The Idol of news summation, Rob, is back to outline the Mitchell Pearce saga, the abuse of Julie Bishop and the week of far too much Australiana.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s TBS Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had a miraculous rescue in China, more refugee troubles in Europe and another sporting star falling into controversy.
Four miners in China are counting their lucky stars following their rescue after 36 days trapped underground.
The Gypsum mine collapsed on Christmas Day, instantly trapping 29 miners. Eleven of those trapped were thankfully rescued the next day, one was unfortunately pronounced dead and thirteen are still unaccounted for. The Chinese Government have since patted themselves on the back as this is the first successful rescue of its kind with rescuers utilising a large drill head to drill through rock. With China’s poor track record as far as industrial accidents are concerned, the State Administration of Work Safety spokesperson, Gao Guangwei, took the opportunity to declare that the country had “turned a new page.”
Others were more cynical, suggesting that it is about time someone was held accountable for these types of incidents. Reports suggest the rescued miners will be able to return home soon, but no word as to whether they are now looking for an understandable career change.
The fallout from the unprecedented influx of refugees into Europe is worsening, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel shaping up to be the scapegoat. A recent poll has suggested that forty per cent of Germans want Merkel to resign due to her refugee policy.
Following rising popularity last year, Merkel took leadership in the global refugee crisis, swinging Germany’s doors open declaring “If Europe fails on the question of refugees, then it won’t be the Europe we wished for.” The move was lauded by many, who hoped that Merkel’s courage would inspire the rest of the world to follow suit. They didn’t and Merkel may, unfortunately, pay for her faith in humanity with her job.
Sweden’s government has had enough as well and is set to reject up to 80,000 who applied for asylum last year, with reports suggesting that as many as half of these will be forcibly removed.
Finland, too, has indicated they intend on removing around 20,000 of the 32,000 asylum seekers they received in 2015.
Sweden was the most popular destination in Europe for asylum seekers last year, receiving the biggest influx in relation to their population. Unfortunately, like Germany and Finland, they are finding themselves shouldering too much of the burden whilst countries, some would argue, that are far more involved in the cause of this crisis, refuse to take anything even remotely close to a fair share.
Unfortunately it’s another case of those looking to spread democracy by force not being willing to clean up their own mess.
Sydney Roosters player, Mitchell Pearce, found himself in controversial waters again this week as a disturbing video emerged of his Australia Day celebrations that unfortunately involved trying to force himself on a woman, and responding to her refusal by simulating sex with her dog.
The video aired on A Current Affair and understandably drew outrage, with the Roosters being forced to release a statement advising they had stood Pearce down and the NRL Integrity Unit being called in to investigate.
Unfortunately for Pearce, this isn’t the first time that his club has sanctioned him for after hours behaviour, nor is it the first time he’s had the NRL Integrity Unit after him. In 2014, he was arrested after a late night incident in Kings Cross where he was accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a female patron in a nightclub. He refused to leave the premises and the area, even after being instructed to by police, which gave them cause to put the cuffs on him.
Pearce eventually fronted the media, reading a brief prepared statement in which he apologised and suggested that he needed to get help to deal with his problems with alcohol.
The story is far from over, however, as text messages have surfaced, allegedly from someone else who was present at the most recent incident, which suggest that drugs may have been involved as well as alcohol. It also appears that the text messages may have pointed towards the person that shot the video of the incident and presumably released it to the media.
Our favourite senior Liberal female MP with the surname Bishop has been targeted by animal rights activists during a Q&A session at UCLA. The session, part of the G’Day USA program, was overshadowed by the protest with activists holding up bloody, graphic photos of livestock in reference to Australia’s live animal export program.
Foreign Minister Bishop, to her credit, remained cool under pressure, initially asking the lead protestor, “Can I talk to you later?”
The invitation was not accepted and the heckling continued from other protesters. As the audience turned on them, presumably distraught after waiting in line all night to hear the Foreign Minister speak, Bishop called for calm, telling the audience to “Let her go.”
Of course, everyone forgot that this is the US and before too long, a couple of UCLA police officers arrived, armed with both guns and tasers to escort the protesters out.
Poor Julie. She probably thought she was just there to talk about Vegemite and Paul Hogan.
Wacky and wonderful
Speaking of spreading the beauty of our culture to all corners of the globe, Google has added Australian slang and language recognition to its suite of applications, in order to address complaints that its software was struggling with understanding Aussie accents and complex place names.
A spokesperson for the company told the media that Aussies could now substitute words like “footy” for football or “arvo” for afternoon, and would now be able to find directions to Mullumbimby or Goondiwindi.
Hopefully its competitor, Apple, will apply the same updates to its personal assistant Siri, so she’ll finally understand what I mean when I ask her for the closest place to buy “durries” or “grab a sanga.” What am I talking about…I’m from Adelaide…she understands my accent just fine.
Continuing the Aussie theme this week, a couple of guys from the Gold Coast managed to foil a robbery and then set the world on fire with the most Australian response in history during an interview with the Today show.
James Ross-Munro and Kane Wibben had just finished celebrations at a stubbies and singlets party down the local pub and went off searching for a late night snack at a nearby servo. On the way, they spotted a suspicious car with no number plates outside an Oporto fast food outlet and decided to investigate. They quickly realised that the car’s occupants were trying to rob the store and immediately seized the opportunity to foil the heist by removing the keys from the ignition.
Once the perpetrators returned and realised their getaway vehicle had been incapacitated, Ross-Munro engaged them and, according to the post on his Facebook page, “managed to land a few punches on the putrid scum’s face.” As the thieves fled on foot, Ross-Munro and Wibben unsuccessfully pursued them, however it is believed that at least one is now in custody.
The best part was yet to come, as the heroic pair were interviewed by Karl Stefanovic for the Today show and responded with an interview that even Google’s improved Aussie algorithm would have struggled with. The interview included Ross-Munro suggesting that his girlfriend had no fears for his safety, suggesting “She was more concerned that I broke the brand new pair of pluggas that she bought me on Thursday.” (Pluggas, for non-Queenslanders, are thongs.)
When Today show sports presenter, Tim Gilbert, suggested to Ross-Munro that he must “work out”, Ross-Munro replied “Mate I don’t go to the gym, haven’t been to the gym in years. The only gym I go to is Jim Beam, that’s about it.”
Well done lads. I tip my cork hat to you.