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Minh Hai

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Reman Economy Posts First Quarter Growth
AP Remuria

The Reman economy posted surprising growth figures for the first quarter of 2020, with the economy growing 2.1% to $1.2 trillion overall, despite stagnation in recent years. Policymakers have been quick to credit a booming tourism sector, with capital spending increasing more than 4%.

The boom affirms expected the impact of implemented laws improving the borrowing capacity of syndicalized businesses, as the government moves to transition state-owned enterprises into publicly owned and traded enterprises. Tourism and shipping sectors are spearheading the government initiative as Councilmen craft laws to begin reforms in heavy industry, a sector more traditionally considered important to national security.
 

Nedernesië

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Zilverman & Kim Investment Bank Advises Clients to Reduce Gallo-Germanian Derivatives
AP Vrijpoort

One of Nedernesia's largest and oldest investment banks, Zilverman & Kim, today announced that it is advising its wealth management and investment clients to reduce the amount of Gallo-Germanian derivatives in their portfolios. The news does not come as a surprise on De Waterkant, the main street in Nedernesia's financial district. Earlier last week the Nedernesian Reserve Bank warned of imminent recession after three quarters in a row of lacklustre growth. Analysts across the board are concerned about recent political developments on the Continent and it appears Zilverman & Kim do not expect to see good returns in the near future.

The bank did not offer a blanket alternative but did say that 'equities in Himyar, parts of Scania and Westernesse and Touyou could provide decent returns if you know where to look. We keep the best secrets for our clients, naturally'.

Other banks have been increasing bonds in a sign that points to expectations of tumult on the markets. The yield on a Nedernesian 10 year reserve bond is currently at 4.7%, down from 4.9% last week.

On the trading floors of De Waterkant and the bars and pubs where bankers and traders often end their day one hears a lot of talk of 'bonds, cash, gold'.

A trader at the investment arm of Standard Chartered, Nedernesia's largest bank, spoke on the condition of anonymity to the AP, 'All the wealth management portfolios have heavily reduced Continental equities in the last few weeks. They've gone hunting elsewhere or they are taking a conservative approach and loading up on Nedernesian, Salian and Gunnish bonds, holding more cash than usual or buying gold. It's a classic canary in a coal mine story. Rich people always get out first and know when the shit's going to hit the proverbial fan.'

Futures markets for the Vrijpoort Securities Exchange are down just shy of 2% as traders are expecting a red opening Monday morning on De Waterkant.
 

Polesia

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Analysis: Folxmashin trade dispute poses tough questions for both sides
AP International

"We may be about to witness the first conflict in the history of mankind that was started by a car," one analyst glumly predicted as news broke that the People's Republic of Polesia, a small communist country carved out of former Trivodnia, had triggered the self-defence clause of the Rurikgrad Pact in response to Eiffelloretalian legal action against Folxmashin, the Polesian car brand accused of ripping off Eiffellander designs.

Despite achieving little commercial success outside the Communist bloc, Folxmashin has become a major flashpoint in Gallo-Germanian geopolitics, as Eiffellander automobile firms, backed by the Eiffelloretalian government, fight to stop Folxmashin vehicles from being sold in new markets.

So great are Eiffelloretalian concerns about intellectual property theft that Trier ended commercial cooperation with Furlanian manufacturer Baviêr Tramais after Furlanie signed a treaty with Kadikistan promising to boost diplomatic and economic ties. The Eiffelloretalian government argued Furlanie could act as a backdoor to allow the communist alliance to steal more IP from Eiffelloretalian businesses, putting them at an unfair disadvantage. Trier has already banned the export of many high tech and manufactured goods to Rurikgrad Pact countries in response to Folxmashin's activities.

The Eiffellander car industry is pursuing Folxmashin wherever possible in the courts as well as companies that facilitate the trade or sale of Folxmashin vehicles. For the most part courts have ruled in their favour and the majority of industry experts accept Folxmashin models are a direct rip off of Eiffellander car makes. Yet the Anti-State recently approved the sake of Folxmashin brands in its territories, and the controversy surrounding the Polesian state-owned car manufacturer has seen its goods become collector's items.

In an official statement, the Polesian government says it was looking at "non-military" means of responding to what it describes as "economic warfare". However what scares investors is not how Polesia, a tiny state of less than seven million people, responds, but the reaction of its benefactor Kadikistan.

Since Kadikistan opened up its economy in the late 1950s, billions in investment has poured into the hundreds of Special Economic Zones the Communist superpower has created, where foreign companies can operate in a relatively low tax, regulation free environment. The low cost of labour in Kadikistan has seen many manufacturers outsource production there, while Kadikistan's plentiful natural resources, including coal oil and gas, has attracted the attention of some of the world's biggest energy firms.

Should Kadikistan heed Polesia's call to respond economically to Eiffelland Retalia's supposed aggression, Eiffelloretalian investments in the SEZs seem an obvious target. "Millions if not more could be lost," fears one Eiffellander executive.

Yet such a move would not be pain free for Kadikistan. "They'd lose an important source of foreign currency," a Retalian diplomat reassures us, who also points out during the Seven Day War Kadikistan left Eiffelloretalian interests in the SEZs alone.

Kadikistan has also already loss one key export market and source of investment in Serenierre after the Gallian communist country cut ties in response to the Burgundian People's Republic joining the Rurikgrad Pact. The Seven Day War and continued presence in Crotobaltislavonia have also strained Kadikistan's public finances and further involvement in former Burgundy will only add extra fiscal pressure.

However, commentators broadly agree Kadikistan will have to be seen doing something. "To ignore Polesia's request entirely would send a very bad signal to other socialist states and make Kadikistan look weak," argues one seasoned Ivar watcher, who suggests less drastic measures, such as higher tariffs or import bans, would be chosen instead.

