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New Government Power Project Getting the Green Light

Just this Friday, the Zaxar Ministry of Finance released an official statement giving authorization for the construction of the Fravon Gorge Dam just outside of the city of Beliere in southwestern Zaxar. This project was originally proposed in late 2018 and has been on hold ever since until the local authorities could "properly and thoroughly asses the ecological and humanitarian impacts of the dam." This delay led to large-scale protests in Beliere as electricity prices began to climb and smoke from coal powered electricity plants choked the air. Protestors were seen to be carrying banners saying "do your dam job" during marches in early 2020, shortly after air quality in the city reached a record low.

Today however, protestors and citizens alike rejoice as Emperor William signed off on the project after receiving a positive environmental report from the leading biological and geological researchers assigned to the project planning. This contract for the project is with the large Zaxar hydropower company Blue Fields and signed for an undisclosed amount of money.

Government economists have estimated that this dam will provide enough electricity and fresh drinking water for the entire city of Beliere which is set to finally end years of coal dependency in the region. Blue Fields has also stated that they will be employing more than 10,000 local workers throughout the construction process which will almost certainly spark a new economic boom in the region as most of the workers there are currently employed in the agriculture or timber industries.

Fair trade groups and environmental groups from across Greater Zaxar have declared their support for the project as it will cut the nations dependency on foreign coal imports significantly and is considered one of the first steps towards the illusive net-zero carbon goal set by the Emperor back in 2010. The most support for the project however, comes from the citizens of Beliere. Whether conservative, liberal, libertarian, or green, nearly every group has something to gain from this project.

The project currently has no set completion date although the Emperor has said that it should be done within five years if safety allows. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates and analysis on this project.

Genetically "Better" Crops Growing on the Sarthus

Recently, one of our reporters traveled to the banks of the Sarthus River, right into the historical breadbasket of Greater Zaxar, and what she found there was farming that was far more modern than that which was practiced there twenty years ago, and, far more controversial.

Across the Zaxar side of the Sarthus River Basin, a new kind of crop is being planted. It may look like the same old corn and wheat that has been grown here for thousands of years, but these plants have something special about them, engineered DNA. Produced by domestic companies, Inovant and Glanoag, with help from foreign biotech companies, these plants are proven to yield nearly twice as much crop while being more water and nutrient efficient.

These crop have been widely adopted by farmers who have been desperate for more efficient crops due to the labor shortage caused by the war, which limits the amount of land that can be farmed and harvested. With these new high levels of productivity, many farmers speculate that they may be able to begin exporting once again. Already, shipments of corn and wheat from Zaxar have been seen cruising down the Sarthus River destined for markets across Aurelia.

Not all are happy with this however. Some environmental groups have protested the use of genetically engineered crops due to the possibility of them becoming an invasive species in local ecosystems. Both Inovant and Glanoag have released statements declaring these worries to be unfounded and assuring the public that all genetically engineered plants have been made sterile to prevent them from spreading beyond farms. Anti-monopoly groups have warned that the sterilization of crops will give the biotech companies too much power over the food supply and push smaller farmers out of business. The companies, however, assured that they will remain competitors and keep prices reasonable, this remains to be seen.

Mine Collapse in Niyol

On Wednesday, a large lithium mine in Niyol suffered from a sudden and unexpected collapse. The collapse occurred in a tunnel two miles below the surface and was likely caused by water damage to the structural systems of the unfinished tunnel, according to Geolithia, the company who operates the mine.

Fortunately no one was killed or injured in the collapse but some workers have gone strike over the relaxed safety regulations in place in the mines. Company officials have stated that the safety of their employees in their number one priority and that they are currently looking into better ways to monitor the safety of the mines.

Government officials are monitoring the strikes closely and have stated that they are prepared to break up the unions if the strikes last any longer than one week. This government interest in the mines in nothing new, as the lithium deposits of Niyol are considered to be the single most important factor to the modernization and economic growth of the country as a whole during this new era of lithium batteries.

