Union Media Alliance: News from the Tavari Union


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Cescolian Norvian Language Made Official in Metradan

ACRUNI, Metradan-- After a years-long campaign by members of the public as well as regional political leaders and, of late, commentators from across the Tavari Union, the Republic of Metradan has recognized the Cescolian Norvian language as one of the country’s official languages, alongside Tavari. The language was spoken in the region long before the Tavari arrived by the Cescolians who already lived there, and is still spoken today by the nearly 2.5 million people in Metradan descended from them. In recent years it has become a point of political tension, as ethnic Cescolians have sought to force a reckoning over the undeniably violent history of Tavari colonialism in Metradan and the legacy it has left behind.

With the change, the government will be required to publish all formal notices and communications in both languages, and the country will begin a years-long process of phasing in the language on street signs and public buildings. Eventually, all public schools will be required to provide instruction in both languages. The bill also requires that delegates in the National Diet be permitted to speak in either language during any formal deliberation and to provide live translation services. This in particular is a point of pride for Del. Niballo Gargiulo, leader of the political party Zampana, which advocates for Cescolian interests and regional autonomy, who has been formally reprimanded by Diet leaders for speaking his native language during deliberations, which at the time was considered a violation of decorum. He has introduced a version of the law now passed, the Official Languages Act, in every session of the Diet for nine years.

“We were speaking our language hundreds of years before the Tavari invaded, we have been speaking it here this whole time, and we will be speaking it long after the last Tavari dies. [Cescolian Norvian] is the language of the land, it is the language of the hills, it is the language in which the sun sings, and it is the language that belongs in the halls of government and the public institutions of our country,” said Gargiulio, who leads the bloc of Cescolian parties in the Diet and is generally considered to be the unofficial leader of the northwestern region of Metradan where Cescolian speakers are a majority, known as Zampanea. “I have been silenced and punished for speaking my native language, this language spoken here uninterrupted for centuries, in the halls of my own government, but no longer. No longer will the descendants of the murderous, thieving frauds who stole our country out from under us tell us that we cannot speak our own language here in our own lands.”

Metradani President Shtonar Talakar admitted that the time for this change was long overdue when signing the bill, which was passed by the National Diet on Thursday. “The truth is that Metradan has lagged behind our peers in recognizing the linguistic diversity of our society. I’m sorry this bill didn’t get to me sooner, and I’m sorry to those people who feel as though the government has excluded them, but I am pleased and honored to correct this error today.” When asked if he was offering an official apology on behalf of the government to speakers of Cescolian Norvian, Talakar demurred, clarifying he was speaking only for himself “as a citizen of Metradan.”

The eyes of the entire Tavari Union have been on Metradan since it joined the bloc about six months ago, with many paying particular attention to the plight of Metradan’s largest ethnic, linguistic, and species minority. It is said to have been part of the delay in negotiating Metradan’s entry into the Union at all, with President Talakar remarking that Rodokan Presiding Chief Ivi Puna Laar “definitely broached the topic several times” during negotiations and that he has felt embarrassed in the past for not having “more to show” in regard to improving inter-community relations in his country.

Metradan is the last of the Tavari-speaking countries with a significant linguistic minority to grant official status to that language. In 2020, then-Deputy Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar successfully led the political effort to elevate the territory of Rodoka to provincehood and, at the same time, make Rodokan—in which she is fluent—an official language of Tavaris. The Alkari language had the status of a regional official language in Elatana for decades and its status as a co-official language of Elatana is enshrined in the Ranat Accords. Even Racatrazi, rather infamous for poor species relations between orcish Tavari settlers and the Ngodian-speaking indigenous tieflings, has recognized Ngodian as a national language for decades.

In Acronis, the Rodokan language is official even though, after the Ranat Accords reorganized borders, hardly anyone in the country speaks the language at all. Initially it was believed that Vaalsaar, an island in the Cerenerian Ocean home to Rodokan speakers, would fall under Acronian jurisdiction, and Acronis’ provisional legislature adopted Rodokan as a co-official language along with Tavari and Staynish-Codexian in one of its first acts. When lawmakers in the Synod earlier this month raised the issue of the expense of translation and interpretation into Rodokan, a relatively complex language with relatively few speakers and even fewer interpreters and translators, Matron Vana Dandreal quickly shut down any talk of changing the language law, reminding them of the Church’s complex history with the Native Rodokans.

“Honoring this linguistic minority is the very least that we as Akronists can do for the Native Rodokans, who suffered cruelty, violence, and evil by our own hands in the early days of Rodokan history. We made amends to the Rodokans in 1992 and we pledged to make them whole. To this day, even after both of us have become independent, Acronis pays for the out-of-pocket-costs for each and every Native Rodokan child’s medical care and college education. We do that because we promised we would, and because when you harm someone, it’s the right thing to do. We promised the Rodokans that we would honor their language, and we will continue to do so, and Akronists around the world would do well to consider how they are—or are not—honoring the linguistic minorities in their own communities,” Dandreal said in response to the Synod debates in a public sermon on April 4th.

On April 6th, two days after Dandreal’s statement and in a highly unusual move, the Diet’s Constitutional Affairs Committee—a committee almost entirely used for dumping bills the Diet intends to never touch again—called an unscheduled meeting and voted to refer Del. Niballo Gargiulo’s Official Languages Act to the Committee on Transportation, where ostensibly because of the language measure’s implications for road signage, was lumped together with legislation to ratify the Nuvrenon Conventions, an international agreement on road traffic signage that Metradan agreed to ratify as a condition of joining the Tavari Union. This move, while odd, attached the language bill that otherwise lacked majority support to a bill that the Metradani Attorney General warned risked jeopardizing Metradan’s place in the Tavari Union if it failed to pass. Ultimately, the bill passed by unanimous consent, meaning no member of the Diet rose to speak in objection to its passage.

While no lawmaker has publicly credited the Matron with inspiring a change of heart, Del. Tandro Unadara, chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, is the leader of the Akronist Democrats party who calls himself a “devout Akronist” on his website and who posted on Pigeon the evening of the Matron’s statement that “the Matron’s sermon was beautiful and thought provoking today.” In a statement, Unadara’s office avoided mentioning the Matron but stated “On April 6th, Delegate Unadara noticed that legislation in the Constitutional Affairs docket was germane to critical transportation legislation and therefore arranged for the bill to be transferred to the relevant committee. This is a routine legislative function.”

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Aircraft Carrier Žavražan Rechristened Otan IV

DRAVAI– The very ship once headed by Captain Otan Nuvo Šolosar of the Royal Tavari Navy will now bear his name, Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar announced at a press conference at Royal Naval Base Dravai—with the ship, at sea but visible, behind her. The ship, the younger of Tavaris’ two aircraft carriers, was named for the sword Žavražan, which is considered the primary regalia of the heir to the Tavari throne and which was forged and named by the future King Utor II personally in 1305. However, the sword Žavražan has been repatriated to the Kingdom of Elatana, forming part of the regalia of Queen Elarai, the Emperor’s cousin who was Crown Princess of Tavaris for one day before the Ranat Accords came into effect and bestowed upon the heir the title Queen of Elatana.

“The sword Žavražan has been a symbol of Tavaris for centuries and will always be a part of our history and a part of us, and so will the ship named after it. But the sword belongs to Elatana now, a newly independent country that deserves the chance to tell its own story with its own symbols. We felt that keeping the name might imply that Tavaris is somehow trying to keep a claim on the sword,” explained the Prime Minister.

As for the vessel’s new name, she said that “there was only ever one proposal” and that agreement was “almost unanimous” that the vessel be renamed after Emperor Otan. “Only one Tavari monarch in history has ever commanded a warship. Only one Tavari monarch in history has gone through boot camp, gotten his head shaved, crawled through the mud, put in the work, and paid in blood, sweat, and tears to earn a genuine, non-honorary commission as an officer. Emperor Otan has walked every deck of this ship. He lived on this ship. He knew every nook and cranny in it and every person on it. Emperor Otan was, by all accounts, one of the most exemplary sailors we ever had,” the Prime Minister said.

“And then we fired him.”

Shortly after the outbreak of the Ni-Rao Civil War in October 2020, then-Crown Prince Otan was declared retired by the Council of State, due to concerns over his security if the Žavražan had to be deployed to a warzone. This decision directly overruled the 2009 order-in-council that permitted the Prince to join the Navy and promised that the government would only remove the Prince from active duty “in the most critical of circumstances.” Afterward, Emperor Otan was given an award and permitted to apply for the open position of ambassador to the League of Novaris, for which he was accepted. “But it was always an injustice,” the Prime Minister said. “We made the decision we did to preserve the life of our Prince who is now our Emperor, and I don’t regret that we did, but we broke our promise and we took Otan IV away from this ship before his time. So now, we’re painting his name on the hull and not a damn thing is gonna take it down.”

