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The Monthly Humbug: politics, science, culture, sport and more!

The Monthly Humbug
Bringing Maowi its regular grumble


31/03/2019 23:28

March 2019 Issue


Created my free logo at LogoMakr.com


Monthly Thoughts from the Editor-In-Chief

Welcome to this second issue of The Monthly Humbug. It is encouraging to see the success we have enjoyed in spreading the grumble through Maowi: we already have over one thousand subscribers. However, in the excitement of this new project, it is easy to lose sight of our goals in bringing this editorial to the people of Maowi. We must not forget that this online news bulletin is supposed to present a fair, scrupulous, balanced and accessible overview of national and international events in the past month, so that every Maowese citizen may participate in our nation's prized and involving democracy to the fullest. Only when every single Maowese citizen is educated enough and willing enough to make their voice heard on the political scene will Maowi truly be a democracy; for then, everybody will be accounted for and accommodated in our legislation. It is your duty, to yourself and to your fellow citizens, to strive to become immersed in Maowi's rich political scene. Because, as the Maowese motto wisely states, every Maowese citizen should be free as a high sloth.

I would like to thank our talented journalism team for their hard work this month:

  • Editor-in-chief - Janet Oldham

  • Assistant editor - Grant Slothsson

  • Maowese politics reporter - Edison Sloanson

  • World Assembly politics correspondent - Freja Symps

  • International politics agent - Gurura Lallchstrip

  • Science reporter - Lance Brotliuese

  • Culture reporter - Eva Evantochter

  • Sports reporter - Charlie Wozley

  • Poll organiser - Absidie Symps

  • Minor celebrity spotter - Ivan Ivanovich

  • Minor celebrity interviewer - Carys Palgrour

As ever, we hope you benefit from out monthly grumble, whether it lends you food for thought with your morning coffee or a way to unwind in these chilly evenings.

Yours,
Janet Oldham
Editor-in-chief


Maowese Politics


Council grants joint parental leave

Following Council discussion in the first couple of weeks of March about mandating fully paid maternity leave, President Jangle pushed through a bill granting a total of twelve months of fully paid leave to new parents combined, to be split between them as wished. The bill was only narrowly passed, due to concerns raised about the impact of the legislation on Maowi's economy, which has recently benefitted from an unprecedented boom. Thus far, however, hits to the economy appear to have been minimal, with only a slight wobble a couple of days after the new legislation was introduced. There were also fears voiced by some more conservative members of the Council that babies' development may be impaired by a lack of natural breast milk from mothers. These objections were quickly shut down by feminists and LGBT+ activists alike, claiming respectively that it is constitutionally unfair for women to be forced to sacrifice their careers for their family lives, and that a legally binding protection only of maternity leave would effectively prevent homosexual couples and non-gender binary individuals from adopting babies, especially those in more financially precarious situations. To find out how this new bill affects you, visit www.maowi-legislation/parental-leave-bill.mw


Council representatives to choose administrators

On Friday 15th March, President Jangle gave a televised speech addressed in front of the Council, broadcast live all over Maowi. 'I am immensely proud of our development, as a fairly young unified nation,' he told the fifty-five Council representatives. 'We have grown, in solidarity, maturity, and sheer population. It is the latter change which brings me here, addressing you all with this proposition. As our population has increased rapidly, so have our people's needs. I feel, despite your immense dedication and prowess, that it would be unfair to both you and to all Maowese citizens if I were to force you to keep struggling to accommodate the demands of our people by yourselves. So I put to you this proposal. Every Council representative shall pick, from a shortlist of ten runners-up from the elections, five assistant administrators. You will each be able to decide how to delegate tasks and responsibilities to your administrators, as long as their workloads are of the same sort of scale. This will be repeated at every election every two years. I believe this would also help promote political involvement among our citizens and give many of them a better understanding of the political system.' The Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of this measure and administrators will have been selected by next week. The Council also passed a reform, put forward by the Senior Assistant, creating the role of 'World Assembly ambassador', the occupant of which shall be selected by the President and his assistants shortly, and who will be reselected every two years by the newly elected President.


