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EuroNews - November 2019 - Issue X


[align=center][font=Times New Roman][size=350][b]EuroNews - November 2019 - Issue X[/b][/size][/font][/align]

Welcome back, nations of [region]Europe[/region], to EuroNews! Welcome to Issue Ten! Please take a moment to sit back and relax to peruse this month’s newsletter.

The flag of [nation]St Scarlett[/nation] who
won the election[/box][/float][size=150]European Events[/size]
[b]Commissioner Competition[/b]
The October election for the position of 1st Deputy Commissioner had four candidates, the largest pool of potential Commission members since the election in May of this year. Fighting to retain her position, [nation]St Scarlett[/nation] was up against the familiar faces of [nation]Rivierenland[/nation], [nation]Suomessa[/nation], and newcomer [nation]Jim the Baptist[/nation]. The main issue surrounding this election was toxicity in the region. 

Scarlett did not have a specific issue she was targeting but was running on a platform of stability, familiarity, and the status quo. At this point in time, she is firmly against introducing new rules to the region because our current regulations “are already relatively strict” and does not wish to limit [region]Europe[/region]ans’ freedom of speech. Scarlett added that measures proposed by her opponents are “unnecessary… and overbearing”, standing by the RMB Moderation Act.

Rivierenland’s flagship policy was to implement his European Defence Agency (EDA), which would be tasked “to safeguard Europe” from toxicity and trolls. The EDA is currently composed of three members: Riv himself, [nation]Alienage[/nation], and [nation]Republic of Satherland[/nation]. These members were approved by Riv, and other Europeans can apply to join. When asked if he thought it was wise to give unelected nations authority over Europe’s borders and communications (so they could suppress and eject nations as required), Riv said that he believed so and if a nation showed signs of power abuse, they “would be stopped on time or only slightly late”.

Suomessa is also concerned with the state of our region, he claimed that nations have been “taking jokes too far, people harassing others, people not being very polite.” Despite his own reservations about Riv’s EDA, he thinks it should be implemented because he believes the current RMB Moderation Act “simply is not good enough.”

Jim took a slightly different approach to his election campaign. Running on a platform of deregulation, he believes that European laws are too stifling. Jim would prefer a Europe with fewer regulations, where issues are debated and acted upon as they arise by all Europeans rather than a select few. He has also stated that he thinks Europe’s laws are too complicated and jargon-heavy and could use simplifying. 

Early in the election, Jim overtook Riv and Suomessa. However, many of his voters said on the RMB that their votes were jokes or “for the meme” and did not seriously support him or his policies. Eventually, Riv managed to overtake Jim, and Suomessa seemed to remain stagnant on just a few votes. The European public did have a definite favourite. Scarlett took an early lead which grew rapidly until she had almost double the votes of all the other candidates combined, securing her re-election to the Commission. 

[i]Written by [nation]Yahlia[/nation][/i]

The backdrop to [nation]Jim the Baptist[/nation]’s rap song[/box][/float][b]Baptist Business[/b]
The past month has seen a flurry of political activity and debate as relative newcomer [nation]Jim the Baptist[/nation] announced various policies and ideals that contrasted sharply with those of the majority of [region]Europe[/region]. 

Jim first made himself known to Europe two months ago when he sent out a region-wide telegram asking for endorsements while simultaneously entering the RMB and spreading a [url=]message of love[/url]. While this was a relatively unorthodox method, it is not uncommon for newcomers to our region to ask for endorsements. He then proceeded to engage in conversation on the RMB like any other nation for a few days until he disappeared for a month and slipped out of memory. 

One month ago, Europe received another telegram. This time, the sender was [nation]Dabarastan[/nation]. Dabarastan was concerned about the state of democracy in our region. This second telegram was sent out when the Commission put forward a proposal to European electors for the second time, which was to award [nation]Imperium Anglorum[/nation] with the Grand Cross of the Order of Europe for his services to the region. The first time this proposal was brought to the vote, it failed to reach quorum but had a majority in favour, so the poll was re-run in the hopes of reaching quorum.

Dabarastan believed that re-running the poll in this way was undemocratic and sent out his telegram to implore nations to vote against the proposal “to send a message that Europe’s democracy cannot be compromised.” The European community generally disagreed with Dabarastan’s concerns and responded to them negatively and despite doing nothing inherently wrong was unfortunately driven from the region. 

