Rob Idol

Current Affairs Wrap: Nobility buffed off Nobel Peace Prize, plus transatlantic stupidity

Approx Reading Time-12In a week that saw the Nobel Peace Prize won by a warring country and David Leyonhjelm losing his moral compass as we lost two great Australians, just be grateful that it is over.


Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner announced with a dose of bad timing, hurricane troubles in Florida and the Caribbean, and the loss of a couple of much loved Aussie personalities.



It’s awards season. But don’t expect the glamour and glitz of the Oscars or the disappointment of the Arias – it’s Nobel Season.

The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Columbian President, Juan Manuel Santos. The decision is not surprising given he managed to sign a deal last month with FARC rebel leader, Rodrigo Londono, potentially ending the longest running war in the Americas.

The war has cost the lives of over 200,000 Colombians and displaced almost six million. Striking a deal to end such a conflict easily qualifies Santos for the award. However, the timing is incredible, as the same deal that has gained him international acclaim was shockingly rejected by the Colombian people via referendum only days prior. All major polls had suggested in the leadup that the deal would be approved by the people, but things turned out differently on the day with the “no” camp winning (if you can call it that) by the narrowest of margins – 50.2% to 49.8%.

The primary reason behind the shock result is thought to be the leniency given as part of the deal to rebel fighters who have been responsible for years of kidnappings and murders, and the reduced war crimes sentences offered to the rebel leaders.

All hope is not lost, however, as both sides of the camp have agreed to continue negotiations and have vowed not to return to fighting, and the award itself may prove to help in getting the deal across the line, with Kaci Kullmann Five, the Chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, stating that “she hoped that awarding the prize to Mr. Santos would act as a spur for a future agreement”. Let’s hope it does.

Also on The Big Smoke

Hurricane Matthew is continuing its path of destruction towards the US State of Florida after taking the lives of almost 900 people in Haiti already.

The Category 4 hurricane (which was downgraded to Cat 3 during it’s assault on Florida) is the first major hurricane threatening to directly hit the US mainland in more than ten years, and Florida is already feeling its wrath, with wind gusts of up to 100 km/h and heavy rain already being reported from coastal communities in the east of the state. More than one million households are reportedly without power, and the US National Weather Service has said Matthew could be the most powerful storm to strike Northeast Florida in over a century, warning that places hit could be uninhabitable for months.

Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are now firmly in its sights, with power outages already being felt in the area and locals preparing for the worst.



The actor behind one of Australian television’s most iconic characters, Ross Higgins, sadly died at the age of 86 on Friday. Best known for playing the irritable, entertaining, inappropriate and often hilarious Ted Bullpitt in the sitcom Kingswood Country during the 1980s, Higgins also had a successful career in radio and voiceover work, including most famously being the voice of Louie the Fly, Mortein’s famous mascot.

A spokesperson for the Seven Network described Higgins as “a perfectionist in everything he took on. He had a brilliant understanding of comedy and a sharp sense of comedic timing”. Pickle me grandmother…you will be missed, Ross.

Unfortunately the loss of Ted Bullpitt wasn’t the only one felt this week in the Australian media, with the shocking passing of award-winning sports journalist, Rebecca Wilson, from breast cancer at age 54.

Wilson had been battling the disease for some time however it was a closely guarded secret, making her passing all the more traumatic for the many around the country who so highly respected and admired her. In a statement released by her family, they told of her decision to keep her battle private, saying “The majority of her friends, colleagues and indeed members of her family were unaware of the extent of her illness. She did so to limit their suffering”.

Wilson was considered a pioneer in the industry, helping carve out the difficult path for women in sports journalism and winning numerous awards, admirers and enemies along the way. Close friend and renowned broadcaster Alan Jones broke down when paying tribute to his friend on air on Friday morning, describing her as “Brilliant, unsparing and unyielding as a journalist”.

“We are so proud that she was so fearless in her chosen role as a sport journalist. She brushed aside evil trolls, bullies and organised crime figures to prosecute her craft. She proved that women had an equally important role in sports journalism as her male counterparts.”

Unfortunately, decorum, respect and integrity appear to be qualities not easily found in Liberal Senator David Leyonhjelm who allegedly took the opportunity amidst the tributes to suggest on Twitter that he doubts “there’ll be many Western Sydney Wanderers fans at Rebeccas Wilson’s funeral” in reference to Wilson publicly naming fans that were allegedly on the FFA’s banned list for bad behaviour. His response to the onslaught of well deserved criticism he received in response? A statement that read “Death does not suddenly absolve us of what we did when we were alive”.

Tributes have poured in from all corners of actual human beings with beating hearts; but the statement from her husband John Hartigan and sons Tom and Will summed it up best:

“We are so proud that she was so fearless in her chosen role as a sport journalist. She brushed aside evil trolls, bullies and organised crime figures to prosecute her craft. She proved that women had an equally important role in sports journalism as her male counterparts.”

On behalf of all of us at The Big Smoke, you will be sorely missed Bec.


Wacky and wonderful

In the modern era, our relentless consumerism can quite often raise an eyebrow. We have a multitude of products available that could not have possibly been conceived 20 years ago; their actual necessity quite often being highly questionable.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we now have a new winner. Twelve South, a company that specialises in Apple accessories, has released a candle. A candle? From an IT accessory company, you say? Is it USB powered or something? Have we found a way to put Bluetooth in it in our relentless pursuit to put Bluetooth in absolutely everything on Earth? No…it’s just a candle…that smells like a new Mac.

For the very affordable sum of $24, you can get your mits on a hand poured soy wax candle so that your house will always have that highly sought after “New Mac Smell”.

Stop the world, I want to get off.

In the US, one of Fox News Network’s staples, The O’Reilly Factor, aired a “man on the street” report from New York’s Chinatown neighbourhood this week that was so unintentionally offensive that it bordered on hilarious. I’ll leave you to watch it yourself but a couple of quick recaps of the questions and comments provided by “the man on the street”, reporter Jesse Watters:

“Do you know karate?”

“Am I supposed to bow to say hello?”

“They’re patient. They want you to walk away because they don’t have anything else to do.”

Watters and host Bill O’Reilly claimed it was “all in good fun”, a statement so unbelievably naive and distasteful that the mystery of Trump’s rise to power is a little less mysterious. It’s not satire if you actually believe it yourselves, guys…


Have a cracking week, TBSers!

Rob Idol

Rob is an aspiring writer who balances his time between a “real” job and his passion for politics, social justice and all things creative. He has an MBA, an unhealthy obsession with current events, an even unhealthier obsession with pop culture and has been known to offer favourable food reviews in exchange for free meals.

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