World Assembly Politics


The Cloning Conventions defeated

The General Assembly proposal 'The Cloning Conventions' was fairly narrowly defeated this March by 9,815 votes to 6,001. Cloning is a controversial subject and the author did a good job of addressing it comprehensively and eloquently. However, the Council decided to vote against the proposal, due to concerns about clause 4.a.: 'Restricts the cloning of sapient organisms only to originators who fully consent to being cloned'. The Council found that this would effectively ban the cloning of extinct organisms, impeding scientific advancement in evolutionary and other biological investigation. It is impossible for us to know whether extinct organisms were sapient, so to clone them scientists would have to ask for the extinct organisms' consent - a feat which even the most scientifically advanced of nations has yet to achieve. Evidently, other nations agreed with the Council - although many voted against the proposal, regrettably under the mistaken impression that it would force legalise cloning - resulting in the proposal's defeat by the General Assembly.


Commend Severisen passed

On Sunday 24th March, the Security Council resolution 'Commend Severisen' became international law. A well written and researched proposal, it passed very comfortably, with 75.2% of votes cast in favour of the resolution. Despite being a raider, a practice which Maowi vehemently opposes, the nominee is known for their courtesy and respect in raids, qualities not often seen in raiders. Moreover, as one of the oldest nations in the World Assembly, Severisen has contributed to the community in many other, highly commendable ways. In the region Catholic, in which they resided for fourteen years, they held a number of important positions, such as World Assembly Delegate and Counselor, and helped defend the region from a raid by DEN and The Black Hawks in 2012. The Maowese Council, debating extensively on the topic, was ultimately persuaded by the author's clear, concise arguments and well-sourced proofs and registered their vote in favour of what is now Security Council Resolution #278.


International Politics


Digital attack on Marche Blanche

The government of Marche Blanche descended into chaos on Thursday 21st March after a cyber attack on their central computer system resulted in the theft of 10 million gigabytes of data stored about the country's citizens.The hackers gained access to much of the government's information about citizens, including identification details such as full name, sex, parents, and so on, but also information about criminal records, convicts' fingerprints, and other related details. The country's prisons ground to a halt, as the hackers not only copied but wiped all criminal records from the system. Many imprisoned convicts may now have to wait far longer for their release than was dictated by their sentence as Marche Blanche's top IT experts attempt to recover the data. A government minister told The Monthly Humbug that 'our government activity has been fully turned to focus on the crisis at hand, and the nation has been declared in a state of national emergency. We do not know what the hackers intend to do with the stolen data, but we are working on ramping up our security, both digital and physical'. The international community has jumped to Marche Blanche's aid, with many nations, including Maowi, sending their leading figures in the field of computing to aid the country's efforts to recover the data. A notably aloof presence has been that of Marche Noire, leading to (unverified) claims that its government was behind the attack. In a notorious case last month, three "tourists" from Marche Noire were arrested in Marche Blanche on charges of espionage, and they were due to be put on trial next week. However, following the attack, their criminal data has been lost, prompting accusations from other nations of Marche Blanche's rival instigating the attack.


Cloning developments in Dgu

On Friday 29th March, biologists in Dgu revealed that they had carried out a perfect clone of a human embryo. And not only that: they had used new technologies to alter the clone's DNA, making the resulting human being more intelligent, taller and stronger. The embryo was developed in an artificial womb and a baby was successfully delivered, and raised by an adoptive family. Dgu revealed that the cloned child is now ten years of age and is already employed in advanced engineering work, having completed a university degree at one of Dgu's top universities. This is a major scientific breakthrough for Dgu, who is refusing to reveal the method used to manipulate the clone. However, the issue has caused consternation among civil rights experts, worried that Dgu intends to ultimately create a race of 'designer babies' and concerned at the potential loss of autonomy as a result of this. Governments around the world are also worried that Dgu will aim for military supremacy with its next experiments. Its government is being very closed about its plans for the future, stating only that this was a 'historical moment for science in Dgu'.


