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Government to build up storage of petroleum

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O'POLIS -- The Orioni government has announced the decision to build a strategic storage of petroleum of 5 million tonnes capacity to ensure energy security for the nation. 

"This storage will support the existing storage of petroleum with oil companies and will provide us with an effective emergency response mechanism to oil supply disruptions," said Chairlady Chandra Pristo in a speech to the Sibiseba (English: Assembly).

A group of abali (English: Assembly Member) enquired whether the Council is considering alternate options. Chairlady Pristo replied that the Government has set up a committee led by Energy Councillor Elisa Solna, and with the vice-councillor of petroleum and natural gas as co-chair to address issues relating to energy policy. 

The Chairlady added: "The Committee will go into short, medium and long-term, policies and review such policies ranging across sectors, fuels and regions to enhance the nation’s energy security."

On production of petroleum, she explained: "During the year 2016-2017, Orioni's import dependency to meet the domestic demand of petroleum products was 85%."

To reduce this import dependence, the Government has promised to take steps which include efforts to increase the domestic production of energy by expanding the exploration efforts of new oil fields. This includes exploring new areas, especially in deep water and deeper layers of existing fields. 

How this will impact the ecological balance remains unclear at the moment.

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Navy foils pirate attack on oil tanker off the Bainbridge coast

LAHAINA, Bainbridge Islands -- Orioni's naval forces have successfully thwarted a pirate attack on an Orinese oil tanker off the Bainbridge coast.

Pirates in 6 speedboats attacked the oil tanker with a cargo of more than 150.000 tonnes coming from @Sa Hara. However, commandos of the Navy’s Operation Ocean Guard, which patrols the Azure Sea in an anti-piracy operation, managed to repel the attack.

The operations fleet, which includes the HMS Tornado, set off for high seas in the summer of 207 on a mission to maintain the Orioni Empire’s power in international waters and safeguard maritime routes.

In recent years, Orioni’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.

In line with international efforts against piracy, the Orioni Navy has been conducting patrols in the Azure Sea and around the Bainbridge Islands, safeguarding merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Orioni or other countries.

Orioni's Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Orinese and foreign tankers during its missions in international waters.

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Oldest Person ‘Mama Tiresa’ dies at 113

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ORIS -- Orioni’s oldest person, Tiresa Mehali, has died at the age of 113. She passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday the 31st of March 2019.

Tirasa was born into poverty in Andro in 1906 but rose to become a beloved musician and inspirational social workers. She later founded the Golden Heart charity to help the aged sick in Andro, earning her the nickname 'Mama Tiresa'. Her contributions to society earned her the Order of the Beautiful Empire in 1966.

Through her family, she had requested that no media announcement be made and that no rituals or ceremonies be conducted. Tiresa was cremated the same day and her ashes were scattered along the seashore she loved so much.

Earlier this year she was celebrated as the oldest person in Orioni. Tiresa spoke about her secrets of longevity. "I stay positive, I contribute, I eat a healthy diet, and every morning I do yoga,” she said at her birthday party in Oris.

She also discussed the benefit of meditation in staying healthy at her age. “Meditation is also an important part of my life. I spend a couple of hours every morning ‘clearing my brain’ and focusing on the day ahead. I believe a healthy brain goes a long way toward living a long, quality life,” she said.

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:pic: Logistics at Vega Naval base, next to Universal Exports shipping containers.

IODF positioning troops in South-Miiros

BALAS, Miiros -- The Imperial Orioni Defence Force (IODF) is moving some 15.000 military personnel to Balas, a small island in the south of @Miiros. "The planned transfer of personnel from Vega to Balas has been underway for several weeks now," a spokesperson has said.

The planned transfer is related to EOS members sharing of their military infrastructure. The IODF will continue to send hundreds of vehicles and a dozen attack helicopters to Balas in the coming weeks. Also included are manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, and a number of military engineers.

This expansion of a troop presence just next door to the Bainbridge archipelago will put added pressure on the pirate leaders to forsake their criminal enterprise and come to the negotiating table.

Tensions with Bainbridge had been rising for several years. The Pristo-administration deployed its anti-piracy operation Ocean Guard in July 2017, with mixed results. Sanctions have greatly weakened the Bainbridge economy. But boat refugees are ending up on Europan and Orinese shores. And the pirate actions have only slightly declined.

The office of Admiral Ramius told Roiters reporters that the Navy possessed "very convincing evidence" that pirates in Bainbridge Islands were responsible for failed attacks on four more tankers. He added that: "This pirate menace has also tried to use upgraded speedboats that could launch missiles."