IA also sent out a telegram of his own explaining his view and why he disagreed with Dabarastan. 

However, Jim seemed to agree with Dabarastan’s message and took it upon himself to continue their work. Jim sent another telegram to various Europeans responding to IA’s telegram as well as coming after our region’s leadership. Jim branded European government officials, members of the Commission, and various RMB regulars as “elites” who are “not welcoming of new members and are suspicious of newcomers.” He finished this telegram by asking Europeans to endorse him to show “the European elites that we will not stand for [alleged corrupt and undemocratic behaviour] any longer.”

Much like Dabarastan, Jim received extensive public backlash as the majority of the vocal Europeans expressed their disagreement with his message. Regrettably, though perhaps not unexpectedly, a significant portion of frequent RMBers responded harshly. Many of these harsh responses were compiled by Jim in a now-infamous “bullying folder”, despite general consensus believing that many of the included instances of “bullying” were passive comments or legitimate political responses to Jim’s telegrams. 

Jim moved to report messages he thought were offensive to European officials for action which sparked the creation of the first session of the Moderation Committee who sat on an issue of potential defamation. 

Soon, Jim sent another telegram to Europeans in which he demanded a poll be created to determine if he should replace IA as Europe’s delegate, despite the fact that elections for that position occur twice daily and votes are endorsements. 

The next day, Europe found itself with two new citizens and two new telegrams to match. [nation]Unpopular People[/nation] and [nation]The Popular Populace[/nation] sent out regional telegrams in support of Jim and the status quo respectively. Due to the suspicious behaviour of these nations, many Europeans reached the unsubstantiated conclusion that they were puppets of Jim. Unpopular People was eventually muted by the second session of the Moderation Committee for calling Europe’s Home Secretary, [nation]Feria-Alkaline[/nation], a racist. 

Soon afterwards, the Moderation Committee had a third sitting in which they deliberated over more defamation claims submitted by Jim. 

In the midst of these weeks of intense internal discussion, candidates began to declare themselves for the October election for the 1st Deputy Commissioner. Jim decided to place his name forward as a candidate. Unpopular People then sent out two more telegrams claiming to be an official election observer, which was not true, and was subsequently banjected from the region. 

Two weeks ago, Jim released a short rap track. Then one week later, the recently banned Unpopular People sent a final telegram which entailed unsubstantiated claims that Jim was a puppet account of an RMB regular.

Having declared his candidacy for the election, Jim ran on a platform of deregulation and legal reform which, like most of Jim’s bursts of activity, stirred sudden and intense activity in the RMB as his ideas were evaluated in the RMB. Jim was ultimately unsuccessful, coming many votes short of the needed amount to force the incumbent, [nation]St Scarlett[/nation], out of her position. More details surrounding the campaign can be found earlier in this issue of EuroNews.

[i]Written by [nation]Yahlia[/nation][/i]

[hr][b]Europeans of the Month[/b]
Nothing is more important for keeping our region alive than its community! So, here is this issue’s Europeans of the Month to award some of our members for their contributions to NationStates [region]Europe[/region]!

[u][i]The award for Newcomer of the Month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]Republic of Satherland[/nation]!
Satherland actually joined last month, but he is still relatively new to our RMB. He has already become an active member of our community and, besides a few scuffles, has been a pleasure to have around! Welcome to Europe, Satherland!

[u][i]The award for RMBer of the Month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]Yahlia[/nation]!
This month has seen a lot of drama and a very active RMB. I think Yahlia has had to read through more posts than ever before. In addition to that, he has provided excellent input and has been crucial to diffusing tense situations, so that makes him this month’s RMBer of the Month!

[u][i]The award for Flag of the Month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]Galway-Dublin[/nation]!
It is Spooktober, so this month I wanted to award someone for the best Halloween flag! I have seen a fair few and they are all great, but there’s just something special about Galway’s. Her flag has always been a unique and symbolic one and this spooky addition, while potentially a little cluttered, is no different! I think the dabbing skeleton really does it for me. Congrats, Galway!

[u][i]The award for Motto of the Month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]The Oriental Empire[/nation]!
“Et Usque In Aeternum Semper” (Always and Forever)
Orient’s motto is short, sweet, and simple. The use of Latin makes it seem proper and realistic. All in all, it’s a very solid motto, and I think a more serious one deserves an award this month. Well done, Orient!

