Nuntius Inimici - Inimician Broadcasting Corporation
First Inimician Supersonic Jet to Take Flight Next Week
Telum, 03/07/2020 - Aedile Sir Elbert White, in his capacity as chairman of the Inimician Aeronautical Development Association (IADA), today announced the completion of the Inimician supersonic programme, called into life by Act of National Imperial Council almost two years ago. The programme aimed to develop a viable alternative to conventional air travel through the use of supersonic technology - although government sources suggested to Nuntius Inimici that a special department within the IADA is also investigating the use of such technology for military purposes. IADA spokespeople were unavailable for comment to our questions around this.
Sir Elbert confirmed the first test flight of Needletail One, the first ever Inimician supersonic craft, is to take place next week, carrying a selection of some of the finest Inimician statesmen and women from Orbis Terrarum Aerodrome, towards the eastern border with Dromund Kaas, to the military airfield at Portus Inimici, at the westernmost point of the Empire. The delegation will include Sir Elbert himself, along with His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, Imperial Defence Officer Jacob Churchill IC, and several members of the National Imperial Council, Dianne Stax (Quaestoris, PM), Victor Doubleday (Centurio, ILA) and Joan Saunders (Domini, ILA). These NIC members specialise in matters of aviation and defence.
"The value of Inimician technological development is not to be underestimated", Sir Elbert commented, "And the first commercial flight of this remarkable craft will be celebrated in the most honourable fashion Inimicus possibly could, with several of the highest officeholders, as well as a randomly chosen selection of Inimicians, taking part in this exalted occasion, which will no doubt linger in their minds as the development of this craft still lingers in mine."
Although the exact date of the test flight is yet to be announced, it is thought the landmark journey will happen around the same time as the European Leaders' Summit, to be held on July 6th. Follow the Nuntius Inimici Twitter feed and follow our Instagram account to be kept up to date with all the latest.
SUPERSONIC JET NEEEDLETAIL ONE AIRBORNE
Orbis Terrarum, 06/07/2020 - After an unexpected announcement yesterday evening, the first fully-operational flight of the new Inimician-built supersonic airliner, dubbed Needletail One, commenced at Orbis Terrarum Aerodrome this morning at 2:22pm local time. His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos blessed the flight before boarding Himself, saying, "This moment heralds the symbolic pinnacle of Inimicus's recovery from the turbulence of the past. From the ashes of 2012 and 2013, a falcon, or should I say, a needletail, has risen, and its flight is uninterruptable. Now, I could either think up more of these wonderful metaphors, or I could ascend these steps and enjoy the free on-board minibar. Good day to you, see you on the far side."
Needletail One during its journey
After a taxi journey of some short minutes, well-attended by planespotters and politicianspotters alike, the jet carrying the Emperor, Aedile Sir Elbert White, and several National Imperial Council members, began its take-off run at 2:22pm this afternoon. After swiftly gaining altitude, the plane disappeared into one of the few whiffs of cloud still lingering around Orbis Terrarum following the bad weather that postponed the initial test flight. Nuntius Inimici is providing live coverage of the approach of Needletail One into the military airfield at Portus Inimici, expected around thirty minutes after take-off, on our Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Analysis: NI Imperial Correspondent, James Huerley
It is not surprising Emperor Artabanos chose to attend this flight rather than the European Leaders' Summit in Europolis: after some early successes reforming the country's political institutions in the first few years of His reign, Artabanos recently became silent, almost complacent, as the country stabilised.
This is a great opportunity for Him to showcase what the Empire can do, what its scientists and engineers can do, and indeed, what its politicians can do. Although the political wrangling underlying the start of this project, which was deemed by many to be superfluous and costly, was successfully conducted by Sir Elbert White, on whose promotion or decoration over the coming weeks I would bet vast sums of money, His Imperial Majesty knows a good press moment when He sees one.
We can expect Artabanos to descend the steps of this new jet first, before anyone else, to showcase that this is the Inimicus He built, the stability He fostered, and the ingenuity and dedication He encouraged. A wonderful moment for the country at large, and an even more wonderful moment for our Emperor.
TEST JET CARRYING EMPEROR ARTABANOS CRASHES ON APPROACH - EMERGENCY LANDING LEAVES 12 DEAD, ARTABANOS CARRIED TO HOSPITAL IN CRITICAL CONDITION
Portus Inimici, 06/07/2020 - Inimicus's first supersonic jet experiment ended in a blaze of kerosine-fuelled fire on the runway of Portus Inimici military airfield today, as the passenger plane carrying His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos and several other high-ranking government officials appeared to suffer from catastrophic mechanical failures flying over the flat plains of Terra Rosarum.
Although the Imperial Air Force pilots commanding the jet managed to guide it to its destination, they could not prevent the plane from skidding and catching fire. Portus Inimici first responders were already present at the scene and fourteen passengers were immediately taken to the Imperial University Medical Centre nearby. It is understood twelve of these passengers are in life-threatening conditions, and it is further believed that Emperor Artabanos is among these critcally injured.
Portus Inimici Regional Emergency Commander Sarah Barrington released the following statement detailing events: "Needletail One reported an on-board explosion followed by instrument failure at 2:38PM. Bystanders report seeing a trail of smoke following the plane. An emergency landing was successfully executed, however the aircraft nevertheless caught fire and our rescue workers could not prevent the deaths of thirty-four passengers. These deaths include, I am sad to report, Imperial Councillors Sir Elbert White, Dianne Stax, Victor Doubleday, and Joan Saunders, as well as Imperial Defence Officer Jacob Churchill. Our sympathies, of course, go to the loved ones of those killed. Emperor Artabanos was rescued from the burning wreckage of the aeroplane and airlifted to Portus Inimici Imperial University Medial Centre, where He remains in a life-threatening condition.
Moments after the news of the Emperor's life-threatening injuries broke, social media was awash with outpourings of grief and support for the Emperor:
Nuntius Inimici understands that Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, Imperial Consul and Councillor, is to temporarily deputise for the Emperor while He fights for His life. A statement made by Imperial Councillor Wilfred Cocx IC, former Prime Minister and confidant of Emperor Artabanos, appears to contradict this view. Cocx was present at Portus Inimici military airfield and watched the aeroplane crash land: "The citizens of the Empire can rest assured that they will continue to be safe and our institutions will continue to function while this crisis unfolds. I have resolved to take charge personally in this hour of need, and with the full blessing of many remaining Imperial Councillors I will assume the Imperial Prerogative as Regent, until such time as His Imperial Majesty has recuperated, which is, after all, what we should all be hoping for."
When asked about the prospect of an Imperial Succession, Cocx declined comment.
Analysis by NI Imperial Correspondent James Huerley
What should have been one of the Emperor's most celebrated days has turned into His most catastrophic- and quite possibly, His last. While the nation holds its breath over the fate of its Emperor, the never-ceasing wheels of Imperial politics are already beginning to turn behind the closed doors of the Imperial Palace and the Diet complex. Emperor Artabanos is not dead, yet, but talk in the corridors of our institutions already mentions possible successors. Even if Artabanos pulls through, it is said, the crash may leave Him incapacitated to such a degree, and for such a long time, that He may relinquish the Throne - or be forced to do so.
The dispute over who will assume the Imperial Prerogative, temporarily as Regent, is representative of the constitutional struggle the Inimician system generates. Wilfred Cocx IC and Marquis Maximillian de Barrington IC will be at each other's necks over the coming hours and days, as we await news about the Emperor's condition. Politically, perhaps, the Emperor is already long dead.