Returning to Trier, others question how long the Eiffelloretalian government can continue to support the local car industry in its fight against Folxmashin. "There is a risk that other sectors similarly demand muscular action when they are threatened," suggests an Retalian business journalist, "plus how much do voters really care? I'm sure they'd rather their tax money and the government's time and energy was spent elsewhere, like on education and healthcare, or you know, the military in case there is an actual war with Kadikistan, not just a trade one or one of words."
 
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Furlanìe

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Friulian nobility pushes high-end market away from Eiffelland-Retalia
AP Grau

Although the Friulian Government eventually decided to keep a neutral attitude towards the breaking of the Friulo-ODS agreement, the insults received from the Eiffalland-Retalian political and economic world have upset the public opinion, the Eiffellander exports to Furlanìe have significantly decreased, especially on the higher-end of prices, with luxury vehicles and appliances receiving the biggest hit.
The rich Nobility in particular have started campaigning against Eifflander products, switching to other international firms, and bringing a sensible part of the higher middle class with them.
The economic crusade was ignited as the Eiffello-Retalian companies: Raimer A.G., Magirus-Deutz GmbH., CCM S.r.l., Grindelwald GmbH. and Roussillac Sprl, boycotted cooperation with the Friulian company Baviêr Tramais, accusing the most prominent and respected company of Furlanìe of selling confidential data to an unknown war-torn nation in the middle of nowhere.
According to Managing Director Estiâr Caronon, this decision was part of a strategy to take advantage of the good faith of BT, which invested money and time on helping the Eiffello-Retalian car-making companies on their new technology hoping to gain future contracts.
 

Varinia

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World Economy between optimism and fear of a future to be huge crisis
AP Kuressaare

The liberalisation of the corporatist economy in the Duchy of Ugandi in Virumaa, that went as far as the complete disestablishent of the corporations in the region, in an exercise of neo-liberal shock therapy has shown that while at first it provided a dip in the regional economy, in less than five years it started showing great progress. The decision was made in 1990 and by now, Ugandi is one of the most if not the most affluent region in the eastern Gothic Sea. A much more limited liberalisation was proclaimed in the southern half of Virumaa, in 2018 which has been described by the government as the recipe for success as it offered an economic boom that didn't give Lounamaad the same vulnerability of full neoliberal free market that Ugandi had. Those reforms have been expanded this year for the whole nation.

Through this, Virumaa puts itself in a semi-reformed/semi-conservative, semi-opened/semi-closed phase, which many have called a new step forward for the prosperity of Kompot Corporatism, but it is a position that can annoy many, as if the wave continues, conservatives and traditionalists will ask for rollbacks of the reforms, while if it stops now, reformists and liberals will be disappointed, that in the end, nothing great was achieved.

Virumaa's case can be seen as a case study for the world economy and it's evolution in the past two years, in which great changes have been implemented. While still mostly protectionist, the world economy has much more opened up in the last two years, with the expansion of the Post-Delegationist free zone to include Sylvania too, an economic aspect of the creation of the DDI, the Democratic Defence Initiative; the creation of a huge free market zone in Germania, Himyar and Westernesse by the creation of the Organisation of Democratic States, which brings together the Union State of Eiffelland-Retalia, the Federal Kingdom of Etruria, The Confederacy of the Johnstone Isles and the Federation of Natal, bringing a total of nearly 200 million people together.

There has been a huge decrease of tariffs in general along the world, making trade much easier and creating a trend that shows that international commerce and exchange of goods is bigger than ever in history. Yet, while there are many optimistic voices that stated that realpolitik together with this generalised opening will bring world prosperity and peace, there are now more and more pessimistic voices that say that now, the commercial links are not strong enough to keep war at bay, yet at the same time, nations are more vulnerable than ever as the importance of keeping trade lanes free from disruption is now more important than ever before, while the chain of economic links between nations make them easy to be affected by waves of economic trends, be them disruptions like a stock crash or a generalised world-wide boom. Either way, it will be seen that in time, such trends will become uniformised all over the globe as nations open up more and more.

Many of the aforementioned pessimists do still see the Seven Day War not as a standalone war that was an exception between the generalised neutral post-SQT relationship between Gallo-Germania and the Kadikistani Union, but rather a rehearsal for what would be the incoming great war, as tensions have increased a lot by the fall of the Grand Duchy of Bourgogne and the creation and joining of the Burgungian People's Republic into the Rurikgrad Pact, breaking the Pact of Steel with Serenierre, the creation of the ODS could be seen as the recreation of the old Trier Concord and the Folxmashins scandal puts the SEZ investments under question, something that the Kadikistani government wanted to make it clear that they want to keep them, even during the 2018 war.

The Kadikistani foreign policy has been dominated by the Status Quo Treaties, some of which also had economical elements, such as the opening of between the Kadikistan Union and Virumaa seen in the High North SQT, which is a remnant of the relationship between Ivar and the Beckerist regime in Virumaa, which created a generalised myth of the good quality consumer goods made in Virumaa that are sought for by the Kadikistani citizens. A similar opening can be seen between the All-Union and Furlanie, signed in the Grau Understanding, what can be seen as a proto-Gallian SQT. While foreign companies use the Special Economic Zones as entry points into the Union, something that gives them a chance to trade with the untapped markets of Kadikistan, desperate for foreign made products, as they feed into the developing middle class of the All-Union, Ivar itself is dependent on them too, as they bring a huge surplus of hard currency, which have made the Union much more richer today that any government led by Nikolai Leninov back in the 40s and 50s wouldn't even have dared to dream.

