NWV: Tibet Secession Standoff Continues Amid Rising Tensions

Crisis enters 66th day as China prepares 73rd assault on rebel monks

(Lhasa) – The weather is fair and mild in Lhasa, but the calm is belied by the simmering tensions between the Chinese military attempting to retake the city and the rebel monks holding it in defiance of Beijing’s demands.

Chinese troops camped outside the provincial capital appear restless and impatient with the intractable situation. When asked, many fondly remembered pre-NFVS campaigns in which they would, “stomp on the throats of western puppets with our boot heel,” as one soldier put it.

Major General Li Jun, the overall commander in charge of the operation, had more to say on the matter, “We are extremely pleased to announce that our great nation has just christened and launched its third modern aircraft carrier. This great advance will help us secure our borders and increase our standing as a leader in the global community.”

Access to Lhasa is strictly controlled and few supplies are smuggled in or out of the city. The blockade itself is proving less effective than military officials had first hoped due to the lack of starvation and disease within the besieged population. To complicate matters, many of the rebel monks are of an ascetic order that has foregone modern conveniences and electricity for thousands of years.

Frustration with the situation is palpable in Beijing where party officials are working to assure the greater population of China that they can still offer protection from dangerous minority groups. “The economic growth of China is set to exceed expectations and reach 9% this quarter,” states Wang Jie, a party spokesman, “At this rate we are set to double the size of US economy in 50 years.”

The 72 and counting failed offensives against the rebels, attributed to the military’s inability to kill or dislodge the rebel monks from their demolished stronghold, has some Chinese citizens questioning the efficacy and wisdom of staying the course.

“Lhasa? What’s a Lhasa?” asks Shanghai resident Liu Fang, turning in confusion to her boyfriend, Xi Bo, who shrugs his shoulders in response, his arms burdened with their daily haul from the shopping mall.

Not everyone is so pessimistic, however. Renowned scholar Zhang Chung of Peking University sees lessons to heed in history, “The United States has seen many cities burn and destroyed by its out-of-control citizens. Even in its own capital of Washington DC the government has lost control. Clearly western-style governance has failed. China is the future.”

Though the outcome of this protracted conflict is uncertain, what is clear is that China will be forever changed by the hard lessons learned in Lhasa.

NWV: K-Pop has K-Stopped

Linked to outbreak of Non-Functional Violence Syndrome say top harmologists                    

(Seoul) – The popular music industry in Korea is in an uproar over its suddenly humbled royalty, with many fans distraught over the idea that their beloved K-Pop may be gone forever.

The trouble began at a 2N2209E0XWWZWWJD concert, one of the highest-grossing groups in South Korean history, when the lead vocalist, Cho Hyun-min, suddenly fell silent during the group’s well known ballad “Baby, Baby, You are my Baby-Star, Baby, Star, Love, Star-Love, Baby-Love”. In a panic, the audience tried to pick up the tune, but found that they were also unable to produce even a few notes from the international hit. The concert was cancelled halfway through as disappointed and confused fans exited the stadium-venue and entered their new nightmare.

“I went home and tried to play a song from the new Gal Pal Gaggle album Eat My Foot, Baby Babe and it just wouldn’t play,” says inconsolable fan Lim Hye-ri, her eyes welling with tears as she recalls the traumatic memory and brandishes ten copies of the same album along with a set of trading cards depicting members of the group she loves, “I thought it might have just been that album so I tried another, but I got the same result! It’s like K-Pop just doesn’t work anymore!”

Within days of the disaster, the South Korean government directed its top scientists to find the cause of K-Pop non-functionality as a matter of national security. K-Pop is a staple of the government’s Korean-Wave cultural strategy.

“They told us we’d better find a solution soon or else…They left the ‘or else’ up to us,” biologist Lee Hyun-jae remembers, “But no one had any idea where to even begin. Fortunately the Americans arrived soon after and made sure our government accepted their explanation, so we never found out what they meant by ‘or else.’”

By the time K-Pop research was underway, the United States had begun funding the famous NFVS project under Dr. Hubert Slovache, who loaned South Korea a few scientists in response to formal requests by the South Korean President.

“Non-functional K-Pop is related to non-functional alright, there’s no mistaking it, all the signs are there. But what we can’t understand is why this very specific genre of music has been targeted,” an American harmologist speaking on the condition of anonymity due to security concerns related, “I mean, I kind of like K-Pop. It’s really catchy and the girls are super-hot.”

