Union Media Alliance: News from the Tavari Union


KMI-KSK Union Media Alliance brings you the best examples of Staynish-Codexian-language journalism from the leading news institutions across the Tavari Union, including the award winning Nuvrenon News, the Crystal Coast Free Press, the Metradan Staynish Daily, the Arktorís Observer, the Sinajärv Morning News, the Racatrazi News, Public Broadcasting Tavaris (TV), TavariFax, and more!


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.”

1 Like


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.”

1 Like


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.

The Metradani nashdat—which is spelled differently than the Tavari našdat because Metradan does not follow the Council of the Tavari Language’s official spelling standard—has historically followed close in value to the Tavari našdat, because even after independence, the Metradani economy remained closely linked to the Tavari one. (Metradan’s Norvian neighbors have never been overly friendly or eager to trade with the former Tavari colony.) Since joining the Tavari Union, one MEN has been pegged at 1.13 TAN, meaning the Metradani currency is actually valued slightly higher than the Tavari currency. This is mainly because the Metradani economy exports less, and imports more, than the Tavari economy. Metradan’s currency has also been very stable historically, moreso than the Tavari našdat—which, at 51.546 TAN to the Standard Hawking Dollar, has rebounded from its Division Crisis low of more than 64 TAN to the SHD but which has still been trending lower than the government’s longtime target of 48 TAN to the SHD.

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 9.70 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.”

1 Like

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…

1 Like

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.”



Tavaris Forswears Oil Production—But the “Metrati Anar Loophole” Remains

NUVRENON– Officially speaking, the Kingdom of Tavaris closed its waters to oil rigs in 1990. Tavari of a certain age will remember the Green Wave that year, referring to the general election in which, for the first and so far only time in Tavari political history, the party Green Tavaris won an outright majority of seats in the Diet. Prior to then, the high-water mark of the green movement in Tavaris was the 1970s, when the Greens played second-fiddle in coalition governments with the Democratic National Party in 1970 and the Liberals in 1975. In the 1980s, Bežra Išdašt Tovrenar’s Social Democrats dominated the left and focused the public and political consciousnesses on finally tackling the Tavari business world’s stinking corruption infestation, but the writing was on the wall that the public appetite for environmentalism was not yet sated when the Greens under Sir Elešai Tarelda Ektovan earned the spot of Official Opposition in Išdašt Tovrenar’s 1987 re-election. SDP and the Greens enjoyed one of the friendliest relationships ever recorded between the government and opposition in Tavaris, and when Išdašt Tovrenar passed away, for many Tavari, Sir Tarelda Ektovan seemed the natural choice to take on her mantle. But it was his election pledge to “immediately end oil extraction in Tavaris forever” that enraptured the public—especially young people, whose record-breaking attendance at the polls pushed the 1990 election to a total turnout rate of an astounding 90.1%, more than 10 percentage points higher than any Tavari election before or since. The Petroleum Extraction Limitation Act was on King Zaram IV’s desk to sign within a month of the Diet’s first sitting.

But, of course, there was a loophole. The law as passed forbade the construction, or permit renewal, of any petroleum extracting enterprise in the waters of what the law called “metropolitan Tavaris,” defined as “the [then] 11 provinces of Tavaris.” This had the effect of excluding the unprovinced territories: the East Cerenerian Isles, Elatana, the Isles of Kanor, Rodoka, and as the loophole eventually came to be named, Metrati Anar. The loophole, to which Sir Tarelda Ektovan acceded primarily out of strategic and national security concerns to ensure the Royal Tavari Armed Forces could depend on at least some domestic petroleum sources, was seen as a massive betrayal, especially by the party’s young supporters. Environmentalists decried the loophole as effectively neutering the law, since Metrati Anar was already home to more than two-thirds of the always small Tavari oil industry. Sir Tarelda Ektovan stayed on for five years, one of the longest tenures on record, but even despite several other major environmentalist achievements (such as starting the transition from gasoline to Tavari-produced sugarcane ethanol, establishing the government’s Biofuels Research Institute, and shutting down the country’s coal power plants) the voters never forgave him for the Metrati Anar Loophole. The Greens were shut out of power for a decade and only in the past few years have they begun to once again drift from the center toward the left.

Today, the Greens officially do not exist as a standalone party, instead forming one faction within the massive leftward behemoth known as the Socialist Green Party for Democracy (known by the Tavari acronym ÍLKES) that emerged from the gaping void in the Tavari left that was left behind by the departure of Acronis. How long that party will continue to survive is anyone’s guess; already in provincial Legislative Councils across the country, ÍLKES caucuses are fracturing into competing groups of social democrats, democratic socialists, and not one but two separate green parties, and national party organizations for these factions are sure to form soon. It is at this moment, where the Tavari environmental movement is at its most rudderless, that Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar, no famed treehugger, has decided to make her play. And so it is Irínavi Voi! (“Onward Together!”), the more-or-less renamed Democratic National Party of the unremarkable center, that can now lay claim to finally achieving the last promise of the Green Wave. At the meeting of the Council of State on Saturday, Emperor Otan IV gave royal assent to the Petroleum Extraction Limitation Act of 2023, which does precisely one thing: it strikes the term metropolitan from the previous ban, thus banning the construction or permit renewal of any petroleum extraction facilities in Tavaris, full stop.

But there is, of course, a loophole—because Metrati Anar is no longer part of Tavaris. Neither, for that matter, are Rodoka, the Isles of Kanor, the Avtovati Isles, or Elatana. Tavaris no longer has any unprovinced territories at all. The change in the law has essentially no effect. Still, the Prime Minister holds up the law as important “because it binds all future Tavari governments, even if a future reorganization creates more unprovinced territories,” as she said to a News reporter at the Council of State meeting. Of course, such a future government can simply pass a new petroleum extraction law, and when pressed, the Prime Minister admitted as much. “Of course, as we all remember from civics class, no Diet can truly bind a future Diet unless a law is made part of the constitution, which the Petroleum Extraction Act is not. But laws are also symbols, and laws are also statements of purpose and intent, and with this law, we are making it known that Tavaris believes the age of oil is over.”

The age of oil is most certainly not over in Metrati Anar. The Council of the Tavari Union—which is governing more and more of Metrati Anar as the territorial government continues to staunchly resist the self-rule they insist is being forced upon them—has been renewing the operating permits of oil rigs in the territory at a rapid clip, each and every one of them in a vote of 7-1, with Acronis opposed. The Tavari military, just as then, is still essentially the only consumer of oil produced in Metrati Anar—and, in fact, it is using more oil than ever. The Royal Tavari Navy has bigger ships now than in 1990, especially its two aircraft carriers that are most certainly not nuclear powered. Civilians haven’t been allowed to use fossil fuels for their cars in Tavaris since 2012, but in 2020 the Tavari military (including the Marshalls, the Tavari police) burned through the equivalent of some 28 million barrels of oil, more than 75,000 every day, which vastly exceeds the approximately 15,000 barrels of oil produced in Metrati Anar each day. And while Prime Ministers of several parties have made all manner of commitments and promises regarding the military’s fossil fuel use, it won’t be entirely stopping any time soon. Lithium-ion battery-equipped submarines from Norgsveldet, planned to launch in the next few years, will replace the Navy’s diesel submarines, but nuclear aircraft carriers are a long way off, and tanks and aircraft also rely on petroleum-based fuels. Tavari research into ethanol and biofuels always seems to be promising new options “around the corner,” but we have not yet managed to turn that corner. Oil, it seems, will remain on the menu.

The Prime Minister insists that her law to officially ban oil extraction in Tavaris is meaningful. “We are not yet carbon-neutral, and we are not yet at zero fossil fuels. This is true. To my knowledge there are no countries on Urth that use no oil. Today, we took a concrete step to say that we will never expand our oil industry. It will only ever shrink. The entire Council of the Tavari Union will decide what happens to the oil in Metrati Anar, which is currently used to defend our Union by the military, because the oil around Metrati Anar belongs to all Tavari Union citizens, and I promise that I will lead the way on the Council to ensuring a responsible draw-down as technology advances and we can shift away from these fuel sources once and for all.” When asked if she would commit to concrete proposals in that draw down, such as a cap on new permits, she demurred, saying only “We will have to deliberate on those sorts of issues as a Council.”