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Orinese election campaign to begin this week

O'POLIS -- On Thursday the starting gun will fire for the Orinese election campaign. Campaigning for world’s third-largest democratic exercise (after the GHET and SSI general elections) is held over six months across 19 provinces. The national election is often a colourful affair. And this year’s vote is set to be more unusual. Early polling shows that the neo-liberal party PO&N is predicted to win big. And the increasingly nationalist Fronde Verdur, led by Nigela Merabiya,  are also expected to make a return in the eastern provinces.

High employment rate among young graduates

O'POLIS -- It’s a good time to be a young Orinese graduate. New government figures show that the employment rate for the latest batch of spring graduates stands at 93 per cent, second only to the previous year’s record high of 94 per cent. As Orioni's population ages, the shortage of workers means that the quantity of jobs on offer now exceeds the number of graduates looking for work. Indeed, the tiny fall in employment this year has been put down to those who opted not to take a job in order to reapply for their first-choice companies. Employment for high-school graduates looks bright too – 97 per cent at the latest count, which is reminiscent of the economic boom of the bubble years. Estimates point to Orioni’s job surplus reaching 6,4 million by 2030. No wonder Chairlady Chandra Pristo proposed the revision to the country’s labour laws only last week.

Government to ban export of plastic waste

ZUIDHAVEN -- Orioni may soon end its longstanding practice of shipping plastics that it can’t recycle to other countries. The policy shift, now being debated, could take effect in mid-2020, forcing O'polis to find a way to dispose of 1,4 billion kilograms of plastic rubbish that it has been shipping annually to countries in Europa. Orioni has been slow to change its ways and excessive packaging remains the norm. Weaning itself off single-use plastic straws, bags and umbrella sleeves won’t be easy but it’s a hopeful sign that one of the Eurth’s biggest exporters of plastics waste could finally be cleaning up its act.

Public transportation expanding in Gruis

GRUIS -- Gruis is undergoing something of a revival: its food is promoted as the best in Orioni, demand for commercial real estate is up and its economy is doing well. No wonder, then, that city mayor Awidefale Rezovi intends to repair the roof while the sun’s shining. She has set her sights on reforming the city’s ageing public transport system. An order for 300 new buses was placed last year and extensions are ongoing for its light rail and one of its subway lines. But that’s not all. A new proposal unveiled on Monday would see more metro trains added and a new express bus route built. Rezovi may be onto something: a failure to update Gruis' network now may well hinder its ascendancy in the years to come.

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Cussian Crisis: nations must not turn a blind eye, Rights groups say

KARU, @Haruspex -- Human rights groups have called on Eurth's political leaders to rethink their approach to the Cussian refugee crisis that's unfolding in formerly @Beautancus territory under the control of Haruspex.

The Christian issue, especially their repatriation from Cussia, is expected to be a major topic during the upcoming meeting among leaders of the Entente of Oriental States. Haruspex regards the Christian-majority Cussians as undocumented migrants from the Arhomaneian subcontinent and has confined tens of thousands to camps. Unknown numbers of Cussians have already crossed into Tagmatium, according to NGO observers, after violence and clashes by Haruspex's military security forces.

Human rights activists say the bloc should not rush to get involved in the Cussian crisis without addressing the root causes of their displacement. "EOS needs to stop turning a blind eye to Haruspex's atrocities against the Cussians, and cease lending legitimacy to the repatriation process," Mrs Anna Hackney, the Orinese representative to EOS, said in a statement. Rights groups have also criticised an earlier EOS report for whitewashing the persecution of the majority-Christian minority by Haruspex. Rights groups say conditions in Cussian Northern Occidental territories are not conducive to the safe return of refugees.

"EOS seems intent on discussing the future of the Cussians without condemning, or even acknowledging, the Haruspex military's ethnic cleansing campaign against them," said Mr Adam Brand, director of Mercy International. "It's preposterous for EOS leaders to even suggest the repatriation of a traumatised population into the hands of the security forces who killed, raped, and robbed them."

Haruspex denies widespread wrongdoing and says the military campaign across hundreds of villages in the northern Cussian territory was in response to the attacks by terrorist fighters.

Last week, reports of serious abuses emerged from the Karu Trainyard Refugee Center, where even refugees including many children are confined against their behind barbed wire without any legal basis or release date. It is unclear whether the young refugees will have access to lawyers, education or social services.

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