Science


Rare sloth species recovering?

Three weeks ago, a team of Maowese researchers venturing into the largely unexplored forests south of Bradypus City to investigate biodiversity in certain ecosystems came across a discovery they were certainly not expecting: 24 spectacled sloths, an endangered species of two-toed sloth found only in Maowi. Spectacled sloths, famous for the distinctive black rims around their eyes, have been classified as being under threat of extinction for years, with only 50 or so specimens known to be living in the wild. However, in recent months, the population in the wild seems to have been rapidly expanding, and is now thought to number around 150. This may be the result of more stringent environmental legislation causing an effective halt to deforestation and so allowing the spectacled sloth population a chance to recover. Alternatively, these sloths may have been living there all along, with their discovery merely a result of the new environmental research and exploration being carried out in Maowi. Either way, these findings are certainly encouraging for Maowi.


Culture


Modern Maowese art: full of hidden gems

Knowing about Maowi's history - a young nation emerging from thousands of years as an undiscovered island coinhabited by several ancient tribes living side by side yet independently - one would be understandably unsurprised to hear that the Maowese art scene is decidedly not at the forefront of the modern art world. However, this lack of prominence is decidedly unjust. Maowi's rich cultural heritage is not to be underestimated. For thousands of years, the indigenous people of Maowi have been creating art: primal, yes, but possessing its own unique beauty and ferocity. The bold strikes on rough hewn slabs of rock encapsulate a certain primitive force, a rough passion. Admirably, modern Maowese artists - such as Bradin Mlthaka, who is herself descended from an indigenous Maowese ancestry - have drawn on these ancient artworks to create dynamic and forceful pieces of art. For example, Mlthaka's Rattlesnake. A simple rectangular pinewood frame sets the piece's boundaries on a two-dimensional plane, like any conventional painting; but Mlthaka innovatively has the artwork burst out of its restrictions using the third dimension. A beautiful ochre sandstone slab, carved and shaped by Mlthaka with extraordinary craftsmanship, ripples out of the frame towards the viewer like the powerful, muscular shoulder of some huge beast. A fairly simplistically designed rattlesnake is painted on top using intense black, red, white and blue natural paints, but it gains character and movement from the ripples of the rock. It's time Maowese art was recognised internationally.


Sports


Bradypus City: losing its lustre?

The most widely supported football team in Maowi, native to the capital city: Bradypus City. It has dominated the Maowese football scene for years, and looks set to win this year's championship easily, a huge 15 points ahead of its nearest competition. However, its football has become increasingly poor to watch. Perhaps the result of a lack of equally matched opponents, or of a certain distance between the players and its slightly aloof coach, Barty Broodley, the team's playing has been sloppy and lazy, and lacks the inspiration which made it a joy to watch, say, five years ago. Weak passes are intercepted far too often, and there is often a frustratingly obvious struggle to find a gap in the opposition's defense, resulting in matches stagnating as players seem unable to retain possession of the ball. That's not to say that individual players are not showing considerable talent; 22-year-old Aleye Siwoulou shows great promise as a mid-fielder/defender, and captain Stef Droups can prove deadly, streaking up the right wing when he spots an opportunity. But the team lacks cohesion: there's no chemistry, no sparks flying. We're no longer whit-knuckled on the ends of our seats. The game has become predictable and dull to watch. What Maowese football really needs is to be shaken up. Bring in some fresh blood, like Siwoulou, and mix up the teams. Perhaps then we'll get the thrill back into our footie.


Featured Poll


This March, we asked our readers how much time they spend catching up on their Friendface posts.

Results:
None: 3%
About 10-20 minutes every week: 4%
Up to 15 minutes every day: 29%
15-45 minutes every day: 58%
45-90 minutes every day: 4%
Over 90 minutes every day: 2%


Celebrity Interview


This month we interviewed Maowi's most famous ...wait Monica what did she do again?...really? that's ... ok... er, social media star Camme Cardetian.

