The New Furnifoldian Times

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

March 18, 2017

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

Following the recent exposure of Furnifold to the international body of Urth, foreign nations have been applying for embassy recognition. As of this reporting, seven nations have applied for diplomatic recognition, and Furnifold has currently accepted six of them. “The hardest part is behind us in terms of diplomatic recognition, and the embassy construction should serve as a relief for my devoted staff,” Jackson Woolf, Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, said in an interview with The Times. “You can expect to see the embassies less than a block from our own Foreign Affairs offices, and with this clustering, I envision a very fruitful relationship with these, and more, nations.”

Not everyone is pleased with this development. Muriel Brent, current Mayor of McLendal, spoke candidly to The Times regarding the embassy construction. “I am in favor of this recognition, and bringing Furnifold to the modern world, but development like this all of a sudden is going to take its toll on our city, with traffic, construction, and other logistics of building these embassies so quickly. Perhaps if my office had been consulted in the matter I would not feel this has been thrust upon me and my staff.”

The embassies are slated to be constructed over the course of Spring, with a tentative move-in date for the diplomats in June. For now, the foreign diplomats have taken up residencies in Foreign Affairs-sponsored quarters, and will go about their daily affairs in the Foreign Affairs office. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

The Foreign Secretary announced a series of trade deals that he says will benefit the growth of Furnifold’s economy. Jackson Woolf, Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, has brokered deals with the nations of Kuthernburg, Tivot, and Tuvaltastan. Mr. Woolf offered a very rosy take on the announced deals. “These deals will propel Furnifold into growth that will be almost unimaginable for our people, and I am confident that with our partners, everyone will see drastic improvement in their lives. In addition, all deals include a visa program, so citizens from these nations are allowed entry into our great country, and vice versa for our genial travelers.”

The agreement with Tivot: Furnifold will sell agricultural products to the nation, Tivot will in turn of sell the products on the world market. The revenues of the goods will be retained by Tivot. Those goods that do not sell in Tivot’s market will be collected by Furnifold refunded. In addition, Furnifold will have priority to bid on contracts in Tivot’s marketplace and pursue investment opportunities in Furnifold.

The agreement with Tuvaltastan: Furnifold will send agricultural products to the nation at a bargain, enough to cover shipping costs, and in return, Tuvaltastan will contract mining companies to survey and explore some of the potential lode sites in Furnifold. Upon discovery, companies will receive a five-year claim to the production of that site.

The agreement with Kuthernburg: Furnifold will contact various agricultural producers to set up a “farmers market” of sorts in the nation, to allow the citizens of Kuthernburg to sample the goods Furnifold produces. It will last one week, and upon demand may be expanded. In addition, Furnifold will attempt to find contracts in Kuthernburg to fund military production in Furnifold. The nations also announced a joint agreement to produce 150 V-22 Osprey’s in Furnifold, a deal valued at 15 billion over 10 years. These are combat helicopters, primarily used for medivac and transportation events. Kurthernburg is also giving a direct investment of 1 billion into transit for the movement of Furnifoldian industrial goods. Finally, Furnifold has opened up its nation for joint training exercises with the special forces of Kurthernburg, in order to simulate different environmental scenarios these forces may be presented with.

We are still waiting on official estimates on how these agreements will impact the citizens and businesses of Furnifold.

*Produced with additional reporting from the presses of Tivot, Tuvaltastan, and Kuthernberg.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Following the opening of the Miyapo World Trade building in Kuthernberg, the spokesperson for Furnifold commodities investment firm Manleh Cousins announced an international expansion of the Furnifold Commodities Market (FCM).The FCM is a nationally-recognized commodity trading market for primary agricultural goods. With headquarters in the market city of Woolf, it is the oldest and largest market in all of Furnifold. Manleh Cousins also announced that the market would be named the Global Furnifold Commodities Market, in order to reflect the evolving scale of operations, and that Manleh Cousins would be the flagship firm to be allowed to do business on the market. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

Mana-born table tennis player Artemis Gay has recently been ranked in the top 20 of all international table tennis players, according to the World Table Tennis Federation. Gay, 30, is excited to represent Furnifold in the WTTF Grand Tour. Gay is the highest-ranked player in Furnifold’s history, and at number 18, will be in a prime position to receive exposure on the world sporting stage.

Gay rose to the top of Furnifold table tennis rankings in 2005 at the age of 18, the youngest player ever in the nation’s history to do so. After competing in the Yasteria Table Tennis Competition in 2009, and losing miserably in the opening round, he took a two-year hiatus from the sport to examine his playing style and passion for the game. In 2011, he returned suddenly to the Furnifold table tennis scene, again his play propelling to the top of Furnifold’s rankings.

WTTF Rankings
[/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

March 25, 2017

[spoiler]- by David Rezendes

“Day in and day out, it’s always the same. I work for hours at a time, for barely enough food to feed my family, while my bosses get all the profits. It’s slavery.” This quote normally would be attributed here, but this is said across the Branwell Plains, as laborers face the highest income inequality for their field in Furnifold. Pittances are taken. And, with the number of exports to foreign nations expected to increase, they fear they will be worked harder and longer and still not retain fruits of their labor.
Furnifold has a nation-wide Gini Index of 65.2, putting it in the high-range of income inequality. Based on previous reporting and a new metric developed by Furnifold economists in Woolf, the Gini index in the agricultural sector is a whopping 78.1. This means that a small portion of the agricultural population own 78 percent of the wealth. With the new trade deals, there is no talk of increasing the wages of the workers, instead officials are putting their trust in the trickle-down effect. Trickle-down policies for agriculture, with generous tax breaks and subsidies, have increased the production of Furnifold’s agricultural sector tenfold, but has not resulted in the growth in wages we would expect.

“It’s on the agenda.”
The WATCHDOG asked the owners of the large farms about this discrepancy, and most refused to comment. One, who requested anonymity, attributed the disparity between owners and laborers due to competition. “There is a ceiling to this, if I pay my workers more money, there comes a point when production does not increase as the wages increase. I mean, workers are productive enough right now, why should I bother rocking the boat? Especially when other owners can produce at high quantities, it’s less money for my company. And with the trade deals in place, there is going to be so much money flowing through that paying workers more is going to be disruptive to everything.”
The WATCHDOG then went to officials in McLendal. “We can’t talk about ongoing trade negotiations until they are finalized, but we would expect to see revenues rise for all people.” Jackson Woolf, Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, said to reporters. “We are focusing on getting these deals worked out, and then we will convince legislators to attend to the matter of the workers.” “It’s on the agenda.” It should be noted that the agricultural industry has one of the strongest lobbying efforts in McLendal.

Lobbying.
Wages have not risen in the agricultural industry since the previous government instituted a mandatory minimum wage for laborers, at 7.20 per hour. Businesses will tell anyone who listens that this wage hike has hurt them, and caused the closure of many small farms. It also has something to do with the efforts of the Furnifold Farm Bureau (FFB), the lobbying-arm of the agriculture sector. Years ago, this firm would lobby McLendal for increased subsidies towards small farms, but in recent years the lobbying efforts for small farms has stopped. Instead, the FFB has focused exclusively on large corporate farms, focusing on streamlining production capabilities and establishing freight lines to their silos. Financial experts estimate that the lobbying firm spends close to 300 million per year on these lobbying efforts. And in none of these talks are efforts to increase worker safety or have workers retain some of the profits these companies receive, but in these talks are efforts to increase length of hours worked and a move to abolish the previous minimum wage standard. Agricultural workers have no lobbying-arm to turn to.

“It’s all I know how to do.”
For the workers in these farms, they do not have many other opportunities. Their education system focuses on getting them through school, then after 10th grade they are encouraged to spend two to three years apprenticing in a trade, interning in business or government, or doing collegiate prep. For the youth in the Branwell Plains, the only two options are trade or eschew it altogether and go right into working on the fields. “It’s really quite sad, but there just is not a system in place to help these children,” Frederick Strangfeld, CEO of Furnifold Works Institute in Woolf and Chonvor City, said. “The solutions at this point have to come through the legislative level, but good luck trying to get through the FFB and the current government.”
Why don’t these workers move? “My family has been here for a couple hundred years,” one said. “We can’t just pack up and leave, especially since farming is all I know how to do. My kids will grow up in this life, and we will get by. We always do.” That’s the attitude of the worker in the Branwell Plains. The work is essentially slavery, but they get by. They always do.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly
*Previously we ran a story about the trade deals with foreign nations. We are re-running the story, with additions of the economic costs and benefits as well as new trade deals announced.

The Foreign Secretary announced a series of trade deals that he says will benefit the growth of Furnifold’s economy. Jackson Woolf, Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, has brokered deals with the nations of Blueacia, Chianski, Kuthernburg, The Oan Isles, Tivot, and Tuvaltastan. Mr. Woolf offered a very rosy take on the announced deals. “These deals will propel Furnifold into growth that will be almost unimaginable for our people, and I am confident that with our partners, everyone will see drastic improvement in their lives. In addition, all deals include a visa program, so citizens from these nations are allowed entry into our great country, and vice versa for our genial travelers.”

The agreement with Blueacia: Blueacia will sponsor a branch of sports betting in Furnifold, valued at [insert deal amount here]. In addition, Furnifold will provide the Womp Desert for the Furnifold Rally Raid, a leg of an off-road competition sponsored by Blueacia. Furnifold will keep the revenues from ad buys and tickets, while Blueacia will keep the earnings from sponsorships. Furnifold will also pay the prize winnings of the race.

The agreement with Chianski: Furnifold will contract out a DSL company in Chainski for 130 million SHD, to establish internet lines in the southwest of Furnifold. In addition, agricultural exports to the nation will increase. This trade deal is expected to bring 200 million SHD in export revenue per year.

The agreement with Kuthernburg: Furnifold will contact various agricultural producers to set up a “farmers market” of sorts in the nation, to allow the citizens of Kuthernburg to sample the goods Furnifold produces. It will last one week, and upon demand may be expanded. In addition, Furnifold will attempt to find contracts in Kuthernburg to fund military production in Furnifold. The nations also announced a joint agreement to produce 150 V-22 Osprey’s in Furnifold, a deal valued at 15 billion SHD over 10 years. These are combat helicopters, primarily used for medivac and transportation events. Kurthernburg is also giving a direct investment of 1 billion SHD into transit for the movement of Furnifoldian industrial goods. Finally, Furnifold has opened its nation for joint training exercises with the special forces of Kurthernburg, to simulate different environmental scenarios these forces may be presented with. In sum, the deals produced will bring in a total of 2.5 billion SHD to Furnifold.

The Agreement with the Oan Isles: Oancom Ltd. will buy out a Furnifold dial-up provider, valued at 100 million SHD, to provide transition services from dial-up to DSL for 18 percent of the population. The Oan Isles will provide 5 billion SHD over ten years to produce ground penetrating radar equipment, LiDAR services, and air-detection radar. Furnifold will also export its agricultural products to the Isles, valued at 220 million SHD. The Oan Isles will send a detachment of special forces to Furnifold, for training exercises. Furnifold Works Institute, a staffing non-profit located in Chonvor City and Woolf, will receive 22 million SHD over two years to train students in healthcare and government services.

The agreement with Tivot: Furnifold will sell agricultural products to the nation, Tivot will in turn of sell the products on the world market. The revenues of the goods will be retained by Tivot. Those goods that do not sell in Tivot’s market will be collected by Furnifold refunded. In addition, Furnifold will have priority to bid on contracts in Tivot’s marketplace and pursue investment opportunities in Furnifold. Estimates for this deal range between 50 million SHD and 600 million SHD, given the volatility of the marketplace.

The agreement with Tuvaltastan: Furnifold will send agricultural products to the nation at a bargain, enough to cover shipping costs, and in return, Tuvaltastan will contract mining companies to survey and explore some of the potential lode sites in Furnifold. Upon discovery, companies will receive a five-year claim to the production of that site. Depending on what these companies find, this deal will be valued at least at 150 million SHD.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

During the Kuthernburg-sponsored Purple Flag Training Exercise, a Mirage F1-E experienced electrical failure and was forced to crash mid-exercise. The pilot was able to successfully eject, and nobody was seriously injured. The scrap from the plane is currently being transported back to Furnifold. In the meantime, Foreign Affairs Secretary Jackson Woolf has called for an investigation into what went wrong with the aircraft, and a halt to the joint training exercises in Furnifold between each nation’s special forces. “We value and respect our relationship with Kuthernburg, but we need to first take a look at all that went wrong in the exercise. We expect that, once the business has concluded, we will resume the joint training in Furnifold.”
An F1-E Mirage is the most current fighter jet Furnifold owns. Each jet costs an average of 19 million SHD to produce. Furnifold currently owns 11 jets, but no word as of yet what the RAF is going to do to replace this jet.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Manleh Cousins, Furnifold’s largest financial services firm and the flagship investment service of the Global Furnifold Commodities Market (GFCM) in the Miyapo World Trade building in Kuthernberg, has released the price of Furnifold commodities on the GFCM. In the initial public offering (IPO), which will be the first price of the commodities per unit before the market opens, it has set its commodities prices. “We are extremely excited about this opportunity to release commodities to the world, and especially at these prices too. We encourage all nations to look at our portfolio, and consider investing through the GCFM,” a spokesperson for Manleh Cousins said in an email response to reporters. Manleh Cousins is extremely confident in the growth of these commodities, citing the trade deals that Furnifold has bartered that will increase demand for products. They are all but assuring that prices will double for commodities in a single day. “With these numbers and that outlook, it would make financial sense to buy commodities, but I am concerned about the eventual drop in prices when market demand evens out,” Furnifold economist Maynard Lewis said. “It will do one of two things, bottom out to market level, or it will stabilize gradually. If it bottoms out, investors are in trouble, and depending on the magnitude of the bottoming, Furnifold itself may be in trouble.” It remains to be seen what the impact of the GFCM will be on Furnifold, but we will surely know when the first day of trading begins on April 8th.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

Furnifold announced in a press release today that the nation would be featuring a leg of a rally raid from the nation of Blueacia. The Furnifold Rally Raid will be held in the Womp Desert, and it will be a week-long 1,200-kilometer race through the desert. There will be two classes of vehicle to race in, motorbike and all-terrain-vehicle (ATV), and officials expect around 100 competitors. A rally raid is a long off-road sports marathon, and besides having a vibrant underground racing scene, Furnifold has never held an official race in its borders.

Reaction has been mixed. Supporters are praising the race due to the exposure and chance to introduce a new sport into Furnifold. “The Womp Desert is just empty space without any purpose, at least this will give it purpose,” a citizen in nearby Kwolek said to this reporter. Opposition has attracted conservationists and a more conservative audience together. “This race represents the sort of danger and debauchery that we should not promote here in Furnifold,” Shontelle Williams, spokesperson for Furnifold Family Values, said in a statement. “Furthermore, there will almost certainly be gambling and betting brought into the race, and gambling is an addiction that leads to depression and suicide.” “While my reasons are not the same as Ms. Williams, I do agree that Furnifold should not hold this race,” Dr. Margaret Mendes, head of the Furnifold Audubon Society, said in a media release. “There are several endemic animal species that will surely be disturbed and in-danger due to this race, and I have not heard anything about how a race of this magnitude will be regulated.”

Officials in Furnifold refused to comment, but Giovanni Bianchi-Lefevre, heir of Blueacia and member of the organizing committee was reached for comment. “Well they [Furnifold] knew we wanted to organize a rally through a desert area, but… Blueacia doesn’t have a desert. So, that’s why Furnifold and Blueacia joined forces.” He also stated that Blueacia is using this rally to get attention for its nation, and for manufacturers to test out their cars in a grueling environment. He is confident that racers from all over the world will register and compete, and the citizens of Furnifold will be enthralled by the level of intensity in the rally.

