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Introduction

Roiters is one of the oldest news agencies in the region. The agency is based in Nordhaven, with regional centres in almost all other countries. It sends out news in English. Roiters was founded in 1915 by Leopold Ackerman as Roiters News Agency. Roiters is a non-profit autonomous public corporation, operating commercially and independently of the Orioni government. Roiters statutes prohibit direct government subsidies. It is administered by a CEO and a board comprising 10 members. The board elects the CEO for a renewable term of three years. Roiters also has a superior council charged with ensuring that the agency operates according to its statutes, which mandate absolute independence and neutrality.

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Karthenian Donor Conference to be held in Corona Borealis

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CORONA BOREALIS -- Our beloved Empress, in name of the entire Orioni government, has announced that a donor conference will be held in Corona Borealis, our northernmost colony. This conference will be held from 5-15th February 2006, and delegates from all European nations are invited. The goal of the conference is to raise awareness of the civil chaos in the politically inactive nation of Karthenia. Organisers hope the conference will get emergency services and cash to the area as soon as possible.

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Upper Strathyclyde agrees to joint venture for Jupiter Probe

STOCKHOLM, Upper Strathyclyde -- During the late afternoon, Nation Space Aeronautics Department of Upper Strathyclyde announced its plans "to fund, and develop the InterGal Probes, to explore a possibility of life on the Red Giant [Jupiter]".

Being eager to further develop our own technology, the Zuidhaven Institute of Technology offered to assist the project. It didn't take long for the Upper Strathyclyde Department of Atomic Studies to accept the offer to use the miniature nuclear drive currently being developed in Zuidhaven.

Quick results are not to be expected soon though since the InterGal Probes will need years to reach the planet Jupiter.

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Mixed feelings about Karthenian Donor Conference

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CORONA BOREALIS -- As reported by our news sources three days ago, the donor conference to help-out the people of Karthenia will go into its first evening tonight. Besides representatives of our own government and some of the Karthenian refugees currently being cared for in Corona Borealis, delegates from the following nations will be taking part as well: Upper Strathyclyde, Pirilao, Tagmatium, Adaptus, Vocenae, and Scipii. (Participation of Deltannia is still uncertain.)

In contrast with this good news are the negative responses coming from some nations. Although government sources don't wish to provide the names of these nations, a correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous informed us the nations in question were [censured] A, V, E and IJ [/censured]. Another nameless source was able to tell us these nations are mainly affronted by (1) our nation sending a reconnaissance plane to investigate the situation and (2) because they fear our nation will invade Karthenian territory and seize it as our own.

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Emergency aid for Karthenia complicated by threat of war

ZUIDHAVEN -- Emergency supplies from the colonies Andro and Meda in the far east will be arriving at Zuidhaven. They will be transfered onto larger oceansteamers and sent to Karthenia, due to Orioni's commitment to combat the civil chaos in the failing nation. Maritime transport is having some difficulties though, with the escalating show of strength regarding the situation in Hidaya Miliki, a small neighbour of the Arch-Imperium of the Xheng dynasty.

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Convictions for Hensei paparazzi

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O'POLIS -- Three photographers have been convicted of breaching privacy laws for taking pictures of Hensei Nabérrie (Empress Orioni CXXV) on the night she died. A symbolic fine of one euro was imposed on Joaqim Martinez, Faro Chosi and Leo Marx at the end of the long-running legal case. The paparazzi were cleared after trials in 2004 and 2005.

Proceedings were launched in the wake of the deaths in O'polis on 1 March 2003. The photographers had taken pictures of the current empress' mother as she left the Imperial Headquarters and in her vehicle after the crash that killed her. The photographers were originally acquitted in a November 2003 ruling by a lower court. They were also cleared at an appeal ruling against the acquittal in September 2004. But the latest appeals court ruling found that the privacy had been invaded on both occasions.

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Stranded whales return to sea

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ZUIDHAVEN -- Rescuers have freed 110 pilot whales stranded for 24 hours on a beach on Orioni's south coast. More than 100 volunteers helped refloat the whales, using the high tide to help send them back out to sea. About 15 of the 5m-long whales died, in one of the country's biggest mass strandings in a decade.