Hi, Camme, how are you doing?
Yeah, so, I'm basically pretty fine. Like, thanks.
Could you share what you think the secret is to your success?
So like I think I was successful because I'm someone that ... like ... other women can basically relate to, but they can also like look up to me. Yeah. Also, like, female empowerment. Basically other women can be like motivated that I'm doing well, even though I'm, like, a woman. And that's why women like me. And, like, more in general everyone likes me, men and women, because I'm basically pretty. Yeah.
That's great. Is there any way you could give us a sneak preview of your next project?
Yeah, sure. I'm basically like planning a WhoTube video, because, like, I heard it's becoming pretty popular, and I'm like gonna show off all my peng new clothes and give, like, fashion advice.
You will be able to watch Camme's video on WhoTube or on The Monthly Humbug's website.


Archived issues:
February 2019

14/02/2019 01:34

February 2019 Issue


Created my free logo at LogoMakr.com


Introduction from the Editor-In-Chief

Welcome to The Monthly Humbug, Maowi's new online news grumble to keep you up to date with what exactly is going on in the Free Land. Our monthly bulletins will cover politics, science, culture sports and many more exciting features such as national poll results and celebrity interviews. We apologise for the presence of advertisements in our reports; they may contain flashing images. This service is provided to you for free; all we ask in return is that you spread the word to as many people as possible.

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to our wonderful journalism team:

  • Editor-in-chief - Janet Oldham

  • Assistant editor - Grant Slothsson

  • Maowese politics reporter - Edison Sloanson

  • World Assembly politics correspondent - Freja Symps

  • International politics agent - Gurura Lallchstrip

  • Science reporter - Lance Brotliuese

  • Culture reporter - Eva Evantochter

  • Sports reporter - Charlie Wozley

  • Poll organiser - Absidie Symps

  • Minor celebrity spotter - Ivan Ivanovich

  • Minor celebrity interviewer - Carys Palgrour

We look forward to a long and happy grumble with you, the people of Maowi. Enjoy the ride.

Yours,
Janet Oldham
Editor-in-chief


Maowese Politics


President Jangle to introduce new sex education laws

On Tuesday 12th February, Slothson Jangle, President of the Council of Maowi, put forward new legislation which would enforce mandatory sex education for all primary-school students. The President suggested that the execution of this law should be left to the discretion of individual schools, but that all students must have received suitable sex education by the age of eleven, the current legal age of consent (the age at which children are considered sufficiently mentally developed to make their own decisions. At this age, children may also vote in elections and on policies). The Council will meet on Monday the 18th to debate the legislation and vote on it. It is expected to pass comfortably, with support from many local representatives and with most religious representatives having given it the go-ahead. It also seems to have a strong support base from the general public, as Jangle's approval ratings have hit an all-time high of 90%. The President argues that introducing mandatory sex education will enable citizens to make more informed life choices, help avoid unwanted pregnancies and reduce rape levels. This, he says, is in accordance of the first human right in the Council's pledge (freedom to do as one wishes without harming others) as it will make sure that everyone can carry out this right without making decisions they will come to regret.


Homophobic protest on the brink of chaos

Last Sunday 10th February, two thousand Maowese citizens turned out for a peaceful protest march against homosexual marriage in the capital, Bradypus City. However, the sheer numbers soon resulted in clashes with the small police presence, with thirteen people in hospital due to various injuries, although luckily there were no deaths. The protesters were mostly Catholics who objected to President Jangle's formal recognition at the start of his presidential term (almost exactly one year ago) of homosexual marriage. In accordance with human rights two and three (to do with freedom of thought and speech) the President, having been notified of the intended march beforehand, decided to allow it to go on, although on News Today TV he expressed his great disappointment of his people's unwarranted hostility towards homosexuals. He said that he was "shocked that the citizens of such a tolerant, compassionate land as Maowi could be capable of such blind hatred", and that although he "respects the religious rights of Catholics" he does "not believe that they [Catholics] have the right to impose their beliefs on others". Jangle seems determined to keep his stance on homosexual rights firm and, despite clashes with the Christian representative in the Council, who is Catholic, a majority of the other representatives back this approach.


