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Rob Idol is back for his summation of the US Democratic Date, the post-mortem on Parramatta and a momentous day in movie history.
Hello and welcome to this week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap. There’s been plenty of action both home and abroad, so let’s get straight into it.
In the US this week, we were treated to the Democratic debate. with the best and the brightest that the US Democratic Party could throw together locking heads to win the opportunity to challenge in the Presidential race. With pundits expecting the debate to be as exciting as watching paint dry (in 2015, a debate without Trump involved is bound to score low on the comparative excitement scale), some have reported that the event did manage to keep interest.
Candidates included frontrunner Hillary Clinton, the increasingly popular man of the people, Bernie Sanders, the NRA’s worst enemy Martin O’Malley as well as Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, who appear to be there to make up the numbers.
So who won the debate?
As is usually the case with anything related to politics, it depends on who you ask. Forbes.com rated the candidates based on body language and gave Mrs Clinton the win. Time rated the candidates by one of the most increasingly important metrics in modern politics, social media; whilst Clinton was awarded the coveted prize of best Instagram post of the night, Bernie “Colonel” Sanders racked up 35,000 new likes to his Facebook page, significantly more than the other candidates (including Trump and the Republican Candidates). CNBC weren’t definitive in a verdict and split the points between Clinton and Sanders. I didn’t check on Fox News’ verdict, but I think it’s safe to assume they just re-ran the Republican Debate.
The short version: Clinton is looking likely, but Sanders could be the smokey.
The Dutch Safety Board completed and released their report into the tragic MH17 incident this week. The Board confirmed what most already suspected: that the plane was certainly hit by a BUK missile; a self-propelled, medium-range weapon which is definitely Russian in origin. Russia are still pointing the finger at the Ukraine and vice versa. The Board has suggested that whilst MH17 was flying at a deliberately high altitude as lower levels were restricted due to the conflict below, they believe that the airspace should have been closed completely.
Families of the victims have echoed these sentiments, but have also indicated their displeasure with Malaysian Airlines for flying over the region regardless of whether or not it was open. The most heartbreaking revelation for the victim’s families was a suggestion that it is possible that some passengers may have been conscious as the aircraft plummeted.
On the Domestic front, the investigation continues into those responsible for supplying the gun used by Farhad Jabar in the recent Parramatta shooting of NSW Police employee, Curtis Cheng. Rab Alou, 18 and Talal Alameddine, 22, were both arrested this week charged with a variety of offences including providing the weapon to Jabar.
The charges follow raids by the Middle Eastern organised crime squad and joint counter-terrorism team on October 7th. There were four arrested in the raids, with at least three having also been targeted in the Operation Appleby raids of September 2014. Alou has been denied bail; Alameddine made no application and remains in custody.
The tenuous truce and rare glimpse of cooperative bipartisanship seen since Turnbull toppled Abbott, appears to be dead and buried.
Senator Sam Dastyari of the Labor Party this week launched an attack on Prime Minister Turnbull suggesting that his personal investments in schemes housed in the notorious tax haven, the Cayman Islands, whilst technically legal, are inappropriate. Turnbull hit back immediately at what he described as a “shabby smear operation” pointing out that not only were the investments approved under the Ministerial Code of Conduct but also that he and his wife had always ensured that they pay full tax in Australia on their offshore investments.
The seemingly desperate attack, presumably in response to the significant lead that Turnbull currently has over Shorten as preferred PM, appears to have backfired with media monitoring firm, iSentia Media, indicating that the attack has had almost no negative effect on Turnbull’s standing with the voters.
Turnbull also pointed out that many Australian super funds, including Australian Super (of which Mr Shorten is a former director), have similar dealings with the Caymans. Turnbull’s local investment options are limited, due to the risk of a direct conflict of interest with an Australian company and his investments in the Cayman Islands, according to him, result in more tax being paid in Australia than if he had invested in the United States.
Whilst few everyday Australian’s would argue against the merits of reducing tax leakage, particularly via multinationals and their notorious loopholes, this move by Labor has achieved nothing more than show the public that Turnbull currently has them at a loss and on the ropes.
They might consider taking their lead from Greens leader Richard Di Natale, whose response to the issue was to admit that it wasn’t a good look for the PM, but he had no interest in pursuing it as in his words: “My inclination in this place is to focus on the ball and not the man.” Good level headed approach and a sporting metaphor to boot.
Wacky and Wonderful
With the serious issues out the way, let’s have a look at some Wacky and Wonderful developments this week.
Next Wednesday, the date will be October 21st, 2015. On the surface, the date simply represents another turn in the normal passage of time. However, for many this is a pivotal date in human history; it’s the date that Marty and Doc arrived in the future in the movie Back to the Future II. There has been much talk over how accurate the predictions of the future were from the cult 1989 movie including a video of the two stars, Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd discussing the differences.
College Humor also put together a great little animation reimagining Doc and Marty visiting our 2015.
Proving that Change.org is not all about important social issues, proud Australian and Simpsons fan, Thomas Probst, has launched a campaign to officially change the name of Australian currency to “Dollarydoos”.
For those without an appreciation for pop culture, “Dollarydoos” is a reference from The Simpsons episode, “Bart Vs Australia”, in which our currency was described as such amid an onslaught of Australian stereotypes proving that the US still assumes that every person in this country is Paul Hogan.
There is a method to Probst’s apparent madness, however, suggesting that the change would prompt the millions of Simpsons fans around the world to race out and purchase our currency to complete their merchandise collection, subsequently pushing the Australian dollar up. The petition will likely reach the desired target, as media attention has rapidly pushed it over 12,000 signatures.