News From Ill Bethisad in 2009

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News stories run from most recent to oldest.

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Il Osservatore -- 17.DEC.2009 -- Six Days of Black Smoke! ROME -- For six days, the Conclave has been locked in the chapel of Quirinal Palace. No word or any communications have come out of the locked and sealed chamber, and no word has gotten in. The only activity to be seen outside are the throngs of milling faithful, eagerly awaiting any news of developments from within the Palace. With one exception, the only communication they have received as of yet is the twice daily gout of thick black smoke that has come from the tin chimney high above the Quirinal. The exception was Wednesday afternoon, when the crowd began cheering at the sight of a wisp of light coloured smoke. The cheers quickly turned to a groan of dissapointment as the smoke darkened and turned black. Each time smoke appears in the sky, people point and there is much shouting. For the last six days, the glad shouting has quickly turned to groans as the smoke turns out to be black -- the indication that the election has not yielded a new Pope of Rome. What is eagerly awaited is a gout of white smoke, the first indication to the world that a Pope has been elected at last. [PB]

IBAP/EET -- 18.DEC.2009 -- Henua's Tourism Advisor Resigns

Tourism Advisor Fati Tea'o of Te Pito o te Henua resigned Friday morning amid wide criticism from within and outside the country's Council. There has been wide agreement that Fati failed to give adequate oversight to the Tawantinsuyuan organizers of the Moai Eclipse Festival, a music and arts event scheduled to coincide with a solar eclipse in July of 2010. The organizers' announcement last week that they hoped to draw crowds greatly exceeding the island's population came as a shock to Henua and has inflamed long-simmering fears of excessive tourism and immigration. The announcement provoked some of Henua's most disruptive political protests in recent memory, leading to the shutdown of Mataveri Aerodrome for most of Tuesday.

Fati announced his resignation in a very brief speech before the Council. His statements were unapologetic and defended his long record heading the Advisorate.

Fati Tea'o has served as Tourism chief since 1994. During his term Henua's tourism boom has brought unprecedented wealth and development to the nation and increased the work load of the government tourism regulators. Fati and his deputies have made frequent complaints in recent years that their department was understaffed and underfunded. Advisor Fati's great legislative goal in his later career was enlarging the Council, a goal he achieved with the passage of a constitutional amendment in August 2009.[BK]

PUNA -- 16.DEC.2009 -- Anti-immigration protesters shut down Mataveri Aerodrome

Henua's international aerodrome was forced to cancel flights Tuesday as hundreds of protesters sat down on the landing area to voice their desire for less open tourism and immigration policies. Local police cleared away the protesters after a few hours but made few arrests, and air travel was resumed at 9 PM, local time. Chief Advisor Kupeña placated the protestors by inviting them to voice their concerns before the Council next week.

The protests were organized by grassroots groups of conservatives and ecotopists, who have found common ground in the growing movement to limit foreigners' access to the island. The most recent round of demonstrations was triggered by organizers of the Moai Eclipse Festival's report to the government last week. The music and arts festival, scheduled to coincide with a solar eclipse that will be visible from Henua in July 2010, was originally presented as moderately sized event geared toward neopagans to honor the unique astronomical event. The report revealed that the company has been marketing the event to a much wider range of curiosity seekers and revelers, and expected to draw crowds "of 20 to 25 thousand". This is approximately twice the population of Henua and dwarfs the number of visitors at last year's centenniel celebration, during which a bomb attack intended for Andrew Morris, Proprietor of Tokelau, leading many Henua to question whether their country was capable of hosting so many foreigners at once.

The report has lent momentum to a growing national concern that the government has been too lenient in allowing both tourists and immigrants onto the island. Just since 2005, the island's population has grown from just over 10,000 to nearly 12,000, and the numbers continue to rise. Many fear that the growing number of foreigners is threatening the island's ecology and causing wear and tear on its archaeological heritage, particularly the moai statues that draw the most tourists. In March 2008, a Scandinavian citizen was heavily fined for ripping off the ear of one of the ancient statues to use as a souvenier.

Several members of the Council, including Chief Adviser Kupeña, are believed to have lent their support to organizing the protests, though none of them have acknowledged any role. Tourism Advisor Fati Tea'o was criticized heavily for allowing the Moai Eclipse Festival Company so much freedom and so little oversight. "He took his hands off completely, let them act without limits" said one protester. "And now they're going to flood us with tourists, bringing their noise and their garbage."[BK]


PHILADELPHIA -- Fifteen American cardinals are now in Rome for the Conclave that will elect the next Pope of Rome. Among them are Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Mallaigh of Boston, Abbbot-Cardinal Carl Fisher of Baltimore, Cambrian Rite Primate of the Americas, Cardinal-Metropolitan Archeparch Basil of Pittsburgh, Archeparch of Byzantine Catholics in the NAL, and Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali of Philadelphia, Latin Rite Primate of North America are in Rome this day as the Holy Synod of Electors gathers in the Quirinal Palace, the location of the Papal States' civil government. The American cardinals travelled to Philadelphia on 1 December to meet up with General Moderator Gore's retinue in order to participate in the Pope's funeral rites.

Once the Electors are arrived at Rome, they celebrate the eucharist in St. Peters and then withdraw to the Cistine Chapel to hear two sermons, one outlining the present state of the Church and the world at large and the needs and goals of the Church in the future; the other outlines the kind of person needed to take the reins. Neither document is an official product of the hierarchy, and in fact form part of a yearly cycle of such "state of the Church" papers that are prepared by various commissions of the Curia. These particular documents are prepared by two commissions of the world's bishops on a yearly basis for the purpose of guiding the various local churches. During the time after the Pope's death, these documents are taken by two chosen priests who deliver the documents to the conclave. On the following day, the Electors take up residence in the Quirinal and begin the election proper. In the morning and in the afternoon, two sets of ballots are taken each, supposing no concensus had been reached. Morning and afternoon ballots continue until a pope is elected.

A pope may be elected by acclamation, semi-secret ballot or secret ballot. All modern popes have been elected by ballots, and in the xx century, all have been elected by secret ballot. An Elector may not vote for himself, except to break a tie or ensure a majority. A number of "scrutinarii" are chosen who ensure that sufficient ballot cards are made and distributed to the Electors. These same wait at the altar in the Quirinal's chapel to ensure that each Elector has placed only one ballot on the altar. The first scrutinarius opens the card in the presence of all the Electors, reads the name to himself to ensure that the Elector has not voted for himself (exceptions as provided) and then passes it to the next scrutinarius; the second reads the name and writes it on a sheet of paper (or when multiple votes have been collected, writes a mark denoting how many votes an individual has received); two further scrutinari do the same; the fifth and final scrutinarius ensures that only one ballot is present, keeps track of how many ballots have been handed to him and then places each ballot into a sealed basket which, at the end of the vote, will be burned along with all the ballots.

Once all the valid ballots have been recorded, the three scribe scrutinarii exchange their tally sheets and add up the votes recorded by their fellows and then compare among themselves. When no clear choice has been made, they say "nullum papam" and pass the vote counts to the last scrutinarius who then places the papers into the sealed basket. No names are announced. Should a clear concensus be reached among the three scrutinarii, they each write the name of the putative chosen one at the bottom of the list and pass all papers to the fifth scrutinarius. He, being the chief of the five, examines the list of names and how many votes have been cast for each and compares this result with with the total number of actual ballots cast. If all the numbers add up, they declare "datur papam" and the name of the one selected is read aloud so he may come forward to declare his papal name. Or, if the one selected is not present in the conclave, he is sent for.

If the one chosen is a deacon or priest, he is consecrated a bishop before being publically announced. Should a monastic or a lay person be elected, he is first ordained a deacon, then priest and then consecrated a bishop before being publically announced.

A system of coloured smoke emanating from the chapel's chimney announces the results of each round of voting. Dark smoke indicates no results or a void ballot; light smoke indicates a proper election with concensus. It is now traditional to toll the bells of Rome to further spread the happy news among the people.

In ancient times, the clerics and people of Rome accalimed the next pope. This tradition is now recognised by presenting the newly elected Pope of Rome before the gathered throngs in St. Peter's Square. Within a reasonable amount of time, the new pope is crowned, the Papal States being an elective monarchy, and takes possession of his cathedra as Bishop of Rome.

