and always a major area for tourists. There were more than two dozen witnesses to the attack. Their stories describe an incident in which a “man in dark clothing” appeared to spot the group of three Tavari walking together and run up to them, only brandishing a knife at the last moment.
“One of them wore a backpack that had a luggage tag with the Tavari flag on it,” said Yemi, a witness to the attack who gave only her first name. “I only noticed it because it was windy and flapping around. I can’t imagine how he noticed the flag on it. I think he was looking for someone to attack.”
“I’ve never seen anyone run like that in my life,” said Adebayo Falola, an employee at a restaurant, in front of which the attack occurred. “He looked like… I don’t even know. Like something out of an action movie.” Another witness who declined to give their name but identified himself as a former Special Forces operative described the movement of the attacker as being very similar to what he was trained to do in the military.
Every witness the Record spoke to confirmed that they heard the attacker shout the phrase “Cultists go home” several times as he attacked the victims. “Cultist” is a term that has been used to derogatorily refer to followers of the Akronist faith.
The statement released by the Federal District Police mentioned few specific details. “At approximately 1:15 this afternoon, an armed attacker stabbed three people on Harborside Boulevard. All three victims are believed to be Tavari citizens. Two have died, while one is in stable condition at Newport West Hospital. The assailant is in custody at this time. We are coordinating with the Tavari Embassy and the National Police Bureau on the investigation.” The Police Department would not confirm or deny if they believed the attacker acted alone or if he was believed to have been connected with a group of people. However, they did say they had increased police presence on the Boulevard and would maintain the increased staffing there “for the foreseeable future.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Original date of publication: January 11th, 2021
BREAKING: Fed. of Bana Abruptly Withdraws from ANG Free Travel Area, ANG Space Program
THE ALLIANCE OF NORTHWEST GONDWANA-- The Record has been made aware that the Federal government is withdrawing immediately from both the ANG Free Travel Area and the Alliance Space Cooperative, an international space program under the auspices of the ANG. “This decision was made in the interest of national security. We will have no further public comment at this time,” said a spokesperson from the office of Talu Bronai, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Once the withdrawal is complete, this will mean that citizens of other ANG countries will need to resume following all border crossing protocols as other states, including applying for a visa citizens of countries like Tavaris that require a visa before admittance to the country. It was unsure at press time what the implications would be for ANG citizens currently in the country.
This story is breaking, more news is possible as the situation develops…
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Original date of publication: February 10th, 2021
Mega-Developers in the Fed. of Bana, South Hills Eyeing Real Estate in Former New Rania National Park
RANISPORT, New Rania-- Home to just over one million people, New Rania is a small enough country that it is generally divided into two regions: one, Ranisport, the capital city where nearly half of New Rania’s people live; and two, the out-country - which is everything else. New Rania is a narrow country, but oblong, as it stretches along the Loko River Valley at the feet of the Raonite Spur of the Danvreas Range. Except for some lowlands around Ranisport, much of the rest of the country is rugged, wild, and varying from very hilly to mountainous. Since 1890, more than half of the out-country was classified as a wilderness preserve, Translokonia National Park. “Translokonia,” meaning “land beyond the Loko.” However, on Wednesday the New Rania National Council voted to shrink the national park to a mere fraction of its total size, opening much of the land to possible development.
For years, New Rania has never had the money or the means to make utilizing all that land economical, and the designation as a National Park was more of an admission that they couldn’t do much else with it. However, for several years, real estate development firms, particularly ones from Okunbana, Mikubana, and even South Hills have been pressuring the state to allow for development. Costs associated with development have fallen significantly since 1890, and with the Lake Ipari area long identified by all three states in the Federation as a prime area for investment, the government of New Rania finally bowed to the pressure.
Calls to develop the land are not new, but one major change this round is the presence of South Hills. In 2009, the Federation agreed to a massive defense agreement that allowed South Hills to build military bases in the country. The recent announcement of the Tavari nuclear program has spooked both Banian and South Hills officials, and the Federal government is keen on expanding the agreement and building a stronger relationship with South Hills, an international power. In the past month, both governments have indicated to trade groups that they are prepared to provide support to development projects - and to do it quickly and generously.