Joining the Prime Minister at the press conference was a contingent of some 70 sailors from the Otan IV, and at that moment they collectively burst into cheers so loud that the ship had to blow its horn to silence them—or perhaps it was simply joining the cheer. Notably not present was the Emperor himself, who Mrs. Nevran Alandar noted was “quite adamant” that he not attend due to an old sailor’s superstition about naming a ship after one’s self. “I’m told to name a ship after yourself invites the spirits to scorn you for hubris and risks them calling down storms and calling up beasts of the deep,” the Prime Minister said in serious tones. “I am very much a landlubber, so I trust the Emperor’s warnings,” she joked.

Instead of the Emperor, the Otan IV was rechristened by an unexpected guest: Her Majesty Queen Elarai of Elatana herself, who arrived wearing the sword Žavražan on her hip. Queen Elarai, an undergraduate student at Shiro Academy in Free Pax States, has kept a very light schedule of official duties while she continues her studies, and her official schedule has been blank for weeks due to impending final exams, but in brief remarks she said she made time for the rechristening. “The name and the sword Žavražan belonged to Tavaris, and to you, first,” she said to the sailors. “I am honored and humbled to be the holder of them now, and I wanted to come here and show respect for that.”

Bearing her ancient sword and a bottle of Ranat Reserve rum, aged 7 years per royal tradition, Queen Elarai—escorted by Undercaptain Tevri Išdašt Kelcóbi, the ship’s executive officer, bearing a video camera—boarded a small motorboat and rode out to sea far enough to reach the aircraft carrier and, with impressive strength, throw the bottle against the hull to see it shatter.

Ship christenings have a long history in the Royal Tavari Navy and have a formal ritual including elements from both of Tavaris’ two major religious traditions, the Tavat Avati and Akronism. While the Matron or an Elder has historically performed christenings, none were available, so for the first time in history, the Tavat Avati and Akronist portions of the ceremony were performed by the same person, and it was Queen Elarai who chanted the ancient Akronist prayer, the Canticle of the Mariner, and bade that the sailors of the ship now named for her cousin to “follow always the light of the moon and you will always find safe harbor.”

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Tavari East Cerenerian Isles Approve New Name and New Charter, Keep DNP Government

The new flag of the Avtovati Isles, the jurisdiction formerly known as the Tavari East Cerenerian Isles.

MT. AKRONA, Avtovati Isles– It was always something of a quirk that the westernmost portion of the Tavari speaking world was known as the East Cerenerian Isles, but this is the case no longer after a referendum held on Saturday, April 29th. The archipelago’s voters have overwhelmingly approved a change to “Avtovati Isles,” officially translated as “Grand Western Isles,” as well as a new flag and a new constitutional charter that affirms their status as a Union Territory under the Tavari Union. Held concurrently with the referendum were elections for an expanded legislature in which the Democratic National Party (defunct in Tavaris but still extant in nearly all former Tavari jurisdictions) under the archipelago’s incumbent leader, Kala Udrovi Navradan, have secured at least 33 seats out of 60.

When the Tavari Union was created, the Tavari unprovinced territories of Metrati Anar and the Tavari East Cerenerian Isles were transferred to the new international organization as Union Territories under its direct sovereignty, meaning any decision made by the government of the territories is ultimately subject to possible rejection by the Council of the Tavari Union. The Ranat Accords mandate that Union Territories each elect their Union Councilor by direct popular vote for terms concurrent with their legislature, and specify that this delegate cannot be the same person as their head of government, but otherwise leave it to the territories to decide how to structure their governments. The Council of the Tavari Union has been in negotiations with the two territories for several months—according to an elaborate process of intergovernmental consultation with mandatory public comment periods laid out in Title IV of the Ranat Accords—to determine what powers will be held by the territories and what will be reserved to the Council.

The Avtovati Isles has chosen to structure itself almost identically to a Tavari province, including in renaming its legislature from the Assembly to the Legislative Council and their leader from Administrator to First Councilor. The legislature has also expanded to 60 seats from 20, from whose membership the First Councilor must come. This differs from the previous arrangement, in which the Administrator was appointed by the Tavari Prime Minister and had the power of veto. First Councilor Kala Udrovi Navradan no longer has a veto stamp, as this power is now held by the Tavari Union.

“What’s most important is that, ultimately, our government is the way that we want it,” said Ms. Udrovi Navradan, who was one of the principal authors of the charter and who campaigned on its approval. “We are not a colony. We are a Union Territory because we have chosen to be. We have deliberately created a government that places the fundamental, day-to-day tasks of governing communities into the hands of the people, while placing other tasks—as few as possible—that are better suited to be handled regionally and coordinated along with our closest allies and economic partners in the hands of this greater body, the Tavari Union, in which we also have equal democratic representation.”

The change that tended to dominate the public conversation was the name change, which was prompted out of concerns that the previous name was too “colonial.” Its length and perceived cumbersomeness were also factors commonly cited in public meetings held in each of the archipelago’s twenty legislative districts. These concerns, as well as the name “Avtovati Isles,” are hardly new, with the proposed name appearing in transcripts of Assembly debates as early as the 1990s. In Mt. Akrona, the capital, there was some consternation among municipal authorities that the name could imply the supremacy of the similarly named city of Avtovat, the chain’s second-largest city. Ultimately, however, results show that a majority in every district approved the new constitution, name and all. “Well, I’m not in love with it,” Mayor Endra Calorai of Mt. Akrona said of the new name, “but you know, it does have a decent sound to it. Certainly an improvement from before.”

Included in the new charter is the design of a new flag, based on the previous design featuring a map of the archipelago depicted as four-pointed Tavari stars but removing a star depicting the island of Vaalsaar (now part of Rodoka and the Isles) and replacing a controversial Akronist diamond symbol with the emblem of the Tavari Union. The diamond, meant to be emblematic of the archipelago’s history as being established almost entirely by Akronists, was decried by non-Akronists as exclusionary. The emblem of the Tavari Union contains an Akronist diamond along with a Tavari star, and was chosen by the framers of the charter to still reflect the territory’s history while better representing its diversity. The framers also noted a deliberate choice to go against traditional flag design by placing the emblem of the Union in the top right corner of the flag, rather than the traditional placement of the symbol of a territory’s ultimate or historical sovereign in the top left. “We look east to the rest of our Union, and so does our flag,” said Ms. Udrovi Navradan.

With approval from the voters, the charter now goes to the Council of the Tavari Union for final approval. Once it is approved, the Council will never be able to amend it without approval from the voters of the territory. While the Ranat Accords do permit the Council to use its own judgment in deciding whether or not to approve a territory’s proposed home rule charter, its passage is considered virtually certain because a majority of Council members have already publicly given their support.

The Avtovati Isles have moved much more quickly than their counterparts in Metrati Anar, where territorial officials are still negotiating with the Council. Metrati Anar is seeking to make as few changes as possible and initially proposed a charter that was, quite literally, text copied and pasted from the Kingdom of Tavaris’ Unprovinced Territories Act with “Prime Minister” or “Cabinet” replaced with “Council of the Tavari Union.” The Council has rejected two Anarašta proposals because it wants Metrati Anar to assume more control over its own affairs, in particular its schools, which outside of Anarís are still being overseen by the Tavari Ministry of Education in technical violation of the Ranat Accords.

With the matters of their name and government settled, the islands’ first ever First Councillor has declared her agenda to be economic development, and in particular expanding outreach to countries outside the Union. “With housekeeping matters settled, it’s time to get down to business, and the Avtovati Isles are going to become the best place to do business in the Cerenerian Ocean,” Ms. Udrovi Navradan in a victory speech to supporters. She has announced no fewer than five upcoming trade delegation visits to countries in Aurora, Novaris, and Gondwana, and has also promised to enact corporate income tax cuts and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.

TavariPost Renationalized, Ranat Accords Amended, Metradan City Renamed, Metrati Anar ‘Respectfully Declines’ Self-Determination—and It’s Only Tuesday

ANARÍS, Metrati Anar-- The Council of the Tavari Union has decided that the news has been too slow lately, it would seem. In an absolute blockbuster of a meeting on Tuesday, several items that had not been previously listed on the public agenda—each of which could certainly justify at least one article of their own—were added to the agenda by emergency resolutions introduced by no fewer than four of the council’s eight voting members. The Council had to go into executive session, sending out all members of the public, including the press, to deliberate in private, two separate times, and at one point Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar—who held the Union Presidency for this last meeting of the Union’s first year—had to put the meeting in recess to take a phone call from, as she described it, “the CEO of an actively collapsing corporation with a monopoly on a fundamental public service.”

