- Victoria’s historic coronavirus spike could soon be surpassed
- The internet’s black pill is an evil we all have to swallow
- Is JK Rowling right about cancel culture, or is she just shielding herself from criticism?
- The science behind our selfishness in a pandemic
- Worldwide genome research could change the course of medical history
The week that was, was one of closure. Baird took his bow and Trump took his oath. Also, moth testicles.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. The big day has come and gone in Washington, we’ve had horror on the streets of Melbourne and NSW is shopping for a new Premier.
Like a death row inmate, the majority of us spent the last couple of days desperately waiting for a call from the Governor, a last minute reprieve, saving us before the point of no return. Unfortunately that call never came and Donald Trump is now officially the 45th President of the United States.
Trump took the opportunity to give a rousing inauguration speech which was pretty much a recycled version of every speech he made during the campaign trail. Make America Great Again, Take America Back, Make America Strong Again, Make America Wealthy Again, Put America First…
Of more interest was the inauguration concert. During Obama’s inauguration, two of the most influential artists of the modern era performed – Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen. Trump’s lineup, in contrast, included Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down and some other people no-one has heard of; a generous statement given that it’s entirely possible that not too many people have heard of Toby Keith or 3 Doors Down either. Resident Hollywood nutjob, Jon Voight (if you were born after 1990 you probably know him as Angelina Jolie’s father), also lent his support to Trump, speaking of the “gruelling” year that Trump had to endure when all he wants is to “make America great again”.
So where were the talented and well known celebrities that we are used to seeing at a Presidential inauguration? In New York it would appear, protesting the inauguration. On the eve of Trump’s big day, thousands turned out in New York to protest his win, including Robert De Niro, Cher, Michael Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Sally Field, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie Perez, Julianne Moore, Reverend Al Sharpton and Alec Baldwin – you know, celebrities you’ve actually heard of. Baldwin even gifted the crowd a live rendition of the Trump impersonation that has seen him become even more of a Saturday Night Live regular this year.
So it’s done. He’s in the big chair. Let’s just hope that our seemingly legitimate worries are nothing more than hype, and that the next four years don’t end in a disaster of biblical proportions.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Trump’s inauguration: An earnestly positive recap
- Trump’s inauguration: A pre-emptive post-mortem
- Tripping over vintage Trump
Speaking of…North Korea. It turns out that Kim Jong Un isn’t a fan of the new Prez either, with reports this week suggesting that North Korea was preparing for a new missile test-launch, possibly slated for inauguration day to test the resolve of the new man in charge.
A variety of media sources reported that the rogue nation was readying two intercontinental ballistic missiles, with South Korean sources suggesting that they had spotted missile parts from an ICBM being transported earlier in the week and other sources suggesting that mobile launchers had been put in place. Whilst no launch was detected during the inauguration, it could still come over the next couple of days as Trump settles into his new digs.
On to disasters of the Mother Nature variety, and an avalanche has struck central Italy after being triggered by an earthquake earlier this week. A ski hotel in Pescara in the Abruzzo region was buried by the avalanche leaving several people dead and others injured and trapped.
The Italian media have reported that guests trapped inside the hotel sent an SMS to rescuers which read “help, help, we’re dying of cold”. Around 130,000 homes in the region were also left without electricity during the blistering cold following the four earthquakes in four hours on Wednesday.
The only silver lining was that Residents of Aquila, which lost more than 300 people during a 2009 earthquake, were left unscathed after panicked residents rushed into the street after the quakes struck.
The Melbourne CBD was plunged into chaos on Friday as a crazed driver deliberately drove through the Bourke Street Mall killing at least four people and injuring another thirty.
According to police, around 1:45pm on Friday afternoon, the vehicle entered the city driving erratically and proceeded to do burnouts outside Flinders Street station on the corner of Swanston and Flinders streets.
Victorian Police have indicated that the perpetrator is well known to them, with media sources naming Dimitrious “Jimmy” Gargasoulas, a 26-year-old who allegedly is also responsible for a stabbing in Windsor earlier that morning (reports suggest the victim of the stabbing was his brother, Angelo).
Following the stabbing, it has been reported that Gargasoulas stole a car and began an erratic journey across town and back, culminating in the vehicular rampage through Bourke Street. He also allegedly kidnapped a woman known to him after the stabbing before she managed to escape on the Bolte Bridge. Police had to abandon their pursuit due to safety concerns.
The horror that followed saw the deaths of a 25-year-old man, a 32-year-old woman, a 33-year-old man and a 10-year-old girl. Five of the thirty others injured in the attack are believed to be in a critical condition.
Of those five, it has been reported that a 3-month-old has been operated on at the Royal Children’s Hospital and remains in critical condition.
Whilst Mr Gargasoulas has not been formally identified as the driver, media reports have provided information from his social media accounts which include ominous posts such as “I’ll take you all out…you need an army to take me”. He was also reported as having yelled “Armageddon is coming. The end of the world’s going to come today” whilst erratically driving the car through Yarraville prior to the rampage in the city.
Police have confirmed that the perpetrator has an extensive history of family violence as well as mental health and drug-related issues. They also confirmed that there is no evidence that the incident is related to terrorism.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Current Affairs Wrap: Trump trumping Trump, Pauline’s headache, self-love in workplace
- #AusPol winners and losers: Who ate the chocolate out of the bin this week?
- While you were asleep: Orlando shooter’s wife arrested, the Aus 1%, and Trump moves against NATO
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced his shock resignation this week, effective immediately. Baird announced the news on Twitter before facing a media conference later that day.
Baird identified his family as the motivation behind his departure, as his parents and sister battle ill health, saying “There is a strong personal cost that comes in public life…I’ve probably felt that more than any other time in the past few months. My father and my mother and my sister are going through a very serious health challenge and, to be honest, at times I have been in pain not being able to spend the time that I should.”
The news means that the NSW Liberal Party will need to elect a new leader with Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian widely tipped to succeed Baird. Baird was often considered to be a future PM and a great hope for his party however he has made it clear that his resignation also represents his retirement from politics.
Much like his Federal counterpart, Baird began his professional career as an investment banker before turning his eyes to politics in 1999. Whilst his nudge at preselection for the seat of Manly was not successful, leading him back to the finance industry, he tried again in 2007 with success.
A quick rise through the ranks of the Libs followed, resulting in his promotion to shadow treasurer in 2008, treasurer in 2011 and, following the resignation of Premier O’Farrell in 2014, leader of the NSW Liberal Party and Premier of NSW. Baird became incredibly popular due to his youth and charisma as well as his apparent willingness to be at odds with the Federal Libs on issues like asylum seekers. His Golden Child status was tainted in recent times following his introduction of controversial lockout laws as well as a move to shut down the state’s greyhound racing industry.
Wacky and wonderful
There are few honours in this life greater than having the scientific community name a discovery after you. It presents a legacy that will last for generations and is, as such, reserved for very few.
Newly minted US President Donald Trump became a recipient of that honor this week following the discovery of a new species of moth by evolutionary biologist, Dr Vazrick Nazari.
Neopalpa donaldtrumpi is a member of the moth family “Neopalpa” and enjoys a couple of characteristics not seen in other members of the genus. Specifically, an appearance that includes what looks like a strange blond tuft of hair on it’s head as well as “small genitals”
I’ll leave you to make of that what you will.
That’s it from me, have a cracking week, TBSers!