There is still no scheduled date yet for the Furnifold Rally Raid, and with support not as high as Furnifold officials likely wished for, they will be facing an uphill battle to make it successful.
[/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

April 3rd, 2017

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

Magistrate of Furnifold Jacopo d’Arrigo and his administration has released their budget proposal for the second half of 2017-2018 fiscal year. This proposal serves as the goals that Mr. d’Arrigo and his administration wish the Senate to fund. It is the Senate’s decision to take this into account when they design their own budget in a month’s time. The budget calls for an increase of 650 million SHD in order to pay for the increased military and infrastructure costs of Furnifold. Meanwhile, an additional 50 million SHD is to pay for an increase in government bureaucratic posts across the board, to move officials up the promotion ladder and open up space for more entry-level and internship positions for younger Furnifolds. No agency is to receive a cut under this proposal. “This budget represents careful analysis and thought on where our priorities need to be for the next year,” Magistrate d’Arrigo said in a statement. “We will be distributing this to Senators for their look-over, and we hope they engage my administration in the future.”

On the Senate side, they have not released a budget yet, but insiders believe that many of these proposals will not be retained in their budget, due to the 700 million SHD increase in the budget. Analysts suspect that Senators will be hesitant also due to the increase in taxes they will need to accrue in order to pay for this budget. “We stress fiscal responsibility, which is why we will be taking a good hard look at what Mr. d’Arrigo has sent over, to determine how it will best serve the people of Furnifold without hurting the people of Furnifold.” Chancellor Faith Jagan said to reporters. Ms. Jagan and her staff in the Senate will craft a budget, then vote on it in the Senate, which requires a two-thirds majority vote. It will then move onto the Magistrate’s desk, where he can either veto or sign it. If he vetoes the bill, it will return to the Senate for a two-thirds override. It is expected that Chancellor Jagan will be able to whip the votes for the initial budget, and then will be able to survive a possible Magisterial veto.

The Senate has until the end of next month to propose a budget, where it will then be brought to the floor for vote, just in time for the 2017 fiscal half-year to begin. The budget will govern the rest of 2017, and then all of 2018, when a new budget will be proposed. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

Furnifold has announced a joint partnership with the nation of Chianski to produce five naval destroyers over ten years here in Furnifold. Chianski will be retaining three of them, while Furnifold will build the other two. “This was done in order to cut down on costs as much as possible. We will expect to see our arsenal improve so as to improve our posture in all of Urth.” Foreign Secretary Jackson Woolf said to reporters.
The destroyers will be produced every three years for the next ten, with one year spent on procurement. All construction and procurement is to be done in Furnifold. The total cost to Furnifold is 4.48 billion SHD over the ten years. Chianski will be giving Furnifold 840 million a year for ten years, which will be going right back into contracts for the companies that Furnifold hires to produce the destroyers. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Sales of Furnifold agricultural commodities have risen in the wake of the impending opening of the Global Furnifold Commodities Market (GFCM), according to Financial Services Firm Manleh Cousins.“There is evidence to suggest that the first day of trading on the GFCM will be one of the most active days in Furnifold history,” a spokesperson for Manleh Cousins said. “The number of sales have increased by nearly twenty percent in the past week. What’s more is that the majority of these sales are coming from first time buyers.”

Though they have not analyzed the data yet, Manleh Cousins has projected that the first-time buyers are actually agricultural workers. They have pooled together resources and invested in several commodities that they have produced. “We are encouraging our workers to buy into these commodities,” according to one farm owner. “We are confident that this will give our employees a stake in the growth of their labor, and will give them a financial incentive to watch the sales of our products.”

While economists believe that there is growth ahead for Furnifold on the GCFM, they caution buyers against a possible “make it big” mentality. “We will not be able to predict what will happen after that first week, and that is why it is necessary to diversify your account, and not put all money in one commodity,” Economist Maynard Lewis said. “Watch the market, trust your advisers, and don’t be afraid to sell early, and you will do fine,” were his words of advice to our reporters. The GFCM opens on April 8th, in what is sure to be a big day for Furnifold. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]
We at the New Furnifold Times are looking for more input from our readers. We will be launching an opinion section to bolster our paper and the diversity of opinions presented. If you have a desire to write about anything going on internationally or domestically, please submit your thoughts in writing to our inbox, and we will be sure to try and incorporate it into our next issue. Note that we may do light editing to keep it to our journalistic standards. [/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

April 18th, 2017

[spoiler]- by Uche Markoplos

April 8th marked an important day in Furnifold’s world affairs, as it was the opening of the Global Furnifold Commodities Market (GFCM) in the Royal Kuthernburg World Trade Building. At the close of the cowbell for the first day of trading, all indexed items and other commodities posted increases in prices, some substantially. Since then, the market has been a little more volatile, but overall very uneventful, as exports have been limited by the current blockade on the nation of Chianski.The market has dipped to 41.19, a drop of four percent since the 8th.

Here are the current prices of goods:
Current prices (in ISD):
Corn- 0.61 per bushel (down 9 percent)
Okra- 19.33 per bushel (down 9 percent)
Rice- 9.93 per bushel (down 3 percent)
Soy- 3.51 per bushel (up 6 percent)
Sugar Cane- 7.81 per bushel (up 8 percent)

Non Index Commodities (in ISD):
Cotton: 0.69 per pound (up 9 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 7.46 per carton (down 1 percent)
Meat: 10.07 per pound (down 10 percent)
Milk: 46.68 per hundredweight (up 12 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 24.45 per hundredweight (up 1 percent)
Wheat: 6.71 per bushel (down 10 percent) [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

Furnifold has stepped up its presence in the country of LatianBurg, according to military and diplomatic sources. After video surfaced of Furnifoldian citizens murdered by terrorist group Al-Jaheed, Magistrate Jacopo d’Arrigo authorized a Counter-Insurgency Force (CIF) to the nation, escorted by an amphibious transport dock and a few patrol boats. In an address to reporters, d’Arrigo said that these forces are being utilized to evacuate any remaining Furnifold citizens, and to train the military of LatianBurg in jungle combat. Details of events in LatianBurg are addressed in a separate issue, but companies and charities in Furnifold have been able to raise around three million in humanitarian aid that will go to the embattled nation.

Magistrate d’Arrigo does not have to seek Senate approval to authorize the use of the military in such a way, but if there is to be an increase in an expeditionary force, then the Senate will have to approve it by a vote. Chancellor Jagan has not offered a comment on the developments, but insiders who requested anonymity state that the Senate is likely to vote down any such measure, given the distance from the conflict and the relative lack of citizens currently in Furnifold. Foreign Affairs Secretary Jackson Wool is currently on a diplomatic flotilla, where he is in talks along the subject of post-conflict resolution. According to sources, the evacuation of the remaining Furnifoldian citizens went very well, and most have been accounted for. What remains are the citizens who reside in areas currently under control of the terrorist group Al-Jaheed. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

Furnifold has been allowed to send food exports to the nation of Chianski, past the blockade by the nation of Adumara. Chianski had allegedly been funding the terrorist group Al-Jaheed, which prompted Adumara to blockade the island nation. Since, Foreign Affairs Secretary Jackson Woolf has stated that evidence emerged from Chianski that exonerates the nation from any further funding of the group. As tension heat up, the presence of another nation’s ships may serve as a deterrent from full military action on the part of Adumara, and any retaliation by Chianski. For now, Furnifold’s imports are subject to searches from the Adumara navy, and total exports to the nation have been down by 40 percent. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Hannah Clothier Lodge

At the time of my writing, Furnifold has a military presence in the country of LatianBurg, and is currently sandwiched in between forces from Adumara and the nation of Chianski. This sort of posturing is putting our people here at home at risk. Let’s look at why we are in LatianBurg. No reason whatsoever. Magistrate d’Arrigo brought us into this place, which is an enclave surrounded by the military and economic powerhouse the South Hills, to battle with a separatist group that has no interest in Furnifold. Not only that, but d’Arrigo pushed forth with trade with Chianski, and that nation is currently staring down the cannons of an Adumaran blockade. Our ships are in the middle, giving food to the nation, seemingly oblivious to the fact that attacks on the islands may be imminent. Is this really our place to be involved here? Yes, the video of the people being killed was horrendous, but remember that Furnifold never opened up relations with the nation of LatianBurg. There are precious few of our citizens in that country, and we cannot be sure that those who reside there are there for legitimate purposes. It hurts our nation to have to get involved when there are more important things here to worry about, like high unemployment and the high amount of poverty. Hopefully our Magistrate didn’t get us involved as political cover for his failing economic policies. I am advocating for assistance when it is necessary, this just does not seem to be one of those times. Be smarter, nation.

Hannah Clothier Lodge is an anti-war activist and Quaker organizer. She is a founder of the Women Against Aggression (WAA), a peace group advocating for conscientious objection, an end to the selective service, female involvement in the military, and gender violence. She is the author of the book ‘Prime Peace and Settlement,’ a Furnifold Times Bestseller. [/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

May 2, 2017

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

An international organization of peacekeepers called the Peacekeeping Forces of Urth (PK-FU) has founded their headquarters right here in McLendal. Sanctioned by the Furnifold government, the PK-FU seeks to “help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace,” according to their mission charter. Currently seven nations are enrolled in the organization: Furnifold, Kuthernburg, Latianburg, Xargrug, Tretrid, Blueacia, and the Oan Isles. Each nation has supplied varying amounts of units and material to the PK-FU. In Furnifold’s case, it has commissioned the 1st Peacekeeping Regiment into service to the PK-FU. In addition, Furnifold will supply several naval vessels, artillery, and aircraft on an ad-hoc basis. According to figures on their website, Furnifold has paid a total of 9.3 million SHD to this organization.

The PK-FU has been deployed to the country of Latianburg, to provide stabilization for the people of the war-torn region. The mission, called PKFUOL, has supplied a total of 19,050 forces, and many vehicles and ships. The mission has centered around providing humanitarian aid to the people of Osnek and to help develop both economically and socially the devastated region, all while preventing Al-Jaheed from exerting influence again.

Reaction at home has been mixed. According to a recent poll by the New Furnifoldian Times, 61 percent of people disagree with spending resources on the PK-FU, but 70 percent of people believe that Furnifold needs to commit to pursuing peace as a foreign policy objective. Most people agreed that an international organization such as this needs to be monitored for potential abuses though. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

The Royal Navy of Furnifold, focusing on ramping up naval production, has built six frigates in Ato. Parts were assembled in Kwoleck and then transported to the port city. It will be another month before these frigates will be able to ship out, according to official estimates. The ships have not been named yet, but they are known as Moudge-class frigates, which are on the lighter end of the frigate spectrum. The Royal Navy has been silent on the intended location of these frigates, but according to past archives the most likely recipient of at least four of these ships is the nation of Chianski. Chianski is currently under blockade by the nation of Adumara and the nation of Free Syllvin, so it is unlikely they will be receiving their order while the blockade lasts.

According to the budget estimates put forth by the Magistrate’s office, each frigate costs around 222 million SHD to build, and features a complement of 140 sailors, anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, naval guns, torpedoes, and a helicopter landing pad. [/spoiler]

[spoiler] - by Adam Bly

Officials in the government have confirmed that Furnifold has bought an 800 km sq plot of land on the continent of Actuaria. The area, called Gronmund Port, is a native Staynish area that will be used as a trade depot stop for Furnifold ships making it to Aurora. Previously ships would need to make it to the nation of Tivot to drop off their wares. It will also be used to store some naval vessels of Furnifold in due time. Gronmund Port will be an autonomous region of Furnifold, only subject to Furnifold import and export fees. The land was purchased for 425 million SHD, and will factor heavily into Furnifold’s development as a green-water navy and international trading powerhouse. [/spoiler]

[spoiler] - by Uche Markopolos

After one month of trading at the Kuthernburg Trade Center, the Global Furnifold Commodities Market (GCFM) has largely stabilized and a sample size can be ascertained.

Here are the current prices of goods:

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.54 per bushel (up 14 percent)
Okra- 16.50 per bushel (down 20 percent)
Rice- 11.92 per bushel (down 1 percent)
Soy- 3.54 per bushel (up 22 percent)
Sugar Cane- 6.62 per bushel (up 2 percent)

Index total: 39.12 (down 8 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.80 per pound (down 6 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 8.89 per carton (up 11 percent)
Meat: 13.00 per pound (up 19 percent)
Milk: 47.35 per hundredweight (up 20 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 15.86 per hundredweight (down 14 percent)
Wheat: 5.15 per bushel (down 13 percent)

Every good with the exceptions of corn and okra have increased since the IPO. In indexed goods, the largest increase came from soy, with a more than 200 percent increase in a month of selling. In the non-indexed goods, the largest increases were from endemic fruits and meat, posting a 450 percent and 700 percent increase, respectively. With the recent discovery of cassiterite in the Branwell Plains and the 385 million SHD selling of the land to Adumara, the trading price of cassiterite has been added to the GCFM. Currently it is at 20,000 SHD per ton. [/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

May 9, 2017

Special WATCHDOG Issue

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly
Special Issue of the Watchdog, edited by David Rezendes

In a world lacking of humanitarian law, a handful of nations have taken up the burden of risking their own forces for innocents, in order to protect the human rights of people in all nations. The handful of nations form the PeaceKeeping Forces of Urth (PK-FU), a group they hope will empower the downtrodden and caution those who would abuse the unarmed. Just which are these nations, and what is it they are seeking to advance by being part of the PK-FU? That is what this article is concerned with. For it is more than just a simple matter of protection; their other motives may be self-serving.

The PK-FU has been in the works as an organization for more than a year, but really took more of a central role in politics after the explosion in Osnek, Latianburg. The nation of Furnifold tasked several vessels to deliver humanitarian aid to the nation, but lacked many of the transit vessels and supplies that other nations possessed. This is where the PK-FU stepped up. Early on, the nations of Kuthernburg, Latianburg, Furnifold, and Xargrug increased their involvement in the organization, committing money, material, and troops to the peacekeepers. Their first test, distributing aid to Latianburg, the nation that asked for their committal of peacekeepers for aid distribution and to assist the rebuilding efforts. This came after the terrorist group Al-Jaheed claimed influence in the region of Litop, and currently still have a sizable presence in the region. Currently the PK-FU and their mission in Latianburg, called PKFUOL, has committed 17,700 troops and a number of military vehicles. Their job: protecting civilians, administering aid to the survivors of the Osnek explosion, supporting the implementation of cessation of hostilities agreement, and assisting with the social and economic rehabilitation of the region.

Questions remain about how important their involvement is in the nation. Latianburg, and by extension its protector Kuthernburg, is not a poor nation. It would have the military resources to handle the relative weakness of the terrorist forces. Humanitarian aid to citizens is one thing, and that is an area no one will deny the PK-FU is well suited to assist with, but humanitarian aid comes with medical supplies and comfort, not battle tanks, attack helicopters, and aircraft carriers. According to sources within the PK-FU, the organization has also looked at procuring aircraft which are largely used for offensive actions, such as close air support, attack helicopters, fighter jets, and even UAVs. These are indicative of missions that involve special operations and targeted strikes, which would seem at odds with the founding beliefs. When pressed for comment, organization representatives stated that the fighter aircraft, which are equipped with missiles and other guns, are used for electronic warfare, to jam signals. Furthermore, these aircraft would not be used for offensive actions, as the organization is emphasizing to each of its member states that they are to only retaliate if attacked first. However, each unit has their own rule of engagement, casting doubt upon this mandate by the organization and its ability to handle its own forces, especially with so many active and reserves.

It is not only in the aspect of peacekeeping that the PK-FU seem to be unable to handle. Currently journalists have not been allowed access into Latianburg, so as to have correspondence on the ground, besides what comes out of the military releases and whatever sources in the country can get off the mainland. To their credit, the PK-FU are looking into this, and will be pressing the Latianburg government for journalists to be allowed entry into the state. But since the PK-FU involvement, there have been sources in the Litop region claiming that forces have set up brothels in many of the towns, apparently as a way to incentivize economic development. While not illegal, there is the obvious question: are the women and men in the brothels doing so out of their own volition, or are they being coerced, forcefully or through other means? We do not know, because journalists are not able to enter into the country, and the PK-FU member states have denied any of these from taking place. Also noticeable is the country of Furnifold, which pays the least amount of any member state but composes about 12 percent of the force number, has recalled all but one thousand of its troops from the country. When asked, representatives of Furnifold stated that it was time for mandatory military drills and inspections, and these forces would be needed back in their country. The remaining troops in Latianburg represent those continuing with humanitarian aid assistance as well as economic development.

