The Anglo-Saxon Social Model - The Expanded Universe

Italy: Latin Economic Union
The Latin Economic Union, in English commonly abbreviated to LEU, is a regional trade organisation and free trade area consisting of 9 European states. The organisation operates a single market and a single visa area but not a customs union. In addition, there are three observer members, who are members of the single market and share an ICU bancor account and visa-free travel area with Portugal but not the other member states.

The LEU was established on 3 May 1960 to serve as a trade bloc for medium-sized European states who were concerned about the competing economic dominance of the Commonwealth, the United States, the Soviet Union and the French Union. The initial structures were set out in the Treaty of Barcelona, which was signed between the founding members Spain, Catalonia and Italy. The group expanded in 1973 to include the microstates of Andorra, Liechtenstein and San Marino. 1986 saw the accession of Portugal, Bavaria and Austria, which necessitated a new treaty (the Treaty of Trieste) to create new arrangements both for the new members and the ‘associated republics’ of Portugal, which became observer members.

A revised treaty, the Treaty of Vaduz, signed in 2001, provided a fresh framework for the expansion and liberalisation of trade. Because the LEU is not a customs union, member states do not share a pooled ICU bancor account and have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements. The body does, however, have a coordinated trade policy and its member states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with a number of countries including the Nordic Union and India.

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Film: Star Wars
I've been working on this for a while, which explains why it came a bit out of sequence with the other film franchise updates. Plot details for the prequels will come out over the next few weeks.

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Star Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas. It began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The franchise has been expanded into two film trilogies and other media, including animated and live-action television series, video games, novels, comic books and theme park attractions, comprising an all-encompassing fictional universe. Following release of the latest film in May 2019, the films altogether have grossed around $8.5 billion at the box office (not adjusted for inflation) and the total value of the multimedia franchise is estimated at around $50 billion.

The original film, retroactively subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, was followed by the sequels Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), forming what is known as the original Star Wars trilogy. A sequel television series, titled Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, was released between 1999 and 2004, spanning four seasons and three television films (Dark Force Rising (1998), The Last Command (2002) and Specter of the Past (2004)), which received a limited cinematic release. In 2012, Lucas announced that production had begun on the long-awaited prequel trilogy. This consisted of Episode I: The Phantom Menace (2015), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2017) and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2019). All films in this prequel trilogy grossed over $1 billion at the glocal box office, making Lucasfilm the first production company to manage such a feat. The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith are the first and third highest grossing films in box office history.

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I've been working on this for a while, which explains why it came a bit out of sequence with the other film franchise updates. Plot details for the prequels will come out over the next few weeks.

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Star Wars is an American epic space-opera media franchise created by George Lucas. It began with the eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon. The franchise has been expanded into two film trilogies and other media, including animated and live-action television series, video games, novels, comic books and theme park attractions, comprising an all-encompassing fictional universe. Following release of the latest film in May 2019, the films altogether have grossed around $8.5 billion at the box office (not adjusted for inflation) and the total value of the multimedia franchise is estimated at around $50 billion.

The original film, retroactively subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, was followed by the sequels Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), forming what is known as the original Star Wars trilogy. A sequel television series, titled Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, was released between 1999 and 2004, spanning four seasons and three television films (Dark Force Rising (1998), The Last Command (2002) and Specter of the Past (2004)), which received a limited cinematic release. In 2012, Lucas announced that production had begun on the long-awaited prequel trilogy. This consisted of Episode I: The Phantom Menace (2015), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2017) and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2019). All films in this prequel trilogy grossed over $1 billion at the glocal box office, making Lucasfilm the first production company to manage such a feat. The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith are the first and third highest grossing films in box office history.

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So no JJ Abrams sequels? I'm in two minds about that one; the OTL Abrams films were Star Wars by the numbers while the Last Jedi was an interesting failure. Spielberg directing Return of the Jedi (minus Ewoks please? Exchange them for Wookies! But would he be able to resist the cute little buggers?) sounds superb while Favreau and Watiti being involved ITTL prequels would simply be amazing.
 