The Lithium Miners Union has stated that it only intends to strike until the safety of the mines are improved but many fear that they intend to try and leverage better ages at the same time.

We will keep you updated on this story as it develops.

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  • 2 months later...

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Zaxar-Rhodellian Lithium Deal Announced

(November 20, 2021) Sandrica has announced early this morning that a much anticipated trade deal with the Kingdom of Rhodellia (@Rhodellia) has officially been put into effect. This has come after several days of negotiation with the Rhodellian government over the finer details of the deal and has stirred up great excitement among the mining communities of northern Zaxar. Local experts and economists have predicted that this deal will give the area a much needed boost in foreign currency and well-paying jobs which much of the country lacks.

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A lithium brine mining operation in Niyol operated by Geolithia

The lithium mining industry in Zaxar has been a rapidly growing industry for the poor nation and has been considered by most international experts to be the most promising factor in stabilizing the Zaxar economy and the government has already taken several steps towards opening the resource up to the glubal market. Zaxar is one of the only countries with significant lithium deposits in the Wurld and is currently the only major exporter of the resource which is becoming very valuable for its use in electric car batteries and other green energy technologies.

Recently the government under Emperor William has released several contracts with domestic mining cooperations Geolithia and Blue Springs allowing for the creation of new mines across northern Zaxar and around the burgeoning city of Niyol in particular. Geolithia is based out of Niyol and is the largest mining cooperation in Zaxar, accounting for 46% of domestic production. It exclusively mines hard rock and continental brine lithium deposits. Blue Springs is the second largest mining cooperation in Zaxar and is based out of Sandrica, it accounts for 39% of domestic production. Blue Springs has several continental brine deposits under their control and is in constant competition with Geolithia to secure both government and foreign contracts. While there have been talks out buyouts unifying the companies in the past, the government has made it clear that, if this should happen, then there will be a government intervention in order to prevent a total monopoly of the market. It has yet to be seen whether the government will allow for any foreign companies to mine out of the country.

Rumors have also been circulating that a lithium deal with Tagmatium (@Tagmatium Rules ) is underway although the government has yet to either confirm or deny these claims. The government is also expected to soon go into talks with officials from Kirvina (@Kirvina) about the use of the Sarthus River, which flows down from the foothills of western Zaxar and through Kirvina, in shipping lithium exports into the Gulf of Auriel.

In response to these potential deals, the lithium mining sector has been rapidly increasing production. Government sources have confirmed that representatives from both Geolithia and Blue Springs have arrived in Sandrica to lobby for a government infrastructure project in Niyol which the Emperor himself has said is very likely coming soon. The companies have also released a statement which expresses their interest in hiring hundreds, if not thousands, of new workers over the next few months. The government has, in turn, opened the borders of Zaxar to any and all of the Wurld's "lost and downtrodden" to come live and work in the empire. In particular, this statement was addressed to the thousands of displaced peoples of western Europa who wish to escape the instability of the Anglian Wars. It has yet to be seen if this immigration strategy works.

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    • By Tagmatium Rules
      To: Their Excellency, Oiguina Escoffier, Trade Minister of the Autokrateia ton Megas Zaxareia, the Empire of Greater @Zaxar
      From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
       
