This is SNN. My name is Gene Wallace and I'm bringing you up to speed on today's most important events.
Asia. Chinese state media report that today's launch of a Long March rocket from Wenchang Space Port was a full success. The rocket has a payload capacity of over 220.000 pounds and is expected to deliver a research module to the PRC's East Star Space Station. The new component contains a state-of-the-art space telescope that is claimed to be even more efficient than the James Webb Telescope. Secretary General Cheung Liu has echoed earlier statements of the Chairman that China will continue to expand the East Star with the goal of surpassing the US/Canadian-led Pennsylvania by the end of the decade. The joint North American space station has been the target of much criticism since the beginning of the economic crisis. Its detractors claim that the project puts a severe and cynical burden on the US federal budget while almost twenty percent of the American population still live below the poverty threshold. Proponents argue that the Pennsylvania relies heavily on the private sector and that it is absolutely essential to maintain the America's edge in modern scientific research. According to NASA Administrator Dr. Christopher Bosworth, several countries such as India, Japan and Australia as well as a number of European nations have expressed interest in joining the Pennsylvania project upon its completion. The move towards a new international space station would spread the costs and an involvement of the European Space Agency may help to improve the relationships between Europe and the United States, he explained.
Europe. Juergen Burkhard, the former head of the now defunct European Domestic Security Directorate, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in The Hague after being found guilty of issuing the controversial order to employ lethal force against the popular revolutions that followed in the wake of the GLA attack. European police and military forces refused to comply and instead apprehended Burkhard. He remained unrepentant and seemingly unfazed throughout the entire trial, explaining that 'these so-called protesters were just a bunch of nationalistic rats that tried to turn back the course of history' and that it was 'his duty to protect the grand European project against the reactionary rabble'. Additional charges that were held against the 67 year old included embezzlement, fraud and high-treason. The verdict was met with much relief and spontaneous celebrations across the continent. Britain's Prime Minister Susan Adams has also welcomed the decision and stated that 'it is necessary to account for the misdeeds of the past in order to lay the right groundwork for the future of Europe. The British people acknowledge that we need -a- European community in this global day and age, but it has to be a small, tightly knit group of true partners, built on mutual respect and a streamlined leadership legitimised by national democracy and a pragmatic, target-oriented policy approach rather than another misguided, totalitarian vision'. Furthermore, she expressed the full support of her government for the European Continental Alliance, whose founding treaties are to be finalised and signed in the next year.
Here in America, the city of Wichita, Kansas was in the focus of international attention today as President O'Connor, along with his Mexican counterpart Francisco Velazquez and the Canadian Prime Minister Anne Hamilton, attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the extension of the Interstate-35. As part of the NAU agreement signed earlier this week, the I-35, which is already the main north-south artery between Minnesota and Texas, will be expanded into a transnational super-highway over the coming years. The government argues that this will not only provide an incentive for new jobs and an economic stimulus, but also serve to strengthen the ties between the United States and our neighbours which is regarded as an important step in improving the nation's standing in the new global landscape. Our correspondent Ashley Park has more:
The idea of a North American Union has long been regarded as a looming spectre by many conspiracy enthusiasts, who have set up camp outside the city to protest against what they perceive as the foundation act of a 'totalitarian police state'. Talk radio host Andrew Johnston is one of them:
"This is the final nail in America's coffin. With this treaty, the federal government has officially ceded control of this nation and its people to the hidden cabal that is behind this rotten, globalist agenda that already gave us the EU and the GAPA. They control the banks, the military-industrial complex and the mass media and their goal is to create a one world government in which we're all united under their jackboot. They were the ones who created the so-called 'GLA' as a false flag bogeyman to destabilise the world and terrorise us to the point where we would blindly submit to whatever global authority promises to put an end to it. How else do you think these medieval desert people managed to stand against the joint military might of America and China for almost a decade? Because -they- let them! I swear to God, within the next few months, we'll be witnessing the transformation of this country into a fascist, Orwellian slave state where the Man can just snatch you off the street and put you and your family in a FEMA camp! We're here today to pay our final farewell to the US of A - Born on the fourth of July 1776, murdered here and now in 2033!"