ARTABANOS SURGERY SUCCESSFUL - WILFRED COCX IC CLASHES WITH BARRINGTONS OVER IMPERIAL PREROGATIVE
Portus Inimici, 08/07/2020 - Well over a day after the fateful Needletail One crash which left 34 dead and 14 wounded, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos has apparently been successfully operated on in the Portus Inimici Imperial University Medical Centre, where He remains in a critical condition. The crash at Portus Inimici Military Aerodrome caused the deaths of Imperial Defence Officer Jacob Churchill and Imperial Councillors Sir Elbert White, Dianne Stax, Victor Doubleday, and Joan Saunders, making this disaster the event with greatest loss of political life in Inimician modern history.
The Emperor's incapacitation and the deaths of a large proportion of Imperial Councillors, who each have different portfolios and responsibilities, has created a struggle inside the Imperial Palace about who, if not the Emperor, exercises the Imperial Prerogative, the set of absolute powers the Constitution awards to the person on the Throne. Article XXVII of the Inimician Constitution sets out the procedure for regencies and individuals other than the Emperor assuming the Imperial Prerogative:
- The Imperial prerogative shall be exercised by a Regent:
(a) if regulations set out in Article XXV have been followed;
(b) if the Emperor has temporarily relinquished the exercise of the Imperial prerogative;
(c) in the absence of a successor following the death or abdication of the Emperor.
- The National Imperial Council shall act as Regent in all but the most exceptional of cases, with regard to regulations laid out by Imperial Decree and the Constitution. The National Imperial Council shall retain the power to appoint a Regent.
Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, Imperial Consul, has suggested he is to nominally exercise the Imperial Prerogative as the only Imperial Consul currently in the country (Lord Christopher Strathclyde currently being in Europolis) and, therefore, the formal Chairman of the National Imperial Council (NIC). However, a majority of remaining Imperial Councillors have expressed support for the creation of a special deputy position for Wilfred Cocx IC, Emperor Artabanos's confidant and a highly experienced national leader.
*Wilfred Cocx IC (left) and Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, Imperial Consul (right)
Asked whether he would seek to return to Telum to deliberate on the regency question, Cocx suggested, "I will stay by the Emperor's side for the moment, until such time as He is out of immediate danger, or, Heaven forbid, until such time as He perishes. I have no intention on engaging in political shilly-shallying at this time of national grief and crisis."
Nuntius Inimici's online opinion panel was quizzed on the regency question, and showed a clear majority in favour of Wilfred Cocx assuming the Imperial Prerogative at this time:
Who, in your opinion, is legally best constituted to exercise the Imperial Prerogative?
Wilfred Cocx: 39%
Marquis Maximillian de Barrington: 28%
The National Imperial Council: 33%
Who, in your opinion, would be the most effective Regent at this time?
Wilfred Cocx: 48%
Marquis Maximillian de Barrington: 25%
The National Imperial Council: 27%
Marquis Maximillian has so far received endorsements from 3 Inimician national-level politicians: his brothers, European and Imperial Councillor Sir Augustus Barrington and Acting Chancellor of the Treasury Sir Jonathan Barrington, as well as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Matthew Birch IC. The rest of the NIC has declared in favour of Cocx, or has spoken out in favour of a collective NIC regency.
Prof Eva Falkhouse of Telum University explained the current situation to Nuntius Inimici: "Although the Constitution appears to state the NIC assumes the powers of the Emperor upon His abication, incapacitation, or death, the NIC itself is chaired and represented abroad by, usually, one or two Councillors, their position being enshrined in law. The Marquis, an Imperial Consul, makes the claim that his senior legal status provides for his shot at succession. However, the Constitution also states the NIC can, by majority vote, appoint a Regent with full Imperial Prerogative status. The amount of Imperial Councillors who have so far declared for Cocx, give him the legitimacy of acting as Regent."
- The Imperial prerogative shall be exercised by a Regent:
ELECTIONS CALLED FOR VACANT COUNCIL SEATS -- ITSA CALLS FOR EAA HELP -- DID MISSILE DOWN ARTABANOS CRASH PLANE?
Telum, 21st July 2020 - Imperial Councillor and unofficial placeholder Emperor Wilfred Cocx has announced by-elections for the National Imperial Council seats left vacant by the recent airplane crash which saw four Imperial Councillors perish. Inimicians in Terra Centurio, Terra Domini, and Terra Questoris will be asked to go to the polls on August 12th to elect one new Imperial Councillor each.
The National Imperial Council (or NIC for short) is Inimicus's supreme legislative assembly, and comprises two delegates from each of the six Inimician provinces as well as representation from the executive, three delegates appointed by the Emperor, and the Emperor Himself. The NIC is the only constitutionally-defined body the Emperor cannot simply overrule, and also the only assembly to have the power to depose or temporarily suspend the ruling monarch. The NIC also considers general legislative affairs, including on areas such as defence, aviation, international affairs and trade, and border security.
"Although Inimicus is still handling the aftermatch of its worst disaster in modern history, our country cannot sit still", Wilfred Cocx IC announced this afternoon, "We will continue in our quest for good governance, and in this quest we cannot be hindered by an incomplete NIC. Inimicus requires and deserves a full set of competent legislators to guide the country through this difficult time. I hope the people of these Terras will turn out in droves to support the country through this ordeal, and I ask them all to consider their choice carefully and with reason."
Nuntius Inimici will provide rolling coverage of the election campaign as it unfolds, as well as live coverage of results night on 12th August.
Crest of the Imperial Transportation Safety Association
Following the fateful crash that caused the deaths of four Imperial Councillors and the Imperial Defence Officer, and the grave injury of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, the Imperial Transportation Safety Authority, or ITSA, launched an official Emergency Enquiry, conducting huge amounts of fieldwork on and around the crash site. ITSA has now officially applied to the European Aviation Authority for assistance and extra manpower in handling the investigation. Incident Commander Hubert Manco commented: "ITSA is an incredibly potent investigative force, however, given the seriousness and scale of the current incident, we have felt it wise to enlist the help of our European allies to find out what nearly killed our Emperor."
It is expected co-operation between ITSA and the EAA will commence shortly, with EAA-mandated investigators arriving into the country within weeks, perhaps even days.
Carol Fencer, Chairwoman of the Imperial Transportation Safety Association (ITSA)
Meanwhile, several eyewitness reports of the incident that brought down Emperor Artabanos and killed four NIC members and the Imperial Defence Officer claim a projectile struck the plane shortly after it began descending towards Portus Inimici. "I was so close I heard it fire", reports Bas Mauller, who was in the area at the time, "It flew through the sky, and bang, exploded somewhere to the left of the plane if I'm correct. Couldn't really see where it came from, but I later thought it must've been launched from down south."
Other testimony, however, disputes the direction from which this projectile was launched, although it agrees with the presence of a missile in general. Froukje LeHave, a prolific blogger, writes: "I watched the plane from the south and saw something explode next to it, having come from the north. From miles away."
In a press statement on Sunday, Imperial Foreign Officer Sarah Gladwell refused to comment on these reports, preferring to allow ITSA to handle the investigation and coming to a full conclusion. Nuntius Inimici contacted ITSA chairwoman Carol Fencer for comment. "As you will understand, we are currently working day and night to establish the cause of this horrendous crash", Fencer commented, "We are fully aware of the rumours circulating in the press and on social media, and are at present investigating whether any sattelite images could illuminate the fatal moments just before the aeroplane in question came down. We would also ask anyone in possession of any photos or videos of the crash to email these to [email protected]."