World Assembly Politics


Right To Self Defense defeated

The General Assembly proposal 'Right To Self Defense' was defeated on Friday the 8th February by a significant margin of 10,530 votes to 5,577. Although the idea was considered by several to be admirable, many cited concerns that the proposal was poorly written, leaving too many facets of such a complex issue unexplained.
For example, there were concerns that the proposal mandated that self defence would be legal not only as a last resort, but in reaction to minimal 'attacks'. The opinion was also voiced that self defence was a matter best left to individual nations, given its extremely complicated and varied nature, and that trying to impose blanket legislation regarding this topic on all the different cultures and societies contained within the World Assembly would do more harmthan good. The Council of Maowi voted against the proposal, citing concerns on the execution of the idea and suggesting that should a better written alternative be proposed, it would seriously consider voting for it. Certainly, the protection of the right to self defence as a last resort is a necessary and important one to prevent abuses of power from those in positions of authority.


Defending The Rights Of Sexual And Gender Minorities passed

In a significant moment for Maowese politics on an international scale, the Council's General Assembly proposal, Defending The Rights Of Sexual And Gender Minorities, was passed on Monday the 11th by a relatively narrow margin of 8,777 votes to 7,400. The resolution, cementing the rights of all sexualities and genders, faced vociferous opposition on account of its perceived forcible legalisation of polygamy, which it was later confirmed by officials not to enforce. It was also criticised for its rigid stance on equality, which was claimed not to have allowed for exceptional circumstances. However, a majority of the World Assembly agreed with the Maowese Council on the importance of such legislation in protecting the rights of sexual and gender minorities, resulting in a 54.3% vote in its favour.


International Politics


Brancaland to raise taxes on Maowese trout

In a startlingly aggressive move last Thursday, the Brancalandian authorities announced a 20% increase in tariffs on trout imported from its neighbour, Maowi. Trout farming is a key contributor to the Maowese economy and exports to nearby countries such as Brancaland account for almost a third of its value, so the new taxes will almost certainly cause a hit to the economy. The move came as a result of a recent surge in Maowese trout farming, increasing competition and driving down Brancalandian trout prices. The Brancalandian Government owns a significant portion of its country's trout farms, so the rapid price fall has caused a decrease in profits for the Government, resulting in this drastic action to drive off Maowese competition. The Council of Maowi is debating whether to impose retaliatory tariffs on Brancalandian imports, and although the financing experts have mixed views the Council seems to be leaning towards not imposing tariffs, in order to encourage what it terms 'healthy competition' and to avoid punitive price raises which could hit the poor especially hard. The Brancalandian Government has issued a statement communicating its regrets at the measures it has been forced to take, which has been met with derision and scorn from certain notable figures in Maowese politics. President Jangle has urged everybody to stay calm and maintain civility with their Brancalandian counterparts.


Violetist terrorist strike in Bigtopia

On Wednesday the 13th of February, a large van commandeered by five Violetist gunmen ploughed through a crowded square in Bigtopia's capital city. It was nine twenty five p.m. when the terrorists, who the Bigtopian police force are almost certain to be five young Violetist radicals whose names have not been disclosed, careened into the packed square causing instant pandemonium and several casualties. The gunmen then leaped out of the van and opened fire onto the panicking crowd. By the time the police arrived and managed to disable the attackers, twenty-three people had been killed and sixteen more severely injured. Among the dead was one Bigtopian police officer, as well as a Maowese couple on their honeymoon in Bigtopia. Eventually, the police managed to disarm the terrorists by shooting their arms and the group is being held for interrogation. The authorities have revealed that the attack was religiously motivated, although the chief Violetist Priest claims that the attackers were part of a rogue extremist faction known for its hatred towards Bigtopia. The Government of Bigtopia is holding a national day of mourning on Saturday, which President Jangle will be attending. The Council of Maowi has given its condolences to the Bigtopian Government and offered to help in any way it can.