With the future of K-Pop in question, South Korean consumers have been forced to look elsewhere. Though most have latched onto still-functional popular music from other nations, some have ventured into Seoul’s long ignored independent music scene, which has seen an unprecedented 200% increase in sales and concert attendance in recent weeks.

Choi Ki-seok of the twee-folk band Die Hippie Fucker, Kill Kill marvels at the change, “We had like 20 people at our last show! I’ve never seen that many independent music fans in one place at one time in Seoul! If this keeps up I might be able to pay my rent this month!”

NWV: Mexican Cartels See Record Low Recruits for 3rd Consecutive Quarter

Drug runners feeling squeeze as NFVS diminishes luster of outlaw life

(Mexico City) – Santiago Jaso Cabello, known better internationally as La Rata Gruñendo (The Growling Rat), sits on the back porch of his secret mountain villa sipping lemonade from a tall, perspiring glass discussing the new challenges his industry has faced since the end of violence.

Speaking through a translator, La Rata Gruñendo is morose about the state of his business, “It wasn’t like this before, it’s never been like this. Before when we had a problem with a rival cartel, or the government launched an offensive against us, we would just kill lots of people and scare the hell out of everyone in the most creative ways we could come up with. Now it’s all just talking and talking and talking. There’s no art anymore.”

The drug kingpin isn’t the only one in the drug game who feels this way. According to sources within each of the top three Mexican cartels, without violence the life of a bandito outlaw no longer attracts the impressionable youths the cartels have historically used to swell their ranks. While new recruits are increasingly scarce, veteran employees are also choosing to pursue other careers.

“It just didn’t have the same thrill anymore,” says Diego Javier Rivera, a former cartel enforcer now working as a grocery bagger at a small bodega outside Mexico City, “It became all about numbers and quotas and margins and less about beheadings and torture. Writing reports on quarterly coca yields isn’t why I got into the business.”

In an industry requiring a great deal of institutional knowledge from its employees, this new high-turnover rate is causing major headaches. Without specialization and lifetime employment commitments from employees, some cartels have been forced to turn to temporary hiring agencies.

“We were first contacted by the Cabra Negro Cartel’s human resources department maybe two months ago,” remembers Gabriel Padilla Falto, manager of a local temp agency, “They were looking for young adult males with loose morals, but I only had a few of those. It seems they were desperate, so they really just took anybody we had.”

The influx of workers untrained in the tricks of the trade has meant more shipments seized by the government, more missed deadlines, and a tighter bottom-line for organizations used to the free-flow of massive capital.

Back at La Rata Gruñendo’s, the changes are beginning to take a personal toll, “If the business stays like this I might have to sell my place in Martha’s Vineyard and leave the game altogether. It’s starting to feel like it isn’t worth the hassle anymore.”

As the cartels have waned, multi-national corporations have stepped in to take their place and fill growing demand. Many drug aficionado’s poo-poo these new mass-produced corporate products and continue to seek out traditionally grown substances.

A self-declared ‘drugie’, the newly repurposed slang word meaning one who seeks out artisanal drugs, Jordan Maxwell of Denver puts it thusly, “Corporations are getting into, like, everything and ruining these, like, traditional family businesses. You gotta stop them, like, somewhere right? You know that quote, ‘First they came for my weed, and I said nothing’…or something like that. You gotta stand for something.”

NWV: Election Booth Blockade Project a Bust

Israeli walls fail to stop determined Palestinian electorate                                                 

(Tel Aviv) – As polls close on this all-important Election Day, one that will decide the future of the Palestinian territories, the Israeli people shuffle home. A profound sense of defeat lingers in the air. By now they know their government’s gambit has failed; they will not see their promised amusement park.

Proposition 3, which, if passed, would turn a huge swath of the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest amusement park exclusively reserved for Israeli citizens, is set to fail due to a massive influx of last-minute Palestinian votes.

As part of a UN-brokered agreement, Israel must allow Palestinians to join Israelis in voting on propositions if the subject of the proposition deals with an encroachment on Palestinian territory. Israel agreed to the conditions, but immediately began construction on 20-meter high concrete walls around all election centers used by Palestinian voters.  Checkpoints were placed at the entrance requiring special ID’s which could only be acquired at an office behind a second checkpoint in a separate location, itself requiring ID’s only acquired behind a third checkpoint, which requires ID’s that can only be acquired behind the first checkpoint.

The election proceeded with this system in place and analysts predicted a landslide victory for the amusement park. Unbeknownst to anyone outside the Palestinian Authority, however, the people of Gaza had an Election Day strategy of their own.