The body of eligible clerics with papal suffrage is known as the Holy Synod of Electors, and is composed of three distinctions of dignity: Cardinal Bishops (who are composed of the Cardinal Patriarchs of the various non-Latin churches as well as several cardinal bishops of the church); Cardinal Priests and Cardinal Deacons. The Patriarchs of the various rites are automatically made eligible to sit in the Synod of Electors; the other Cardinal Bishops are composed of two groups, first the Suburbicarians (bishops of the seven diocese around Rome) and then the chief curial officials. Cardinal Priests consist of all the other (mostly minor or junior) curial officials and the various archbishops from around the world (who have been made cardinals). Cardinal Deacons are formost the seven archdeacons who administer the dioceses around Rome, the seven deacons who administer the papal household; then specially honoured theologians and especially holy men (either clerics or monastics).[PB]

HAQYAT NEWS AGENCY -- 11.DEC.2009 -- SpaceOrg first manned mission announcement marred by tasteless joke

TURKESTAN By Jomart Nasreddin-ulý -- The Central Asian space agency known to the English-speaking world as SpaceOrg announced its intention to put its first man in space on January 7th. The collaborative venture between Turkestan, Persia, the Moghul National Realm and the Russian Republic of Qazaqstan is possibly the newest space agency, and launched its first satellite at the beginning of the year.

The planned man-in-space mission announcement, including a press conference introducing the "first choice" Ðarçýðar (cosmonaut) Talðat Sopu Bek-ulý, became mired in controversy by a joke attempted by Talðat Ðarçýðar. Talðat Ðarçýðar tried to joke that the Mýtra space rocket would lift with it the soul of the late Pope in the Qavoþðar ("Explorer") capsule, "carrying him to Heaven", as he put it. It did not go down as well as he intended.

Talðat Sopu Bek-ulý is well-known in the Turkestani pilot community as a joker, but his personal skill and the prestige of his family made him seem like a natural choice for the SpaceOrg's first cosmonaut. The tastelessness of this particular joke may have cost him his historic space flight.[GH]


ROME -- With the passing of Pope John XXIIJ and the funeral and burial now completed and the official period of nine day mourning, the novemdiales, underway, Vatican watchers and political commentators are already compiling lists of likely candidates to succeed the popular and well loved John XXIIJ. In previous centuries, Roman bankers offered odds on who would be elected Pope and how long or short a Conclave would take to elect a Pope. In the modern period, bankers are out of the picture, but speculation is running as high at this time as it ever has in the past, since the Conclave itself has not yet been convened, and many names are being tossed around as strong or weak contenders.

Two of the strongest contenders at this time are Cardinal Walter Kasper and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the Holy Roman Empire. Both are conservative; Kasper is quite supportive of ecumenical relations with the Orthodox and Lutheran Churches; Ratzinger has been a critic of the recent political alterations within the Patrimony and is seen as a strong theological voice and a good potential follower of a more popular and somewhat liberalising Pope. Another favorite is Cardinal Francis Arinze of Upper Nigervolta, who is considered to be strongly in favour of family and social issues. Others on the short list are José da Cruz Policarpo, Patriarch of Lisbon, Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Bombay, and Geraldo Majella Agnelo, Archbishop of Salvador, Brasil.[PB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 4.DEC.2009 -- Where is the Grand Master?

VALETTA -- Notably absent from the dignitaries attending the papal funeral was the the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Father Sir Phillipe Coron. No comment of this absence has been forthcoming from either the Grand Preceptory or the government of Malta.

The Grand Mastership has held the dignity of a Cardinal since the 12th century, but has rarely voted in papal elections. Father Coron last appeared publicly on November 3 when he attended the confirmation of his great-grandniece Angele Coron. At the time he seemed to be in good health.

Difficulties between the papal office and the Order of St. John have long been rumored, but no real evidence of such difficulties has ever been produced. Still, the absence of the Grand Master seems go against the low-profile policy the Order has maintained since Father Coron's election in 1998.[JW]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 4.DEC.2009 -- Papal Funeral Attendance is Astounding

ROME -- Between five and six million people are presently in or very near Rome for the funeral of Pope John XXIIJ. Perhaps 20 to 25% of that number are in the City itself, either present at one of the official public sites, like the Colloseum or the Circus Maximus where huge television screens have been set up to broadcast the event, or else in one of the temporary campgrounds that have been set up around the City in order to accomodate the crowds.

The funeral itself is taking place in St. Peter's Basilica, where the Pope's body has been returned since the first when it was laid in state at St. John Lateran. Several closed ceremonies, attended only by the highest ranking Church officials, concluded earlier this morning. Chief of these involved bringing the body to St. Peter's and then placing it in the first of three specially prepared coffins. This first coffin is made of olive wood imported from Iberia for the purpose and is surmounted by a simple bronze crucifix, and is the one that will be visible to the viewing public.

The Funeral Mass itself was presided over by Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Holy Synod of Electors -- the group of cardinals that will elect the next Pope sometime during the next fortnight -- and concelebrated by other high ranking cardinals and patriarchs of the Catholic Church.

In attendence were an astonishing number of ecclesial, noble and civil dignitaries. The nave of St. Peter's was arranged in such a way that various dignitaries were seated by type of dignity and rank within that dignity. Thus, Catholic patriarchs would be seated in front of non-Catholic and non-Christian leaders, although certain dignitaries of fraternal churches were given places of precedence. A similar arrangement was made for noble guests, where Italian and Iberian guests were seated close to the front. Civil dignitaries were seated alphabetically according to the French spelling of their respective countries' names, and then by diplomatic rank.

Among the luminaries present were Ecumencial Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, Mar Abdiyeshu XVII, Catholicos of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Abune Paulos, Patriarch of Ethiopia and Alexei Patriarch of Moscow, who were seated with high honours. Other religious leaders in attendence included His Serene Grace Archimandrite Nicephorus, Archimandrite of the Monastic Republic; His Beatitude Gabriel, Metropolitan of Chicago and Primate of the American Orthodox Church; President Thomas S Monson of the Eglise de Jesus-Christ; Bishop Olav Tveit of the Church of the Scandinavian Realm; the Chief Rabbi of Rome; the Calif of Gordion; Parastar VI mobad mobadan of the Zoroastrains; and many other leaders and representatives of various Christian and non-Christian religions.

Among the nobles present were Holy Roman Empress Maria I; Carlo V king of the Two Sicilies; Carle VI king of Aragon; Princess Luisa of Italy; Pedr V king of Kemr; Diana queen of England and Scotland; Margrethe II archqueen of the Scandinavian Realm; Witold king of the Republic of the Two Crowns; Luis II king of Portugal; Costas Palaiologos, Emperor of Greece; Murat sultan of the Turks; Mehrasp IV Aryamehr shahanshah of Persia; Rajja Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Bornei-Filipinas; Zera Yacob Amha Selassie negus nagast of Ethiopia; Ranavalona IV queen of Madagascar; Cuautemoc VI king of Mejico; Kuhul Bakal Ajaw Peter Kinich Kan Balam Wallace of the Kingdom of Wallace Cay; Grand Duchess Haedrana of Luxembourg.

Among the civil dignitaries present were Albert Gore, general moderator of the North American League; the Prime Minister of Judea; President Gildersleeve of Louisianne; Prime Minister Paulette du Marais of Nouvelle Francie; Nicolas Sarkozy president of France; Prime Minister Aurial Ybl of Dalmatia and many others beside.

Neither Sultan Qasım-ulı Ilxan nor Nuraslan Näzbek-ulı Keņesbaşı were able to attend, though there was a delegation from Turkestan, headed by the Ilxan's daughter Läylä Sultan-qızı. Japanese emperor Xigehito was also unable to attend and sent princess-regent Maco as representative. Emperor Costas Palaiologos of Greece was unable to attend, citing familial obligations.

After the funeral, the body of Pope John XXIIJ was taken down into the crypts beneath the basilica where it will join many of the honoured dead pontiffs. It is here that the simple olive wood coffin will be placed into a slightly larger 100% zinc coffin, which will then be soldered closed and the whole will be placed into a third coffin of elm wood. Upon this coffin were plaques engraved with the following inscription:


Body of John XXIIJ, Supreme Pontiff
He lived 89 years, 5 months, 15 days
He presided over the Universal Church
19 years, 1 months, 1 days

The crypt is covered by a slab of stone native to Aragon and has engraved upon it only the name and dates of John's pontificate.

