Rob Idol

Current Affairs Wrap: North Korea touches Japan, Postal survey kicks off, South Park hacks Amazon

Welcome back to another week of your life that you won’t be getting back. But don’t think about that, North Korea has launched warheads over Japan. 

 

 

Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. North Korea has been up to their old tricks, there has been more terror in London, the SSM debate hit fever pitch and we’ve had a big win for flatulence.

 

International

North Korea has continued its seemingly unrelenting desire to provoke the rest of the world with another intermediate-range missile fired straight over Japan this week.

The projectile is believed to have travelled around 3,700km and followed a similar trajectory to the missile fired last month by the rogue nation. South Korea have reported that it reached an altitude of 770km and stayed airborne for about 19 minutes which makes its path both higher and further than the previous attempt. It also makes it within striking distance of the US Pacific territory of Guam.

PM Malcolm Turnbull condemned the attack but refused to speculate as to any possible scenarios that could see Australia drawn into conflict. Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce was a little less coy, pointing out that the missiles being tested could now potentially reach South Australia.

Whist we can postulate from here, the situation understandably has the Japanese a little more concerned. This is the second time in a month that residents fled for shelter, albeit briefly, amongst warning sirens. The launch was likely in response to increased sanctions approved this week by the UN Security Council against North Korea to which North Korea responded with a threat to “sink Japan” and reduce the US to “ashes and darkness” for their support of the resolution.


Also on The Big Smoke


The UK’s terror threat level has been raised to “critical” following an explosion on the London tube during rush hour on Friday morning.

The explosion occurred at the Parsons Green underground station west of London which has seen 29 people injured but thankfully no fatalities at this stage. What is believed to be a homemade device has been discovered made up of what appears to be a white bucket, wires and a freezer bag. Police have reported that the device did not fully detonate.

ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack (as they usually do whether it was them or not) and police have suggested there may have been more than one person involved. Authorities are still investigating potential suspects but that hasn’t stopped US Prez Donald Trump from sticking his nose in, claiming that the perpetrator was known to British security services whilst coincidentally calling for a “far larger and tougher” travel ban to the US.

The increase in the terror threat level suggests that another attack may be imminent however PM Theresa May has urged the public not to change their lives but to be alert to the threat. An extra 1,000 armed police have been deployed to the streets as well as British soldiers.


Also on The Big Smoke


Whilst the world tensely watches the Korean Peninsula and London, concerns are rising in Europe over one of the largest Russian military exercises since the Cold War, called “Zapad 2017”.

The joint military exercise between Russia and Belarus has the rest of the world on edge due to the continuing increase of diplomatic tensions between Russia and the US as well as Russia and NATO. For the record, “Zapad” translates to “West” – both a provocative and apt title given the scenario being played out is Russia defending against a fictional, western-backed breakaway region in Belarus called “Veyshnoria”. Veyshnoria in this scenario has joined with other imaginary states, Lubenia and Vesbaria, which some have pointed out has similarities to three real NATO member countries – Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

The primary concern is related to the number of personnel possibly involved in the exercises. As it stands it’s set to be Russia’s largest military exercise since 2013 which effectively laid the foundations for Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The Russian defence ministry has said that around 12,700 troops will be deployed in total, the majority being Belarussian. NATO, however, disagrees, suggesting that as many as 100,000 troops could be involved in the exercises.

Lets just hope that the fears of a Trojan horse are unfounded.

 

Domestic

If you hadn’t noticed the increase in vitriol around the country, you might not be aware that the Same Sex Marriage survey ballots have started hitting the mailboxes.

The debate has hit fever pitch with former PM John Howard complaining that the Turnbull Government is “washing its hands of any responsibility” by not detailing how potential SSM legislation will look and what protections it might offer for religious freedom and freedom of speech – a complaint backed by former PM Tony Abbott. Both appear to be conveniently ignoring the fact that legislation doesn’t exist because rather than being handled in Parliament as it should be, the issue is being handled via a popular vote – a popular vote that was put in place by none other than Tony Abbott.

Labor backbencher, Pat Conroy, has also highlighted the likeliness that this is a typical Howard “Red Herring”, similar to the one used with the Referendum on Australia becoming a Republic when Howard was PM.

Abbott doesn’t appear to have successfully imparted his views on his family, with daughter Frances announcing her support for marriage equality this week, joining her Aunt Christine.

Tensions overflowed at a protest held at the University of Sydney this week by a group campaigning for a “No” vote. Witnesses suggested that the “No” camp had around 15 protesters but were quickly drowned out by a counter-protest by hundreds of “Yes” supporters.

Former PM, Kevin Rudd, took to social media to report that his godson, Sean Foster, had been assaulted and verbally abused for attempting to stop a man from removing banners supporting the “Yes” vote. Police have since arrested a 48-year-old man and charged him with assault.

Both appear to be conveniently ignoring the fact that legislation doesn’t exist because rather than being handled in Parliament as it should be, the issue is being handled via a popular vote – a popular vote that was put in place by none other than Tony Abbott.

A Victorian church has refused to marry a young couple and cancelled their wedding because the bride-to-be declared her support for SSM on Facebook. They were given a letter saying that her Facebook post had consequences, saying “After the pre-marital counselling that you attended and the sermons delivered at Ebenezer on this subject, you must surely appreciate that your commitment to same-sex marriage opposes the teaching of Christ Jesus and the scriptural position practiced by the Presbyterian Church of Australia and by me.” Yet the “No” campaign continue to complain about the danger of freedom of speech. The woman in question, for the record, attends the church, is heterosexual and is marrying a man.

Oh and the “Coalition for Marriage” released another advertisement complaining about sex education which is apparently the same thing as marriage equality.

Nah Malcolm, Australian’s can definitely be responsible with this decision and the campaign won’t get ugly at all, mate. If the populace were capable of handling a decision like this on mass then we wouldn’t need you clowns, would we?


Also on The Big Smoke


An unlucky tourist is in hospital after falling into a hot artesian bore along the Birdsville Track in outback South Australia.

The man suffered second degree burns to 80 percent of his body north of Mungerannie which is about 800km north of Adelaide. Paramedics spent several hours stabilising him before he was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and rushed to the burns unit in a critical condition.

His condition has since been changed from critical to stable.

 

 

Wacky and Wonderful

South Park really is the gift that keeps on giving. A show so crude and outrageous that many expected it to be driven off the airwaves years ago, it has instead shown incredibly longevity, consistently finding new ways to mess with people.

This week’s season premiere was no different. The script was written to deliberately have characters say words that issued commands to Amazon Echo and Google Home devices in viewers homes.

Twitter lit up with the results including viewers that suddenly had “titty chips” and “hair balls” added to their shopping list.

Well played.

Human Rights is a hot button topic around the world at the moment. It looks like the Germans are really on the front foot here following a court’s decision this week.

A man known as Christoph S found himself with a fine of €900 to pay following an incident which saw him break wind twice in front of a police officer. I’m assuming it went down something like this:

The police department issued the fine believing that the man had “insulted the officer’s honour”. The court didn’t agree, ruling in his favour in a matter of minutes.

Precedent set, ladies and gentlemen, so cock your legs and fart away.

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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