Rathbone Is First Minister
By Nigel Bruce, Imperial Correspondent
Earth’s politics have taken yet another twist as the recent Earth elections have delivered a member of the Imperial family as a First Minister for the first time in the modern history of the Solar Republic. Although Sebastian Rathbone, the former foreign minister, has two older brothers and so is not in direct line to be First Citizen, there have already been concerns expressed about the First Citizen’s potential influence on policy-making, as symbolised by the son paying his father a visit before announcing his new cabinet. However, Imperial Party spokespeople have been quick to deny this and say that the First Citizen’s influence will be no greater or smaller than for any other First Minister.
That new cabinet is itself a sign of the changes that continue to sweep Earther politics. First Minister Ashanti, seen as a champion of the Navy, is to leave for Quadrant 1, taking up a post as governor there, while Quadrant 6 governor Armstrong, darling of the New Right, is the new Foreign minister – a move certain to inflame simmering tensions with Sirius. Critics have also argued that the appointment of former Old Mars Office head Bernard Malvolio to the Colonial Office is a “calculated snub” to Martian nationalists, and that Freddie Pascoe’s appointment to the Defence brief is “the kind of pork barrel politics that Earth usually leaves to Asteel.”
As is traditional, the most interesting discussions appear to have happened behind closed doors. From here Rathbone, able as he is, looks like an attempt to forge a cross-party ‘anyone but Armstrong’ candidate, after the seemingly unstoppable rise of the governor put him on course for the top job. It will be interesting to see how Rathbone’s arguments over defence spending cuts – a 5% target has been mentioned – play out in an atmosphere of renewed war against the aliens and against such a strong proponent of Earth’s armed forces as Armstrong in the cabinet.
Martians announce breaking of “AI ring”
INN Staff Reporter
The MAFC has made a public presentation about its fleet manoeuvers earlier in the year in Quadrant Eight, which included a “military exercise” in the Z173 system. Supreme Councillor Nishiyama, flanked by MAIDS Q8 director Tarsier Arnand and fleet commander Cho-Sho Chan, confirmed that on 3211.033, MAFC forces, responding to intelligence received, conducted a divisional-level ground force action against a factory being operated by the Special Independent Manufactures Company (SIMC) Inc. SIMC Inc was ostensibly carrying out hi-tech manufacturing research, but was in fact a front for an illegal AI chip manufacturing syndicate. The operation was conducted under the auspices of the Stickney Treaty.
Following the successful operation, prisoners and captured material were returned to In The Clear for analysis, and there have been several octants of rounding up and arresting those associated with the company and its operations. AI chips captured in the raid were displayed at the press conference, verified by the Martian AI Detection Service, which coordinated the operation with Martian Naval and police (Ranger) assets. Nishiyama acknowledged the cooperation of Marsec and a Centauri-based mercenary company in the operation, as well as the assistance of INN in acceding to an MAFC request not to publicise the operation until all of the principals involved in AI manufacture were in custody.
Trials under Stickney Law will follow on In The Clear, and are expected to be completed within 2 octants. The defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all face the maximum penalty of Involuntary Mindwipe.
FWA Annexes system
Ted Maul, INN
In an unexpected and unprecedented move, the Free Worlds Alliance has announced the formal “annexation” of the uninhabited system of T23, which it calls “New Bermuda”, to assist with the security of new members Chekno and Charley. It is not clear as yet what practical effect this announcement will have, such as whether the FWA intends to set up colony operations or a permanent naval presence there, or what restrictions if any there will be on visiting merchant shipping. Historically, interstellar powers have tended to ignore independent worlds until they become wealthy enough to support local space infrastructure such as orbitals.
INN has been told that the move has raised eyebrows in the Q1 Venerian administration, which is believed to be “reviewing” its own local security arrangements.
Tassic passes the baton
By Brinna Childresse-Lao, Xyon Correspondent
The 3211 Union of Xyon elections have delivered one major surprise – the announcement of his retirement by Prime Minister Dan Tassic – in spite of winning the election! Foreign Minister Gideon Rafael is being tipped as his successor as Maskalim leader and Prime Minister of the UoX, but the move has caught even his supporters on the hop, and opposition parties have been quick to accuse Tassic of “betraying” the public by campaigning for election only to attempt to “crown” his favourite in his place.
One of the longest-serving executives in the 9 Quadrants, Tassic came to power in 3201. Under his tenure the UoX has seen an unprecedented period of economic and political growth, and has hugely expanded its Navy.
Colonial Referenda and Memberships – from our colonial corespondent
The following colonial worlds are planning referenda: Coffin Q2, New Jerico Q2, Knobknocker Q8, X7 Q7
Referenda have been held on the following worlds:
Result – voted to apply to join:
The following worlds have voted against holding a referenda on giving up their independence: None.