There is also the matter of national interest within the organization. Furnifold recalled its forces, but is also increasing its presence in the organization in terms of monetary donation and aircraft sales. According to Furnifold Flight Works representatives, their Mirage F1-E has been procured for sale by the PK-FU, but was unable to give details about aircraft specifics or intentions. The representatives from the nations of Xagrurg and The Oan Isles stated that joining the PK-FU will advance their nation’s foreign policy objectives, foreign assets, and economic interests. The nations were quick to respond upon follow-up that countries not in conflict and turmoil are better served increase the market size of these nations. Currently we do not have information as to economic ties between these nations and the country of Latianburg and how it is being impacted by the conflict. Also of note, polls in the nations of Furnifold and the Oan Isles have found that the public, and even some members of the government, are against involvement of the PK-FU, finding it to be tantamount to an occupation by a cabal of countries. The public finds it important to assist humanitarian efforts, but are not positive how spending money on an organization as armed as the PK-FU will foster these efforts. No polls have been conducted in Latianburg, but that will be one of the first questions journalists will ask when they arrive in the country.

So, the PK-FU, what is it? On one hand, it is an organization achieving a noble effort of humanitarian aid and peacebuilding. On the other hand, it is plagued by lackadaisical rules and regulations, an obsession with offensive armament, and relative inexperience on the world stage. To some, the involvement in the nation of Latianburg might be one step forward in terms of humanitarian aid and reconstruction, but two steps back with an escalation of war materials and possible human rights abuses. The public is ultimately left with a final thought: what can we expect of organizations who seek to advance peace, when so many nations of the world may be antithetical to peace?[/spoiler]

[spoiler]

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.64 per bushel (up 18 percent)
Okra- 19.87 per bushel (up 20 percent)
Rice- 14.83 per bushel (up 24 percent)
Soy- 2.91 per bushel (down 18 percent)
Sugar Cane- 6.73 per bushel (up 2 percent)

Index total: 44.97 (up 15 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.60 per pound (down 25 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 9.99 per carton (up 12 percent)
Meat: 12.47 per pound (down 4 percent)
Milk: 57.43 per hundredweight (up 21 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 13.95 per hundredweight (down 12 percent)
Wheat: 4.10 per bushel (down 20 percent)

Analysis: A strong bounce-back from the market after a disappointing previous week. Especially important, sales of okra and rice have increased in price, while the other indexed goods stayed largely constant. Also noticeable, engaging in purchasing in Futures of milk will pay off, as investors have been rewarded with positive growth for almost a month. Hopefully this will increase demand for more selling of milk. [/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

May 15, 2017

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

Fiber Optic technicians laying down lines were attacked and robbed by members of the Furnifold Patriotic Front (FPF), according to eyewitness accounts and social media. The technicians were working on a project sponsored by the Furnifold government to increase Internet access for about 24 percent of the population, and was under contract by a state-run company of Chianski, as well as Oancom Ltd.

The technicians were attacked by people wielding clubs and large stones, and were forced to flee in their trucks. The FPF targeted Kfalme technicians employed by the country. Two sustained several fractures due to the attack. Upon returning with armed security, the technicians found their equipment destroyed. The Department of Justice and Courts has declared the attack a deliberate targeting by ethnicity. The FPF is a militant organization dedicated to removing Kfalme influence and discrimination from their region. Recently their organization has become more active, going after areas in the southwest that are evidently Furnifold government centers, or businesses that are internationally based.

The Times reached out to Oancom Ltd. and the nation of Chianski for statements. Oancom Ltd. stated that the company does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, and in addition to condemning the attack by the FPF, are looking for ways to engage with the communities to help alleviate tensions of their presence. The nation of Chianski did not respond for comment. According to government sources, the telecommunications contract is upwards of 300 million SHD and mainly benefits people living in the southwest. Barring setbacks, the laying down of wires is set to be completed in a couple of months.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.62 per bushel (down 3 percent)
Okra- 22.43 per bushel (up 13 percent)
Rice- 14.79 per bushel (down 1 percent)
Soy- 3.54 per bushel (up 22 percent)
Sugar Cane- 5.52 per bushel (down 18 percent)

Index total: 46.89 (up 5 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.57 per pound (down 4 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 9.96 per carton (down 1 percent)
Meat: 12.91 per pound (up 3 percent)
Milk: 62.21 per hundredweight (up 9 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 11.22 per hundredweight (down 20 percent)
Wheat: 3.55 per bushel (down 14 percent)

Analysis: The market continues its positive growth after falling last month, and currently it is the highest it has ever been. Up a great deal is okra, which has recovered since the beginning of the month. Soy also returned to its May 1st level, prompting confidence again in its sale. The big loser was sugar cane, which hit its lowest level since the IPO. Sugar cane has always been an unstable commodity in Furnifold, and this may prompt discussions in the Department of Finance and Economy to remove it from the index. The replacement would likely be milk, which has seen a meteoric rise since its IPO, rising 300 percent since late March. If sugar cane falters, investors may clamor the Department to replace the commodity with milk. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

After months of speculation, planners of the Furnifold Rally Raid (FuRalRa) have announced a starting date of June 19th. This comes after recent protest over the location of the race and its impact to both endemic species and residents. The organizers behind the FuRalRa spent several open-public sessions to solicit input from concerned individuals and groups. After these input sessions, the organizers, composed mainly of officials from Furnifold and Blueacia, modified the daily routes to better mitigate these concerns.

The race will be a week-long race, composed of five routes run over the week. Competitors will have to navigate rocky terrain, fesh-fesh, and sand dunes. The routes will for the most part begin and end in Kwoleck, though there are a couple of routes that will end and begin in Acoco. There will be classes for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), trucks, and motorcycles. Organizers are expecting at least 100 competitors, and are hopeful competitors of many nationalities will enter the rally.
[/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

May 22, 2017

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

One of the more unfortunate locations in Furnifold is in the city of Boonefield. Home to many slums, the city has been targeted by the Furnifold central government for several anti-poverty programs. One of these programs, meant to uplift the female entrepreneurs of Boonefield out of poverty, seems to be positively impacting both local officials and the women it serves.

Boonefield is the largest city in all of Furnifold, with a population of 1.5 million. According to government data, due to an influx of people moving from the southwest to find stable employment has caused the population of the area to grow exponentially in the last decade. At first, jobs were easy to come by, as the city has sizeable transit, industrial, and logistics industries However, the companies began shifting their work into temp work, and it became a free-for-all for the temp jobs as more and more people moved in. Due to lack of jobs, is now estimated that close to forty percent of the population lives in poverty.

Currently around fifteen percent of the population resides in the slums on the outskirts of the city. One of the slums is called Banokubana, where a local alderman has sponsored an anti-poverty measure dedicated to the women who reside in the slums. This measure, where the women of the slums pool together money they earned from work, and offer it in a collective in order to uplift other women in the slums, to provide for them entrepreneurial capital they otherwise would not have. According to the local alderman, this has led to several small businesses being erected in the past few months. Ishema, one of the leaders of the collective, had nothing but praise to say as she explained the process and the role of the alderman and other government officials had in securing her, and other women, future. “Now my daughter will be going to college, and not be dependent on any man,” she said, referring to her daughter, Kulana.

According to government statistics, this program has very little overhead, and therefore is providing effective results at very little cost to the taxpayer. Female empowerment can be an effective tool to tackle poverty in the city.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.65 per bushel (up 4 percent)
Okra- 22.99 per bushel (up 2 percent)
Rice- 17.49 per bushel (up 18 percent)
Soy- 4.34 per bushel (up 22 percent)
Sugar Cane- 4.40 per bushel (down 21 percent)

Index total: 49.86 (up 6 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.57 per pound (down 1 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 10.60 per carton (up 6 percent)
Meat: 11.29 per pound (down 13 percent)
Milk: 65.83 per hundredweight (up 6 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 13.70 per hundredweight (up 22 percent)
Wheat: 3.56 per bushel (up 1 percent)

Analysis: The market continues its positive growth, likely bolstered by a series of trade deals and the opening of Gronmund Port. Most noticeable are the prices of soy and rice, up big after the inner workings of the farm deal with the nation of Free Syllvin. Milk took another large increase, at the expense of meat, most likely due to speculation about the demand for both products after the dairy deal struck with the nation of Hvaland. Unfortunately, sugar cane continues its downward trajectory. It remains to be seen what the government will decide on how to handle this falling product.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

Gronmund Port, the 800-square kilometer plot of land on the continent of Acturia bought from the nation of Lokania, has been opened up for business. According to Jackson Woolf, Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, this land is to be marketed as a global transit hub, but most especially for easy storage and access to the continent of Aurora. Warehouses are being constructed, and space solicited, for companies and nations that wish to have a space to store their goods before moving them out to the continent. Currently, besides companies and government officials in Furnifold, the nation of Kuthernburg has rented a warehouse to store goods.
According to official estimates, the cost of Gronmund Port was 425 million SHD, only including the cost of the land. It remains to be seen whether this purchase will be a useful purchase for the country.[/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

May 29, 2017

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

Magistrate d’Arrigo and his administration have been awarded the Blue Heart of Kuthernburg, given by Queen Naomi. This award is given to people who have went above and beyond the normal bonds of friendship to the nation of Kuthernburg. Furnifold and The Oan Isles have received this award “for their outstanding achievements during the war in Litop and after involving the Peacekeeping efforts,” according to the presentation given by Queen Naomi.

Magistrate d’Arrigo gave a statement to the Queen, which was also distributed to the press. Magistrate d’Arrigo stated that, “our [Furnifold’s and Kuthernburg’s] nations have been friends for two hundred years, and it is clear that this bond will not be broken.” In addition, the Magistrate gave the Queen history books documenting the relationship between Kuthernburg and Furnifold, beginning with the Age of Sailing in the 1800s. The administration will be sending Jackson Woolf, Foreign Secretary of Furnifold, to Kuthernburg to discuss the ways the nations can further their relations. In addition, it was announced that a previously-used military base in Gronmund Port would be given to Kuthernburg for their military. Details of the deal have not been released yet.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

A simple rescue at sea almost turned into an international crisis this week, when the FMS Sandcrawler, a bulk carrier ship in the Auroran Continent, rescued a group of seventy people in distress out at sea. It turned out that these people were escaping the Dominion of Yor, the besieged island nation off the cost of Xagrurg, and were applying for asylum to the international community. The Xagrurg Coast Guard demanded the return of the refugees, to which, according to an exclusive interview with the Sandcrawler’s captain, was denied. The captain, who wished to remain anonymous, told reporters that he was told by one of the refugees that the Xagrurg government was deliberately targeting civilians, and could not return to the island due to fear of persecution.

The captain’s refusal prompted several Xagrurg naval vessels to move towards apprehending the Sandcrawler, to which an offer of safe entry from the nation of Kostoria-Obertonia, a warning from McLendal, and an offer of an escort from the nation of Kuthernburg was the response. The Xagrurg military backed down, and the Sandcrawler was allowed to dock in Nuremkastel, where the refugees were brought to customs and then the Foreign Ministry office to hear the asylum claim. The Sandcrawler journeyed onward to Tivot before returning to Gronmund Port, where the Times was able to obtain the interview.

According to press reporting, there appears to be a civil war in the country, which will likely create more of an IDP situation. It may be possible that the story of the Sandcrawler is not done yet.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.75 per bushel (up 16 percent)
Okra- 26.92 per bushel (up 17 percent)
Rice- 20.02 per bushel (up 14 percent)
Soy- 4.40 per bushel (up 2 percent)
Sugar Cane- 4.75 per bushel (up 8 percent)

Index total: 56.83 (up 14 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.54 per pound (down 6 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 11.54 per carton (up 9 percent)
Meat: 11.17 per pound (down 2 percent)
Milk: 54.06 per hundredweight (down 18 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 15.23 per hundredweight (up 11 percent)
Wheat: 2.73 per bushel (down 24 percent)

Analysis: A serious bump in the market, propelling it over 50 for the first time this past week. Every index good increased, especially the big three staple crops of corn, okra, and rice. Sugar cane also increased, giving investors confidence after its dismal previous week. Ironically enough, the week of new agricultural import deals with the nation of Muvaland created a real decrease in the price of milk. The deal was meant to ramp up the production of milk in Furnifold, though with the sharp decrease milk production may take a small hit. Finally, this week may mark the decline of wheat, as prices dipped to less than 3 SHD for the first time, almost matching its IPO original estimate.[/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

July 3, 2017

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

The Senate released their budget proposal for the next fiscal year and a half today, to great fanfare. Chancellor Faith Jagan and her committees have increased the budget proposal by about 400 million, to now retain a nearly 3.5 billion (SHD) budget. The biggest gain came from the Department of Defense, which comprises 16 percent of the new budget. Jagan’s office stated that this increase was due to the naval buildup in Furnifold over the past year. Also receiving an increase is the Department of Infrastructure, which comprises about 12 percent of the total amount. “With the generous aid and development packages given by several nations, including the Oan Isles and Kuthernburg, the Chancellor believes it is best to advance in several needed infrastructure projects,” a spokesperson for the Chancellor’s office said. The largest percentages of the budget were again the Department of Welfare and the Department of Health, at 20 percent and 24 percent respectively. Other notable budget items were the Department of Foreign Affairs, which received an increase to fund embassies around Urth, the Department of Natural Resources, given more funds to investigate and protect the environment, and the Department of Finance and Economy, to regulate and oversee the Global Furnifold Commodities Market. The only department that saw a decrease in their budget was the Department of Commerce, which the Chancellor’s office stated was because the Department of Finance and Economy is absorbing one of Commerce’s offices.

According to new hiring requirements in the budget, the size of government will be increasing, especially in the Department of Education, which expects to hire additional teachers and administrators. Furnifold’s government employees will see a pay raise of 6.5 percent, which will grant them additional income above the rate of inflation in Furnifold.

The government will be funded without any tax increases, due in part to a larger-than-expected surplus, and an increased tariff pool from other nations trading with Furnifold. The average tax rate will still stand at 17.91 percent. Furnifold’s tax base also increases slightly with the purchase of Gronmund Port. In addition, economists believe that the budget will produce a nearly 60 million SHD surplus, which the Chancellor’s Office states will be used to finance military and port construction on Gronmund Port.

Most interest groups in Furnifold applaud the budget as being conservatively sound, while also promoting positive impacts to Furnifold’s people. The Magistrate’s office released a statement, in which Magistrate d’Arrigo thanks the Senate for promoting several of his items, but wishes to work with the Chancellor to improve educational and health outcomes for Furnifoldians. Several socialism supporters did protest outside the Chancellor’s office upon the release of the budget, but they were quickly removed from the public space by McLendal Security.

The Senate will have one week to debate and offer amendments to the budget, but analysts expect there to be no substantial changes or amendments coming, and the budget is believed to be unanimously approved by the end of the week. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by David Rezendes

Boonefield, Furnifold’s largest city, has seen an unimaginable increase in population over the past ten years. Because of its location as a major transit node, the city functions as the clearinghouse for agricultural goods traveling from the north, and industrial goods from the east. People from all over Furnifold have come to this city as they look for new job opportunities. But, Boonefield does have a dark side, one that the Furnifold Patriotic Front (FPF) are taking advantage of in their drive to increase their standing and spark ethnic conflict.

The FPF
In 1996, the Furnifold Welfare Association (FWA) was formed in response to several central government measures that expired and were not renewed in the government. These measures discriminated against the Sahibu, who did not make as much money as the Kfalme and were more likely to be denied opportunities because they were not Kfalme. The group was small at first, but due to the fervent passion by the members, were able to recruit heavily in the southwest and by 1998 had several candidates run for election. Because they were a regional group, they were able to win and bring Faith Jagan into the Chancellor role. This placated the members at first, because they were able to get some anti-discrimination measures passed, but as time went on, the members of the FWA became more placated in their roles in government, and did not fight as hard for these measures. When Furnifold increased their agricultural production in the north, the money and investment went there, drastically impacting the communities in the southeast. Most other industries increased, and the communities descended into poverty. Many Sahibu moved to Boonefield, but could not find permanent jobs or housing. Slums abounded in the south, where an estimated one million people reside. The FWA lost influence and disbanded in the late 2000s. Dissatisfied former members of the group formed the Furnifold Patriotic Front (FPF), a more violent group desiring to remove Kfalme influence and discrimination from their region. Clustered in the southwest of Furnifold, their message was facilitated by the clustering of the Sahibu in the slums of Boonefield. With a message to return to the south, hundreds of men left the slums (in some cases, their families too). The southern part of Furnifold is not very developed, forming rural communities with few road networks, and fewer methods to provide protection.