      Your Excellency,
      It has been noted by the Holy Imperial Government that your nation is on the verge of becoming one of the largest suppliers of lithium to the rest of the wurld. This is primarily due to the fact that your nation has some of the largest and most readily exploitable reserves and sources of it on Eurth. It has also been noted by my government that your nation has already struck a trade deal with at least one of your fellow Aurelian nations and it also seems that word has got out that Tagmatium is equally interested in pursuing such a deal with your nation. This, I can very much confirm, is the case.
      Whilst your nation is not the only nation with available sources of lithium on Eurth, the Empire of Great Zaxar is the only one that the Greater Holy Empire is interested with doing business with at this time. Your nation has shown itself to be a nation whose star is rising at the moment, and it would be in the interests of my nation to help this star to continue to rise. Although we would envision this to be a reciprocal relationship between our nations, as such a relationship would be of benefit to both Zaxar and Tagmatium. To this end, I am requesting that your government facilitate talks starting between your nations' lithium mining companies and companies within my nation that are keen to utilise this source, to enable the export of lithium to Tagmatium.
      Whilst this trade would be a good next step in the short history of relations between our nations, there is undoubtedly more that we can do for each other. In order to make this more of a wide-ranging trade deal, one that benefits both of our nations beyond just trading in lithium, I would also request that our nations use this opportunity to investigate what tariffs might be reduced against the other products that can be sourced from our nations, what investment opportunities might be available and what further aspects of trade that we could encourage between our nations.
      For example, my nation is known for its expertise in farming, and a standing deal exists between Tagmatium and the Dominions of @Metztlitlaca whereby experts from my nation help to improve the farming techniques employed by the farms of Metztlitlcaca. Equally, my nation is a main exporter of farming machinery, fertiliser and other related products. I know that Aurelia has one of the most extensive rail networks in the New Wurld, and there are several locomotive works that would be keen to do business with state- or privately-owned rail companies in your nation.
      The people of Tagmatium, the Holy Emperor and I await your reply.
      Through faith in God and through trade, we can bring the wurld's nations closer together.
      Takitos Khalkeos
      Megas Logothetes, Grand Minister
      of the
      Logothesion tou Kommerkiarionikou, Ministry of Trade,
      of the
      Megas Agios Basileia ton Arhomaion
    • By Rhodellia
      Kubism is now an officially recognised religion
      Alphonse von Wallenstein, 09 December 2018 15:12

      Pictured: A young "kommando" paying his respects to the Murder Cube at the Prince Willem Museum (2004)
      The Department of State officially recognised Kubism as a religion on Thursday after more than 50,000 Rhodellians (roughly 0.5% of the population) declared themselves as 'Kubists' in the 2018 census. Kubism was (originally) an ironic pseudo-religion centred around the worship of 'The Murder Kube' and the glorification of violence. 'The Murder Kube' is an unofficial name ascribed to an unnamed 2004 art piece created by Peace Movement-affiliated artist Norm Alfred. It is a large, hollow cube meshed together from hundreds of decommissioned firearms. It is currently housed in the Prince Willem Museum, Gottesberg. Alfred originally envisioned the art piece as a lasting monument to peace through the destruction of weapons of war. But as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, this was not to be. At some point in the late 2000s, an image of the art piece was posted in a 'gun gore' thread on the 'Weapons' board of a popular anonymous imageboard with the intent of shocking its users. It had the opposite effect. Users of the board instead began (ironically) revering it as a pseudo-deity and a physical manifestation of war and violence (past, present, and future). They went as far as to write lore, songs, and slogans in The Murder Kube's name, the most famous being 'Ave Nex Alea'. In the early 2010s, the Murder Kube (along with Kubism) leaked onto the mainstream Rhodellian internet as a popular internet meme aligning with Rhodellia's martial culture and conflict-rife history.
      By 2015, Alfred's art piece would eventually become the unlikely pilgrimage site of many thousands of young Rhodellian netizens. They would not be Alfred's fellow Peace Movement activists. Instead, these unintended visitors would come wearing gas masks, plate carriers, and meme patches. They would sling old surplus rifles (jokingly referred to as “nuggets”) on their backs and wear bayonets on their belts. Each would typically kneel to the great monolith, offering tributes ranging from cans of Chef Royardee to 'milk for the cornflakes'. Together they would chant "Ave Nex Alea" or "Cheeki Breeki", among other tongue-in-cheek slogans and pop culture references . They saw no symbol of peace, but a glorious tribute to death and destruction. To them, this was their almighty monolith: The Murder Kube, or "kube" for short.
      Every year, hundreds of thousands of young Rhodellians embark on pilgrimages to pray to the Murder Kube. This makes it the Prince Willem Museum's star exhibit as well as one of the most popular tourist sites in the entire country. Pilgrims now come from all walks of life, not just users of the anonymous imageboard where the Murder Kube originally gained traction. They range from students wishing for the best marks on their school marksmanship exams; to conscripts entering National Service after college; to boots praying for success as professional soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors. This tourism facilitated growth throughout Gottesberg. The Prince Willem Museum greatly expanded its facilities and transferred the Murder Cube into bigger halls of residence at multiple points. The Gottesberg City Council still works to rapidly upgrade road, rail, and tram infrastructure all over Gottesberg to increase their capacity. The city's tourist and hospitality industries expanded to cater to the year-wide influx of pilgrims. None of this shows any sign of slowing. What started out as an in-joke from some shady corner of the internet has since grown into a staple of Rhodellian popular culture.
      News of Kubism's acceptance as an officially recognised religion went viral across the Rhodellian internet. Thousands took to social media to express their joy or disbelief. The majority of responses appear positive thus far with many Rhodellians netizens celebrating this development as a cultural victory. On the other hand, many other internet users felt more skeptical, disappointed, or concerned. Alfred himself said in an interview with RNN that “the joke went too far” and that Kubism’s recent recognition as a valid religion was a "letdown to the many other smaller and unrecognised cultures present in our richly diverse and multicultural nation”. Notorious conscientious objector and Peace Movement spokeswoman Halfrid Weber said in another RNN interview that "the acceptance of [Kubism] as an officially recognised religion accomplishes nothing. It will only reinforce negative stereotypes about Rhodellian people and culture. Hasn't the rest of the wurld laughed at us enough?". Whatever people have to say about Kubism's new status, countless young devotees (whether ironic or unironic) will continue to embark on long pilgrimages just to see the Murder Kube and praise its glorious name wherever they may be. From the look of things, it seems that the Murder Kube, Rhodellia’s unofficial patron deity, is here to stay.



