Reitzmag free trade treaty reinstated
Today the Reitzmag free trade treaty has been reinstated following approval from parliament and the High Duke and being approved by the courts the process was sped UD as no disagreement was raised in parliament. The move to reinstate the free trade treaty follows the easing of relations with Reitzmag following resolution of the Caspian crises. The treaty reinstatement also restarts co-operation programmes in science education and cultural exchanges.
It is hopes Reitzmag businesses will use United Duchies as a base to get access to the SAN area and other countries where United Duchies has free trade treaties with. The business climate advisory was also lifted though the government made clear it wishes to see stability over a longer term,, Roscoes has suggested it may enter the Reitzmag market and is in talks with Reitzmag suppliers so it can meet its target of 70% local products as soon as possible if it enters. It pledged it would offer the highest wages of any supermarket in the country and have the best labour and union practises of any supermarket in Reitzmag. Other companies are showing interest in the market now restrictions on businesses overall have been lifted though caution is still likely to be the default state.
Inquista joins Telum Treaty
Today the Telum Treaty members welcomed The Most Blesse State of Inquista was welcomed to the Treaty of Telum and Southern Association of nations. The nation signed the treaty early in the week and is to be integrated with immediate effect into the free trade zone.Within 6 months roaming will be free in Inquista for mobile customers of Telum Treaty nations and defense co-operation will deepen over the next year. The bloc is now by far the most economically powerful in the EU making up over 50% of the GDP of the entire European Union. The zone is expected to boost income of companies within all Telum Treaty nations as they get access to more free trade agreements.
The move is also said to boost security through joint defence , military co-operation and law enforcement and intelligence co-operation. The government welcomed Inuista into the treaty saying in a statement "Today we enter a new age of relations between Inquista and the United Duchies.We have always had a special relationship and links but today we take the step further and become brothers in the Treaty of Telum. I am confident our co-operation in defence, economy and on science and education will help us prosper and become ever more innovative and secure through co-operation." All parties in the country are supportive of the move so far with no opposition noted.
Charges dropped for over 5,400 Far Left Activists
Today the government of the Duchies revoked retroactively restrictions banning association with the Haahnean leadership finding no links with the government of Istaalken and Union of Syndicates territory. However they said there is still evidence of links to extremists in those countries. Anyone arrested for links to these governments and major parties in those states have been freed as of today.
The Left was also found to be innocent of inistutional links to terrorist supporting governments and allowed once again to operate as a party. The party was however found to be a hotbed of extremism and it is expected there will be continuing monitoring. Charges have been brought against Leo McKulsky for links to terrorism and financing of terror organisations meaning The Left will have to find a new leader , new elections are expected to be held for the leadership position soon.65 out of 78 politicians in The Left have had charges against them dropped.
2,102 Far-Left Activists and Campaigners charged with Terrorism, Terrorist Links and Financing of Terrorism
Today the vast majority of far-left activists have been released after it was found they had no links to terrorism or supports of terrorism though 13 The Left officials and 250 members of The Left have been charged with crimes ranging from Terrorism, Links to Terrorism, Incitement of Terrorism or Financing of Terrorism. It has been confirmed at least one politician has been linked directly to the terror attacks that rocked the Duchies.
The government and police have vowed to press ahead with charges and to push for the highest punishments possible under law in the courts.In a statement the police said "We have busted a significant terror ring and will be pressing for the highest sentences possible. We will get the justice the victims deserve and show that in the Duchies we will not tolerate extremism and terrorism of any sort be it far left or far right. Furthermore we will be vigilant for future threats and as part of these efforts we will be launching a hotline for public to confidentially report concerns about extremism on the 333 number.If you have any concerns call 333 and report it to police immediately, do not let a potential threat continue.Report any concerns you may have."
New joint Spanish-Duchian JNS80 Submarine unveiled
Today the United Duchies with the defence minister of Spain unveiled the jointly developed nuclear powered attack submarine the JSN80 submarine which is planned to be the backbone of both nations submarine fleets. The government refused to diverge most details for national security reasons but it is understood to be the most complex submarine of the nation to date. The submarine is alledged to e based around a newly developed nuclear engine , with a complement of over 30 being capable of 20 knots surfaced or 25 knots underwater. However these numbers have not been confirmed due to national security reasons.
The weaponry has been kept top secret. However it is expected the new fleet will boost security significantly for both nations. It is understood other Treaty of Telum members are eligible to buy the submarine.
Roscoes announce plans for fully automated check out stores
Roscoes have announced plans today to convert all stores to automated checkouts using either a scan and go system or a system of cameras and AI to track peoples purchases to allow them to buy using an app. They will be trialling both concepts in a plan agreed with the Roscoes Welfare Association and workers. Whichever is most successful will be implemented throughout all stores. However unlike other companies Roscoes claim this is not about cost savings with them saying in a statement "We have agreed a plan for more efficient use of our staff working in partnership with robots and automated check out systems to deliver a superior customer experience. We will keep about 10% of check out staff to help people with automated checkout for those who can't or struggle to use it. The other 90% will be redeployed to the shop floor where they will direct shoppers, suggest goods that may be of use , run free sample stands so customers can experience the full range of our products and of course stack shelfs and ensure the store is clean and tidy. We will be introducing limited robotics for stacking in the warehouse side of the business to aid productivity and free the staff at the back of the store to spend more time with customers who are our number 1 priority. We will not reduce staff by even a single percent as a result of this automation." The move is likely to be seen as a test of automation in the supermarket sector and innitially 20 stores will test out the concepts at full scale 10 for the scan and go and 10 for the camera and AI system.