That corporation is TavariPost, the private corporation whose 2002 creation under Liberal Prime Minister Kola Vidas Nakrodat was initially hailed as successful, kicking off a wave of privatizations under multiple governments that decade. However, it struggled significantly in the decades following, with dual punches thrown in 2011 by Prime Minister Nodri Randai Doranan, whose Liberal-Green coalition accelerated the country’s mandatory switchover of all motor vehicles to ethanol fuel and imposed massive new requirements on large private employers to pre-fund their pension obligations. Both of these massively increased the company’s costs, which were already remarkably high with a service area spanning from the Avtovati Isles to Elatana.

In 2015, TavariPost declared bankruptcy, was bought out by Phoenixia’s ultra-wealthy Feriki Dynasty to become Feriki TavariPost, and then spun off again in 2018. The new TavariPost, however, never stopped struggling, and was hampered by the inability to deliver mail on weekends or to deliver at all to rural areas deep in what was then the Tavari far north or the Ranat Plateau. In 2019, it asked for (and was denied) permission to cease delivering to Metrati Anar and the Avtovati Isles altogether, complaining that it was simply too expensive to offer services there. An infusion of cash from the government—making the Ministry of Internal Affairs the company’s largest “private” shareholder in the process—only delayed the inevitable. A planned 2022 launch of financial services products like money orders and savings accounts was scuttled due to the Acronian secession crisis and associated financial panic, and after the Ranat Accords newly independent Acronis and Rodoka both elected to grant their postal monopoly to other entities, leaving TavariPost still saddled with the Union Territories and Elatana, obligations spanning an entire hemisphere of the globe. Observers had long seen the writing on the wall, and overnight Monday, the Tavari Prime Minister reported, TavariPost defaulted on several debt payments and did not have enough cash on hand to meet payroll obligations.

“As a result, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Improvements will assume ownership and control of TavariPost, effective immediately,” the Prime Minister announced at the meeting, while quickly noting that she intended this measure to be temporary. “The Council has agreed in principle for the Union to assume control over TavariPost as an asset held in common, and we will transition to a system where all Union members share in the costs as well as the benefits of the Tavari postal system that, ultimately, was built to serve the entire area anyway.” She noted that the Tavari government would immediately assume and fund the company’s payroll and “immediately outstanding bills” while other details were to be “worked out in the coming hours and days.” It is expected that the currently independent, state-run postal services of Acronis, Metradan and Racatrazi are to be folded into the new, union-level postal service. The Metradani Postal Service already delivers mail in Rodoka and the Isles under a contract. The Acronian government has enacted a “public-private partnership” between the government—which inherited the Church of Akrona’s globe-spanning logistics team and courier staff—and several private commercial logistics firms already operating in the country, primarily UFC-based IlarEx, Inc, which Acronian Chief Administrator Σavora Lašandri said “was always a temporary solution.”

This alone would have made for a monumental meeting, but it was only the first item on the agenda. Metradani President Shtonar Talakar, who will assume the Union Presidency at the council meeting next month, announced during his allotted time that he has issued an executive order to rename the city Anídori, the largest major city in the country’s north, to Argiento, its original name in the Cescolian Norvian language. Cescolians form a majority of the population in the city and have long opposed the city’s Tavari name being imposed as official in place of the Cescolian Norvian name that predates it by several decades. “It is time for the Republic of Metradan to better recognize and celebrate our indigenous Cescolian population. This city, the city of Argiento, is the honorary capital of the Metradani north and the beating heart of the Cescolian community, and we hope that our fellow countries in the Union will join us in recognizing Argiento as the only name of this city,” said Mr. Talakar. The Council immediately and unanimously adopted a resolution doing just that.

The next proposed resolution took significantly more time for the Council to reach an agreement, including more than half an hour spent in executive session. Chief Administrator Kanor Tarelda Voštoi of Racatrazi introduced a proposal to amend Title III of the Ranat Accords, the Charter Establishing the Tavari Union, to allow member states to popularly elect their delegates to the Union Council in the same way that Union Territories do. This was initially opposed by some, including Žarís Nevran Alandar, who explained that negotiators at Ranat chose the current system for a reason. “We sought to ensure self-determination of the peoples of the territories by ensuring that their representation on the Council—which is, ultimately, their sovereign, their collective head of state—is answerable directly to them. Members who are sovereign states do not need a directly elected delegate to ensure their own self-determination, and in fact are better served by the heads of their national government, who are already equipped and empowered to be decisionmakers, on the Union Council,” she argued. She also noted that one outcome the framers of the Accords sought to avoid was one where a national government politically opposed its own representation on the Union Council, which Ms. Nevran Alandar warned could “threaten the efficacy and legitimacy of the entire Union.”

“It must be noted that this body spent considerable time demanding Racatrazi make assurances of the strength of its democracy in order to be admitted to this Union, but when Racatrazi proposes more democracy, it is rebuffed,” Mr. Tarelda Voštoi replied. He explained that in Racatrazi, the debate around the merits of the Tavari Union are very much rooted in concerns that the Tavari are a minority in the country, and that the overwhelmingly Ngodian-speaking, Duarism-worshiping indigenous tiefling population who form a majority have expressed significant anxiety at seeing their cultural identity possibly erased if Racatrazi “pushes too hard or too quickly” in re-integrating itself with the Tavari world. “A democratically elected Union Council Delegate, with a term always fixed to match legislative elections just like in the territories, allows the people of Racatrazi to ensure that a minority government in the Diet cannot sign away their rights,” said Mr. Tarelda Voštoi.

Eventually, it was Racatrazi’s argument that won the day, with the Council adopting an amendment to the Ranat Accords shortly after emerging from executive session. As an apparently compromise, Mr. Tarelda Voštoi’s proposal had been amended in the executive session to state that a member could choose to switch to an elected delegate if a majority of the Council agrees. A resolution introduced immediately thereafter to permit Racatrazi to make such a change at the next occasion they have a national legislative election passed 7-0, with Tavaris abstaining. While much of the debate happened behind closed doors, Metradani President Talakar explained to reporters after the meeting that one point he had made that he said “really changed most hearts in the room” was that, under Metradan’s presidential system, he essentially already is a directly elected Delegate, and he noted that while his party was one of those in government currently, his role was entirely separate from the legislature and, therefore, Metradan’s council representation could theoretically oppose its legislature at any time. Seeming to directly reference the Tavari Prime Minister’s comments, Mr. Talakar also said “we decided it was best for countries to be able to decide for themselves who they are best-served by having represent them on the Council.”

Discussion of democracy continued as Metrati Anar’s delegate, Brõhal Nankar Catti, delivered and read a letter from the island’s Administrator, Edori Navar Tendrokai, regarding the current impasse between the Union Council and Metrati Anar’s local government over a home rule charter. Metrati Anar has twice proposed a charter draft that has been rejected by the Council not for claiming too much power for itself but for seeking to claim too little. “I have consulted with each and every one of our twenty elected legislators, the mayor of each of our municipalities, over half of the various township and municipal board members, and countless members of the public,” said the Administrator’s letter, “and while we are incredibly grateful for the strong commitment to local control shown by the Council, and thank the original negotiators of the Accords for their capable and wise foresight in seeking to protect self-determination, we note that Metrati Anar did not ask for any changes to our system of government, and our democratically determined answer to the Council is that we have decided with our popular sovereignty to respectfully decline your offer of expanded self-determination.” The letter was signed by a supermajority of the Metrati Anar Assembly and majorities of 7 out of the archipelago’s 12 township boards.

The letter only served to further deepen the impasse between Metrati Anar and the Council, which asserted to Del. Nankar Catti that the Ranat Accords were not an “offer” of self-determination but a mutually negotiated treaty that the elected Metrati Anar Assembly ratified and, as Mrs. Nevran Alandar noted, “Edori Navar Tendrokai himself personally participated in the negotiation of and signed.” The Tavari Prime Minister said that the Kingdom of Tavaris is still overseeing schools and public transit in Metrati Anar outside of the Anarís metropolitan area and that it could and would not do so indefinitely. “Metrati Anar cannot simply back out of agreements it duly and lawfully entered into simply because it has discovered that administration can be expensive and difficult,” she said.

The board resolved to add an additional meeting in July to further negotiate with Metrati Anar officials, cutting into what was originally planned to be a three month break in meetings after celebrating the Union’s one year anniversary on June 6th. “We’ll try to have fewer emergency resolutions next time,” Mrs. Nevran Alandar quipped.


