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Box Office: 'Crazy Rich Orientals' is the biggest rom-com in years

Written by Feridonanidi Nehase Tiigisiti

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:pic: Misheli Joyi, from left, Buni Weriki and Amineti Wiye in a scene from the film "Crazy Rich Orientals." (Roiters)

ANDRO -- The film is called Crazy Rich Orientals, but the cast is proud to be showcasing a much wider, rare array of Oriental culture and identity in an Orlywood film. The romantic comedy, which opened in film theatres last Friday and stars Amineti Wiye, Misheli Joyi, Wiha Tiru and newcomer Buni Weriki, is the first with an all-Oriental ensemble cast from a major studio in 25 years.

“Straight Off The Junk” actress Amineti Wiye plays the Sirius Business School economics professor Madegi Chama, who flies to Zuidhaven to meet her boyfriend’s family only to discover that it is one of the wealthiest in the Empire. Amid the lavish parties and romantic setbacks, the film highlights the clash of Continental and Oriental cultures and the tension between old-money families in Zuidhaven and the nouveau riche.

It is also a love letter to Zuidhaven, as the camera lingers on the city’s modern and traditional architecture, parks, nearby tropical beaches, street food and music. “I wanted to reflect that this was a warm place. That it wasn’t a strange alien planet that you are going to, as Orioni is often depicted,” said director Yonei Michu, who was raised in @Ide Jima by @Miirosi parents and had never previously been to Zuidhaven.

The cast was drawn from Miiros, @Kipan, Ide Jima, @Koku, the @Sunset Sea Islands, @Selayar and Giokto, along with Orioni, where it was filmed. “It was like a swap meet of experiences of being Oriental in different countries,” said Buni Weriki, who was born in @Gallambria and raised in @Seylos. “Everybody had struggled in some aspect with their identity, so to be able to share that and come together and strengthen together, you couldn’t even imagine,” he said.

Gemma Chan, a @Tamurin-born actress of Ide Jiman heritage, said that making the film had made her re-think her identity. “When I was younger, as most children do, you just wanted to fit in. My Barbies had blond hair and blue eyes. I always felt I’m different, I wish I wasn’t different. Now I feel more proud than ever of my Oriental heritage, and it’s something I can happily embrace,” she said.

While the film is unapologetically Oriental, even down to a game of Mahjong and a dumpling-making scene, the filmmakers say its themes of family, love, and the struggle to be accepted are universal. “It is a rare film that is culturally specific, yet for the world,” said actor Keni Wetati.

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Cllr Hakushaku awards STEM grants to move to Orioni

Written by Tomasi Tebaki

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O'POLIS -- Trade councillor Elisabeth of Hakushaku has awarded Φ18.000.000 for foreign STEM workers to relocate to Orioni, in an effort to boost domestic research and development. 

So far, 54 foreign scientists have hit the jackpot as Cllr Hakushaku awarded them grants to relocate to Orioni for the rest of this political term. More than 8,000 people from about 50 countries expressed interest in the grants. Most of the applicants were Europa-based researchers.

The “Ascend Orient” grants are part of Cllr Hakushaku’s efforts to counter the challenges of climate change. Orioni's appeal “gave me such a psychological boost, to have that kind of support, to have the government saying I value what you do”, said winner Camille Parmesan, of the University of Darhan in @Ide Jima. She will be working at an experimental ecology station in the Altais Mountains on how human-made climate change is affecting wildlife. In an interview with the Associated Press, Parmesan described funding challenges for scientific projects in her home nation and a feeling that “you are having to hide what you do”.

“We will be there to support your research,” Hakushaku told the 54 winners in O'polis on Thursday. “If we want to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, we need science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said, promising to also put in place a global climate change monitoring system among other climate innovations.

The research of the winning recipients focuses on transportation, polymers, and pollution. A new round of the competition will be launched next month in December. About 50 projects will be chosen overall and funded with Φ6.000.000 from university research institutes. Initially aimed at Europan researchers, the research grants were expanded to all Eurth nations, according to organizers.

Some Orinese researchers have complained that Mrs Hakushaku is showering money on foreign STEM specialists at a time when they have been pleading for more support for domestic higher education.

