While my students today - who grew up with full colour mover news channels - find it hard to believe, not so long ago, radio news was the only way most people could find out about the world around them. This is typically a curiosity, but reaches a greater pitch of importance when considering the impact of media on statecraft and war-making. As a result, I am careful to assign my classes excerpts from popular radio news channels as supplements to their more conventional readings. Of course, this typically means a lot of High Calderan diction in the classroom, but it can’t be helped. The following excerpt from 23/4 171 AG has done valiant service for six years in supporting my module on the ‘Crises of the Early 170s.’ - Professor Roh Gannor, Ba Sing Se University.
Of course, if you ask me, his students are doing a valiant service in staying awake during his lectures…but where are my manners? While this archive is predominately text based, my dear brother pointed out that we could expand its appeal through the inclusion of multimedia material. I therefore asked Gannor, who has a real enthusiasm for such things - although not for the vaunted Fire Nation Broadcasting Corporation, the best source of news on the planet - to dig up a sample from one of his classes. I append a transcription below this note - Ursa.
Good evening, you’re listening to the FNBC World Service, live from Broadcasting House in Caldera City. Today’s headlines:
- Zaofu and Omashu state forces have destroyed a large daofei camp in the Kolau Mountains.
- Harbour City is seeing a run on the banks following the loss of merchant vessel Himeh.
- An earthquake in Fire Fountain City has left dozens injured.
- Fire Lord Izumi’s proposed reforms to the national curriculum have met with fierce opposition in the Diet.
- President Raiko of the United Republic struck an isolationist approach in his inauguration speech.
- Crown Prince Iroh may be stepping out with Asami Sato.
Now, the stories.
Smoke rises over the peaks of the southern Kolau Mountains as Zaofu and Omashu State troops mop up the stragglers of a large force of daofei - the Earth Kingdom word for bandits. Under the joint command of King Yudei of Omashu and Matriarch Beifong of Zaofu, two thousand soldiers were engaged in a campaign lasting three weeks. Pundits have noted that the scene of the battle is some distance from Zaofu. When questioned, Matriarch Beifong responded that she was “simply doing my duty to the Earth Kingdom and helping my neighbours.”
Professor Jisun at Caldera University, an expert in the south-western Earth Kingdom, suggests this action is yet another manifestation of weak governance from Ba Sing Se. Some analysts have gone further, arguing that the military coordination between Omashu and Zaofu reflects a growing independent block within the kingdom. Queen Hou-Ting has yet to make a formal statement.
The situation in Harbour City can best be described as frenetic, with queues in front of First Glacier Bank stretching for nearly a mile. This financial panic was spurred by tumbling stock prices at Varrick Global Industries after the loss of their freighter Himeh in the Southern Ocean yesterday - the third such sinking in two weeks. Chief Tonraq has appealed for calm and is understood to be exploring a stimulus package. Iknik Varrick, eccentric head of Varrick Global Industries, pledged today to deploy a personal battleship to the region to assist in maritime protection. United Forces Commander Cuzon, who holds responsibility for international patrols in the region, suggested this was “understandable, but an overreaction to an unfortunate accident.”
High Chief Unalaq in Agna Qel’a has not commented on the matter, although sources within his court report that the High Chief is “incensed at another example of crass materialism,” from the southern tribe.
All that’s left of this quarter is a sea of red bricks following an earthquake in Fire Fountain City, measuring a 5.3 on the Beifong scale. Dozens were injured, and seventeen are in critical condition, although the damage less than it might have been due to Caldera-directed safety standards. Fire Lord Izumi has dispatched Princess Ursa to represent the throne in the relief effort, and Fire Army personnel from Ma’inka have been sent to bolster the civil power.
The Diet was in uproar this morning due to Fire Lord Izumi’s curriculum reform bill. The reform takes direct aim at Fire Lord Zoryu’s centralisation of power as a key factor in setting the conditions for Sozin’s despotism and criminality. While well received by historians of the Age of Kyoshi, and representatives from Sei’naka and Saowon, it encountered fierce resistance from the Phoenix Party. Councilwoman Erala, acting as spokesperson for the Party, denounced the planned changes as “a politically driven attempt to distort our country’s history.” Fire Lord Izumi did not comment publicly on this issue, but a court official told press that, “we must all reckon with the sins of our past so that we may continue to move forward.” The Diet will sit tomorrow to consider amendments to the bill.
President Raiko made history today, becoming the first elected leader of the United Republic. In his inaugural address, he acknowledged and thanked the stewardship of world leaders - particularly Tenzin, son of Avatar Aang. However, he also turned heads with a clear declaration that his role, and the role of the United Republic, was “not to spend blood and treasure in the endless pursuit of global harmony. We will take up our rightful place in the community of nations, working in concert where we can, and alone where we must. My duty is first, foremost, and forever to the people of the United Republic.”
Professor Dakai at Yu Dao University, a scholar of United Republic politics, told the FNBC that this represented a clear departure from the legacy and intent of the United Republic as set out by Fire Lord Zuko and Avatar Aang. Avatar Korra could not be reached for comment on this issue.
On a lighter note, the Republic City Gazette today alleged that Crown Prince Iroh is romantically involved with Asami Sato, CEO of Future Industries and daughter of the disgraced industrialist Hiroshi Sato. The Gazette observed that the Crown Prince and Ms. Sato have been seen together several times, including twice at exclusive restaurant Kwong’s Cuisine. Ms. Sato has not commented on the matter, although the Crown Prince’s office issued a stern rebuke, saying that Ms. Sato is simply consulting on rebuilding plans for the United Forces.
This has been the FNBC World Service, live from Caldera City. Long live the Fire Lord. Goodnight.