The Translokonia area has a few settlements now, but none of them with more than 10,000 inhabitants. A coalition of Banian and South Hills real estate investors has come together to make a presentation to the New Rania state government in an attempt to have them permit, and perhaps even contribute funds to, their massive development project. “We have several options to propose, but we really want to emphasize that the sky is the absolute limit here. This is the chance of a lifetime,” said Osun Oyo, the chairman of the Build New Rania Coalition. “We could build a whole belt of cities on the lake if we wanted to. And not only would we connect these cities to the rest of New Rania, to revitalize their economy, we can easily connect it to Okunbana and Mikubana, too. We could all grow together.”
Kamo Enau, the High Prophet of the New Ranite Church, disagrees. “New Rania values our quiet, simple way of life. If we wanted cities out there, we could have built them ourselves, or said yes to one of the million developers who has come to us before.” The Church, which has long been a powerful political force in the country even after it was removed from positions in government in the 1950s, has taken the lead in public criticism of the project. And many are listening to the Church - though many are not.
“We do need to modernize. It’s been long enough. We have worked for a long time and we deserve to prosper,” said Ro Ran, the mayor of the small town of Raio on the shores of Lake Ipari. His town could be completely bulldozed by some of the proposals, but he has endorsed all of them. “If that’s the cost to get modern hospitals, modern schools, modern roads out here? So be it. These communities out here have been neglected for so long, but we matter just as much as anywhere else.”
Premier Mtebe Faces Backlash for Military Funding Increase Proposal
NEWPORT-- Federal Premier Maku Mtebe was audibly booed during a session of the National Assembly on Friday after he announced his budget proposal to the Congress this autumn will propose increasing military funding in the Federation to $55 billion dollars ($48.2 billion SHD) over the next ten years. This comes after his annual “State of the Federation” address to Congress on Tuesday in which he announced he was using discretionary government funds to increase this year’s allocation to the military to $45 billion dollars ($39.5 billion SHD), a figure that represents 4.2% of the Federation’s GDP. While his change in this year’s allocation is a power Mr. Mtebe can exercise on his own, the increase to the higher $55 billion dollar figure will require new legislation - and members of Congress appear to be very skeptical.
It was not only members of the opposition Social Alliance who openly jeered the Premier - the Mikubana Democrats and the Agrarian Interest Bloc, both members of Mtebe’s coalition government, were seen booing as well. While Mtebe can afford to lose the votes of those parties and still maintain confidence of the National Assembly, it leaves the remaining members of the coalition (Mtebe’s Federal Unity Party and the New Future Liberals) with a majority of only 7 seats. While the New Future Liberals (NFL) have not yet released a formal statement, the party manifesto they adopted prior to the 2018 elections states that “we believe military funding is appropriate at current levels.” Losing the NFL’s 9 members of the National Assembly would leave Mtebe without a majority - and could risk an early election, something the Federation hasn’t yet seen this century.
“This is outrageous. Simply outrageous,” said Social Alliance leader Ninalowo Abeo in a press conference after Friday’s session of the legislature. “Pulling a billion dollars out of the couch cushions and throwing it at the military without them even asking for it was one thing, but 55 billion dollars is just completely ridiculous, frankly. I mean, how could we even spend an amount like that?” She repeatedly cited that the 55 billion figure would represent more than 5% of the current GDP. “This is a figure that countries at war spend. We are not at war, and I do not intend to allow us to be any time soon.”
“We joined this coalition to make sure the needs of our rural communities are heard. It would be an abject failure on the part of my party to allow this proposal to pass. Our farmers need that money, not our defense contractors.” Taiwo Rotimi, leader of the Agrarian Interest Bloc, all but threatened to leave the coalition even before the vote. “I intend to speak with [Mr. Mtebe] this weekend and if he does not stand down on this, then I have to imagine the coalition would be in jeopardy. This is not what my voters voted for.”
For his part, Mtebe emphasizes national security as a reason for the increase, especially considering “recent blatant escalations across the strait,” referring to Tavaris. In the past year, Tavaris announced a nuclear program, defensive agreements with Ayaupia and Aponivia, and began adding nuclear-powered submarines to their Navy. “We cannot continue to allow this to happen without answering,” said Mtebe during his remarks to the Assembly on Friday. “It is the 21st century and Bana has no aircraft carriers, no nuclear-powered vessels, our tanks and jets are falling apart. We have to modernize, and this is going to require money.”