Sir Shano Tuvria Announces Candidacy for L.N. Secretary-General: “I Have More Work to Do”

LUCROZA, Celanora (TavariFax)-- Nearly two years after a diagnosis of stomach cancer ended his time at the International Forum, Sir Shano Tuvria announced on Wednesday a run for the top job of another international organization: the League of Novaris. Seeking to close what he euphemistically called “a somewhat complicated chapter” in his life—in which his now ex-wife defrauded him, concealed from him that his cancer had gone into remission, and then bribed his doctor to have him declared dead and smuggled out of the country into the Danvreas, one of the most reclusive regimes on Urth—Tuvria said “I know, perhaps more than most, just what a precious gift it is to be alive” and that he was no longer content to bide his time “sitting around.” Instead, said Tuvria, “I want to spend my time left on Urth serving the greater good.”

Those who happened to watch Tuvria’s announcement could be forgiven for not recognizing the man standing at the podium. Once known for his gleaming bald head and equally clean-shaven jaw, Tuvria now sports a streaky, thin head of graying hair and a surprisingly full, quite silver beard. Once famous for being the youngest member of the Diet by 12 years, Shano Tuvria at 62 is no longer a young trailblazer but an elder statesman. But beyond his looks, Tuvria was also uncharacteristically emotional as he described, for the first time in public remarks, how the events of his “death” affected him. “I was told, by someone very close to me, by someone I trusted over all others, that my political career must be over. I was taken away from what I loved, I was kidnapped, assaulted, and imprisoned. But I’m still alive, I’m still here, and I’ve decided that I will not be silenced. I have more work to do.”

For the past several months, Tuvria has kept a low profile as he sought to recuperate and regain his footing, he said. He has been living in the Prime Minister’s Official Residence as a guest of Žarís Nevran Alandar and has been regularly seen at the neighborhood’s Akronist parish, the Temple of the Sacred Mandate, where he occasionally attended services as Prime Minister. Also at Sacred Mandate, he resumed his first career by spending one day a week at a free σanivat’s clinic, where he assisted members of the community with various notarial needs that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. “This has been some of the most rewarding work of my life,” he said, “but now that my post-captivity health issues have cleared and I have the energy and the will, I’m looking to do the most good, at the highest level, I possibly can.”

In his announcement, Tuvria laid out an agenda for the League of Novaris focusing on “maintaining the League’s position as the first and foremost place for international conflict resolution on the continent of Novaris.” Citing the organization’s foremost strength as its structure as an organization composed of sub-organizations, Tuvria called the League “the central clearinghouse for international communications on Novaris” and pledged to “leverage each and every part of the League to make sure we are being effective everywhere we can be, on every subject we can be.” “Just because Volscina and Tretrid might be arguing in the Novaran Council doesn’t mean they can’t be having a better discussion in the Novaran Transportation Committee,” Tuvria said. “The League can mediate in multiple places at once. Let’s make sure that it’s doing so when and where it can.”

Tuvria also said he will seek input from the Novaran Council on whether any new sub-organizations are warranted and that he has “possible proposals in the works,” including aerospace research, telecommunications and nuclear safety organizations. Tuvria is especially bullish on his proposal to kickstart a joint Novaran space program. “With the debris clear, it’s time for the people of Urth to return to the stars in earnest, and there is so, so much that Novaran countries can do together—forgive me—in this space.” As Secretary-General, Tuvria pledged, he will seek to establish a formalized program of international cooperation in spaceflight under the auspices of the League, which he says he hopes will take the form of “a fully fledged, standing administrative organ” but that he cautioned would be ultimately shaped by the Novaran Council. Possible agenda items for this space program include tasks as grand as a habitable space station or as mundane as “a weather satellite or two.”

“Imagine a Pan-Novaran space station, or a Pan-Novaran network of navigational satellites, or weather or communication [satellites], belonging not to any one Novaran country but to every League member. Imagine what this organization could accomplish if it found a common cause to create something, to build something together. That’s really what I seek, whether it’s outer space or something else entirely. Novaris should, and can, have a common cause.”

Scientific research also features in Tuvria’s plans. “We should review the Rotantic research program to ensure we’re doing all we can. We can coordinate with the Rotantic Congress to sponsor research critical into global warming and climate remediation. And in all areas, not just climate research, we should seek to establish cooperation and exchange between Novaran universities wherever possible,” Tuvria said.

There are three other candidates already declared, and the nomination period has not yet closed. Duke Halvard Horn II of Gamlevinland, Elise Hercoux of Alksearia, and Barone Contanzo Saturnino of Volscina have also announced campaigns for the L.N. leadership. Of his opponents, Tuvria said he respects all of them and wishes them well, but noted that he is “the only candidate in the race who has actually led a major international organization.” Ultimately, however, he considers each of them “valuable partners for peace and prosperity” and promised to work closely with them regardless of who wins the election.

“As I well know, the Novaran Council does not always agree with me, and I am well prepared to serve the League and the continent in other ways if my leadership bid isn’t what the Council decides is best” said Tuvria, referencing perhaps his most significant political embarrassment: the resounding rejection of Tavaris’ bid for full membership in the League of Novaris despite most of its territory being in Gondwana. Not even Metradan voted in favor of Tavari admission, and Tuvria’s bid to encourage Ekvatoran support by finally renouncing Tavari claims to the “Northern Four” islands was entirely ineffectual. However, Tuvria was sure to emphasize, as Secretary-General, his job would not be to represent Tavaris at all, but to serve the organization neutrally. “Tavaris cannot seek and is not seeking to lead the League of Novaris. I, for simply myself, as a public servant, diplomat, and citizen of the Urth, am seeking the job of Chief Administrative Officer of the League because I believe I bring the best skillset. Nothing more and nothing less.”

Tavaris-Vistaraland Defense Agreement Ratified, Trade Agreement Delayed

NUVRENON—The Diet gave its final approval on Monday to the Tavari—Vistari Defense Partnership, a mutual defense agreement between Tavaris and the Vistari Keizerlijk that forms the first part of Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar’s two-pronged plan for further expanding the Tavari relationship with Vistaraland she has been purposefully pursuing since her days as Deputy Prime Minister under Shano Tuvria. Beginning with the 2021 deal sharing nuclear knowledge and even Vistari nuclear warheads between the two countries, and fortified by the more literal relationship between now-Emperor Otan and Prince Hendrik, Duke of Koersland, in recent years the Tavari government has moved ever closer to Vistaraland, but has never until now entered into a formalized, bilateral agreement with the western Yasteria-based power.

“Through this agreement, we solidify our relationship with Vistaraland as not just a friend but an ally and a partner,” said Mrs. Nevran Alandar at the press conference announcing the agreement. “Our two countries, both with military responsibilities distributed across the planet, are almost tailor-made to be partners in defense, logistics, communications, and intelligence. Our agreement today makes both of our countries stronger and safer.” The Prime Minister added that Vistaraland and Tavaris have “shared strategic interests in assuring the safety and security of widely distributed areas of responsibility that make our collaboration common sense.”

The agreement passed in the Diet by 701-451 with the support of the Prime Minister’s party Irínavi Voi!, confidence-and-supply partners Republican Alternative and the Tavari National Party, and nearly all members of Coalition Right and the Liberals. The official opposition Socialist Green Party for Democracy, however, was strongly opposed to the agreement. Opposition Leader Kolai Šandra Vencrandíl criticized the Prime Minister’s choice of words at her press conference, saying “Where the Prime Minister says ‘shared strategic interests’ in ‘widely distributed areas of responsibility,’ what she means is that both countries are interested in exercising control and dominance over their former colonialist empires. The Prime Minister has jumped through many, many hoops in order to desperately avoid drawing attention to what is a bluntly obvious truth to everyone else watching: today, Tavaris has firmly cast its lot on the side of global imperialism, which is plainly alive and well in the hearts of the Tavari cabinet.”

Despite some subdued objections to the royal relationship as it was first formalized by New Democratic Vierist Party, the Government of Vistaraland expressed “full and unimpeded” support for furthering a relationship between Vistaraland and Tavaris in this way. While the Vistari Keizerlijk notably has a jurisdiction which extends beyond the Imperial Vistari Confederation, support from the Baas ministry assured the See of Supremacy would be empowered to approve the defense agreement.

Prime Minister Allard Baas, addressing the Chamber of Lord-Advisors and invited press organizations, expressed that such an agreement was “Not a matter of if, but when we and our attested allies in Tavaris would be able to create an agreement which possesses the resilience of the 1709 Alliance.” He went on to express the agreement’s scope would allow both nations to have a reliable guarantor for their continued territorial integrity and internal sovereignty. When questioned on the implications of the partnership for the future, Baas responded that “What we have right now is the mandate to continue our sovereign policy while sending the joint message of fraternity to the international community. This will not be the be-all end-all for Vistaraland-Tavaris relations, but it is a glimpse into a future - and a bright one for all Vistari and Tavari peoples at that.”