Conservation officials used a flotilla of small boats to help shepherd the whales away from the shallows and towards open water. They hope to stop the whales turning back towards the shallow beach and becoming stranded for the second time.

The workers, who included foreign tourists, set up sprinklers to pump water over the whales and to try and keep them cool with wet sheets. "I think people feel a very strong connection with the whales and are quite touched by their plight," said Trish Grant of Orioni's conservation department. "I think there's quite a buoyant mood because people were glad to be involved in trying to help rescue these whales."

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Council of Defense creates new special unit

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O'POLIS -- A new special forces unit has been set up to support overseas operations - particularly in the fight against terror. Announcing the creation of the Orioni Special Reconnaissance Unit (OSRU) on Friday, the Council of Defense gave little away. It spoke of a unit to "meet the growing need for special reconnaissance capability", adding that it would offer "a wide range of specialist skills and activities related to covert surveillance". Specific details were not up for discussion, because it could "compromise security", but the new unit had been "necessary for a long time".

Carolus Hoyman, a senior defence analyst and former Army lieutenant colonel, explains what he thinks the OSRU will do. "This group can do things like taking airfields and get behind the lines - the sort of things you need a lot of people for." Mr Hoyman estimated the new unit will be between 2500 and 3000-strong, and he speculated that the "backbone" of the OSRU would be made up from one of the already existing parachute regiment battalions.

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Sir Andrew Pipkin appointed new Councillor of Foreign Affairs

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pic.png Sir Andrew Pipkin (right) with his lifelong friend Lou Todd.

O'POLIS -- In a move that has received great support throughout the Empire, Chairlady Pristo, in agreement with the Empress, and the other members of the imperial council, announced the appointment of a new councillor of foreign affairs. It came as no surprise that Sir Andrew Pipkin (photo: right), a well respected and popular member of the corps diplomatique, was the one to receive this great honour.

Although being in a wheelchair since the Great Pot Wars of 2004, the former ambassador to @Vanarambaion told reporters he is confident his disability will not prevent him from doing his job in any way. Sir Pipkin also pointed out that his aide and lifelong friend Lou Todd (photo: left) will remain at his side now that he takes on his new function.

News regarding the replacement of the former Councillor of Foreign Affairs remains scarce. Government officials tend to make vague statements regarding this replacement, and seem to be scared when asked what happened to the former councillor. The recent rumors that the Cult of Scorpio had anything to do with this matter are being disclaimed, although gossip and speculation continue.

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'Aid for Italgria' action great success

NORDHAVEN -- Principal Joaquin Santoro proudly holds up a cheque for €20.000 which his students earned by doing jobs for charity. The campaign Aid for Italgria has received a lot of support from people nationwide. This week alone, over €2.000.000 was gathered by public schools. Government officials have said the Imperial Council has agreed to double this amount.

Our government also pledged support to the stricken city of San Agostino in @Italgria, where power and electricity are slowly restored. About 50 engineers of the 3rd logistical corps are already on their way to the city. Sources also report the Orioni government will also be sending aid by air.

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Man from Pirilao wins Orioni lottery

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O'POLIS -- The National Lottery announced today that a €10 million winning ticket for the Saturday, July 25 lottery game was sold at the Q Mart at 820 Commerce Lane in Zuidhaven. The winning numbers drawn in Tuesday’s draw were [2] [4] [9] [38] and [50]. The two extra numbers were [6] and [8].

There was only one person who matched all seven numbers and won the Tuesday jackpot. Rafael Portilao, a migrant worker from neighbouring @Pirilao , was shocked and ecstatic at the same time when he heard the news. "Of course I'm very glad!", Rafael said to reporters. What will he be doing with the money? "I think I will give 1/3 of it to charity, put another third away for the future, and with the rest of the money I will buy a nice house in Pirilao for my family and me."

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Unrest in neighbouring Tamurin

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pic.png Polizei raid in progress.