Mtebe’s ten-year military overhaul proposal includes, in part, the purchase of one diesel-powered aircraft carrier and three nuclear submarines to replace aging diesel submarines in the Navy’s fleet. The oldest submarine in the Banian Navy first entered service in 1972. New military equipment, as well as increases in general military funding, have featured in Mtebe’s budget proposals every year since his election in 2018, often to little complaint. He has regularly stated that Bana should not depend entirely on the defense agreement with South Hills - “The Federation must be able to stand on its own,” he said on Friday. “The cost is high, but we can afford it, and costs will only increase the longer we sit on our hands.”
Opposition to the plan came also from many private citizens as well. The Federal District Police stated on Friday that, even in just the few hours between Mr. Mtebe’s speech and the end of business hours, they received 12 applications for demonstration permits in Newport. There was even a small group of people gathered in front of Congress Hall on Friday just hours after the speech, carrying signs that read “NO MORE WAR.”
“This is grandstanding. This is all posturing, and it’s embarrassing,” said Ono Io, a protestor. Mr. Mtebe “only wants to get an edge up in our centuries-long pissing contest with Tavaris,” he said, adding “Tavaris isn’t threatening us and neither is anyone else. But if we start throwing this money at the military, they certainly will be soon.”
Mtebe Ousted in Surprise No-Confidence Vote; Congress Dissolves for Early Election
NEWPORT-- The Federation of Bana will hold elections a year earlier than scheduled after the National Assembly voted in an unannounced vote of no confidence to remove Maku Mtebe, leader of the Federal Unity Party, as Federal Premier. The National Assembly gaveled in an extraordinary session at 5:02 AM, summoned through an obscure rule allowing a session to be called through a petition signed by “a grouping of leaders of various caucuses [parties] in the Assembly that together represent a majority of the Assembly.” The procedure was last used in 1994, which was also the last time the Federation has called an early election.
The move was unexpected in that it was not on the formal agenda of business and that no party publicly spoke about the plan prior to the vote. However, Mtebe’s government was already largely seen as being on its last legs after a rash of coalition partners abandoned government after Mr. Mtebe’s vastly unpopular military budget increase proposal. The final nail in the coffin was the departure of the New Future Liberals, a small political party active only in the Bana and Lanu metropolitan areas whose 9 members were the sole remaining allies of Mtebe left in the coalition.
Congressman Kayode Folarin, the leader of the New Future Liberals, issued a written statement after the extraordinary session had been called. “Our voters elected us in the name of good governance and fiscal responsibility. Our National Committee deliberated for some hours on Monday and we simply came to the decision that Premier Mtebe’s proposed military budget is neither good governance nor fiscally responsible,” he said.
The debate over the vote of no-confidence was brief. In contrast to the marathon eighteen-hour-long session that led to the ouster of Olamide Sowande in 1994, on Tuesday the National Assembly deliberated for only 54 minutes. Mr. Mtebe himself said little in his own defense. “This is a political move done by political actors blinded by political ambition,” he said to the Assembly, referring to his opposition as “piranhas, gone mad at the first sight of blood in the water.” He defiantly vowed to stay on as the leader of the Federal Unity Party and to retake his job in the election. “Let’s get this over with so I can get back to work.”
In the end, the vote passed exactly on party lines, 414-411, with all of the Federal Unity Party voting against and all other members voting in favor. Because the upper chamber of the Federal Congress, the Council of Communities, holds no role in determining the Premier, Congress was immediately dissolved upon the completion of the vote.
Mr. Mtebe’s coalition was always an awkward jumble of parties, although that has been the norm in federal elections this century. His own Federal Unity Party describes itself as a “big-tent centrist party” and Mr. Mtebe largely ran on promises to reign in government spending and decrease economic regulation. While the New Future Liberals were largely ideologically similar, in order to secure a majority, Mr. Mtebe reached out to two parties associated with rural and agricultural interests, the Mikubana Democrats and the Agrarian Interest Bloc.
With the rural parties advocating for increased spending and the more liberal parties advocating for less, the Mtebe government was wrought with internal strife that largely prevented the passage of the landmark legislation the Federal Unity Party promised, such as privatizing the postal service. Instead, Mr. Mtebe had to settle for minor victories, such as the passage of a unified federal commercial driver’s licensing scheme allowing truckers to pass between states without requiring separate licenses for each state. With the sudden and unexpected collapse of the burgeoning detente with Tavaris, though, Mr. Mtebe was denied the opportunity to focus on much else other than defense affairs, a subject on which his coalition partners could ultimately not agree.