Who played Thrawn?
I mean, Richard E Grant would make a decent Thrawn. Just saying.
Richard E. Grant is Thrawn and Christopher Lee is Gilad Pellaeon.

So no JJ Abrams sequels? I'm in two minds about that one; the OTL Abrams films were Star Wars by the numbers while the Last Jedi was an interesting failure. Spielberg directing Return of the Jedi (minus Ewoks please? Exchange them for Wookies! But would he be able to resist the cute little buggers?) sounds superb while Favreau and Watiti being involved ITTL prequels would simply be amazing.
TFA may be the most fun I've ever had in a cinema (even if I recognise that it doesn't really hold up as well as might be hoped) but I found both TLJ and ROS unwatchable, albeit in different ways. (And with the qualification the TLJ is probably, on a technical level, the best directed Star Wars film, and by God doesn't it want you to know it.) But the last thing I want is that to start those arguments on this thread...

Can confirm that the Endor is swapped out for Kashyyk as originally planned in ROTJ and Spielberg brings a bit more panache director-wise but other than that the original trilogy is mostly as in OTL. The idea here is that Marcia and George Lucas don't get divorced (maybe George just decides against getting stained glass that one time...) and she talks him out of putting the prequels into production in the '90s and the 'Heir to the Empire' series is considered a big milestone in TV's new Golden Age. Then, when George does finally get round to the prequels, he's got a few more people to work with and take some of the really brilliant ideas of those films (that the republic died from within because of the fear and corruption of its citizens, that being Darth Vader just really sucks and isn't cool at all, that the Jedi were a corrupted organisation etc.) and put them through some more, shall we say, "specialised" screenwriters and directors.
 
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Mongolia
Mongolia, officially the Great Mongolian State and also known as the Bogd Khanate, is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by the Soviet Union to the north, China and Turkestan to the south and Manchuria to the east. With an area of 3,270,800 km2, Mongolia is the 7th largest country in the world but is also, with a population of 9,821,748 and a population density of 3.003/km2, one of the most sparsely populated. It is also the world’s largest landlocked country. The country contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains in the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Niĭslel Khüree, the capital and largest city, is home to about 30% of the country’s population.

Approximately 30-50% of the country’s population is nomadic or semi-nomadic (numbers differ because of seasonal variation and differences in calculation) and horse culture is still integral to Mongolian culture. The majority of its population are Buddhists and the country is constitutionally a theocratic state under the sovereignty of the most senior figure in Mongolian Buddhism. However, the country also has significant Islamic and atheist minorities. The majority of the country’s population are of the Mongol ethnicity, although Kazakhs, Buryats, Tuvans and other minorities live in the country.

The area that is now Mongolia has been ruled by a succession of nomadic empires since the Xiongnu in the 3rd century BC. In 1206, Ghenghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire and turned it into the largest contiguous land empire in history through a series of armed conflicts. His grandson, Kublai Khan, conquered China, establishing the Yuan Dynasty. However, Mongol power went on the decline in later centuries, with the Mongols eventually submitting to the suzerainty of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in the 17th century. Buddhism expanded greatly during this period with around one-third of the adult male Mongolian population in 1900 being ordained monks.

During the collapse of the Qing in 1911, Mongolia declared independence, although this would not be recognised by the Republic of China until 1946. During this period it survived as an effective protectorate of the Soviet Union and has been a firm member of the Soviet bloc ever since. After an aborted attempt to collectivise herders in the 1930s, the state began to develop industries based on the processing of animal husbandry products and other sectors such as mining, timber processing and the production of some consumer goods. Soviet and Commonwealth of Independent States financial and technical assistance enabled Mongolia to modernise and to diversity economically.

Today, economic activity in Mongolia continues to be based on a mixture of herding and agriculture (32%) and mining, particularly the extensive deposits of copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten and gold (43.6%). Besides that, dominant industries include transportation, real estate and tourism (mainly from the Soviet Union). The grey and black economies are estimated to be at least one third the size of official GDP. Its GDP is listed by the ICU as 137.7 billion bancors, making it the ninth smallest economy in Asia.