ALAGHON, Tamurin -- After the recent catastrophe at the CSCE (Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europa), political matters in our northwestern neighbour @Tamurin have taken yet another turn for the worse. Only last night, nearly 20 INELF-terrorists were captured in a large-scale police action in Alaghon. News sources inside the city tell us that "this was the biggest group in central Tamurin and the leaders were high-ranking ex-imperial special forces soldiers."

That very same evening, more bad news for the already hard-hit nation emerged, as polls revealed the outcome of the national elections. A nationalist alliance, led by Josef Zwick, had emerged victorious in the southwestern region around @Abyssio. At the same time, the post-imperialist 'Union of the North' became the largest party in the northeastern area of Ormpetarr. The reigning coalition only managed to secure a minor majority in the centre of the country. This political divide may prove to be yet another test for a nation already severely undermined by hardship.

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'Glory' leads after first act of Ocean's Cup

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STOCKINBINGAL (Niederoestereich) -- Clear blue skies and a warm sun are shining over Stockinbingal on the second day of the 1st Ocean's Cup, organized by the Zuidhaven Yacht Club. The memory of yesterday’s gloomy skies, rain and variable winds has been short-lived for all but the crews who yesterday fought out a gruelling race, in some cases spending up to 30 hours at sea.

The first boat to cross the finish line of the long-distance race, was Gyor Mallur’s #07 Glory (Bhalman). The next boat to reach the finish line, approximately half an hour later, was Rickard Kraal’s #03 Lady Ophelia (Miiros). The surprising third place goes to the Gorch Fock from Tamurin, who managed to out-manoeuvre all ships behind here.

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Pictures From Abroad

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LAHAINA (Bainbridge Islands) -- Empress Orioni was spotted today at the Majesty Resort in tropical Lahaina, where she spent some time off underneath a cloudless blue sky of @Bainbridge Islands. Although the Empress despises any paparazzo after what happened to her mother, the press was nonetheless able to acquire this dazzling picture.

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Chairman Strupar defeated in 2015 election -- New Council set to abandon isolationism

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pic.png Massive voter turnout in the southern city of Andro.

O'POLIS -- Today marked the beginning a new era for the Empire, with the signing into office of a new, progressive Imperial Council. Voters were able to cast their ballot during three days, from December 1st to 5th. Voter turnout was massive. After seven days of meticulously counting and recounting of ballots the result is finally available. Detailed election results for the Empire are as follows:

  • 46% SP.o (+16%)
  • 35% Blueropa (+22)
  • 12 % Pink! (+5%
  • 5% PO&N (-28%)
  • 2% Fronde Verdur (-15%)

The previous coalition of nationalist oligarchs, led by staunch isolationist Iosef Strupar, had bad been in office since 2007. Most readers will remember the controversial near-tie in the 2011 elections that allowed the Strupar to form his second cabinet and stay in power for an additional 4 years. Their current defeat marks the end of what some critics compare to the economic crisis of the 10th century, a dark page in Orioni's history.

The declining economy and increasing unemployment, caused by the isolationist policies of Strupar II, clearly didn't do well with the average person. The 2007 promises of razing tariffs to protect our national interests only had a brief effect, after which the Councillor of Finance started reporting continues setbacks in his quarterly reports.

The opposing block of liberal and socialist parties ran on a platform of drastic change, starting with the reopening of international trade and establishing a profitable trade balance. This clearly resonated with the people. A provisional cabinet has already been formed, and at this moment the Councillor of Foreign Affairs is addressing greater Europa.

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Strupar, former chairman, found dead

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MEDA -- Former chairman Iosef Strupar was found dead. His body was taken to a local hospital in Meda where his identity was confirmed. In a brief message, law enforcement stated they suspect unlawful homicide.

Thousands gathered at the Basilica of Meda. The funeral will take place ten days from now on Sunday and will be broadcast live on local TV. In eastern Orioni, all regular television programs will be suspended.

