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Rob Idol has endured the heat in the Current Affairs Booth to bring you the week that was, featuring the noble efforts of Mick Fanning and the limp efforts of the UN.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had the UN Security Council meet and agree on some sort of a plan regarding Syria, biblical weather patterns at home and the holiest of days for sci-fi fans around the world.
The UN Security Council met this week in New York to discuss the ongoing situation in Syria. As a result of this meeting, a unanimous resolution has been passed with the aim of endorsing a peace process in the region.
The crux of the agreement centres on involving the Syrian government and their opposition entering formal negotiations possibly as early as next month. This agreement also represents a rare showing of solidarity from a number of world leaders with respect to Syria, in particular from the US and Russia who had previously struggled to find common ground.
The agreement, however, contains no consensus with respect to the fate of current Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. Mr Assad, a close ally of both Russia and Iran, continues to represent a significant barrier to achieving stability in the region as the majority of Western nations will not accept anything less than his removal from power. Mr Assad has been condemned by the West on a number of fronts, including the apparent continued use of chemical warfare in the ongoing civil war.
That’s all well and good, but, what exactly is the agreement? Moreover, with no consensus on the future of Assad, any ongoing talks or negotiations will likely achieve very little. Those involved simply must know that.
Star Wars globally lost their minds this week with the release of the much-anticipated new instalment of the franchise, The Force Awakens. As expected, the release has smashed the previous opening day record in the US and Canada, taking in approximately $US 57 million. The previous record was held by the final Harry Potter movie, which raked in $US 43.5 million in 2011.
We will have to wait a couple of days to find out whether it beats the full weekend opening record of $US 208.8 million, set by Jurassic World in June this year.
Daniel Craig, who is currently starring in the latest Bond movie, Spectre, has also been outed as having a cameo as a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens despite having previously denying it. Reviews of the new instalment have been incredibly positive with various pundits listing it as the second and third best of the franchise, or not, depending on who you ask.
The weather in Australia took a somewhat apocalyptic turn this week.
Sydney experienced damaging storms on Wednesday with a tornado popping up to destroy homes and overturn trucks. Reports of hailstones as large as golf balls and winds over 200km per hour wielded significant destruction, particularly in the area of Kurnell, the location of the tornado.
Damages are expected to run into the tens of millions of dollars.
A little further south, Adelaide enjoyed the dubious honor of being the hottest city on the planet on Thursday. Not content with breaking one record, the city managed four consecutive days of over 40 degrees, something it hasn’t achieved in December in recorded history.
Whilst a number of South Australians have been forced to attend hospital to deal with heat-related problems, the worst was a young building apprentice who is fighting for his life after collapsing on a building site during the searing heat.
Australian surfer and all round great guy, Mick Fanning, has faced a difficult week with the same courage that saw him beat off a shark attack during the J-Bay Open earlier this year in South Africa. During preparations for the third round heat at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii this week, Fanning was informed that his older brother, Peter, had passed away.
Whilst most mere mortals would have understandably withdrawn, Fanning went on to compete in his third round heat, winning it and proceeding to the quarter finals. Unfortunately, the fairytale wasn’t to be as Fanning lost in the semi-final to last year’s winner, Gabriel Medina. Despite the loss, Fanning has been lauded for his incredible courage in the face of extreme adversity. Not that anyone should be surprised; earlier this month Fanning also assisted in the rescue of American competitor Evan Geiselman.
In my humble opinion, the courage and humility that Fanning continues to display should have him high in contention for Australian of the Year. Sportspeople shouldn’t have a responsibility to be a role model, but Fanning consistently proves that he is one.
Wacky and Wonderful
Doomsdayers are going into overdrive this week, based on a long standing theory that the world may very well end on Christmas Eve as a result of an impending collison between Earth and the mysterious tenth planet in our Solar System known as Nibiru or Planet X.
The theory can be traced back to the prediction of a woman in the 90s who claimed that as a result of an alien implant, she had been warned of the disastrous event. Obviously, alien implant technology isn’t as foolproof as science fiction would have us believe, as the woman in question originally predicted the event being scheduled to occur in 2003. When it didn’t, she graciously updated her timeline to 2012. Following Earth’s continued existence post-2012, she finally settled on this year. At the very least, if she’s right, it’s unlikely we’ll have the chance to be subjected to the dreaded “I told you so.”
A prank between roommates has highlighted how incredibly powerful targeted social media marketing truly is. Brian Swichkow decided to play an elaborate prank on his roommate by setting up a set of targeted Facebook ads with criteria so specific that he knew that only his roommate would see them pop up in his newsfeed.
Over the course of three weeks, Brian drove his roommate to a high state of paranoia that almost had him booking a bunk next to Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy. I tip my hat to you Mr Swichkow and hope to draw inspiration from your genius at some point in the near future.
Merry Christmas to you and yours from all at the Current Affairs Desk!