Especially this dependence on the SEZ, both from the government and the foreign investors is what makes the aforementioned pessimists to be very concerned. The recent rise of tensions has shown that Kadikistan has crossed a red line that it didn't cross not even during the Seven Day War. While many do hope that with the recent criticism coming both from Camp Hill and Lars that push Eiffelland to try and resolve the whole scandal, rather than press on against the Folxmashin, will see a reduction in tensions, for many, a red line has been crossed and now the SEZ might be turning into the next economic front of the general Rurikgrad Pact-ODS Cold War. What they all fear is that with the recent openings of the past two years, should a war start again, the economic backlash will be so much greater than ever before and it will make the Seven Day War feel like an unimportant skirmish.
 

Clarenthia

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Opinion: How Clarenthia is becoming Westernesse's Mompracem and Nedernesië: Economic Prosperity and Sustainability in Clarenthia
AP PALMERTON
We were brought into a large conference room that had floor-to-ceiling windows with an absolutely stunning view of the bay. Boats bobbed up and down along the piers and the steel of the Ft. Duncannon Harbor Bridge sparkled from the water’s reflection. The conference room itself had a sleek, modern aesthetic with laptops at every chair and projectors on either end for video conferencing those who couldn’t attend in person. Honestly, it looked like a scene out of NATFLICK’s Dark Space, rather than a “meeting of the minds” in what is one of the planet’s poorest countries.

If ever a story of a come-back kid existed, it would be in the Commonwealth of Clarenthia. The island nation of seventeen million is in size, in population, and certainly economically the smallest country in Westernesse. A continent of juggernauts, Clarenthia has struggled to earn its spot amongst them. The stigma of the country as a poor, backwater, war-torn nation has permeated long throughout its history and not without good reason. Nevertheless, the last fifteen years have been a remarkable period in Clarenthian history.

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Map of Clarenthia's "Karera Highway"; connecting almost every major city for the first time. [/div]​
In 2007, the Clarenthian Government announced the completion of the Commonwealth Highway System, nicknamed the “Karera” since it primarily hugs the Karera Strait. The marvel of engineering, for the first time, connected Malvern in the south to the largest metropolitan center of Ft. Duncannon, to the Capital of Palmerton, all the way to Horsham and the industrial hub of Harrowgate in the center part of the island culminating at the second largest city, Thunder’s Bay, in the north. It sparked the beginning of a new era of society…and the man in front of it all? Harry Lawrence Hughes, Chairman of the Syndicate (1997 – 2009) and President of the Commonwealth (2009 – present).

In 1995, decades of economic stagflation came to a boiling point as austerity measures continued to constrict limited, and much-needed, social safety nets. As suffering rose and there were no signs of the measures working, elements of Clarenthian society came together to declare that the Palmerton Government had “No authority over them” and effectively declared themselves stateless. Commonwealth stockpiles across the country were raided and men took up arms against the Government. Quickly, the Commonwealth Military – which barely existed – was overwhelmed. A civil war had begun.

Emerging on the stage in 1997 was the Syndicate Organization, created by Harry Hughes to finance essentially a paramilitary operation to combat the rebellion in the northern area of the region. By 2005 the fighting had largely ceased and an unsteady ceasefire had been arranged. Damage, however was done. The Syndicate quickly reorganized from a military operation to a humanitarian one and essentially financed the Karera Highway System, along with a significant number of other projects. Riding on the positive image of the Syndicate, Harry Hughes coasted to the Presidency in the 2008 election. He easily won a second term in 2012 and stunned the nation by breaking almost 150 years of tradition to run for a third term. With 71% of the vote, Hughes won a third term in what is widely considered to be, at best, a suspicious election. Hughes’ popularity isn’t really questioned, but his methods certainly are.

The policies enacted since 2009 have been, at best, described as paternalistic. Ranging from the more mundane such as banning chewing gum in Ft. Duncannon for cleanliness purposes to limitations on free speech, assembly, and the press. In 2013, President Hughes organized the Committee for Un-Clarenthian Activity to monitor activity it describes as “counter to the mutual prosperity of Clarenthians.” Still, proponents will say: look at the results.

President Hughes has made the mission of the Clarenthian Government very clear: become the Mompracem and Nedernesië of Westernesse. To turn one of the poorest countries in the world into the richest, Hughes outlined three common traits that propelled Mompracem and Nedernesië: 1) Geographic Centrality 2) Political Stability and 3) Ease of Doing Business.

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Logo of AirClarenthia, the country's state-owned Airline. [/div]​
While not as geographically inclined as the aforementioned, Clarenthia is nevertheless a key location for ships traveling west from Gallo-Germania or Himyar to Westernesse to Toyou. None of that centrality matters if you cannot get to the country. To correct that, in 2010 the country reorganized its airlines into AirClarenthia. The small, largely regional commuter flight operation emerged into a large international presence flying brand new airplanes. In conjunction, the government invested tens of millions into the construction of a hyper-modern Ft. Duncannon International Airport (opened in 2013), a brand-new convention center (opened in 2014). While not on the level as many other first-world airlines, AirClarenthia is doing its job of opening Clarenthia to the world.