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Government to build up storage of petroleum

Written by Tomasi Tebaki

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O'POLIS -- The Orioni government has announced the decision to build a strategic storage of petroleum of 5 million m3 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 (Anglish: Assembly).

A group of Sibisebali (Anglish: 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 per cent.”

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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Security on Gallambrian ship repel pirates off the Bainbridge coast

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

LAHAINA, Bainbridge Islands -- Security guards aboard a @Gallambria-flagged cargo ship repelled an attack by pirates in a gun battle off the @Bainbridge Islands (KBI) coast this week, the Orioni naval force in the region said on Thursday. It was the second reported attempt by pirates to seize a commercial ship this month, after a resurgence of attacks during the summer months following two years of constant pressure despite the regular patrols of the Operation Ocean Guard.

On Wednesday, pirates approached and opened fire at the Gallambria-registered freighter MV Prince of Cambria, some 140 nautical miles off KBI. The pirates were repelled by the quick and decisive action of private security guards aboard the ship, who foiled the attack, the navy said in a statement. Security guards had already moved the civilian crew to safe locations aboard the ship before the actual shooting erupted.

“Due to the deployment of protection measures by the captain, his crew, and their private security team, this piracy attack was effectively thwarted. The crew and vessel remain safe,” the statement read. “There was a prolonged exchange of gunfire before the pirate skiff with several armed men on board broke off its attack and changed course away from the ship.”

The largest reported attack in the Northern Meteorola Sea was in June 2017, when pirates managed to capture the MV Amalas and its crew also off the coast of Lahaina.

Pirates once plagued the Konstantinopoli Sea shipping lanes off southern Europa, with the peak year in 2017. After marine intervention from @Jilderen the piracy-actions shifted eastward towards the Meteorolas. Attacks dramatically increased after several early successes, despite foreign navies, including EOS, beginning regular anti-piracy patrols in the area.

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Alert: Prisoner escape in Meda

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

MEDA -- Police in the eastern city of Meda report that prisoner Warner Habitami escaped during his transport to the courthouse this morning. The escapee is on foot and was last seen on Ajonar Avenue while attempting to steal a car to further his getaway. The street was empty after this night's new year's celebrations, our local correspondent reports. Local police have launched an extensive search of the area in a bid to find Habitami. Police are also warning the public to remain vigilant. It is advised to not leave unattended cars unlocked or with the engine running.

Warner Habitami is a white male with short hair and beard, wearing a regular prison outfit of pink jeans and shirt. He may still be handcuffed in the front. He speaks with an obvious Rohinese accent.

In 2010, Habitami was sentenced to 15 years in prison. During the worst of the financial crisis, according to prosecutors, he had approved the concealment of hundreds of millions in losses in RITZ-scandal. Habitami lied about the value of his bank’s transfer, but other bankers behaved far worse. Habitami’s former employer, for one, had revised its past financial statements to account for these losses and more. A plumbing repair at his office reportedly led to the discovery of “blocks and blocks” of cash and checks hidden in his office wall. Surprisingly, he would earn the distinction of being the only financial executive sent to jail for his part in the financial crisis.

Police emphasize these clear instructions:

  • DO NOT leave unattended cars running.
  • Area residents and business, BE VIGILANT while this aggressive search is underway.
  • Should you spot him: Call 1-1-3 with your location and DO NOT APPROACH.
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Kipan granted EOS observer status

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

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EOS Island -- The Entente of Oriental States has granted observer status to the State of @Kipan. Following a decision by the governing council on Sunday, the Aurelian nation can observe the closed-door deliberations of the governing council. This is the first expansion of membership to be approved in 2019.

“There is a natural rapprochement between the Oriental nations, respecting our mission to improve economic development in and around the Oriental Ocean, following the existing EOS’s development mandate,” said permanent representative Anna Hackney.

“We welcome this opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Kipanese and enhance our contributions to a more peaceful Eurth,” she added. “I've spoken about this with Foreign Minister Masaki Kaneda, and he is confident that President Yamazaki will green light this membership status.”

This decision will put Kipan on a par with other nations with observer status in the EOS system, such as @Sunset Sea Islands@Cristina@Fleur de Lys@Magnaeus and Deltannia. At the same time, the suspension of Mantella is still in effect, for reasons related to their recent civil war with Cristina.