“We knew about the walls and the checkpoints, and we knew it was impossible to get around this bureaucratic system and keep this amusement park from destroying our homes and displacing thousands of our civilians, so we had to come up with a solution.” says PA spokesman Salman Abu Achmad.  “Fortunately we had thousands of unused mortar tubes and rocket launchers sitting around from the last intifada. We put two and two together and…well you’ve seen the result. We’re thrilled with this victory.”

With its mortar tubes and rocket launchers, the PA organized Election Fire Teams, who launched Palestinian voters over the walls and into voting booths all over the territory. The strategy proved even more effective when Israel’s vaunted “Iron Dome” failed to register the flying Palestinians and counter accordingly.

Avner Ben Haim, an engineer working on the Iron Dome System, was shocked when he first heard the news, “It’s a glitch! A loophole! We’ve programmed this thing to shoot down anything of Palestinian origin, but apparently forgot to program it to shoot down the Palestinians themselves. It will be fixed and this will not happen again.”

So far the Israeli government has remained silent on this political fiasco, but a response is expected in the next 24-hours as the Israeli people take stock of their losses and regroup.

UPDATE: The Israeli government has defied the threat of sanctions and began construction on the Gaza Amusement Park.

UPDATE: The United States has vetoed sanctions on Israel put forth before the Security Council.

NWV: Horror Grips London as Buckingham Palace Burns

Prince of Twitington missing, Arabs found near scene held for questioning

(London) – A city and a nation mourned today as the premier symbol of British power and history, Buckingham Palace, burned to the ground in what authorities say is looking like arson of the grandest scale.

At 0421 GMT emergency services received a frantic call from Queen Elizamackerquack in regards to “immigrant looking men” who had set fire to the east wing of the palace. She could provide no further details other than that they had “an ill-tempered look about them.”

By the time first responders arrived, it was too late. The towering inferno had spread to all parts of the historic building and fire crews could do nothing but look on as it collapsed.

“It was awful. I don’t know how it spread so quickly, but there was nothing we could do,” said one of the firefighters at the site after the tragedy, “A piece of this country we’ll never get back went up with those flames.”

Based on descriptions of the suspects and a tip from an eye-witness, Scotland Yard quickly raided and arrested a dozen individuals eating at a Pakistani restaurant just down the road. Witnesses at the scene said the suspects were confused but cooperative and peacefully agreed to come in for questioning.

“I was standing just outside the Paki place when it was stormed. The diners looked baffled, but I think it was just a front,” recalls the tipster, James Lively, who alerted the authorities to the location of the suspects, “This country is going to hell and this is just the latest example, they hate everything about us.”

While the details of the case are scarce and closely guarded by the police, what is known is at some point around 0400, during a large and lively gathering of young socialites in the palace, a fire started in the east wing and quickly spread through antiquated furniture, plentiful flammable beverages, and genteel guests.

“I was admiring the tapestries in one of the guest bedrooms with a close friend when we heard shouts in the hallway. We’d taken off our shoes to relax on the carpet so it took us a moment to react, but when we opened the door we saw a giant ball of fire hurtling towards us down the hall,” remembers a disheveled and clearly shaken young Earl of Scovingtonwick, one of the night’s distinguished guests, “I didn’t see the scoundrels who did it personally, but I have it from an excellent source they had the swarthy complexions commonly found among the North African people.”

A royal family spokesman stated the family would be unavailable for comment until their affairs were in order and the insurance money settled.

NWV: Study Claims Steady Decline in Marriage Rates Related to Lack of Violence

Scientists believe men who can’t physically abuse their partners less likely to commit

(Salt Lake City) – Just a year ago John Maplethorpe of Park City, Utah was engaged and committed to his fiancée, Sharon Headley, also of Park City. But today, John has broken off the engagement and the couple has gone their separate ways, despite Sharon’s protests.

“All of a sudden I just didn’t feel the same; it’s like all the passion was drained out of me. Things just felt…wrong. Unbalanced somehow,” Maplethorpe remembers, “I couldn’t lie to myself or Sharon. I just couldn’t commit to being with this one woman forever.”

Though Maplethorpe and Headley’s situation might initially look like a classic case of cold feet, their engagement break-up is part of a growing trend scientists and psychologists say goes much deeper than an inability to commit.