Political stability remains as one of Clarenthia’s largest hurdles. Sizable portions of the country continue to not recognize the legitimacy of the Palmerton Government and so few years under the country’s current government leads many to speculate on whether the recent increase in stability is more to do with institutional progress or the political authority of Harry Hughes. Clarenthia is, in effect, a police state. Random check points exist all around the country and strict security is present in most areas of Palmerton, the capital. Ft. Duncannon has become one of the cleanest cities in the world in part due to the banning of single-use plastics and bags, but also due to a requirement for all able-bodied individuals to participate in a “community cleaning” day at the last Saturday of every month. There are even some reports of widespread detention of “undesirables” on the streets. The truth about whether Clarenthia is experiencing stability or fear-induced obedience as yet to come. There has not been a peaceful transition of power since 2009 and nobody really knows if the country will continue on the right path after Hughes leaves office. After the announcement of his third campaign for president in 2016, Hughes himself has stated that if he is “unable to cultivate a successor, I will have failed to prepare the country for a post-me world. That’s a failure.” It’s now 2020 and he has announced his intentions to seek a fourth term.

The third component of Mompracem and Nedernesië’s success is their ease of doing business. Measured by a multitude of different standards, President Hughes has brought a certainty to Clarenthia that the country has not seen for a long time and is attractive to foreign investment. To achieve this, Clarenthia has embarked on a number of reforms to improve its business environment and building infrastructure. Convention centers, hotels, airports, and new roads have received substantial investment. Clearly, Clarenthia is on the hunt for international investment.

For all of the positives, it remains to be seen if Clarenthia’s prosperity is truly that – prosperity. Despite the growth, it remains one of the poorest countries and its methods raise obvious ethical implications. The next few years, especially in a post-Hughes world, will be a largely determining factor in Clarenthia’s continued success as a country.
 
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Nedernesië

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Eiffelandian Automakers Attempt to Crack Nedernesian Market
AP Vrijpoort, Trier

Luxury automakers from Eiffelland have recently launched new advert campaigns in Nedernesia highlighting their products' exquisite craftsmanship and reliability. One popular tagline reads '900,000ƒ for a Certificate of Entitlement? Then the car must be perfect. Raimer.'

The advert references the record-breaking price paid at this year's annual January auction for a Certificate of Entitlement, a document from the Land Transport Authority that authorises the holder to merely purchase an automobile. The LTA releases a limited number of CoEs every January for auction with the number made available based on traffic congestion data. There is also a 200% VAT tax on autos not used for commercial purposes.

Vrijpoort has the world's highest concentration of millionaires and billionaires and a large upper class who can afford private autos, so some marketing analysts are giving the new push a chance.


Jimmy Wong Fai from Standard Chartered said, 'The Hergestellt in Eiffelland brand is very beloved in Nedernesia and these carmakers have traditionally been leaders in this peculiar auto market. Those are the pluses. The minuses are that more and more Nedernesians who can afford a CoE plus the 200% VAT have been opting for cheaper brands from Pohjanmaa, Sylvania or Natal. Not to mention the current economic climate is causing even the upper class Nedernesian residents to tighten their belts. That is unlikely to affect the purchasing habits of the millionaires and billionaires, but we are only talking about a few thousand people; not enough to make a big difference on the balance sheet of Raimer'.
 

Polesia

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Folxmashin in negotiations with Eiffellander car industry
AP International

One of Europe's highest profile and unusual corporate disputes may be coming to an end after the Folxmashin, the Polesian state-owned automobile brand, confirmed it was in discussions with Eiffellander car manufacturers on ending the long-running legal battles over intellectual property violations.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry of the People's Republic of Polesia announced talks were taking place after the Eiffellander Chancellor, alongside car companies Darner and Rainer, made a public peace offer to Folxmashin. The two manufacturers and Eiffellander government promised to abandon legal action against Folxmashin and allow the firm to manufacture licensed copies of certain models if it ceased production of a number of car makes Darner and Rainer allege are unauthorized copycats.

Folxmashin has always denied its models were rip-offs, although most industry experts disagree. While one of the communist country's most famous exports, Folxmashin has achieved little commercial success abroad thanks to Polesia's mixed diplomatic status and consistent legal challenges launched by Eiffellander car makers. In response to Eiffellander diplomatic and legal pressure, Polesia triggered the self-defence clause of the communist alliance the Rurikgrad Pact, although vowed only to pursue an "economic and financial response".

Outside Polesia, Folxmashin's can be found predominantly in other Rurikgrad Pact states like Crotobaltislavonia, Kadikistan and Ostmark although the company recently agreed an export deal with the Anti-State. Folxmashin cars also have a cult following in some countries and are a collector's item for some and owned - usually ironically - by some celebrities.

Reliable sales figures are hard to company but Folxmashin lost an important market after the Rurikgrad Pact - of which Polesis is a member - cut ties with Sereniere, a Gallo-Germanian socialist nation, in a dispute over influence in the Burgundian People's Republic.

This, combined with growing scrutiny over the Pokesian government's links with organised crime and Kadikistani concerns the ongoing dispute would impact foreign investment into Kadikistan's special economic zones, are believed to have brought Folxmashin to the table.

None of the parties involved in the talks, including the Eiffellander and Polesian governments, were willing to discuss the direction of the discussions so far.
 
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Nedernesië

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BREAKING: Nedernesian Law Firm and Bank Allegedly Assisted Folxmashin with Exports
AP Vrijpoort

It has just come to the attention of the Associated Press Business that a Nedernesian law firm and boutique bank have had business ties to the Polesian automaker Folxmashin, currently entangled in an intellectual property battle with Eiffellandian automakers and the state of Eiffelland-Retalia.

Nedernesia's largest and notorious law firm, Van Daalen Wakefield Pryce, has allegedly been acting as legal counsel for Folxmashin drafting contracts, arranging import/export licenses and mediating disputes for years. Whether the firm has been involved in the latest salvo of disputes with Eiffellandian automakers is as yet unknown.

A boutique bank in Vrijpoort, Titov & Associates, has also been providing banking services to Folxmashin. According to the bank's website, it specialises in 'helping our clients find creative solutions around cumbersome international technicalities relating to conducting profitable business activities.'

