Potato sweeps the Evens, but trails in the polls
Dateline 3205.206 Asteel Q0
With the ‘Odd’ numbered quadrants about to go to the vote, the Potato campaign has been boosted by wins in three of the four ‘Even’ Quadrants. Quadrants 2, 4 and 8 have voted – albeit some by narrow margins – that Alphie Potato continue in office, although Q6 has gone for Reform candidate Rhett Elgon after a disappointing economic performance in the Quadrant.
However, opinion polls put Elgon ahead in Quadrants 3 and his native 7, and in Q1 and Q5 the race is too close to call as the fallout continues from the corruption allegations against Defence Secretary Morgan and Potato’s indifferent head to head debate with Elgon. Pundits are predicting that like the previous election, this one will go down to the last minute and the all-important Q0 vote.
Wolf targets Earther wallets
Dateline Wolf 359, 3205.210
The Wolfer government is directing a media blitz against Earth – home to the highest concentration of millionaires in human space – in an attempt to make rich Earthers visit Wolf 359. The move is part of a multi-billion credit programme to develop Wolf’s tourism industry, which has hitherto mainly revolved around beach resorts on Barba. The new initiative includes exclusive new orbital hotels and leisure facilities around Wolf 359, as well as “unprecedented access” to previously closed historical buildings such as the sprawling Albert Palace and the Houses of Parliament, removed piece by piece from Old London 200 years ago. Highlights include the ‘First Foot’ monument, alleged to be the original imprint made by King Albert I on his initial landing at what is now New London.
However, accountants say that the levels of investment are so large that even at the government’s optimistic revenue projections it could take 12 years to recoup project costs, and some Wolfer parliamentarians have grumbled that the government is saddling them with a “vanity project” which will become a white elephant for future administrations. Others have fretted that an influx of Earther tourists will spoil the “unique character” of New London – which at 500 km2 is one of
the largest ‘planned development’ cities in human space – with a rash of new shopping malls, casinos and entertainment facilities.
No Joy as Dino Flu ‘Out of Control’
Dateline 3205.166 The Joy Q7
A small population of stay behind colonists who refused to evacuate when the colony failed last year has been hit by a virulent ‘dino flu’. Over 80% of the small band of survivors are reported as ‘dangerously ill’ in a message they managed to pass on via a passing merchant trader. As one of the most distant and isolated colonies in the outer quadrants, there is little prospect of humanitarian aid reaching the survivors before they are wiped out.
Biggest Crime of Its Kind
Dateline 3205.170 Po Q2
COP Spokespersons on the Martian colony of Po are reporting that the daring robbery of the headquarters branch of the First Interstellar Bank of Asteel on Po III is the biggest robbery ever on this world, and it may be the biggest robbery in the quadrant’s history. In a daring raid, conducted with military prescision, and involving dozens of raiders and several orbital shuttles, the main vault was blasted open with military-grade explosives and intervening police gunned down with illegal energy weapons. it is estimated that over 30 million credits in negotiable bonds and cashchips were taken.
The raiders landed in a number of shuttles right on top of the high security building, catching the authorities completely by surprise. The system’s Starguard was caught out of position and was unable to intercept the raiders leaving the system in their own starship. The wanted pirate gang of the notorious Captain Cornelius Jol is believed to be behind this outrage – the colonial authorities have posted a substantial reward for information leading to his capture. The MSN is reported to be deploying to try to locate the criminals, but were unprepared to comment on their plans “for security reasons”
Clewgists Cause Trouble in New Geneva City
Dateline 3205.190 Geneva Q3
CoPs in the capital city of New Geneva have banned any public gatherings on for the foreseeable future because they might lead to most serious unrest. It follows many days of riots – the first in a major city centre on this world – in which police have used used stummgas and riotfoam to disperse primarily Clewgist youths throwing stones, incendiaries and attacking vehicles.
The ban, which covers the whole city and lasts indefinately was issued under local emergency laws introduced by the planetary government last week. Police said the situation across the city on the 17th consecutive night of riots was “much calmer” than previously. “Things could calm down very, very quickly,” planeatary police chief Gaudin told reporters. More than 2,370 vehilces were burned in the riotingt. Sp far 2,120 people have been arrested.
During the troubles , a nursery school was torched and a burning car was pushed up to an old people’s home, causing panic among residents. Near the beginning of the rioting a mosque in the southern district had been firebombed, causing little damage but drawing condemnation from the colonies ‘s political and religious leaders. A similar attack took place at the city’s grand mosque just yesterday. The Planetary Home Affairs Minister blamed the violence on a “demonstration by anarchists”, but did not elaborate. The troubles are placed at the fanatical religous fervous of the Clewgist minority. Many Clewgists have come to Geneva in recent years, and many of them – especially the young – they see themselves disadvantaged by the controlling positions of majority Muslim population.
THE NEW GENEVA CURFEW LAW
Provides for state of emergency, regional curfews, house searches, house arrest
Public meeting places can be closed down and media showings may be controlled
Breach of curfew could mean two-octant jail sentence.
