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Sunday, August 16, 2178

**Top Stories**

13 Killed in Military Shuttlecraft Accident

New Albion - A military shuttle crashed Thursday during a routine aerospace interface flight, killing all 13 people aboard, including Brigadier General Sean Graver, reported the base commander. The accident occurred at 6:50am local time near the woodland village of Jonstown, 30 kilometers east of the New London. Officials state that the Cosgrove-7 shuttle reported a mechanical problem moments before it disappeared from the sensor net. The Cosgrove-7 is one of a dozen military passenger shuttles that are permenantly stationed at the Sir Toughlee Base just outside of New London. All other Cosgrove-7 shuttles have been grounded pending the results of the investigation.

Coup Leader Arrested by PAU Military

New Lusaka - Rebel leader Sum Dhrugs and several of his advisors were arrested Wednesday by PanAfrican Union military forces, a PAU holovid news broadcast reported. Initial reports have Dhrugs and his legal advisor and spokesman being held at a detention center in the capital city of New Lusaka. Dhrugs and all his supporters were previously granted amnesty as part of a deal that saw the release of the last of his hostages seized when Dhrugs and a gang of gunmen stormed the Legislation Building, claiming it was on the behalf of oppressed Gabon peasants. But reports Wednesday say that the army is holding Dhrugs responsible for crimes still being committed by his supporters. The PAU's military has bolstered its presence on New Lusaka in order to counter any new violence.

Lawsuits Allege Faulty Landing Gears Caused Deaths

Fliescher II - Two families have sued Boing-Martin and the Kansai Korporation, alleging that the Kansai-produced landing gears on the Boing-Martin Athena aerospace personal shuttles fracture and break, causing fatal accidents.

The lawsuits filed Tuesday follow the deaths in North Bradley of 22-year-old Sal Manilla in November and 37-year-old holo-vid personality Strep T. Caucaus in March, and accuse the gear-maker and the aerospace shuttle company of negligence.

"We are pursuing this because we do not believe the mega-corporations really care about the safety of the consumer. We've lost our son; we don't want someone else to go through the same, horrid tragedy," cried Mrs Manilla.

Dozens of similar accidents have prompted the Royal Traffic Safety investigators to open an investigation into possible defects with the Kansai Korporation AFG, AFG II, and the Prime Loader landing gears.

"The problem becomes deadly on the newer Athena class ships because of the higher concentration of mass in the nose of the spacecraft," stated attorney Samual Finback. "This places undue stress on the forward gear mechanism upon landing."

"The higher concentrated mass in the front of the Athenas was a safety design consideration to protect the control and passenger cabin during any accidental collisions by the shuttle," responded Boing-Martin representative Jane Smartly during a press conference on Wednesday. "We have full confidence in the materials and manufacturing of all parts on the Athena. "

The Kansai Korporation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. about its gears. Almost 57 million of these gears have been manufactured to date.

Nitric Acid Spill Evacuates Part of New Moskva

New Moskva - Dozens of familes were evacuated from their homes Wednesday, and thousands of commuters were stranded because of a leak of nitric acid at a nearby factory. Decontamination teams were called in to the Korell Laboratories For The People early in the morning upon the discovery of nitric acid leaking from a tank. The acid formed an orange cloud that hung over that part of the city for several hours. Four Andrenovich Commuter trains were stopped on the tracks for more than an hour, preventing several thousand workers from reaching their assigned duty stations in a timely manner.

Sinasures Makes Slow Progress Under Law's Protection

Lancelot - New Anglian biologists are disheartened at the rate in which the population of the sinasure is recovering, despite measures taken over the years to ensure the animal's survival. While Royal Biologist Tom Femos oversees the program that limits resource exploitations in the extensive Davey Forest, in an effort to restore the depleted sinasure population, others are fighting against him.

"Knowing [the sinasures] can be here is very important to me," says Femos, who has only seen one sinasure in his 20 years of working in the forest. "I have a 4-year old daughter; I want her to have the opportunity to see a sinasure when she grows up."

Sinasures are natural predators of the burrowing tuskite, a destructive rodent-like creature which has no other predators. The numbers of tuskites, fortunately, has remained in control over the years, but that is changing, say biologists.

"Tuskites love to eat tree roots and undermine building foundations," says noted arborist Tim Dailey. "Without natural predation to keep their numbers in check, whole forests will disappear. Look at what has happened to the McClellan Woods in the Distil Province over the past 10 years."

While no one's kept good numbers, biologists say there were as few as 200 sinasures on the continent in 2153. Today there are only about 1,400, about half which can be found in the Davey Forest. That's still far from the estimated 65,000 sinasures that used to roam the planet 100 years ago.