Mr Strupar, a native Easterner, is known as the former political leader of PO&N. He worked his way up the political ladder, some say through questionable deals, none of which made it to court. After 8 years as chairman, Strupar was forced to step down after his defeat in the December 2015 election.

Sources say he was found wearing 'cement shoes' somewhere in the busy Meda shipping port, a clear sign of criminal involvement. Government officials refused to comment on this rumour.

The Imperial Council has declared a day of mourning. Iosef Strupar was aged 46 and leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

arrow.gifOOC: Here is some backstory if you want to continue reading.

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Massive turnout for Strupar funeral

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MEDA -- The main item in this weekend's news was the funeral of former chairman Iosef Strupar. There was a massive turnout in Meda, the hometown of the Strupar in eastern Orioni. Thousands of people turned up to pay their respects. His friends and family carried the coffin down the steps of the Basilica of Meda.

There was also a massive crowd in the streets between the Basilica of Meda, and the crypt where Mr Strupar was buried. Members of his political party PO&N, as well as the nationalist former coalition partner Fronde Verdur, showed up in their well-known dark uniforms.

As of yet, there is no news regarding the criminal investigation. The councillor for justice, Lady Tami Jefferson, declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

arrow.gifOOC: Feel free to read the section on politics in my NS factbook for more info on political parties in Orioni and members of the imperial council.

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Spectacular car accidents in Zuidhaven

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pic.png Emergency responders arrive at the gruesome scene of the car wrecks.

ZUIDHAVEN -- Four people are injured following serious road accidents in Zuidhaven.

The first accident happened on a road parallel to the E34 motorway in Zuidhaven last night. Two cars were involved in a head-on collision. Both drivers were stuck in their wrecks for quite a while and had to be cut free by firefighters. The two drivers were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Later two cars crashed into each other. The vehicle being driven by a security guard doing his rounds was catapulted into a tree. The guard was seriously injured. The driver of the other car sustained light injuries. The road had to be closed for a while while a traffic expert examined how the accident could have happened.

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Treasury councillor puts fiscal amnesty measures on hold

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pic.png Lady Catherine Manzoni, Imperial Councillor of Treasury

O'POLIS -- The Imperial Councillor of Treasury Lady Catherine Manzoni has announced that the existing fiscal amnesty measures will be put "on hold". News that the measures are to be suspended appears in Friday's edition of the daily The Sirius Herald. The decision has come about after a ruling by the Palace of Justice, the highest court in Orioni.

The Palace of Justice has ruled that the Inland Revenue acted outside its powers by drafting a new system for fiscal amnesty itself. The Palace of Justice almost always follows the Auditor's advice. Lady Manzoni has decided to act proactively: "I have told the Special Taxation Inspectorate, as a precautionary measure, not to use the principles contained in the Inland Revenue's instructions as a basis for dealing with any new cases."

The 'instructions' should not be confused with the new fiscal amnesty rules that Lady Manzoni is working on. The new rules have been delayed as a result of concerned expressed by the Palace of Justice about the plans.

It can't be ruled out that black money, the origins of which aren't clear, will, at least in part, be subject to regional taxation. The regional governments are planning not to give Lady Manzoni an easy ride.

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Orinese buying more and more online

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SIRIUS -- Orinese are making an increasing number of purchases online. Last year people in Orioni spent a total of 73 billion ION on online purchases. This is an increase of 25% compared with the amount spent online in 2014. The figures come from the Orioni E-Commerce Federation iOCommerce. iOCommerce adds that its figures are "a conservative estimate".

In 2014 online trade was good for turnover of 59 billion ION. Last year, this increased to over 73 billion ION. iOCommerce's CEO Carine Moitier told journalists that exact figures won't be available until March. Ms Moitier added that the final tally for last year could top 80 billion ION turnover

December is traditionally a busy money and December 2015 was no exception. More than 10 billion ION was spent by people in Orioni online between November 27th and December 31st. The most popular products purchased online were beauty products, food and drink and fashion.

The majority of the money (70%) spent in web shops went to foreign players. Just 30% was spent in Orioni-based web shops.

