Rob Idol’s Current Affairs Wrap tackles the horrific events of Paris, Myanmar’s complicated democracy and Jennifer Lawrence’s Iraqi beau.
After fifteen years of house arrest, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy (NLD) party to a landslide victory in the first open election in Myanmar in twenty-five years.
Myanmar has been under a military dictatorship since a coup in 1962. Officially, the dictatorship ended in 2011, however, the majority of those in power are former military officers with it being widely accepted that it is still effectively under military rule.
The victory this week represents a real opportunity for Myanmar to move from military control to a true democratic system. Unfortunately for Ms Suu Kyi and the NLD, there are still a number of significant hurdles to overcome. The controlling military has deliberately and methodically attempted for years to keep Aung San Suu Kyi out, even going as far as installing a constitution that prevented her from becoming President based on the fact that she has a foreign-born spouse.
In addition to this, the military still control 25% of seats as well as key ministries, meaning that some sort of compromise will need to be reached in order for the NLD and Suu Kyi to transition into real power.
Whilst there is a lot of work still to do, Suu Kyi is optimistic suggesting that she will govern from “above the president” if necessary as leader of the controlling party.
The US Government are “reasonably certain” that they have successfully killed Mohammed Emwazi, otherwise known as “Jihadi John”, in a targeted drone strike in Syria this week.
Army Colonel Steven Warren trumpeting the accuracy of the claims, stating that their attack successfully reduced the “intended target” (a car) and killed all inside, including, they believe, “Jihadi John”.
If the reports are accurate, the removal of “Jihadi John” is a significant win for all opposed to ISIS, encapsulated by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s assertions that the bombing was a “strike at the heart of Islamic State”. While “Jihadi John” may not represent a major strategic target, he is somewhat of a celebrity in the ISIS community, responsible for beheading a number of Western hostages and posting the footage on social media. He is/was also known as the “English Speaking voice of ISIS”, representing a significant propaganda tool for the recruitment of supporters from Western countries like the UK and Australia.
Fans of the Royal Family were treated to a visit from Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall this week, as part of an Australian tour. Proving that South Australia’s biggest drawcard is still the wine industry, Charles and Camilla touched down at the Edinburgh Air Force base and made a beeline toward the Barossa Valley.
Following the whirlwind tour of the Barossa, which included a quick tipple at Seppeltsfield, Charles and Camilla headed back towards the city with Charles visiting a green living development near the CBD and Camilla attending a domestic violence conference at Government House.
They then moved on to Canberra where they attended a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Australian War Memorial before heading to Sydney to visit the Victoria Barracks in Sydney and then a dinner at Admiralty House. Australia’s golden girl, Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne, also attended the dinner and met the royal couple. They are expected to finish their tour in WA over the next few days.
The visit has again brought the Republic debate to the forefront, particularly given the recent change of Federal leadership with Abbott being a staunch monarchist and Turnbull being the ex-chairman of the Australian Republican Movement. Add to this, opposition leader Bill Shorten penning an opinion piece this week calling for an Australian head of state, it could very well be that future visits by Charles could be quite different.
Our previous attempt in 1999 did not reflect a true test of public opinion with the proposed structure and mechanism being carefully crafted by monarchists to ensure its failure. With both sides of government appearing to be heading towards the pro-republic camp, it is an opportune time to symbolically stand on our own two feet. Unless an unusual combination of events puts Harry on the throne; then I say we keep em.
Many Australians this week have suffered one of the better side effects of Mother Nature flexing her muscles; more time on holiday. Flights in and out of popular Australian tourist destination, Bali, have been severely interrupted due to volcanic ash clouds emanating from the Mt Rinjani volcano on the Indonesian island of Lombok.
Whilst many holidaymakers have been taking advantage of the delay (and their travel insurance) via the enviable hashtag #stuckinbali, others are not enjoying the interruption as much.
A number of travellers have been forced to sleep at Denpasar airport, spending days lining up and waiting as local hotels take advantage of the situation via price hikes. For those still in Australia with upcoming travel plans, the unpredictable situation is forcing them to cancel or reschedule.
Wacky and Wonderful
In wonderful news for single men and stalkers alike this week, with Hollywood darling Jennifer Lawrence complaining that she never gets asked out and ends up on her own due to the men she meets often being mean or dominating. In the interview with Vogue, she suggested that she might need to meet a guy who has been “living in Baghdad for five years and who has no idea who I am”; an unsurprising position given her “exposure” in the iCloud hack last year.
I, like many others, are closely watching Shane Warne’s twitter account for a response.
(Editor’s note: Ms Lawrence, I know you’re reading this, I didn’t look at those hacked pictures of you, and I’ve never seen any of your movies. I do, however, like how you handle life, so please contact me at [email protected]. I can supply references if required.)
In a first for the new era of “Driverless Cars”, a Google self-driving car was pulled over by police in Mountain View, California, for driving too slow and causing a traffic backup. Thankfully there was a passenger in the car who was able to explain what was going on to the presumably perplexed police officer.
No word has been forthcoming from the Australian Government with regard to how they will inevitably use this to further their revenue raising, sorry, safety operations back home.
Today, whilst in the midst of writing this, a set of co-ordinated attacks unfolded in Paris, sending barbed shockwaves around the world.
A national state of emergency has been declared in France, her borders have been closed while the French military and police continue to pursue the remaining perpetrators of this horrific attack.
The death toll, at this stage, stands at 129 dead, 352 injured. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that no Australians are believed to have been killed or injured in the attacks.
No group, at the time of writing this article, have claimed responsibility for the attack but early signs indicate that Islamic State (a Syrian passport was found on one of the perpetrators), or a group associated or sympathetic to them, are responsible.
While many countries have lit landmarks in the Tricoloure in solidarity, The largest light in the city of lights, The Eiffel Tower will remain dark today to honour the dead.