Imperial Councillor James Cocx, an appointed delegate, was asked about these allegations this afternoon. "If true, this incident would encompass an attempted assassination of Emperor Artabanos, and a successful assassination of several high-ranking Inimician politicians, by a foreign power. It would constitute one of the grossest offences of the international order this continent has ever seen, and it would never be forgiven or forgotten. Inimicus would act with ruthless force against any nation, however potent, if we conclude said nation attempted to rob our people of our Emperor."
PROVINCES PRESS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS DESPITE EMPEROR'S HOSPITALISATION -- NIC CONFIRMS COCX AS VICARIUS -- BORIS MANCOV ANNOUNCED AS NEW IMPERIAL DEFENCE OFFICER
Simge Galanth, Chair of the Ducal Council
Telum, 24/7/20 - In an open letter to the National Imperial Council (or NIC), all provincial Dukes have urged the current administration to press on with the process of amending the Constitution of Inimicus, including amending some provincial borders and disbanding the Imperial Generality territory, which is to be absorbed into a newly-created province. Chair of the Ducal Council, a joint assembly of all six Provincial Dukes, Sime Galanth, said to Nuntius Inimici: "We are all painfully aware of the time of national crisis we find ourselves in. However, at times of crisis we must act. This round of constitutional amendments, which is among the most necessary in our history, would not just finally resolve the issue surrounding the Imperial Generality, a non-represented, lifeless part of our Empire which resulted solely from the wrong decision on Emperor Artabanos's part to disband the Terra that once constituted it, but it would also improve the efficacy of our democracy. Surely, this is what we should all want."
Executive Representative Leader Lord Christopher Strathclyde IC, who directs business in the NIC (the only body formally required to ratify the amendments), appeared hopeful that the new Terra could formally be established by 12th August, the date of the next elections to the NIC, so the citizens of the new province can elect representatives to the council. "I have scheduled the ratification vote for the morning of Monday 27th July, with the hope of beginning preparations for the election the same day", Lord Christopher commented, "It is, of course, of vital importance that all Inimician citizens are represented on the Council, the most important and sacred body this Empire knows."
Apart from the creation of the new Terra, the proposed constitutional amendments suggest rearranging and rewording some of the early articles, concerning basic rights, and adding an article constituting the sphere of influence and provinces the Empire consists of. It is expected the amendments will find the two-thirds majority needed with relative ease.
Vicarius Wilfred Cocx IC
Staying with the National Imperial Council, the body confirmed Wilfred Cocx IC as the Emperor's formal deputy, or Vicarius, in an extraordinary session this afternoon. The office of Vicarius is not currently legislated in the constitution (although the aforesaid amendments aim to change this), but a special NIC Act transferred the formal regency powers previously held by the NIC as a collective to the holder of the Vicarius title. This means, in effect, that the Vicarius has all powers the Emperor holds, which, in Inimicus, constitutes a near-absolute prerogative.
Wilfred Cocx IC was confirmed as the new Vicarius by a narrow majority of the NIC: all executive officers present voted against his accession to the virtual Throne, and the final vote came to a majority of two deciding in favour of Cocx's new powers. With His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos still drifting in and out of consciousness at Portus Inimici Imperial University Medical Centre, it is expected the Vicarius will be a necessary position for several weeks, if not months, to come.
Newly-appointed Imperial Defence Officer Boris Mancov
In his first act as Vicarius, Wilfed Cocx IC allowed for the appointment of top-ranking civil servant Boris Mancov as new Imperial Defence Officer. This position was left vacant after the death of former IDO Jacob Churchill in the Needletail One crash earlier this month. Mancov worked at the Defence Office and its predecessor the Ministry of Defence for well over a decade before his appointment as IDO, which also automatically grants him a seat on the National Imperial Council. "My main priority as IDO will, of course, be the safeguarding of the Inimician People, its rights, its society, and its values", Mancov commented, "I will also continue to liaise with the European Nuclear Arms Association following its putting on hold of our re-application, which, given the current circumstances, was entirely warranted."
Mancov's appointment to the NIC appears to have placed another key ally of Wilfred Cocx on this constitutionally vital body, something the new Vicarius will find most welcome, especially given his recent feud with Imperial Consuls Lord Christopher Strathclyde and Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, whose superior he now is. Cocx also previously served in government with Imperial Foreign Officer Sarah Gladwell, also an Imperial Councillor, and has good connections with several other Councillors, especially those with whom he shares a political history.
INIMICIAN CONSTITUTION AMENDED - TERRA DIUTIUS FORMED
The Imperial Palace in Telum, where the Constitutional amendments were passed
Telum, 27/07/2020 - Following last week's pressure on the national administration by the Ducal Council, Inimicus's Constitution was definitively amended in a clear-cut vote yesterday afternoon. Members of the National Imperial Council (NIC) voted overwhelmingly to change the Inimician Constitution with the amendments proposed by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos earlier this year.
Notably, the new Constitution dissolves the Imperial Generality territory, an unincorporated plot of land in the southwest of Inimicus which was directly governed by the Emperor and the NIC. The first of the Constitutional amendments passed replaces Article I, which formerly contained a freedom of speech clause, with the following:
The territory of the Empire of Inimicus comprises Terra Centurio, Terra Dominus, Terra Duitius, Terra Legatus, Terra Praestoris, Terra Quaestoris, Terra Rosarum, and the Imperial District of Telum.
This new Terra, Diutius, consists of the former Generality as well as a fairly large amount of land from Terra Rosarum, whose population has grown exponentially in recent years. The new Terra's institutes of government are to be incrementally set up over the next few weeks. In any case, the swift passing of these Constitutional Amendments allow the citizens of Terra Diutius to vote for their two National Imperial Council representatives in the upcoming election on August 12th.
The following amendments were also passed:
- In Article XVII, on Constitutional amendments, the clause "provided two thirds of each of the permanent bodies of the Imperial Diet concur" has been replaced with "and a majority of the National Imperial Council", allowing for Constitutional amendments to be enacted by Act of NIC or Imperial Decree.
- Article XXIV on Amendments to the system of Imperial Succession has been scrapped, subjecting the rules of Imperial Succession to legislation by Act of NIC or Imperial Decree.
- An important clause has been added to Article XXVI on Regencies: "The Emperor is temporarily incapacitated, to be declared and verified by at least two qualified physicians and a majority of the National Imperial Council"
- A further amendment to the Regency Article was made in XXVI(2): "The National Imperial Council shall assume the Imperial Prerogative upon the declaration of a Regency. The National Imperial Council shall retain the power to appoint a Regent."
- In Article XXVIII, concerning the appointment of officers of the National Executive, the clause "in accordance with the Constitution" was scrapped.
- Article XXXII on the rules of appointment of Imperial Consuls was also scrapped, allowing for the dismissal of Consuls or Executive Officers by the Emperor without the consent of the Executive Representative Leader.
- In Article XXXII on the Imperial Diet Fundamentals, the clause "the entire people of Inimicus" was replaced with "all Inimician nationals".
- Article XXXIII(d) "Regulations for membership of the National Imperial Council are set out in further articles" was scrapped.
- Another scrapped clause was XXXVII(b): "No one may be a member of more than one assembly of the Imperial Diet."
- And, the final scrapping of this set of Amendments, XL(b) "The dissolution shall take effect on the next day on which the House meets", allowing the Emperor to dissolve the Lower House of the Imperial Diet instantly.
