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    • By Andalla
      The Andallan Broadcasting Network, or simply ABN, is the largest commercial broadcast television and radio network in Andalla. Its main office is located at the ABN Broadcasting Center at Erik S. Dahlsen Avenue (ESDA) corner Olsen Avenue while its primary transmitter, the Millennium Tower, is located in Byd. Haugvange.
      The ABN broadcasts primarily through its flagship television channel DSEA-TV (better known as Commonwealth TV or CTV), as well as through its flagship AM radio station DZMB-AM (Radio Andska 630). The ABN is best-known for its nationwide evening news program, Andalla Today, and its noontime variety program, Middandska, both of which are simulcast on CTV and Radio Andska 630.
      ABN programs are also broadcast internationally with Andska TV, a subscription-based cable and satellite television channel with approximately 1.8 million subscribers worldwide. Andska TV is based in Porto Libertad, @Sunset Sea Islands, with major offices located in other countries with a significant Andallan diaspora.
      The ABN maintains an online presence through its main website, abn.com. AT Online (news.at.net), a standalone news website affiliated with Andalla Today, serves as the ABN's primary news outlet alongside Andalla Today.
    • By Andalla
      The Thalassan War
      Tiauhai Sea [ 18 November 1941 - 0750 hrs ]

      The seas were calm on a November morning as the Giokton submarine I-23 cruised along the Tiauhai Sea. She was one of the several submarines dispatched under the top-secret Operation Barrage, launched after Giokton spies uncovered Andallan plans to further reinforce Liamchia, an Andallan territory on Giok Island. The day before, the SFS Teuvo Antonnen, a Kristian Steffenssen-class troop transport, departed Andalla for Liamtsia with 2,553 soldiers and crew on board...
      "Captain, ship spotted on the horizon, bearing three-two-zero. We've found our target."
      "Good. All compartments, prepare for dive."
      (The bridge is cleared and all hull openings are closed)
      "Green board sir, we have pressure in the boat."
      "Very well. Dive, dive." (The diving alarm goes off)
      (The submarine is now nearing attacking position)
      "Forward room, ready tubes one, two and three, depth zero-five feet."
      "Aye, tubes one and two ready."
      "You boys ready to make history?"
      "Readier than ever, captain!"
       "Aye, ready tube one... and fire! Tube two... fire! Tube three, standby... and, fire!"
      "Torpedoes in the water."
      Meanwhile, on the Teuvo Antonnen, a sailor on the bridge spots the torpedoes:
      The ill-fated Teuvo Antonnen makes a sharp, abrupt turn to port, startling and confusing many of her passengers. Though the first torpedo misses the ship's bow by several meters, the second one scores a hit on her forward cargo bay at 0832 hrs. The forward cargo bay begins to flood with water while fires caused by the detonation lick up the surrounding cargo. But before any action could be taken, a third torpedo rips through her amidships, causing increased flooding.
      Flames engulf the forward cargo bay and threaten to spread to the upper decks, while water rushes through the two holes. The very few damage control personnel are sent to the forward cargo bay to put out the worsening fire, the breach amidships left almost unattended, while the Teuvo Antonnen lists 15 degrees to starboard. At 0855 hrs, an explosion from the forward cargo bay rocks the lower decks near the bow. Damage control teams attempt to suppress the fire, yet their efforts are all in vain. The hole amidships caused by the third torpedo enlarges due to water pressure buckling the hull, increasing the list to 20 degrees and threatening to capsize the vessel. The call to abandon ship is made at 0918 hrs, after the bow begins to go down. As it was peacetime, the ship was not fully-equipped for an emergency and thus lacked enough life rafts. The deck of the ship grows into a chaotic mess as it fills with soldiers and crew waiting for a life raft, while some opt to jump off the ship instead. The crew is ordered to cut out pieces of wood and other buoyant items, then throw them into the sea to give the men in the water something to hold on to.