Above all, it does remain true that Tavaris uses far fewer fossil fuels than it otherwise might—commercial and personal vehicles haven’t used gasoline since 2012, and the country began to switch away from coal toward hydroelectric power in the 1970s, completed in 1991 (though still supplemented by natural gas.) “Nuclear” Nevran’s famed plan for six new nuclear power plants by 2032 is rolling along apace, and rumors continue to abound that she is planning even more. Offshore wind farms in the east and solar farms in the sunnier portions of Nandrat have also begun to come online in the past decade. And yet, the Tavari military remains the gas-guzzling resource hog it always has been, and it will remain that way until fighter jets can run on biofuels. Speaking of planes, the civilian airline industry is also exempt from the ban on fossil fuels, and their transition is sure to take even longer than the military’s, since Tavaris will have to wait for not just Tavari airlines but all airlines everywhere to cease using fossil fuels before it can truly declare the skies of the Union carbon-free. The Petroleum Extraction Limitation Act of 2023 may have achieved a promise made in 1990, but it is not the whole answer to the actual elimination of fossil fuels. As in so many other things, Tavaris is left a country in transition.

As for Metrati Anar, the status quo may not continue forever. Acronian Chief Administrator Σavora Lašandri hinted to reporters on Monday that Acronis may be nearing the end of its patience with the repeated 7-1 votes on oil extraction. “It has come high time for us to stop beating around the bush and make the hard choices. We can’t keep pumping these noxious, dangerous pollutants into the atmosphere, and Acronis is going to stand up for the Urth. If the Council won’t listen to us about oil in Metrati Anar, then we may have to very strongly consider whether we will ever be prepared to accept trade deals with other polluting economies, such as Vistaraland, and we plan to be very, very strict on plans regarding TavariPost and its fleet of vehicles when the Union begins to assume control of the postal service. Our beloved friends, allies, and partners across the Union should know that Acronis is a godly country, and we believe God is telling us to stop these fuels now. Not tomorrow, not after a long and careful period of responsible draw-downs, but now. And we will not be able to vote against God forever.”


Tavari Union Joins International Embargo of Mirhaime and Allies, Including Sayyed

ANARÍS, Metrati Anar (TavariFax)– The Council of the Tavari Union voted 5-2 on Thursday to cease all trade with countries including Mirhaime and Sayyed effective the first of the year, joining an effort led by the Red Crown Economic Union (RCEU) to isolate the countries for their actions in regard to the recent war in western Gondwana. Parties to the agreement, known as the Anti-Imperialist Containment Agreement, include some of Tavaris’ staunchest allies, such as Tretrid, Norgsveldet, and Vistaraland, but also one of its biggest rivals, the Crowned Socialist Federation of the Southern Coast of Lapérouse—the primary driving force behind the agreement—with whom Tavari relations have long been chilly. Other signatories include Atlalandr, Axdel, and Kaldrbuth, the whole of the RCEU (including Auravas, Dvergerland, Kuduk, Nystatiszna, Ymirland, and Zemeprievadai) and the Norgsveltian Crown Realm (including Dvalheim, Eyjaria, Maanbriak, Tangrland, and Vakrestrender.) Additionally, involvement by the North Concordian Economic Forum as a whole is seen as likely in the near future.

The agreement was crafted primarily in opposition to Mirhaime’s involvement in the recent West Gondwanan war and its power projection in the region more broadly, as well as events in its aftermath of the war which saw defender Sayyed seek to claim territory within the internationally recognized borders of aggressor Crimpateia in a referendum set up by the war’s victorious parties. Crimpateia is currently in a civil war, and doubts over the possible legitimacy of such a referendum, as well as several other concerns, formed a major part of why the International Forum Security Council refused to grant approval for the referendum.

Once the embargo takes effect on 1 January 2024, every member of the Tavari Union will be prohibited from engaging in trade with Mirhaime, Sayyed, and Thalor—and any other countries decided upon by the signatories to the agreement. This includes a ban on doing business with any corporation owned by nationals of these countries. The agreement is renewable yearly. According to a recent article in the Red Dove, the agreement states that “Mirahime and its circle of allies are a threat to the stability of the international community and [the signatories] therefore see it fit to issue a complete stoppage of economic activity between our governments and Mirahime as well its allies.”

The move by the Tavari Union is widely understood to be an overture to the RCEU in hopes of easing tensions, and comes after a sustained political pressure campaign by the RCEU to bring the Tavari to the table—but is sure to significantly complicate recent efforts to build cultural and diplomatic exchange between Tavaris and Sayyed in light of recent revelations that the Xuhari people of western Gondwana share an origin with the Tavari. While no one at the public portions of the deliberations said so openly, political observers agree it is very likely that in exchange for Tavari support on the measure, the RCEU will seek to place diplomatic and political pressure on close ally Bana to keep tensions with Tavaris low. Bana, which has seen significant political instability in recent months and years after multiple assassinations, and the declaration of martial law and the arrest of four of the country’s five Supreme Court justices in June, remains the primary Tavari geopolitical foe after its alleged involvement in supporting and encouraging sectarian violence and terrorism leading up to and during the 2021-2022 Division Crisis.

Dr. Mandra Tõštai Vadracal, a scholar of international relations at the Royal College of Nuvo, believes that the Union’s reasoning has far more to do with Bana and the RCEU than it does with Mirhaime or Sayyed. “Bana is not a member of the RCEU, but it is closely aligned with it, especially recently, and especially after the Tavaris-South Hills nuclear agreement saw the Concordians abandon their defense agreement with Bana. From the allegations of sponsoring Akronist terrorism to the Tavari meddling in Bana’s alliances, plus the already red hot grievance of the Tavari nuclear program, means Bana has a lot of reasons to be angry with Tavaris and not too many reasons to be happy with us. Historically, an angry Bana has meant war, and Tavaris can’t afford war. The calculus is simple and it doesn’t really have anything to do with West Gondwana: war with Bana costs more than sanctioning Mirhaime. Bana actively opposing and interfering with Tavari interests costs more than sanctioning Mirhaime. Tavaris is selling out what was a burgeoning new relationship with Sayyed in order to gain the RCEU as a mediating force with Bana.”

The agreement takes significant care to couch its arguments in opposition to imperialism, which has raised some eyebrows among political observers in Tavaris, given that it did not fully decolonize the last remnants of what was known for centuries as the Tavari Empire until 2022. Many in the Federation and across the RCEU have leveled accusations of neo-imperialism and colonialism against Tavaris, historically and recently. And while “anti-imperialism” has never before featured in her lexicon, Mrs. Nevran Alandar appears to be taking the adjustment in stride. “I am more than comfortable declaring that Tavaris believes the time for imperialism is dead and over. This Union is a testament to that. This is not a sphere of influence, it is an international organization of sovereign states that was built on the foundation of self-determination and the rule of law. And by signing onto this agreement, self-determination and the rule of law are exactly what we are supporting.”

The government of Elatana was particularly involved as the primary intermediary between the Union and the RCEU—of late, an envoy of the Kingdom of Elatana has begun attending RCEU meetings as as informal observer, and the Elatanan cabinet has been in talks with Côtois tech companies in seeking to overhaul government IT infrastructure. Elatanan Prime Minister Tevri Kantõši Nolandar spoke firmly in support of the measure on the Council, saying “We owe it to future generations to take the stand and say: we are different from those who came before us. We have learned the lessons of the past. You don’t just swoop into countries and carve up their lands for your own ends. It is right to oppose that where we see it. That we have been guilty of this same crime in the past is all the more reason for us to oppose it now. In fact, I argue we are obligated to.”

Two members of the Council of the Tavari Union voted against the measure, the Avtovati Isles and Rodoka, while Acronis abstained. The Avtovati Isles, while the least populous of the jurisdictions in the Union, is the closest to Sayyed, and trade with Sayyed represents a notable fraction of the Avtovati economy. “We are islands, and all the goods we buy are more expensive simply because it costs money to ship across the sea. Closing Sayqidi ports to us will raise prices even higher,” said Avtovati delegate Elman Lavri Tettinar. “The benefits we gain from this agreement are political—we become closer to the RCEU, reinforce relationships with allies, and I guess we get the satisfaction of the moral high ground. But these costs are real life consequences for real Islander families.”