The focus now shifts to campaigning. Social Alliance leader Ninalowo Abeo has already announced her broad policy goals, including “Expanding access to healthcare, establishing a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions” and a plan to start a “boom” of public housing construction across the country to “erase homelessness in the Federation.” Mr. Mtebe had no such sweeping promises to make on Tuesday, saying to a reporter after the vote “I don’t know everything we will campaign on yet, but I can tell you one thing: changing the law to completely remove early elections entirely. All of this is only a waste of time.”
ELECTION 2021: Ninalowo Abeo leads Social Alliance and Progressive Coalition to Victory
NEWPORT-- In a stunning and unexpected defeat for former Premier Maku Mtebe and the centrist, liberal political blocs that were expecting an easy victory, the left-leaning coalition led by Ninalowo Abeo’s Social Alliance has won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, catapulting Abeo to the country’s top leadership post. At just 39 years old, she is the youngest woman to ever lead the Federation of Bana.
The National Electoral Commission issued the last tranche of vote counts from Wednesday’s election just after 2 PM on Friday afternoon. While the results are still unofficial until final certification next week, the Commission’s count puts Social Alliance at 373 seats - a gain of 72 that makes it the largest party in the new National Assembly. However, at 40 seats under the required majority, Social Alliance will require smaller parties to make up the difference.
Ms. Abeo had already cobbled together a coalition agreement with the Greens and For the Future!, a center-left leaning party that has focused on environmental and government accountability legislation. However, the Green Party’s unexpected and drastic increase from 10 seats to 48 means that Social Alliance’s deficit is already completely erased, with the partnership of For the Future! only extra insurance in the event that, as happened with the previous government, coalition partners later pull out due to disagreement. For the Future! itself increased from 12 seats in the previous Assembly to 15.
The drastic increases on the left match an equally drastic collapse on the right, with Maku Mtebe’s Federal Unity Party losing a whopping 102 seats, dropping from 411 to 309. Also losing seats were both branches of the Democrats. Mikubana Democrats, who had aligned with Mtebe in the last Assembly, dropped from 28 to 20. The Okunbana Democrats fared better, losing only two seats to end up at 28, but they are not expected to be invited into Abeo’s coalition. Among the minor parties, the Agrarian Interest Bloc and the technocratic New Future Liberals remained unchanged at 16 and 9 seats, respectively. The Socialist Party also saw a drop from 8 to 7, believed to be caused by younger leftist voters realigning with the Greens.
“I am so tremendously excited to get to work and from the bottom of my heart I thank each and every one of you,” an ebullient Abeo told a crowd of supporters at her election night headquarters in her home city of Lanu, which she has represented in the Federal Congress since 2014. “Together, we are going to build a better Federation, and that means acting with the interests of our people and our environment first, not big business, not South Hills, not Tavaris.”
Ms. Abeo campaigned on a promise to reverse her predecessor’s vastly unpopular military spending increase and to undertake a massive campaign of constructing new public housing and institute a cap-and-trade program to tax and reduce carbon emissions.
The election results are a bitter defeat for Maku Mtebe, who as recently as a year ago was ranked as one of the most popular leaders of the modern era according to Federal Register opinion polling. So bitter, in fact, that Mtebe did not speak to his assembled supporters in Newport on Wednesday night, and has not announced any remarks for today. Opinion polls had shown a very close race but with a consistent lead of two to three points for Mtebe.
“It’s early, but I think this is a pretty clear demonstration of what happens when politicians take their supporters for granted. Ninalowo Abeo took a significant risk in standing up for a very bold, very partisan electoral platform that easily could have been too far left for most Banians to stomach. Bana hasn’t seen an overtly left-aligned government yet this century. But Maku Mtebe essentially only campaigned on the pledge to get himself back in office. Barely any actual policy goals were stated at all,” said Dr. Teniola Kayode, a professor of political science at Federal University in Newport. “And so when it came time for people to choose, most of them picked the only party that had actually promised to do anything.”