[u][i]The award for Factbook of the Month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]Laver Island[/nation]!
This factbook is well written, well researched, and unique. I have never seen a factbook about a national animal before and I’m glad Laver took the time to complete this! You have certainly got more dedication to finishing these than I do!

[u][i]The award for Story of the Month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]Dizgovzy[/nation]!
There has been a new trend for story writing recently and I love it, being a writer myself :3
So, this month I thought I would award my favourite! Congratulations to Dizgovzy for this first chapter of what sounds like an exciting detective story inspired by the work of [nation]Laver Island[/nation].

And honourable mentions to Laver, [nation]Krestonien[/nation], [nation]Diamonds from Cardverse[/nation], and the EuroNews team, who are all amazing writers too!

[u][i]And last but definitely not least, the award for General Excellence this month goes to...[/i][/u] [nation]Imperium Anglorum[/nation]!
IA has been an amazing delegate, as always, and has been very helpful with current events in our region this month! He saw the Moderation Committee finally launched and has been drafting and reforming all kinds of legislation in the meantime. Congrats, IA!

[i]Written by [nation]St Scarlett[/nation][/i]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US
President Donald Trump[/box][/float][size=150]IRL Info[/size]
[b]Presidential Pains[/b]
On 25 July, US President Donald Trump made a phone call to congratulate the newly elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. However, an anonymous whistleblower believed to be a CIA agent filed a complaint on 12 August about the call. This informant admitted to not having witnessed the call in person but said that different accounts from various officials were consistent (calls, such as the one Trump made to Zelensky, are always monitored by multiple individuals). 

The whistleblower claims that President Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 election campaign. The informant also expresses concern about the White House allegedly trying to quell all information about the call. 

To set minds at ease, the US President said that a "complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript" would be released, but the document that was made public was not a verbatim account of the conversation but rather notes on the call. 

The notes on the call show that Mr Trump asked President Zelensky to investigate discredited allegations of corruption against the Democratic frontrunner for the 2020 election, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and his son.

The alleged corrupted refers to 2015 when Mr Biden, when he was Vice-President, pressed for the dismissal of Ukraine’s top prosecutor who was investigating an energy company where Hunter Biden, his son, worked. Despite criticisms about conflict of interests arising, there has been no evidence that Joe Biden did anything to benefit his son. The pressure Biden put on Ukraine to remove the country’s top prosecutor was to reduce corruption in Ukraine. The dismissal of the prosecutor was formally backed by the US, the EU, and the International Monetary Fund.

It is also important to note that a few days before Mr Trump’s call with Mr Zelensky, the US withheld $391 million (USD) of military aid to the country. The concern is that the president withheld support from Ukraine to pressure the country into investigating already discredited claims of corruption into the man who will potentially be Mr Trump’s rival in the 2020 election campaign to influence the electorate in the favour of the incumbent. Working with a foreign power to manipulate a presidential election is illegal. 

Considering all this information, the Democrats have launched a formal impeachment inquiry into this event and have already called numerous officials to testify, including the US’s special envoy to Ukraine. The acting ambassador to Ukraine has also stated that the release of the withheld military aid was made conditional on the country’s cooperation into the investigation of Mr Biden. 

Impeachment is the first step in a two-stage process in which Congress can remove a sitting president from office. If the House of Representatives votes to pass articles of impeachment, the case will move to the Senate where a trial will be held. A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate is required to convict, but seeing how the Senate is controlled by Republicans, the president’s own party, this could be unlikely. 

[i]Written by [nation]Yahlia[/nation][/i]

A map of the conflict zone in Syria[/box][/float][b]Kurdish Conundrum[/b]
Turkey started an armed incursion into northeastern Syria on 9 October. The Turkish military is targeting People’s Protection Units (YPG) strongholds. The YPG is the military wing of Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). The Turkish government claims that the YPG is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is a Kurdish separatist group that operates in eastern Turkey and has been designated a terrorist organisation by both the EU and the US. However, there is no link between the PKK or the YPG. 

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been crucial in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) and was a key ally of Western troops in the region. The YPG is the largest entity within the SDF. Now that IS has lost all its territorial holdings, the SDF control a large swathe of territory in northeast Syria, home to 3 million people and tens of thousands of prisoners of war. 