Trade with Sayyed is also a concern for the Rodokans, who govern nearby Vaalsaar. However, Rodokan Presiding Chief Ivi Puna Laar said on the Council that her opposition to the agreement was broader. “This is an absolutely devastating level of sanctions. Total shutdown of all trade is a tremendously drastic step—I mean, think of all the trade Tavaris has with Bana, and has had during decades and centuries of bitter hatred and war. We are going to see economic harm from this step, and for what reason are we paying this cost? What great harm have the likes of Sayyed or Thalor committed against us to earn this truly severe level of treatment?”

The Acronian delegation was not present at the final vote, though both Matron Vana Dandreal and Chief Administrator Σavora Lašandri participated in non-public committee discussions about the proposal, which have been taking place since the announcement of the agreement on the 20th. Acronis issued no statement on why it abstained, and no Acronian government office agreed to comment for this article. An anonymous source close to the Council, who TavariFax is not naming because they were not authorized by the Council to speak on the record, said that Dandreal and Lašandri disagreed on the measure, which rendered the Acronians “simply unable to proceed, because when the Matron raises moral objections to something, it becomes nearly impossible for any devout Akronist to oppose her.” According to the source, the Matron was “deeply affronted” by the notion of closing trade with Sayyed, which she described as “having just faced an invasion,” saying it was “Akronist tradition and belief to ‘lift up the downtrodden,’ and she simply seemed unconvinced by arguments made in particular by Elatana that Sayyed’s behavior after the invasion was a violation of norms. In fact, she seemed very convinced by Sayqidi claims of genocide in the regions of Crimpateia they sought to annex in the referendum, arguments which Lašandri called ‘grevously concerning but not yet concrete enough to be used as a basis for decision-making.’”

The Council of the Tavari Union responded to requests for comment with a written statement issued by Metratani President Shtonar Talakar, whose country currently holds the rotating Union Presidency: “If you seek to know how the Council ‘feels’ about the measure passed, or why the Council came to the decision it did, then read the text of the agreement itself, which is what we have signed our names to in endorsement. Additionally, the Council of the Tavari Union does not comment on allegations and reports of private, deliberative conversations between Council members and believes it is irresponsible to publish them. Members of the Council are free to come to their sovereign decisions in whatever way they feel appropriate.”

With only days before the agreement is to take effect, preparations will need to be made quickly across the entire Union. The Council tasked the Reserve Bank of the Tavari Union with identifying relevant business entities in the Union that are now sanctioned and ensuring stock exchanges delist companies domiciled in or owned by nationals of the affected countries. Already, the Tavari700 index is falling—down 5% midway through trading on Thursday—with concerns not just about trade with Sayyed and Mirhaime but also with Norgsveldet, Tretrid, and Vistaraland, major Tavari trading partners whose economies will also take a hit. Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar said she is “confident that our strong Union economy will be able to handle what comes our way, especially because we signatories as partners have agreed to increase our investment in each other’s economies in order to replace whatever we might be losing from the sanctioned markets.”

When asked if she felt she was trading economic stability and family livelihoods for political gain, Mrs. Nevran Alandar was emphatic: “No, absolutely not. This isn’t about ‘political gain.’ Reinforcing international norms of peace is not just politics. When countries stand together against violations of international norms, that’s the most concrete step we can take to build real peace. That means that all the families in the Union are safer, and that means everything. We are building peace with our partners, and it’s especially important that we are standing together not just with countries who are already our friends but also with countries with whom we do not always agree. Those countries named in this agreement should take note of that significance.”

The Tavari Prime Minister declined to answer questions about how the agreement relates to relations with Bana, saying (notably similarly to Shtonar Talakar) “our reasons for supporting this agreement are the ones written in the agreement.” However, she did not deny that the agreement “is a major first step, and a promising step, toward future collaboration with the entire Red Crown Economic Union.” She also resisted claims that the agreement represented an “abandonment” of the young relationship with Sayyed, noting that neither sapientarian aid nor non-economic cultural exchange were banned by the agreement. “Our newly planned programs of cultural exchange, sapientological and historical research collaboration, and aid to Sayyed can continue.” Ultimately, she emphasized that “this isn’t really about relationships, it’s about standing up for international norms. A world where there is less naked, scheming ambition for international dominance is a better world for all of us. We can’t make that happen without taking action. It’s time for action.”

Hours Before Deadline, Racatrazi Forms Government

RACATRAZI, Racatrazi-- More than two months after elections were held, and just hours before the expiration of the constitutional deadline, the Diet of the Republic of Racatrazi has officially voted in a new Chief Administrator. Korsta Æn, leader of the party Aidalan and formerly Leader of the Opposition, has now become the first ever non-binary person to lead a Tavari Union country. Only the fourth tiefling in history to lead this tiefling majority country, Mx. Æn has been “Chief Administrator-designate” since the October 28th elections while their party negotiated with the many others in the legislature—Racatrazi’s Diet has 75 seats and eleven political parties filling them. With no party even approaching a majority, it has taken a significant amount of wrangling to determine which parties will join Aidalan in the governing coalition.

Aidalan, named after the original Ngodian name for the region of modern Racatrazi, is the country’s largest political party focused on indigenous rights. In the 2018 elections, Aidalan was one of three parties tied for first place at 10 seats, but outgoing Chief Administrator Kanor Tarelda Voštoi’s Action Coalition bloc passed them over, leaving them in the opposition. The Action Coalition, a new grouping that Tarelda Voštoi promised would lead to a “total reshaping of the Racatrazi political paradigm,” led the longest-lasting government of the Third Republic, in fact nearly reaching the legal limit, but collapsed into infighting over the question of Tavari Union membership. The current Constitution of Racatrazi, written after a mass protest movement overthrew the Second Republic in 1999, strictly mandates not just that elections occur within 5 years of the previous one but that the incoming Chief Administrator be sworn in within 5 years, under penalty of the imposition of a never-invoked “National Unity Government” headed by the unelected, nonpartisan Director-General of the Civil Service. Had Racatrazi failed to swear in a new Chief Administrator by the end of 2023, this National Unity Government would have been tasked with holding new elections.

Racatrazi’s new government will consist of four parties: Aidalan, the Liberal Union Party, the Duarist Bloc, and Neighborhood Alliance. With the exception of the Liberal Union Party, whose platform describes itself as “center-right,” these parties all defy easy categorization on the left-right spectrum and have in recent years shifted to become more like big tents than ideological camps. While Aidalan and Duarist Bloc are both indigenous rights parties, Duarist Bloc is more left-wing and explicitly religious in nature, generally advocating for increasing the prominence and role of Duarist faith and philosophy in Racatrazi’s politics and opposing imperialism, while Aidalan is secular, less ideologically coherent, and is generally associated with advocacy for self-determination and Racatrazi’s current constitution. Neighborhood Alliance, the only member of Action Coalition returning to government this year, describes itself as a “nonpartisan party” focused on increasing autonomy for local governments. The Liberal Union Party is a newly formed merger between two prior liberal parties, one (the National Liberal Party) more explicitly rightward and primarily orcish and the other (the Democratic Liberal Party) more center-aligned and predominantly tiefling in membership.

“Our coalition will be focused on solving real-life issues for real-life Racatrazans, addressing the direct, immediate needs of our population rather than losing its head in the clouds of fanciful, ideological platforms,” said Mx. Æn in remarks before the Diet after their inauguration. Their predecessor made an almost identical promise, swearing that the Action Coalition would deal with “uncontroversial neighborhood concerns that matter to everyone” like garbage collection, streetlights, increasing community aid grants, and constructing new health clinics. While Kanor Tarelda Voštoi did deliver on some of these issues—the City of Racatrazi’s streetlights have been upgraded from decades-old halogen lamps to new LEDs, and weekly trash pickup has not been interrupted for a record two years—his decision to, without consulting his coalition, sign the Ranat Accords and force through the ratification vote as a non-free vote led to the country joining the Union but to his political coalition imploding into bitter, acrimonious debate. Mr. Tarelda Voštoi has not even been seen outside in public since the elections, appearing only in pre-recorded addresses on television, and most believe he is in hiding out of fear that the country’s still powerful criminal cartels seek to apprehend him, or worse.