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    • By Transbaltia
      TAVLIGA TIMES
      KANZLER VON OSTLAND INJURED AFTER ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION
      IN TAVLIGA TODAY THE KANZLER WAS SHOT TWICE IN THE ABDOMEN BY AN UNIDENTIFIED ASSAILANT. The Kanzler was shot at around 10:30 AM as he was leaving Tavliga Palace after a meeting with the Grand Duke. The would be assassin used a handgun to shoot Kanzler von Ostland twice, once in the thigh and once in the abdomen. The man was shot on the spot by Palace guards and is believed to have now died, however another man was seen running from the scene just prior to the shooting, and it is unknown whether he is involved. The Kanzler was rushed to the Royal Wilhelm Hospital by an Army ambulance, where he received first aid. A spokesperson at the hospital stated that the Kanzler was no longer in critical condition but remains unconscious.
      This comes after a series of threats from the Rebel group, Native Baltian People’s Army, which advocate for the abolition of the Grand Duchy, and the creation of “ethnically pure” baltian states. The NBPA are against the Dolchic Baltians having the most power and wealth in the country, despite them being the largest ethnic group. In 2007 the NBPA took over the town of Helsing, and killed all of the Dolchic Baltians before Special forces stormed the town hall and took out the fighters. According to Transbaltian intelligence,  leader of the NBPA, Miklos Herthon, was ousted in an internal coup last month, the current leader is unknown.
      The Grand Duke was transported to an unknown location by helicopter after the shooting, he has not yet returned but is supposed to be making a speech later today. The armed forces have been placed on alert across the country, and two naval destroyers have been recalled from anti-piracy missions. The unknown man running from the scene is still being searched for, and the city of Tavliga is being shut off by police and Landswehr. It is unknown yet who is in control of the government, as there is no official line of succession for the Kanzler. The government is expected to make a statement soon.
       
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