With the interment of Pope John begins the nine days of official mourning, the novemdiales. This period of time is marked by a requiem mass each of the nine days and at its conclusion, the now much anticipated first papal conclave of the xxi century will begin.[PB]

IBAP -- 2.DEC.2009 -- Major Orthodox Leaders to Attend Funeral; Many World Leaders to Attend as Well

ROME by John Pfeiffer, staff writer -- His Serene Grace Nicephorus of Transfiguration Monastery, Monastic Republic, will be traveling to Rome for the funeral of His Holiness, Pope John XXIII. Accompanying him will be Abbot Gabir of St. Maron's Monastery and Hegumen Christapor of Forty Martyrs' Monastery. Father Fadi from St. Maron's Monastery will accompany them to assist them. They will be flown to Rome on the MR's passenger helicopter (AO-001).

The four have been graciously offered lodging at the Maronite College in Rome. While in Rome they will visit the tomb of St. Peter in the Basilica of St. Peter and the tomb of St. Paul in the Basilica of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls. Abbot Gabir will take the opportunity to talk to the students at the Maronite College and see if any are interested in coming to the Monastic Republic to serve in the Maronite parishes. When the news of their arrival reached Rome, an invitation was sent to them to spend an afternoon at the Pontifical Armenian College and have dinner with the faculty and students. They will return to the Monastic Republic the day after the funeral.

Tejan King Juan Carlos will be accompanied during the funeral by Archbishop of Tejas Cardinal Alejandro Mendoza Soto and Interim Bishop of San Antonio Monsignor Carlos Ruiz Salazar. The party will be accompanied by a small security detail. The party will be lodged at Palazzo Farnese in Rome and is expected to remain until the selection of a successor Pope.

Nicolae Vlas-Florea, heir to the Principality of Oltenia, will attend the Pontiff's funeral. His uncle's failure is cause for much speculation regarding the latter's health. The President of Romania, as well as the Queen of Muntenia (with her daughter) and the young King of Moldova will also attend. His Holiness Mar Abdiyeshu XVII, Catholicos of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, will be attending the funeral, along with the European Metropolitan Mar Gewargis Sabrisho and a small delegation. The Catholicos is expected to return to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon after the funeral, but Mar Gewargis Sabrisho and his party will remain for the Conclave.[CB,JP]


ROME -- City officials gave up counting the number of mourners and pilgrims that have come to Rome for the funeral of Pope John XXIIJ, but estimate that some five to five and a half million visitors are now in the City.

Centuries of sacred rituals are set in motion upon the death of a pope. Such rituals are administered by the Cardinal Camerlengo. When Pope John XXIIJ died, the Camerlengo Edward Cardinal Taylor removed the Pope's Ring of the Fisherman from his finger, then ceremonially crushed it with the ceremonial silver hammer in the presence of senior members of the Holy Synod of Electors. This was done to prevent the creation of forged, backdated documents, which would appear to have been approved by John XXIIJ.

After the ring's destruction, Cardinal Taylor cordoned off and placed wax seals on the entrances to the Pope's private bedroom and study. This tradition originates from centuries past when ruthless cardinals were not above looting the papal apartments upon the death of past popes. The Pope's formal death certificate, originally issued in the RTC on the day of his death, was confirmed and signed by Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, Director of the Department of Health and Sanitation of the Patrimony of Saint Peter, who waited for the funeral train to arrive in Rome from the RTC. Cardinal Taylor then ceremonially ordered the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, to summon the cardinals of the world to the City to elect a new pope.

It is customary for the Camerlengo to call out the pope's Christian name three times, to ensure he has truly died. Contrary to popular literature, the Camerlengo does not strike the Pope's forehead with a hammer in order to ascertain whether the Pope is dead or simply sleeping.

Roman pontiffs have some leeway regarding how and where they will be buried. While his predecessors had been embalmed after death, curial officials have stated that Pope John XXIIJ was not embalmed and lay in state without such treatment for preservation, which is evident by the grey colour taken on by the body. He stipulated in his will that should he not be buried in his home town, his heart is to be removed and translated to Aragon for burial there. Some people find this treatment of the Pope's body unusual, but it has long been customary for Popes to have their organs removed after death. Pope Saint Pius X ended this practice during his reign, though his successors have reinstated it taking into account the wishes of the individual Pope.

The vestments are chosen carefully and following ancient custom. Pope John XXIIJ's body was clothed in the familiar white soutane, over which was placed a plain white alb. A stole, the symbol of ordained ministry, was placed around his neck. Over the inner vestments, Pope John was clothed in a red chasuble. An ancient Byzantine custom, red is the colour of mourning for Popes. Around his collar, the pallium of white lamb's wool was draped. A white zucchetto and a white bishop's mitre adorned Pope John's head. In his arm rested Pis XIJ's famous pastoral cross-staff, used by Popes in place of the crosier. His hands clasped a rosary. Upon his feet are a pair of plain red leather papal shoes.

This morning, the body of Pope John was moved onto a red velvet bier, propped on three red pillows. The Papal Chamberlains of The Sword and Cape, more colloquially known as the Papal Gentlemen who are the Pope's lay serving men, regaled in black morning coats and white gloves, were chosen as pallbearers and stood along the sides of the Pope's bier. Cardinal Taylor, dressed in red and gold vestments, began the asperges rite. He blessed the Pope with the holy waters of baptism three times, reminiscent of the Holy Trinity. An acolyte then brought to the Camerlengo a thurible and boat and he incensed the Pope three times.

A long procession was begun in order to transfer the body of Pope John from the Clementine Hall, through the colonnades of the Apostolic Palace and into St. Peter's Square among the waiting people. Traditionally, the Pope's body is then brought to St. John Lateran Basilica, the Pope's own cathedral church. A procession of monks, priests and bishops paced slowly along a route towards the Basilica. The College of Cardinals trailed by Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Edward Taylor followed them. Gradually, St. Peter's Square emptied as the faithful followed after the procession heading for the Lateran.

As the ritual dating back to the medieval era proceeded, Gregorian chants were sung by several religious orders with the people responding to each verse with the ancient Greek prayer, "Kyrie eleison." The Litany of the Saints was sung, and after each name of a martyr or saint was chanted, invoking his or her intercession between God and the people, participants in the procession sang the Latin words, "Ora pro eo," meaning "Pray for him."

When the body of the pope was brought up the steps of St. John Lateran, the Papal Gentlemen turned the bier and lifted the pope's head to face the tens of thousands of people that filled the Square. Cardinal Taylor noted it as the pope's symbolic last look at the devoted followers that had filled St. Peter's Square throughout his papacy.

The procession ended with the seating of the distinguished guests and the members of the Holy Synod of Electors and the placement of the bier carrying the body of Pope John on a catafalque in front of the steps leading to the altar of St. John's. The paschal candle was lit and the body of the Pope was incensed again by Cardinal Taylor. Prayers were said and a reading from the Gospels was made by a deacon studying in Rome. After the College of Cardinals paid their respects and left the sanctuary, the basilica was closed and then reopened for the official lying in state to last until the day of the Mass of Requiem and subsequent interment.

PUNA -- 1.DEC.2009 -- Outpouring of mourning for late Pope from Henua's Christians

Christian faithful in Te Pito o te Henua continued to maintain a prayer vigil as they reacted to news of the death of Pope John XXIIJ, known here by his Henua name, Huana. The vigil began one week ago as news of the Pope's deteriorating health led many to believe that the end of his 29-year papacy was coming to an end. At the home ahu of Henua's two Christian clans, Haumoana and Kotu'u, people sang, and burned incense, while priests led prayers of thanks for Pope Huana's life and bid his soul a safe journey home. Father Rapahaño Itaia, who as Apostolic Prefect of Haña Roa is head of the island's Catholics, divided his time between both ahu as well as the church in the capital. Shortly after the Pope's death was announced, Rapahaño said to the assembled crowds, "Tonight the whole Church has lost a kind, wise, and humble shepherd after almost three decades of service and leadership. Even while we mourn his loss, let us pray that our leaders may have wisdom as they begin to consider who will fae the burden of taking his place."

Henua is home to more than 3,000 Christians, approximately 30-35% of the population. Most are Latin Rite Catholics.[BK]

Ouisconsin Sentinel -- 30.NOV.2009 -- Covenant Loyalists, Ecotopics form coalition to govern Ouisconsin

ST. FRANCIS -- Governor Martens emerged from a meeting with Covenant Loyalist and Ecotopic leaders to announce that he has asked them to form the government that will administer Ouisconsin for the next two years. "I am happy to announce that Council leaders have agreed on terms for a coalition," said Martens, "and I am confident that this new government and I can work together to address the challenges our province faces."