Mongolia is unusual amongst communist states in retaining a monarchical form of government. The head of state is the 10th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, who has been the Khan since his reincarnation was confirmed in 2016. The holders of this title have been the Khans (apart from times between the death of the previous khan and the confirmation of the next) since the country’s independence. While the Khan has a great deal of spiritual and soft power, under the terms of the 1946 constitution practical political power is centralised under the country’s State Great Khural, which in turn is dominated by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, the sole legal political party.

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How did Taika Waititi directing ROTS turn out? He definitely can do dark moments effectively as proven in Jojo Rabbit, but I feel like his style of comedy would clash too much with the tone that ROTS would have to establish?

Also, though I'm glad that the prequel trilogy generally seems to be the success its story deserved, what went wrong with AOTC?
 
Buddhist Monarcho-communist Mongolia?
Damn right...

How did Taika Waititi directing ROTS turn out? He definitely can do dark moments effectively as proven in Jojo Rabbit, but I feel like his style of comedy would clash too much with the tone that ROTS would have to establish?
His zaniness will be reigned in a bit and I was thinking, tone-wise, of something like his work on Hunt for the Wilderpeople and The Mandalorian as what we can expect.

Also, though I'm glad that the prequel trilogy generally seems to be the success its story deserved, what went wrong with AOTC?
Wait for it... Plot descriptions are coming over the next few weeks.
 
Cricket: North American Premier League
The North American Premier League is a domestic first class cricket competition in Canada, Puerto Rico, the United States and the West Indies. A total of 42 teams play across the competition’s seven leagues, with six teams in each of the Shell Shield, Puerto Rican League, Dominican League, Canadian League, Halifax Cup, Eastern League and Western League. Of these, 24 teams are from the United States (spread over the Dominican, Eastern and Western Leagues and the Halifax Cup) and 6 teams from each of Canada, Puerto Rico and the West Indies. Beginning in 1965, the league is the result of cooperation between the West Indies Cricket Board, the Puerto Rican Cricket Board, the Canadian Cricket Association and the United States of America Cricket Association.

Cricket has been played in North America since the 19th century. The first international match was contested between representative teams from Canada and the United States in 1844 and collegiate matches between Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania date back to at least 1864. At the same time, the game was also taking root in the British Caribbean colonies (which would later become the West Indies and Puerto Rico in the 20th century) and would be introduced to Dominica when it became an American state in 1874. Inter-island competition began to be organized in the West Indies from 1865.

By the late 19th century, the game in the United States was dominated by teams from Philadelphia and it was they who formed the backbone of the US national team that competed in the inaugural International Cricket League in 1910-11. Dominica, however, soon became a major alternate power-centre and first class competitions began in Puerto Rico in the 1930s. Intra-nation competition began in 1965, when the champions of the Shell Shield and the Halifax Cup competed in a grand final held in Philadelphia.

In 1977, the competition would be expanded, with teams from Dominica and Puerto Rico being admitted in their own regional leagues. The final major change came in 1993 with the introduction of teams of the Canadian, Eastern and Western leagues. In all these cases, this involved a mixture of creating new franchises or raising existing American cricket clubs (notably St. George’s in New York and Hollywood CC in Los Angeles) to first class status.

The popularity of the league, and of cricket in general, varies greatly over the different regions. In Puerto Rico and the West Indies it is considered the national sport and both domestic and international matches attract large audiences. In Canada, the sport lags behind both rugby and ice hockey and in the United States it is a minority sport nationwide, behind baseball, rugby and soccer (both men’s and women’s). However, in certain states, notably Pennsylvania and Dominica, cricket is arguably the most popular sport. The US national team is largely based in those two states and domestic cricket there attracts large crowds.