Social Alliance - 373 seats (+72)
Green - 48 seats (+38)
For the Future! - 15 seats (+3)
Federal Unity Party - 309 seats (-102)
Okunbana Democrats - 28 seats (-2)
Mikubana Democrats - 20 seats (-8)
Agrarian Interest Bloc - 16 seats (+0)
New Future Liberals - 9 seats (+0)
Socialist Party - 7 seats (-1)
Abeo Sworn In as Federal Premier, Immediately Slashes Military Spending
NEWPORT-- The youngest-ever Premier in Banian history took office on Monday in a vibrant pink pantsuit and a characteristic broad smile. Ninalowo Abeo, the leader of Social Alliance - the first center-left political party to lead a government this century - ran on a pledge to do several things, but her first priority and most repeated campaign message was to reduce the military budget that began this political crisis in the first place. Not even half-an-hour into the job, she announced that she had done it.
“I keep my promises,” said Abeo on Monday in her first ever press conference as Federal Premier. “I promised that this would be the first thing I do, and it was. I haven’t even toured the Premier’s Residence yet, but at 8:12 this morning I signed a Cabinet Directive to cancel Maku Mtebe’s disastrous reallocation of government funds to our already-bloated defense budget.”
With the stroke of a pen, Abeo reduced the current-year military budget from $39.5 billion SHD to $3.75 billion SHD, undoing the allocation of $2 billion in government contingency funds that Mr. Mtebe, her predecessor in office, had ordered be placed under the control of the Ministry of Defense and Emergency Preparedness (MDEP). The new figure represents 3.99% of the Federation’s total annual GDP (the dollar amount of all goods and services produced within the Federation in a year), a figure which is still high compared to the global average.
In addition to the cancellation of Mtebe’s grant of contingency funds, Abeo also signed an order directing MDEP to “predicate current fiscal year budgeting and spending decisions based upon a figure of available funds that is 75% of actual departmental balances and allocations.” In less technical terms, Abeo is ordering that the military not spend its full budget, leaving at least 25% of the funding given to MDEP untouched. While this does not officially change the budget allocation amount (something Abeo cannot do without the approval of the Federal Congress), in practice it reduces the funding given to the military this year to just over $28 billion SHD, or 2.99% of GDP.
Because the Federal government operates on a fiscal year running from May 1st to April 30th, MDEP reports that its current level of expenditure so far this year is “vastly, vastly less than either the $40 billion [sic] figure or the $28 billion figure,” said MDEP spokesperson Laro Lao. “While the Premier’s order does cancel some particular projects, MDEP will certainly be able to do the work of defending the country while also following the Premier’s orders.”
Abeo has indicated that her budget proposal for the next fiscal year - due in January of 2022 - will “very likely be at or significantly similar to” the $28 billion cap she has put in place for this year.” She also indicated that the $28 billion cap could be waived “in the event of an extreme emergency.”
It’s Bananas: Strange, Humorous Technical Error Greets New Premier in Visit to New Rania
RANISPORT, N.R.— When the Federal Premier of Bana steps off a plane, they usually expect the national anthem to start playing. Visitors who come to see do the same. All of them, however, were greeted with a surprise on Sunday morning when Ninalowo Abeo stepped off the plane and was greeted with South Hills popstar Quinn Germanotta’s hit 2005 single “Hollaback Girl”… with some strange changes.
What played when Ms. Abeo stepped onto the tarmac was just one portion of the song, in which she says “this [expletive] is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.” It was edited, though, to remove the end of the word ‘bananas,’ leaving Germanotta to say, as a play on the name of the country, “this [expletive] is bana-,” followed by the spelling of just “B-A-N-A.” For the rest of what would have been the lyrics, only the hauntingly quiet back track played. While Ms. Abeo kept her cool, only stopping and cracking a smile for a moment, the waiting President of New Rania, Rou Manao appeared to whirl around in rage to see what was happening before quickly turning back to face the Federal Premier.
The culprit, it turned out, was a well-meaning intern of Omor’s who, filling in for the protocol officer at the last minute, apparently felt he didn’t have enough time to listen to the ‘bana.mp3’ file he downloaded from the internet. In a Goggle search the Register ran, the first Goggle result for the phrase “national anthem of Bana” was a link to a video posted on Pigeon by a Kyrlot electronic musician that very likely meant it as parody.
The rest of Ms. Abeo’s visit proceeded without any further hiccups. The purpose of her trip was to meet with President Manao and several business leaders in the building industry about proposals to develop parts of New Rania on the far side of Lake Unar, which is almost entirely undeveloped. While Ms. Abeo’s predecessor Maku Mtebe had fostered very strong relations with the business community, especially with South Hills-based real estate developers, Abeo says she has concerns about some of the plans in New Rania.