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Wide field for chamber elections in Variota

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

FERREFAAIERHAFEN, Variota -- The Chamber of the People in @Variota is holding elections this year. A wide field of opposing parties is vying for political power. Electoral participation in Het Huisselant is at a high level, with over 26.4 million citizens registered as members of one of the twenty-two parties with at least one seat in the Chamber of the People. People are legally allowed to be a member of multiple political parties, so long as only one of the parties operates within the Chamber of the People. One of the reasons for the relatively high amount is that there are no legal age requirements to become part of a party; as such, many parents enrol their children into the party.

> Continue reading the questions and answers

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Navy foils pirate attack on oil tanker off the Bainbridge coast

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

LAHAINA, Bainbridge Islands -- Orinese 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 thousand 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 the 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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200 million people celebrate Āhuni

Written by Feridonanidi Nehase Tiigisiti

O'POLIS -- The Orinese New Year is just around the corner. The first day of spring, or the spring equinox, falls on Wednesday this year in the Northern Hemisphere. But you don't have to be Orinese to celebrate. More than 200 million people worldwide, in Orioni and the diaspora, celebrate the day.

For millions of people across the Eurth, Āhuni is no small celebration. Think Christmas, New Year's and a national holiday combined. Add to it family gatherings, festivities, delicious fish, rice, and spices.

Āhuni is Oharic for New Year. It means “new day.” It's not a religious holiday, but rather a universal celebration of new beginnings. Welcoming the future while shedding away the past. That's why families use this time to spring-clean their homes and closets and buy new clothes.

Āhuni promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families. It's a time of reconciliation. The Tacolic festival of Easter also falls in spring. Themes such as the Resurrection of the Tacolic saviour, and symbols like The Easter egg, are also associated with rejuvenation and renewal.

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EOS launches nuclear icebreaker ship

Written by Jorijina Yeigiziabiheri Wedaji

ORTHEN, Miiros -- The Entente of Oriental States has floated out its first nuclear-powered icebreaker ship as the alliance moves to reinforce its responsibility in the Antargic.

Crowds gathered to watch as the IRC Beredo, designed to transport cargo to the southern continent, was launched into the water at the Miirosi shipyard in Orthen. The Beredo’s displacement, a term for measuring a ship’s size, is 35 thousand tons and is 173 metres long. 

She is powered by two nuclear reactors and will be able to break ice fields up to three metres thick, clearing the path for other ships delivering cargo to Antargis. “Nuclear energy ensures EOS' undisputed leadership in the far south,” said Rani Tomika, press attaché for EOS.

The shipbuilding project is EOS' biggest operation since the recent interregnum. In their statement, the EOS explain the need to: “Maintain control in Antargic waters due to scientific opportunities and rescue operations.”

EOS plans to build another two ships, called IRC Menelasser and IRC Connor Grey. These three ships will become the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear-powered icebreakers. Each will break through ice up to 4.5 metres thick, and keep the Antargic coast open all year round.

“This means that EOS will consistently carry out its obligations set out in the Antargic Treaty,” Mrs Tomika added.

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Oldest Person ‘Mama Tiresa’ dies at 113

Written by Feridonanidi Nehase Tiigisiti

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

Tiresa 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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Hitomi Okita going to Variota after finals win

Written by Feridonanidi Nehase Tiigisiti

O'POLIS -- With the song Red or Blue, Ms Hitomi Okita will represent Orioni at this year's EurthVision in Variota. Hitomi won both the jury and public votes at Orioni’s first-ever national final for the EurthVision Song Contest.

Hitomi will sing Red or Blue, the song with which she won the Orinese national selection for EurthVision. Hitomi won both the public vote with 58 points and the industry expert jury vote with 32 points, receiving an impressive 90 points out of 100. Last year, Kokega finished 4th in Prymont with their song Give It To You.

Hitomi Okita is an award-winning singer-songwriter. Her music spans the genres of pop, rock and traditional. She's released two full studio albums in Orioni, achieved platinum status and appeared in the top 10 charts multiple times. Her most recent album Fezezi debuted at number two on the Orinese album charts. Hitomi's debut album Seventeen reached number one on the Orioni chart and stunned everyone with platinum sales throughout the Orient. In 2012, she won the children's version of Orioni's Got Talent, the national television performance competition on Vizhan TV.