In each league, teams play 10 games each regular season and the winner of each league plus the best second-placed team advance to a knock-out tournament culminating in a grand final. Traditionally, the venue for this playoff tournament has alternated between Philadelphia and the West Indies, although more recent tournaments have seen games take place in Dominica, Puerto Rico and Florida.
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Film: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (2015)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is a 2015 American epic space opera film directed by Dave Filoni, written by Jon Favreau and co-produced by George Lucas and Marcia Lucas. It is the first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and is chronologically the first Star Wars movie, although it is the fourth (seventh if the made-for-TV sequel movies are included) to be produced. It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film’s ensemble cast includes Ewan McGregor, Zazie Beetz, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Michael K. Williams, Joel Edgerton, Lupita Nyong’o, Ian McDiarmid and Donald Glover. Set 27 years before the events of A New Hope, The Phantom Menace follows Padme Amidala, Obi Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu’s attempt to come to the aid of Anakin Skywalker, who is trying to prevent his planet Naboo from seceding from the Galactic Republic to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

The film was long-awaited, with Lucas promising that it would be produced at some point following the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983. Lucas wrote the first draft of the script in 1994 but was persuaded by his wife, Marcia Lucas, to abandon it and instead concentrate on what eventually became the Heir to the Empire television series and tv movies. After many years of hiatus, Lucasfilm announced that it would begin production again in October 2012, with George and Marcia Lucas producing. George and Marcia Lucas is credited for the story and the script was written by Jon Favreau. John Williams, the composer for the previous films, returned to compose the score. Filming began in April 2014 in Iceland, with principal photography taking place mainly in the United Kingdom, in Ireland and Pinewood Studios.

The Phantom Menace was widely anticipated and was backed by an extensive marketing and merchandising campaign. It premiered in Los Angeles on May 20, 2015, before its global release on May 22. The film received positive reviews for its acting (particularly those of Driver, Beetz and Isaac), score and visual effects. The film broke various box office records and became, unadjusted for inflation, the highest grossing film of all time, with a worldwide gross of over $2.7 billion. It received five nominations at the CGAAs and four nominations at the CAFTAs, winning at both ceremonies for Best Visual Effects. It was followed by Attack of the Clones in 2017 and Revenge of the Sith in 2019.

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CAST
  • Adam Driver as Anakin Skywalker
  • Zazie Beetz as Padme Amidala
  • Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Michael K. Williams as Mace Windu
  • Oscar Isaac as Count Dooku
  • Lupita Nyong'o as Adi Gallia
  • Giancarlo Esposito as Viceroy Gideon
  • Joel Edgerton as Owen Lars
  • Richard Ayoade as Saesee Tiin
  • Dani Pudi as General Naut Gunray
  • Donald Glover as General Rune Haako
In addition, Iain McDiarmid and Frank Oz reprise their roles as Sheev Palpatine and Yoda, respectively, from the original trilogy. Director Jon Favreau had a cameo as the Jedi Plo Koon, who accompanies the rescue mission to Naboo. Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker have cameos as R2-D2 and C3PO, also from the original trilogy.

PLOT

The planet Naboo is unstable, with many factions in its governing class threatening to secede from the Galactic Republic in order to join with the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Anakin Skywalker (Driver) obtains evidence that the Confederacy is already interfering in Naboo’s elections and is planning to invade other planets in the Republic. He manages to send a message requesting aid to the Republic’s capital in Coruscant but Skywalker himself is captured by Count Dooku (Isaac).

The message is received on Coruscant by Padme Amidala (Beetz), an obscure clerk in the republican bureaucrac. She takes it to her boss Sheev Palpatine (McDiarmid), a senior member of the bureaucracy and the Galactic Senate’s chosen intermediary with the Jedi Council. He takes the message to the Jedi Council and argues that the Jedi should try and resolve the crisis themselves before the Republic uses its clone army to crush Naboo’s rebellion. Jedi Master Mace Windu (Williams) demands to lead the Jedi response because Dooku is a former friend of his who has betrayed and left the Jedi Order. Grand Master Yoda (Oz) agrees but insists that the Jedi Saesee Tiin (Ayoade), Adi Gallia (Nyong’o), Plo Koon (Favreau) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) also accompany him.

