This week we farewelled one Prince, another met Obama and we saw the first arrows fired in the election war.
Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. This week, the world lost an icon (and a symbol), the opening shots of the upcoming election, and the release of another sex toy that we probably don’t need.
It became obvious this week that Don McLean was well ahead of his time when he penned American Pie in 1971; for 2016 has truly become the year the music died. This year we’ve lost Bowie, Frank Sinatra Jr, Maurice White, Glen Frey and now we’ve lost The Purple One…Prince Rogers Nelson.
The world was shocked late this week when news emerged that the 57-year-old giant of the music industry had died at his Paisley Park compound in the US state of Minnesota. Prince had reportedly been suffering from the flu in the days leading up to his untimely passing, with a medical emergency on April 15th resulting in his private jet making an emergency landing. He managed to appear at a concert the next day, however, rumors have emerged that the medical emergency was actually a drug overdose.
The official autopsy will occur at a later date to determine his cause of death, however, authorities have already ruled out foul play or suicide.
Tributes have been flowing in from around the world, including one from US President Barack Obama calling him “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time.” Aretha Franklin described him as “an original and a one of a kind.” U2 frontman Bono supported the widespread “genius” description of Prince, tweeting “I never met Mozart, I never met Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker. I never met Elvis. But I met Prince.” Huge crowds gathered outside the First Avenue nightclub in his hometown of Minneapolis with authorities also lighting up a bridge in purple. Google’s logo was changed to magenta and Australia joined in the tributes with the Melbourne Arts Centre turning purple on Friday night.
Seriously 2016, that’s enough now.
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have travelled to the UK this week as part of the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. The world’s most famous toddler, Prince George, stole the show, greeting the POTUS in his pajamas with matching robe and slippers after being allowed to stay up past his bedtime for the photo-op. The young Prince then proceeded to play on his rocking horse, a gift from the Obamas when George was born.
Earlier in the day, the First Couple travelled to Windsor Castle to meet with The Queen and Prince Philip. Abandoning their usual secret service transportation, Prince Philip himself drove the power couple to the castle from the grounds in his blue Range Rover. The POTUS was complimentary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s driving skills, however, I can’t help but wonder about what was running through Phillip’s head as he played chauffeur, given his penchant for racially insensitive gaffes.
As predicted by pretty much everyone, it’s almost a certainty that Australia will be heading to the polls in early July via a double dissolution. PM Turnbull was handed the DD trigger earlier in the week with the Senate refusing to pass the ABCC bill. The election won’t officially be called until after the budget next month, however, there is little doubt that it will be called and little doubt that July 2nd will be the date.
The decision to pull the trigger is shaping up to be quite a gamble from Turnbull as his personal and party popularity is on the decline, suggesting it could be a far closer election than most of us had anticipated.
Whilst campaigning isn’t yet official, it’s ramping up considerably this week with treasurer Scott Morrison grabbing headlines with hints as to what his budget is going to contain. He has told a conference of the Australian Christian Lobby that jobs, economic growth, and tax reform are going to be the main priorities of his budget; a reasonably redundant suggestion, given none of us were expecting it to be focused on refugees or climate change.
Earlier in the week, Morrison tried to counter Labor’s call for a Royal Commission into the banking sector by announcing new powers, resources and consumer protections for ASIC to try and clean up the culture of the financial services industry.
The move will include a restoration of the $120 million cut from ASIC’s budget under Tony Abbott as well as a requirement for the banks themselves to fund ASIC’s entire budget. Morrison has made it clear that the banks are not to pass the cost on to the consumer; a warning that I’m sure will be heeded as the banks have never ignored instructions from the Federal Government or the Reserve Bank. The banks may play ball, especially since they don’t want a pesky Royal Commission digging into all of their affairs. NAB and Westpac have already indicated they will absorb the costs, however, I can’t report as to whether their fingers were crossed behind their backs.
The 60 Minutes crew and Australian mother Sally Faulkner, who were imprisoned in Beirut following a botched kidnapping attempt, have been released and returned home to Australia. A deal was struck with Sally’s estranged husband and Lebanese authorities that required her to relinquish custodial rights over her two children in exchange for freedom.
Whilst all parties are denying it, there was also an alleged financial settlement paid to Ali Elamine in the area of $1 million. Judge Rami Abdullah, who was presiding over the case in Beirut, was asked whether Channel Nine had paid any compensation to the children’s father and simply laughed and replied, “No comment.” Make of that what you will…
The story is far from over for Channel Nine, with calls for ASIC to investigate the alleged payment made to the group hired to recover the children as well as the alleged settlement paid to the children’s father. Nine CEO Hugh Marks has announced that a full review into the incident will be undertaken and acted upon accordingly. Former Treasurer and current Channel Nine non-executive chairman, Peter Costello, insisted that all steps taken were legal.
PM Turnbull has a different opinion, suggesting that the reported dealings would “no doubt” be of interest to ASIC and other related agencies. Treasurer Scott Morrison was ambushed on rival network Channel Seven’s Sunrise program earlier in the week, when host David Koch demanded an answer as to whether ASIC would be investigating. Morrison refused to be drawn in despite Koch’s insistence.
Koch’s question may have some validity, however, it’s safe to assume that the motivation was far more aligned with an attempt to attack a rival network. The feedback on social media seems to suggest that this is how the public sees it, with many attacking the Sunrise host for blatantly trying to belittle a rival network rather than discussing the more important issues of the welfare of the child and the mother. One must wonder what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot.
Wacky and Wonderful
I honestly thought I had seen it all when I reported on the “Smartress” last week. I discovered I was wrong when I came across the announcement of a new sex toy this week…the Dildo Drone.
The Dildo Drone allows the user…ahem…”hands-free” orgasms by way of a remote-controlled drone with a dildo attached. I’m not saying any more about this one.
For those more interested in the more interactive side of human sexuality, an English pub has added a service to help women who find themselves on a Tinder date gone wrong. The Brickyard Pub has placed a sign in the women’s bathrooms telling female patrons to approach the bar and ask for “Rachelle” or “Jennifer” if they want an emergency evac from a Tinder date. The pub promises to “get you out of it and/or get you a taxi.”
Whatever happened to politely saying “I’m sorry, I don’t find your ability to weave ‘that’s what she said’ into every part of our conversation charming and I think we should go our separate ways”?
Have a great week TBSers!