The announcement comes after more than a week of discussions and bargaining as the Covenant Loyalists, who won the largest number of seats in the Council on the November 17 election but failed to gain an absolute majority, looked around for a party to partner with. The Progressive Conservatives seemed the natural choice to replace the Whigs that form half of the current coalition. But several CL staffers, who did not want to be named discussing internal party deliberations, told reporters that CL leaders feared that the PCs would fail to cooperate in government and might undermine the Covenant Loyalists' agenda, despite their smaller numbers in the Ouisconsin Council. In the end, the left-wing Ecotopics were deemed more reliable than the PCs or the right-wing Three Fires Party, a total newcomer that had no presence whatsoever in Ouisconsin just two years ago.

Tomos Bernardd, Covenant Loyalist leader and presumptive future Speaker of the Council, spoke to reporters Monday alongside Ecotopic Councilor Jean-Pierre Sommers. The two legislators projected an image of confidence and unity of purpose, despite their parties' ideological differences. "The Ecotopics believe in reforming this province, just as we do," said Bernardd, who as Speaker will not be a part of the Government but will wield tremendous informal power over its members. Sommers agreed, adding, "Members of our party will have to be a little patient - we realize we're working with a more moderate partner much bigger than we are. But everyone I talk to is just very happy, very excited to finally have a presence in government." This will be the first time any Ecotopic Party members will sit in Ouisconsin's Cabinet.

The pair reiterated the coalition's agenda, which puts top priority on ethics reform but includes a few concessions to the Ecotopics, including tighter restrictions on urbanization.

Progressive Conservative Councilor P. Ryan Greendeer of Four Nations announced that he will lead the opposition in the Council together with members of the Whig and Three Fires parties. Greendeer has emerged as the PC legislative leader since former Speaker Warren Hutch of Othaaki announced his retirement at the end of his current term.[BK]


KARYES by David Soukis, staff reporter -- The quinquennial elections for the hegumens of the Orthodox monasteries were held the week of November 23. According to the Fourth Typikon of the monastic communities, the new archimandrite will come from the Monastery of the Holy Archangels. There was great surprise in the monastic communities when it was revealed that their new hegumen is Father Loukas Bradley, an Englishman!

Father Loukas was born in 1955 and raised as a Cambrian Catholic, but while in college, he joined the Greek Orthodox faith. He graduated in 1976 from Oxford University with a Ph.D. in theology and a licentiate in Semitic languages. Following his graduation, he traveled Europe for several years, finally entering the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai in 1978 where, among other tasks, he worked on the famous "Codex Sinaiticus."

Eventually, seeking greater monastic solitude, in 1994 he came to the Monastic Republic, joined the Orthodox Monastic Church of the Holy Mountain, and entered the monastery of the Holy Archangels. Over the years he has held the positions of sakellarios [treasurer] and protosynkellos [prior].

At the January meeting of the Holy Synod, Father Loukas will be consecrated a bishop by His Serene Grace Archimandrite Nicephorus who will be leaving the office. He will then take up his duties as the head of state and government of the Monastic Republic and as chairman of the Holy Synod and Bishop of the Monastic Republic for the next five years.[CB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 30.NOV.2009 -- Athonite Archimandrite Offers Condolences to Catholics

MONASTIC REPUBLIC -- His Serene Grace Archimandrite Nicephorus of Transfiguration has sent his condolences to Rome on the death of Pope John XXIIJ. "We grieve with the peoples of the Catholic Church upon the death of their beloved father and leader John XXIIJ and offer our prayers for the repose of his soul and for the continued well-being of the Catholic people. Know that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been offered in the monasteries of the Monastic Republic for the repose of his soul."

The term Holy Sacrifice of the Mass caused some critics in the Greek press to decry the statement for its unusual wording. The Archimandrite's office commented only that His Serene Grace was using terminology that would be immediately understood by the world's Roman Catholics. Eastern Catholics and all Orthodox Christians refer to it as the Divine Liturgy.[CB]

Il Osservatore -- 30.NOV.2009 -- Papal Funeral Clogs the City with Faithful & Visitors

ROME -- The death last week of Pope John XXIIJ while visiting the RTC has set in motion some of the most splendorous and archaic of religous rituals in the western world. The series of elaborate rituals and secret gatherings and public ceremonies marks the ending of one papacy and the begining of a new. Aragonese bishop Tomás Azcárraga, born in 1920 and ordained a priest in 1946, became Pope John XXIIJ in 1990, succeeding Pope Gregory XVIJ's marathon 31 year reign. If Gregory's reign was notable for authoritative teachings on human rights and the horrible use of atomic weapons during the second half of the xx century, John's reign was equally notable for strong denunciations of the use of such weapons. The recent Pope also set in motion one of the most stunning political actions in recent history, namely the setting aside of absolute monarchical power and commissioning a new Constitution for the Patromony, which has resulted in the adoption of a constitutional monarchy.

By all counts, some five million people have come to Rome over the last week, and it seems that all five million of them want to pack into St. Peter's Square to witness the funeral and wait for the Conclave to begin its work. City aediles and their staffs have been working 24 hour days since the death was announced in order to prepare the City's various public spaces and infrastructure for the record-breaking crowds. Chief Aedilis Marco Cocilovo told Il Osservatore that St. Peter's could never contain everyone that has descended on Rome, but that large television screens will be set up in various public squares, the Coliseum and other large arenas in order to accomodate the visitors and pilgrims in the City.

Many of these pilgrims will remain for the duration of the Conclave during which the world's cardinals will elect the next Pope. Given the timing of the Conclave, many are hoping to remain for Christmas festivities and, hopefully, what will be the new Pope's first Christmas in Rome. Cocilovo said that he and his staff are well prepared for the extended stay of many thousands of pilgrims, quipping that his staff will have earned a huge Christmas bonus for the hard work they will be doing for the next month.

Il Osservatore -- 26.NOV.2009 -- Pope John XXIIJ Dies at 89

ROME, Papal States -- This morning the City and the world's Catholic faithful began mourning the loss of Pope John XXIIIJ, a great reformer and leader of the Catholic Church since 1990. His Holiness fell ill in the Republic of the Two Crowns after celebrating a papal liturgy at the great Peace Memorial in Łódź. At first, it seemed fatigue and chill were the culprits, and everyone hoped for a speedy recovery. However, it soon became clear that pneumonia had set in for the second time in two months. After a struggle of fourteen days, Tomás Azcárraga was at last called home.[PB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 23.NOV.2009 -- Pope Gravely Ill

Łódź RTC -- The Pope was transfered yesterday from Copernicus Hospital to the new repiratory critical care ward of Veterans' Hospital, where it is hoped that the best doctors and highest technology the RTC has to offer can effect some kind of turn-around in the Pope's condition. Thousands of pilgrims and visitors continue to hold silent vigil at the Peace Memorial. An official statement is expected tomorrow morning from Curia officials travelling with the Pope.

It is clear by now that the scheduled visit to the SR will be delayed if not entirely cancelled. Margarethe II, Archqueen of the SR has offered her country's prayers for the Pope's recovery.[PB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 19.NOV.2009 -- Pope's Illness Takes Turn for Worse

Łódź RTC -- Pope John XXIIJ who had fallen ill last Friday while visiting the city had been resting comfortably in Copernicus Hospital, even taking a few visitors yesterday. Several local nuns came to visit and pray with His Holiness, and when they were leaving said that he looked ill but was otherwise in good spirits. This morning, a press conference was called at the hospital and it was announced that the Pope's health had taken a drastic turn for the worse. It was confirmed that pneumonia is the culprit of the second papal illness in as many months. His Holiness has been transfered to the hospital's critical care ward where doctors are prepared to undertake more serious means to restore the Pope's health.[PB]

NAL TODAY -- 18.NOV.2009 -- Ouisconsin election may signal trouble for Whigs; CLs still searching for coalition partner

ST. FRANCIS, OUISCONSIN -- One day after falling just short of winning a majority of seats in the Ouisconsin Council, the Covenant Loyalist Party is still searching for a junior partner in its expected coalition government. But while the search continues, one thing is clear: the election highlights just how weak the once-dominant Whigs have become as the often-tumultuous Gore era enters its final year.

For the last two years, the provincial Council, like the NAL Parliament itself, has been led by a CL-Whig coalition. But coalition governments are a new phenomenon in Ouisconsin: it's been more than a century since the last one. For all that time, the Whigs and Progressive-Conservatives took turns running the province, and more often than not, Ouisconsin belonged to the Whigs. Now, they are a distant third in the Council, just a little stronger than the delegation from the upstart Three Fires Party. If events in Ouisconsin are a harbinger of what will happen in next year's general election, then Gore's party has an enormous amount of damage control to do.