The Jedi floatilla prepares to depart in two gunships, one carrying Windu, Tiin and Koon and the other carrying Kenobi and Gallia and being piloted by Owen Lars (Edgerton). At the last minute, Padme sneaks aboard the second ship. She is discovered by Kenobi after they have transitioned to lightspeed but persuades them to let her accompany them. After the two Jedi ships leave lightspeed in Naboo’s atmosphere, they are attacked by Naboo starfighters. Windu’s ship escapes to a nearby moon but Lars’s is badly damaged and only escapes when Obi-Wan and Adi Gallia use the Force to make it look like the crew escaped on pods.

Crash-landing near the Naboo capital Theed, Padme impresses her companions with her engineering knowledge, working with the ship’s astromech droid R2-D2 to fix the speeders in the ship’s hold and using them to infiltrate the capital with the two Jedi. They discover the capital already under occupation by the Confederacy’s droid army, commanded by Generals Gunray and Haako (Pudi and Glover, respectively). The occupation itself is overseen by the ruthless Viceroy Gideon (Esposito), who is increasingly frustrated by the behaviour of his incompetant military subordinates.

Padme discovers that Anakin is imprisoned in the central capital and scheduled to be executed and she and the two Jedi rescue him. During the course of their escape, Anakin manages to deflect droid blaster-fire with his mind, demonstrating his Force-sensitivity and leading to him bonding with Obi-Wan. However, they eventually come to be cornered by Gideon, Gunray and Haako and their soldiers. Count Dooku appears to personally oversee their execution.

At the last minute, Lars, Windu and the other Jedi arrive to effect a rescue. At the climax of the battle, Windu engages Dooku in a vicious lightsaber duel and sacrifices himself so that the others can escape. During their escape, Lars and Anakin demonstrate their piloting skills to commandeer two Naboo starfighters and use them to shoot down droid fighters pursuing the Jedi.

Finding refuge on Naboo’s moon, Anakin passionately argues that they should launch a surprise attack in order to liberate the other Nabooean prisoners so that they can continue their resistance elsewhere. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme once more infiltrate Theed while the others cause a distraction. In the ensuing battle, Tiin and Koon are killed by the droid army. Padme and Anakin successfully free the prisoners but Dooku intercepts them and engages Obi-Wan in lightsaber combat. Dooku defeats Obi-Wan and knocks him unconscious. Anakin takes up Obi-Wan’s discarded lightsaber and channels the Force to hold off Dooku and allow the prisoners enough time to escape. As they escape on the remaining ship, Padme triggers a bomb which destroys the Confederacy’s base, severely injuring Gideon in the process.

Back on Coruscant, Yoda oversees the memorial for Windu, Tiin and Koon and confirms that Obi-Wan will tutor Anakin in the ways of the Jedi. An injured Gideon is shown being taken for surgery by Dooku. The Republic declares war on the Confederacy and Palpatine is promoted to oversee the war effort, while Padme is promoted to his old job. The last shot is of Palpatine and Yoda watching the Republic’s clone army preparing for war and Yoda ruefully declaring that the Clone War has begun.
 
The CIS seems like one of those countries that only exists on paper and given a moment will fly apart- do the Soviets do anything to mix the populations and suppress the old national identities? To promote being CIS over say Polish? Could the CIS stick together as a Federal entity without the USSR?

So Greece is not in the Latin Economic Union? Not it seems any other trade bloc?

Do all the cheap package holidays, 18-30 etc still happen in Spain or are the conditions to different here?

Mongolia actually sounds better off ITTL than OTL? Not sure though, Has it been opening up to Western tourists and historians?

Cricket in North America? Exactly as it should be old bean!

I like that Marcia and George Lucas stayed together and he kept his collaborative side. Interesting take on Phantom Menace. How old is Anakin here?

What did Spectre of the Past do to annoy the critics so much?

You have never said what happened to Jim Henson and the Muppets ITTL. It would be nice if Henson lived a lot, lot longer and the Muppets remained their own thing somehow.

Any chance of a write up for ITTL's KFC please?
 
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