What they want
The FPF became more radicalized in 2013, after the election of the Senate. Sahibu Senators represented a very low proportion of total Senators, and the FPF believed this to be because of discrimination and bias by the media, as well as the Department of Justice and Courts for stalling or banning candidates from running because of financial disclosure or other issues. The area in the southwest had a noticeable uptick in crime, especially Sahibu on Kfalme crime. The FPF also issued several pamphlets around the region, advertising their cause, which helped galvanize some of the disaffected Sahibu youth. In addition to attacking individuals, the FPF also went after businesses and government centers in the region, especially businesses that had international or Kfalme dealings. Just this week several government offices were vandalized by what is believed to be the FPF. McLendal is attempting to collaborate with this area, but every attempt to do so has been sabotaged by the FPF. Magistrate Jacopo d’Arrigo, a native Sahibu, will be embarking on a listening tour this month, which he hopes will increase the access the people of Furnifold have with their government. He wishes to listen to the concerns of the Sahibu in the southwest, and desires that the FPF turn away from violence and intimidation to help him with the endeavor. Whether the FPF will do so is not known, as their demeanor in the past suggest that they do not want to work with this government, but want to strike out against it.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.63 per bushel (up 22 percent)
Okra- 15.87 per bushel (down 17 percent)
Rice- 25.74 per bushel (down 17 percent)
Soy- 4.16 per bushel (up 1 percent)
Sugar Cane- 6.83 per bushel (up 12 percent)

Index total: 53.23 (down 13 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.67 per pound (down 8 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 10.17 per carton (down 19 percent)
Meat: 13.89 per pound (down 24 percent)
Milk: 36.62 per hundredweight (up 15 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 9.08 per hundredweight (down 14 percent)
Wheat: 1.64 per bushel (down 16 percent)

Analysis: The market saw a sizeable drop over the past week, but stayed consistent with end of the month projections in May. The big winner was corn, but it has largely remained stable since the IPO, with a slight increase from .60 SHD to .63 SHD. The big losers were okra, which has dipped to below IPO levels for the first time since May 1st, and rice, though in the grand scheme of things it has seen a meteoric rise since its IPO. Sugar cane has successfully rebounded after dreadful price drops until June. It is clear that this item will remain indexed for the foreseeable future. The index plunged slightly, but is still above 50, prompting continued investment.

In non-indexed goods, no item was a big winner. The important stories though are the rise of the price of milk, after seeing steady declines since the middle of May has turned the table, or at least stabilized. The other important story is the fall of the price of wheat, which looks like it will be priced much lower than its IPO, and still continues to fall. This has prompted divestment from wheat sources, impacting companies and farms who produce solely wheat.[/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

July 10, 2017

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

In Novonaya , Kelssek, and Novonaya, Vekaiyu, Furnifold’s top athletes are competiting against many other nations in the 12th Summer Olympiad. This is the first for Furnifold. There are eighteen athletes from Furnifold competing, spread across ten events. There are a few noteworthy Furnifoldians competing, specifically table tennis ranked member Artemis Gay, and Furnifold triathlon record holder Raina Al-Hassani. However, most of the other athletes are young and unproven, only known regionally or not at all, and this is their first time on the world stage. The notable days for Furnifold are the 16th, when BeeDee Loretta races her preliminaries for the women’s 10000 meter run, the 25th, when Artemis Gay begins his run in the men’s table tennis singles, and on the 26th, when Raina Al-Hassani attempts to beat Furnifold’s women’s triathlon record.

The uniforms have also been released, kept under wraps by the Furnifold Sporting Commission until after the opening ceremonies

Furnifold Uniform
[spoiler]http://i.imgur.com/oRfSc2X.jpg
[/spoiler]

[spoiler] No athlete from Furnifold was able to medal. In the cycling men’s road race, Adrian Yargembe finished tied for 87th with a final time of 6:40:18. In women’s 100 meter Butterfly, Johanni Rininaa and Felicity Mara finished tied for 35th and 45th respectively, with times of 59:13 and 59:60. When asked about the results afterward, Mara responded by stating that this was both of their first times competing with other amazing individuals all over the world, and it was an incredible learning experience. Both expect to be back in the next Olympiad.[/spoiler][/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.65 per bushel (up 3 percent)
Okra- 18.61 per bushel (up 17 percent)
Rice- 21.66 per bushel (down 16 percent)
Soy- 4.50 per bushel (up 8 percent)
Sugar Cane- 8.00 per bushel (up 17 percent)

Index total: 53.43 (up 1 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.50 per pound (down 25 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 10.57 per carton (up 3 percent)
Meat: 17.21 per pound (up 23 percent)
Milk: 27.89 per hundredweight (down 24 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 10.64 per hundredweight (up 17 percent)
Wheat: 1.26 per bushel (down 24 percent)

Analysis: The market stayed constant, for the most part. The big story comes from the precipitous fall of milk and meat, and the rise of vegetables and soy. Furnifold farmers may have invested too much into livestock, and the influx of the products has overshot the trading demand for them, whereas soy seems to be getting a little resurgence after a stagnant period. In other news, wheat prices has hit an all time low, with little to no demand for the product, only a select few farmers in the south of Furnifold are still producing the grain. [/spoiler]

[size=100]The New Furnifoldian Times[/size]
-Since 1813-

July 31, 2017

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

In an announcement to press today, the d’Arrigo administration will be sending the 1st Peacekeeping Brigade to the nation of Xagrurg. The Brigade, under the authority of the PeaceKeeping Forces of Urth (PKFU), will be stationed to secure the demilitarized zone along the border of Xagrurg and the Staynish Cathalrus Empire. This border, a 1200 mile-long stretch of land, is to be secured by the PKFU as part of ceasefire agreements to the nation. In addition, the PKFU has been tasked with assisting the economic rehabilitation of the islands of Yor, though Furnifold is not included in this tasking.

The d’Arrigo administration released a statement today, thanking the PKFU for successfully negotiating a truce between the nations, and pledging to do their part in securing peace. Additionally, the administration also announced the loss of several Furnifold RDF soldiers, part of the Counter-Insurgency Force (CIF). Led by Captain Jouett, this company saw action in the counter-insurgency campaign in Latianburg. A total of thirteen men and women have been killed, and close to thirty have been wounded. The administration will be holding a medal ceremony and funeral later this week. When asked for details, the spokesperson declined further comment, only stating that the troops were assisting with the Gronmund Task Group, currently stationed in Gronmund Port. Most experts believe that Furnifold played a role in the campaign by several nations on the islands of Yor.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

More results from the 12th Olympiad have come in.

Spoiler Alert: The results of events are in.
[spoiler]
No athlete has medaled for Furnifold. In swimming, men’s 50m Freestyle, Addison Niyonshuti finished in 47th place, and Eli Jabrohemogabe finished in 56th place. In the women’s 10000m, BeeDee Loretta finished in 11th place, while Kiga Samulsen finished in 13th place. In men’s Table Tennis, Artemis Gay advanced to the round of 16, where he was unfortunately defeated in six sets. When asked to do an interview, he refused to take questions, and has not been seen in public since. According to his coach, Gay is taking the time to collect himself after this tough loss.

In men’s Triathlon, Gatanzi Chikem finished in 55th place. In women’s Triathlon, Raina Al-Hassani finished in 18th place, while her cousin Um Toni did not finish the race. Both stated after the race that they are glad to have competed in the Olympiad, were proud to represent Furnifold, and look forward to returning to the national and world stage. In men’s Mountain Bike, Nathan Burbidge and Omar Muharjaman were both lapped, and did not place. There remains several more competitors from Furnifold who have yet to compete, so look to our news for more information.[/spoiler]
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.74 per bushel (up 17 percent)
Okra- 17.35 per bushel (up 8 percent)
Rice- 26.75 per bushel (down 11 percent)
Soy- 5.02 per bushel (up 17 percent)
Sugar Cane- 8.99 per bushel (down 2 percent)

Index total: 58.85 (down 2 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.52 per pound (down 9 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 9.68 per carton (down 14 percent)
Meat: 16.02 per pound (down 10 percent)
Milk: 28.28 per hundredweight (up 8 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 8.85 per hundredweight (up 4 percent)
Wheat: 1.23 per bushel (down 16 percent)

Analysis: After a steep climb, the market has mellowed out since last week The biggest winner this past week was corn, which rose to levels not seen since May 29th. Also a big winner was soy, which has seen its price crack the 5 SHD mark for the first time. Though okra increased in price, it is still the big loser of the week, as it has dropped in price since last month, fueling speculation that it may be moved to the non-indexed commodity section. For now, sugar cane retains its spot, bouncing back quite nicely from its fall in the past months.

In non-indexed goods, nothing did exceptionally well, decreasing any chance that one of these products will make the jump to indexed goods. Wheat continues its alarming downward trend, costing Furnifold farms income. [/spoiler]

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

August 14, 2017

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

In the Auroran War in Xagrurg, Furnifold supplied units to the Allies to assault Eidenburgh, but were met with fierce resistance and were forced to retreat from the port city. According to government and press sources, Furnifold recalled the nation’s supplied PKFU forces from the Peacekeeping Forces of Urth operation in Xagrurg and Yor (PKFUXY) to stage an invasion into the largest port city in the country, Eidenburg. This force also collaborated with the Gronmund Task Group, a joint Navy and RDF group tasked to project military presence near Gronmund Port. The force included several vehicles and anti-aircraft guns, including a new purchase of SU-20 Gargoyles from Serenitech, and in total almost eight thousand soldiers.

According to government reports, the force seized the port area of Eidenburgh, moved to the western and eastern portions of the city, and were repelled by GXE militias and troops, who also fired upon their own people. According to the report, under almost constant pressure by a relentless and callous force, the Furnifold force retreated from the city. Eidenburgh is largely destroyed now, according to previous reporting, due to the GXE tactic of indiscriminate air and artillery strikes.

In total, over the span of eight days Furnifold lost 173 soldiers, and 627 wounded and MIA. There were also multiple vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons that were lost in addition to soldiers. Magistrate d’Arrigo is in the process of sending condolences to the loved ones of those lost, visiting the wounded, and reassessing Furnifold’s defensive capabilities. The Gronmund Task Group appears to still be in the vicinity of Xagrurg, according to recent reporting, indicating it is possible Furnifold will again be involved with the war. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

Final results from the 12th Olympiad have come in.

Spoiler Alert: The results of final events are in.
[spoiler]
No athlete has medaled for Furnifold. In cycling, Men’s Mountain Bike, Nathan Burbidge and Omar Muharjaman were lapped and did not place. In Women’s Marathon, Claudia-Jean Mukakindi finished 8th and Kulanda Mamoba finished 74th. In Men’s Marathon, Ambrose Kugessim finished 32nd, while Leo Thomas and T’Abbas Tsolnshi did not finish. This concludes Furnifold’s run at the Olympiad.[/spoiler]

As a wrap-up of the 12th Olympiad, and Furnifold’s first, there were eighteen competitors representing Furnifold, but only one competitor had previous experience on the world stage. The highest place finish from any competitor was eighth place, continuing Furnifold’s strong showing in the Marathon. Further impressing the matter is that most of these competitors are very young, and will almost certainly be back for the next Olympiad. The Olympiad also marked a fall for Artemis Gay, who did not live up to expectations both he and the country had. It remains to be seen if he will continue competing, or will retire. We at the Times appreciate the contributions of Mr. Gay to Furnifold Table Tennis, and wish Mr. Gay the best.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

The Senate has begun to review the budget proposal put out by the Chancellor’s Office. Originally the Senate was slated to vote on the bill last month, but due to some filing discrepancies, it has returned to the Chancellor’s Office to be audited. According to sources with access to the budget, the discrepancies arose from issues with foreign aid to the country. The foreign aid and direct investment has offset the cost of some major infrastructure and education programs, but these programs are still underfunded in the national budget. “Once the audit is finished, the budget will be reworked, and we will put it out for voting by the Senate. The Magistrate will sign it, and we will continue pushing forth with the good work that needs to be done for the country,” a spokesperson for the Chancellor’s Office said. When asked to comment, a spokesperson for the d’Arrigo Administration declined, stating the administration did not want to comment on evolving financial and legal matters.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.50 per bushel (down 15 percent)
Okra- 25.21 per bushel (up 24 percent)
Rice- 31.31 per bushel (up 10 percent)
Soy- 7.02 per bushel (up 20 percent)
Sugar Cane- 6.14 per bushel (down 20 percent)

Index total: 70.19 (up 11 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.62 per pound (up 22 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 9.74 per carton (up 10 percent)
Meat: 10.11 per pound (down 21 percent)
Milk: 32.33 per hundredweight (up 23 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 7.22 per hundredweight (down 10 percent)
Wheat: 1.26 per bushel (up 11 percent)

Analysis: Big step up for the market, as the index passes 70 for the first time. The winners were okra and rice. Bolstered by the season and demand, these products saw a steady increase in prices. The loser is sugar cane, which, after weeks of growth, has volleyed down to June levels. On the non-indexed side, the big winner was cotton, finally returning to pre-July prices. Another small victory came from wheat, as it avoided pitfall to post good growth over the past week. The loser was meat, which has seen its price halved since mid-July. Also, surprisingly a loser, was milk, the reason being that meat and milk prices tend to go in tandem, and even with a strong margin over the past week, if meat prices continue to fall, its prices will too.


[/spoiler]

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

August 21, 2017

[spoiler]- by David Rezendes

After a war containing a coup d’etat, a fascist takeover and military junta, massive napalm strikes against small islands, an international refugee incident, and a nuclear power plant meltdown, one of the surprisingly chaotic elements of the War in Aurora concerns the military of Furnifold’s invasion into the major Xagrurg port city of Eidenburgh. The Royal Defense Force (RDF) of Furnifold, with no more than twenty-one thousand troops, launched an eight-day invasion into Xagrurg’s major port city, inhabited by twenty million people. During these eight days, all matter of retaliation came Furnifold’s way, from civilian militias to firebombing campaigns, to supposedly mechanized units. Using exclusive interviews from those on the ground, this investigate report will delve into these eight days, and consider why Furnifold launched such a daring invasion, and how it went wrong.

Day One- The PKFU and the Tip of the Spear

Furnifold Peacekeepers were stationed in the mainland of Xagrurg, in response to being called upon as part of a major ceasefire agreement between the Staynish-Cathalrus Empire (SCE) and the Greater Xagrurg Empire (GXE). There were nearly seven thousand soldiers stationed near the demilitarized zone, but upon a renewal of tensions, the RDF made the decision to recall the Furnifold PKFU soldiers. According to military reports, this recall was part of what it called "Operation LAKEHOUSE,"an attempt by Furnifold to push forward into the GXE and launch an Allied staging ground into Xagrurg. Furnifold partnered with the Allies, which comprised Kuthernburg and its commonwealth, Tretrid, The Oan Isles, and the SCE. The opposition was known as the Axis, which comprised the GXE, Ethalria, Kostromastin, and Bielarus.

In this operation, Furnifold PKFU forces were in Eidenburgh being evacuated, when they received orders to turn around and secure the port area for the Allies. Assisting them was the 1st Combined Arms Brigade, also known as “The Tip of the Spear” because the brigade is the first brigade to be called into conventional warfare. The brigade exited the evacuation vessels, which also included civilian cargo ships, drove back the GXE forces nearby, and secured the port area. In total, there were around 7,600 soldiers as part of this assault. Also included were almost two hundred vehicles, including anti-aircraft guns.

Soon after, the forces came under fire from the GXE navy, and quickly-mobilized civilian militias. According to sources in the RDF, the militas posed little to no trouble, but the GXE navy bombarded the port. The previously used civilian ships blocked the entrance to the port, and though destroyed, they served as a buffer from the GXE ships from entering the port area. This provided cover for the Furnifold forces as they pressed forth into the city. Until the air strikes began.