- Another important amendment was made to Article XLII on NIC voting. Previously, this read: "The Emperor shall be worth eleven National Imperial Council votes. Every other delegate in the National Imperial Council shall have one vote. Decisions shall be made by majority." However, with the incorporation of a new Terra, this has been amended to: "Provincial, appointed, and Executive members of the National Imperial Council shall have one vote; The Emperor shall have one more vote than there are Provincial members; Decisions shall be made by majority."
- Furthermore, an entire chapter was added on the rights and duties of Provincial administrations, this chapter beingt the main reason the Ducal Council pushed for the swift passing of these amendments. Ch. III provides the Provinces with a host of powers and stipulates that Provincial goverments are the main recipients of new powers and duties, rather than the National Government.
The full, newly amended Constitution for the Empire of Inimicus can be viewed here.
ELECTION CAMPAIGN STARTS WITH POPULIST MOVEMENT FOUNDING -- INITIAL ITSA FINDINGS INDICATE PROJECTILE DOWNED NEEDLETAIL ONE
Lacerta, 29th July 2020 - The official 14-day campaign period for the National Imperial Council by-elections on 12th August was off with a bang today as a new pro-Imperial movement announced its participation in all four Terras up for election. The "Emperor's Finest" filed all necessary paperwork at the provincial Electoral Commissions of Terra Centurio, Dominus, Quaestoris, and Diutius early on Wednesday morning. Duchess Simge Galanth of Terra Quaestoris, Chair of the Inimician Ducal Council (an advisory body of all provincial Dukes and Duchesses), has announced she will formally be leading the Emperor's Finest into this election. "Now truly is the best time to be a pro-Imperialist", she announced on the steps of Quaestoris Provincial House, "The Inimician People have had enough of the large gang of political beasts occupying the Imperial Palace. The only man of power that should be behind those doors is the Emperor, the only man with integrity, honesty, and dedication. He loves this country and its people, as I do. Let's pull together in support of the Inimician people, and in support of our Emperor."
Spokespeople from traditional Inimician parties, such as the Centre-Conservative Union and the Inimician Liberal Appeal, responded by branding the Emperor's FInest "hyper-populist", a movement surrounding a "personality cult", and, in the words of United Green Front leader Jeff Speller, "a bunch of baked air - fancily baked air, I'll give them that, but baked air nonetheless." His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, though now reportedly able to speak and in high spirits, is still unavailable for comment.
In other news, the Imperial Transportation Safety Authority released what it calls "highly preliminary" indications for the conclusion that a projectile was the cause of the downing of Needletail One, the fateful event that saw four Imperial Councillors and a member of the Imperial Executive dead and the Emperor grievously wounded. When quizzed by a Nuntius Inimici reporter, ITSA Chair Carol Fencer declared: "based on the findings we have and the fieldwork our officers carefully conducted, including with help from the European Aviation Authority, we are currently assuming a crash by projectile as our main hypothesis."
When asked where a highly sophisticated surface-to-air missile required to down a high-speed passenger airliner might have been located at the time of the crash, Fencer commented: "We have absolutely no idea as of yet, but it's intensely unlikely the missile would have been fired from Inimician soil, of course. It's not easy to move the type of high-tech mobile surface-to-air missile around the highly populated Terra Rosarum countryside, of course. I know you're looking for answers, but I have none at this point."
Representatives from Inimicus's northern and southern neighbours, North Diessen and Neo-Venetia, respectively, have been summoned to the Imperial Palace in Telum for an immediate discussion. It is as yet unclear whether the Neo-Venetian delegation will genuinely attend: ever since the communist uprising in this country, Inimicus has withdrawn all diplomatic ties, boycotted all Neo-Venetian produce and manufacturing products, and completely closed the Inimician-Venetian border to all traffic. The North Diessenian delegation, however, is already in Telum and has offered its full support in assisting this investigation.
PRO-IMPERATOR HUGH TO BE PUSHED FROM NATIONAL IMPERIAL COUNCIL AFTER ELECTION -- EUROPEAN COUNCILLOR AUGUSTUS BARRINGTON TO RESIGN
Former Emperor (Pro-Imperator) Hugh Doyle
Telum, 7th Aug 2020 - Imperial Palace sources confirm Emperor Artabanos will not be renewing the appointment of Pro-Imperator Hugh Doyle on the National Imperial Council. Since the NIC was instituted in 2015, Hugh, who served as Emperor from 2013 until his resignation due to illness in 2014, filled one of the Council seats appointed by Emperor Artabanos. The NIC is currently on summer recess until the by-election of the 12th August, meaning Hugh will no longer get to sit on any NIC session. Hugh was, upon his appointment, lauded for his "expertise, love for the Inimician people, and sheer will", praises which were not repeated in the statement officially dismissing him.
The letter, authored and signed by Vicarius Wilfred Cocx, Emperor Artabanos's temporary deputy, thanks Doyle for his "long-time service" but claims that "the time has come for the Doyle era to end" and that "the Inimician People clearly desire change after recent events." Nuntius Inimici approached Wilfred Cocx for comment, and he said that the dismissal was "long overdue", and that "Hugh was appointed by the Emperor, but never acted like it, never showed gratitude."
Hugh Doyle, meanwhile, responded with a series of tweets:
Hours following the former Emperor's call for a popular movement to take control of the streets, around fifteen protestors were spotted among the tourists on the square in front of the Imperial Palace. When Telum Police arrived to check whether they had been given permission to protest, the demonstrators turned violent. They were all arrested within twenty minutes of their arrival.
Inimicus's European Councillor Sir Augustus Barrington has announced he felt "compelled to resign" by "issues of a personal nature" yesterday evening in an official announcement. Sir Augustus emphasised he will continue to represent Inimicus until 31st August, when his deputy Charlie Tilki (currently also employed as Nuntius Inimici Palace Correspondent) will take over until a suitable successor has been found. According to EU law, Inimicus must now organise direct elections for the office of European Councillor, leading to a second round of votes in a short space of time after the NIC by-elections on the 12th. In his resignation letter, Sir Augustus stressed he would like to see his predecessor, Nicholas Benfield, return to the Council, and called on him to register as a candidate. Several other popular figures also made their interest for the position known, including Imperial Councillors Ralph Jaevons (also a former European Councillor) and Edmund Everett, and Deputy Cllr Tilki.
From left to right: Nicholas Benfield, Ralph Jaevons, Edmund Everett, Charlie Tilki
As is customary in Inimicus, however, European Councillors are typically serving members of the NIC, in order to facilitate as direct a liaison as possible between the Imperial Government and the EU. "If it were deemed desirable for a non-member European Councillor to still attend the NIC", explains Prof Reinette Boekholz, "A constitutional amendment would be required. We just finished a round of constitutional amendments, so it is unlikely this will happen in the short term." Executive Representative Leader Lord Christopher Strathclyde noted to Nuntius Inimici that discussions around how to organise European elections, and whether non-NIC members will be allowed to stand, are still ongoing. He mentioned a possible "observer role" for a European Councillor on the NIC, but refused to divulge details.
Rumours about Sir Augustus's health have been cirulating in the corridors of the Imperial Palace for a long time - his is one of the most time-consuming and stressful jobs in the country due to Inimicus's councillor's status in national as well as international politics. "European Councillors from Inimicus work two full-time jobs concurrently", Prof Boekholz explains, "They represent the Imperial Government on the international stage, but they also represent their constituents on the NIC. It truly is the job of giants."