Sinasures are a distant cousin to the ursoids of Earth. Standing upwards of 3 meters tall, weighing in at nearly 1000 kg, these creatures are armed with long, curving claws generally used for digging out burrowing creatures, but can be deadly weapons threatened. Not typically aggressive without a reason, sinasures have been known to attack and kill humans.

After the succesful re-introduction of loracles, an animal similar in nature to wolves, ranchers and other rural residents worry about bringing sinasures back to the area.

"You've got an animal that a lot of people tell us they don't want back," says Council Representative Stan Crappo. "Loracles don't eat people; sinasures eat people."

Crappo and other lawmakers have forstalled the government's attempts to reintroduce the sinasures until there is a scientific review.

Federal Stats Europa Offer Limited Autonomy to New French Republic in Bid for Peace

Compville - A deal to cede unprecedented powers to the New French Republic raised the chances of peace on the troubled continent but risked provoking demands for special treatment from other FSE regions seeking autonomy, commentators say.

FSE Prime Minister Anre Bach reached agreement with the New French Republic authorities Thursday in a breakthrough after months of talks to end nearly a decade of violence in the region.

But he did so only after offering to amend the constitution to allow the region's assembly to adapt FSE national laws.

Bach's proposals envision a phased transfer of power, pushing the thorny issue of constitutional change back to 2184 - at arm's length from the presidential campaign period.

Bach made it a condition that there must be a lasting peace before voting on the constitutional amendment, which would allow the region's assembly to adapt national laws.

Hollywood Accused of Inconsistent Details

Earth - An upcry has arisen recently over inconsistent details shown in some of Hollywood's holovid series. Viewers have expressed displeasure over how holovid stories have unexplanable changes between episodes.

"This is outrageous," lamented Donald Rindel, a fan of science fiction works. "In one episode of Galactic Mercenaries they'll show the Vanguard as having 4 fighter squadrons of 7 fighters each, then in another episode you can count nearly 20 fighters in the same squadrons. And this after they have stated in yet another episode that the ship can only carry 3 fighter squadrons!"

It is inconsistencies like that which seem to pervade many holovids, not limiting themselves to just science fiction series.

"We don't really care" replied Stan Berger, a producer of several holovid series, including Galactic Mercenaries. "We do what we do for the story, not to maintain some sort of hypothized technical consistency. This is fiction. You're not supposed to think!"

But some fans are not happy with not thinking. For some, thinking about the possibilities is the key to the holovids.

"It is very difficult for us to recreate on a simulation gaming table events which happen from vid to vid when the technical aspects of the ships and equipment changes from vid to vid," said Mark Hossford. "You can't have a ship carrying 3 fighter squadrons one week suddenly carry 6 squadrons the next week. It just doesn't work!"

"It's as bad as it was in the late 20th Century," noted historian Jerry Davis. "The more things change, the more things stay the same."

Yet the cries seem to fall on deaf ears in Hollywood.

"We don't understand what all the hoopalah is about. No one worries about when characters change. Why should they worry about when there are technical differences? That's not the point of the holovid. The point of the vids are to tell stories," continued Berger. "In one vid it will take the Vanguard 3 days going at FTL-4 to cover 17 parsecs, and in another vid it will take the same ship going the same speed 3 weeks to cover the same distance. It's not about technical accuracy. It's about the story. That's all there is to it."

Fans have started to circulate a petition requiring the studios adhere to technical consistency.

Apartment Building Explodes in Nouvea Paname

Nouvea Paname - An explosion tore through a downtown apartment building in New Paris about 2:30pm local time Tuesday, engulfing the building in a plasma fire and severing power to a large section of the city. 31 of the buildings 32 residents were accounted for, officials said. Several residents were treated at the scene for various injuries sustained in the blast. The whereabouts of the missing resident are not known, and it is feared that the resident may have been at the origin of the explosion, which appears to have been due to a faulty plasma power generator. It will be several days before firefighters and investigators will be able to sift through the rubble to determine if there are any trace evidence of the missing resident within.

Commission Affirms Memorial Site

Winchester - Consistent with the objectives of the McNeal-Fusaki-Geniffer Plan for New Brisbane's Royal Park design, the memorial provides an important visual and symbolic focal point in the historic timeline of the Park as the only 21st-century event honored with a location within the Park's boundaries. As noted in Friday's hearing, any lesser site would have diminished the importance of Second Solar War that so affected this colony.

In order to retain the open and parklike setting of New Brisbane's Royal Park, three-quarters of the memorial's 17.7 acres remain grass, trees, and water. The design is open and transparent and preserves the dramatic vista between the Highland Mountains, bordered by the Carrollton Ocean, and the city of New Brisbane.