Mx. Æn’s government is unlikely to offer much immediate clarity on the question of Racatrazi’s continued membership in the Tavari Union. Most political parties in the 2023 election made public declarations of either a Pro-Tavari Union or Anti-Tavari Union stance, but both Aidalan and Neighborhood Alliance did not, leaving the question to individual members. The Liberal Union Party, the only government party whose platform references free trade, is Pro-Union, while the Duarist Bloc is Anti-Union and has called for an immediate termination of Racatrazi’s participation in the international organization. The Diet at large is similarly confused on the issue, with political observers counting 24 delegates in Pro-Union parties, 24 delegates in Anti-Union parties, and 27 who are “undetermined.” Despite the Union being the election’s biggest question, the answer is muddled, and all indications from Mx. Æn so far are that the government intends to tackle other issues first.

“It is our responsibility to first look for opportunities for agreement and consensus, not to dive head first into the contentions that divide us. Racatrazi’s membership in the Tavari Union is currently certain, but our crime levels, public health, and national debt are not,” said Mx. Æn, who called Racatrazi’s stubbornly high rates of criminal activity “an issue that unites each of our parties on exactly the same page: it has to come down, and it has to come down now.” Racatrazi, which for centuries bore the nickname of “the roughest port in the Tavari Empire,” has had infamously high crime rates for nearly the entire history of Tavari settlement there, rates which have only been slowly decreasing or remaining flat since 1999. Unlike the late Second Republic, where influence on governing officials by cartel leaders more or less rendered the country’s democracy irrelevant, in the Third Republic era the cartels have been pushed out of formal government influence and have instead resorted to using intimidation tactics to impose their will on Racatrazi’s government and citizenry. Banks, supermarkets, and businesses of all kinds have seen rates of armed robbery increase by 400% since 2000, and more police officers have died in the line of duty since 2010 in Racatrazi than in the preceding 50 years.

The illegal narcotics trade, always a significant presence in Racatrazi, has exploded in the 21st century, with cartels both importing and exporting more kinds of drugs in almost incomprehensibly higher amounts—by factors of 10, according to the Racatrazi Coast Guard. Historically, it was Tavaris-grown cannabis and cocaine that was smuggled through Racatrazi to the eastern hemisphere, but in recent years the cartels have begun importing all kinds of new drugs sourced from places as far afield as Gusanaszna, such as fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and numerous kinds of commonly abused prescription drugs. Overdose deaths tripled from 2022 to 2023, after doubling the year prior, and Kanor Tarelda Voštoi’s last official act of office last Tuesday was to formally declare a Public Health Emergency in relation to what he called “the epidemic of drug overdosage.” Racatrazi’s cartels are not just expanding their businesses inside Racatrazi but have aggressively expanded outside it—South Hills in particular has seen a massive influx of illegal drugs from Racatrazi, centered primarily in the state of Ronald, where current governor Torfinn “the Big Man” Raknss’ staunch, arguably radical opposition to government regulation of the economy has been beneficial to Racatrazan criminal activity.

While Mx. Æn’s coalition has readily agreed that the narcotics trade and criminality in general are the first order of business, it is unclear what methods they will be able to settle on to address them. The second largest party in the coalition, the Liberal Union, is bitterly opposed to the methods favored by Neighborhood Alliance and the Duarist Bloc, who both advocate for decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of most narcotics and the opening of clean injection sites. Aidalan, in an attempt to strike a balance, has proposed distributing naloxone (which counteracts opioid overdoses) through the country’s Public Health Authority and allowing provincial governments—Racatrazi has two—to decide whether or not to permit clean injection sites, but has indicated “decriminalization is almost certainly off the table in the current Diet.” A slim majority of the Liberal Union Party caucus in the Diet endorsed a plan on Friday to vastly increase the number of police officers in Racatrazi and to empower the provincial governments to establish their own anti-narcotics patrols in addition to the National Police, but this is a non-starter among both Aidalan and Duarist Bloc members, who remember all too well the centuries of violent excesses of Tavari-speaking orcish police officers and soldiers against the tiefling majority.

Despite the lack of consensus in the Diet on the issue, the question of Tavari Union membership is unlikely to simply go away. Proponents of the Union, including the Liberal Unity Party, have repeatedly upheld the Union as the solution to the issues of crime and drugs, with the Royal Tavari Navy now present in Racatrazan waters to patrol for, deter, and arrest traffickers. The recent detente between Tavaris and South Hills resulted in a groundbreaking deal where the Concordian military has also joined anti-trafficking efforts in Racatrazan waters. This foreign military presence, however, is total anathema to the anti-imperialist Duarist Bloc, and Mx. Æn themself, as Leader of the Opposition, vociferously opposed the deal when it was announced earlier this year. However, Racatrazi cannot unilaterally force the end of the deal because it is not a party to it—only by leaving the Union could it exit the deal. That Racatrazi is, once again, placed in a position where it is subject to the whims of the Tavari government is starkly unpopular among a broad swathe of the populace, while an opposing swathe upholds the Union and its links with the relatively powerful and stable Tavari economy as Racatrazi’s primary chance to avoid economic stagnation.

While Mx. Æn’s government is officially ambivalent toward the Union, the opposition is not: the Racatrazi Communist Party gained seven seats from 2018, the most of any party, and it has called the Union “the most pernicious, the most threatening, and the most toxic thing to come to Racatrazi since the Tavari first arrived.” Initially in negotiations, the Communists and Aidalan were in close contact and believed to be approaching a deal, but rumors that the Communists—as well as some of the other opposition parties—accepted funding from the International Socialist Endowment Fund, possibly in violation of campaign finance laws, tanked the idea. The Communist platform calls for an immediate withdrawal from the Union and “all associated agreements,” the abolition of the National Police, and the creation of a “community response team” of emergency responders and social workers to replace them. The Communists have also called for Racatrazi to “exercise its sovereign authority to decline to pay the deeply unfair international debts imposed upon it by the capitalist financial system”—to default on its international debt, in fewer words—and divert budget funds now allocated toward interest and debt payment toward public services. This has served to inflame its core supporters, but Mx. Æn strongly rejected that message in their remarks, saying “Those who would have us simply cease to pay what we owe out of some fantasy that we will then be flush with cash for all our dream projects are peddling just that, a meaningless, impossible fantasy.” Instead, they pledged that “Racatrazi will focus on the possible and achieve the meaningful, not by chasing lofty pipe dreams but by standing together, hand-in-hand, and deciding to care for one another.”


Aidalan [Undetermined] 15 (+5)
Communist Party [Anti-Union] 12 (+7)
Liberal Union Party [Pro-Union] 12 (-3)
Duarist Bloc [Anti-Union] 8 (+4)
Green Party [Undetermined] 7 (-3)
Akronist Democracy Party [Pro-Union] 7 (+2)
Neighborhood Alliance [Undetermined] 5 (-1)
Democratic Party [Pro-Union] 4 (-3)
Sovereignty Party [Anti-Union] 3 (-6)
Food & Farmers Party [Anti-Union] 1
Pensioners and Disabled Citizens Freedom Party [Pro-Union] 1

1 Like

“We Will Never Go Back:” Cescolians in Metradan Announce Boycott of Tavari Currency

ARGIENTO, Metradan (TavariFax)-- The Republic of Metradan will adopt the Tavari Našdat as their currency at the stroke of midnight on Monday morning, but when they do, a significant portion of the country has announced they will refuse to use it. Announcing the move late Sunday evening, Diet Delegate Niballo Gargiulio, leader of the political party Zampana, the largest of the Cescolian parties in the Metradani legislature, defiantly proclaimed “the Tavari našdat, and the economy of evil that it represents and fuels, is one of the most visceral symbols of the violent colonialism that we Cescolians have and will forever continue to resist. We will not go backward. We will never, ever accept the Tavari currency as our currency, and we are announcing today that we will not use it.” Gargiulio has pledged that the ethnic Cescolian community, to which about one in five Metradani residents belongs, will refuse to handle Tavari cash in their communities and businesses, and will instead use Cescolia’s currency, the Aureo.