The leaked documents acquired by the AP claim that Titov & Associates handles international payment transactions for the Polesian automaker whereby sales made internationally are sent to Folxmashin's accounts in Nedernesia and converted to Nedernesian Guilders and other internationally relevant convertible currencies.

Titov & Associates responded to our request for comment citing Nedernesia's strict banking secrecy laws, 'We do not discuss particulars of our business and client relationships.'

Van Daalen Wakefield Pryce similarly said, 'VDWP, as one of Europe's largest and premier law firms, has a huge book of clients engaged in a wide variety of business activities. We do not make a habit of confirming who we represent due to client confidentiality agreements. VDWP follows the law in the countries where it operates and where business is conducted.'

The leaked documents now raise questions if either the law firm or bank breached Nedernesian or international laws, particularly related to intellectual property theft, money laundering or tax evasion. The Nedernesian Financial Conduct Authority and the Royal Commonwealth Mounted Police Anti-Financial Crime Unit have announced investigations.
 

Eiffelland

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Eiffelloretalian car industry launches massive worldwide advertisement campaign focussing on its cheaper models
AP Trier

The car market in Eiffelland, Retalia and Eiffelland-Retalia has been roughly the same for the last 20 years. About 70% is in the hands of Eiffelloretalian car brands, and the is by far the most popular car, followed by the and the . To give an impression: One out of 12 new cars sold in Eiffelland-Retalia is a Darner Mistral. As a result, the car class to which the Mistral is assigned, officially called the compact class or C-segment, is colloquially referred to as the Mistral-class.
Internationally, the situation is different. Eiffelloretalian car brands are mostly associated with the more expensive car models from Raimer, EKW and Borschel. The cheaper Eiffelloretalian car models like the ones from Darner and the smaller ones from EKW ( and ) and Raimer ( and ) have the prejudice of being overpriced, while in reality neither their prices nor their standard amount of accessories differ much from their Pelasgian, Natalian, Touzenese and other non-Eiffelloretalian equivalents in their classes. Indeed, the Raimer R200 is very luxurious compared with the standard hatchback from the compact class, but also the price of this car does not differ much from their most luxurious equivalents from non-Eiffelloretalian car brands. So in reality, against the prejudice, the cars are competitive enough.
In order to remove the prejudice about the smaller Eiffelloretalian cars that they are overpriced, Darner, EKW and Raimer launch a massive advertisement campaign to bring their smaller car models under the attention of the masses and make clear that these cars are definitely not overpriced. Darner introduces the slogan "We build cars for everyone" and starts using it for all its car models, both the conventional ones and the SUVs. EKW places the E3, the E4 and its cheaper SUVs under the attention with the slogan "High tech from only ... onwards" with the price of the lowest priced model on the dots. Raimer places the R200 and its smallest SUV under the attention of young urban professionals (men and women with bachelor's and master's degrees between 22 and 35 who are at the beginning of their careers, and have no children yet or have just started with grounding families) with the slogan "catch your dreams and more, from only ... onwards" with the price of the lowest priced model on the dots; furthermore, it places the R400 and its SUV-equivalent under the attention of people between 35 and 50 who advanced in their careers and have school-aged children.
All three companies emphasize what you get for what you pay (in terms of quality and durability, but especially in terms of accessories, fuel-efficiency and (where important) environmental properties).
On markets where the average car is traditionally bigger or much bigger than the Darner Mistral, EKW and Raimer are introducing versions of the , the and their SUV-equivalents that can compete with the lower priced cars in their respective size classes.


OOC: I am a bit in doubt about what would be realistic to RP as the car market in Eiffelland-Retalia. I looked at the statistics about the car sales in Germany in December 2019 for a comparison, but given the fact that far less car brands are RPed at this forum than there are in reality, I have a problem with translating the German statistics to this forum.
By the way, the fact that Hartnett cars are free of tariffs now will have an impact on my car market; more about that later.
 
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Nedernesië

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Rising Number of Ships Registered in Nedernesia; Questions Raised Over Safety and Rights
AP Vrijpoort

More and more shipowners, from large container ships, bulk carriers, oil and gas tankers to cruise ships, are choosing to register their vessels in Nedernesia due to the low registration costs and lax regulations. This has led Maritime Nedernesia, the government agency where ships are registered, to boast one of the largest commercial ship registries in the world. With so many ships around the world flying the Nedernesian flag, it raises the question why so many firms favour the market archipelago for their vessels' paperwork and whether workers' rights and safety might be compromised.

Aside from the low cost of registration, many ship owners are attracted to the lax labour laws in Nedernesia, which can be adhered to onboard their vessels. For example, there is no minimum wage in Nedernesia (although market forces provide decent wages to most workers there), shifts can be up to 12 hours long for most professions, non-citizens and non-permanent residents do not have to pay into Commonwealth Provident Fund savings schemes for healthcare, housing and retirement, which means the employers don't have to either and crew members are not required to be able to swim, as that is considered to be 'within the realm of common personal sense' in the eyes of the Nedernesian government. Since nearly all crew members of Nedernesian flagged vessels are not Nedernesian citizens or permanent residents, this saves the shipowners' vast sums of money.


Neil Simmons, an analyst at Smithfields Analytics, a maritime analytical firm, said that, 'You have vessels that have never entered Nedernesian territorial waters, yet they are registered there. The process can all be done online in a matter of hours and is extremely cheap compared to most other countries. An Aurarian or Eiffellandian cruise ship operator doesn't have to pay minimum wage of those countries and can work the crews on 12-hour shifts if they want to. Then you have merchant marine fleets from nearly every country where the vessel owners flag the ships in Nedernesia, again saving on registration fees and lax labour laws. It's incredible how much Maritime Nedernesia profits from all this just because of sheer volume. It's yet again another vein of remarkable Nedernesian capitalism.'