Indeed, the North American Union proposal was one of the most hotly debated subjects in recent US history, though its numerous proponents from both major parties say that its intentions are nowhere near as sinister as its detractors would claim and that it is in fact a necessity in a world plagued by terrorism and economic crises. During his speech, President O'Connor has expressed confidence that the NAU will help America get 'back on track' after the hardships of the previous years:
"The cynics look at the failure of the European Union and say that the NAU will go down the exact same path: That we're going to abandon our traditions, submit to a centralised authority and surrender our economic self-governance in the form of our currency. Well, I do have an answer to these people: We already -have- a strong currency whose value and integrity are well-respected across the entirety of North America that's actually been around for quite a while; it's called the US Dollar! We already -have- our joint infrastructures, our interconnected economies and the lively cultural exchange between our peoples since many decades. As such, it is more than reasonable for us to capitalise on these good relationships in times of chaos and desperation across the entire rest of the world. The nations of Europe are recovering from the most devastating catastrophe since the Second World War. The once proud peoples of Asia are writhing under the whip of their red Chinese masters. The Middle East is ruined beyond all recovery. Our nation has been through dark times in the past few years. We all had to make our sacrifices, but at the end of the day, the United States of America came back from the worst economic collapse in its entire history. The bottom of this terrible, terrible depression is behind us. Now, we must preserve and potentiate our new economic momentum to secure a brighter future for all of us. Given these circumstances, it -is- only logical for us to look for common ground with our neighbours in Canada and Mexico and I am absolutely positive, ladies and gentlemen, that the United States of America will benefit greatly from this historical agreement."
"Our middle class will benefit from new jobs and opportunities, but also from the marvels of modern scientific progress: Over the coming years, new robotic production technologies, developed by some of the greatest minds of our best universities, will once again make our production economy competitive against the Chinese manufacturing juggernaut. Modern infrastructure programmes such as this new highway, as well as a new generation of fusion-based power plants and an extension of the vactrain network will improve our everyday lives and our children will benefit from a modern educational system. Everyone, from the blue collar worker and the small business owner to the corporate manager and the Wall Street banker, will continue to do their fair part in making this nation great once more. Meanwhile, the sizeable oil deposits of Canada, Mexico and our own country will render us fully independent from the perpetual chaos that reigns in the Middle East until newer, cleaner alternatives in the form of bio-fuels and electro-mobility are fully adopted. And finally, our armed forces and intelligence communities will join their powers and adapt to the geopolitical realities of the present, lest we get tied up in another endless series of wars across the globe. Today, we are witnessing the birth of a stronger, revitalised United States, one that promotes true responsibility, mutual cooperation and the indomitable 'can do' spirit of the American people over small-minded insularity and pessimism. Of course, all of these hopes and good intentions won't do much to convince the cynics; but the success of this North American Union certainly will! May God bless America - All of it!"
With an ever-growing number of unmanned combat systems entering service with the US military, the DoD has recently green-lighted a new directive which would disconnect the deployment of military drones from American field factories and centralise them at a new, dedicated structure. The Drone Assembly Plant is used to build a variety of military robots. According to many experts, this new generation of drones will fill the niche between infantry and vehicles, providing firepower and protection for a number of specialised purposes at a much more economical price.
A distant cousin of the first crude unmanned ground vehicles fielded after the turn of the millennium, the Rottweiler Sentry Drone has been a workhorse of the United States military since the Global War on Terror and has been given another systems upgrade to keep up with the times.
Armed with a fully automatic AA12 assault shotgun, these rugged Marine CQB specialists form the spearhead of any American infantry operation, making short work of enemy foot soldiers at close range. The military role of the Vanguards is brutal, up-close and archaic, but at the same time surprisingly intricate due to the contents of their large backpacks: These contain a number of autonomous weapon systems that can be deployed by the Vanguard and perform a variety of combat tasks without any additional human input: A stationary minigun turret, a Roach UCAV that follows its human master to provide additional fire support with its rocket launchers and a lightweight aircraft that is propelled into the air by a simple throw in order to launch itself into garrisoned structures with a powerful explosive payload.