Flanked by dozens of community leaders and elected officials from parties from right to left, Gargiulio said that “Ninety percent of the membership of the Chamber of Cescolian Commerce has pledged to refuse to accept even a single Tavari našdat, nor will we ever pay one out. President Talakar will get his taxes from us in Aureo. We have been planning for months and we have amassed a significant reserve of Cescolian currency through lawful trade with our mother country. We will not be outlasted, but we will be heard. Our hands will not touch your disgusting, bloody money.” Groups that have signed onto the boycott include the Lucerist Church of Upper and Lower Zanzaria, the Cescolian Manufacturers Association, the Metradani Tobacco Growers and Processors Board, the United Northern Metradan Casino and Resort Operators, the Zampanean Alliance of Banks and Credit Unions, the Federation of Cescolian Labor Unions, the Zampanean Coalition for Civil Rights, EquityZampanea, Cescolian Students for a Free Society, the Grand Alliance of Zampanean Fraternal Lodges, and all three majority-Cescolian political parties in Metradan. Of the major Cescolian businesses associations, only the Cescolian Retailers Group has not signed on.

At the same time as Del. Gargiulio made his announcement, public protest marches commenced in both Argiento and the national capital, Acruni, consisting of tens of thousands of primarily ethnic Cescolians each. The police in Argiento, known as ACAB One [Editor’s note: this is a Tavari language acronym for Police, Fire, and Ambulance District], estimated that more than 100,000 people were gathered in front of Argiento City Hall at 9pm local time, by far the largest political demonstration in Metradani history. In Acruni, the Metradani Ministry of Internal Affairs estimated a turnout of 30,000-50,000, which is still the largest demonstration in the city since the 1991 mass protests against the murder of Cescolian Giobbe Pietrantonio. At both, the most frequently seen slogans on signs were “Non torneremo mai indietro”—Norvian for “We will never go back.”

The scale of the unity and solidarity in the boycott is unprecedented, and has taken the Metradani government by surprise. Initially, the only statement by the Office of the President of Metradan was to say “the President is monitoring the events and will issue a statement as soon as one is prepared.” As of press time, President Shtonar Talakar has not yet issued such a statement, nor has any government official on the record. Several unnamed sources close to the President and to the Metradani Diet have all indicated that the boycott has been a complete and total surprise, and that the sheer scale of the number of people and groups who have pledged to participate is far beyond anything the government ever expected in response to the political question of the Tavari Union. Said one source in the Office of the President, who TavariFax is keeping unnamed to allow them to speak frankly on the record: “A hundred thousand Cescolians marching down High Street in Argiento means that whatever agenda this government might have had before is now totally, completely gone. Not even in the police riots in ‘91 did a hundred thousand people march in Argiento. That’s half the population of the metro area, choosing to spend the biggest holiday party night of the year protesting. This will change Metradan forever.”

“The scale of this is incalculable. The solidarity is astounding. We have no idea what will happen,” said another source. “What will happen to the economy when one in five of us insist on using only foreign currency? What will happen to Cescolia’s economy, a not-insignificant trade partner? The Mirhaime sanctions already spooked the stock market. Thank Akrona the markets are closed tomorrow, but Tuesday will be financial armageddon.”

Among the protestors, the mood was much less gloomy. Lodovica Ventimiglia, 38, of Piombo, smiled as she handed out 100 našdat bills—worth about two Standard Hawking Dollars each—for fellow protestors to join her in burning. She passed around a cigarette lighter emblazoned with a Lucerist sun and led her fellows in a chant, “Nessun Imperio Tavareo, Nessuna Unione Tavarea!”—“No Tavari Empire, No Tavari Union!” Only after she had run out of Tavari currency did she acknowledge this reporter, which she did with a smile. “We are not Tavari. This is not Tavaris. This will never be Tavaris. Tavaris and the Tavari need to leave,” she said. “And they will.” With that, she turned back to her compatriots and resumed her chants. Another protestor, Eusebio Artuso, 21, of Argiento, said that the switch to the Tavari currency was simply too much to bear. “I guess I don’t really mind the free trade agreement, or, like, the border thing. It’s not ideal, I’m not gonna ever go to Tavaris, but whatever. But using Tavari money? It’s just outrageous that in this day and age we are seriously re-adopting the imperial currency. In 2024, Metradan, the country that declared independence like 120 years ago, is lining right back up to lick that Tavari boot. It’s so unserious. Having the Tavari King’s face on my money? I wouldn’t wipe my arse with the Tavari King’s face.”

In a first, the Metradani Ministry of Internal Affairs has issued a “Directive of Emergency Preparedness” that mandates the ACABs across Metradan to “assume a posture of emergency readiness.” While Metradan’s very strict regulations around local control of police and emergency services mean that, in general, the national government cannot issue orders to mobilize or direct the movement of police officers, this directive—allowed under the law but never before used—does require that ACABs take some actions, such as to permit the payment of overtime, to bring in off-duty officers on an “on-call” status, and to authorize the use of resources, supplies, and funds that are held in emergency reserves.

“At this time, there are no reports of major outbreaks of violence or any threats to the peace in Argiento, Acruni, or anywhere else in the country,” reported Minister of Internal Affairs Tobri Dacnažbi. “We are proud of our citizens for peacefully, safely, and respectfully of the law and law enforcement exercising their constitutional right to free expression. We are proud that these demonstrations have remained peaceful and we are working to ensure they remain so. We ask those who are out tonight to please, please, stay safe, stay smart, and to choose peace over violence.”

The Church of Metradan, an Akronist denomination and the largest religious group in Metradan, issued a similar statement, with Presiding High Priestess Lavedra Mízbízbi saying “We love our Cescolian sisters and brothers and we want them, and all of us, to remain safe and peaceful. As our Cescolian siblings stand up for what they feel is right, we stand with them, in love and respect. We pray for them, and for all the country, that we find the light we need to guide us through the debates and discussions we as a society will surely have in the coming days and weeks. It is right and fair for the daughters and sons of Zanzaria to call us to have this discussion. We will listen. We simply pray and ask that all of us keep peace in our hearts. Only peace, not violence, not hate, can solve what we must solve.”

Ms. Ventimiglia, the protestor in Argiento, was not impressed by the Akronist statement. “The daughters and sons of Zanzaria were burned, banished, attacked, and murdered by Akronists when they came here, to our country, which is older than Tavaris by a thousand years. Violence and hate were brought here by Akronists. It is not we who should be accused of risking violence and hate, it is the Akronists, it is the Tavari, whose violence and hate stole half our country, destroyed our environment, and erased our culture. And now, the Tavari have the gall, the nerve, to demand that we honor their king whose ancestors slaughtered and mowed down my ancestors, that we honor their symbols, their language, and their economy, that we once again enrich them at our own expense. No. The daughters and sons of Zanzaria remember. We are not calling you to have a discussion. We are telling you that our tolerance has ended.”


Prime Minister Announces Major Cabinet Overhaul

NUVRENON– Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar announced a new lineup for her cabinet on Friday, with some ministers getting new portfolios, some departing cabinet entirely, and some brand new ministers to replace them. One ministry, that of Public Lands and Territorial Waters, has been eliminated entirely, while the Prime Minister has newly created another: a Ministry for the Tavari Union. All but three ministries have someone new leading them. A reshuffle has been expected for some time, given the exceptionally unusual length of time the highly critical office of Minister of External Affairs has been officially vacant: more than four months, in an office that is typically filled within weeks. Since the September death of Sir Endra Tivriš Žovradai, Deputy Minister Bomi Lanaš Tevenen has been filling the spot in an acting capacity, but she didn’t end up getting the nod officially—instead, she will become the first ever Minister for the Tavari Union. Minister Lanaš Tevenen joined the Prime Minister at the press conference and called the new job “a central government clearinghouse for everything we do in relation to the Tavari Union, that would all otherwise be separated under ExtAff, Defence, International Trade and Development, and even more.”