NEW EVIDENCE TAKES BLAME FROM NORTH DIESSEN, POINTS TO SOUTHERN ORIGIN OF ARTABANOS CRASH MISSILE
Jerome van Dommelsch, Constable-in-Chief of the Imperial Transportation Safety Association and the lead investigator into the Artabanos Crash
Portus Inimici, 9th August 2020 - In a report seemingy contradictory of earlier press statements, Constable-in-Chief of the Imperial Transportation Safety Association (ITSA), Jerome van Dommelsch, announced the "highly probable" source of the missile that downed Needletail One, the supersonic jet carrying His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, was north Neo-Venetia. Last week, Van Dommelsch announced the cause of the crash to be the impact of a surface-to-air missile in a press conference with Imperial Councillor Basil Lawson, who specialises in military and defence matters. At this earlier conference, Van Dommelsch suggested a northern origin of the missile in question, antagonising Inimicus's northern neighbour, North Diessen. Today, those accusations appear to have reversed.
"A combination of eyewitness testimony, sattelite images, as well as pictures and videos taken moments before the fateful missile impact, lead us to this preliminary conclusion", Van Dommelsch announced, "Copious amounts of videos and photographs from multiple angles, taken by avid planepotters and enthusiast, unmistakably point to a missile origin point just south of the Inimician-Venetian border." When questioned whether he would apologise for his earlier statements, Van Dommelsch announced: "I never insinuated any involvement from the North Diessen administration in this, and if my words were taken as accusations of the sort, I unreservedly withdraw and apologise for them. But this was never what I said."
Following the statement, the North Diessenian government announced an immediate end to the sanctions it imposed on Inimicus after the press conference last week. "We are happy the Inimician government has withdrawn its unbased accusations against our nation", President Inge Pekcan of North Diessen stated, "We will stand down our military and allow all borders to open as normal. The suspensions of visa applications for Inimician nationals are also, as of this moment, lifed."
North Diessen's Confederal President Inge Pekcan
Inimicus's relation with Neo-Venetia, the nation now accused of either harbouring the terrorists who shot down the Emperor, or of executing the act itself, has been strained ever since a communist-led coup occured in the nation several months ago. inimicus suspended the Neo-Venetian embassy, completely closed the border with its southern neighbour, and cancelled all visas and residency permits of Neo-Venetians in Inimicus. The Neo-Venetians retaliated with similar measures. The Imperial Government issued a Warrant of Summons to the Neo-Venetian government, strongly requesting a delegation to attend the Imperial Palace to provide information about possible missile installations, to which the Neo-Venetian government has, as yet, not replied. The government has also appealed to the Apostolic Crown of Angleter, which it still recognises as the legitimate overlords of Neo-Venetia, for co-operation.
SWEARING-IN OF NEW IMPERIAL COUNCILLORS // NICHOLAS BENFIELD TO TAKE UP EMPEROR-APPOINTED COUNCILLORSHIP // CANDIDATES FOR EU ELECTIONS PRESENTED
From left to right: Simge Galanth IC, Venman Hern IC, Dilkes Ayla IC, Nazil Schout IC, newly-elected Imperial Councillors
Telum, 18th August 2020 - Following the National Imperial Council by-elections of last week, the four newly-elected Councillors were sworn in during an official ceremony in the Imperial Palace this afternoon. The Councillors swore alliegance to the Inimician Constitution, to the Emperor and his Vicarius, and that they would faithfully discharge their duties. Three of the four new Imperial Councillors were elected on lists from the Emperor's Finest movement, a new popular front campaigning on an Imperial Support platform. Simge Galanth, now former Duchess of Terra Quaestoris, was elected in her own Terra, while Dilkes Ayla and Nazil Schout conquered the newly formed Terra Diutius. The only non-Finest victor, Henman Vern, ran in Terra Centurio on behalf of the Centre-Conservative Union, and narrowly beat the Inimician Liberal Appeal's candidate.
Vicarius Wilfred Cocx led the swearing-in ceremony, which was broadcast on Palace Live. "You have ascended to one of the highest offices of State in this Empire", Vicarius Cocx spoke, "The Inimician People expect you to give your best. Your office will neither be easy, nor make you rich. You must act out of love for your country and your Emperor." After the ceremony, which involved decorating the councillors-elect with laurel wreaths, as was customary for royal advisors in the days of the Kingdom of Telum, before 1801 AD, the new Imperial Councillors took their seat at the NIC table, and participated in their first Council meeting, which involved an announcement from Vicarius Cocx about the replacement for Pro-Imperator Hugh Doyle, who was relieved of his NIC duties last week.
This replacement, it appeared, is Nicholas Benfield, former Inimician EU Councillor and political veteran. Benfield retired following a car accident in which he lost both legs, but now says he "feels better than ever" and "more than ready to represent the Inimician People once again." The Imperial Decree appointing Mr Benfield to the National Imperial Council was signed by Vicarius Wilfred Cocx, a long-time ally of Mr Benfield, and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos - indicating that the Emperor is once again getting involved with the running of the State.
Mr Benfield represented Inimicus on the European Council from 2012 to 2014, and attracted significant controversy during his time in Europolis, arguing against the proposed Ocean Protection Act on anti-environmentalist grounds, claiming that global warming is caused by weather rather than man-made actions, and taking a tough stance on immigration and social policies. When asked about these unpopular stances, Benfield today said: "We all learn, and over the last few years I have learned these ideas were not always tenable. I still take a tough stance on many issues, but I have, without shame, liberalised on others. One thing is as clear as it has always been, however: I love this Empire, and I love its Emperor."
Nicholas Benfield was also, incidenally, one of the names that appeared on the Imperial Electoral Commission's list of confirmed candidates for the upcoming European Elections in Inimicus, along with several other famous Inimicians. Nuntius Inimici political correspondent Colin Husky comments: "It is likely that Vicarius Cocx hopes Benfield will win this vote, which the government does not really want to hold, and can then hold office in both the European and Imperial Councils." Inimicus's current European Councillor, Sir Augustus Barrington, announced his resignation due to personal reasons last week.
The other registered candidates are Hetty Tilki, journalist and current Deputy European Councillor (independent); Jeff Speller, leader of the United Green Front and current Imperial Councillor, Guliz Sagin (People's Movement), and Judy Speller (Central Progressive Party/UGF). The Centre-Conservative Union and Inimician Liberal Appeal did not field candidates of their own.
Hetty Tilki and Jeff Speller IC
Guliz Sagin and Judy Speller
HETTY TILKI WINS EUROPEAN COUNCILLORSHIP IN BLOW TO ADMINISTRATION // CONFUSION OVER BENFIELD'S NIC APPOINTMENT
Inimicus's new European Councillor, Hetty Tilki
Telum, 28/8/2020 - In a blow to the established Imperial administration, former European Deputy Councillor and Nuntius Inimici journalist Hetty Tilki secured enough votes in yesterday's European Councillor elections to win the contest. Tilki defeated Benfield, who was widely expected to win the election - including by the current administration - and all other candidates by a narrow margin, winning 37% of first-preference votes and an even larger amount of second preferences.
The European Councillor elections were called after Sir Augustus Barrington, long-time veteran of representing Inimicus in Europe, announced his resignation earlier this month. In accordance with European legislation which mandates direct popular election of all Councillors, Inimicus was compelled to organise its first ever European elections only weeks after the National Imperial Council contest which saw the Emperor's Finest movement sweep the halls of the Imperial Palace.