What do you think of Hitomi Okita's song for the 2019 EurthVision Song Contest? Let us know in the comments!

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Govt moving ahead with strategic oil reserves

Written by Tomasi Tebaki

O'POLIS -- Six companies have shown preliminary interest in partnering with Orioni in the development of Phase-II of its Orioni Strategic Petroleum Reserves (OSPR). The nation imports at least 80 per cent of its crude oil supplies. For this reason, the government has fast-tracked efforts to build underground bunkers for oil storage in a strategic bet against future supply disruptions.

“We have already received interest from over half-a-dozen companies for the second phase in the past three months. These are mostly construction companies, commodity trading firms or investment banks," the councillor of Energy Elisa Solna told Roiters in an interview. "While most of the companies want to either operate, construct or source the crude, we are looking for a company which can do all the three.”

OSPR has been scouting for investors to participate in the construction of Phase-II of Orioni’s strategic petroleum reserves and has held road-shows in Ide Jima, Miiros and Tamurin. Cllr Solna also explained how Phase-II of the project is scheduled to be developed as a public-private partnership.

OSPR was created by the energy department with the mandate to construct strategic petroleum reserves across the nation. Under Phase-I, it has already constructed a strategic reserve capacity of 5.3 million m3 across three locations. These three locations are: 1.3 million m3 at Nordhaven; 1.5 million m3 at Meda; and 2.5 million m3 in Zuidhaven.

The Imperial Council approved setting up additional capacity as part of the second phase of the project, in which Orioni plans to construct additional facilities at Dion, Oris and Andro for storage of around 6.5 million m3 of crude. The construction of these three additional storages add reserves that can last for 12 days in addition to 10 days achieved in Phase I.

Orioni refiners maintain 65 days of crude storage. Taking that into account, the nation’s petroleum storage capacity is likely to go up to 87 days after finishing Phase II of the project. The Entente of Oriental States (EOS) recommends its member countries to maintain 90 days of crude storage to manage supply disruptions.

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Bluepeace condemns Kipan, Rihan for renewed whaling

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

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ZUIDHAVEN -- Bluepeace condemns the Kipanese and Rihansu Governments' formal announcements to officially restart their commercial whale hunting activities in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Previous media reports did not indicate that the nations were considering this action, but the recent announcement formalises these nations' intention to resume the so-called "tradition" yet highly industrialised activity.

Mrs Asmanta Yelenase, Executive Director at Bluepeace (www.bluepeace.org) spoke with Roiters: "As a result of innovative whaling-fleet technology, overfishing in both the Aurelian coastal waters and on the high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species. Most whale populations have not yet recovered from this, including larger whale species such as blue whales and other baleen whales."

“It’s evident that the governments are trying to sneak in this decision through while the spotlight of international media is focused elsewhere,” she continued saying. “But the whole Eurth will see this for what it is. These decisions are a clear step in the wrong direction, away from the international stewardship, widening the gap of protection for our oceans and these majestic animals. The governments of @Kipan and @Rihanmust urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling.”

While the whale population has seen a remarkable rebound after the 1980s moratorium on hunting, the numbers are not nearly what they used to be. The Laren Environmental Treaty recently signed in @Morheim shows more nations were willing to take the necessary measures to reduce much environmental abuse, not nations agree on this direction.

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IODF positioning troops in South-Miiros

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

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

BALAS, Miiros -- The Imperial Orinese Defence Force (IODF) is moving some 15 thousand 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 many 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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Pension no longer obligatory at 65+

Written by Tomasi Tebaki

O'POLIS -- Orioni is doddering towards a crisis with its ageing population. By 2025 one in three people are expected to be 65 or older – and legally eligible for retirement. Added to this, a diminishing workforce and an underfunded public-pensions programme don’t bode well for the nation’s economy. But Orioni’s Chairlady Chandra Pristo might have a solution. This week, she announced a proposed revision to the country’s labour laws, meaning: that businesses will have a “moral obligation” to help people stay in work after they turn 65 if they want to. Measures include offering aged workers freelance work, supporting their efforts if they want to start their own businesses, or providing funding so that they can work for non-profit organisations. There might be one flaw – Pristo hasn’t drawn up any incentives for businesses themselves.