Government to devolve marriage law
The Duchies Government has announced today it intends to devolve marriage law to the Duchies in order to stop the rising tide of extremism in Duchies politics and the rise of the nationalist right. The government changes proposed in parliament shall state "Duchies decide the definition of marriage in their own Duchies and shall be able to decide on the issues of civil marriage as long as a Civil Alternative is available to religious marriage." The law would allow Duchies to outlaw the conducting of gay marriage and non-religious marriage as long as an equal alternative is available in law.
The law would return all social rights issues to the Duchies. There are concerns this breaking of EU law could harm relations and cause international legal issues though the government has said people can still marry in other duchies and have their marriages recognised.Campaigners have called for the law proposal to be scrapped saying it will lead to a return of discrimination in the Duchies. However supporters of the law have said it will reduce extremism by allowing duchies to tailor laws to their cultures.
Dry-cycle sales reach record levels
Dry-Cycle sales have reached record levels as increased incentives for green travel have been implemented across the country. The sales of Dry-Cycles have increased so much seperated bike lanes are being called for even in pedestrian areas to accomodate the increased pedi-van , pedi-taxi and Dry-Cycle traffic. The traffic increased with traffic jams of these types of vehicles becoming more common.Sales of family bikes also increased.
Research into the market and surveys have revealed many are being brought for children to commute or do trips in a safer way . The government announced today they would be investing in increasing cycling infrastructue including more bike parking for the new generation of vehicles. They also announced they would put 2,000 Euros towards 1 covered bike, pedi-van, pedi-tax or family bike per household to increase alternative transport use in the cities. This category of vehicles is allowed anywhere a bike is allowed including the roads. The environment and transport ministers have praised the Duchians use of the vehicles saying "The Duchies is showing the way and leading in green transportation in Europe and showing that we can increase accessibility of transport and benefit our environment."
Government to consider elections by legislature for European Comission
The government of United Duchies has announced this may be one of the last European Commission elections that is carried out by popular vote in the United Duchies. The government expressed concern over the cost of the elections given the lower turnouts that keep dropping. The turnout for this election is likely to be just 33% as election fatigue sets in.
The system proposed is one of votes in the House of Commons and House of Duchies. The system would first knock it down to the top two candidates for each position in the House of Commons then the House of Duchies would vote on the remaining two. A second proposed system would see each house give 100 electoral points for a total of 200 points. Both houses would vote with candidates being eliminated until a candidate reaches 100 electoral points. The move is being considered after concerns low turnout could impact democracy.In both systems both the Deputy and Primary European Councillour would vote with the Commons. There is also a proposal to change how the European Councillour and Deputy Councillour ticketsare elected to require them to reach both a majority of the popular vote and also of Duchies in order to win the election after concerns have been expressed the North is being dominated by the more populous south. Polls indicate this would not change election results with James Mizrachi-Roscoe who due to his image as a compromiser and moderate is also popular in the North of the Duchies as well as the South.
The government said in a statement "We believe in democracy but people are expressing they are fatigued by our regular elections every 4 months. This needs to be addressed we believe the best way to do this is to put the vote in the hands of elected officials that are servants of the people . That is why we are looking at systems to make this happen and working with electoral experts to design the best framework to protect duchy and popular sovereignty. We know it is vital we get this right for the future of our democracy."
Government Emissions Reduction strategy and targets announced
The government has announced it 5 point plan to decrease carbon emissions with targets in order to stop climate change.Thre plan is as follows according to the Duchies government:
1:No increase increase in departures or arrivals by air with policies to supress air demand and stimulate arrivals by rail for local countries
2:Carbon Neutrality exluding aviation by 2030 and with aviation by 2050 at the latest
3:Increase in Carbon Tax of 10% a year from current level of 174 Euros per ton with decase in carbon emissions excluding aviation of 63.74% by 2025 through roll out of green technology and roll out of green transport innitiatives
4:Protection and increase of carbon absorbing forests
5:Reduction in aviation emissions of 85% by 2040 and at latest by 2050 dependent on technology
The government released graphs explaining their targets and projected decrease in carbon emissions and increase in the Carbon tax which will be applied to every sector except aviation.
Critics of the plan have suggested it may impact economic growth and reduce the size of the economy however supporters including the government have claimed the cost of inaction is far greater and that this new strategy including support to companies for green transition from government will benefit the economy by making the duchies into a centre for green technology and products in Europe. They have said that jobs growth in these sectors will outweigh job losses in carbon intensive industries.
Red Tunic Party formed
Today the Communist Party and Workers party announced the long expected merger under the Red Tunic Party banner. The party merger first suggested under the protests against government crackdown on the far left following the terrorist attacks in the Duchies was put on ice for a while as things heated up domestically. The idea has been resurrected a few times with serious talks having began 2 months ago.
The Communist Party commented on the merger saying "We believe the parties of the workers must unite , only in this way can we as a united front protect workers. the Red Tunic is an important symbol of solidarity in this country." The Workers Party said "We are proud to work with left wing allies and friends and plan to fight the next elections as friends and not opposition. We would invite any PSD members who feel the PSD is too capitalist to join our party and fight for real socialism."
Treaty of Porterdam has passed all houses
Today the Treaty of Porterdam setting up a new Anastasis City for nicolezians has passed all houses of parliament within one day with almost unaminous approval outside of the nationalist parties who abstained. The treaty which is now in effect and signed will result in the creation of Anastasia City with up to 1.25 million people innitially within 1.5 years next to Baltia City. The city will get an extension of the high speed line from that city and act as part of the metro area. The city will be built using almost all prefab buildings to speed up construction and ensure they can build at scale with it being expected many foreign contractors will be also be award contracts.The city is being granted 100 billion Euros in start up funds with 12 billion Euros a year diverted from the foreign aid budget a year for five years. The city is to be set up as 200 sq km Duchie equivlent with this possibly being expanded as time goes on if the project is successful. The city is expected to feature a stadium and town hall within a few years.