In response, Vicarius Wilfred Cocx raised Nicholas Benfield to the Imperial Councillorship, evidently anticipating his long-time ally's election to the European office, which Benfield held before between 2012 and 2013. Now that Tilki has won yesterday's vote, Cocx and the Vicarial admnistration must seek a different way to instruct Inimicus's European Councillor, who traditionally is always a member of the National Imperial Council, as well.
"It is likely one of two things will now occur", comments Colin Husky, Nuntius Inimici political guru, "Either Benfield will be dismissed and Tilki will take his place, which would be immensely controversial, or a type of pseudo-Councillorship will be created for Tilki, perhaps she will not be allowed to vote, but just attend. Wilfred Cocx will not allow Inimicus's European Councillor to escape direct instructions from the National Imperial Council."
At 20 years old, Tilki is the youngest ever European Councillor from Inimicus and one of the youngest elected or appointed officials in the Empire. During the campaign, which was not well-publicised due to general election fatigue and disagreement with the election of the European Councilllor in general among the population, resulting in a turnout of 32%, Tilki was criticised by her opponents for her lack of experience, however she also became incredibly popular online - it is this online enthusiasm which appears to have handed her the victory.
Although the Imperial Electoral Commission did not stipulate a term limit for the Council term that begins today, the European Elected and Accountable Council Act stipulates that elections for European Councillors should occur every four years at least. Nuntius Inimici will follow Miss Tilki closely during her term in office.
INIMICUS BACK AS NUCLEAR POWER // CONSUL STRATHCLYDE ISSUES WARNING ABOUT MILITARY GULF USE
Europolis, 28/09/2020 - In a unanimous decision by the European Nuclear Arms Authority, the Empire of Inimicus was re-granted its licence to stockpile 200 nuclear warheads, in a huge morale boost for the Imperial Regime. Inimicus formally re-applied to the ENAA in July after the Three-Year Plan of Emperor Artabanos, which involved temporarily suspending major parts of EU legislation, came to an end. "This decision shows Inimicus is back where it belongs: at the heart of the European family of nations", Imperial Defence Officer Boris Mancov commented this afternoon, "Inimicus has shown it is capable of handling nuclear weapons securely and has, in the eyes of the ENAA, secured the right to defend its people by whatever means necessary."
The Imperial Defence Office and its subsidiary the Imperial Nuclear Authority announced today that a stockpile of 200 nuclear warheads, the maximum allowed by the ENAA decision, commenced production the moment the ENAA declared its judgement. Additionally, the IDO and INA publicised some details about 50 new ICBM launch sites spread across the Empire, as well as about 10 newly-produced mobile ICBM launcher sites. "We will be ready", IDO Mancov said, "To counter any threat to our Empire with resolute force if necessary. Let the Inimician People sleep soundly in their beds to night, safe in the knowledge the Defence Office is standing guard."
In other news, rumours from the North Diessenian Presidential Palace about a possible agreement with the Kingdom of Reitzmag involving the construction of a canal from the Caspian to the Persian Gulf were met with hostility in the Imperial Consulate. Lord Christopher Strathclyde, Executive Representative Leader and Imperial Consul, spoke at a press conference today: "Inimicus cannot stand idly by if a significant military power which has only recently been openly hostile to the Empire and its allies gains access to what the Empire considers its protected naval zone. We call upon the Kingdom of Reitzmag to cease its attempts at gaining access to the Persian Gulf immediately or face action."
Asked what these actions may involve, Lord Strathclyde commented, "If Reitzmic ships pass through the Persian Gulf, if it comes to that, the Imperial Navy will act with appropriate force. We hope it will not come to that, and would be willing to work with the North Diessenian government to prevent such things from happening. If North Diessen proves unresponsive, as it has been lately, the Empire will not shun the protection of its national space by any means."
EMPIRE OF INIMICUS MOVES TO MILITARY READINESS LEVEL 4 -- THREAT LIKELY
Telum, 02/10/2020 - The Imperial Defence Office announced this evening that the military threat level for the whole Empire is to be raised from Level 3 (threat possible) to Level 4 (threat likely) out of a possible 5 Levels. A joint statement by the Defence Office and officials from the Capital Ready Defence Command, which determines the strategic position of the Empire in the region constantly, declared:
"Following the declaration by the Four Assembled Powers, of which the Empire is an integral part, of a no-fly zone over the territory of Eastern Haane, commencing tomorrow, Saturday 2nd October, at 1200 hours GMT+2, the Capital Ready Defence Command has advised the raising of the Imperial Threat Level from 3 to 4. This indicates a threat to the territorial integrity and safety of the Empire is likely. Several reasons underpin this decision:
"First, the Imperial Armed Forces are currently embarking on a military mission abroad, which could evoke retaliatory responses; second, this military mission involves a currently contentious issue that could antagonise one or several of the Empire's neighbours; and third, elements of the military of the Kingdom of Reitzmag are currently present in the region, with Reitzmic officials having stated they will not obey the no-fly zone as ordered by the Assembled Powers."
Large numbers of Inimician military vessels are currently operating in the Mediterranean to enforce the no-fly zone from tomorrow. The fleet is thought to include several of the brand-new Artabanos class Supercarriers, capable of carrying up to 95 aircraft each, as well as a small number of nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed Lator Penatis-class submarines. Nuntius Inimici will be following events closely as they develop tomorrow.
IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT, ARTABANOS FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE MASS AID TO EASTERN HAANE
Telum/Astro, 7th October 2020 - In a joint declaration by the Imperial Foreign Office and the Artabanos Foundation, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, Consul and Executive Representative Leader Lord Christopher Strathclyde, and Imperial Foreign Officer Sarah Gladwell, announced the creation of a mass relief fund for those suffering in Eastern Haane. Or, in the words of Emperor Artabanos, "what remains of it".
The Artabanos Foundation, the massive charitable wealth fund managed by the Emperor, has agreed to contribute €75 million to the fund, and the Imperial Government has matched this sum. "The Empire is currently engaged in efforts to stop unauthorised transports and military aircraft from flying over and landing in Eastern Haane", Foreign Officer Gladwell announced, "It is only fair that the Imperial Government does its duty in providing relief efforst to the Haanean people while doing so. We cannot deprive Eastern Haane of resources and food, and let the country starve to death."
Starving to death, it seems, is what Haaneans have been suffering, if a recent announcement from the Government of the People's State of Eastern Haane is to be believed. "Everyone knows how much I love food", His Imperial Majesty contributed to the announcement, "And I take sincere pity on the people of Eastern Haane for not having any. I can't vouch for what water tastes like, but people tell me it's pretty important."
The collected €150million will primarily be spent on airlifting water and other basic nutritional requirements to the worst-affected areas in Eastern Haane. Imperial Consul Strathclyde encouraged other nations and organisation to make a similar announcement: "We ask all friendly nations to join with us in #Pledging75, assisting in the immensely vital effort to relieve the suffering of the Haanean people. Whether communist, capitalist, left-wing, right-wing, or somewhere in between, we are all humans. That, in a nutshell, is what this move stands for."
Initial shipments of the #Pledging75 Artabanos Foundation fund are expected to reach Eastern Haane within several days, subject to inspection times in airfields of the Kingdom of Spain.