Replacing the late former Prime Minister as ExtAff Minister is Avri Takanaš, who has been Deputy Prime Minister since the May 2022 elections and, before that, was the Minister of Internal Affairs who oversaw the independence of Acronis, Elatana, and Rodoka and the Isles. He is widely considered to be something of a protege of the Prime Minister’s, and the most prominent young rising star in her party, Irínavi Voi! Mr. Takanaš will need to hit the ground running, as he assumes the mantle in the middle of a highly complicated situation involving West Gondwana and the Red Crown Economic Union. However, the clearest sign of how Mrs. Nevran Alandar wishes to focus Tavari foreign relations is that she also gave Mr. Takanaš the International Trade and Development Ministry, a portfolio close to her own heart as she once held it herself, as once did her mother. It is a sign of her immense trust in Mr. Takanaš to handle a quite significant load to bear, and she said in her press conference that “I believe that these two roles are naturally complementary, as evidenced by the word International, and I have the utmost confidence in Avri to handle both portfolios with alplomb.”

The Deputy Prime Minister job, whose primary role is in leading government business in the Diet, will be assumed by Vakar Nelandri Venat, who has been Minister of Internal Affairs since May of 2022. Mr. Nelandri Venat’s time at IntAff has been marred by unexpected delays in the demilitarization of law enforcement and the overhaul of the Tavari intelligence community, both of which were placed within IntAff’s already quite full portfolio. In an acknowledgement that handling the two monumental reforms at once has caused both to be “unacceptably slowed,” the Prime Minister decoupled the post of Minister for the Intelligence Community, which she had created in May of 2022, from IntAff, and has permitted Mr. Nelandri Venat to retain the job while serving as Deputy Prime Minister.

This, in turn, left IntAff vacant, with the ministry still tasked with the highly critical responsibility to oversee the transition to civilian police and expected to eventually house a Tavari National Police. Moving into the role will be Andra Rendorel, who has been serving as Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Sport since 2018—she was in fact first appointed by Shano Tuvria, and will now be the only remaining member of Cabinet with that distinction, as Minister for Education and Minister for Equality Avri Nankar Telandra has decided to retire from the cabinet. Also leaving cabinet entirely is Attorney General Vedra Dendrodek, whose departure, unlike Ms. Nankar Telandra, was not explained by the Prime Minister.

The new Attorney General is new to the Cabinet, Delegate Meštri Oboci Kentrest, who is a former prosecutor who served as the Chief Counsel for the Zinia Province Legislative Council, analogous to an Attorney General at the provincial level, for several years across various administrations. Also brand new to the Cabinet is Minister for Defence Nebežra Veštedi Malõcan, the Chair of the Diet’s Defence and National Security Committee, who retired from the Royal Tavari Navy with 20 years of service at the rank of Vice Admiral. The first former Admiral to serve in the job this century, she replaces Habni Teveš Canbaníl, who in a rather striking move from one of the “great offices of state” to a less prominent ministry, will become Minister for Transport.

There are a handful of ministers who are actually staying where they were, including just one among the “great offices of state” (known lawfully as Entrenched Ministers because their portfolios are required by the constitution), Nitai Lavra Endošti, Minister for Revenue and Treasury and Minister for the Economy, two positions that have always been issued together for as long as they have existed. She has served in the role since 2022, and has been widely credited with ensuring the Tavari economy bounced back relatively quickly after the scare at the height of the Division Crisis. Also staying in their roles are Rantar Dovri Tankaštat, Minister for the Environment, and Žendra Nadria Lentor, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Social Services. The latter is also gaining the Ministry of Public Health, which the Prime Minister acknowledged goes “hand-in-hand” with social services, noting that Minister Maffia Lentor already handles the national public hospital system for veterans.

Rounding out the Cabinet are several new members, all of them Akronists, making this new cabinet among the most religiously diverse in Tavari history: Ebna Enantti as Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Raivo Heštendra as both Minister for Industry and Commerce and Minister for Labour, Lemezda Vonarík as Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Sport, and Šolari Teždan as Minister for Education and Minister for Equality. Raivo Heštendra’s appointment was roundly criticized by the Leader of the Opposition, Kolai Šandra Vencrandíl of the Socialist Green Party for Democracy, saying it was “an insult of the highest order that the person tasked with protecting the rights and interests of the Tavari worker is the same as the person tasked with buddying up with industry fat cats and tycoons to weaken labour protections, or, as our neoliberal administration would phrase it, ‘easing the regulatory burden on our business leaders.’”

Controversy or not, with 6 out of 15 members of Cabinet Akronist, this Cabinet is the first ever to match the proportion of Akronists in the general Tavari population, about 40%. The Prime Minister took a moment to acknowledge the history, but emphasized that she picked candidates based on their merits, not their religion. “It is long past time for our country’s most crucial decision-making body to look like the country it serves, and I’m sorry it took this long. But remember that each and every one of these people, and each portfolio they hold, was carefully selected, and I didn’t do it by deciding ‘I need an Akronist here and an Akronist there.’ These people earned their jobs by being the best candidate with the best qualifications, by having expertise and drive, not because of how they worship. I look forward to the day when Akronists being appointed to public office ceases to be newsworthy.”

Metrati Anar Defiantly Refuses Self-Governance

ANARÍS, Metrati Anar (TavariFax)-- After a year and a half of defiant, sometimes bitter deadlock over how to structure its government independent of the Kingdom of Tavaris, the government of the Union Territory of Metrati Anar has put its foot down and staunchly refused to assume any more authority over its own governance. More than half a year after writing to the Council of the Tavari Union and “respectfully declining” self-governance, Metrati Anar Administrator Edori Navar Tendrokai stood before the Council on Monday and told its members “You will govern Metrati Anar, and that will be that. You will govern this territory, you will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of this territory, and that will be that. That is our self-determined, democratic decision. You will not force us to assume responsibilities we have chosen to decline. You hold the authority and you will use it, and that is that.”

The Council of the Tavari Union was not amused. “You yourself, sir, were personally present in the room when the Ranat Accords were negotiated. You yourself signed the document that said, clearly, in black and white, that the Union Territories will be self-governing. Your Assembly ratified the Accords. On that day, Metrati Anar did in fact choose to assume these responsibilities. You cannot decline them now,” said a visibly angry, audibly trembling Metradani President Shtonar Talakar, who holds the rotating Union Council Presidency.

Mr. Navar Tendrokai’s response can only be described as smug: with a grin on his face and his arms held wide in a dramatic shrug, he said again “We decline. Sorry. You can’t make us run these schools. We just won’t. You just will. That is that.”

The dispute, as are most disputes, is about money. As an unprovinced territory of Tavaris, Metrati Anar’s government was rather limited in scope. Unlike Tavari provinces, the territory of Metrati Anar was never responsible for the administration of public schools and public hospitals, and as such, was not responsible for paying their budgets. These responsibilities fell to the national government of Tavaris, which also funded a significant amount of public services outside the Anarís metropolitan area like public transport, road maintenance, and subsidies for passenger ferry services between the islands. The Kingdom of Tavaris has stated in no uncertain terms that it expects Metrati Anar to assume these costs because it is no longer responsible for governing the territory, but the Assembly has balked at the tremendous cost this would place on its balance sheet.

Metrati Anar has had a reputation as an extremely low tax jurisdiction since the years following the Great War, when the Tavari government gifted an absolutely enormous wave of subsidies and tax cuts to the island in order to encourage its repopulation and redevelopment after being absolutely devastated by years of Asendavian destruction and Banian occupation. To this day the territory has no income tax, a distinction that the archipelago’s leaders have apparently sworn to uphold no matter the consequences. Metrati Anar still has less than half the number of people it contained in 1908, and Mr. Navar Tendrokai went as far as to say “to impose these costs on Metrati Anar when we are still, still more than a hundred years later, not even close to complete in our reconstruction, is tantamount to taking the Banian side and choosing to destroy us.” At this, the members of the Council became so outraged the meeting had to go into recess because of all the shouting. As of press time, the meeting still has not resumed.