With the Whigs close to political poison in Ouisconsin right now, it seems unlikely that the CLs will choose to continue their coalition with them, but back-room discussions are still going on to decide who their new partner will be. St. Francis insiders are speculating that they'll pick a minor party that they can more easily control: both the Ecotopics and the Three Fires won enough seats to create a majority, should they join with the CLs. But Progressive Conservative leader and retired Council Speaker Warren Hutch says, "No one in Ouisconsin knows much about coalition governments, but I do know this: a good partner has to know how to compromise, and has to know how to govern. Ecotopics and Three Fires have never done much of either."

* * *

The Ouisconsian Legislative Election at a Glance
The Ouisconsin Council has one house of 146 seats. Of those seats, 80 are elected from single-seat ridings in local elections. The remaining 66 are allotted to the parties so that the proportion of Councillors from each party matches the proportion of votes cast province-wide.

Covenant Loyalists: 33 ridings, 31 party list seats: 64 total (44%)
Progressive Conservatives: 22 ridings, 10 party list seats: 32 total (22%)
Whigs: 15 ridings, 5 party list seats, 20 total (14%)
Three Fires: 6 ridings, 9 party list seats, 15 total (10%)
Ecotopics: 5 ridings, 7 party list seats, 12 total (8%)
Democratic Socialists: 0 ridings, 2 party list seats, 2 total (1%)
Adullamite Republicans: 0 ridings, 1 party list seat, 1 total (1%)[BK]

Ouisconsin Sentinel -- 17.NOV.2009 -- Covenant Loyalists, small parties gain big in Ouisconsin legislative elections

ST. FRANCIS, OUISCONSIN -– The Covenant Loyalist Party emerged from the fray as the big winner of one of Ouisconsin's most contentious elections in recent memory. Tuesday's legislative election delivered an estimated 45% of seats in the Ouisconsin Council to the centrist party. The exact distribution of the Council's 66 "party list" seats will be determined over the next several days, but the CLs will clearly be the dominant faction in the provincial government for the next two years.

The results were a clear sign that voters were dissatisfied with the established parties and the overall state of Ouisconsian government. Throughout the province, campaigning had been marked by candidates from new or minority parties denouncing the policies and culture of the establishment, and by Whigs and Progressive Conservatives desperately trying to defend themselves. The Chicago-dominated Whig organization faced increasingly vitriolic charges of associating with Pègre leaders. The PCs, meanwhile, had to face accusations in riding after riding that their party was no different from the Whigs. It had long been predicted that Ouisconsin was ripe for a surge by the newer and smaller parties, and the CLs showed themselves best able to take advantage of the political climate.

Milwaukee Councillor Tomos Bernardd, one of the leading Whigs to defect to the Covenant Loyalists in 2006 and 2007, is expected to be elected to the powerful Speakership and thus have great influence over the makeup of the new Cabinet. The current Speaker, Chicago Whig Cullerton Jones, is expected to step down once the votes are counted and certified. CL winners of other prominent races include Daniel Beshkno Davis of Chicago, Gweniffer Lloneirof Kiwikapawa, and Kirk Whitethunder of Ho-Chunk.

The CLs will be approximately eight or nine seats short of a controlling majority in the Council and will therefore have to form a coalition government. In the current Council the CLs are the minority partner in a coalition with the Whigs, but with such a large share of the seats, the CLs' Ouisconsin chairman Rudolf Kind of Kiwikapawa says his party will likely partner with one of the smaller delegations.

"Our party is committed to enacting sensible reforms to address the profound challenges that our province is facing," said Kind. "We are negotiating with leaders from all other parties in the Council to find a partner that shares those goals."

In Ouisconsin, the bulk of the Covenant Loyalists are disaffected Whigs, with former Progressive Conservatives forming a definite minority within the party. Therefore, it is expected that the CLs will partner with a left-leaning party, such as the Ecotopics, a party that also captured many new seats in the election.

It was an election for small parties. For the first time in either party's history, the Ecotopic Party and the Three Fires Party of Ouisconsin won some electoral ridings outright. In previous elections, the Ecotopics captured only a few "party list" seats, while the right-leaning TFO has never contested for seats in the Council before.

Speaking from his party headquarters in Assiminehkon, TFO founder and chairman Georges Chopodoque was pleased with his party's showing. "In less than two years," he said in a speech televised to local campaign headquarters, "the Ouisconsian Three Fires have grown from absolutely nothing to being a strong voice for the common people of this province. They tried to keep us down in Chicago– in Milwaukee– in every place where powerful people look out for their interests. But we're going to keep growing, and in the meantime, I couldn't ask for a better man than Councilor Roscamp to head our delegation," referring to Andrew Roscamp, a Councilor-elect from Bodewadmi.

The Ecotopics, too, showed gains at the expense of the Whigs and PCs. Ecotopic candidates won five of Ouisconsin's 80 ridings. Two of these were outside the party's base in Four Nations: Douglas Scott won a seat from St. Francis, while Philippe Lièvre, the ex-Whig mayor of Saukenuk, won a seat from Othaaki.

Bernardd and other Covenant Loyalist leaders pledged repeatedly in the campaign to make ethics legislation and an anti-corruption program the top priority in their government. Steadily growing Pègre violence from the "Signioret Crime War" has made large majorities of Ouisconsians feel that the provincial government faces a "very urgent" corruption crisis, according to numerous recent polls. The CLs have also pledged to reform and strengthen the social safety net, a position that helped them capture a majority of the quickly growing Floridiano voting bloc in Chicago and Milwaukee.

In an unrelated press conference, General Moderator Albert Arnold Gore was asked to comment on his Whig party's substantial losses in Ouisconsin. He replied, "Well remember, the Covenant Loyalists are one half of my government, too. And they support my party's agenda, in particular reforming medical care. The Ouisconsin Whigs have their own local issues to sort out, but this vote is no setback for our agenda, absolutely not."[BK]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 15.NOV.2009 -- Pope Resting at Archbishop's Residence

Łódź RTC -- Pope John XXIIJ took ill last week during an outdoor liturgy in Łódź and has been resting in the city's episcopal residence since feeling ill on the 13th. Thus far, his condition has not improved and Curia officials are seeking to have the Pope admitted to Copernicus Hospital in the city for evaluation. It is expected that he will be transfered later today.[PB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 13.NOV.2009 -- Pope Takes Ill in Łódź

Warsaw RTC -- His Holiness Pope John XXIIJ has taken ill during his long awaited visit to the RTC for the 60th anniversary of the ending of GWII hostilities. His Holiness had been ill several weeks ago with what was said to be a minor bout of pneumonia. The legendarily robust Pope was given a clean bill of health on 29 October and returned to work shortly thereafter.

His planned visit to Xliponia between 5 and 9 November went flawlessly and meetings with King Rudolf III and Prime Minister Alan Murdok DeDerrys as well as church hierarchy went as scheduled. The weather in the RTC was cold and rainy however, though this did not deter more than 30000 people from attending the long outdoor liturgy at Łódź's Peace Memorial. Visits and meetings with officials and church leaders were conducted on the 12th, but were cancelled today, the 13th, when the Pope's condition became much worse. At this time, we are awaiting word from the archbishop's palace as to the condition of the Pope. As for now, meetings with King Witold IV and Chancellor Leoń Janać at Warsaw are being put off until His Holiness is feeling better.

A vigil is being held near the Peace Memorial where the thousands that gathered for a celebratory liturgy have now gathered to pray and wait for news.[PB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 12.NOV.2009 -- Train bombing in Istria

Osijek, Istria -- At least one explosion ripped through a train leaving Pula in Croatia's Isria region in the early hours of Wednesday, killing 3, including Ivan Jakovcic, a Member of Parliament for the Pula and surrounding regions, and injuring dozens, police say.

A source at the Croatian interior ministry told the BBC that it seemed likely a bomb, probably military-made, had caused the blast. However, police said it was too early to say who or what had caused the explosion. "At the moment we are waiting for more information from the explosives experts", a spokesman for the police told the BBC.

The train blast came hours before the arrests of 18 people suspected of belonging to youth organisations which Croatia's Supreme Court has ruled are "terrorist organisations" linked to Istrian separatist group the IDA. As yet no organisation has claimed responsibility. Prior to this attack it was believed that no separatist groups currently active in Istria were capable of such assaults.

A spokesman for the Government said "This is a deplorable crime committed by rogue elements of our society who are committed to undermining Croatia's peaceful development and fracturing our nation. The murder of innocent civilians and a democratically elected representative of the people is an assault upon the sovereignty of Croatia and the culprits along with thier supporters at home and abroad will be brought to bear before the unflinching gaze of the law."