“The Premier spoke with a roundtable of business leaders today in order to get a better sense of the development projects and to establish a rapport with community stakeholders,” said the Office of the Federal Premier in a written statement. “As nearly all of the development is governed at the state level, Ms. Abeo was not present to take any particular ‘side’ over another.”
“It is likely that, despite her long track-record of center-left, progressive political stances, Ms. Abeo is trying not to upset the construction or building companies too much because she will likely need their buy-in for her plan to begin a nationwide campaign to construct new public housing,” says Dr. Arlo Kiskt, professor of political science at the University of Ranisport. “It is very common for politicians, once in office, to discover they need to dial back some of their campaign rhetoric when it comes time to actually start work on policy goals.” Dr. Kiskt paused and then added “Though I’ve never seen a national anthem mixup quite like this one.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Date of original publication: 21 March 2021
Federation Recalls Ambassador to International Forum, Citing “Gross Deficiency in Security”
THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM, Rilanon-- Federal Premier Ninalowo Abeo announced in a press conference Thursday afternoon that the Federation of Bana is “immediately and indefinitely” recalling its delegation from the International Forum, “until such time as its gross deficiency in security is corrected.” The move comes in response to the recent shooting and fire at the agency’s headquarters—the third act of deadly violence to occur at the Forum in less than a year.
“It is absolutely inexcusable for an organization that calls itself the leading deliberative body on Urth to continue to have such tragic lapses in safety and security. No one should be dying in the line of duty in a wealthy, developed country like Christie Island,” said Ms. Abeo, noting that even the Banian ambassadors in war-torn countries like Ni-Rao and Helslandr face violent danger less regularly.
The International Forum General Council has voted to make all information regarding the most recent outbreak of violence to be sealed, and neither the Premier nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to comment for this story. However, several unnamed, high-level sources within the Forum, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give comment, stated to the Record that a “diplomatic incident” regarding the Alksearian delegation—currently in dispute, with two claimants in active dispute over the Alkari throne—led to “inflamed tensions.” No sources would give further details. The number of casualties in the event, the identity of those who died, and the direct cause of both the fire and the fatality (or fatalities) are all unknown. The International Forum declined to comment and stated it would not allow any current employees to speak with the media regarding the events.
After the events at the Forum, Alkari I.F. Ambassador Gabrielle Lajoie was murdered in an attack believed to be done by agents of the Church of Xaethos, which currently claims to be the legitimate government of Alksearia in addition to its internationally recognized government. It is unknown whether or not this attack is related to the events that occured at the Forum, though sources confirmed to the Record that Church of Xaethos-aligned diplomats were present in the chamber of the Security Council on the 20th.
Federations of Bana, Southern Coast Announce New Economic, Military Partnership
REPUBLIQUE C.D., Southern Coast– In her first state visit as Federal Premier, Ninalowo Abeo traveled to the Federation of the Southern Coast on Monday and, alongside Southern Coast Prime Minister Jeanne Pierre, announced the enactment of a sweeping agreement between the countries that establishes economic ties, visa-free travel, and a military alliance that will involve Southern Coast troops establishing a presence at Federal Defense Facility North Lanu. The agreement is to be known as the Comprehensive Economic and Military Partnership Agreement, or CEMPA.
“CEMPA is an incredible opportunity that will bring increased prosperity and security to both of our countries,” said Ms. Abeo at a press conference on Monday, the first of her four planned days in the western Yasterian country. “With this agreement, we have punched a ticket to economic growth while also committing the Federation to socially responsible policies that continue to ensure we have an economy for the many, not just the few.”
The agreement allows for completely visa-free travel for citizens of Bana to the Southern Coast and vice versa for up to one year, as well as several expanded options for longer-term business visas. The two countries have also agreed to purchase a minimum abouts of goods from one another each year and the agreement also provides for development incentives for firms from each country to invest in the other. Under the terms of the agreement, a particular percentage of housing constructed with incentive funds must be set aside for low-income individuals and for all construction to adhere to ecologically friendly standards.
“This is a great leap forward in the relationship between our two Federations. The people’s horizons have broadened and the working class will prosper. Our military interests in the region are purely defensive and our only aim is to protect our allies," said the Southern Coast Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a written statement.