Science


Breast cancer breakthrough?

A wealthy retired scientist in Dreadton (North-East Maowi) claims to have discovered a cure for breast cancer. Gregoriano Gargoyle, 72, used to work as a scientific researcher for a dermatology clinic but won the lottery aged 64, enabling his comfortable retirement. Missing working in a laboratory, he used some of his winnings to build himself his own laboratory in his house, where he lives by himself. Our scientific reporter, Lance Brotliuese, went to talk to Mr. Gargoyle. "Oh, yes, I do like to tinker around in my little lab here. I like to call it my playground, because I have such fun in it." When asked about his astounding discovery, Mr
Gargoyle replied, "Oh, yes. I was just - ah - tinkering around with Bianca here - she's my test subject for my research, you see -" (Mr. Gargoyle gestured here to a young woman sitting in his surprisingly plush lab chair) "when I suddenly had this brainwave of mixing in this dihydrogen monoxide aqueous solution with my frozen oxidane. Heated to just the right temperature, it produces a steamy vapour which, when inhaled, can cure breast cancer - as I have thoroughly ... er ... proved with Bianca." Mr. Gargoyle's cure is being investigated by leading scientists to see whether it can be adapted into a clinically suitable medication.


Culture


Emerging rap star

Throughout the last two or three weeks, the youth of Maowi have been gripped by a wild new craze in the music world: Aydoan Giverflip, an 18 year old rapper from Gastcoat in West Maowi. Giverflip's experimental new music, which only uses the human body for its instruments, generally consists of a rhythmically spoken line over various sounds such as screams, whistles, claps and sneezes. It has gained a huge following the likes of which has never been seen before in Maowi, with many teens emulating his music and also his clothes: his individual style of dressing has helped increase his popularity and uniqueness. He is known for wearing pink rubber flip flops with khaki shorts, a waistcoat and a blue poncho, as well as for styling his hair in complex plaits. His hits so far include 'Don't give a flip' and 'ABCDEFG', in which he hypnotically recites the alphabet over a layer of soothing snores. If you would like to see him live in concert, be sure to book at least six months in advance, as his national tour is already sold out for half a year.


Sports


Chess: a sport on the rise?

Recent investigations have revealed that chess is reaching unprecedentedly high levels of popularity among Maowese children. The sport is being taught in many primary and secondary schools across the nation and the professional sport, now being streamed on television, has a significant viewing. Experts say that chess is an immensely rewarding sport to play, increasing your concentration levels and ability to think creatively and solve problems. It is also good for mental health, releasing positive endorphins in the brain which cause you to feel good. The President has welcomed this news and wishes to encourage chess in schools. Chess is one of the world's oldest sports and an ancient variant of it has been played in Maowi for thousands of years. Never has it been so popular among the youth, which hints at the arrival of a more intelligent, inquisitive generation.


Featured Poll


This February, we asked parents how often they go to speak with their childrens' teachers at their own request.

Results:
Never: 1%
1-2 times a year: 5%
1-2 times a term: 9%
1-2 times a month: 20%
1-2 times a week: 46%
3-4 times a week: 17%
5+ times a week: 2%


Celebrity Interview


This month we interviewed 94-year-old retired rock star Rob Trillan about how he celebrates Valentine's day.

So, Rob, how's it going?
[Shakes hearing aid, muttering incomprehensibly]The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
And how are you celebrating Valentine's day this year?
Well I was gonna take the grandkids to the park and have a pic-nic while their mum and dad have a nice romantic dinner together but I checked the weather forecast and, damn, it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall so I guess I'll just have to take them ice-skating.
One last question: could you possibly play a song for me?
I sure as hell can ... after all, I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to ...
You can listen to Rob's performance on The Monthly Humbug's Dotify channel.

--- The Monthly Humbug---

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