Yon Paulescu, regarded by supporters as Premiere-in-exile of Istria, who currently resides with the unrecognised Government-in-exile in Moldova issued a statement which recognised the frustration and suffering of the Istrian people and deplored the deaths of innocents. He also stated that whilst the Istrian people had a right to pursue their freedom, terrorism could never be a legitimate form of resistance to occupation.[HR]


WARSAW RTC -- Today's weather in Łódź for the papal liturgy at the Peace Memorial will be 4.5deg C and rainy. Seasonably cool, and just wet enough to make travel in the tourist crowded city miserable.[PB]


ROME -- by Luigi Santelli -- The Pope, John XXIIJ, who has been ill since the 22nd was discharged from Trinity Hospital today. Doctors say he is well enough to return home after a bout of pneumonia, but that he is otherwise hale enough to have overcome the infection. His personal secretary says the pontiff will "take it easy" for a few days before returning to his regular duties. Several high ranking cardinals expressed a mix of hope for full recovery, but are worried that the Pope will return to his typically hectic schedule too soon.

The Pope is scheduled to visit Xliponia, the RTC and the SR next week. He is expected to visit Łódź where he will offer a Papal Mass at the Peace Memorial, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this November 11th.[PB]

Il Osservatore -- 29.OCT.2009

ROME, Papal States -- The Pope, John XXIIJ, who has been ill since the 22nd was discharged from Trinity Hospital today. Doctors say he is well enough to return home after a bout of pneumonia, but that he is otherwise hale enough to have overcome the infection. His personal secretary says the pontiff will "take it easy" for a few days before returning to his regular duties. Several high ranking cardinals expressed a mix of hope for full recovery, but are worried that the Pope will return to his typically hectic schedule too soon.

The Pope is scheduled to visit Xliponia, the RTC and the SR next week. He is expected to visit Łódź where he will offer a Papal Mass at the Peace Memorial, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this November 11th.[PB]

Haqayat News -- 24.OCT.2009 -- 24- Hazan, Buqa Jıl 2009 -- Tamerlane Chess prodigy forces draw with Champion

Şahrısabz, Tajikistan Province, Turkestan -- The 27th biennial National Timür Chess Tournament has ended today in a draw between the reigning champion Däwlet Maqtağalı-ulı of Maņğıstau, Qaraqalpağıstan and the young challenger Boris Fyodorevich Lavrev of Taraz, Qazaqstan.

Lavrev, at 36, is very young to be playing at this level in the complex game that is Timür (Tamerlane) Chess, let alone forcing a draw with the national champion, but his father Fyodor Sergeyevich holds the rank of Grand Master of western, or "Russian" Chess, and his mother is also a skilled player of that game.

Boris Fyodorevich ağa, however, became fascinated with the Central Asian version of the game after he was introduced to it in his school days, and went on to become his school's first regional school champion, then after that provincial junior champion.

After his draw with the reigning champion, it seems the young man may be unstoppable. Even Däwlet Maqtağalı-ulı ağa (who retains his title as national champion after the draw) seems impressed. "For him to be playing at his level of skill, and only 36 years old, by the time he is 50 there will not be a player who can match him."[GH]


ROME -- It was confirmed today in a minor news conference by the Camerlengo of Pope John XXIIJ's household that His Holiness is indeed ill, and suffering from what appears to be the early stages of pneumonia. The prognosis is positive, and under the expert care of his doctors it was affirmed by the Camerlengo that His Holiness is expected to make a full recovery, despite his advanced age of 89 years.[DH]

Haqayat News -- 17.OCT.2009 / 17- Qaņjar, Buqa jıl 2009 -- TURKESTAN RESPONDS

BUXARA, TURKESTAN -- by Jomart Nasreddin-ulı -- Turkestani foreign minister Aziza Şahıdı today rebuffed Tibet's insistence that the impending visit by His Holiness Tenzun Lobsang, 16th Dalai Lama-in-exile, not take place.

"The Tibetan government maintains that H.H. Tenzun Lobsang is a private citizen, due no special honours. If this position is to be maintained, the current Tibetan regime should not presume to interfere with Turkestan's decision whether to grant entry to a private citizen," she said.

Relations between Tibet and Turkestan have become increasingly rocky over the past few years, especially since the marriage of the daughter of Horşıd Enver-ulı Äkim of Buxara to Namgyel Je Cong, nephew of the highest-ranking Tibetan Lama in Turkestan.

The current dplomatic dispute over dismissed Turkestani diplomats and the invitation to the exiles' claimant to the Dalai Lamaship is symptomatic of an increasingly downward trend.[GH]

Haqayat News -- 16.OCT.2009 -- 16- Qaņjar, Buqa jıl 2009 -- TURKESTAN, TIBET STANDOFF

LHASA, TIBET -- by Aynur Jahan -- Tibetan authorities today pleaded with Turkestan's government not to allow next week's visit by the "false claimant to the 16th incarnation of the Dalai Lama". Warning that the diplomatic consequences would be "serious", they repeated their demand that the visit be called off.

Thanbo Jianzu Ganden Tripa stated that next week's planned visit by the leader of Tibet's political exiles was "tantamount to actual recognition of the so-called government-in-exile, and an unwarranted insult to Tibet's legitimate government."

Turkestan's decision to go ahead with the controversial visit was sparked by the Tibetan dismissal in August of two high-ranking Turkestani diplomatic personnel for alleged spying.[GH]

National News Corporation -- 13.OCT.2009 -- BOLTON PROPOSES FEDERAL POLICE FORCE

Philadelphia -- Justice Minister Rhoberth Bolton formerly proposed a new government agency specifically aimed at stemming the tide of organized criminal violence in the North American League. Speaking in Parliament, he said a draft of a bill authorizing what he called "the Department of Special Security" had been sent to the House and Senate Committees on Law Enforcement, and requested Parliament to act with dispatch to "stem the tide of lawlessness."

Progressive Conservatives in particular questioned Bolton about the proposed DSS, which he said would be answerable only to the General Moderator and--unlike the CBI--act as a purely plainclothes capacity as well as be granted priority in the issuance of search and arrest warrants. Detention without charge for up to 30 days would also be allowed (with a Magistrate's approval), and in special cases detention incommunicado. Part of the proposed bill would, Bolton explained, include funding for the highest level of surveillance technology.

Deputy Patrick Casey of Pennnsylvaania (PC) strongly hinted in his questioning that what Bolton was suggesting was a kind of semi-secret police worthy of nations like Snorist Russia or Bush's Tejas. Bolton called such suggestions "the desperate tactics of those without any ideas about how to solve problems, but eager to attack anyone else's efforts for political gain."[DZ]

IBAP -- 26.AUG.2009 -- Henua amends constitution again

HAÑA ROA, HENUA -- For the second time in less than a year, Henua has amended its constitution to expand the size of its government. Its Council of Advisors, which acts as both legislature and cabinet, will be expanded from the traditional 21 to 33 members. The size of the Council has gone unchanged for nearly two centuries, but it was approved by the island's council members and chiefs with surprisingly little controversy. The change will take place gradually over the next three annual elections. A provision to lengthen the one-year term of the Chief Advisor, however, was dropped from the final version.

The amendment's biggest sponsor has been longtime Tourism Advisor Fati Tea'o, who has seen his own work load multiply in his years in office. Fati took nearly a month's leave of absence last spring following the crisis at Henua's bicentenniel celebration in September, which he says caused his health to deteriorate. In a speech celebrating the amendment's passage, he said that expanding the council will better equip the members to govern the country in "our increasingly complex age". In addition, it will take pressure off of newly elected members who often are rushed into positions of ministerial authority with little experience in government.

The amendment's few opponents complained of the cost of paying twelve new legislators. Treasury Advisor Nonoho Tana said, "We just created a whole new court system, we just expanded our diplomatic corps. Can we now also afford to hire a dozen new Advisors?"[BK]


IBAP -- 22.APR.2009 -- Commission on Very Small States to seek more conciliatory approach in S. Florida

LUBA, Fernando Poo -- Motions to censure CVSS Deputy Secretary Inez Aguilar failed in the Commission's meeting Wednesday in this African island nation. Aguilar brought unusual publicity to the CVSS last month through her strongly worded public denunciations of RTC policy in South Florida, specifically of the Coronal governor-general's fraudulent sale of Artezja Island to Greece. While the motion of censure failed, the Commission did pass a second one acknowledging the RTC as a "wayward partner" in the South Florida independence process and pledging to work with them to achieve a solution in the region.