The military component of CEMPA will see the Southern Coast Armed Forces setting up shop at Federal Defense Facility North Lanu, which is a joint Army-Navy-Air Force base. The agreement does not mandate a particular configuration of Southern Coast troops or that a minimum number must be present, which Ms. Abeo said “is a feature of the agreement designed to be flexible to our defense and security needs as they change in the future.” While Ms. Abeo would not comment on any particular foreseen changes, the agreement is almost certainly a response to the Tavari nuclear program, which brought Banian-Tavari relations to their lowest point since the Great War.
“This is a major score for Bana,” said Abimbola Seyi, principal analyst at the Banian Defense Institute, a think-tank in Newport. “The Federation [of Bana] has been on the defensive with Tavaris in terms of international support ever since Tavaris became a full member of the UCA in 2008. Bana is not in any similar multilateral defense agreements, and while Tavari military attention has been focused elsewhere recently, given history, that is no guarantee that this will not change. This agreement is an effective way to try to ensure that the Tavari military continues to focus elsewhere.”
[size=175]NINALOWO ABEO DEAD IN RADIOACTIVE POISONING: “ASSASSINATED,” SAYS DEFENSE MINISTER[/size]
NEWPORT-- Ninalowo Abeo, Premier of the Federation of Bana, is dead at 40 in what Federal authorities have confirmed is “an incident of poisoning with radioactive material.” Temiloluwa Kuti, Minister of Defense and Emergency Preparedness, has become Acting Federal Premier under the terms of the Cabinet Office Emergency Procedures Act of 2021 that automatically appoint the Defense Minister to that post in the event of the sudden death of the incumbent. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Kuti stated in his opening words: “Tonight, the Premier of the Federation of Bana has been assassinated by currently unknown forces.”
It was first reported by the Office of the Federal Premier that Ms. Abeo, the youngest-ever person to serve in the office, first collapsed just before 8:00 pm, shortly after finishing dinner. She was rushed to the hospital by helicopter, but was reported dead just twelve minutes after the initial report. Acting Premier Kuti described Ms. Abeo’s death as “a poisoning” but declined to provide any further information into her cause of death. “We are, as I said, investigating the matter and will report further information as we receive it.”
Federal Record reporter Tokumbo Ojo reported on Pigeon that the Official Residence complex was being cordoned off by Federal authorities including the Ministry of Energy and Nuclear Regulation, however no officials from that agency responded to requests for comment, nor did the Office of the Federal Premier.
The country has been placed on Defense Level 1, the most critical level ordinarily reserved for outbreaks of war—something unseen since the end of the Civil War. However, the Federation’s defense readiness level has been at 2, the second-highest level, since the announcement of the Tavari nuclear program in January of 2021. Military jets have been scrambled and are in the air above the Federal District as well as Lanu, the City of Bana, Miku, Oloro, and perhaps most remarkably, the Tavari-Banian border in the Strait of Vaklori.
Ninalowo Abeo was 39 years old when she became the first left-of-center political party chief to take the Federation’s top spot in more than twenty years. Arising from the ashes of Maku Mtebe’s fallen career—he was shunned for seeking a drastic military budget increase that will surely now seem different in retrospect—Ms. Abeo rapidly became one of the most popular Premiers in many years. Never before had anyone so young led the country, and she rapidly took on popular issues such as addressing the country’s public housing crisis while refusing to engage with what she called “the Tavari distraction”—at least at first.
In the months since the end of the Acronis crisis, Ms. Abeo has had to deal with near constant accusations from the Tavari and their diplomatic allies about alleged Banian interference in February’s Acronian independence referendum, including the funding of religious terrorists and the stoking of already bitter sectarian tensions in Tavaris to the level of fatal violence. Ms. Abeo and her administration have strenuously denied the allegations at every turn, but a rapid cleanout of the highest echelons of the Federation’s intelligence apparatus since have only raised more questions, and Ms. Abeo was due to face a Congressional inquiry on the March 2022 sacking of Deputy Minister of Intelligence Abioye Idowu on Friday.
While the news of Ms. Abeo’s death was still spreading through the political world as of press time on Wednesday, President Arik Rao took to the television airwaves in brief remarks at approximately 8:30 pm to announce the news and declare a 7-day period of national mourning. “Today, our Federation stands together not just in the sadness of mourning the loss of our treasured daughter and leader, Ninalowo Abeo, who was beloved in our country and around the world, but we stand together with love and support for each other, knowing that together, we can weather this and any other crisis.”