Mukulist Rioters Smash Robot Factory
Dateline 3205.124 Dunn Q6
The new colony in the Dunn system was proud of its brand new robot factory, constructed with the help of the Sirius Cybernetics Company. That was until a fanatical sect of the Church of the Latter Day Mukuls took it upon themselves to denounce the factory as a “work of Evil”. During just one night a huge crowd of mukulists fanatics stormed the building, injuring many security guards, and destroyed the factory’s manufacturing lines, and set fire to the building. Colonial militia arrived too late to save the factory, though 27 mukulist and 6 militia were wounded int he subsequent fighting. A spokesperson for the Church said “We do not condone violence against fellow humans and protest at the utterly unprovoked attack on peaceful demonstrators by the militia”. A spokesperson for the Colonial Council said “We are considering what to do about this – these mukulist maniacs are a bloody liability!”. The loss of the robot factory is expect to cause a major setback to the colony’s economic development. There have been eports of retaliation on the mukulist community – including an incendiary attack on the main Church buildings.
Massive Reactor Leak Causes Hundreds of Casualties
Dateline 3205.243 Disneyworld Q0
Huge pall of smoke is covering the western suburbs of Walt City, the glittering capital of Disney World. There are reports of a massive exposion in the West Station 47 fusion power station, located in the city’s main industrial zone. Reports are confused here, in that no reports are coming in of fatalities – though eyewitnesses initially reported hundreds of casualties. According to health authorities one of the side effects of radiation leaks has been widespread hallucinations – initial reports of ” people walking around on fire” and “people thrown through the air, as if flying” have all been discounted. . All of the 1,024 local residents have been evacuated for their own safety and have been accomodated in government facilities for extendsive health checks. A spokesperson for the planetary government said that the residents had been”… confused by the smoke and a small halucinoogenic chemical leak caused by a minor containment failure. Everything is under control and GF forces have cordened off the area of the city while the fires are contained and the area made safe.
Exclusive Breakfast with Frost Interview, with Surre-David Frost.
Dateline Earth 3205.215
SDF: Hallo, Good bording, and Welcome. I have on the blue sofa today Dr Drakkir Hands, until recently foreign minister of the Mars Association of Free Colonies. Drakkir, thank you for being here.
DH: Thank you for having me, Surre-David.
SDF: Let’s talk about your new book – it’s the second volume of your autobigraphy, ‘Unreliable Memoirs’, and available from all good bookshops, as they say. And we are of course exclusively serialising it here at INN over the next few octants. With that in mind, I hope you won’t mind answering a few questions about issues you raise in it.
DH: Fire away.
SDF: Let’s begin with Binni, if we may. You point the finger at the Wolf government for encouraging this warlord, President Ancongo.
DH: No, that’s not quite true, Surre-David. Wolf corporate interests were certainly involved in the Free Republic of Binni, and helped fuel its economic growth, and were willing to sell it arms, which led to its expansionist foreign policy, but I wouldn’t want to lay the Ancongo regime’s crimes at the Wolf government’s door. As you’ll see in the book, I regard
Lord Young as a sound chap whom I got on very well with on a personal level.
SDF: Even though they sent a heavy cruiser and landed Marines in the FRB?
DH: They acted to preserve the lives and property of Wolfer nationals, as any responsible government would have done.
SDF: And the nuclear weapons allegation?
DH: I never alleged Wolf had supplied nuclear weapons – at least, not publically. That was Claire Tall, our special envoy to Binni, and she was repeating sound intelligence we had that Ancongo had tried to acquire such weapons from Wolf.
SDF: But the Wolfers refused him.
DH: Yes, as it turns out. But we didn’t know that for sure at the time, and had to factor the potential threat into our calculations.
SDF: You wouldn’t say you ‘sexed up’ the threat in order to justify military action against the FRB?
DH: We presented the evidence in the most favourable light, of course. But in fact we didn’t intervene against the FRB – that was Earth. We only moved in to restore order afterwards, and have since withdrawn.
SDF: Although there were rumours of a ‘secret deal’ with Earth over Binni.
DH: You may very well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.
SDF: And what about the Sirian intervention on Binni? Did Mars really discuss firing at Sirian forces, as you claim in the book?
DH: Yes, it was discussed. Sirius – for all of its utopian protestations – was to my mind trying to throw its weight around militarily, to achieve its own political purposes. Nothing wrong with that, but they had to face up to the fact that some other nations took a different view, and if they insisted on pressing the issue – when no Sirian interests were at stake – then consequences may flow from that. At the time they were discussing landing a Ground Force division in support of the Free Republic of Binni. Given the history of our relations with the Ancongo regime and the delicate state of negotiations with the FRB we regarded that as a threatening act, and were not prepared to allow it, and if that meant deterring Sirian ships militarily, well, that was an option we were prepared to consider. But as it happens they didn’t press the point, which was probably just as well for all concerned.
SDF: Although this wasn’t the last time you had a run-in with the Sirian government, was it? You were later forced to publically apologise for upsetting them.
DH: I think ‘forced’ is overstating the case – I reached a decision in conjunction with my ICC colleagues. But yes, I had my difficulties with the Sirians. They seemed to have this idea that I supported their rather legalistic view of the universe
– which I most certainly did not, although it may have been politic on occasion to say I did. But over IFF membership – which is the incident you are referring to – all I said was that I would not countenance the SSR trying to change the character of the IFF which the treaty powers had negotiated. They decided to take extreme umbrage, for whatever internal reasons of
SDF: But you did call them ‘bureaucratic’.
DH: I did. And I’ll repeat it: the SSR is bureaucratic. And I could also add…
SDF: Well Drakkir, I’d love to discuss this further with you, but the clock is against us. However, I hope you’ll be able to come back next time, when we can discuss the Venerian Entente and Lee Zhang, whom you describe as ‘possibly the most dangerous man in the Universe.’ Drakkir Hands, thank you.
DH: Thank you, Surre-David.
SDF: And now, Boira, with a summary of the news.