The agreement was seen as especially relevant for the territory of Vistari North Gondwana, which continues to be under threat of escalating political violence as a region still in the shadow of the 1989 Chibian Insurgency. Lord Minister Ade de Klerk spoke strongly as an advocate for the agreement, stating that cooperation in counterinsurgency is “A much needed step towards exorcizing the specter of terrorism that foreign powers have deemed fit to fuel the fire of.” Due to this angle, critics of the agreement have vocalized the opinion that the agreement is “inherently and unapologetically on the side of imperialism” in the words of Free Chibilaba leader Phila Bengu. Bengu later stated the agreement’s ratification would be the “Third Axis of Imperialism”, placing it alongside historic defense agreements Vistaraland has signed with Norgsveldet and Great Morstaybishlia.

The Tavari-Vistari Defense Partnership entails a pledge by both countries to come to the aid of the other in the event of a military attack, whether by external force or “internal insurgency.” It also arranges for shared usage of military bases for refueling of aircraft and ships, coordination in military drills, the sharing of defense intelligence and strategies, and sets up a mechanism by which the two countries can share military assets.

The defense agreement was negotiated alongside a trade agreement between the two countries. However, due to the unique international constitutional relationship Tavaris has established with its former overseas domains in the Tavari Union, any comprehensive trade agreement undertaken by Tavaris will require the ratification of the Council of the Tavari Union. In reflection of this international scope, the trade agreement is with not just Vistaraland but with the entire Vistara Commonwealth, representing the integration of two global economies with commercial centers located literally across the entire planet. While the Kingdom of Tavaris has wholeheartedly embraced closer relations with Vistaraland, other members of the Tavari Union are more skeptical of one of the world’s most notorious colonial powers—in particular, Acronis.

The July meeting of the Council of the Tavari Union, already with a jam-packed agenda regarding local government in Metrati Anar, negotiations over the transfer of TavariPost to the Union, and broader discussions about shared communications infrastructure, had to be taken into an unplanned executive session (in which members of the media and public were excluded from the meeting) after Matron Vana Dandreal raised formal objections to the trade agreement. “Not only does Acronis, which inherited significant swathes of the Tavari coffee and cocoa industries upon independence, have concerns over the protection of these culturally and economically significant sectors from Vistari competition, we also have concerns regarding the moral appropriateness of linking our economy to one that has acquired its wealth and influence through such violence.”

Ms. Dandreal, whose Church of Akrona as an institution spent centuries at the forefront of Tavari colonialism, including leading sometimes violent campaigns against natives in Rodoka, Metradan, and Ilarís, declined to answer questions from the media after the executive session concluded. The Matron is not the official Acronian representative to the Council of the Tavari Union, but she took the place of Chief Administrator Σavora Lašandri for discussions about the trade agreement under Acronian law that allows the Matron to overrule the elected Chief Administrator in areas of “moral law.” After the executive session, the Council without public debate voted to postpone further discussion of the trade agreement to an extraordinary meeting scheduled for later in July by 6-2, with Tavaris and Elatana voting against.


Metradan Will Adopt Tavari Našdat on 1 January 2024, as Racatrazi Lags Behind

ANARÍS, Metrati Anar-- With final approval from the Board of Administrators of the Reserve Bank of the Tavari Union now in hand, the Republic of Metradan is cleared to adopt the Tavari našdat (abbreviated TAN) as their currency on the first of next year, replacing the Metradani nashdat (MEN). Adopting TAN was a condition both Metradan and Racatrazi agreed to upon joining the Tavari Union in October of 2022. Before changing currencies officially, however, the Reserve Bank of the Tavari Union (formerly the Reserve Bank of Tavaris) must certify that certain “convergence criteria” have been met, meaning that the economies of each country have harmonized to a close enough degree for the switchover to occur without causing economic instability. Metradan was confirmed to have met those criteria on Friday, meaning they will make the switch to TAN just over a year after having joined the Union.

“In order to join the Tavari našdat, the Reserve Bank says you can’t exceed 4% inflation in the price of consumer goods, can’t have a budget deficit higher than 4% of your GDP, can’t have a total public debt higher than 72% of your GDP, and can’t have changed in value compared to the Tavari našdat by more than 12%, plus or minus, in the past year,” said Dr. Kentri Vanar Tentoríl, professor of economics at the University of Nuvrenon. Dr. Vanar Tentoríl serves on a panel of advisors to the Reserve Bank’s Board of Administrators that played a major role in assisting the bank in establishing the system of convergence criteria. He notes that it was “widely expected” for Metradan to more easily meet the targets than Racatrazi due to its much lower debt and deficit. “When we finalized the criteria, Metradan was already in compliance with all but the provisions about the government budget deficit.” Indeed, all it took for compliance was for Metradan to go through its regular annual budget process to pass a smaller budget—not an issue for President Shtonar Talakar’s Akronist Democrats, who have long favored reduced government spending in most areas.

Metradan’s progress stands in stark contrast to Racatrazi, where significant obstacles to convergence exist and have few simple solutions. Both political and economic roadblocks present headaches for those who want to see Racatrazi brought into the common currency zone. First and foremost, Racatrazi did not even agree to fix its exchange rate to the Tavari našdat, a requirement of Union accession, until last month—holding out due to professed concerns over TAN’s stability coming out of the political crisis surrounding the events of Acronian independence. Racatrazi had pegged its našdat (RAN) to SHD at a rate of 500:1 since the 1999 coup. After talks with the Reserve Bank last month, Racatrazi finally agreed to instead redefine the RAN at a peg of 370.37 RAN to one TAN—a roughly mathematically equivalent amount. The cause for this delay was pure politics—while access to the Tavari Union’s common market is politically popular, the costs of transitioning currencies are not, and the government of Kanor Tarelda Voštoi, facing elections within the next few months, has sought to delay these costs as much as possible.

Further, more structural roadblocks remain. Racatrazi’s small population and relatively low economic output compared to the rest of the Union—it has just 1.15 million people and a GDP per capita of less than half that of any other Tavari Union country—means that its low total GDP makes for a disadvantageous rubric by which to judge its debt and deficit. Racatrazi’s public debt is well in excess of 100% of its GDP, and it lacks both the tax base and industrial base to generate much growth in revenue. “When your GDP is only 11 billion, it’s much easier to exceed that. Running a country is expensive,” said Dr. Vanar Tentoríl. “We knew it would be difficult for Racatrazi to meet these guidelines, but they are crucial because without them, simply forcing them to begin using a currency with a much, much higher value, and whose value is being affected by very different forces than what are prevalent in Racatrazi, will make life difficult for people in Racatrazi as well as risk the economic health of the entire common currency area.”

In both countries, the currency transition is not a settled political question—and for some, the transition is highly controversial. In Metradan’s northern Zampanea region, home to the majority of the ethnic Cescolian human population, the country’s indigenous residents bitterly contest the readoption of the former colonial currency. “The Metradani nashdat was already a symbol of oppression, a national currency featuring no human faces, only orcish settler symbols. But to replace it with the currency of Tavaris itself rolls back the clock to the very worst era in this land’s history, to the very sickest, most violent times,” said Metradani Diet Delegate Niballo Gargiulo, who leads the political party Zampana, the Diet’s largest Cescolian interest party. Del. Gargiulo has vowed “strong resistance” to the transition, though how effective any such resistance could be given that the Diet has already ratified the Ranat Accords and enacted the currency transition into law.

In Racatrazi, even the Chief Administrator seems dismissive of the currency transition. Mr. Tarelda Voštoi, whose Racatrazi Together party has collapsed in the polls and is almost certain to exit power in elections mandated to be held by the end of the year, said in remarks last week that “Racatrazi won’t be able to get its debt down for decades, and by then, if we even get there, will there really be the will to force the currency change? I doubt people will care enough. This transition will be very costly for Racatrazi, more for us than for anyone else.” More controversially, he added that he believed Tavaris bore a responsibility to shoulder costs from Racatrazi without recompense as a result of its violent, colonialist past: “We can’t transition now because of our debt, and the primary reason we have this debt is because of more than a century of political and economic instability with which we were saddled when Tavaris, our colonial overlord, decided one day in 1908 that we were too expensive to maintain and so quite literally abandoned us. Tavaris should bear the costs of repairing our economy. If they want us in their currency, they should pay to develop our economy so that it rises to the level of theirs.”

