Rob Idol

Current Affairs Wrap: FBI probes Trump and Russia, Assange walks free, rock and roll in mourning

Trump

Approx Reading Time-11Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. Trump’s not happy, the music world was punched in the black hole sun and there was some good news for Julian Assange.

 

 

 

International

The possibility of a Trump impeachment became a little stronger this week with the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate any collusion between Trump’s team and Russia.

The appointment was made by Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein this week with a view to having a seasoned and independent investigator look into the matter following Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey (who was leading the investigation) last week.

Trump unsurprisingly took to Twitter to whinge about the appointment, describing it as “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history”. Despite Trump’s complaining, the move has been largely supported by both Democrats and Republicans.


Also on The Big Smoke


2016 was a particularly shitty year for the loss of musical icons. 2017 may have started a little slower but it seems happy to compete with the loss of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman, Chris Cornell, this week at the age of 52.

The Wayne County medical examiner’s office has sadly ruled the cause of death as suicide by hanging however a full autopsy has not been completed at this stage. The news was broken by Cornell’s representative, Brian Bumbery, who described the passing as “sudden and unexpected”. Cornell’s wife, Vicky, has indicated that she doesn’t believe the death was suicide but rather an accidental overdose of Ativan which Cornell was taking for anxiety.

Cornell had been on stage at the Fox Theatre in Detroit with Soundgarden and posting on Twitter as they arrived in Detroit just hours before his passing.

As one of the founders and frontman of Soundgarden, Cornell is widely considered to be one of the primary architects of the Seattle grunge movement’s rise to prominence in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Terror hit one of the world’s most famous landmarks this week with a driver deliberately speeding through Times Square in New York City, mowing down pedestrians. An 18-year-old tourist from Michigan, Alyssa Elsman, was killed along with injuries being sustained by 22 others, Elsman’s 13-year-old sister among those injured.

The perpetrator, a 26-year-old ex-Naval officer by the name of Richard Rojas, had apparently banked on suicide by cop, telling officers on the scene “You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them.” He also tested positive for PCP and told police that “God” made him do it. Police refused to describe the incident as terror related – apparently that only happens in the name of Allah.


Also on The Big Smoke


Sweden has dropped the ongoing investigation into rape allegations made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny made the decision, stating it was “not possible to take any further steps that would move the investigation forward… All prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted. It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

The news will likely bring cautious relief to Assange who is by no means out of the woods. Currently in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has received political asylum, Assange still does not know whether or not the UK Government has received an extradition request from the United States. The Metropolitan Police Service has indicated that there is an outstanding warrant for Assange’s arrest for skipping bail and that they would arrest him “regardless” if he left the Embassy.

Assange’s Australian legal advisor, Greg Barns, has said that he will be approaching PM Malcolm Turnbull to intervene both to request that he ascertain whether an extradition request is in place and also to ask for the Australian Government’s assistance in providing safe passage for Assange out of the UK.

 

Domestic

A 16-year-old schoolgirl from Lindfield in Sydney has been rescued from the basement of an American man in Queens, New York, after the man allegedly lured her from Australia via social media app Snapchat.

New York Police Department officers raided the house of 39-year-old Sean Price last week and discovered the girl hiding in the basement of the property. Price has since allegedly admitted that he paid for the girl’s passage to the US before driving her across the country, having sex with her along the way.

Australian Federal Police have confirmed that the girl has been returned to Australia and to her family.

The deputy commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office, Michael Cranston, was arrested this week, charged with abusing his position as a public official.

His son, Adam, has also been arrested and charged over his alleged role in a fraud syndicate that police believe stole more than $165 million dollars from the Australian government. Michael was allegedly asked by Adam to provide some information which assisted with the conspiracy however Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Operations, Leanne Close, has indicated that they do not believe that Michael “had any knowledge of the actual conspiracy and the defrauding”.

The fraud allegedly relates to a payroll scheme where wage payments were funnelled through a series of “second tier” companies which then paid the ATO a fraction of what was due as income tax. So far, ten people have been arrested and charged in relation to the conspiracy following the arrest of Simon Anquetil at Sydney Airport yesterday.

 

Wacky and wonderful

It was revealed this week that the king of The Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander, has spent the last 21 years moonlighting as a co-pilot for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

The king served in the Royal Netherlands Air Force and has a pilot’s license but quietly managed to co-pilot commercial flights twice a month, even after taking the throne in 2013.

Apparently, he is rarely recognised while on the job these days but prior to September 11 when cockpit doors were still open, he’d occasionally be spotted.


Also on The Big Smoke


A woman who offers a semi-nude cleaning service in the US state of Maine has found herself arrested…for stealing underwear.

The proprietor of Topless Cleaning was allegedly caught shoplifting undergarments from a local business. Local police reported the arrest on their Facebook page stating the woman “had stolen garments that would fully cover, support and contain much of what her business title promised her customers”.

Who says cops don’t have a sense of humour?

 

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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