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Rob Idol is back this week with his weekly wrap of current affairs, including gun violence in Canada, the bitter passing of another great musician and…Kevin ’17?
Hello all and welcome to this week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap. This week has brought tragedy in a regional Canadian community, some wild weather in the US and the return of Ruddy!
Tragedy struck this week in the small community of La Loche in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan when a gunman opened fire in multiple locations, including a local high school.
The suspect is now in custody, however the shooting has resulted in the deaths of five people with two more critically injured. The shooter allegedly shot his two younger brothers at home before moving to the school and continuing his rampage. Among the casualties was 23-year-old Marie Janvier, a teacher at the high school who was also the daughter of acting town mayor Kevin Janvier.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who is currently in Switzerland attending the World Economic Summit), released a statement offering condolences to the family and friends of the victims, describing it as “Every parent’s worst nightmare.” Canadian Milos Raonic, currently competing in the Australian Open in Melbourne, also dedicated his third-round victory to the victims of the shooting during his post-match press conference.
Shootings of this nature are traditionally rare in Canada, however La Loche has been suffering from high levels of mental health issues in the community with an annual suicide rate three times that of the state average.
The east coast of the US is bracing itself for one of the worst blizzards in history, with a state of emergency being declared in ten states and Washington DC. Winter Storm Jonas has already claimed the lives of 10 people, with some experts predicting that it could eclipse the 1922 Knickerbocker storm which heaped 28 inches of snow upon the streets of Washington DC.
As it stands, New York, Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC have declared a snow emergency.
The US Weather Channel have indicated that more than 85 million people in at least 20 states are currently under some level of winter weather warning, watch or advisory.
A countrywide night time curfew has been put in place in the African country of Tunisia following rising unrest in the country, with demonstrations focused on unemployment and poverty leading the charge.
The decision to impose the curfew follows a number of flare ups including the burning of shops and looting. Tunisia’s interior ministry indicated that the curfew was put in place to prevent further damage to property and to ensure public safety.
Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid has held an emergency cabinet meeting this weekend to discuss strategies to help calm the unrest.
Former PM Kevin Rudd has been anything but dormant in the search for his next big career move. My hopes of him looking towards a guest appearance in next year’s season of Dancing with the Stars appear to be dashed as the long-standing rumour that he is vying for one of the most powerful positions in the world have been all but confirmed. Kevin ’07 has thrown his hat in the ring for the position of United Nations Secretary-General when the position becomes vacant at the end of Ban Ki-moon’s term this year.
Ruddy has been pressing the flesh in the right international circles for some time, with reports suggesting that he is very much a contender due to his strong relationships in the US and Europe. His desire to grab the top job is not a surprise to many and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop indicated that the Federal Government would consider backing his application.
Bishop’s implication of support suggests that Rudd might be in with a good chance, and political ideological differences aside, having an Aussie in the position could do nothing but help with increasing our influence within the UN and the international community at large.
Bishop and Turnbull’s support might also have something to do with the latest opinion poll, which has Turnbull sitting on a whopping 80 percent of the vote as preferred PM, whilst Bill Shorten has dropped to 19.2 percent in a ReachTEL poll undertaken for the Seven Network.
It’s not like the Labor party look like they have a suitable replacement in waiting either, so with Ruddy busy at the UN, there is no chance that he’ll be looking for the elusive PM hat-trick.
In news that again surprised few people this week, Woolworths have announced that they will either sell or close down both their Masters and Home Timber & Hardware chains following consistent heavy losses.
Woolworths shareholders welcomed the news, however the approximately 10,000 staff around the country are less than impressed. The Masters chain was an attempt by Woolworths to challenge the effective monopoly that their primary rival, Wesfarmers, held with their uber-popular chain, Bunnings.
The experiment has been a significant failure with the chain failing to make a profit since inception, with last financial year representing a $227.4 million loss. Whilst staff and other stakeholders are hoping for a saviour to come in and take over the struggling chain, odds are Bunnings will regain their monopoly on both hardware and the Saturday morning sausage sizzle.
Wacky and Wonderful
As the world is still coming to terms with the death of music icons like Bowie, Lemmy and Glenn Frey, we were greeted with the loss of another, arguably as influential as the others. It was reported this week that Animal, drummer for Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem passed this week following a short illness.
Animal rose to fame when Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem hit the public eye with a performance on the Muppet Show in 1975, which led to them becoming the resident band for the show. Tributes have flowed from his Muppet castmates with Miss Piggy calling him a “driving force in her life” and the Swedish Chef declaring that he always knew “how tee bork de bork.”
Elsewhere within the union, a recent poll conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in the United States brought to light a few concerning statistics that suggest that college graduates “are alarmingly ignorant of America’s history and heritage”
The majority of the findings were related to historical issues such as the origins of the US Constitution and the various powers of Congress. On the more entertaining side of things, 10% of respondents believed that everyone’s favourite day time television guilty pleasure, Judge Judy (Sheindlin), sits on the US Supreme Court.
In fairness to those that believe that Judy is a Supreme Court Judge, the majority of sitting judges are hardly memorable; and I daresay that her inclusion would liven up the proceedings somewhat.
That’s it for me. Have a great week everyone!