The Commission also undercut its General Secretary Ariu Misieli's tentative decision in January to recognize the independence of the Commonwealth of Four Palms. Four Palms is now designated "a community seeking self government," a status thet indicates the CVSS's support for the breakaway region, but does not force the Secretariat to regard RTC attempts to govern the area as criminal acts. Observers in South Florida have noted that any assertions of authority by the RTC seem increasingly far-fetched, making the CVSS resolution somewhat detached from the reality of the situation. However, through the resolution the delegates sent a message that they wish to move away from the confrontational diplomacy seen in recent months.

Secretary Ariu said that Aguilar will remain chief of the Secretariat's branch office in South Florida and stood by her record, calling her "an essential leader of our efforts in the region who will faithfully follow the policies set by the Commission." Aguilar herself was not present at the meeting.

* * * * *

IBAP -- 17.AUG.2009 -- Commission on Very Small States gives stamp of approval to Tokelau's change in status AJMAN, Thousand Emirates -- The Commission on Very Small States began its meeting Monday morning with a vote to approve the final change in status for the Tokelau Islands. After a year and a half of political feints and verbal sparring, the Pacific islands officially were changed from a non-self-governing district of Fijian Polynesia into a locally administered colony belonging to Englishman Andrew Morris's ecotourism company on 21 July.

The delegates also voted to approve Tokelau's request for Commission advisors to assist it in elections planned for the end of this year. The elections will replace the ad hoc provisional government that has governed the islands, with varying success, since early 2008. The CVSS also passed a resolution laying out general principles it hopes the new government will adhere to, written up by General Secretary Ariu Misieli in cooperation with Tokelau's provisional foreign secretary, Aufai Tuia. Most important among them is the statement that "the Proprietors of the islands shall acknowledge that free nations are not for-profit enterprises and are not to be administered as such," and another statement calling for a permanent Commission observer to be stationed in the country to report on the progress of the political experiment.

As a final gesture, Tuia was seated as Tokelau's official delegate to the Commission. Tokelau having been recognized welcomed into the League of Nations last month, it now has full membership status in the committee.[BK]


PROSFORION, MR -- by David Soukis, staff reporter -- While walking the trail between the Monastery of St. George the Painter and the Monastery of St. Maroun, 26-year-old Stefan Siannis lost his footing and fell about 200 feet down a steep cliff before a clump of trees broke his fall Sunday afternoon. "Three of his lumbar vertebrae and his right tibia are broken, and he has a serious gash on the back of his neck," the medic reported.

He is recovering in Holy Spirit Hospital after a fellow pilgrim ran to the St. Maroun to summon help. A call was placed to the Prosferion gendarmery and a rescue helicopter was flown to the scene.

"On a scale of one to ten, physically I feel like a four," Siannis said later from his hospital bed, "but emotionally, though, I feel like a nine-and-a-half."

Siannis was with two other pilgrims and, as he stepped back to get a better view of the Holy Mountain, he lost his footing and slid down the cliff face, tumbling head over heels as he fell, landing in a small collection of trees. He was stuck for about two hours until the helicopter arrived. His other companion stayed with him and kept shouting encouragement to him. According to the companion, "He had come to rest in a small stand of spruce but was laid out on a bed of rocks that was anything but level. I could see that his face and hands were covered in dried blood, that both of his eyes were swollen shut, and that he was unable or unwilling to move his right leg."

Sgt. Thomas Kouches of the Prosferion Medevac Unit was lowered from the hovering helicopter to Siannis. Once he had splinted the leg, the two were raised and then placed down on the trail. A stretcher was then lowered for Siannis and he was placed in the helicopter which then flew off to Prosferion.

From his hospital bed, Siannis thanked his companions for helping in his rescue. He was full of praise for the medevac team who so skillfully extricated him from the narrow canyon. As soon as his condition is stable, he will be transported to a hospital nearer his home in the Hellenic Empire. He has agreed to have photographs taken of his injuries to be displayed as a caution to other pilgrims to walk with care along the mountain trails.

"I'll be back in two years for another pilgrimage," Siannis said, "but I'll be more careful next time!"[CB]

Turkestani Sun Ascendant -- 10.AUG.2009 / 10- Tamuz, Buqa jıl 2009 -- TURKESTANI SHIP BREAKS DOWN IN NEW CANAL; TRAFFIC AT A STANDSTILL

DON REPUBLIC -- This ought to be a moment of great triumph for our nation. Unfortunately, no-one told the collective of bungling incompetents responsible for this disaster.

The Maņğıstau, until today the pride of the Turkestani merchant fleet, has had engine failure on its maiden voyage – the maiden voyage – through the brand-new Eurasia Canal. Even as we write, a Kalmykstani harbour tug is racing to tow Maņğıstau clear of the canal, where the inevitable investigation team can find out what went wrong.

Maņğıstau's master is baffled. Speaking in a Sun Ascendant exclusive interview by telephone, Captain Ţapar Ibodat-ulı told us: "Everything was fine. We'd checked everything before we set off. But then all of a sudden, the engine was in pieces and we had no motor power."

Public opinion is all over the place. Many blame Maņğıstau's master or crew for setting off on such a nationally important voyage with a defective vessel. Yaqub Davud-ulı, 46, told us, "Who sets off on a trip like this, with national prestige at stake, in a broken ship? I'm ashamed of them!" Others place the blame elsewhere. Haronroşıd Ğolımjan-ulı, 21, said, "This only goes to show what I've always said – Turkestanis have no business being in boats!" One young woman we interviewed, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "Our government has overreached itself in pride, and now God is humbling us." Others were more critical. Nağıma Jura Baı-qızı, 33, probably summed up the national mood when she told us, "Whoever let this fiasco happen has exposed our country to world ridicule! Shame! Shame!"

Shame indeed. The Sun Ascendant calls for a full public investigation into what went wrong and how it was allowed to happen.[GH]

HAQAYAT NEWS -- 6.AUG.2009 / 6- Tamuz, Buqa Jıl 2009 -- EURASIA SHIP CANAL COMPLETE!

ROSTOV-NA-DONU, DON REPUBLIC -- Special Report by Jomart Nasreddın-ulı -- The final stretch of work on what has become known as the Eurasia Ship Canal is now complete, and the canal itself will be officially opened next week in a ceremony at the Don Republic's capital Rostov-na-Donu. After it is officially opened, the Eurasia Canal will be the longest ship canal in the world, longer even than the Nicaraguan Canal that joins the Pacific with the Caribbean.

On the eve of a new era of Central Asian maritime potential, then, we present a brief retrospective on the construction of the Canal:

The Eurasia Canal connects the northern Caspian Sea with the Sea of Azov, and thence to the Black Sea. It follows the course of the Kuma and Manıç river valleys from the Caspian (Mazandaran) Sea on the border of Kalmykia and the North Caucasus Federation, connecting several navigable reservoirs along its route. It then enters the Don Republic and eventually empties into the lower Don River close to Rostov, having passed through only four elevation changes with locks along the way. This compares very favourably with the nine locks along the much shorter Volga-Don Canal in Muscovy..

Historically, the Ottoman Empire was the first to attempt to dig a canal connecting the Caspian and Black Seas, but this project was never completed.

The modern canal, and its route, was first proposed by then Turkestani Foreign Minister Nuraslan Näzbek-ulı in 1996. Originally there was some competition between the Eurasia Canal proposal and a competing proposal put forward by Muscovy to expand and reroute the Volga-Don Canal.

Turkestan, however, was not the only one favouring the more southerly route.. Qazaqstan, Azerbaijan and Kalmykia also favoured Turkestan's proposal, though Persia and the Don Republic were more neutral, and the North Caucasus Federation, initially leaned towards the Muscovian proposal.

By 2003, funding was in place and construction could actually start. Regional ecotopic groups had been protesting the proposed canal since the idea was first taken up seriously, citing the potential damage to habitats and the probable contamination of the Caspian biosphere by alien fish and crustacean fauna, however, the potential economic benefits were seen by the governments involved as great enough to overrule these concerns.

The opening ceremony in Rostov next week will feature regional leaders, including the Keņesbaşı of Turkestan, who had first proposed the idea years ago, the Foreign and Trade Ministers of Qazaqstan and Azerbaijan, and of course, leaders from the states through which the Canal passes: Kalmykia, the NCF and the Don Republic.