Once the currency transition takes effect, the Central Bank of Metradan will merge into the Reserve Bank of the Tavari Union, and the Metradani government will gain a seat on the Reserve Bank’s Board of Administrators, joining representatives from Acronis, Elatana, Rodoka, Tavaris, and a chairperson appointed by the Council of the Tavari Union. Chairperson Menda Nevran Tanondi said in a statement Friday that, once the Metradani government had assumed its seat on the Board, she would “immediately launch consultative discussions on how to best redesign the symbols of the common currency to reflect all the many different peoples and cultures of our Union.”

BREAKING: Tavari Prime Minister in South Hills for Unannounced Meeting

RONALD, F.D.— Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar is in South Hills for a previously unannounced meeting with President Minerva Todd, the Office of the Prime Minister announced Tuesday. Her departure from the country was not publicly announced until after the Prime Minister had already arrived in South Hills, a break from usual Tavari government protocol.

An itinerary for the meeting was not immediately available. Tavaris and South Hills have had no official diplomatic relations since the Concordian ambassador was expelled from Tavaris on March 16th, 2022, when South Hills stationed nuclear weapons in the Federation of Bana.

This story is ongoing and will be updated…

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29 August 2023

“A Thing of Tremendous Gravity”—Nuclear Deal Between Tavaris, South Hills Restores Relations, Sees Concordians Drop Bana

RONALD, F.D.— In a sudden, unexpected development, Tavaris and South Hills have reached a diplomatic agreement to “restore and normalize” their relationship, according to a statement issued by Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar and South Hills President Minerva Todd on Tuesday. The Tavari Prime Minister made the trip to Ronald without previously announcing it to the press corps, which is an unusual diversion from normal protocol that usually occurs when such a notification is considered a risk to national security. The agreement will see Tavaris and South Hills resume full diplomatic relations—there have been no official lines of communication between the two nuclear powers since Tavaris terminated them in March of 2022 in protest—but this is only the beginning of the agreement.

In a stunning reversal of its current alignment, South Hills will terminate its defense agreement with the Federation of Bana in which it maintains a military base in Ranisport, New Rania, and remove the nuclear weapons it stored there during the peak of the 2021-2022 partition crisis—the impetus for the closure of embassies between Tavaris and South Hills. This represents a major diplomatic victory for Tavaris against Bana, its historic rival and enemy who Tavaris has accused of sponsoring religious terrorism leading up to and during the events surrounding Acronian independence. Bana has been in a state of relative political upheaval since January when then-Premier Ninalowo Abeo was assassinated. Bana and South Hills had entered into the defense agreement in 2009 after Tavaris became a full member of the Union of Commonwealth Alliances.

Perhaps most controversially, the deal involves an exchange of nuclear weapons. South Hills has agreed to remove the two nuclear warheads it stationed in Bana, but will move them instead to an undisclosed location in Tavaris. In exchange, Tavaris will station two nuclear weapons in South Hills. The warheads will remain under the control of the owning country, not the country in which they are stored, and notably the agreement between South Hills and Tavaris is not a defense agreement—neither country will have any obligation to come to the aid of the other in the event of an attack, nuclear or otherwise.

Additionally, the two countries have agreed to establish military and law enforcement cooperation to help stem the tide of illegal narcotics, such as cannabis and cocaine, from Racatrazi into South Hills. Racatrazi, long infamous for its role in the international drug trade, represents a major source of narcotics entering South Hills. As part of the Ranat Accords, the Area of Responsibility of the Royal Tavari Armed Forces includes Racatrazi, and Tavaris has made several commitments to help Racatrazi address its endemic drug crime as part of its admission into the Tavari Union. As such, the Tavari military expects to assume an active role in patrolling the Concordian Ocean near Racatrazi for narcotics traffickers, operations it will now conduct jointly with South Hills in international waters.

“Today we announce our groundbreaking, monumental agreement to restore and normalize our relations,” said a statement released by the two leaders. “We are proud to announce a new, clean slate and a new day for Concordian-Tavari relations. From now on, our countries will work together cordially in our shared areas of concern while respecting each other’s interests. While, from time to time, it will be unavoidable for us to have disagreements, our agreement today ensures a mutual foundation of respect and open communication that, we hope and believe, will ensure that peace and diplomacy will always prevail.”

In a press conference in Ronald, Mrs. Nevran Alandar said “I could not be prouder and more pleased with what we have accomplished here today. We had hoped for a deal to re-open our embassies, but what we got is a deal to remake our entire relationship. Opportunities like this come rarely, and Tavaris intends to seize it. From this point onward, we are not opponents, enemies, or rivals. We are working together where our interests align, for the betterment of both our countries.”

Alongside Mrs. Nevran Alandar was South Hills President Minerva Todd, who described the landmark agreement as “a bright new chapter in Northwest Gondwana. Our security framework has been mostly maintained, with further security guarantees made for Tavaris. Through this new agreement, things are looking up for Tavaris and South Hills. May this new security framework strengthen our mutual bond over time.”

Notably absent from the press conference was the Commander-in-Chief of South Hills, Allio Hensen. We reached out for comment on the sudden reversal of years of foreign relations; Mr. Hensen had this to say: “The Federation of Bana was a steadfast ally of ours in Gondwana. For our President to suddenly throw that relationship away is an absolute waste. And for what? To cater to Tavaris, a nation who is allied with domestic adversaries like Norgsveldet and Vistaraland? I cannot for the life of me ascertain what was going through the mind of our Madam President to make such an imprudent decision, and in such a short span of time. This reversal of relations will have significant and unexpected ramifications that I believe she does not realize. Though I do not condone this political move, it is her decision as her role as our President.”

International relations experts expressed surprise that such a compromise was in reach, with many particularly shocked about the nuclear weapons arrangement. Dr. Mabrin Nuvo Teldrasíl, professor and chair of the International Relations faculty at the University of Elatana at Arktorís, has studied the Tavari-Concordian relationship since the late 1980s. “Back in 2022, Žarís Nevran Alandar made clear that removal of Concordian nukes from Bana was a precondition for Tavaris to even begin to discuss reestablishing relations. That these talks happened at all is a surprise, but for something so substantial to come from them, something as major as South Hills abandoning its commitment to defend Bana militarily, is an absolute diplomatic coup. Though it must be said that the price is quite steep. South Hills now has the right to station nuclear weapons in Tavaris, not for the defense of Tavaris but for its own purposes, whatever those might be. However extraordinarily unlikely, there now exists the possibility that South Hills could attack some other country from Tavaris, thus entangling us in the conflict even if we had no say in it. Even more unlikely, but still critically necessary to consider, is South Hills using these nukes to attack Tavaris. The only defense we have against such a thing is a mutual knife placed at their back as they have placed at ours. Embedded in this deal is a kernel of the severest kind of nuclear brinkmanship. It is a thing of tremendous gravity.”

Otan Oren Bóttinal, analyst at Nuvrenon think tank Tavari Defense Institute, summarized his view of the Tavari position as “pretty much the best deal Tavaris could hope to get.” While he said that Concordian nukes in Tavaris represents “an imposition of the will of a superpower over just a power,” the mutuality of the exchange of nukes means Tavaris now has a stronger ability to project power around Concord and western Yasteria—regions of particular interest to Tavaris of late, being home to friends like Norgsveldet and Vistaraland as well as opponents in Upper Suvania, where Tavaris is still at war, and the Federation of the Southern Coast, with whom relations are quite frosty and likely to get frostier as Tavaris isolates Bana, a Côtois ally.

Said Mr. Oren Bóttinal: “Tavaris hasn’t necessarily liked South Hills, but they have more reasons to hate the Côtois and can only benefit from reducing the sources of tension in the region so it can focus its attention on areas of real strategic concern, like the Suvanias. For its part, South Hills is now free of defense obligations in northwest Gondwana but still retains the advantage and power projection of having critical strategic assets ready to deploy in the region, and has gained some help in anti-drug trafficking to boot. All for the price of two Tavari nukes stuffed in a bunker somewhere—a sizable fraction of Tavaris’ deployable arsenal of approximately 48 but a drop in the bucket of South Hills’ 800. And neither have any obligation to come to the aid of the other. It’s about as close to everyone getting what they want as can happen in this world.”


Sir Endra Tivriš Žovradai, Twice Tavari Prime Minister, Killed in Pneumatic Tube Accident

NUVRENON– Sir Endra Tivriš Žovradai, the current Minister of Defense, former Minister of External Affairs, and two-time Prime Minister, was killed on Saturday in a tragic accident when, according to the Office of the Prime Minister, the pneumatic tube system used by the Tavari government to transport classified documents between buildings “severely malfunctioned.” Sir Tivriš Žovradai was 78. The pneumatic tube system spans several city blocks and connects the Tavari government’s three largest and most critical facilities in the capital: Government Center One, Government Center Two, and the National Diet Building. Last overhauled during the construction of Government Centers One and Two in the late 1980s, multiple sources within the government said that the system is “notorious for breakdowns” and that only one person in the entire Tavari civil service is qualified to repair its central components.