Day Two- The Push West and the Firebombing of Xagrurg

The GXE recognized the civilian militias were not strong enough to completely repel the Furnifold fighters. Their main force of twenty-thousand was mobilizing outside of Eidenburgh, and would enter the city soon. Furnifold pushed west, in an attempt to link up the waiting Kuthernburg forces who had entered the mainland. The GXE High Command decided to use their considerable air power to bomb their own port facility, stating that it was done in order to prevent more allied forces from landing into the port, and to prevent millions of people dying. In actuality what happened was a haphazard bombing campaign, including the use of incendiary bombs to obstruct the path of Furnifold. Because of the considerable number of anti-air Furnifold brought along, the air attacks were not as effective at first, and the GXE dealt more damage to the civilians and civilian militias scattered throughout the city. It was in part because of this air attack that Furnifold was able to link up their forces with the Kuthernburg force nearby.

Day Two was largely a success, due in part to the number of counter-air units and the misunderstanding by the GXE of the situation on the ground. Day Three was ripe with more resistance.

Day Three- The Pressure Lifted off the Port and the GXE Infrantry

With the port area and the western portion of the city under Furnifold and Kuthernburg control, the forces solidified their defenses in preparation for the massive invasion of GXE forces from outside of the city. By this time, the GXE forces had completely mobilized and entered the city, and, according the GXE High Command, an additional twenty thousand were on their way. The GXE outnumbered Furnifold and Kuthernburg at least three to one at this point. While the two Allied nations had the advantage of time, they set up artillery throughout the western city skyline, serving as an obstruction to potential enemy combatants. In the meantime, the GXE deployed submarines to the port, in an attempt to destroy the Furnifold ships still stationed there. Before the submarines could get to their target, they were waylaid by the arrival of the navy of The Oan Isles, which effectively pushed back the GXE cluster of ships and submarines near the port area. Now, until the remainder of the invasion, there would be no more assault from the sea. The Oan Isles also used their position to launch strikes into the GXE positions outside the city, assisting with hindering the GXE counter-assault.

But the GXE had entered the western portion of the city at this point, and soon firefights would begin in Eidenburgh.

Day Four- Airstrikes, Infrantry, and the Opening of the new Front

The twenty-thousand GXE soldiers stopped the push by the Furnifold and Kuthernburg forces in the west. As fighting bogged down in this location, the looming threat of an additional twenty-thousand reinforcements loomed near. The port, meanwhile, was continuing to see airstrikes, this time a more precise renewed effort to target the anti-aircraft weapons employed by Furnifold. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles was a new twist by the GXE against Furnifold, and the GXE used the UAVs to their advantage. The number of anti-air guns taken out by the airstrikes rose to the highest they had been at that point in the invasion. Several Furnifold recovery vehicles were being tasked around-the-clock to get as much of the anti-air material to more secure locations.

Furnifold recognized it needed to take the pressure off the port, and could not rely on the west to do so. The port forces split up, about two thousand of them pushed east, to extend the range the Furnifold Navy could extend to. The infantry of Furnifold were able to extend their east reach out to several beltway nodes in Eidenburgh, without much opposition by the GXE. It appeared opening the new front had been successful, and the opportunity to strike the GXE could be seized.

Day Five- GXE Counter-Attack and the Bombing of the Port of Eidenburgh

The remainder of the GXE reinforcements had effectively mobilized outside the city, and were ready to push into the west or the east. Furnifold forces in the east were not prepared to launch strikes against these reinforcements, as they effectively outnumbered Furnifold ten to one. The forces would need more support from other Allies, besides the Oan Isles and their occasional strikes against the GXE. The Oan Isles were currently occupied with an invasion into Nuremkastel, the annexed city in Kostonia-Obertonia under GXE control. No other Allied force came to aid Furnifold, and because of this, the front on the east could not press forward anymore. The GXE sent their forces to the west, whose Furnifold and Kuthern defense was beginning to fray. Also almost completely frayed was the port area, the first location Furnifold invaded from. Constant airstrikes by the GXE had crippled the anti-air defenses from Furnifold, as well as most of the buildings in the port. The commander of Furnifold determined that the port area would not hold much longer, and made plans to move the forces in the port east or west by the next day. The invasion by Furnifold was losing its potency under a relentless assault.

Day Six- The Fall of the Port and the Bolstering of the two Flanks

Eidenburgh port had fallen. The area was largely rubble, most of the infrastructure was destroyed. According to architectural and other reports, it will likely take until the end of the year before the GXE can rebuild the port enough to be at the level the country was exporting from the port before the invasion. Under assault from airstrikes and civilian militias, the Furnifold forces made their way to the east or west, to bolster the defenses in both. The Furnifold naval ships also split up, and were used as ships to care for the wounded, ready to evacuate if necessary.

The western flank was under constant assault by the invading GXE forces. Forty-thousand strong, the GXE forces outnumbered Furnifold and Kuthernburg nearly three-to-one, even with the recent influx of Furnifold forces. Artillery defenses in the buildings were struck by the GXE, and, instead of using aircraft, the GXE employed more mechanized units to take down the Allied defenses. The western front were being pushed back steadily, and it would likely not be able to survive unless more reinforcements were to arrive.

Over on the eastern flank, some of the GXE forces were beginning to mobilize, ready to begin an assault on the Furnifold forces camped out there. Furnifold commanders in the eastern front, knowing their situation was precarious, made plans to assault and hopefully take over the nearby GXE military base, a much more defensible position than maintaining control of the beltway on Eidenburgh.

Day Seven- The Western Flank Falls and the Furnifold Eastern Force Attacks

Under constant pressure from a massive GXE force, the western flank was pushed back to a point where it was no longer strategic to be defended. The Furnifold RDF made plans to evacuate their soldiers onto their waiting ship, and were assisted by Kuthernburg, who laid down mines to hinder the progress of the GXE and transported many Furnifold soldiers back to their ship. Since most of the vehicles and anti-air was destroyed by the GXE at this point, the evacuation would have been much more devastating had Kuthernburg not assisted. Even so, laying down landmines resulted in international condemnation on Kuthernburg, due to their potential to be more harmful to civilians than combatants. For its part, Kuthernburg stated that the nation would be willing to pay reparations to civilians impacted, and the soldiers who laid the mines were swiftly punished.

It was due to these efforts by Kuthernburg that Furnifold was able to escape with minimal casualties. From there, the commander decided not to send the force to the eastern flank, until it was determined that flank was sustainable. At this time, the eastern flank launched the assault on the GXE military base in the northeast.

Day Eight- Retreat

The assault on the military base failed. Not bolstered by any reinforcements, the Furnifold soldiers were repelled by the mobilized GXE units defending the base, plus were going to be overrun by the nearly forty-thousand GXE forces coming from the west. The commander on the eastern flank made the decision to evacuate, which Furnifold did as quickly as possible. The remaining ships met up with the Gronmund Task Group in Oan safe waters, and assessed the situation. According to military commanders, the invasion of Eidenburgh was only one part of Operation LAKEHOUSE, and the other component had yet to be implemented. The RDF would not get the chance to implement it though.

The End of the War

With the nuclear power plant meltdown in Nuremkastel, the Allies and Axis recognized the war in Xagrurg was finished. A treaty was signed, ensuring independence for the Islands of Yor and Kostonia-Obertonia, and ensuring sovereignty for the GXE. In total during this war, Furnifold lost nearly two hundred soldiers, and over seven hundred wounding or missing in action. Most of their vehicles had been destroyed, including, according to government sources, an experimental sound cannon used by counter-insurgent forces in Yor. Eidenburgh was crippled, thousands of civilians in the city died or were wounded, and will likely take years to recover.

Furnifold launched a massive invasion into a much stronger country, with the hope that more allies would come to the RDF aid. The support hardly materialized, and Furnifold was left to fend off against a massive force without assistance. The operation had been described as genius, even considering the potential fallout from using PKFU forces as a hostile military. The enactment of it was not as genius, however. Furnifold lost soldiers, and many will never be the same after all they saw. One Kuthernburg soldier stated that the assault was “hell worse then what my pops told me happen in the jungles of LatianBurg.” Magistrate d’Arrigo’s office has stated that the Magistrate is currently visiting Gronmund Port, where all those wounded are located, and will be making calls to the deceased’s families.

The most ambitious military campaign in recent Furnifold memory resulted in defeat. After eight days of complete chaos, the main advantage this left the Allies was that it took pressure off the invasion of Nuremkastel. Ultimately, the war concluded, a treaty was signed, and the world can see some modicum of peace, before another conflict occurs. It remains to be seen what Furnifold’s role in this future conflict could be.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- By Neve Amelia-Thomas and Adam Bly

After the news last week by the Chancellor’s office that Furnifold’s budget proposal was being reworked after being audited, Furnifold officials announced the sale of Gronmund Port in Actuaria. The sale, according to officials, represents “the new direction of Furnifold to using a more fluid shipping system, setting the nation up to increase shipping throughout all of Urth, not just Aurora.” According to details of the agreement, Furnifold has sold Gronmund Port, an 800 square kilometer location comprised of 23,000 people to the nation of Kaeliv for nearly 2 billion Kirib. In addition, Kaeliv is decreasing tariffs from traded goods, giving foreign aid over a twelve-year period, and allowing the use of a military base by the Furnifold navy.

According to sources close to the auditors of the Furnifold budget, there exists a nearly 2 billion dollar shortfall, prompting speculation that the sale of Gronmund Port had to do with maintaining a budget surplus. This comes in the wake of the auditors determining gross negligence in allocation of national funds. While Furnifold’s original proposed budget was 3.5 billion for the fiscal year-and-a-half, the auditors found that this represented an over 2 billion dollar difference between available national funds and what got allocated to the budget. There is no indication of where these additional funds are spent, but some speculate that the officials are using this to “grease the palms” of the power players in McLendal, in order to keep several projects and kickbacks flowing. If this is determined to be true, this would represent a serious scandal in the wake of the national audit, and would likely bring investigation into both the Chancellor’s office and the d’Arrigo Administration. Both have refused to comment, stating the ongoing audit and budget reworking as the reason.

Insiders believe the new budget is going to be upwards of 7 billion dollars, as several measures will be put in place to provide oversight for the various departments and cabinets in the McLendal government.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]-by F.T. Morison

The d’Arrigo Administration has agreed to assist the PeaceKeeping Forces of Urth (PKFU) in their recent mission, titled PKFU in Imperial Fandom (PKFUIF). Imperial Fandom, a nation in Aurora just concluding an eight-year civil war, is devastated economically. The PKFU were asked to go into the country and establish security and economic development in the hardest hit areas. The PKFU are doing so by creating safe zones, areas that are secure and allow for the people of Imperial Fandom to be employed and trained in essential services. The PKFU have contracted several hundred Furnifold doctors, nurses, journalists, teachers, and agricultural specialists to staff the safe zones and train the inhabitants. The New Furnifoldoian Times has allowed a couple of its journalists to be embedded in the country, and will report on the progress made in these safe zones.

Also part of PKFUIF is to resettle the nearly eight hundred thousand refugees that have fled the country into neighbors Tuvaltastan and Dragonia. The PKFU has worked with national governments on Urth to accept and resettle these refugees. Currently, it is believed that all of the refugees will be resettled, and sources say that Furnifold has agreed to accept up to four hundred thousand of these refugees. The d’Arrigo Administration has not announced the details of the refugee resettlement package, so this was not confirmed by McLendal. If so, this would strain Furnifold resources, especially at a time when people of Furnifold are lacking basic necessities, especially in large cities like Boonefield and Chonvor City. Sources also state that other governments have agreed in theory to provide Furnifold with some resettlement funds, but this has also not been confirmed. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.57 per bushel (up 13 percent)
Okra- 31.33 per bushel (up 24 percent)
Rice- 35.21 per bushel (up 12 percent)
Soy- 8.76 per bushel (up 25 percent)
Sugar Cane- 5.87 per bushel (down 5 percent)

Index total: 81.74 (up 16 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.65 per pound (up 4 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 10.10 per carton (up 3 percent)
Meat: 12.59 per pound (up 24 percent)
Milk: 26.77 per hundredweight (down 17 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 5.68 per hundredweight (down 22 percent)
Wheat: 1.19 per bushel (down 6 percent)

Analysis: Fantastic week for the indexed goods, not so great a week for the non-indexed goods. Due to the recent PKFU mission in Imperial Fandom, the organization has bought massive amounts of most of the indexed goods, prompting confidence in the products and a continuation of the rise of staple foods. Okra, rice, and soy have hit all-time highs, and so has the total indexed goods. The big loser in the index was sugar cane, a surprisingly swift fall these past three weeks. While still higher than two months ago, it will likely continue to fall unless more demand is met.

On the non-indexed side, the only winner was meat, which saw its price rise after a couple of weeks of major stumbles. All the other commodities either stayed largely stable, or fell precipitously. Demand for milk has cooled in the aftermath of the national deal with the country of Mvulaland, and due to the mission in Imperial Fandom, the desire for Furnifold’s endemic fruits and vegetables has fallen, lowering prices and output back in Furnifold.


[/spoiler]

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

November 5, 2017

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

The first of the ten billion-a-year foreign aid package has arrived in Furnifold, to much fanfare from the d’Arrigo Administration. In an address to the nation, Magristrate Jacopo d’Arrigo credited the deep relationship between Furnifold and Kuthernburg, in addition to Queen Naomi’s, leader of Kuthernburg, accommodations to Furnifold’s requests for the allocation of the aid. “This represents months of talks between our two nations, and one that will add immediate impact to the people in underserved areas of Furnifold,” d’Arrigo stated.

Two billion SHD will be for public transit infrastructure development. One and a half billion of this money will be used to develop light rail transit systems in the cities of Woolf and McLendal. This will increase accessibility to the central business district of each city, decrease road traffic, and serve low-income parts of the city. The remaining five hundred million will be spent on commuter bus systems between Mana, Ato, and Hafre; and Woolf, Chonvor City, and McLendal. This will encourage commuter traffic alternatives, and connect the cities together for ease of travel for both business and recreation. The public transit will incur a cost to riders, but with the aid package in place, costs will be heavily subsidized.

Five billion of this aid will be spent on developing land and multi-level public housing in Boonefield, to take care of the influx of people from southwest Furnifold and from Imperial Fandom. Most of this is going to go to developers, and subsidies for investors in order to put money into the housing projects. The administration’s goal with this allocation is to get a good portion of the people who live in slums into these mixed income housing. To encourage movement into these houses from all income groups, the some of this money will be allocated to buy up unused land near central nodes for industry, and developing mixed-income houses near the central business district and downtown. The cost of mixed-housing will be around 30 percent of wages for the month. In addition, there will be several entrepreneurship initiatives for people with low incomes or in low income areas, to encourage motivation and give skills and jobs for these people.

The remaining three billion will be dedicated to power line construction in southwest Furnifold. Lacking a major city, this area is very underdeveloped, with many peple unemployed and without power. Leveraging power construction in this area will encourage more development and investment, hopefully attracting businesses and more people, to lessen the strain of people moving to Boonefield.

Analysts cite this vision by Magistrate d’Arrigo as a clear indication he is attempting to fulfill his campaign promises. He has embarked on listening tours in the past, and his upcoming one is scheduled to take him through where the power lines are being constructed, in southwest Furnifold. It also signifies an early campaign season push by the Magistrate, as he puts himself out to boost favorability for the Senate candidates of his party. Critics believe that the money going to public housing will be wasted, as there currently are not enough jobs in Boonefield to match what people need, not to mention that this development will likely coincide with the destruction of the slums surrounding Boonefield. There has been no word from Boonefield officials or the d’Arrigo Aministration regarding the status of the slums.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by David Rezendes

The Peacekeeping Forces of Urth (PKFU), fresh off the conclusion of the missions in LatianBurg and the Yor Isles, had agreed to take on a new task, this time in the nation of Imperial Fandom. Facing a ten year civil war, the opposing sides had agreed on a ceasefire and cessetion of hostilities. The leader of Imperial Fandom asked the PKFU to send aid and provide for the internally displaced civilians, to which the PKFU accepted and have been creating safe-zones throughout the nation, assisting with police and essential services, and providing medical and food aid. The PKFU had also negotiated with the member states to take in some refugees from Imperial Fandom, those that have left the country and currently reside in nearby nations. Furnifold and the PKFU agreed on a deal to provide support for up to five hundred thousand refugees within the next year. Since this deal, refugees have arrived, and so have acts of violence, increases in crime, and flare up of tensions in major cities across Furnifold.