AP asked Maritime Nedernesia how they manage to ensure proper ship seaworthiness despite many of the ships never or very rarely sailing to Nedernesia. They responded:

Maritime Nedernesia requires all vessels registered in Nedernesia to undergo rigorous safety and seaworthiness checks on regular intervals, to be performed by a verified and certified independent inspection company approved of by Maritime Nedernesia and listed on our website. Failure to furnish regular safety inspection passes would result in financial penalties, formal warnings and, if left unresolved, revocation of registration and the right to fly the Nedernesian flag at sea. It is the responsibility of every ship's owner to ensure proper health and safety measures are established and maintained onboard. We vet and verify our independent inspection partners are place full confidence in their ability to perform inspections on behalf of Maritime Nedernesia.
When abuses of the meagre labour laws do occur, or other issues arise onboard, the inability for Maritime Nedernesia to enforce the law outside Nedernesian territorial waters leaves open the vastness of the Thaumantic and Implarian for owners to do as they please. Perhaps that is the true reason as to why so many ships fly the white crane of commerce.
 
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Eserland

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Banc Gascar Stocks Rise as CEO Announces Expansion Plans for Southern Gallia
AP Banderfal

Stocks for the Gascaran-based Banc Gascar rose in trading this afternoon after CEO Jaume Maura announced at a press conference that the company plans on expanding its operations into Madurja following improved Q1 earnings driven by a growing customer base in nearby Auraria. One of the few Eserian banks headquartered in Gascara, Banc Gascar has in recent years begun a campaign of aggressive expansion outside of Eserland in the face of reluctance by many Eserians to entrust their hard earned money to a Gascaran bank. It is believed that cultural and historical ties between Gascara and Auraria were behind the decision to make it the starting point for BG's movement into greater Gallia, and so far that has proven incredibly profitable for its investors.

"It is just common business sense to make Madurja our next expansion target," Mr. Maura stated at the press conference earlier this afternoon, "despite its economic struggles the country is in need of development of a strong banking sector, I hope we may be able to contribute to that by opening branches across the country." He projected cautious optimism throughout the rest of the conference, stating that he truly believed the bank would be able to gain the confidence of Madurans. Banc Gascar plans on launching a large-scale marketing campaign to ensure the success of its Maduran branches.

Mr. Maura also announced that the bank would be establishing a regional headquarters in the Maduran capital of Redondo and hopes to begin hiring new personnel soon once suitable office space has been rented out. "Breaking into a new market won't be easy, but I know we can do it because we've done it before," Mr. Maura said near the close of the presser. The bank plans on having its first branches in Madurja open by the beginning of July, with more to follow in the subsequent months. It is also instituting special low interest rates for Maduran citizens who take out loans or mortgages from July until the end of the year in the hopes of establishing a strong customer base which it can grow from over the next few years.
 

Dalriada

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Surveyors cut lifespan of Dalriada's oil reserves
AP Dalriada

Scientist and surveyors of the National Petroleum Board posted bad news with their 2020 report. Stating that the lifespan of the country's oil reserves under current rates of extraction & consumption is at 30 years, down by 47% from the 2015 report.

With market already suffering from a panic over a possible conflict in the Silk Sea which were cooled with news of the Jugol Peace Conference.

Markets may start to become nervous again in light of the report.
 

Serenierre

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Gallia United: An experiment in political monetarism
AP Monserans

The Premier of Serenierre has announced a radical policy in a latest press conference aimed at solidifying Serenierre as a force of Gallian unity which will also serve to be an experiment in political economy. The Government of Serenierre has announced that it shall be creating a special economic zone in the city of Monserans, the economic hub of the country, wherein the legal tender of all Gallian nation states recognised by the People's Republic of Serenierre shall be accepted by local concerns.

The policy directive, which is designed to bring Gallia closer together in bonds of economic and trade relations, would also see many trade barriers lifted as Gallian currencies would be able to move freely into Monserans' special economic zone. This highly symbolic move is also economically potent as potential Gallian investors may find that they have direct access to the Serenien economy in their own currencies.

The State Bank of Serenierre, however, has announced that it will ensure that there is no currency manipulation and would regulate the endeavour. The policy will be available to citizens and the currencies of Auraria, Asteria, Etruria, Furlanie, Nedernesie, Eserland, Madurja, Petit-Pays & Tyskonia, Montedoro, and most surprisingly, also to Eiffelland-Retalia.
 
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Nedernesië

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Nedernesian Blue Chips Face Worst Trading Week of Year Following Attacks in Dune Sea
AP, Vrijpoort

The largest firms on the Vrijpoort Securities Exchange, the so-called blue chips named after the blue coloured highest valued poker chips, have been experiencing their worst trading week of the year following dozens of terrorist shootings and bombings across the Dune Sea. Many Nedernesian firms such as NedFoods, Galp (subsidiary of Staatolie), Standard Chartered Bank, The Standard Group which trades separately from Standard Chartered Bank, Universal Parcel Service and KLM Royal Nedernesian Airways have been hit hard as investors are losing confidence that the Dune Sea protectorate government and the Nedernesian military will be able to pacify the situation.

As the trading day ended at 16h Nedernesian Standard Time, the sun was setting in the Dune Sea on the first night after Chief Executive Mbonambi declared a State of Crisis which authorises nighttime curfews and random spot checks of any civilian. The lack of security and increased counter measures likely to be employed will dampen investor sentiment as business becomes slower and more expensive - exactly the opposite of what protectorate status for the Dune Sea was supposed to bring.