Mr. Navar Tendrokai has a supermajority of the elected, 20-member Assembly behind him, as well as nearly two-thirds of the various boards and councils governing Metrati Anar’s cities and townships, all of whom have signed a petition stating that Metrati Anar will not adopt a home rule charter that requires it to fund schools, hospitals, or public transport. “Our territory is simply too small to handle these costs, and to impose them upon us without our consent and without our ability to pay would be a miscarriage of democracy and an act of colonialist imperialism by overruling our democratic determination,” the petition says. Unremarked upon by Metrati Anar authorities is the fact that the Avtovati Isles, with less than half the population of Metrati Anar, has assumed these costs without problem since May.

With the deadlock still unresolved, the schools, hospitals, and roads in Metrati Anar—outside the City of Anarís, which has assumed control of its own public infrastructure without much complaint—are still being paid for by Tavaris. A deadline of December 31st imposed by Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar has come and gone, but ultimately the funding has still continued because to do otherwise would be “not just a dereliction of duty, but cruel,” as she said at the meeting Monday. But she warned that “something, somewhere, will have to give, because it is simply no longer lawful, nor possible, for Tavaris to pay these bills itself.” The Tavari Prime Minister noted that she does not have a majority in her Diet and that both her confidence and supply partners, the Tavari National Party and Republican Alternative, have ruled out including line items for Metrati Anar schools in the next Tavari budget. “This Council will not permit Metrati Anar to simply close its schools and hospitals. Something will give,” she told Mr. Navar Tendrokai.

“Yes, you will give. You will give us the money,” replied the Administrator with a smile on his face. “Or, we will simply look to the private sector for those services. But we can’t afford them, and you can’t make us. It’s really as simple as that, ma’am. You can’t actually make us do anything we don’t want to do. What are you going to do, send the military in to physically force my hand to stamp my name seal on the checks?”

The Tavari Prime Minister did not respond. With the meeting still in recess, it is unclear what exactly will come of this impasse. TavariFax correspondents remain in Anarís waiting for the Council to emerge from its closed chambers. As of press time, only Mr. Navar Tendrokai remained in the Council’s meeting room, where he seemed casual and nonplussed. “I can’t wait to see what they come up with,” the Administrator said. “No matter what it is, it’s guaranteed to be interesting.”


Metrati Anar Abolished

ANARÍS, Unorganized Tavari Union Territory (TavariFax)-- The Council of the Tavari Union has abolished the Union Territory of Metrati Anar, all twelve of its townships, and all four of its chartered municipalities, including the City of Anarís. The territory’s Administrator, Assembly, and every one of its elected legislative bodies at the municipal level are all now out of a job, effective immediately. Government in the archipelago is now the direct responsibility of the Council of the Tavari Union, which has quite literally erased all reference to Metrati Anar in the Ranat Accords in a unanimous vote.

“The Union Territory of Metrati Anar is hereby immediately abolished and immediately ceases to have any legal existence or authority whatsoever,” said Union Council President, and President of Metradan, Shtonar Talakar. “The Royal Tavari Armed Forces are now, as we speak, entering all government offices in the former territory to ensure that all state property is safely transferred out of the control of the former legislators and that all former legislators are escorted out of the buildings they no longer have right to be in.”

The decision came after the Council went into recess during a very heated meeting in which now former administrator Edori Navar Tendrokai outright refused to allow his territory to adopt a home rule charter because, according to him and a supermajority of the former legislators of the territory across various levels of government, the financial costs would have exceeded their ability to pay. This has been bitterly disputed by the Council of the Tavari Union, and is also rendered suspect given that the much smaller territory of the Avtovati Isles has been able to operate its own public schools, hospitals, and transport systems without issue since May of 2023. The meeting devolved into a shouting match after Mr. Navar Tendrokai insinuated, among other things, that forcing Metrati Anar to pay for its own schools was an act of colonialist imperialism, that it was tantamount to taking the side of Bana in the Great War, and that Tavaris would have to send in its military to force any change.

It would seem that Tavaris has done exactly that, with former East Anarís Township Supervisor Metela Vobai posting on Pigeon that “Royal Tavari Marshalls just came and physically removed my hands from the keyboard I was typing on.” The Royal Tavari Marshalls have declined comment for this article but according to Ms. Vobai, the Marshall apprehending her said “You’re fired. Time to leave.”

“As the former government of Metrati Anar readily agreed to and insisted upon several times today, the Council of the Tavari Union is the ultimate authority in charge of governance in Metrati Anar. The former government has outright absconded in its duty and refused to follow the Ranat Accords that it itself helped write, signed, and ratified. As a result, that government has been rendered null and void. This Council will now govern the islands as we proceed to adopt a home rule charter,” said Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar, who noted that a charter has been fully drafted for more than a year while the former Assembly refused to even hold an up-or-down vote on it.

Former Administrator Edori Navar Tendrokai was not given a chance to comment on the decision in the council chambers and was instead physically pushed out of the room by the Council’s security while stammering and shouting at the Council. Outside the chamber, he attempted several times to force his way back in, shouting variously that the Council had no authority to fire him, that it was a military coup, and that without his job he couldn’t get home because he had had a territorial government chauffeur and car take him to the meeting and, due to budget cuts, busses had stopped running in his neighborhood.

The only response from inside the chamber came from Matron Vana Dandreal, who laughed out loud and replied “and whose fault is that? Have fun walking.”

President Talakar assured the public that there would be little to no disruption of public services because, in essence, they were really all still being provided by Tavaris anyway, and that they would continue to do so until the new government was established. “Now that the Council’s authority over the territory is clear, we will be able to establish the new government without delay, and we expect Anarašta self-governance to be in place well before the Union’s second anniversary this June.” The Council also passed a resolution mandating that all Union member states contribute to the costs of administering the islands, which it noted, as a territory, “are to be considered to belong to all the people of the Union everywhere, a condominium between all the member states, with every citizen entitled to come here and share in this beautiful place.”

The Ranat Accords had laid out an extensive process of community consultation in regard to home rule, but those provisions were erased in regard to Metrati Anar by the Council’s amendment today, leaving the process as theoretically simple as a single vote by the Council to adopt a new charter without requiring the approval of any other body or even a referendum. The Council in principle committed itself to a referendum on any future charter, as well as to elections for new governments at the territory and municipal levels, no later than June 6th. While this commitment, unlike the prior ones, is not entrenched in the Ranat Accords, the members of the Council took great pains to emphasize that they intended to act as closely to the spirit of the original Accords as possible.

“We don’t delight in this. This isn’t what we wanted or what anyone wanted. But we have so many other issues to deal with, and it simply wasn’t fair for Metrati Anar to outright refuse the obligations that, we really can’t emphasize enough, it had already legally committed itself to when it, again, entirely voluntarily and under its own freely given authority, ratified the Ranat Accords,” said Matron Vana Dandreal, who represented Acronis at the meeting in place of the Chief Administrator. “We are still committed to all the same things we were committed to before. Metrati Anar will have an elected legislature, an elected head of government, and there will be local control with real Anaraštani making the day-to-day decisions, and no charter will be imposed unless the people, the real citizens of these islands, explicitly votes in its favour.”

“We cannot afford to waste any more time with unfair, illegal obstinance on the part of entirely out-of-line administrators. Our action today corrects the illegality of Metrati Anar’s former administration, and now we can continue forward with the democratic government we already pledged ourselves to create. The 1.6 million people on these islands can rest assured that they are still the ones who are in charge. They will vote for their own leaders and they will vote for their own charter,” said Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar.

On a temporary basis, the Council has decided to create a “Metrati Anar Advisory Board” that will consist of Anarašta citizens appointed by the Council and will review all matters that come before the Council in relation to governing the territory. “Ideally, very soon, hopefully as soon as we make the appointments, the Council will actually delegate its lawmaking authority to the Advisory Board so that local residents continue to hold the real authority,” said Brõhal Nankar Catti, Metrati Anar’s elected Union Council Delegate and now the only elected official from the islands. Mr. Nankar Catti is to chair the advisory board.