After US President Donald Trump withdrew most American forces from Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave the order to attack YPG territory in Syria. Turkey claims it wants to establish a “safe zone” in northeast Syria, free from YPG “terror threats”. The safe zone is meant to become the home for the millions of Syrian refugees who have flooded across the Turkish border who escaped the Syrian Civil War and the campaign against IS. 

Due to the conflict created by the offensive, dubbed Operation Peace Spring by Turkey, over 170,000 Syrians fled the area and at least 120 civilians have been killed. Amnesty International claims they have compiled evidence of war crimes committed by Turkish and Turkish-backed forces. Critics of President Erdoğan’s offensive say that the “safe zone” is a tool to alter the demography of the area by flooding a Kurdish majority area with ethnic Syrians. Kurds are the largest ethnicity without their own country and separatism is rampant in both Turkey and Syria. The incursion into Syria was also condemned by Western leaders, largely because of the key role the SDF played in the battle against IS. 

After four days of fighting the SDF reached an agreement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad which would allow the Syrian government’s own forces to enter the territory controlled by the SDF to defend against the Turkish forces. However, on 17 October, the US helped to facilitate a ceasefire between Turkey and the SDF to allow YPG forces to vacate the defined safe zone. The ceasefire largely held, with only a few reported cases of small instances of combat. The SDF announced the withdrawal completed on 22 October, the same day Turkey and Russia, who supports the Syrian regime, came to an agreement to end the offensive. While the deal does not cover all factors, like what will happen to the SDF’s prisoners who are suspected of being IS combatants, it has halted the violence and brought stability for the foreseeable future, while also cementing Russia as a key player in the Syrian arena. 

[i]Written by [nation]Yahlia[/nation][/i]

[hr][b]Titillating Trivia[/b]
Hello and welcome to this issue’s National Trivia section! This month we’re covering facts from Ukraine, which has been wrapped up in a scandal with regards to US President Donald Trump, and Syria, a nation that has suffered an unfortunate fate over the last decade and continues to be wrapped up in political turmoil.

The Mashqi Gate of Nineveh, a former
capital of Assyria (near Mosul, in Iraq),
which was destroyed by IS[/box][/float][u][i]Syria[/i][/u]
Syria as a nation ceased to exist twice in the 1950/60s and the 1970s. During these times it formed part of the United Arab Republic (UAR) alongside Egypt from 1958–1971; and the Federation of Arab Republics (FAR) with Egypt and Libya from 1972-1977. These entities were full sovereign states structured comparably to a country like the United Kingdom. These were both attempts at creating a pan-Arab state but both failed as other countries did not wish to get involved.

If you study ancient history you may have heard of the name Assyria, which was an empire in the Middle East  c.2500 to 609 BC. While the name is similar, this is not the same entity as modern-day Syria. However, the name Syria is widely believed to have derived from the ancient name of Assyria.

While Ukraine has historically been aligned with Russia, it is growing closer to the West. Ukraine has become much warmer to the idea of joining organisations such as NATO, especially after the Russian annexation of Crimea, as well as the European Union. In 2014, Ukraine signed an agreement with the EU which allows the country to receive assistance from the Union whilst aligning itself more with European values.

Ukraine’s flag is an interesting one and has a design that reflects that of Estonia’s. Like Estonia, Ukraine’s flag represents a physical view of a landscape, with the yellow bottom half representing vast wheat fields and the blue representing the sky. This flag paints Ukraine as a nation of agriculture and rich harvests.

[i]Written by [nation]St Scarlett[/nation][/i]

[hr][i]Edited by [nation]Yahlia[/nation], [nation]Potus Branada[/nation], and [nation]Novgorod-Pskov[/nation][/i]

[hr][b]We Need You![/b]
We cannot continue to consistently put out fantastic newsletters like this month's without volunteers from [region]Europe[/region]. If you would like to help us out in future, as a writer, or editor, or in any other way, please do not hesitate to get into contact with our founder, [nation]Feria-Alkaline[/nation], or [nation]Yahlia[/nation], Chief Officer of EuroNews, for more information. We understand that real-life commitments always come before a project such as this, so none of our members are obligated to assist with every issue. More staff simply means less work and pressure for all of us. We hope to see you in our Discord server soon!