      At 0927 hrs, a loud creaking noise is heard from below decks, as the list increases by 10 more degrees over several minutes. At 0939 hrs, a second noise is heard and a small crack runs up to the starboard deck. Suddenly, at 0943 hrs, the ship capsizes, trapping over 1,600 soldiers and crew below decks. Her keel continues to rise up out of the water, as some of the men are able to escape the flooding decks. The ship stays afloat for a while, her keel pointing upwards. At 1026 hrs, the Teuvo Antonnen begins to sink again. By 1031 hrs, the last of the ship fades beneath the waves, taking over 1,100 men with her.
      The survivors, less than half of the 2,552 soldiers and crew, stay afloat in clusters of life rafts, pieces of wood, or even alone. They are picked up 10 hours later by the SFS Lekske, a Gammelbjerg-class destroyer. The rest of the troop transports underway to Liamchia are notified of the presence of Giokton submarines, forcing several vessels to turn around towards Andalla. The next day, the Andallan Congress declares war on Giokto and the first shots of the war on Giok Island are fired against Giokton border emplacements.
      The Second Giokto-Andallan War begins.
    • By Andalla
      Okay. So you've gotten down to writing about your airports. But what are these seemingly random three- or four-letter codes you're seeing now? Everybody seems to have them — what exactly are they, and how do you assign such codes to your own airports?
      If you've ever flown on a plane before, chances are you've at least encountered the three-letter codes. Examples include LAX (Los Angeles), MNL (Manila), YYZ (Toronto), CGK (Jakarta), and LED (St. Petursburg).
      On the other hand, you might have never heard of the four-letter type. It's used more often for technical purposes, where you'll see codes such as KJFK (New York), EGLL (London Heathrow), EGNJ (Grimsby), and RPVM (Cebu).
      So, let's get started...
      You might have wondered — why did we ever need these codes in the first place? The answer's simple: you wouldn't want to have to say Thiruvananthapuram when you can just say TRV, wouldn't you?
      Jokes aside, airport codes serve the exact same purpose as any other kind of code would do — simplify. Long, long lists of airports would look so much better if those airports are listed in three-letter codes. The codes also encourage standardization, which again goes back to the original goal of simplifying everything.
      Wait — simplify ?! What do you mean, "simplify" ? Some airport codes are absolutely nonsense! How could YYZ ever stand for "Toronto"? RPVM and "Cebu"?!
      Calm down. There's a bit of explaining that needs to be done here, so listen well...
      Actually, both. Most airports actually have both three- and four-letter codes, such as AMS and EHAM both referring to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Other smaller airports like rural airstrips might have only a four-letter code. To understand why, here's a bit of IRL history.
      You see, today there are two main international organizations governing the laws of the sky: IATA and ICAO. IATA, which stands for International Air Transport Association, is a trade organization of airlines, while ICAO, which stands for International Civil Aviation Organization, is a branch of the United Nations dealing with international aviation law. Both organizations seek to regulate commercial aviation to ensure that certain safety or performance standards are met.
      Instinct told both organizations that assigning airport codes was a very important stepping stone. Yet even though they had the same idea, they did it quite differently.
      IATA, being a trade organization, wanted simplicity. They called for short 3-letter codes that slightly resemble the name of the airport or city so that passengers could easily understand. These are the codes you see everywhere — on boarding passes, signboards, and everywhere they might be needed.
      ICAO, on the other hand, is a branch of the UN. They called for organization, using a special system to assign 4-letter codes to airports. As a passenger, you'll never see these codes. But pilots and air traffic controllers will. Everything technical references the ICAO code and not the IATA code.
      Of course, for efficiency, you'd better assign both codes to your airport. Perhaps leave the IATA code out if it's a really small airport. But you can't just jump straight in — you'll need to read on.
      Alright, it's time to do the dirty work. How exactly does this system work?
      Allow me to explain the IATA code first, as it's simpler and more commonly used. If you've noticed, IATA codes do resemble the cities — JFK for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, HKG for Hong Kong, and BRU for Brussels.
      Those three examples make up the simplest kind of IATA code — abbreviations and acronyms. These codes are designed to be as recognizable as possible; as such, they are usually assigned to major airports.
      Other codes will bear some noticeable resemblance, but not much. Codes like CRK for Clark, HKT for Phuket, and TEB for Teterboro are good examples of this type. You see, 3 letters will get you over 17,000 possible codes — but remember, certain letters such as E, A or C are used much more often than letters like W, Y, or J. Therefore, to conserve space for larger airports, less-significant airports will receive a code that somewhat resembles their name.