Food packages are loaded onto an Imperial Air Force cargo plane at Portus Inimici Imperial Aerodrome
IS THE HOUSE OF NOBLES DYING OUT? -- //-- PALACE PROMISES ECONOMIC REFORM TO REAP BENEFITS OF EURORAIL AND GDP GROWTH
Telum, 3rd Feb 2021 - Yesterday, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos formally signed the Imperial Decree appointing Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, Imperial Consul, to the House of Nobles. However, appointments like this have not been a common occasion of late: indeed, this is the first appointment made to the upper house of the Imperial Diet since the restoration of the Empire. Since 2012, 97 Nobles have passed on, leaving 97 vacant seats in the House of Nobles -- unlike the House of Commons or the National Imperial Council, there are no elections to the Nobles; members are instead appointed directly by the Emperor. Some politicians in Telum are stepping up criticism of Emperor Artabanos for not appointing new members.
"The Constitution clearly says the Emperor is responsible for appointing the members of the House of Nobles", claims Jeff Speller, Imperial Councillor and long-time critic and convicted would-be assassin of the Emperor, "The fact that He is attempting to subvert democratic scrutiny in this way is unacceptable." When asked how the scrutiny of an appointed body could be called democratic, Mr Speller refused comment.
Telum University's Professor of Political Science Mia Hall explains the constitutional settlement surrounding the House of Nobles: "Although the Constitution gives the Emperor the right to appoint Nobles, it does not obligate Him to do so. Now, I'm not aware of the Emperor's intentions here, but there are some who suggest He is trying to informally abolish the House. This might be a strange way of abolishing an assembly, but it is, ultimately, a legal one."
Not all scholars agree. Dr Maria Gerbranda of Lacerta Politics Institute counters: "Article 35 of the Constitution stipulates that the House of Nobles should have 150 members. This implies the Emperor is subverting the Constitution by deliberately not appointing any. If He is intent on abolishing the House, then he simply has the option of leaving the House of Nobles suspended indefinitely, as Article 36 sets the duration of Noble sessions as determined by Imperial Decree." Such a move, however, is likely to infuriate the remaining Nobles.
Nuntius Inimici's Polling Report for the first week of Feburary included questions of approval of Imperial Diet bodies. The results of a 5,000-participant poll are as follows:
Body/Person Approve % Disapprove % National Imperial Council 53 26 House of Commons 42 43 House of Nobles 17 75 Emperor Artabanos 88 4 Vicarius Cocx 63 12 Consul de Barrington 35 62 Consul Strathclyde 23 15 Walter Cocx 57 31
Intriguingly, de Barrington's appointment to the House of Nobles comes with another political conundrum: the National Imperial Council recently adopted a resolution banning any individual from being a member of more than one body of the Imperial Diet. Since Marquis de Barrington is also a member of the National Imperial Council, his appointment to the House of Nobles presents him with a constitutional conundrum: he can only remain a member of one body. Which he will choose is a question for him -- or, perhaps, for the Emperor.
In other news, a short statement released by the Imperial Treasury and Imperial Bank suggests the national government is intending to reap the economic benefits of the opening of international rail links under the Eurorail brand. "Provincial administrations will be encouraged to facilitate economic growth with stimulus packages from the national government", the statement reads. Imperial Treasurer Barrington commented: "By using the recent growth seen in the Inimician economy and the improved access links to other countries around us facilitated by Eurorail, the Inimician government will utilise labour and wealth from across our region to stimulate our economy. This will mean more money in the pockets of all Inimicians."
MARQUIS DE BARRINGTON RESIGNS CONSUL OFFICE - RUMOURS OF IMPERIAL PRESSURE SURFACE
Telum, 11th Feb 2021 - Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, one of the first ever Imperial Consuls in the Empire, this morning resigned his office as well as his seat on the National Imperial Council, citing "irreconcilable differences" with his colleagues and superiors. Marquis de Barrington was appointed to the House of Nobles last week, raising concerns about his eligibility to sit in the House as well as on the National Imperial Council. Some around the Imperial Palace have credited the Marquis's appointment to "Imperial pressure" on him to quit government office, although this has not been confirmed by any of the Emperor's spokespeople.
The resignation of Marquis de Barrington as Consul leaves one of the highest offices in the Empire vacant. The two Imperial Consuls, whose role could be seen as equivalent to other nations' Prime Ministers, are responsible for the day-to-day running of the national government, liaising with Provincial Administrations, and managing the National Imperial Council. Typically, the latter duty occupies one Consul full-time (Lord Christopher Strathclyde has assumed this role the last few years) while other duties are the responsibility of the other Consul.
Immediately following the resignation announcement, rumours began to surface of the Emperor preferring other candidates, such as former European Councillor Sir Augustus Barrington, at the helm of the national administration. Other names mentioned include Nicholas Benfield, another European Council veteran, Sarah Gladwell, whose expertise in the Imperial Foreign Office is recognised across party lines, and even Jeff Speller, whose appointment may not seem a practical choice, but would placate many of the Emperor's political opponents on the National Imperial Council and eliminate a voice of stern opposition to His rule for good. The Emperor is expected to make an announcement naming the new Imperial Consul imminently, although some sources claim He is under advice to await the results of the European Commissioner and Council Speaker elections, as the Inimician candidates standing in those races would potentially be required to fill national offices.
A statement by the Imperial Palace thanked Marquis de Barrington for his "tireless service to the Nation", and expressed hope that "he will continue to fight for true Inimician ideals from the benches of the House of Nobles." De Barrington was further lauded for his "excellent decision-making qualities", and it was particularly noted that "following the near-demise of His Imperial Majesty, Marquis de Barrington aided the smooth running of the State". The latter point is particularly intriguing, given that sources indicate a power struggle between Vicarius Wilfred Cocx and his family, and the Barringtons and their allies, raged heavily following the days of Emperor Artabanos's crash, with some even suggesting Marquis de Barrington pressured the Emperor to attend the inaugural flight Himself.
Marquis Maximillian de Barrington, former Imperial Consul
EX-CONSUL DE BARRINGTON ARRESTED WITHIN 24 HOURS POST-RESIGNATION --//-- DID MARQUIS DE BARRINGTON AID NEO-VENETIAN ASSASSINS?
Cuius, 12th Feb 2021 -- After apparently attempting to cross the closed-down border between Inimicus and Neo-Venetia, former Imperial Consul Marquis Maximillian de Barrington was arrested on suspicion of Trafficking, High Treason, and Personal Treason against the Emperor, by Terra Diutius Provincial Constabulary early this morning. A statement by Diutius Sergent-at-Arms Lidia Legdan released just after 6am claimed "officers discovered the Marquis concealed in the boot of an armoured BMW attempting to use rural roads south of Cuius Township to cross into Neo-Venetia. The Marquis is currently held for questioning at Cuius Police Station, and is to be transferred to the Militarae Imperial Guard offices sometime today."
The arrest of the recently-resigned Marquis, who was the subject of a recent row involving the Emperor, has sent shockwaves through the Inimician political establishment. De Barrington's former Consul colleague, Lord Christopher Strathclyde, told Nuntius Inimici reporters that "This is the most shocking illumination of the Neo-Venetian affair I could have thought of", while Chancellor of the Treasury Sir Jonathan Barrington, the Marquis's brother, made an emotional statement to the press, asking his brother to "finally elucidate" his position. Vicarius Wilfred Cocx declined to comment on events.
The Marquis's supposed flight to Neo-Venetia connects him to events of last summer, when His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos was gravely injured after boarding a test flight of the first Inimician-built supersonic jet, which was shot down from Neo-Venetian territory and crash landed at Portus Inimici airport. Several high-ranking Inimician politicians were killed in the disaster, including Aedile Elbert White. "If De Barrington was indeed making for the border", Nuntius Inimici political editor Colin Husky explains, "this would without a doubt have been at the invitation of someone in the Neo-Venetian administration. This, in turn, makes him a clear suspect for involvement with the horrid assassination attempt on the Emperor's life."
