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L'Indipendente


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L'Indipendente is an online Faramanian newspaper based in Guayare, Mauridiviah. The newspaper of record of Faramount from 1904-1963, L'Indipendente went into exile following the military coup d'état. Originally a left-wing publication, the paper has over time adopted a more centrist position, and has actually developed a reputation for respectable journalism.

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Terrone Birthday Raises Question of Succession

GUAYARE -- President Matteo Terrone's brief public appearance at his birthday celebration yesterday drew further attention to the ongoing political contest to succeed the octogenarian dictator.

President Terrone spoke for just a few minutes at his public birthday celebration, a stark contrast to the 2-3 hour speeches that were his norm just a few years ago. Terrone's short address marked the continuation of an eighteen month period in which he has rarely appeared in public, even more rarely for any substantial period of time. This marks a sharp change from Terrone's younger years -- even in his late eighties, Terrone had regularly maintained a full political schedule.

Terrone's slow withdrawal from public has sparked a full-scale political battle to succeed him, according to several sources in Terrone's court. Terrone has not designated a successor, and the regime has no vice president, Terrone having abolished the position after fellow coup plot Eraldo Benevento died of cancer in 2009. Instead, the Minister of State will lead the nation in an interim capacity upon Terrone's death, while a permanent replacement is selected by Parliament. 

A dozen or so individuals are seeking to gather the political support to win that parliamentary vote, but just three are truly viewed as true contenders:

  • Defense Minister Raymond Fouquet, age 77, is a natural candidate. A former general, Fouquet is widely considered to have been Terrone's protege, both in the military and in the government. He has the strong support of the military, who appreciate his conservative views. Yet Fouquet is relatively old, and what's more, despised by much of the public. He oversaw most of Terrone's major past crackdowns, and while he has maintained the support of the troops, his rough attitude has alienated most other political figures. Controlling the military puts Fouquet in a unique position of power, but he must be careful -- if he is forced to fight for control of the country, he could scare away the foreign investments that are the basis of Faramont's economy.
  • Economy Minister Gastone Terrone, age 71, is also a leading contender. Gastone is the son-in-law of the president, and made waves for taking the president's last name upon marrying Terrone's oldest daughter. Gastone jumped in status after joining the president's family, but he was a well-educated, well-respected economist even before becoming effective royalty. Gastone, a centrist, has surprisingly built support in the rival oil and gas mining industries. Gastone has reportedly bought the support of Justice Minister Vinicio Capasso, giving him a small army with which to fight to power. He will be further aided by monetary donations from the industries that back him.
  • New Limone Mayor Sophia Terrone, age 57, is an additional possibility. Sophia is the youngest daughter of the president, and the only child of the president with real political authority. More than that, she is the only candidate who is truly popular, thanks to her past work at the Welfare Ministry and her successful work encouraging economic growth in the capital area through deregulation. Sophia is strongly supported by the tourism industry, by New Limone's middle class, and by the public, who appreciate her more moderate positions. Welfare Minister Milo Santarsiero and State Minister Artur Domiani are both believed to strongly support Sophia. Sophia thus has a natural advantage, as Domniani will be interim president when Sophia's father dies, but unlike Fouquet and Gastone, she has limited armed support, being able to rely only upon the several thousand police officers in the capital region.

These three candidates have more to contend with than just each other. Various resistance groups hope to capitalize upon Terrone's death to gain ground. Any kind of protracted battle amongst Fouquet, Mr. Terrone, and Ms. Terrone would give those dissenters the opportunity to attempt a revolt. The next leader of Faramont thus must not only defeat his rivals -- but must do so quickly, so as to ensure that order is maintained.

Edited by Faramount
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Faramount Human Rights Worst in World: Mundus Liber

GUAYARE -- The Mundus Liber Institute, a Mauridivian government-backed independent think tank, ranked Faramount dead last in a global survey of human rights published yesterday.