      Then we have the X-codes, and there's a lot of them. LAX for Los Angeles, DXB for Dubai, and CNX for Chiang Mai are some familiar airports that come to mind. The "X" doesn't signify that these airports are insignificant, as LAX is one of them. The trend actually emerged in the US as a way to simplify certain airport codes, but other nations followed suit as well. Just don't overuse the "X" — don't want to look too edgy, do you?
      Lastly, we have those codes that are complete nonsense. YYZ for Toronto, ORD for Chicago, and CGK for Jakarta are some codes that must be memorized by heart. These codes have quite a history behind them — at least, the big airports do. For example, Jakarta's airport is located in an area known as Cengkareng, hence the code CGK. Chicago's ORD references an old airport which used to stand on the grounds of today's O'hare International Airport. LED for St. Petursburg, of course, refers to Leningrad, which is glorious city of great mighty Soviet Union.
      Airports like YYZ might need to do a little explaining as to why their code really is absolute nonsense.
      Want more information on why IATA codes can be so messy or so neat? See here.
      ... Alright, we're done with that. If you're not overheating from the information yet, here's a guide to ICAO codes. As I've said, ICAO codes represent the four-letter technical codes that nobody uses. However, there is a very organized system as to how an airport receives its code.
      First, let's take an example. RCTP is the ICAO code for Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. Every ICAO code has 3 parts:
      First, the R. The first letter represents a certain geographical area or group of countries, to which a letter is assigned. In this case, "R" is assigned to all airports within the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Other examples include E for the northern half of Europe (such as EGLL for London Heathrow) and K for the contiguous United States (such as KBOS for Boston).
      Next, the C. Within the R-group, each respective country or territory is assigned a specific letter. Taiwan gets "C", so all Taiwanese airports begin with the prefix RC. Similarly, we have RJ for Japan and RP for the Philippines. Usually, the second letter is much closer to the actual name of the country than the first letter is to the region.
      Don't worry — we have a map. As you see, we've already assigned our first letters to certain regions. The second letter would correspond to your own nation's name, unless it's already taken. You'll be assigned another similar letter if that does happen. A list of the country codes can be found here.

      (Credits to the almighty @Gallambria.)
      We've decoded the first half of RCTP. How about the second half? Well, it's pretty simple from here — you get to decide. As "TP" somewhat resembles "Taipei", Taiwan decided to use that for the second half of their ICAO code. It's all up to you.
      While browsing around, you might encounter codes like VHHH for Hong Kong and WIII for Jakarta. How do they do this? Well, they've actually used the second letter to their advantage to create a catchy code. As Hong Kong has only one other airport, they could simply add HH to their prefix VH to get the code for their very popular airport. Indonesia has done the same with Jakarta — since they have nothing to do with II, they add it to their prefix WI. Again, it's up to you.
      A very special example is Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Their airport code is WBSB, which closely resembles the name Bandar Seri Begawan. They can do this because of their second letter B, which is also the first letter of the capital's name. A simple trick you can use to make really catchy codes as well. I myself have done the above with Arkhavn's airport, with the code CARK. As my prefix is CA, I simply add RK to resemble the name Arkhavn.
      For a bonus, we'll look into an extra system used in the Philippines. As I've said earlier, the Philippines' first two letters are RP. But how come Manila gets the code RPLL and Cebu gets RPVM? This one's pretty simple too. The Philippines is divided into 3 major geographical regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. To put it straight, the third letter represents the region and the fourth letter represents the city name.
      Let's look closer: Manila is located in Luzon, so the third letter would be L. Combining this system with the other "catchy code" system, we double the "L" to get RPLL. In the same way, Cebu is located in Visayas and its airport is located on an island known as Mactan, hence RPVM. The same goes for Davao, a city in Mindanao — that's right, we get RPMD.
      And, that's just about it. A little guide to help you in creating your airport codes so we could steal them and put them in our lists of airline destinations. Game-changing? Nope, not really. But nevertheless it's here to help. Cheers!
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