Rob Idol

Current Affairs Wrap: US promise donnybrook, we fight the p-word and Walmart goes full Walmart

Well. Good morning to you, and well done, you’ve survived. This week there was much stroking of US warheads, local egos and protracted references as Walmart references Columbine.

 

 

Hello all, and welcome to the week that was. We’ve seen further escalations in the Korean peninsula, another attack in Paris, a plebiscite loophole back home and Walmart being Walmart.

 

International

The war of words between North Korea and the United States continued to escalate this week, escalating to a point where fisticuffs behind the bike shed after school is a fair possibility.

US Intelligence officials allegedly confirmed that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead that can be attached to one of their missiles. The development, if true, is a terrifying, as many figured that was still many moons away. When coupled with their apparent continued success ahead of expectations in developing an intercontinental missile capable of striking most of the world, including the US mainland, we may not be far off from Kim Jong Un being able to put his money where his mouth is. And what an elegant, eloquent mouth it is. Truly an example of what the noble people of North Korea can hope to achieve, and can look up to, forever. Hail Kim!

If that wasn’t bad enough, that development has come at a time of another, with the US led by a man who appears to have no qualms in putting out political fires with gasoline.

US President Trump told the media that North Korea will be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it endangered the United States. Whilst an understandable reaction (if you happen to be a child fighting to regain control of the swing in the playground) the rhetoric will no doubt Trump into a corner that may leave him with no alternative but to follow through on his threats. Hooray.

Within hours, North Korea responded by threatening the U.S Pacific Territory of Guam, which contains a critical US Air Force Base. Guam Governor Eddie Calvo was resilient in his response, backing Trump’s war of words.

With the potential of real conflict on their doorstep rising, China has weighed in via an opinion piece in the state run Global Times newspaper which experts believe represents the official stance of the Chinese Government. The article has sent a warning to both nations; if North Korea attacks US interests, then China will remain neutral and not assist their North Korean allies. If the US and South Korea strike first and try to overthrow the North Korean regime then China will “prevent them from doing so”. A threat that is hopefully enough for both sides to pause and return to potential diplomatic resolutions.

Let’s hope so. Particularly given our PM decided to paint an even bigger target on our backs by telling the media this week that we stand “joined at the hip” with our US allies and will follow them into war if it breaks out.

Thanks, Mal…maybe we could have had a plebiscite on that decision instead?

***

Six French soldiers were injured in Paris after a man deliberately drove a car into them before engaging in a motorway chase before being shot by police. He was taken to hospital in a serious condition after receiving five gunshot wounds.

Police are still waiting to interview the man while he recovers, police have said that he has a “stable and legitimate job” and appeared to be “perfectly unknown”. They have also confirmed that the 37-year-old is an Algerian living legally in France with no criminal record. Media have reported that the suspect’s name is Hamou Benlatreche and that police have found no evidence of any links to extremist organisations.

 

Domestic

Back home, the “Plebiscite” was the word that you heard, it’s got groove, it’s got no meaning. The Liberal Party’s strategy will allow them to move ahead with the unbinding and expensive postal survey without parliamentary approval but will also open a huge can of worms on a number of fronts. The first is that the Government may have unwittingly ruled themselves out of participating due to a legal issue surrounding “silent voters” of which many MP’s are.

Those opposed to the Plebiscite have also launched a High Court challenge on constituional grounds which will be heard on September 5 and 6. No forms will be distributed until the challenge is heard. Despite this, the campaigning has started, with a certain former PM and Plebiscite architect immediately encouraging a “no” vote as well as engaging in a public war of words with his pro-SSM sister. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten launched a scathing attack on the PM whilst making it very clear that he and his Labor colleagues will be campaigning for a “Yes” vote.

It’s hard to see it as anything other than a dangerous and politically driven move that will do far more harm than good. One would have hoped that in 2017, basic human rights in Australia weren’t reliant on popularity but rather a basic commitment to the equality that we claim to espouse. But…apparently not.

Australia’s most wanted criminal, Graham Gene Potter, was reportedly spotted in the NSW city of Griffith this week. Potter had previously served fifteen years in prison for the decapitation murder of Kim Barry during his buck’s night in 1981.

The man described by police as Australia’s “number one” fugitive, has been eluding police for some time, primarily through the use of a variety of aliases and disguises. He was almost apprehended in 2010 after being cornered in a Queensland caravan park, utilising a fat suit and a ginger beard to avoid detection.

 

Wacky and Wonderful

US hyper mart chain, Walmart, is ironically the gift that keeps on giving. Its reputation of being primarily frequented by those in the lower socio economic realms of society has led to the often entertaining, if not incredibly demeaning website “People of Walmart”.

This week saw them hit the headlines for something so insane that it could only be entertaining. With kids about to return to school, a “back to school” campaign was launched with the tagline “Own the school year like a hero”.

One store it appears made a monumental placement mistake with the slogan being placed above a glass cabinet containing firearms for sale. Representatives from Walmart have blamed the incident on mischief, which is believable. But it’s hard to forget that this is the same chain that saw their store in Panama Beach build a coke display in the shape of the World Trade Centre to commemorate September 11.

***

The debate regarding Aussie citizenship and visa tests has been a hot one for the past couple of years, with some suggesting they aren’t tough enough while others pointing out that it’s unlikely many people born in Australia would struggle to pass it themselves.

There might be some truth to the latter statement. Louise Kennedy who hails from County Wicklow in Ireland has been working as a vet in Queensland for the past two years. She holds two university degrees and recently applied for permanent residency.

When undertaking a computerised oral test as part of her application, she was told that her spoken English was not good enough for an Aussie visa, despite being a native English speaker.

After posting her story on Facebook, others reached out who had experienced similar issues with the computerised section of the test, leading Louise to believe that the failure was caused by flaws in the voice recognition technology. Pearson Asia Pacific, the company that runs the tests have denied this saying that there were no problems with its system.

Can we please subject our MP’s to this test as a requirement for office? I can think of a few that might struggle…

That’s it from me TBSers, have a cracking week!

Rob Idol

Rob is an aspiring writer who balances his time between a “real” job and his passion for politics, social justice and all things creative. He has an MBA, an unhealthy obsession with current events, an even unhealthier obsession with pop culture and has been known to offer favourable food reviews in exchange for free meals. www.robidol.com.au

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