Boonefield.

Boonefield has been growing exponentially in the past ten years. People in southwest Furnifold, dissatisfied with underdeveloped infrastructure and a lack of jobs, have traveled north to Boonefield in search of opportunity. Most have not found it, and reside in small houses or shacks on the outskirts of the city. These slums have only gotten larger, and more people have moved in with very little increase in jobs for them. Small industry is a staple in this location, but the industry has not grown greatly, as the Furnifold government and business attempts to pursue deals in complex machinery, which usually require a degree from its employees, instead. There is little to no agriculture in the area, so these new people rely on jobs in railway transportation, retail and other services, or the informal economy to make ends meet. The refugees from Imperial Fandom are mainly being settled in Boonefield, causing tension between the people that are currently there and the newcomers.

The Imperial Fandom refugees, who look different and speak a different language than the predominantly Sahibu people of Boonefield, do not have the concept of money that has evolved in Boonefield. They regularily underprice their services, and companies have hired them for much cheaper than the Sahibu people. Largely envy-driven, the Sahibu in slums have taken to stealing earnings, strong-arming or beating the refugee males, and hiring the refugee females and children to do degrading tasks. the police, overwhelmed with enough issues with the slums already, largely let these infractions go unnoticed. There have been rumors of Sahibu and Imperial Fandom gangs being created to deal with this problem, sparking what soon may become slum wars.

These developments will impact Boonefield’s ability to create and maintain jobs, exacerbating the problem. City officials have not sponsored programs to assist the people in the slums, and instead only lent support when people in the slums petition for a public good, like a water pipe, or garbage disposal. Corruption, already rampant, has only increased with these Imperial Fandom refugees. Rumors abound from both the slums and from the officials in Boonefield that soon all the slums will be demolished, displacing tens of thousands of people. All taken together, Boonefield needs serious support from outside sources or the d’Arrigo Administration to resolve this problem.

A response?

There are some things the administration has been doing. While around one hundred and fifty thousand of the Imperial Fandom refugees have arrived to Boonefield, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has begun to resettle the new refugees in other cities across Furnifold, namely, Carson and Hafre. These cities are not filled to capacity, and provide jobs for the refugees in retail and services, logistics and transportation, and agriculture. But to handle the refugees in Boonefield, the d’Arrigo Administration has attempted to secure business development deals in simple industries. Duelland has been a good business partner, as at least two companies have expanded operations in textiles to Furnifold. This will likley increase the number of jobs in Boonefield, once the plants are either renovated or opened. In the meantime, Furnifold is relying on construction of public housing to separate the Sahibu and Imperial Fandom people living in slums from each other. Even this will take a while, and there seems to be no other plans from the government in the short term, promtping concerns that city officials in Boonefield will destroy the slums in a simple attempt to solve the problem. This will likely not solve it, as it will instead leave people homeless and frustrated at the government. With the Furnifold Patriotic Front, a Sahibu-based radical violent organization, gaining followers and conducting more offenses, this is not a good time to enrage the people. It may cause widespread panic.

Furnifold did the right thing by accepting these refugees, but a failure to provide for them has increased the turmoil and chaos in Boonefield. The next right thing would be for Furnifold to help provide for these refugees, who have fled a country because their lives were in danger, only to be put back into danger in Boonefield. The short-term solution is not a solution, and more needs to be done to alleviate the suffering in Boonefield, both for the Sahibu there and for the refugees.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]-by F.T. Morison

As Kuthernburg modernizes its military and phases out old weapons and vehicles, it has turned to the Furnifold military to accept these machines, which in turn has prompted a renewal of budgetary talks within the Senate. Over the remainder of the year, Kuthernburg will donate 393 vehicles, five ships with one more on the way, and 96 aircraft to Furnifold, which will represent a 214 percent, 16 percent, and 224 percent increase in Furnifold’s current armament, respectively. These vehicles include a missile defense system known as KHADD, armored personnel carriers, main battle tanks, submarines, destroyers, and fighter jets. Kuthernburg’s donation of equipment was for reparations for loss of equipment during the [Auroro-Pacific] war, and also due to the fact that during recent joint training, officials from Kuthernburg were aware of the outdated equipment of Furnifold. We decided to donate to improve military standards for their armed forces, President Patrica Gonzoela of the community of Spandard wrote in a statement to the Times.

Indeed, the President was correct. Furnifold still uses many old vehicles produced in Stratarin in the middle of last century, plus some equipment produced by Kuthernburg around the same time. Besides a recent purchase from Serenitech, Furnifold has not acquired vehicles since 2001. The Royal Defense Force (RDF) is many members strong but lacks many updated vehicles, which may be partially to blame why the invasion of Eidenburgh, Xagrurg, resulted in defeat. This will likely result in the phasing out of vehicles the RDF currently uses, including the BTR-60 and both its current main battle tanks.

The state of the Royal Navy is much better than the RDF, with several vessels being produced in the last ten years, and several more to be produced in the next five. According to several military analysts, the Royal Navy is proceeding to phase out and repurpose the 1970s era Balikpapan-class vessels, and transition to frigates and destroyers, citing the evolving state of aquatic warfare. The incorporation of the Alutian-class submarine, based on the Collins-class submarine, into regular use will likely not occur for a few years, as the Royal Navy will have to conduct a training and procurement program to get the ships and their crews ready.

The Royal Air Force will increase its fighter jet arsenal exponentially, jumping from 11 to 83. The new aircraft will complement the current Mirage F-1E arsenal, adding 12 GR-26 Lighting, based on the Tornado ADV. In addition, newly upgraded Kirage 8, based on the Mirage 2000, will be coming into the country. The F-1E functions as a fighter-to-fighter aircraft, while the GR-26 functions as a interceptor, and the Mirage 2000 is a multi-role aircraft, necessitating the need to retain all inventories of fighters. The Royal Air Force also received several KUH-63 utility helicopters, which will greatly assist in complex situations. Previously Furnifold only retained four utility helicopters. This will likely not result in the phasing out of and aircraft, as the Royal Air Force relies on helicopters more than any other aircraft type.

The vehicle donation was quickly praised by the armed services and the d’Arrigo Administration. While the Chancellor’s office has also praised the donation, there are several members in the Chancellor’s cabinet that are conducting audits on how this will impact the budget the Senate had recently agreed on. Ranking members of both parties in the Senate have been meeting with the Chancellor and her Cabinet in the past few days, likely regarding this. Officials with knowledge of the matter have stated that estimates of the increase in cost will be close to a billion SHD to fund maitenence, training, storage, fuel costs, and procurement for these new vehicles. The Chancellor’s office and the Magristrate’s office did not comment when asked about the likely budget increase and possible deficit. Details about future budget proposals are in the air, at this point.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Neive Amelia-Thomas

A recent discovery in the Kjerne Islands of Kohlandia has resulted in archeologists from The Gwexhai University in Auburn to ask the government of Kohlandia to investigate the claim and set up a dig site, according to representatives from The Gwexhai University. Lancelot Roundtable, Chair of The Gwexhai University Department of Archeology and Anthropology, stated that locals on the northernmost island found several artifacts that have been culturally attributed to the Sahibu people of Furnifold. When word of the discovery made its way back to Auburn, Dr. Roundtable quickly sent a petition to the government of Kohlandia to allow them to investigate this claim. "The Gwexhai University is Furnifold’s major repository for cultural artifacts and history related to the country. Hearing that there are artifacts from the people that were here before Furnifold was even founded represents an opprotunity we need to investigate. This is why I asked Kohlandian officials to allow us entry to the island, to determine what is currently up there.

The Sahibu Cultural Society, an organization dedicated to preserving ethnic Sahibu culture, released a response, stating that they fully support Dr. Roundtable and his team as they quest for the ancient artifacts, and are willing to support the archeologists in any way. The d’Arrigo Administration was asked about the development, but has yet to comment. Magistrate Jacopo d’Arrigo, who is Sahibu, had previously lent his support to preserving Sahibu cultures. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was asked about Kohlandia’s response, and a spokesperson stated that the Ministry was aware a petition had been sent out and that communication is being monitored.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.60 per bushel (up 20 percent)
Okra- 30.99 per bushel (down 18 percent)
Rice- 22.95 per bushel (down 13 percent)
Soy- 5.71 per bushel (down 15 percent)
Sugar Cane- 4.47 per bushel (down 10 percent)

Index total: 64.72 (down 15 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.59 per pound (up 3 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 5.20 per carton (down 13 percent)
Meat: 7.66 per pound (up 13 percent)
Milk: 8.00 per hundredweight (up 8 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 7.37 per hundredweight (down 22 percent)
Wheat: 1.05 per bushel (down 13 percent)

Analysis: We seem to have finally emerged out from the disasterous September-October Turmoil in the Market, where the price of almost every good dropped by a third in the two month span. It remains to be seen if prices will climb up after this. Analysis on the turmoil will be coming in a later edition of the Times, but for now, look to put investment into Corn and Okra, as they are the only Indexed goods that have weathered the past few months largely unscathed. Soy and Rice have largely balanced out, but Sugar Cane continues its decline. While on paper it looks like another crash, this is nowhere near as bad as what happened the past two months. Hopefully the prices will increase, but, given that it is turning to the off season in Furnifold, we will probably not see these prices rise until later on in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.

In non-indexed goods, Cotton and Wheat remain stable, though unprofitable, options for commodity investment. Meat and Milk has been on the decline for a while, and will likely not see a stable bump until some of the agricultural products start to decline. The real story ar Endemic Fruits and Vegetables, which have seen their prices fall a combined third since late August. If something is not done to alter the worldwide demand of these commodities, they may become a niche market and may be taken off the GFCM, according to several insiders in Manleh Cousins.

Also, though not monitored by the GFCM, the worldwide price for the mineral Cassiterite has fallen to 41 thousand a metric ton, down 57 percent since its peak price in late August. Furnifold, through business extraction deals, is currently exporting about 15,000 tons a month, which has decreased from its August amount of 18,000. Due to the drop in price, it is likely that the month of November will follow the same traajectory as the commodities market, unless the demand for Cassiterite increases.


[/spoiler]

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

November 19, 2017

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

Finished finalizing the over 1 billion SHD deal, KAE Systems plc, a Kuthernburg-based company, has bought out defense contractors Furnifold Flight Works (FFW), Major General Industries (MGI), and Unmasked Technologies (UTS). This deal, expected to pass all regulatory and legal hurdles, will result in the three companies being agglomerated into the regional kAE affiliate. The buyout brings the number of Furnifold-based defense contractors to two, Automation Inc. (AIC), and ZTG. “This is a game-changer for Furnifold’s defense industry,” analysts have suggested. According to a report by financial investment firm Manleh Cousins, the influx of capital from the kAE merger will likely increase the number of employees and projects each company can do. For now, each company has only been able to contract for one government package. “Having the support in place from a worldwide defense contractor is fantastic for the public image of Furnifold defense,” the report stated.

It is not all great news, however. Some analysts have suggested that these companies will be beholden to kAE for supplies, strategic direction, and subject to the worldwide market peaks and valleys. “If Furnifold has contracts, but the regional offices’ wells have run dry, this can have negative effects on the defense industry as a whole,” the Manleh Cousins report continued. There also is the risk that kAE will downsize or move these companies out of the country, or bring in skilled laborers from other branches. This could have a negative impact on employment in Furnifold, which faces a high unemployment rate, and in some areas, have the defense contractor office as the only basic industry.

The Magistrate’s Office defended this merger, stating that all companies would still be based in Furnifold as long as the government continues with the contracts. FFW currently is contracted by both the governments of Kuthernburg and Furnifold to produce V-22 Ospreys for their respective Air Force stockpiles. MGI, a shipbuilder, is currently producing the newest Canterbury-class and Moudge-class vessels, to which the Moudge-class vessels will be produced for the nation of Chianski. UTS currently does not have any public government contracts, but serves as consultants for the Royal Defense Force and its engineering projects. Also defending the merger is the Tivot-based The East Pacific Market Magazine, a weekly worldwide economic outlook source for investors. The Magazine cited future investment into kAE as strong and should be able to meet the expectations of positive growth upon expansion.

The Furnifold acquisitions represent the third acquisition by kAE as it seeks to diversify into other regions of Urth. Recently it bought Oan Shipyards and absorbed several of its contracts. With such a bright outlook on kAE, Furnifold defense, and its people, will be observing very closely to see how successful this merger is now, and for them in the future.

Addendum- After the time of posting, the Magistrate’s office announced that a Xagrurgian-based company, General Guns, had successfully petitioned and applied for a regional office in Furnifold. Currently, including this one, there are four defense contractors in Furnifold, kAE’s affiliates, AI, and ZTG.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

The Princess of Kuthernburg, Griselda Valez Truden, was coronated on November 18th, to a well-represented set of dignitaries. Representatives from Furnifold, The Oan Isles, The Staynish-Cathalrus Empire, Yuno, Ivlya, and Blueacia all attended the affair. From Furnifold, Magistrate Jacopo d’Arrigo, Chancellor of the Senate Faith Jagan, and Foreign Secretary Jackson Woolf all attended. “This coronation was near perfection,” the Magistrate said. “The pomp and circumstance was phenomenal, and the splendor and extravagance that was shown to Her Royal Highness and all her guests was fabulous.” When asked what gift Furnifold gave to Kuthernburg and the Princess, d’Arrigo declined to comment, stating that all would be revealed upon their return to Furnifold. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

In much more frivolous news, the Magistrate was spotted at the coronation of Her Royal Highness, Griselda Valez Truden of Kuthernburg, talking with the Queen of Yuno, Lilith. While sources have not verified what the two of them were discussing, it appeared that the Jacopo d’Arrigo was attempting to flirt with the Queen. Other independent sources with firsthand access to the situation have indicated that the Magistrate gave a ornate sash to the Queen. We can only surmise that this sash is in fact a girdle, and if so, then the Magistrate is attempting to send a message that he is looking to court the good Queen of Yuno. Everyone is refusing to speculate whether this attempt was successful, and will not go into details about what a potential union between the two of them would do for the nations of Furnifold and Yuno, but this represents an interesting development for all Furnifolds. Manleh Cousins even has a public pool where people can place bets on if the Magistrate will remain single throughout his tenure, or if he will tie the knot, so to speak. Jacopo d’Arrigo was married for some time, until after his successful Senate run, when he and his wife split up. All accounts point to him not dating again in the past six years, so this development with Queen Lilith is the talk of Furnifold for the time being.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn- 0.81 per bushel (up 2 percent)
Okra- 27.32 per bushel (down 9 percent)
Rice- 14.54 per bushel (down 25 percent)
Soy- 5.68 per bushel (down 13 percent)
Sugar Cane- 4.50 per bushel (down 11 percent)

Index total: 52.86 (down 14 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.57 per pound (up 20 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 5.13 per carton (up 1 percent)
Meat: 6.90 per pound (up 10 percent)
Milk: 8.84 per hundredweight (down 11 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 7.07 per hundredweight (down 10 percent)
Wheat: 0.76 per bushel (down 8 percent)

Analysis: Representing a major drop in the past two weeks, the market fell precipitously, all talk of being out of the downturn gone. The only winner was corn, as it climbed to above 80 cents per bushel for the first time ever. The big loser was rice, falling by a quarter since the beginning of November. Overall, the index total fell by 14 percent, as consumption and trading stagnated in recent weeks. It will likely stay this way until Furnifold can get an influx of demand for its products, which may come after the winter.

In non-indexed goods, meat was the big winner, gaining 10 percent, approaching its early November price. Usually directly related, this week Milk decreased, signifying a potential time when milk and meat prices swap costs, for the first time. The other big winner was cotton, continuing its somewhat upward trend as winter clothes are created. If this downturn continues, Furnifold may be cited as being in the middle of a recession. Hopefully this is a small blip, but a recession in winter is not a good combination.


