Rob Idol

Current Affairs Wrap: Farewell US democracy, goodbye Leonard, and everyone on social media

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Approx Reading Time-12What an end to a week. Death for breakfast, be it the same-sex marriage plebiscite, a cherished warrior poet, or all of us on social media.

 


Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. The US election happened and even had a bit of a silver lining, Taiwan is making history, Turnbull’s been banned from an iconic event and we’re all dead – according to Facebook.

 

International

Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States.

That’s it. In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that”.

On to some US election news worth discussing: whilst everyone was focussed on the race to the oval office in what has been a circus of a campaign, quietly in the background a lot of welcome progress was being made. Catherine Cortez Masto was elected Senator of Nevada, making her the first Latina to be voted into the US Senate. Ilhan Omar became the first Somalian-American Muslim woman legislator after winning a place in the Minnesota House of Representatives (she also happens to be a former refugee). Kate Brown became the first openly bisexual governor in US history after becoming the 38th Governor of Oregon. Kamala Harris is the first Indian-American and second African-American woman in history to be voted in as a US Senator. She was previously the first female, first African-American, first Indian-American and first Asian-American attorney general in California. Tammy Duckwork, who lost both of her legs fighting during the Iraq War as a helicopter pilot, became the first Thai-American woman to become a senator to add another huge odd overcome to her resume. Stephanie Murphy became the first Vietnamese-American woman to ever be voted into a role in Congress. Pramila Jayapal became the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives.

A pretty big silver lining if there ever was one.

Making a turbulent week worse however, 2016 has continued to be the death of all that is good in the world with the sad passing of influential singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. Cohen passed on Monday at the age of 82, leaving behind an endearing legacy of words and music that has touched most of us at some point in our lives. Whether it simply be Jeff Buckley’s cover of Cohen’s haunting Hallelejuah, Judy Collins’ famous cover of Suzanne or the many who were fans of Cohen’s delivery of his incredible body of work, his influence was far reaching. Cohen, who was born in Quebec, was buried in Montreal alongside his family.


Also on The Big Smoke


Taiwan is shaping to become the first Asian nation to legalise same-sex marriage. Taiwanese MP’s are finalising three bills supporting marriage equality with one already ready for review and looking to possibly be passed in months. Polls have suggested that 80 percent of Taiwanese between the ages of 20 and 29 are in support of same-sex marriage and the move also has the support of Taiwan’s first female head of state, President Tsai Ing-wen. Taiwanese society is already known for it’s inclusive attitudes, and the prominence of both Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that have no strong position on sexual orientation or gay marriage are believed to be contributing factors to the potentially historical move. Should the bill pass, Taiwan would become the 21st country in the past 15 years to legalise same-sex marriage. And another that beat Australia to it.

 

Domestic

And while we are on the topic, PM Malcolm Turnbull has been banned from Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. A motion was passed at the organisation’s AGM this week, officially listing Turnbull as “not welcome”. It’s quite the fall from grace after Turnbull became the first sitting Prime Minister to attend the event back in March however his insistence on pushing forward with Tony Abbott’s divisive plebiscite on same sex-marriage has pushed him well into persona non grata territory. The plebiscite was officially killed off this week in the Senate with Turnbull confirming that there were “no plans to take any other measures on this issue”, as most expected.

It appears that a deal between the US and Australia to settle 1,800 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island could be days away from being finalised. The deal would see the long-term detainees resettled in the US, a move that most of them are apparently welcoming. There are those opposed who have families in Australia already, an understandable position, but the Turnbull Government’s recent legislation which looks to place a lifetime ban on all asylum seekers who have arrived by boat from ever travelling to Australia (even after being resettled elsewhere), puts some in a harrowing position.


Also on The Big Smoke


Following the recent US election result, there appears to be some urgency to get the deal completed, primarily as it is expected that should the election promise of Donald Trump to introduce a blanket ban on Muslim immigration to the US come to fruition, odds are this arrangement would find itself quickly off the table. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has indicated there is plenty of time to make an announcement prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th next year.

 

Wacky and wonderful

Facebook has had its share of bugs over the years. Some are minor, and others… well…

This week saw a host of users, including founder Mark Zuckerberg, accidentally declared dead by the social media giant. According to a spokesperson for Facebook, “For a brief period today, a message meant for memorialized profiles was mistakenly posted to other accounts. This was a terrible error that we have now fixed.” On Zuckerberg’s page, a message was posted expressing hope that people who loved him would take comfort in posts people shared in tribute to his life. The Internet, being what it is, had a field day with it including suggestions that an impending annihilation following Trump’s inauguration next year had Facebook ready to declare everyone dead prematurely. Well… not out of the question I suppose…

From the “only in Australia” category, one young Aussie is facing a potential $9,000 fine for flying a drone to pick up a sausage from the sausage sizzle at his local Bunnings. The man, who only wants to be known as “Tim”, admitted his involvement in the incident which included posting a video to YouTube of the expert piloting and delivery job (the video has since been removed).

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority, who usually have such a good sense of humour, have confirmed they are investigating the incident and that it potentially breached a number of drone regulations, and Bunnings are presumably panicking at risking the only thing they really have that can drag most of us out of bed to visit them on a Saturday morning…

 

Have a great 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. www.robidol.com.au

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