Dr. Thomas Lee, a social psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, explains, “We noticed this increasing pattern of behavior among young couples. They would meet, fall in love, get closer, and then commit to marriage. But before they could pull the trigger on the vows, the male would decide he simply couldn’t go through with it. And this isn’t just a few cases, it’s now happening in the majority of new engagements,”

To explain the hesitance to commit on the part of men, Dr. Lee points to Non-Functional Violence Syndrome (NFVS), “We looked at pre- and post-NFVS break-ups, and what we found was that the vast majority of post-NFVS break-ups were initiated by the male. When we interviewed subjects, the main factor wasn’t lack of love, it was a feeling that suddenly things weren’t quite right or something was missing.”

From this data, Dr. Lee’s team extrapolated that heterosexual men, who historically have been able to dominate and control their physically weaker partners with cycles of violence and abuse, no longer have that option. These men suddenly find themselves committing to a long-term relationship where control is harder to establish. Men can’t simply beat or physically intimidate their spouse like their forefathers.

Dr. Jackson Grant of Princeton’s psycho-biology department reached a similar conclusion, “Our observations pointed to the female partner’s lack of fear and dependence as the male’s primary source of discomfort about the relationship. These men only know how to function in these cycles of violence where they lash out, apologize, enter a ‘honeymoon phase’, start abusing again, and then strike out once more, each cycle further solidifying their partner’s inability to leave. The destruction of this cycle really throws these guys for a loop, psychologically speaking.”

Pre-marriage counselor Bob Jakes says these findings are probably accurate, but also speak to a man’s motivations to maintain relationships, “We’ve known for a long time that most men struggle with their capacity for love; that the utility they get out of relationships is derived instead from domination and power. So it’s not surprising to me so many are having trouble now that they are limited to emotional abuse and economic control. Those measures are a lot harder to establish and maintain, particularly as women have made a number of gains in the general direction of equality. But equality in physical violence wasn’t something most men were prepared for.”

Back in Park City, Sharon still hasn’t given up on her relationship with John, “If he needs to feel powerful to marry me, that’s fine, that’s his right as a man, I’ll give him my bank account, I’ll let him say anything he wants to me, just as long as I can be with him. A relationship is about compromise, and I love John so much I’ll do anything I have to do to make it work.”

NWV: Frustrated Bulls, Bored Spectators Mar Annual Running of the Bulls Event

Cultural Touchstone “Just Not the Same Without the Gorings” Say Locals

(Pamplona) – The gates opened in the same way they had for the past 600 years, but this year’s annual Running of the Bulls, held in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, is being described by Bull-running experts as a marked departure from previous festivals.

“Everyone knew this year was going to be different, but no one expected this dramatic of a change.” lamented local R of the B’s historian Carlos Maya.

Witnesses present in the day’s unusually sparse crowd reported seeing such abnormalities as bulls becoming exhausted while attempting to spear flirtatious runners who were themselves attempting to spear a pretty girl in the crowd who had caught their eye or bull and man befriending one another as they crossed the finish line in unison. There were even reports of a runner chasing a terrified bull with a sharpened stick. Traditionalists were aghast.

“I’ve run in over 20 races and I’ve never seen such a sorry display of cowardice on the parts of these bulls!” exclaims Armando Del Fuego, known locally as Uno-Arm Armando.

This is the first such event held after the recent mysterious mass-cessation of violence that has afflicted the entirety of the human race. Event organizers had discussed cancelling the event outright, but in the end they decided to proceed with the run as planned.

According to Dario Pena, head of the Grande Bull Council of Navarre, the festival is about more than just bull-on-runner-violence, “We believed the tradition itself should be preserved, even with this new, lesser evento estimulante. This is an ancient and proud ritual for our people, and we do not believe that the bulls’ inability to maim their victi…the runners should impact the spirit of the celebration.”

But the crowd’s restless reaction proved this a misguided assessment, at least in terms of popular appeasement. By the time the fourth bull was mounted, tamed, and ridden across the finish by a triumphant and entirely uninjured runner, bottles were flying and the mood of the crowd had turned ugly. To circumvent a riot from breaking out, organizers wheeled in massive projection screens and ran a “Best Hits” loop from prior and more successful Runs. This seemed to quell the majority of the pent-up anger bubbling through the horrific-accident-deprived spectators.

Not all were appeased with this solution, however, “We came here for the live atmosphere, not some prerecorded nonsense,” English holidaymakers John Shirley and Tim Whitebow griped, “I assure you we will not be returning if this is the way these amateurs are running things now.”

With new challenges and an unclear path back to the bull-goring glory days of yesteryear, the future of this hallowed tradition is uncertain.

Gesticulating wildly and waving his prized matador sword, Dr. Maya concluded, “It’s really simple; you can’t have an exciting event without the potential for bloodshed!”