[/spoiler]

[right]https://i.imgur.com/PVPsjiK.jpg
[/right]

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

January 8, 2018

[spoiler]- by Neive Amelia-Thomas

After a nearly half-year wait, the 2018 Furnifold budget was announced by the Chancellor’s Office. “We thought it would be best to ring in the New Year with a budget that will continue Furnifold’s excellent growth, and give all people of Furnifold the help they need.” The Chancellor, Faith Jagan, said during a press conference. The Chancellor’s Office decided to release the complete budget proposal to the public, an unusual development, before the budget goes to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Under this new proposal, Furnifold’s budget will increase from 7,535,397,195 to 8,445,124,195, a 12 percent increase. The financing was possible because of some reduced outlays, the sale of Gronmund Port, an extraction deal with two nations, plus import and export revenues, according to the Chancellor’s Office. The taxable population of Furnifold, around 10 million, will pay an average of 480 SHD, or the 17.91 percent flat tax rate. The corporate and business tax rate, originally at 12 percent, will be lowered to about 10 percent, a move the Chancellor’s Office believes will increase investment and spending by businesses in Furnifold. Other taxes, such as tariff and extraction taxes, will remain at 12 percent.

In addition, the line-item details of the budget was also released to the public. No department will see its budget decrease. Defense, Homeland, and Natural Resources were the only departments that did not see any funding increase. Foreign Affairs will receive a 5 million increase, to pay for increased embassy costs around the world. Finance and Economy will receive a 3 million increase, to take on the salaries of the increased government workers. Agriculture will receive a 20 million increase, specifically to salaries and to increased procurement for the Agricultural Sciences Institute. Education will receive a 200 million increase, mainly for the salaries and administration of elementrary education (Grades 1-4). Health will receive a 170 million increase, mainly for extra funding for the Health Sciences Institute, the increased administration costs for education and certification process, and increased salaries for doctors and nurses. Infrastructure will receive an almost 400 million increase, to pay increased salaries, and to extend maitinence on transit and docks, as well as payment to overhaul Furnifold’s communications network, as part of its five year plan. Public Service and Labor will see a 20 million increase, mainly for salaries and to increase the budget of the Labor Statistics and Census agency. Commerce will receive a 30 million increase, to increase the budgets of both the International Trade Office and the Economic Development and Licensing Office. Finally, Welfare will receive a 140 million increase, to increase the benefits that Social Security and Retirement, Disability, and especially Povery, agencies dole out. Under this plan, Social Security and Retirements benefits increase by 40 million, Disability benefits increase by 30 million, and Poverty benefits increased by almost 40 million.

In terms of the percentages of the total budget, Defense and Homeland combined form almost 40 percent of the budget, the most of any combination of two departments. Next on the list is Infrastructure at 20 percent, which has seen a massive increase over the last two fiscal years. Health is at 11 percent, Education at 8 percent, and Welfare at 7 percent. All other departments are below 4 percent. While the budget for Defense is still the highest single department, the total percentage of the budget has decreased over the last two years, which has been attributed to the heavy emphasis on specific defense procurements and a reliance on traditional allies.

The budget is expected to pass the more conservative Senate easily, but may face a veto by the Magistrate, Jacopo d’Arrigo. While declining to comment, the Magistrate has emphasized the budget must contain tax breaks for Furnifolds, and that the corporate tax rate should remain as it is. He also has emphasized increased funding for Welfare and the Natural Resources departments. While Welfare was increased, Natural Resources remain the same, a move that some political analysts believe was done to force the Magistrate to accept it without a veto. If the Magistrate does veto the budget, it returns to the Senate for more reconcilliation, and 71 votes to override the veto. Analysts expect the Magistrate to accept the budget, especially if the budget passes the Senate with at least 66 votes.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

The municipal government of Boonefield, Furnifold’s largest city, announced that the largest group of tenement shacks, called Banokubana, will be demolished in the near future. “This announcement surprised most people, as it was expected that the government would first demolish the smaller tenement clusters,” said Alderman Sebastian Ishuheri, which Banokubana is within his ward. "I’m working to get the city council to prolong this demolition, so that it does not become a fiasco. Indeed, the announcement surprised, and angered, most people, especially those within Banokubana.

Banokubana was established by the influx of Sahibu from the southwest of Furnifold to find work in Boonefield. Without enough housing in the city, these newcomers settled on the banks of major industrial centers, to live close to where there was work. Banokubana contains more than one hundred thousand residents, according to very conservative estimates, and is a major source of employment for recycling, manual labor, and other low-wage industries. Residents live in poverty, and are regularily faced with disease outbreaks, crime and gender violence, and bribery and extortion by government officials. Recently, refugees from Imperial Fandom have been resettled in Boonefield, and many have ended up in Banokubana, increasing tensions between the current residents.

While not outright stated, the demolition project is not expected to begin for a few months, which Alderman Ishuheri believes will hopefully allow the residents to find new housing. In order to prevent residents from moving to other shacks in Boonefield, the city council is ramping up construction on low-cost housing in the city, which had begun last month due to the foreign aid investment from Kuthernburg. “The idea is that these displaced residents will be put up in these new houses, which will be close to the city center and allow for increased access for jobs,” the Alderman said. Most analysts do not expect the houses to be completed this year, which will either displace most of the residents of Banokubana to other tenement clusters, or cause an overcrowding of these new houses. When asked about this, the Alderman insisted that the houses would be completed and the residents would be able to move in. There is no information yet about the amenities of these alternative houses, or the total cost of rent for these houses.

The demolition project announcement was also met with scorn from native Sahibu groups, citing the decision as ethnic animosity and incredibly shortsighted, with no real plan for the residents of the people. The Furnifold Patriofic Front, a Sahibu extremist organization, decried the announcement and pledged actions will be taken should this come to fruition. The group did not indicate what specific actions would be taken.

People with knowledge of the matter have indicated that the Magistrate’s office may be behind the surprise announcement. The demolition project has been in the works for about a year, but had been hung up in the local city council in Boonefield. Accoridng to insiders, the Magistrate’s office was given the project file as an appeal to speed the process along, and gave the necessary push needed for the city council to go on with it. When asked about the project, a spokesperson from the Magistrate’s office declined to comment, calling the involvement ‘unsubstantiated rumors,’ and stating that this is a local affair and the displaced residents of Banokubana should be the priority as their homes are removed.

There is no word yet as to what will be put in Banokubana’s place, once it has been demolished. Whatever is put there will likely serve as a model to nearby slums, as the Banokubana demolition will serve as a model for how other slums throughout Boonefield, and Furnifold, may be handled.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

For a Christmas gift, the nation of Kuthernburg gave Furnifold several Orca and porpoises for public viewing. Unfortunately two of the porpoises were killed by Orca during what has been described as a “feeding frenzy.” According to aquarium officials, the during the feeding time for both animal species, who live in the same pen and eat the same food, an Orca became territorial and killed two nearby porpoises, as well as injured one more. Aquarium officials were quick to calm the fish, but not before the animal had done its damage. The injured porpoise is being cared for by aquarium officials as well as a local vet in Ato, and the other porpoises have been moved to another pen. “We regret the unfortunate accident and are assessing what went wrong and how we can fix it,” an aquarium official said. “We are also thankful that this occurred when the aquarium was closed, and remain committed to keeping the aquarium opened as a safe, educational, and fun time for Furnifold’s adults and children.” Also commenting was Kuthernburg native Marine Biologist Sharon Macon, who was not on hand during the incident. “Being the team leader working with the Furnifolds, I hope to tighten the underwater fences and raise the platforms, as to not allow this happen again.”

The exhibit, in its short time, was the most popular in the aquarium, and attracted hundreds of visitors from all over Furnifold. Marine biologists interviewed, including Ms. Macon, have stated that there is no way both animals should have been penned together, as the Orca get territorial, and while not predatory towards porpoises, would see them as threatening to their food source. Orca should be kept in their own pens with solitary options, and porpoises should be kept together. [/spoiler]

[spoiler=GFCM Prices: Slight Loss of New Year’s Momentum]-by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn: 0.52 per bushel (up 8 percent)
Okra: 41.77 per bushel (down 10 percent)
Rice: 11.29 per bushel (down 15 percent)
Soy: 8.50 per bushel (up 1 percent)
Sugar Cane: 5.80 per bushel (down 2 percent)

Index total: 67.88 (down 9 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.46 per pound (up 6 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 5.53 per carton (up 21 percent)
Meat: 3.39 per pound (down 19 percent)
Milk: 8.14 per hundredweight (down 7 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 6.40 per hundredweight (up 14 percent)
Wheat: 0.95 per bushel (up 1 percent)

Analysis: After posting one of the highest single-week increases in GFCM history earlier, the New Year’s buzz has worn off and the market stabilized somewhat. The big winner this week was corn, which saw a slight rise after its catastrophic December fall. The big loser in indexed goods was rice, which has alternated between 11 and 13 SHD after being as high as 22 SHD in November. Though the price fell by 10 percent, okra has posited an impressive growth, climing steadily throuhgout the latter half of November and throughout December. Price stabilization may be in order for the commodity now.

In non-indexed goods, the big winner was endemic fruits and vegetables, as Furnifold fruit baskets remain famous internationally throughout the giving season. Though I do not have knowledge about it, I am sure that Furnifold vegetables are being bought up by international customers in an effort to meet New Year’s resolutions for dieting, as many look at the lanky Furnifold citizens as inspiration for their own weight loss. Or perhaps they buy the vegetables to give to picky children. Hopefully the children love the vegetables here! The big loser was meat, to no surprise. Faced with very low meat consumption in the country, and a lack of demand outside the country, the price of meat continues to drop. Milk, usually correlated, also was a loser this week, and has fluctuated between boom and bust cycles.

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

January 22, 2018

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison and Adam Bly

The Magistrate’s Office announced the formation of a military force that would assist Kurthernburg forces in its war with Atiland. The Magistrate’s Office determined that an unstable Atiland presented a threat to Furnifold, as several illicit drug trade routes that run through Furnifold originate in Atiland. In addition, after the brazen attack on Kuthernburg and its allies by dissidents, the d’Arrigo administration stated that it would be immoral to turn its back on its ally. The Atiland Task Group, as it is formally called, is composed of 1,280 military personnel, as well as several ships. In addition, the Task Group is deploying the submarines newly donated by Kuthernburg, and is unveiling the new multi-role vessel that has been under construction since 2007. The Atiland Task Group is under the control of Naval Commodore Maganda, who will also be the commander for the naval forces. Overseeing the military forces is Major Jouett, the newly promoted Counter-Insurgency Force commander who recently gave a speech at the International Peace Summit in Emberwood.

The Task Group’s mission is to secure the Atiland coast and international waters to prevent drug trade from cartels from traveling south near Xagill. In addition, the expeditionary land force will assist Kuthernburg coalition forces in defending West Atiland against the armed cartels and militias. This would be Furnifold’s first foray into Artic-like conditions, and for some soldiers, the first time experiencing snow. The Magistrate’s office and the Royal Defense Force have emphasized that the soldiers are well-trained and given plenty of materials for the campaign.

Atiland made international news when dissidents attacked several members of the Kuthernburg royal family, as well as the leader of Nacata. The sister of Queen Naomi of Kuthernburg died in the assault. Distraught Furnifolds laid wreaths and other mementos outside the Royal Family’s Furnifold residency. The Magistrate of Furnifold, Jacopo d’Arrigo, had this to say about the attack. “This heinous act was as pure evil as they come. Princess Laura Ward was a kind, caring, and loving woman of the people, beloved by Kuthernburg as well as other nations on Urth. Furnifold stands ready to assist Kuthernburg in grieving, and actions against the vile perpetrators. May Allah shine grace upon His loyal people as they deal with this trying time.”

In related news, the Foreign Secretary’s office announced a diplomatic flotilla would be sent to engage with the populace on the northernmost Kadje Island, near the North Puffin Antilles. A military escort would accompany the flotilla, but stay in international waters, as the Foreign Secretary discussed with the locals the history of the Island and its current affairs. The military escort would also serve the purpose of protecting the waters near Furnifold of any illicit drug trade.

[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

The months-long extraction of cassiterite by companies from Adumara and Tuvaltastan is over,according to officials from the Department of Natural Resources. The lode of cassiterite, a mineral used in many electronic materials, was discovered in Furnifold in March of 2017, near the Branwell Plains. Several companies from around the world offered bids on the rights to extract the material, but Furnifold settled on a 300 million SHD contract from the nation of Adumara, and a smaller contract from the nation of Tuvaltastan as part of previous agreements. Since then, it is estimated that about 68 thousand tons of the material had been extracted from the earth, which composed about two-thirds of the total reserve. The two extractors slowed extraction rates as the price of the cassiterite became too expensive to extract as compared to its market value, and, though greater than 70 thousand SHD per ton on the current rate, according to brokerage firm Manleh Cousins, the extractors decided to pack it up until market value was much greater than the fees to extract the more difficult reserve material.

Officials from the Natural Resources Department have stated that Furnifold has collected close to half a billion SHD from extraction fees in both companies, putting the total expected lode revenue sales on the open market to be upwards of 4 billion SHD. Officials from both the Furnifold government and Manleh Cousins have stated that this was likely one of the richest extraction operations in Furnifold’s history, and perhaps one of the richest on Urth in terms of profit-gathering.

Manleh Cousins has stated it will continue to monitor the price of cassiterite, and believes that if the market value for it rises, the extractors will be back in Furnifold for that final third of the lode.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Gwen Scott

Most people come to Vaca Misra to find meaning, or to ponder life’s important mysteries. Furnifold’s competitor in the Urth Songfestival will bring the splendor of Vaca Misra to the living rooms of people all across Urth. For Gwexhai native throat singer Khalid Ibuyutima, this represents the chance of a lifetime. His surprising entry into Furnifold’s qualifying competition, and then his success, has led to throngs of Furnifold’s putting down their work gear and finding ways to tune in to the Songfestival next week.

Ibuyutima was born in 1959 in Vaca Misra, and has lived there his entire life. A native of the Gwexhai people, who occupy the jungle to the north of the town, Ibuyutima was instead fascinated with the nearby Vase Mountains. Last time he gave an interview, he stated he had climbed Red Zillo Peak, the highest point in the mountains, four times, most recently in 2010. He can be cited as being a hipster; climbing that mountain before it became a hot tourist attraction. He gravitated towards the mountains, and would learn how to make his voice heard over the howling of the winds. This was how he developed his signature throat singing. While practiced by the Gwexhai people for centuries, until Ibuyutima it was mainly done for formal events and at a low decibel. Ibuyutima throat singing is an experience with a full-bodied song, bellowed out to be heard while retaining its beauty, and has attracted many followers. Some of them said that finding Ibuyutima in the Vase Mountains was a challenge, because while they could hear his singing when they traveled through the mountains, they could not place his specific location due to the echoing effect of both it and the mountains.

After amassing a following, Ibuyutima was able to receive enough building materials to erect a structure in the mountains, and would reside there until the early 2000s. It was there he refined his craft of throat-singing, done during two times in the day; one in the early morning, and one in the late evening. The singing was especially effective to reach contemplation while meditating, and Ibuyutima became a guru of sorts; the source of introspection and wisdom he gave helped established the Vaca Misra spiritual journey that has attracted so many foreigners.

As Vaca Misra grew in its tourism profile, Ibuyutima did not retreat farther into the mountains. Instead, he came down from them, and appeared to the people of the small town; giving classes in meditation, yoga, and, of course, throat singing to the youth of the town. He performed with a small troupe for the community center in the town; but, as the town started to become more of a tourism center it is known as today, the community center performances turned into headline acts at the major hotels in the town. He still feels connected to the mountains, and on occasion, still goes up to the Vase Mountains, giving encouragement to travelers, offering advice for the journey, and, of course, singing to them.