“Our entire nation grieves the tragic loss of one of our greatest public servants, Sir Endra Tivriš Žovradai, Knight of the Amethyst Order, former Prime Minister, Cabinet member, Delegate to the Diet, and most of all a trusted and beloved confidante, advisor, partner, and friend to so many. On behalf of the entire Tavari government, I extend our sincerest condolences to Endra’s children and family. What occurred today should not have happened, and I take full responsibility for this unacceptable breach in workplace safety standards. The government will immediately open an investigation and leave no stone unturned until we are certain that what happened today can and will never happen again,” said the Prime Minister in a statement.

According to several sources, whose identities are being withheld because they were not authorized to comment publicly, the accident occurred when someone in the Office of the Prime Minister attempted to send a document through a tube routed directly to the Defense Ministry, but, just as they were loading the carrier into the tube, their wedding ring slipped off and fell directly into the tube immediately before the door closed and the system pressurized. Everyone who spoke with the News agreed that the person immediately pressed the emergency stop button, but that the button did not work. The ring emerged at the other end when, apparently, Sir Tivriš Žovradai opened the tube system to retrieve the document and fell upon being impacted. Orcs over the age of 70 have highly elevated chances of death from falls, and at age 78, Sir Tivriš Žovradai was not only well beyond the usual Tavari retirement age (60, raised from 55 by the former Prime Minister himself in 2002) but beyond the average Tavari life expectancy of 75. It is extraordinarily unusual for Tavari orcs to remain working beyond the age of 70, though public service is a job field known for advanced ages, especially top-level political appointees like cabinet ministers.

Endra Tivriš Avbómatti was born in Eštakai on May 7th, 1945 to Hendra and Alacandi Tivriš Avbómatti, the second son of the shrinemaster at Avbómatt Shrine, which is recognized by the Tavat Avati Shrine Association as the oldest active shrine in the Tavat Avati faith, dating to 304 CE. The shrine, which sees more pilgrims annually than any shrine outside of Nuvrenon, has been in the custody of his family since time immemorial, and is today headed by Sir Tivriš Žovradai’s niece, Ólendra Tivriš Avbómatti. By all accounts Endra is known to have been deeply devoted to the shrine he grew up on and was a devout Avatidar all his life, but as the second child the title of Shrinemaster was not to be his, so he sought his living as a lawyer.

After law school at the University of Dravai and completing a stint in conscription as a JAG officer with the Royal Tavari Air Force, Endra settled into a job in the legal department at Tivriš Insurance, owned by the family bašdõran conglomerate—cushy, loaded with perks for the son of a prestigious branch of Line Tivriš, and with what Endra later described as a “sinfully large corner office”—but immediately found it “crushingly boring.” The only thing he liked about the job was his assigned secretary, Vedra Rundra Žovradan, who soon became his wife. Upon their marriage in 1973, the couple selected a name combining elements from both their names—common today, but still a new trend at the time that, Endra says, earned him “a lot of raised eyebrows and weird looks from the good old boys at the office” because of a perception that it was “immature” of Endra to adopt a family name based on that of his wife, the younger partner. Endra quit his job at the “family company” shortly after.

Endra was picked up by the foreign service in 1975 because of his knowledge of the Packilvanian language, which he had studied in college. At the time, the Tavari Foreign Service was struggling to fill positions in Packilvania due to the ongoing Second Packilvanian Civil War, which would last for another ten years. Endra served in Packilvania for that entire decade (occasionally being evacuated and returned as the long war dragged on and occasionally threatened diplomats in the capital), only to be finally rotated to another posting once the war was over. He was then assigned to the Tavari Consulate-General in Xoi, shortly after the 1985 coup that saw the Xoigovoi monarchy restored for just two years before being overthrown once more. Endra served briefly as Acting Consul to Xoigovoi when his supervisor was injured in the outbreak of the 1987 coup.

Endra resolved to leave the foreign service after the coup in Xoigovoi and took the opportunity in 1988 to run for the Ino Province Legislative Council. While he ran as a member of the Democratic National Party, he was inspired to run by Social Democratic Prime Minister Bežra Išdašt Tovrenar, who by then had become famous for her opposition to the so-called “Tavari System” of bribes and kickbacks that had dominated Tavari business and politics for decades. Endra won his seat handily and in just two years as a first-time legislative councilor authored seven anti-corruption bills. He caught the attention of DNP party officials nationally and, when the National Diet went up for election in 1990 after Mrs. Išdašt Tovrenar’s death, he was placed on the ballot for Line Tivriš Delegate. The second son of one of the line’s most prestigious families won handily.

Aged 45 when he entered the Diet, Endra was the second-youngest delegate at the time and remained such until 1994, when 34-year-old Shano Tuvria became the youngest Delegate (then) ever elected and bumped him to third. His ardent anti-corruption speeches and campaigns caught the attention of his colleagues and the public, and many credited him with keeping the legislature’s commitment to ethics reform alive after the Social Democratic party saw their fortunes and administration collapse without Mrs. Išdašt Tovrenar at the helm. Consistently popular among the public, Endra quickly advanced in leadership despite his “young” age and became associated with the DNP’s center-most faction. In 1999, after DNP Prime Minister Mani Ovrošt Tanadar lost re-election, Endra ran for and won the party leadership, becoming Leader of the Opposition. Three years later, Endra led the DNP to victory and became Prime Minister.

Despite being known as one of the most moderate members of his party, once elected Endra wasted no time passing a massive tranche of controversial legislation that was on the shopping list of the party’s right flank. He passed a law opening the Nandrat River National Forest to mining, which proved so immediately, overwhelmingly unpopular among Akronists that the government would not actually use the power granted in that law for twenty years. And after the Liberal privatization of the Tavari Postal Service passed with much less public controversy than expected and (at least initially) began to generate significant returns, Endra sought to beat the Liberals at their own game by launching more privatizations, including TavariRail and most of the country’s power plants (only the one nuclear reactor remained government-owned.) Unlike the Postal Service, however, privatizing the trains saw significant administrative hiccups, rampant delays in the months after the changeover, and allegations of corruption for the man once renowned for his ethics after a Tivriš-owned company landed the rights to the rail franchise in Ino Province.

Even more disastrous for Endra was the Volscine Civil War, which Tavaris entered in 2004 in an internationally surprising intervention on behalf of George Gray. Largely the brainchild of Endra’s Minister of Defense, Nama Oren Kantoreš, the Tavari involvement in the conflict was meant to bolster the Tavari position on Novaris and re-establish its credentials as a major power, but the Tavari military was plagued with significant logistical and strategic problems that rendered it mostly ineffective. Public outrage at the loss in the war, compounded with outrage regarding the trains, led to Endra calling for snap elections and losing control of the Diet in 2005.

However, the Liberal-Green coalition government of Nodri Randai Doranan that followed him, collapsed in infighting after only two years and failed to pass a budget in 2007, leading to elections. Abandoning his first term desire for economic reform, Endra instead pivoted the DNP to tax cuts and increased military spending, which proved popular enough to regain the public’s trust and put him back in office. His second term was much less controversial, and twice as long, as his first stint, and dealt primarily with such mundane topics as banking and insurance reforms and modernizing the country’s military equipment. The Crystal Bay-class nuclear submarines, the Royal Tavari Navy’s first nuclear-powered ships, first began construction in Endra’s second term, though the first would not be commissioned until 2019.

Sir Tivriš Žovradai enjoyed a decade of retirement before being called back into service in 2021 by Žarís Nevran Alandar as Minister of External Affairs, depending on the former Head of Government for his strong foreign policy experience and leaning on his wisdom—and, as necessary for political capital among her colleagues, his age. His appointment at age 75 was not without controversy, though Endra fiercely opposed any entertainment of the idea that he was too old, saying in 2021 “The only person on this planet who gets to decide when I’m done working is me. The day I can’t do this job, kick me outta my office with my stuff in a box and I’ll go back to playing golf, but retirement is boring as hell and so help me Spirits, so long as I can perform the tasks of the job, let me work.”

In June of 2022, citing his “remarkably long” career in public service and his “exceptional performance representing the country in critical External Affairs incidents such as the Second Packilvanian Civil War, the 1987 coup in Xoigovoi, the Volscine Civil War, and the 2021 negotiations with Meagharia,” Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar awarded Endra a knighthood, the country’s highest honor. Shortly thereafter, the Prime Minister moved Sir Tivriš Žovradai to the Defense Ministry, where he replaced Nama Oren Kantoreš, once his own Defense Minister. While observers reported at the time that he was expected to remain in the job only as a caretaker, “no one expected his career to end the way it did,” said one unnamed source in the Ministry of Defense.

