Rob Idol looks back on the week that was, attacks in Cologne that divided Germany, a cricketing scandal that divided us and the child fathered by two twins, together.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap. A week that saw asylum seeker trouble in Germany, caucasian terrorism in the US, a West Indian cricketing scandal and the strangest paternity test in the history of man.
Whilst revellers enjoyed New Year’s Celebrations around the world, a number of women in Cologne, Germany were victims of sexual assault during the celebrations. The alleged attackers were from a large crowd of approximately 1000 men described as being of “Arab or North African appearance”. Reports suggest that as many as 90 women fell victim to the group with incidents ranging from robbery to rape.
Investigations have indicated that the attackers were asylum seekers, heightening the growing debate within Germany following the unprecedented influx of some 1.1 million refugees from both Africa and the Middle East. Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel has faced increased pressure to indicate how she intends to deal with the growing fear of the damage that Germany’s open door policy may bring. It is expected that Merkel’s Party will propose a tightening of their laws, which would see any migrants convicted and automatically deported. The proposal is another fair and balanced approach by Merkel to the issue, further justifying her selection as the Time Magazine Person of the Year for 2015.
The Police Chief of Cologne (in not so coincidental timing) was told that he will be taking early retirement, suggesting that the police response on the night was lacking.
A group of militants in the US, led by a man by the name of Ammon Bundy, have occupied the headquarters of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon since the beginning of the year.
They are demanding that the refuge, as well as other federal lands, are turned over to local residents to use “without fear…as free men,” stating that the US Government does not have the legal right to own the land on constitutional grounds (a position rejected by the Federal Court some time ago).
The group, known as the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, have refused all demands from government officials, local law enforcement and the FBI to vacate. Initially there as part of a peaceful protest, the armed group then separated and took control of the wildlife refuge. It’s not the first time that Bundy has used the end of a rifle to settle a dispute with the government; he and his father had an armed standoff in 2014 with federal agents over a legal dispute related to unpaid grazing fees.
Many around the US and the World have posed a very valid question; Dozens of heavily armed white people have taken over a federal government building, so why aren’t they being referred to terrorists? The implication is probably a stretch given they’ve taken no hostages, do not plan on instigating violence and haven’t blown anything up, but it’s hard to imagine that the dreaded “T” word wouldn’t have been used extensively had they been of Middle Eastern or African American backgrounds .
The backlash has produced, of course, some absolute gems on Twitter. My personal favourite is “#YallQaeda waging #YeehawdonAmerica and we’re still calling it a “peaceful protest”, closely followed by the quick trending #VanillaISIS and #YokelHaram.
West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle found himself in hot water during a post BBL match interview with Channel 10 sports reporter Mel McLaughlin this week. Gayle asked McLaughlin out for a drink during the interview, complimented her eyes and then followed by saying “Don’t blush, baby.”
The media, both social and traditional, were immediately up in arms over the comments, which they labelled as sexist and disrespectful. McLaughlin herself was said to have been angry and upset following the exchange, presumably as she was not only in her workplace, but conducting a line of professional questioning related to cricket.
Big Bash League CEO Anthony Everard shared their outrage releasing a statement indicating that the comments were “disrespectful” and “inappropriate” and that “There’s just no place in the BBL or, for that matter, cricket anywhere, for that sort of behaviour.” Gayle was fined $10,000 by the league.
Whilst the incident might be considered a storm in a teacup for some, it’s not the first time that Gayle has caused controversy when interacting with female journalists. During an exchange with a female journalist in 2014, Gayle was asked “How does the pitch feel so far in terms of the training (and) the weather?” Gayle’s response was “Well, I haven’t touched yours yet, so I don’t know how it feels.”
At the end of the day, sports journalism has more of its fair share of barriers to gender equality for aspirational women and an incident like this makes it all the more difficult. Whether you believe the reaction was overblown or not, the only reaction that matters is that of McLaughlin herself, who clearly wasn’t happy with the exchange. She was doing her job, doing it well, and in any other workplace the incident would be considered sexual harassment without question…and that’s without it being broadcast to the masses. Some have suggested hypocrisy, citing a number of exchanges where the shoe was on the other foot like Maria Sharapova flirting with a male journalist but as we all know, two wrongs don’t make a right…
It’s a new year but sadly, some things in this great land of ours don’t change. There has been a slew of “coward punch” attacks since New Year’s Eve around the country. The worst incident has sadly resulted in the death of an 18-year-old in QLD, Cole Miller. The attack, as many of them are, was unprovoked as Mr Miller was trying to find the cab home.
Various state governments have introduced new laws over the past few years, specifically to deal with offenders in “one punch” cases, however, as the cases continue to occur, it’s hard to believe that they are having the intended deterrent effect. Interestingly, doctors and nurses from St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney have suggested that the various lockout laws that have been introduced around the country have actually been far more effective in curbing late night violence.
Hospital spokesman David Faktor reported that since the lockout laws were introduced in NSW in 2014, there have only been three patients admitted as victims of late night drunken violence, and none of the victims died. He also hit back at cynics who had suggested that lockout laws would push the problem out to the suburbs, indicating that other suburban hospitals had not reported any increase in incidents.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s the work of lowlife cowards and it has to stop now. Every person in this country has the right to go out and enjoy themselves without fear. These thugs need to be hit with the full force of the law at every single opportunity.
Wacky and Wonderful
As the gun control debate continues to rage in the US, a very interesting statistic has come to light following a bizarre incident where a chocolate Labrador named “Trigger” accidently shot a woman in the foot late last year.
Research following the incident found that a dog shoots a person almost every year in America. In a population of approximately 80 million dogs in the US, it’s hardly a damning statistic, but it does throw a spanner in the old “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument favoured by the pro-gun masses.
In another story straight out of the weirdest episode of Maury Povich, a US woman discovered through a paternity test that her husband was not the father of her child, but his long “lost” twin was…which was all the more complicated as no-one knew about the existence of the twin, probably because it was still inside the man.
The phenomenon is known as “Chimerism” whereby an individual is born with three sets of DNA rather than the normal two, with the third coming from a twin that was absorbed while still in the womb.
I swear I couldn’t have made this up if I tried…