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A record year for O'polis Airport

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O'POLIS -- Almost 73,5 million passengers passed through O'polis International Airport (OPL) during 2015. This is a new record for Orioni's biggest airport. Figures released on Friday show that 73.460.018 passengers passed through OPL during 2015, up 7% on 2014 that was also a record year.

In Friday morning's press release OPL writes that: "The growth has come about as a result of the great success of new operators and the further development of the Star Alliance Hub (that includes the @Emakera and @Miiros airlines) and the low-cost airlines."

Meanwhile, air cargo was up 7,8% on 2014. Four new air cargo operators came to OPL during 2015. "The growth in air cargo traffic is even more remarkable when you consider the situation for air cargo in Europa as a whole over the past 3 months", the airport's press statement reads.

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Spectacular eruption of Silesto volcano after years of quiet

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pic.png Volcanic lightning is seen at an eruption of Mount Silesto, in this photo taken in north-east Orioni.

TAURI -- Things had been quiet at Orioni’s Silesto volcano for the past few years, but today the volcano unleashed an impressive explosive eruption. Incandescent volcanic bombs and ash were hurled hundreds of meters into the air. The eruption even generated some of its own lightning. There were brief reports of lava flow from the eruption as well, but this would be a bit of a surprise based on Silesto’s usual eruption style. We have yet to see any images or confirmation of a lava flow. Images and video of the eruption show glowing blocks of debris moving downhill, but those are not lava flows.

Although amateur footage would suggest otherwise, the blast itself wasn’t particularly strong for Silesto. When it is in an eruptive period, the volcano can regularly throw volcanic bombs and ash multiple kilometers from the active vent—this eruption was doing just that. What is most notable here is more that Silesto had been quiet for so long (in this case, years), when it has produced dozens of eruptions per year over the last half century.

As a precaution, the Orioni Meteorological Institute increased the exclusion zone to 2 kilometres from the vent and raised the alert status to 3 (of 5). The OMI thinks that this explosion is a resumption of the eruptive period that had waned in September 2005.

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Unknown Drone Flies Over IODF Carrier

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pic.png Amateur pictures of the unknown drone were posted to social media.

PERSEUS -- An unarmed drone flew directly over an Orioni aircraft carrier operating in international waters in the Northern Meteorolas this month in a move that was "abnormal and unprofessional," the Imperial Orioni Defence Force (IODF) said yesterday.

Amateur pictures from a sailor posted to social media on February 2nd showed a surveillance drone flying over the aircraft carrier and taking "precise" pictures during a naval drill earlier this month.

But an Imperial Orioni Navy (ION) spokeswoman only confirmed incident on February 8th, stating that an unarmed drone flew directly over the HMS Perseus CVN. She could not confirm if it was the same incident reported in online media.

The drone initially flew towards the 3rd fleet, and then flew directly over HMS Perseus, said the spokeswoman, Lieutenant Commander Nicoli Hega, in an e-mailed statement. The carrier was not conducting flight operations at the time, Hega said.

"The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was unarmed and posed no risk to the carrier's flight operations," Hega said. "While the UAV's actions posed no danger to the ship, it was, however, abnormal."

All ships from the 3rd fleet were operating in international waters in the Northern Meteorolas, somewhere between @Miiros and @Bainbridge Islands.

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G7 united by common values

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pic.png Seaside view of the Lovra museum and conference centre in Zuidhaven.

ZUIDHAVEN -- Chairlady Chandra Pristo describes the G7 meeting in Zuidhaven as very focused and productive. "The G7 is a community of responsibility," she said.

The G7 meeting in the Lovra museum shows that the G7 countries have more than just prosperity and economic power in common, dr. Pristo said at the press conference which followed the end of the first day. The G7 share common values such as freedom, democracy and human rights, as well as the rule of law, respect for international law and territorial integrity. That makes the G7 a community of responsibility, Pristo stresses.

"We want a value- and rule-based economic system, and we want to shape globalization together on the basis of those values," the Chairlady went on to say. Pristo pointed out that decisions would be taken on important international issues in the months ahead

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