Marquis de Barrington was discovered heading south near Cuius, towards Neo-Venetia
Marquis de Barrington remained friendly with officers during his arrest
National Imperial Councillor for Terra Diutius Dilkes Ayla issued a strongly-worded statement to the press this morning: "If it is true, and Max Barrington was the mole inside the Palace that made all of this possible, he deserves whatever punishment he has coming for him. He was a trusted friend of His Imperial Majesty, and he appears to have betrayed this trust in the most horrid, despicable of ways."
Voices of opposition also rose in the Council, with Green Councillor Jeff Speller claiming: "We must not rush to conclusions about the Marquis's presence in Diutius yet. Isn't it remarkable how he transitioned from the third most powerful man in the country to a suspected traitor within the space of a week? The Emperor must answer for what has happened and why De Barrington was dismissed in the first place. Only then will the Council be in a position to judge the full extent of De Barrington's involvement with the Neo-Venetians."
His Imperial Majesty is expected to make an announcement regarding the arrest of Marquis de Barrington shortly. Unless released, the Marquis faces trial in the Imperial Crown Court, on which the Emperor sits personally, in what will no doubt be the most explosive and divisive trial in recent Inimician history. Should the Marquis be convicted, he could legally be sentenced to death. "No Inimician citizen has been sentenced to death during Emperor Artabanos's reign", Colin Husky explains, "Yet we must now ask the question -- will the Emperor's personal opposition to capital punishment outweigh the immense anger He must feel at the horrific betrayal one of His closest allies apparently committed."
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos of Inimicus
EUROPEAN COUNCILLOR TILKI TO RESIGN FOLLOWING SPEAKER ELECTION SHAMBLES --//-- WAS TILKI NEEDED TO MANAGE DE BARRINGTON'S SCHEMES?
Hetty Tilki at an election rally last summer
Telum, 16th February 2021 - Inimicus European Councillor, Ms Hetty Tilki, today resigned her office after a crushing defeat in the Council Speaker elections this week. In a statement, Ms Tilki said she "had never felt at home" in her role, which she won in an EU-mandated special election last August. "The European Council never fully accepted me as one of their own", the ex-Cllr said. Ms Tilki's election as European Councillor last summer came as a shock to commentators and pollsters alike, and possibly even to herself, as she defeated former Cllr and government veteran Nicholas Benfield to assume Inimicus's Council seat. With her resignation, which is rumored to have followed Imperial pressure, Tilki will return to "the former passions and pleasures" she had before her election, which include a journalism role at Nuntius Inimici, a popular online blog, and a heavy social media presence.
Ms Tilki's brief tenure as European Councillor followed the resignation of Inimician council veteran Sir Augustus Barrington, who, as Ms Tilki's official deputy, will once again attend and vote in Council sessions until a new special election can be held.
It is also rumoured that Ms Tilki may still be called to advise and consult on affairs in the Imperial Palace. "The Emperor considers Tilki a potentially powerful political force", Nuntius Inimici Political Editor Colin Husky explains, "Her online presence is a particular strength the Emperor will seek to utilise. Neither He nor any of His friends in high office have successfully managed to gather a following even as remotely extensive as Tilki's. Her appointment to a high office of state seems imminent."
Particularly, the national administration may seek to use Tilki's extensive platform as a means to disseminate official information on the Barrington Affair, which saw former Imperial Consul Maximillian de Barrington arrested on charges of Treason while attempting to cross into Neo-Venetia. "It is particularly ironic", Colin Husky comments, "that De Barrington's brother, Sir Augustus, will now deputise for someone whose move to the national government seems to be directly influenced by Maximillian's treasonous case."
With the Barrington Affair dominating headlines, the Palace agenda, and the National Imperial Council, no date for the next European special election has as yet been set, although the Imperial Electoral Commission issued a statement earlier this morning, claiming "everyone at the IEC is working as hard as possible to get this election off the ground."
DE BARRINGTON CHARGE SHEET MADE PUBLIC --//-- PALACE IN NO RUSH TO TRIAL
Telum, 18th Feb 2021 -- Formal charges agains Maximillian de Barrington, former Marquis, Imperial Councillor, and Imperial Consul, were made public this morning by the Imperial Palace press division. In the one-page document, which sets out the exact crimes De Barrington is accused of, no date for a formal hearing or trial is set, contrary to precedent in Inimician criminal cases. Rumours circulating in the Imperial Palace claim the Imperial legal team requires more evidence from Neo-Venetian sources to be able to build a successful case against Mr De Barrington, who was stripped of all titles and fuctions by Imperial Decree this week.
"Mr De Barrington was a notoriously efficient worker", one unnamed source claims, "He did not leave a paper trail -- most information we have of his betrayal results from intercepted Neo-Venetian communications." This posits a problem for the Emperor's lawyers: as Neo-Venetia has been declared a no-go zone by the national government, and any Neo-Venetians found in the Empire are to be interrogated and deported immediately, it is difficult for any Neo-Venetian officials' testimony to be formally gathered and used in Court. A temporary change in the law is therefore expected imminently.
Questions were also asked about the Neo-Venetian issue by Imperial Councillor Jeff Speller in a Council sitting this morning. Mr Speller demanded to know whether the Emperor is currently planning to "kidnap" Neo-Venetian officials to testify in Mr De Barrington's case. His Imperial Majesty declared that He cannot divulge militarily sensitive information to the National Imperial Council. "It's not unlikely", Nuntius Inimici political editor Colin Husky comments, "that testimony from Neo-Venetians is necessary to make a compelling case and convince Crown Court judges that Mr De Barrington is guilty. After all, many judges on the Crown Court were appointed by Mr De Barrington over the past few years."
The full charge sheet accusing Mr De Barrington of High Treason, Treason against the Emperor, and leaking of State secrets, is as follows:
PROVINCE OF TERRA DIUTIUS, DISTRICT OF MILITARAE
The State of the Empire of Inimicus, Plaintiff
Mr Maximillian de Barrington, Defendant
Lidia Legdan, Sergent-at-Arms of the Province of Terra Diutius, in the Empire of Inimicus, under the Fair and Proper Jurisdiction of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, and in the name and by the Authority of the same, on her official oath, makes and charges:
That at and within the Province of Terra Diutius, in the Empire of Inimicus, on the 12th day of February, 2021, one Mr Maximillian de Barrington did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attempt to cross the Threshold of the Province of Terra Diutius, in the Empire of Inimicus, with the sole intention to collaborate with foreign and hostile powers, thereby betraying his Sacred Oath to the Constitution of the Empire of Inimicus, and engaging in High Treason;
Further, that Mr Maximillian de Barrington indulged in conspiracy to effect the death of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, thereby betraying His Sacred Oath to the same, and engaging in High Treason;
Further, that throughout a period as yet unspecified, but ending no later than the 12th day of Feburary, 2021, Mr Maximillian de Barrington did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously supply, give, and receive payment for, information held confidentially under the Seal of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Artabanos, thereby betraying His Sacred Oath to the Constitution of the Empire of Inimicus, and committing an offence under the Imperial Secrets Act (2012);
Contrary to the form of the statutes in such cases made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the Province of Terra Diutius, and the Will of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos.