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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Polstjärnan - Digitala Nyheter (Anglish: North Star - Digital News), better known as Polstjärnan, is a Finan online news website, and the primary news source for many Finans. The company was founded in 1993 by Emrik Östberg in Karolinaburg, originally as a newspaper-magazine covering local events and occasional national events, though often even these were in passing references unless they were major events. Despite its limited coverage, the paper became wildly popular throughout the nation, especially in its detailed and relatively unbiased coverage of the Velescian War, bringing attention to the utter incompetence of the military operations in Östranka and the great loss of life which resulted from it. During this time, Polstjärnan also had a large online presence, even owning one of the first webpages in Fina on a fledgling public internet. Polstjärnan became fully web-based in 2004, a controversial move at the time in a country with underdeveloped web infrastructure, however it ended up paying massive dividends for the company, as it grew rapidly along with Fina's internet usage. Polstjärnan is currently one of the most profitable countries in Fina and is currently trying to expand outwards from the country, expanding its wurldwide event coverage and offering articles in Anglish, Dolch, Lysian, Cristinese, and Vellander, with more languages likely to come as the site develops.
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.