“None of this should have happened. None of this. A 78 year old orc should not have been working. The emergency stop button should not have failed. The government of a nuclear power in 2023 should not be using pneumatic tubes to send documents,” said the source. “The Tavari government’s inability or refusal to break out of gerontocracy and technological ineptitude have literally killed someone. What an embarrassment.”

Flags have been ordered to half staff for seven days. As a former Prime Minister, Sir Tivriš Žovradai is entitled to a state funeral, but no arrangements are yet publicly available. Sir Tivriš Žovradai is also almost certain to be enshrined at Avbómatt Shrine, making him the only Prime Minister to be enshrined in the Tavat Avati faith’s oldest holy site. The work of the Defense Ministry will continue with an Acting Minister, but one thing that will not carry on is the pneumatic tube system itself, which has been entirely powered down. In its absence, sources report, classified documents will be transferred between departments by fax.


Elatana May Form Own Military After All

ARKTORÍS– When Elatana became independent as part of the Ranat Accords, it elected not to form a military, instead continuing to depend on the Royal Tavari Armed Forces who are responsible for the entire Tavari Union. As did Rodoka and the Isles, Elatana has agreed to reimburse Tavaris for a percentage of the costs the Tavari military incurs defending it—the formula is highly complex and comprises a significant proportion of the text of the Charter Establishing the Tavari Union—and made arrangements for most Elatanans serving in the Tavari military to serve in Elatana. The Tavari military is closely and deeply linked to Elatana, which was established initially as a prison colony policed by Tavari soldiers and has hosted the Royal Tavari Navy’s Third Fleet and indeed the overwhelming majority of Tavari military personnel and assets in the region around Arcturia since the 18th century. Arktorís, Elatana’s capital and largest city, is home to military bases for every branch in the Tavari military, and especially since Tavaris’ joining of the Concordian Ocean-centered UCA defense alliance in the 1980s has been home to a massive and growing defense industry that now forms a major pillar of independent Elatana’s economy. For these reasons, Elatana’s negotiators at the Ranat Accords summit—led by then-Administrator, now-Prime Minister Tevri Kantõši Nolandar—were content to leave the Tavari military, which Mr. Kantõši Nolandar has called “the most popular institution in Elatana,” in place with few operational changes. But it now seems that he may be having second thoughts.

Budget season is approaching for the Diet of Elatana, and in a meeting of the Budget Committee of the Diet on Monday, the Prime Minister raised eyebrows by announcing that the defense budget, last year passed as part of the same bill as the entirety of the rest of the budget, is this year to be separated and voted upon separately—and he cautioned delegates that “This year’s defense budget will look very, very different.” The Office of the Prime Minister and the Defense Ministry both declined to comment for this story—unsurprising, as Mr. Kantõši Nolandar holds both portfolios—but sources within the government (who are unnamed so they can speak candidly) report that the past few cabinet meetings have all centered almost entirely on the military question. While some back-and-forth on the issue has been “occasionally occurring” since independence, the impetus for the recent shift appears to be the agreement between Tavaris and South Hills, which garnered little opposition in Tavaris or internationally but which sources report Mr. Kantõši Nolandar has decried.

“He thinks the South Hills deal is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard,” said one source within the Cabinet Office. “He says that Tavaris completely disregarded Elatana’s perspective and ‘jeopardized our security in Arcturia in exchange for security in the Strait of Kings.’ He won’t shut up about how Elatana bears the risks because it’s closer.” Another source described the Elatanan Prime Minister as “livid” and said that Elatana was not consulted at all regarding the deal, which saw South Hills abandon its defense agreement with the Federation of Bana and the two countries exchange placement of nuclear weapons. “Other than the Federation of the Southern Coast, South Hills has been the biggest focus of all the discussions we have ever had about national security. The PM was stunned we didn’t even get a heads up, let alone get asked our opinion on letting our guard down with the nearby nuclear superpower.”

The South Hills issue, however, is only one of the questions now being raised in the highest echelons of Elatanan government. Recent conversations with the Tavari government have sown doubt that Elatanans serving in the RTAF will be able to remain in Elatana for their entire duration of service as suggested in negotiations for the Ranat Accords. Said one source within the Cabinet Office: “We’ve basically been told that the Tavari military is still the Tavari military and that it responds ultimately to needs and priorities of the Tavari government. According to them, ultimately, if Tavaris determines that Elatanan troops are needed elsewhere, they can and will be reassigned. This is a big deal because we were told Elatanans serve in Elatana and Rodokans in Rodoka. But when we raised our concerns, we were basically told that we’re getting what we pay for, or rather that we’re paying much less than what a military costs other countries in exchange for a loss of control. And [the Prime Minister] is now reconsidering that tradeoff.”

The Royal Tavari Armed Forces declined to answer the questions we sent for this article, but did respond with an unsigned written statement, saying “The Royal Tavari Armed Forces are responsible for and serve the entire Tavari Union, under the ultimate command of their Commander-in-Chief, who is the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tavaris. Our servicemembers know that, in time of emergency, they may be called away to another location where they are needed most—this is part of the fundamental nature of serving in any military. It is therefore impossible to guarantee that an Elatanan citizen serving in the Royal Tavari Armed Forces will never be called to respond to an emergency in another country. That said, we recognize that the Kingdom of Elatana has made the decision as a sovereign country to contract out its defense to the Royal Tavari Armed Forces and that, as such, the brave Elatanans who seek to join or have joined us do so to defend and serve their own country and their own communities. In light of this, our policy is to station servicemembers from Union countries in their country except in the event of an emergency requiring temporary reassignment, or unless that servicemember requests service abroad.”

Another issue causing friction has to do with Elatana’s closest neighbor, Alksearia. The Alkari jointly settled Elatana as a colony along with the Tavari beginning in 1699, and Alksearia has been closely linked with Elatana since. The Alkari military was deployed to the North Elatana Autonomous Zone to help ensure stability during the height of the Division Crisis, and the government of Elatana has sought to formalize a military relationship with Alksearia. However, with Elatanan defense legally a Tavari responsibility, it is Tavaris who must negotiate such an agreement, and there has been little appetite to do so as Tavaris believes the pre-existing Alkari-Tavari Defense Treaty of 1702 as well as UCA membership provide a sufficient framework. UCA participation is also held at bay by Elatana’s lack of a military, as it cannot independently commit troops to the defensive pact—despite the fact that Elatana is the main reason Tavaris is in the UCA, which began focused on the Concordian Ocean, at all. “Not having a military closes us off from so much of how sovereign states interact with one another, and that has been hard to ignore for many of us,” said a source.

While it is certain that there is concern in Elatana over the nature of their national defense, it is far less clear if there is any consensus on what to change, or even whether to change at all. Some expressed doubt that a proposal to establish an independent Elatanan military would pass the Diet. “There’s no way, once people see the numbers on how much this would cost, that this would pass. It would blow a hole in our budget to buy one ship, let alone an entire navy. Even if Tavaris gave us a sweetheart deal like they gave Acronis, which is no guarantee, the costs of buying a military are enormous, to speak nothing of running one,” said one high-level source. “Why on Urth would we choose to spend all that money when we can just keep paying peanuts to Tavaris? The costs we would take on, the risk we would take on, would be astronomical. Or, we could just not do that. I know which I’m picking,” said another.

Acronis, which first became independent through legislation and referendum before the Ranat Accords, maintains a small but independent military force called the Peacekeepers, whose equipment was purchased under terms spelled out in the Acronis Independence Referendum Act that amounted to steep discounts. During the Ranat Accords negotiations, similar terms were offered to Rodoka and the Isles and to Elatana, but both declined and instead chose not to establish militaries at all. For members with independent militaries—which was initially just Acronis, but later Metradan and Racatrazi were admitted with already extant militaries—the Accords state that “primary responsibility to respond” belongs to the member and that the RTAF only has “secondary responsibility,” requiring the invitation of the member government to enter except in the event of a limited set of emergencies. While Prime Minister Kantõši Nolandar is said to seek this same arrangement for Elatana, the discounts Acronis got aren’t included in the text of the Ranat Accords, and it would take legislation in the Tavari National Diet to offer the deal again.

Sources agree that every idea discussed so far would require several years to implement and significant negotiations with the Tavari government to decide upon final details. “The Tavari military will be here for at least ten more years even if we vote to kick them out tomorrow,” said one source. “We simply don’t control our own destiny yet. It will take time and negotiations and what we ultimately do will require Tavari cooperation. But that’s what we signed up for with the Ranat Accords. And without them, who knows where we would be? Whatever disagreements or discussions we’re having now, I much prefer to the alternative.”