Yet because the Dune Sea has few mid and large sized companies of its own, the affected Nedernesian firms are likely to pick up steam as traders remember that they are active in markets Europe-wide, not just in the Dune Sea. Standard Chartered's Quarter 1 earnings report showed stable business in its home market of Nedernesia and growth in Scania, Westernesse and parts of Gallo-Germania. While the bank's operations in the Dune Sea are highly publicised due to the fact that it is one of the only international large banks operating there, its exposure to the Dune Sea is quite small.

Many analysts that specialise in the Dune Sea are predicting that investors will get used to what will likely be a new normal with frequent security checks, secured 'green zones', a large police and military presence and the added cost of private security required to operate most businesses. Despite the safety concerns, Standard Chartered, Dubois Private Bank and Zilverman and Kims maintain a positive mid and long-term outlook for the Dune Sea even with added security costs taken into account.
 

Touzen

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Captain Fenn highlights vulnerability of business in an international world with few common oversights
AP Siyang

From his top floor penthouse in downtown Sha Po district overlooking the harbor on the other side of Siyang Bay, Thibaud Rodin, a 37 years old Serenierre nationale, has the best view a man could hope to buy for money in the Legation State. Every evening, him and his girlfriend Ying Yue enjoy dinner here prepared by another one of Siyang's international top restaurants, while overlooking the sea of lights visible through the wall-sized windows in their living room.

It could all be a perfect story - but the money Rodin acquired to afford these luxuries is from dubious sources, some would say.

When it was revealed by an unknown blogger last month that Rodin was in fact the head behind Captain Fenn, the notorious website millions across Europe are using to access content on Natalian giant Natflick's platform without paying a single Euromark, Rodin was not arrested, as would be expected from a man running a website making a profit off what in many jurisdictions could clearly be described as commercial copyright infringement. Instead, Rodin went in front of the press and confirmed that he was indeed running Captain Fenn, and that he was planning to expand its operations here in Siyang, saying he would move forward with opening up his own data center in an old warehouse near the coast to help distribute the load on his high demand platform.

How could this be?

The Legation State of Siyang is part of the Anti-State, and like any entity in the Anti-State, things work a little differently depending on where you are. Siyang is known as a free business hub, and the Extrafree Trade Authority that regulates imports and exports out of the Anti-State in accordance with its doctrine of ensuring that no "unfair labor" at lower cost can interfere with the domestic market of the Anti-State, has its headquarters in Siyang. Yet the quasi all-powerful cartel and trade oversight organ is only one aspect of Siyang: The other is its almost unregulated domestic market.

With no copyright regulations on written media, Siyang is the ideal home for an operation like Captain Fenn. While you may not copy the plans of an Eiffeloretalian car and produce it in your own factory, immaterial goods do not fall under these provisions - ever since 1971, when student protests against tuition cost and text book purchases led to the local councils to adopt an unprecedented law that allowed anyone to copy written media for their own personal usage and for the usage of others, provided that no money is charged for it. Time and time again, the last time in 2014, Siyang courts confirmed that digital media falls under the 50 years old law. And Rodin charges no money for anyone to access Captain Fenn - which is famously advertising its services as being free for anyone to use. Instead, a copious amount of ads and partnership programs with e-commerce platforms bring in more than enough revenue for its founder to live a lavish lifestyle while having enough money to pay over 30 technicians and moderators to maintain the platform. All, according to Siyang law, perfectly legal.

So while Rodin is safe as long as he does not leave the Anti-State, his case highlights the issues arising in an international world without central regulation: It only takes one odd man out jurisdiction to change the rules of the entire game, and if you are a Natalian media conglomerate, your hands are tied in the absence of international commerce standards. If you build cars, your profit is safe - for now. Rodin announced yesterday that he already had some ideas to provide GPS navigation systems for free for a series of international car brands, pointing out that the map data itself was digital and could easily be run on a Robodroid computer system. Rodin is currently looking into opening a chip manufacturing plant in Dravidpur to facilitate his next expansion plan.
 

Pelasgia

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Chamber of Deputies Rejects Emperor's Fiscal Bill, Pelasgian Credit Rating Falls
AP Propontis

The Pelasgian Chamber of Deputies has refused a new set of taxes, levies, and fiscal measures that the Imperial Government has sought to impose by a vote of 376 against, 105 for, and 44 abstaining. The Liberal Union and Constitutionalist Party (joined earlier this year into the Liberal Constitutionalist Party) voted against the bill, while the Absolutist Party voted in favour, and the DKKP abstained. The Chamber was in emergency session, having been called back during summer recess, with the express purpose of voting on the emergency fiscal bill. This is a major defeat for the Absolutist Government, which now has no direct means to support Pelasgia's growing deficit apart from further credit, which seems difficult in the present economic environment, especially given Pelasgia's increasingly close relationship with Kadikistan. Pelasgia's banks, which are mainly owned by Liberal Union-aligned shipping magnates, have expressed skepticism about lending the Empire to finance further militarisation of major trade routes.

The leadership of the Liberal Constitutionalists, represented by Deputies Philippos Merkoures of Thoricus (for the former Constitutionalist Party) and Ioannes Kravatas-Apostolakis of Therisus (for the former Liberal Union) attacked the Absolutist Government's policy. Mr. Merkoures outlined a long list of what he deemed "needless economic baggage of Empire," including an ongoing war in South Himyar and preparations for an intervention in Nzadiland, active colonisation of the "unprofitable dirtlands of the Far South," overseas bases in the former Zarakas colony and Justiza, three separate naval rearmaments since 2000, decades of annual military aid to Asteria and Serenierre, and general decades of deficits for social spending. Mr. Kravatas-Apostolakis questioned "why the Pelasgian working man should pay for these costs of Empire," at a time when Pelasgia is choosing to increasingly align with Kadikistan over its Gallo-Germanian trade partners. Kravatas-Apostolakis also inquired as to exactly what went on during Prime Minister Platanias' visit to Grau.