The Mauridivian government-funded but editorially independent group ranked Faramount 32nd of 32 nations examined in its 2018 Inalienable Rights Survey, which the organization published yesterday. The authors of the study justified the ranking by noting Faramount's lack of democracy, "widespread corruption", liberal and widespread use of capital punishment, limitations on marriage and abortion, and generally "extremely lacking" protections for fundamental rights. Generally, the survey examined a wide range of civil, cultural, and economic rights, varying from the freedom of speech to the right to healthcare.

For its part, the Faramanian government denounced the findings on the state run Faramount Public Media. "The Muaridivian government's attempt to undermine the credibility of the great state built by President Terrome is absurd, unacceptable, and an attack upon the people of Faramount," Minister of State Artur Domiani told viewers of Good Morning, Faramount, a state-controlled morning news program, "everyone in this country knows that our government is one of the freest, fairest, and most honest on the planet. The Mauridivian state is clearly seeking -- through its mouthpiece, Mundus Liber -- to undermine democracy in Faramount and promote the interests of the radicals and communists that seek to impose tyranny upon the Faramanian people."

Most experts agreed with the generally low rating, however. "The Terrome regime is one of the most ruthless and brutal in the world," said Dr. Fiorenziano Bacca, PhD, a professor of political science at the Universidad de Bolívar, "there are in effect no limitations on the authority of the dictatorship. Terrome regularly executes his critics and their families. He regularly jails homosexuals and drug users. His entire regime essentially exists to gain him riches through bribes, oil royalties, and illegal seizures. This is a leader who came to power by accusing a number of long-time allies of treason, and then having other long-time allies personally execute those he accused. This regime seems an obvious contender for last place in a list of countries based on human rights."

President Matteo Terrome seized power in Faramount in 1984, 21 years after a military coup deposed the nation's longstanding democratic government. Terrome had participated in that coup, and thereafter played a key role in curtailing civil and political rights. The then-colonel notably ordered the violent closure of L'Indipendente when it refused to accept government censorship. He personally oversaw that action, during which nearly all of the editors and journalists of L'Indipendente were extrajudicially killed in their own newsroom. The sole survivors -- mostly overseas correspondents -- recreated the paper in Guyare, where it is still based today. Terrome acted similarly brutally in 1984, killing dozens of senior military leaders in order to replace a military dictatorship with his own, personal dictatorship. Since that time, Terrome has ruled with an iron fist, earning the low civil liberties rating received yesterday.

The full Mundis Liber results can be accessed here.

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Gastrone True Victor of SATAMFC Match

GUAYARE -- Faramontese Economy Minister Gastrone Terrone scored an important political yesterday through Faramount's successful hosting of the SATAMFC match, regardless of the outcome of the game.

Terrone sought to showcase Faramount's development through the game, and he succeeded in that respect, displaying to the world a very different nation than it saw at Faramount's last SATAMFC home match in 2007. Some thirty-five thousand Faramontese and two thousand Rihannsu attended the competition, held in a brand new stadium. These fans enjoyed drinking, eating, and generally reveling in a sizable entertainment and tourism district built around the arena. There were no noteworthy violent incidences, thanks to a heavy security presence, and many Rihannsu described being treated amicably even while celebrating their team's victory. Foreign journalists universally described the game like any other -- a huge win, since Faramount has a storied history of hosting international sports tournaments.

Faramount's stopped hosting games in 2007, sparking universal gratefulness from other SATAMFC teams. The Greens had used a century-old, dilapidated stadium, located in the center of what had become a ghetto during the 1980s. Fans constantly complained of being subjected to muggings and carjackings on the way to and from matches, leading to dwindling attendance after the mid-1990s. Away teams usually contracted with armored bus companies, and hired cadres of private police officers, to ensure their safety. Yet the stadium itself was hardly safer with fans constantly suffering injuries, major systems continually failing mid-game, and on six occasions after 1995, the stadium catching fire during the game. Political protests regularly took place during the games, causing severe disruptions, particularly due to the consistently excessive response of the Faramontese Security Forces. The Faramount Football Federation announced an indefinite suspension of game hosting in 2007, when Deus Vult killed 9 Faramontese and 2 foreigners in a bomb attack on a SATAMFC round-robin game that year.

