Everything old is new again in this week’s Current Affairs Wrap, with indirect proxy conflict between old enemies, Clinton in Israel, hybrid animals and the return of murder to a notorious state forest.
Hello and welcome to this week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap. It’s been a week of throwbacks with the international headlines hailing a return old hostilities, while on the domestic front we’ve seen a crime with eerily similarites to Snowtown and the exploits of Ivan Milat.
The US fired a very confrontational message to the Chinese Government this week, when their Navy passed within twelve nautical miles of the Subi Reef. The reef lays within the South China Sea island chain, one which is hotly contested territories with China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan all laying claim to it. The escalation in the area stems from China’s dredging operations that successfully created new artificial islands.
A move which will allow China to reclaim some 2000 acres of “land” where there was previously was none, but despite China’s assurances of the opposite, they have now all but confirmed that they will be used for military operations.
The US, in response, sent The Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, toeing the twelve nautical mile zone specifically outlined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as being the sovereign waters of a coastal state.
China returned fire with a public condemnation and a feeling of “strong discontent” while the US Government has maintained that their move was legal.
The United States has also confirmed that they will be deploying ground troops into Syria. The US were quick to point out that the troops will perform advisory/training role, rather than frontline combat.
In the Russian camp, the moves are largely the same. Coupled with the recent bombings, they have announced that “volunteer” ground forces would enter the region; although the Russian government would not be putting troops into Syria per se.
What this actually means, is anybody’s guess. These recent developments, however, stretch far into the realms of indirect Cold War-era posturing. So much so infact that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced his concerns of a “Proxy War” developing in Syria.
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton addressed tens of thousands at the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder in Tel Aviv while President Obama says in televised speech that only solution to conflict remains two states for two peoples. In opening speech at Rabin rally, Bill warns against extremism, saying that without hope and vision, ‘the people will be left desolate’
Back on more familiar shores, Australian Police in two states have had significant breakthroughs, in two separate cases which are seemingly related.
Earlier this year, a suitcase containing the remains of a toddler were discovered on the side of the Karoonda highway around 2 km west of Wynarka in South Australia.
Information provided to police led them to not only identify the remains of one Khandalyce Kiara Pearce, but also that Khandalyce was the daughter of a mystery woman whose remains were discovered in Belanglo State Forest, NSW in 2010. The second woman confirmed as being one Karlie Jade Pearce-Stevenson.
The story gets murkier than that.
With the motive Karlie’s murder seemingly being identity theft, Karlie’s family has also been deliberately led to believe that she was still alive by those who perpetrated the act.
A large number of transactions, including Karlie’s Centrelink benefits and money deposited by her mother, moved through her bank account for over three years after her death. Text messages were sent from Karlie’s phone to her family, advising them that she and Khandalyce were okay and still alive.
Police moved quickly, with a suspect, Daniel James Holdom, charged with Karlie’s murder.
Following this, Holdom’s former girlfriend, Hazel Passmore was interviewed by South Australian police. Passmore was discovered to have pictures of Khandalyce on her Facebook account.
Also this week, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s performed his latest slight of hand in an effort to reverse his dwindling public support. Mr Shorten has suggested that Australia should lower the voting age to 16 years of age. Whilst the Government immediately dismissed Shorten’s suggestion as a gimmick, Green’s leader Richard Di Natale applauded the move, telling reporters “Good on Labor for moving towards the Green’s long-held view”.
Whilst it’s hard to see the suggestion as anything other than an attempt to increase his relevance, Shorten does have a good point. Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds pay tax, are old enough to join the military and drive motor vehicles. Denying any taxpayer (or member of our defence force) the right to contribute to the discussion and mechanism as to how those dollars are spent seems like an egregious error for mine, but maybe don’t make it compulsory, just to be safe.
Wacky and Wonderful
One of the many benefits of Tony Abbott’s recent ousting is that I can legitimately include any story about him in the Wacky section. Our former PM gave the second annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London, using the opportunity to urge England and Europe to adopt his hardline approach to asylum seekers; you know, the same approach that was incredibly successful and didn’t help lose him his job at all.
In an unusual move for the former Priest in training, Abbott quoted the bible saying “The imperative to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ is at the heart of every Western polity…but – right now – this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error”
Whilst religious leaders were up in arms, quick to point out that they were the only ones allowed to misinterpret the bible (not really), The Big Smoke’s own Wil Anderson (yes, I’m claiming him) started a rapidly trending hashtag #TheToneCommandments which reappropriated the ten commandments in the style of Abbott.
Anderson got the ball rolling with this corker: “Love thy neighbour. Actually close the borders and just watch Neighbours, it’s mostly white people” with plenty of others jumping on board including former Green’s deputy, Adam Bandt, who added “Honour thy father and thy mother. But not thy father & thy father, nor thy mother & thy mother”. You might be gone from our hearts Tony, but you’ll never be gone from our tweets….
The internet was abuzz this week with the discovery of a creature in a remote town in Thailand which appears to be half crocodile and half buffalo. With a body covered in scales, a crocodile shaped head and the torso and legs of a calf, locals have reported that the creature was birthed by a local Buffalo that has been previously given birth to regular old buffalo litters in the past.
Naysayers have immediately pointed out that the image appears to be doctored, however, News.com.au has it listed in their science and technology section so I’m convinced it’s real. They have, however, dubbed it a “Buffadile” which sounds suspiciously like some sort of sexual perversion so I’m sticking with “Crocolo”.
That’s it for me, folks – have a great week and in the words of Abraham Lincoln, be excellent to each other.