With global stocks plummeting, including stocks in Pelasgia Petroleum S.A. following Long Sea tensions, Propontis Stock Exchange (PRX) plummeted on Wednesday morning. Rumours of a Germanian war also tanked Pelasgia's main shipping firms, which are the largest Pelasgian industry by far, given Pelasgia's possession of the largest trade fleet in Europe. Fears of trade route disruption, sanctions, and ship seizures scared markets, while only grain exports, which are mainly targeted at Kadikistan seemed to fare well. The Bank of Pelasgia, the country's central bank, responded to the pressures through quantitative easing, a policy which has somewhat stabilized downwards pressures, but has brought increasing negative speculation about the future value of the Pelasgian hyperpyron (PGH). In response to these pressures, three major international credit rating agencies reduced Pelasgia's credit rating from A+ to A.
 

Kadikistani Union

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They will not admit it, but the Kadikistani Union is bleeding
AP Trier

Though we are lacking an official response by the Kadikistani government concerning the economic consequences of the ODS sanctions against the massive socialist nation we have used our extensive network of analysts and specialists to make a factually grounded analysis of the current state of the All-Union economy along with our hypothetical projections for the future. Needless to say the short term consequences for the withdrawal of no less than eight, five Eiffelloretalian and three Natalian, major companies from the Kadikistani Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will be very painful. We will also take into account the two major Johnstonian companies who pulled back their investments a few months prior to the recent sanctions.

While due to the many privileges that said companies enjoyed the income from exploitation, processing, production and export were minimal compared with the main issue which is the loss of a long-standing flow of hard currency. The eight companies roughly employed 60,000 local workers, whom will have to be re-asigned by the Commissariat for Labour. Those working on the lower-end like miners will have no trouble being reassigned to one of the State companies or alternative investors, but those who worked in more specialized functions will often see their amassed skill set become useless. More importantly these 60k Kadikistani's will see their dream of joining the growing middle class come under stress.

Renewed Friulian investments along with a tripling of the tariffs and taxes on state-run exports such as natural gas and oil products offer some compensations on the short-term, but the real problem that faces the Kadikistani economy lies on the long-term. Right now Eiffelland-Retalia has not yet found a replacement for the Kadikistani Union as its largest energy donor. Even when it does it will take several more months for the transport infrastructure to be set up and first shipments to be made. Until the time when that is finalized the Kadikistani Union will be able to put a band-aid on the losses it is currently suffering. That is as long as the ODS sanctions on other non-ODS companies do not succeed in their endeavour to discourage further future investments.

The long-term consequences of the ODS sanctions are much more dire as the revenue made from the eight departed companies pale in comparison to what is made through the export of both raw and processed resources by State-owned companies such as oil, natural gas, coal and timber among various others. While still being able to rely on the Rurikgrad Pact integrated economy and long standing trade agreements with nations like the Pelasgian Empire, Engellex and Varinia, the end of all exports to Eiffelland-Retalia, which served as a distribution point for further export Westwards, will no doubt have a heavy impact on the Kadikistani economy and potentially send the nation into a recession. Lacking in official data it remains to be seen how the Kadikistani Union and by extension the Rurikgrad Pact will digest this.
 

Azraq

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Azraq vows to ramp oil production in response to Pelasgia crisis
AP Jugol

With global energy markets still reeling from the outbreak of civil war in the Pelasgian Empire, one of the world's largest oil producers, the Empire of Azraq, has pledged to increase production in a bid to help stabilise prices.

In a press statement, the Azraqi Imperial Oil, Coal and Natural Gas Corporation, a state-owned enterprise, promised to "do all within its power" to "minimise damage to the world economy caused by the disruption to energy supplies resulting from internal troubles within Pelasgia".

As a legal monopoly, the Azraqi Imperial Oil, Coal and Natural Gas Corporation is responsible for the extraction, processing and export of all of Azraq's fossil fuel reserves, although has a number of joint ventures with overseas companies in which it is the majority partner.

According to the Association of Oil-Producing States, Azraq has proven oil reserves of 15,000 millions of barrels, and produces approximately two million barrels of oil a day.

Most is this shipped aboard for refining, although Azraq has recently invested in building up its own refinery capacities.

Industry experts have questioned to what extent Azraq can boost production or what effect it will have on energy markets given the brewing conflicts in the Long Sea region and Gallo-Germania. "Geopolitical tensions are likely to keep prices high for sometime," predicts one analyst.

In addition to considerable oil reserve's, Azraq also has an estimated 6,000 billion m³ in natural gas reserves and is also an important producer of rare metals and gems.

However over the last two decades, the northeastern Himyari country has invested heavily into diversifying into new sectors such as tourism to reduce its dependency on energy exports.
 
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Nanxing

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Nanxing Commerce Ministry directs companies to adhere to ODS sanctions on Kadikistan
AP Yinjing

The Commerce Ministry of Nanxing issued guidance today directing all Nanxing-registered companies to comply with the sanctions guidelines issued against Kadikistan by the ODS. The Ministry clarified Nanxing does not intend to join the sanctions regime and retains full independence in its foreign policy, but that after careful deliberation the Ministers had reached a consensus that co-ordinated action to pressure Rurikgrad was in Nanxing's sovereign interest.

The Yinjing Commondities index fell in response to the news, led by brown coal, steel and copper.
 
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