Minister Terrone had just established himself as a major political player at that point, and he viewed the rehabilitation of the Greens as a necessity to his work of inviting foreign investment to Faramount. Terrone substantially increased player and coach play, ushering in rapid improvements for a team that had for decades been the joke of the Union of National Associations of Football. The Economy Minister convinced his father-in-law, the president, to grant a quarter billion dollars for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art football stadium, which was completed in time for the game this year. More than that, Terrone worked with his rival, sister-in-law and New Limone Mayor Sophia Terrone, to build an entire entertainment and tourism district around the stadium, creating a safe, fun area for foreign fans to visit. And Terrone used his influence in the Interior Ministry to form a special task force to secure the stadium, and surrounding areas, during games. Thanks to this work, SATAMFC granted Faramount permission to host again this year, and the result was a resounding success.

Terrone is likely to benefit wildly from the experience. He has demonstrated his leadership potential to numerous domestic power brokers, improving his hand in the upcoming power struggle to replace his father-in-law. He has also showcased New Limone as a solid tourist destination, helping to build up a budding industry in which Terrone is heavily involved. Faramount is also sure to benefit internationally from the games, which demonstrated to potential foreign investors that the country is quickly improving thanks to Terrone's leadership. For a man whose staked his entire reputation and career on modernizing Faramount's economy, the match was a clear victory.

The minister's sole regret might be that despite everything he has done for them, the Greens still lost -- though in reality, that is unlikely, since Terrone has openly admitted that he finds sports boring.

Edited by Faramount (see edit history)
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Fouquet Banks on Force in Succession Battle

GUAYARE -- Defense Minister Raymond Fouquet is banking on force to win the Faramontese presidency, setting the stage for a violent clash upon the death of President Mateo Terrone.

Fouquet made a series of landmark decisions in recent months that clearly indicated his intention to win the presidency through military action. First, the defense minister elected to use recent increases in his budget to fund an acquisition of new, high-quality military equipment. Fouquet could have instead funded a more politically advantageous expansion of the military, but he preferred to focus on enhancing his existing forces instead of employing more. Second, Fouquet decided to purchase these newer armaments from various foreign firms, instead of looking to Variota's Varinco. Variota has substantial political and economic sway in Faramount, and by choosing Pallamarie Laandsystems over Varinco, the defense minister turned down an opportunity to gain a powerful ally. Finally, Fouquet selected equipment useful in both urban and rural environments including hundreds of wheeled armored vehicles. The Faramontese military's sole present operation is against insurgents in the remote jungle. In the past, Fouquet has purchased tracked vehicles, which are better suited for this environment. But this time, he invested in a full line of wheeled vehicles, which would also be usable in the nation's capital, where the fight to succeed the president is likely to occur.

Fouquet's decision to focus on strength contrasts sharply with Economy Minister Gastrone Terrone's high-profile political maneuvering. Minister Terrone has travelled to Iverica and Rihan in recent weeks, seeking to curry favor for his bid to replace his father-in-law. The economy minister is reportedly planning a trip in the coming weeks to Variota, apparently hoping to step in to build favor where Fouquet declined to do so. And Terrone has built a network of supporters within Faramount, notably gaining the backing of the Faramontese Security Forces. With their support, Terrone will at least have some capacity to contest control of the capital, though he'll need far more than the famously incompetent Faramontese Interior Ministry to defeat the military. Terrone is clearly seeking to gain further advantage abroad, though its unclear what he is hoping to be able to secure from Iverica, Rihan, or Variota that would shift the balance of a firefight. 

But this much is clear today: there will certainly be a firefight whenever the reign of Mateo Terrone comes to an end.

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