Costly troop transfer to Miiros

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

BALAS, Miiros -- The small island of Balas, in the southernmost reach of the Miirosi archipelago, is bearing a large burden: some 15 thousand Orinese military personnel are temporarily staying there. The noise from jets taking off and landing, as well as the contingent of brawny marines, is turning into a source of frustration for residents and local government. But a solution might be on the horizon: Orioni announced this week that five-thousand marines will soon be shipping out from Balas to an undisclosed location. For many Miirosi, though, their departure can’t come quickly enough.

Orinese to stay "Cool for the summer"

Written by Ruperiti Gebere

O'POLIS -- The Orioni environment department is ramping up its annual “Cool Breeze” campaign in anticipation of another fiercely hot summer. The initiative by Environment Cllr Constantine Vogels is designed to cut emissions by tempering the use of air conditioning in offices when temperatures rise. Dress codes are relaxed so that workers can wear lighter clothes, rather than broiling under suits and ties. This year the initiative is moving into department stores with 200 shopping locations joining in. The ministry has also advocated the use of 'green curtains': plants grown on the side of buildings that deflect the sun’s rays. With heatwaves occurring with increasing frequency, keeping citizens cool appears to be a mounting challenge.

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Orinese election campaign to begin this week

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

O'POLIS -- On Thursday, the starting gun will fire for the Orinese election campaign. Campaigning for the 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 neoliberal 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 to the eastern provinces.

High employment rate among young graduates

Written by Tomasi Tebaki

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. It is no wonder that Chairlady Chandra Pristo proposed the revision to the country’s labour laws only last week.

Government to ban export of plastic waste

Written by Ruperiti Gebere

ZUIDHAVEN -- Orioni may soon end its long-standing 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

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

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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Sunset Sea surveillance state

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

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ASIMOV, Sunset Sea Islands -- One of the crucial stories in the last few decades has been the @Sunset Sea Islands's extraordinary surge to catch up with the rest of the world in manufacturing, technology and economic and cultural power. One of the stories of the last few years has been the erosion of privacy in the online era. On that front, SSI is pulling a distance ahead.

SSI is in the process of assembling an immense and pervasive apparatus of surveillance which will monitor and punish and reward the most mundane of behaviours and interactions of more than a fifth of the Orient's people.

For prophets of doom of the pre-computer age, imagine that any such system would have to be imposed by a dictatorship. Even Jorge Georwell did not envisage that the population of Skyband One would voluntarily surrender personal information to the state.

SSI was always quite authoritarian. It always had a surveillance apparatus,” explains Dr Pol Jensen, an independent technology expert from Asimov. “But what Theresa Tumbleweed and the Radiance party have done is re-invent a dictatorship with 21st Century information technology, with artificial intelligence, and with big data. Basically, we're going to see something developing there that the world have never seen before.”

The ‘Radiance’ party of SSI is assuredly a dictatorship. But has it also understood that a great many people believe privacy to be overrated? What is the reality of SSI's surveillance state? How might it develop in the future? And is it a case of: today SSI, tomorrow the Eurth?

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Top 10 cities in Orioni revealed

Written by Feridonanidi Nehase Tiigisiti

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SIRIUS -- What makes a good city great? Is it security, nightlife, infrastructure? In our annual Quality of Living Index, Roiters looks at everything from functional transport to the number of parks and the price of a good lunch. Continue reading to see which Orinese city ranks on top.

10. Global talent continues to arrive in Perseus, attracted by abundant nature, charming neighbourhoods and enviable work-life balance, encouraged by various government measures.

9. Cygnus has seen an economic boost in recent years. And aside from a dropping unemployment rate, the city itself is imbued with new energy. The enviable cultural agenda spans everything from art to music festivals.

8. Gruis' economy is flourishing. If the city is to retain its identity in the long term, its leaders will need to find creative solutions that balance the need for growth and the preservation of urban spaces.

7. Wider pavements, communal benches and complimentary phone-charging points in the metro are signalling Meda's efforts to make Orioni's oldest city more accommodating.

6. Nordhaven offers much more than the architectural beauty that it's praised for. With the deepening of the Uttura river to boost traffic to the port, it looks like the future is bright for this transport hub.