Ibuyutima entered into the Furnifold qualifiers for the Urth Songfestival last year, citing the need to bring culturally significant music and showcase the rich history of the throat singing. Along with a small performing band, Ibuyutima astounded everyone at the qualifiers with his minimalist approach to singing. The judges enjoyed his performance, stating he demonstrated his talent without overdoing it. What resulted was a merging of song and traditional instrumentals, combined with modern electronic beats to create a surreal sound that made the judges feel like they were part of a people’s history. He won the competition, and was chosen to represent Furnifold in the Urth Songfestival on the 31st. We at the New Furnifoldian Times wish Mr. Ibuyutima the absolute best, and we will enjoy your showcase of Furnifold’s rich culture!
[/spoiler]

[spoiler=GFCM Prices: Big Decrease, Sign of Worse to Come?]-by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn: 0.49 per bushel (down 5 percent)
Okra: 32.36 per bushel (down 23 percent)
Rice: 10.85 per bushel (down 4 percent)
Soy: 6.64 per bushel (down 22 percent)
Sugar Cane: 5.63 per bushel (down 4 percent)

Index total: 55.97 (down 18 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.62 per pound (up 34 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 6.76 per carton (up 22 percent)
Meat: 3.51 per pound (up 3 percent)
Milk: 9.73 per hundredweight (up 19 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 8.20 per hundredweight (up 28 percent)
Wheat: 0.92 per bushel (down 4 percent)

Analysis: The indexed goods decreased by 18 percent over two weeks, signifying the end of the small bump achieved during the week of New Year. Every good decreased, most significant were soy and okra. Okra has fallen 23 percent in the past two weeks, to a price not seen since November of 2017. Soy prices fell 22 percent, but soy has fluctuated around this price since September. The okra trend was most surprising, in that it was doing so well before. Analysts speculate that the decrease across the board caused the price of okra to decrease dramatically as well. We will monitor the GFCM prices, but the outlook for agricultural commodities do not look good if this trend continues.

In non-indexed goods, there were bumps across the board in two weeks, especially in cotton, endemic fruits and vegetables, and milk. The price of milk stopped its slow decrease, and has approached levels not seen since early December. The cost of Cotton has risen to its highest since August of 2017, which analysts suggest was caused by a demand for cold-weather outfits in the northern hemisphere, particularly after some heavy snow storms. The endemic fruits and vegetables also had a good climb, signifying positive news for Furnifold’s most unique commodity offering.

Finally, the price of Cassiterite, a mineral used for many electronics products, has risen dramatically since its low in December of 2017. While normally not given, Manleh Cousins provided the market value of tonnes of Cassiterite. Experts have noted that the decrease in price of Cassiterite prompted the ceasing of extraction in the Cassiterite lode by foreign companies in Furnifold. Analysts suggest that if the current price per ton increases to above 100 thousand SHD, foreign companies will likely be back to extract remaining goods.

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

January 29, 2018

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

A recent skirmish involving the Atiland Task Group prompted the Magistrate’s Office to announce a naval modernization plan earlier this week. The skirmish in Atiland involved some sailors on a naval vessel to be fired on by illicit drug runners, part of a cartel plaguing the nation. While no fatalities were reported, the ensuing notice prompted the Magistrate’s office announce the modernization plan earlier than expected. Insiders had gleaned that the program, under wraps by the d’Arrigo Administration and by the Furnifold Navy, was going to be released later on this year. “The increase in activity near the Kadje Islands, assisting Kuthernburg with the Atiland situation, and the speed at which events were underway likely prompted this early announcement,” one insider said.

The modernization plan is focused on Furnifold’s Navy, and will take part in two phases. The first phase is the dismantling of Furnifold transport vessels and the purchase of a larger, modern transport vessel. This phase was concluded with the announcement that Furnifold would be dismantling the five Balikpapan-class craft, and had secured the purchase of a Shedun-class amphibious transport dock from the nation of Free Syllvin. The release on maintenance of the Balikpapan-class craft would save the Navy almost 200 million SHD in costs. The amphibious transport dock would cost 275 million SHD, and would be a stronger investment than the old transport docks, capable of moving troops and materiel hundreds of nautical miles away with ease. The Shedun-class vessel was produced in 2015, and will be the flagship of the Furnifold Navy. Phase one is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

The second phase would be a five-year plan, in place from mid-2018 to 2022. The first part of this phase would be the creation of offshore patrol vessels for the Furnifold Navy. The plans for this project have been licensed from Xagrurg and produced by kAE Yasteria, and the vessel, titled Bâtiment multi-mission, would be produced in Furnifold. Six are expected to be produced, with one completed and almost ready to ship out, and the others built each year until 2022. The second part of this phase, concurrent with the first part, is the dismantling of Furnifold’s Pacific-class patrol boats. A noticeable vessel to Furnifold law enforcement, this patrol vessel type is being dismantled for more modern patrol vessels. Furnifold had completed the purchase of the Free Syllvin Vicci-class patrol boats in late 2017, and will be looking at purchasing more of these vessels, in addition to searching for other patrol vessels to produce. The timetable of this project has not been announced, but will run concurrently with the first part of the phase, and will cease in 2022.

Furnifold is also expanding its frigate and corvette assortment. Building upon the previous plans of the production of Moudge-class vessels, some for the nation of Chianski, and some for Furnifold, the Navy will be procuring more frigates and corvettes. These will be used for armed naval escorts, law enforcement, and the curbing of illicit trade. Two Moudge-class frigates are slated to be complete in 2022, with analysts expecting Furnifold to stockpile another three or four more vessels in that time-frame.

While not focused on naval vessels for almost 20 years, Furnifold has established an emphasis on naval investment since 2007. Besides the previously mentioned vessels, currently the Navy relies on vessels donated from Kuthernburg, or vessels produced before 1990. Budgetary analysts expect that during the first phase, the naval budget will increase, though not by a drastic amount, as vehicles will be dismantled and the maintenance costs on them negate the modernization efforts. The second phase will likely increase the Naval budget, though experts envision Furnifold will shift priorities and the military budget accordingly.

[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

The Natural Resources Department announced the partnership with the nation of Free Syllvin to extract the reserve of oil sands currently occupying the Womp Desert in eastern Furnifold. This partnership secures a 20-year extraction and refinement contract on a nearly 1000 square kilometer area in the Womp Desert. While formal surveying has not been completed, experts hypothesize that seven to ten billion barrels of oil sands exist in the desert. The investment secured by Free Syllvin is a standard investment for Furnifold, one that comes with the costs of setting up infrastructure and hiring, as well as refinement, but only carries with it a 12 percent extraction tax on market value goods. With the likely investment into the project at 300 billion SHD over 20 years, the profit margin over that period of time would need to be at least two-thirds greater to be considered a worthwhile investment, according to financial brokerage firm Manleh Cousins.

The announcement was met with swift derision from Furnifold environmental groups. Oil sands are bituminous material wedged between rocks deep in the earth. In order to extract them, the rocks must be hydrolyzed in order to dislodge the material from the rocks. This involves greatly-pressurized water, which, in the middle of the desert, would be incredibly tough to find. Environmental groups state that the water will likely be extracted from Lake Amery, which would break environmental protections put in place by previous Magistrate’s Administrations. Proponents of the plan state that it will bring necessary investment into Furnifold, provide well-paid jobs for 20 years, and the environmental toll is being inflated due to the lack of human-environment interactions in the Womp Desert.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler=GFCM Prices: Stable Bump in Good Prices, For Now]-by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn: 0.53 per bushel (up 8 percent)
Okra: 30.97 per bushel (down 5 percent)
Rice: 13.10 per bushel (up 20 percent)
Soy: 7.69 per bushel (up 15 percent)
Sugar Cane: 5.72 per bushel (up 1 percent)

Index total: 58.01 (up 3 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.56 per pound (down 10 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 6.75 per carton (down 1 percent)
Meat: 3.48 per pound (down 1 percent)
Milk: 11.27 per hundredweight (up 15 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 7.84 per hundredweight (down 5 percent)
Wheat: 1.09 per bushel (up 18 percent)

Analysis: The index market crept up again this week, the second week it had done so after a disastrous post-New Year fall. Rice and soy were the big winners this week, as rice returned to its New Year’s price, and soy approached this price. The other indexed goods stayed within their New Year’s comparable prices, with the exception of okra, which fell 5 percent this week to reach a 2018-low. The last time the price of okra was this low, it was mid-November. The index increased slightly, but it still is well-short of both December and early January levels.

In non-indexed goods, the price of milk increased to a level not seen since the first week of December. No other good did particularly well otherwise. The price of wheat bumped up, but still is a far cry from its October price levels. Meat decreased by a negligible amount this week, which does not bode well for milk in the long-term. Both prices are tied to one-another, meaning that the expectation for the rise in milk prices need to be tempered. Finally, the price of cotton fell this week, and has not posted exceptional value since July of 2017. While being almost stable with few large dips, cotton has proved itself to be a good option for stability, but not one for growth.

The New Furnifoldian Times
-Since 1813-

March 12, 2018

[spoiler]- by F.T. Morison

In late February/early March of 2018, it is believed that a large bomb was detonated within the city of Amberlay, Atiland. Furnifold RDF were assisting the Kuthernburg coalition forces as they fought against the Atiland opposition militias and drug cartels, and it is likely that several were in the vicinity of the bomb detonation. Kuthernburg or its ally Nacata is believed to be the perpetrator of the alleged bomb, as the bomb was likely to have contained explosives unavailable to the Atiland opposition forces. The d’Arrigo administration has refused to speculate on these points, and has repeatedly stated that it is undertaking an investigation with the assistance of its coalition partners.

Eyewitness but unverified reports allege an airstrike with a explosive radius hundreds of magnitudes greater than any conventional armament, yet not to the level of nuclear material. The reports also allege multiple strikes, both inside and outside the city, in an attempt to scare the opposition fighters inside the besieged city to surrender. According to the timeline of the Winterview Accord, which created an armistice in Atiland and a negotiated truce, the airstrike took place before the surrender, likely resulting in the Accord being signed.

Furnifold soldiers, as under the command of Major Jouett of the Counter-Insurgency Force, were assisting the Atiland Task Group as an expeditionary force whose mission parameters was to defend against insurrection in the westernmost province of Amberlay. This puts the soldiers right in place for the alleged airstrike, which may have possessed the capability of a Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB. As the Magistrate’s Office has refused to comment, and eyewitness reports have not been verified, it is likely to expect some causalities from this alleged strike. Once satellite pictures and verified eyewitness accounts have been ascertained, numbers of casualties will become available.

In related news, the Head of State of Kuthernburg announced a last-minute change to his schedule, and will be visiting Furnifold early next week. The Magistrate’s Office has not offered much in concrete details, stating that the discussion will be on ‘pressing foreign affairs concerns.’

[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Adam Bly

As part of the agreement proctored by the Peacekeeping Forces of Urth (PKFU), McLendal agreed to take in a certain number of refugees from the embattled nation of Imperial Fandom, which had until recently gone through a decade-long civil war. For the past six months, asylum seekers have arrived in Furnifold for resettlement. The number at the beginning of March eclipsed 200 thousand, and though there were assurances to the contrary by the d’Arrigo Administration, the vast majority of them have been resettled in Boonefield. Previous reporting by THE WATCHDOG unveiled increased crime rates, ethnic tension, and corruption surrounding the most populous city in Furnifold. The solutions proposed by McLendal have been implemented poorly, are behind schedule, or have not been implemented at all. The subsidized rent housing is behind schedule, with less than half of the apartment complexes cleared for final inspections at this point. Resettlement in other cities of Furnifold hit a snag, with a backlog of asylum seekers being told to stay temporarily in Boonefield, and forgotten about in the subsequent resettlement. It is believed that fewer than a quarter of the refugees have been resettled in places other than Boonefield.

In a possible solution to the housing issue, some real-estate developers have petitioned the city council to allow them to hire the Imperial Fandom refugees as construction workers, with the promise that once they build the apartment houses, they will be allowed to live there rent-free for half a year. Labor groups have decried this proposal, as the refugees are being paid little for their work. In addition, nationalist Sahibu groups have also criticized the proposal, stating that the Imperial Fandom refugees are undervaluing their services, causing fewer opportunities available to the nearly half of the Sahibu population who are under or unemployed. A massive protest by the radical Sahibu nationalist group called the Furnifold Patriotic Front (FPF) is scheduled for next week in the slum of Banokubana, with more protests promised if the city council goes through with the plan to tear down the slum.

Complicating the issue is the refugees from the nation of Ambravia have also begun to arrive in Furnifold. Ambravia and its neighbor Fortuna engaged in a conflict that left Ambravia destabilized, forcing the PKFU to become involved to enforce a demilitarized zone. The refugees are largely vulpine refugees, as the nation has seen species strife and the vulpine minority have been displaced by the government of Ambravia. Though arriving in fewer numbers, there still exists a sizable number arriving by ship into the city of Ato, same with those arriving from Imperial Fandom. It is believed the refugees of Ambravia are being settled farther east, in the cities of Kwoleck and Acoco. This has prompted calls of discrimination based on species, which the d’Arrigo Administration vehemently denies.

Currently the refugees from Ambravia are no more than a quarter the size of the Imperial Fandom refugees. Also important to note is that the PKFU pays Furnifold a certain sum for every resettled refugee, yet analysts have stated the amount given for each refugee is not enough to pay for the full costs of resettlement, and does not take into account the other externalities of the proposal.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler]- by Neve Amelia-Thomas

In what has been cited as the worst trade deal in Furnifold’s recent history, the d’Arrigo Administration announced the sale of two hundred thousand dairy cows, previously obtained in a deal with Mvulaland, for the price of 10 million SHD. The cows were bought up by companies in the nation of Verdrassil, a nation that specializes in dairy production. Analysts from financial brokerage firm Manleh Cousins stated that the sale undervalued the cows by almost ninety-percent of actual market value, especially with the knowledge that almost nine-months ago Furnifold paid upwards of 150 million SHD for these cows.

According to experts from Manleh Cousins, Furnifold purchased the cows as milk prices were on the upswing, but nearly as soon as the purchase went through, the price of milk dropped precipitously, to settle around initial public offering value. Furnifold businesses slaughtered some of these cows, as meat prices were also high, but that too began to drop. Frustrated, agribusiness held onto the remaining cows, hoping the price would increase to the previous levels, but after months and months, it never materialized. Some have speculated that Furnifold was unable to compete with the industries of Verdrassil, and was essentially priced out of the market, prompting the bargain-bin sale.

Agribusiness has attempted to spin the sale, stating that this will free up more land for other staple crops like corn and okra, two highly-valued commodities. Most analysts see through the spin, as both commodities have only increased in value gradually, and liken the sale to whatever companies offered the most. Verdrassil is attempting to solidify its hold on the production of dairy products, according to most analysts, by causing the infrastructure into the industry from other countries to be disadvantageous for investment.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler=GFCM Prices: Regressing to the IPO]-by Uche Markopolos

Current prices (in SHD):
Corn: 0.67 per bushel (up 6 percent)
Okra: 11.21 per bushel (up 1 percent)
Rice: 11.72 per bushel (up 15 percent)
Soy: 7.49 per bushel (down 14 percent)
Sugar Cane: 3.62 per bushel (up 24 percent)

Index total: 33.71 (up 3 percent)

Non-Index Commodities (in SHD):
Cotton: 0.67 per pound (down 11 percent)
Endemic Fruits: 13.11 per carton (up 12 percent)
Meat: 3.55 per pound (down 23 percent)
Milk: 10.84 per hundredweight (up 5 percent)
Endemic Vegetables: 10.54 per hundredweight (up 17 percent)
Wheat: 2.19 per bushel (up 20 percent)

Analysis: After almost one year of being in business, it appears the GFCM has relapsed to the mean. After February’s dip into an index total of 35, the index has held steady for the past three weeks. The index total for the first week of trading in 2017 was 36. As with last week, the big loser was soy, falling by 14 percent, for a three-week fall of 31 percent. Analysts are worried about its decline. Okra, which had a month of declining in February, has had two straight weeks of increases, reflecting a stabilization of market forces. The other big winner was corn, which has begun to creep up to prices not seen since mid-December.

In non-indexed goods, some fared very well. After the announcement of the sale of dairy cows to Verdrassil, the price of milk crept up to a value not seen since late January, but still leagues below its peak value in May of 2017. The other big winners were endemic vegetables, fruits, and wheat. Wheat in particular has seen an increase in value not had since June of 2017. Though not included in the price of the commodities market, the price of Cassiterite has risen to its highest since August of 2017, prompting speculation about a reinvestment into Furnifold’s Cassiterite reserve.

[edit_reason]this is Urth, not Earth[/edit_reason]