In deference to the origin of the original impetus leading to the construction of the Canal, the first ship to traverse the Eurasia Ship Canal east to west will be the newest freighter of the Turkestani Merchant Marine, the "Maņğıstau". The first west to east traverse will be made by the marine biological research ship "Tethys" under Greek flag.[GH]


Philadelphia -- General Moderator Al Gore announced at a press conference in Octagon House this morning a rapid reshuffle in his coalition cabinet. In the wake of Justice Minister Howard Provo's death during a CBI raid, Gore has announced Tel Mair Deputy (and current Foreign Secretary) will be moving over to the Ministry of Justice. "I have every confidence that Deputy Bolton has the ability, drive, dedication and single-minded devotion to duty needed in the face of this crisis," Gore said. Bolton was a surprise choice by Gore to replace former Carolina Senator Ion Edwards as Foreign Secretary last year. His tenure in the office has been noted (some would say marred) by insulting statements made in public about, among others, the Republic of Two Crowns vis-a-vis Florida.

Taking over in Foreign Affairs will be Illinoise Senator Diane Rodham (CL), making her easily the most prominent Covenant Loyalist in the current administration. Many commentators have already noted this cabinet shuffle seems to be a precursor to the 2010 election, placing Bolton and Rodham at odds with one another for prominence. She and Provo had been joint leaders and sometime rivals within the new party. His death is widely seen as having cleared the way for her official leadership.

Replacing Rodham as Minister of Health is Deputy Racquel Maddow (Whig - Massachussets Bay). This actually increases the number of Whigs in the coalition cabinet by one. However, Maddow is a personally very popular member of Parliament, although a regular target of criticism from the Alliance for Public Decency due to her views on social programs and her open homosexuality.[DZ]


Philadelphia -- An explosion rocked the Gallotown neighborhood of Philadelphia at approximately five o'clock in the morning, local time. The cause is now known to have been an explosive device hidden within a car outside a private home. The owner of the home has not been identified but Justice Ministry officials confirm that the Central Bureau of Investigation had assembled a team to arrest Antoine Batron, a high-ranking member of the so-called "Southern Confederacy" in the Pegre criminal organization. Spokesmen agreed the car bomb was intended for Batron.

Ten individuals are confirmed dead. Four of these are CBI officers, and a fifth is Howard Provo, Jacobian Senator, Minister of Justice and one of the founders of the new Covenant Loyalist Party. The Gore administration has been under increased pressure for months in the wake of what is being called the Signoret Crime War. This conflict, which has already claimed dozens of lives, officially began with the death of Pierre Daille. Factions for the succession of his crime empire, the Signoret famille, split between two of his sons-in-law. One of these, Guillaume Vaschon, remains in critical condition following an assassination attempt. He is surrounded by armed guards twenty four hours a day. His rival, Henri LeBrun, is in hiding and sought for questions.

Provo became the focus of increasing criticism as the crime war continued, initially focussed on the city of New Amsterdam and its environs. In recent months, however, the violence has spread as different familles have allied themselves with the two factions and an alliance of smaller familles in the Southern provinces have sought to use this situation to foster their own independence. Provo has been known to accompany CBI teams on anti-Pegre raids. Such actions were dubbed "publicity stunts" by Progressive Conservative Leader Steven Harper (Les Plaines) and "a distraction" by Senator Jozef Liebermann (PC - Connecticut).

His death leaves a significant power vacuum in the NAL. He was one of the highest ranking members of the Whig/Covenant Loyalist coalition cabinet. Jacobia will need to find a replacement for his Senate seat. And the Covenant Loyalists, hitherto split between those supporting Provo for the leadership of their party and adherents of Illinoise Senator Diana Rodham, may or may not solify behind her leadership. A replacement for Minister of Justice must also be chosen, a decision which might hold considerable impact for the current coalition.

Justice spokesmen did not comment about whether Batron himself was among the dead or wounded.[DZ]


Bucureºti -- Nicodim Popescu is the new President of the Romanian Federation, following weeks of wrangling, splitting of hairs involving rules and political infighting from members of the Federal Council.

Originally scheduled for July 4, the meeting of Romania's Federal Council almost immediately became mired by procedural debates, including challenges to the seating of several key members as well as a walk-out because Oltenia's delegation was less one member than that of Muntenia and Moldova. Before it was over, a Moldovan Councilor resigned and a secret ballot was both abolished then re-instated.

Each of the Federation's constituent members offered an official candidate for the five-year Presidency. Most controversial was Moldovan Regent Serghei Jucov's candidacy. Not only is he a sitting head of government, but the outgoing President, Bela Negru, is also Moldovan and by tradition the Presidency rotates among the member-states. At one point the underage King of that country, Aurel II, had a very public meeting with Popescu--an act widely seen as an endorsement, and which fueled rumors of a negotiated marriage between Aurel and Muntenia's Crown Princess Anira. More than one commentator stated a belief such rumors did much to swing the election in Popescu's favor.

Romania's Federal Council, a body composed of officials from all three member-states, elects the President and functions as a legislative body for the Federation. However, the President directly oversees the administration of all Federal agencies.

Oltenia's candidate, Nicolai Vlas-Florea, is a professional diplomat who caused an international sensation upon his marriage to the sister of Mantua's ruling Duchess. The match was criticized severely by many in Romania, where xenophobia runs high as does distrust in some quarters of the Catholic Church (Vlas-Florea, heir to the Princedom of that nation, is Byzantine Rite). The arch-conservatives (some of them extremist Pan-Romanians as well as Pavelists) tended to side with Nicodim Popescu, the least-known of the three candidates outside Romania itself.

Nicodim Popescu (born 1950) was a history teacher who entered politics following the fall of the SNOR. His family, an old Boyar one, has branches throughout Romania as well as Greece. His nephew Razvan married Princess Sofia, sister of Muntenia's reigning queen, in 2001, while his brother Filip (1948-99) was a career naval officer. Popescu himself is a high-ranking member of the right-wing Christian Alliance Party, and has been instrumental in maintaining a de facto coalition between them and the Unity Party.[DZ]


CONSTANTINOPLE -- Following closely behind the historic sanctioning of the practice of several non-Orthodox Christian religions in Greece, thus overturning centuries of official discrimination seen by many as "medieval laws", the Emperor Costas Palaiologos issued an edict declaring the bans against the free practice of Catholicism and also established Paganism to be unconstitutional in Greece.[PB]

BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE -- 2.JUL.2009 -- Greece Sanctions More Religions

CONSTANTINOPLE -- Today the Government of Greece decided to sanction more religions today, in what they call "an act of toleration". Mormonism and all of the various sects of Protestantism have now been legalized, and all citizens of these faiths will have equal rights with other Greek citizens. However, proselytism and various missionary programs from these subsects of Christianity is strictly forbidden. In fact the official rule now stands basically that now all incoming immigrants can freely adhere to these faiths and have equal rights to other Greek citizens, but they can not spread "The Good Word" of their faiths, lest their citizenship be taken away. However if a native Greek were to be able to prove he sought out one of the religions, he may have clearance to convert with no government interruption. This comes for a great thing now, as Greece's small population of German and Scandanavian expats can now be equal to the natives they live with.

As of now, Catholicism and Neo-Paganism are still strictly banned, the only two now that not government-sanctioned. There is speculation the government may let up on these religions, though this is still speculatory.[CL]

APA -- 19.JUN.2009 -- Republicist Sentiments Expressed

CANBERA -- Yesterday, representatives of the Australasian Republicist Movement (ARM) met with Coordonator-General Rudee to discuss including an option for a republic in the upcomming referendum on home rule. The referendum, a brain-child of the Coordonator-General, would replace the current arrangement of the a group of provinces each swearing allegiance to a different crown with the whole of Australia under a native monarch.

The referendum, for which a date hasn't yet been set, has attracted both praises and criticism from a variety of groups. Some see it as a logical expression of the ties that bind the Australasian provinces together while other see it as a rejection of the provinces specificities. A few, such as a the ARM, have criticised the referendum for not going far enough, "The monarchy has had its time" said ARM spokesman Patrick O'shaunossy, "Ireland has shown how a country can strive without a crowned had of state and it is time that the rest of Australasia, and not just Guereintia, sees the advantage of a society where all are equals."

Yet others cite the long history of democratic government upon a monarchical foundation of which Australasia is one of the inheritors. They see a radical departure from the present model as a reckless and emitional response. "We have the best of all worlds here in Australasia," said Tony Corwin, a professor of government and politics here in Canberra. "We have a functional and even exemplary democracy with all the rights (and problems) that democracy brings; and we also have our time honoured traditions. We don't need to throw away the monarchy. It is sufficiently present to be known as an integral part of our government, and sufficiently distant that it is not a distraction or a detriment. It is a perfect balance!"[MP]

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