5. In O'polis, major urban planning and transport projects are ticking along. Yet, tradition is writ large here. Centuries-old green parks and vineyards offer respite within city limits. And higher education is still nearly free, reflecting the capital's long-standing focus on intellectual pursuits.

4. As ever, Andro city boasts a young and vibrant population, attracted by the cities influential design industries, first-rate education facilities such as the Academy of Fine Arts, and a mouthwatering culinary scene. More affordable homes are needed to meet the rising demand.

3. There are many reasons why Dion is a great place to live in: incomes are high, prices are reasonable, and things work as they should. However, opportunities and spaces for artists, designers and creative entrepreneurs have been somewhat stifled due to the housing bubble.

2. Eat a bowl of linguini or try some dazzling multi-course spiedini. Shop at CostMart or buy a bespoke suit. Zuidhaven has always been a city for high and low. And the mix is still intoxicating. What surprises most of all though is that, for its size and pace, this is still a metropolis with a heart.

1. Sirius gives you the feeling that all is right with the Eurth. From its clean-swept streets to punctual transport. On a bright summer's day, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've landed in the Mediargic thanks to lively pavement cafés serving apéritif and people hopping into the lake for a midday swim between meetings.

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

Written by Anidiriwi Weficho

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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. Human 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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LEZ in O'polis shows positive effects

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

O'POLIS -- The low-emissions zone in urban O'polis has had marked success since it was introduced in 2017: the air in the city centre is cleaner and residents are breathing easier. In May, ecologists found that levels of nitrogen dioxide were at their lowest since records began in 2004. So why is the capital's mayoral candidate Izabeli Keni vowing to scrap it?

Nostalgia, apparently. Keni has said that traffic jams ebbing through town both day and night are part of the capital's vibrant “identity”, implying that a city with empty roads looks eerily wrong. Meanwhile, the environmental NGO Bluepeace reports that 50,000 people in O'polis die each year as a direct result of air pollution. Preserving a city’s eccentricities is one thing; insisting that cars and buses continue to choke citizens is another. Keni’s poor reasoning shows that Orinese will be in for a bumpy (and smoggy) ride if she wins the mayoral race.

Green light for high-speed rail in West-Orioni

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

NORDHAVEN -- Momentum is gathering for a new ultra-high-speed rail line in the southwest that could slice travel times between Nordhaven, Perseus and Sirius to about one hour each. The Irisha region, which has led the charge on the proposal, launched a business case for the line this week. Officials claim that the link, costing up to Φ40bn, would be self-funding (based on projected ticket sales) by 2030.

It’s a bold plan and particularly for Orioni, given that a landmark high-speed rail link between Dion, Cygnus, and Corona Borealis was controversially scrapped by Meda’s populist chairman Ionas Strupar in 2012. Europan nations have traditionally been wary of high-speed rail, but this new route in Orioni is a gamble worth taking.

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Orioni bets big on solar energy

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

VEGA -- Orioni has announced that the Eurth’s third-largest single-site solar energy plant will begin trial operations in August. The Light of the Orient has about 3.2 million solar panels.

If the plant is used at maximum capacity, it could reduce carbon emissions in Orioni by a million tonnes a year – equivalent to taking more than 200,000 cars off the road. Oil-lacking countries within the tropics, such as Orioni, are taking steps to diversify their energy supplies in an attempt to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

It’s the greener choice, but it appears to make commercial sense too. The Miritochi Water and Electricity Authority has highlighted the project as an example of private-investment opportunities in Orioni; it has issued tenders for an even bigger solar plant planned for 2020.

Orinese cities safer for 5th year in a row

Written by Yohana-Ileni Kirichati

O'POLIS -- Even for a country known for its safety, Orioni’s latest crime statistics are startling. In the first half of 2019, the overall number of crimes nationwide declined by just under 10 per cent to 363.846. According to the National Police Agency, these figures are expected to hit a post-Second Argic War low for the fifth straight year.
 
Some details aren’t surprising: seniors are often victims of fraud, and the highest number of offences are reported in big cities, such as Zuidhaven and Meda. What is remarkable is that crimes decreased in all main categories, from murder and theft to fraud and white-collar cases.

Police officials took credit, but also cited the country’s shrinking and ageing population as a factor. They might have talked about civility too: almost 200,000 lost wallets were reported last year – and more than 90 per cent of them were returned.

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