For his part, Mr. Nankar Catti has promised “to serve Metrati Anar through and through, no matter what it takes… even raising taxes,” he quipped.


First Manned Space Mission in 25 Years Ends in Tragedy

VANKAT TOWNSHIP, Olara Province– Tavaris’ first manned spacecraft launch this century ended in heartbreaking tragedy on Tuesday afternoon, just seconds after launch, after an explosion destroyed the spacecraft and killed both astronauts aboard. Tabra Nanštobi, 44, and Beštara Tovrož Vólócaš, 39, were both veterans of the Royal Tavari Air Force who had spent the better part of the past year training for the mission, which was to entail the deployment of a navigation satellite, two space walks, and a number of zero-gravity scientific experiments. The launch has had the country abuzz for months, and was aired live on television and streamed across the world—leaving the global public to stare in shock as the rocket exploded over the Strait of Vaklori, leaving behind a foreboding cloud of smoke in the sky, debris scattered on the Urth below, and countless broken hearts and dreams.

Emperor Otan IV announced the news in a nationally televised address, saying “My fellow Tavari, I have the heartbreaking duty today to report to you that today’s launch of Tavari Agency for Space Exploration and Research Mission KR-201 ended in tragedy due to an explosion, resulting in the loss of both astronauts aboard. While we do not yet know the cause of the explosion, I want to assure you all that the investigation has already begun and we will not stop until we have answers. The heroes on board that vessel knew very well that they might not return, but that is a poor comfort for their families, their loved ones, and all of us who had gathered together as a nation, a Union, and a family to watch this historic event. We mourn their loss, but we stand steadfast in our dedication to the cause of furthering space research and exploring the stars, so that we can all advance together.”

Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar, standing alongside the Director of the Tavari Agency for Space Exploration and Research (TASER), was visibly emotional at a press conference held at the launch site, where both officials had gathered to watch what was supposed to be a historic launch. “This is a risk that we take every time we send people into space. Everyone involved knew that risk was there, and they bravely strapped into that rocket this morning anyway, knowing there was a chance they might never come home again, because they were dedicated to the cause of advancing scientific knowledge. That is the mark of true heroism,” the Prime Minister said with a red face streaked with tears.

Matron Vana Dandreal was also present at the launch but did not appear at the press conference; according to the Prime Minister, the Matron was leading an “impromptu ceremony of remembrance and prayer” for the fallen astronauts and their families. The mission was to be the first in Tavari history crewed entirely by Akronists, and as a dual Acronian-Tavari citizen, astronaut Tovrož Vólócaš was wearing both flags as patches on her spacesuit. The Matron herself has spoken in the past about her love of outer space and space travel, and has even said that the moon—with which the goddess Akrona is said to have a mysterious but special connection—is a spiritual place that Akronists should aspire to someday reach and walk upon.

Mission KR-201, known by the patriotic nickname of “Rising Macaw,” was to be the Tavari space program’s triumphant return after two decades of stagnation. Tavari of a certain age will remember the space program’s vaunted heyday in from the 1970s through the 1990s, which saw dozens of Tavari astronauts walk in space, the launches of dozens of scientific satellites and two long-distance space probes sent to study the Sun and the inner planets. Prime Ministers of various parties supported the space program in those years—Tavari capacity to operate in space was, in part, seen as vital to national defense after the 1975 Kevatuul incident saw the weaponization of outer space—but by the turn of the 21st century, politicians began to decry the program’s immense costs and perceived low return. Liberal Prime Minister Kola Vidas Nakrodat, elected in 1999, was a particular opponent of the space program and cut its budget by well over half during his time in office, and austerity-happy governments under the DNP’s Sir Endra Tivriš Žovradai were all too happy to follow the Liberal lead. The program’s last manned launch was in 1999, in which Tavari astronauts performed orbital repairs of the Reletend radio telescope, one of Tavaris’ most successful spaceborne instruments—repairs that were botched, leading Mr. Vidas Nakrodat to scuttle further spacewalks out of a feeling that they cost too much and gained too little.

Rising Macaw was only the first of several missions TASER had planned, culminating in a manned mission to the Olunar surface by 2049, but these future plans are now suspended and in doubt as the agency will have to shift to investigating the cause of this disaster and taking action to ensure it never happens again. TASER is likely to face severe scrutiny and criticism over the failure, having faced the ire of Cabinets and Diets for years due to cost overruns, delays, and other administrative failures. The space program has moved homes several times in recent years; it was originally housed under the Royal Tavari Air Force until 2000, when Kola Vidas Nakrodat controversially moved it to the Royal Tavari Marshalls as part of the same division as the Border Guard (“the Tavari border is three-dimensional,” he famously quipped), only to be moved again in 2011 to the newly created independent civilian agency, TASER. Under TASER, literally none of the agency’s planned launches have occurred on time or within their original budget, even despite the relatively bare bones schedule compared to the peak in the 90s. Concerns that safety has taken a backseat to budgetary and time constraints are already swirling, and TASER’s administrator acknowledged as much.

“We will be looking at every factor, no stone will be left unturned, in our investigation into this terrible tragedy. We will not hide from the truth. If orcish factors are at the cause of this tragedy, the public will know it and those who are responsible will be held accountable, including even myself,” said TASER Director Memta Rundra Toveníl. “Safety and engineering quality control should and must be at the forefront of everything this agency does. I and this entire agency have always been firmly committed to safety, but we will follow the trail of the investigation no matter where it takes us. Our fallen heroes deserve nothing less.”

While everyone asked took pains to caution that a complete picture of the events leading up to the disaster are still unknown and thus that no final conclusions can be drawn until more information is gathered, several sources indicated that some sort of technical system failure is the primary suspect for causing the explosion. The final transmission from the spacecraft was from mission captain Tabra Nanštobi, who reported “all the screens just rebooted and everything is in Norgsveltian” less than a second before the explosion. This transmission was heard over the public television broadcast, which TASER sources indicated was unusual—the channel to mission control for emergency communications was separate from the audio feed for the broadcast. “Either Tabra made a mistake in pressing the wrong button to send the transmission, or something was seriously wrong from a software standpoint,” said one source, whose identity the News is withholding so they can speak candidly. “A lot of the systems TASER uses are foreign-made—Norgsveltian, Morst, Vistari, Alkari, and more—and making sure the systems can all talk to each other has always been a major obstacle.”

Another possible factor is the site of the launch—since 2021 the Tavari space program has primarily focused on a newly constructed facility built in southern Ayaupia at a facility leased by the Tavari government in relation to the bilateral defense agreement between the two countries, but the launch site for Operation Rising Macaw was switched back to the much older facility on the Tavari eastern seaboard at the last possible moment, less than two months prior to the launch. TASER Director Rundra Toveníl declined to go into specifics about why the change was made, but said “Rising Macaw had been designed from the very start to be launch site agnostic, meaning it could launch from either site. If the choice of launchpad influenced the disaster, we will learn that in our investigation.”

If the explosion was indeed caused by a technical failure, that would represent just one more tragedy caused by the Tavari economy’s well-noted shortcomings in electronics and other high-tech engineering fields, something with which the Tavari financial and manufacturing sectors have been raising alarm bells about for years. Earlier this year, then-Defence Minister Sir Endra Tivriš Žovradai was killed by a freak accident involving a failure of a pneumatic message delivery system when in just about any other country that communication would have been sent electronically. However, a technical failure is not the only possibility—the notion of a foreign attack cannot be ruled out, and such an attack would then give rise to yet more criticism over the much-maligned Tavari intelligence gathering apparatus that is still mired in slow-going reforms. In any case, the disaster has laid bare the failings of the Tavari state and is sure to cause years of headaches and consternation in the halls of Tavari government.

The Emperor, however, took time at the end of his somber address to be optimistic. “The last thing that these brave heroes would want us to do is abandon space travel and space research. We know that we have to stop to investigate and refocus ourselves, but it is imperative that once we are ready, we get right back up again and back out there. We will grieve, we will investigate, we will change and grow, and then we will begin again. The Tavari have been following the heavens for more than two thousand years. We won’t be stopped now.”