The week that was involved two male vultures creating life, another in Washington DC risking all life and we gazed back at the Mabo decision, and our commonwealth since.
Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had Trump against the world, and the environment, an incident in the skies above Melbourne and the start of a wonderful new family in Amsterdam.
In news this morning, it seems that the grimy hands of Terrorism have gripped London streets once more, this time circling around the bridge that shares the name of the city. The medium has been the same as previous attacks, of knife and vehicle running into pedestrians. One woman at this stage is confirmed dead, however, the emotional cost is clear. According to an eyewitness, reported by the Guardian:
Gerard Vowls, 47, had been watching the Champions League final at the Ship pub in Borough. He was at the start of the south side of London Bridge and saw a woman being stabbed by three men.
“I want to know if this girl is still alive,” he said. “I’ve been walking around for an hour and a half crying my eyes out. I don’t know what to do.”
Vowls said he was throwing chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them. “They kept coming to try to stab me … they were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people.”
Horrible. In the interim, Metropolitan Police have shut down numerous hospitals and have issued this message to the public:
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 3, 2017
Stay safe, London.
US President Donald Trump has followed through on his promise to withdraw the United States from the historical Paris climate deal this week. Trump believes the deal wasn’t in the US’ interests, arguing that it provided more favourable terms to China and India and exported jobs away from the US economy. The move sees the US join Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not to be part of the deal. Tesla boss Elon Musk, who had been informally advising the US President, has drawn a line in the sand and abandoned the Prez, saying “Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”
Musk is not alone. Powerhouse US Democratic-led states, California, New York and Washington have pledged to adhere to the agreement anyway. 87 US mayors who reportedly represent 40 million Americans have also committed to upholding the agreement as well. Even major US corporations, captains of industry and business groups have spoken out urging Trump to honour the deal – including major oil companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron.
The move, too, seems to be out of step with the general consensus of the American people. Polling suggests that the majority of the US population (62%) believe that climate change is already very real and happening, with a further 27% believing that it will happen in the future. The same poll suggests that 68% of Americans not only believe that it is happening, but that it is caused directly by human activities. 45% also worry a “great deal” about it, with 21% listing their level of worry as a “fair amount”.
Also on The Big Smoke
In the wake of the attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, one of Germany’s largest rock festivals has been evacuated in response to a terrorist threat. Around 90,000 attendees were told to leave the Rock am Ring festival in Nuremberg following police warning of a “concrete terrorist threat”. The evacuation order came in on the first night of the three-day festival, with organisers indicating they hope the festival could resume at some stage on the weekend. Attendees joined in a chorus of You’ll never walk alone as they streamed out of the venue. Australian rockers The Living End were due to perform on Monday night as well as ex-Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher.
And in London a van has driven into people on the London Bridge, before 3 men jumped out of the car and started stabbing people.
Passengers aboard a late-night Malaysia Airlines flight out of Melbourne found themselves in the middle of a potential terrorist situation with a fellow passenger attempting to enter the plane’s cockpit and threatening to blow the plane up with an “unidentified black object”.
The plane was quickly turned back to Melbourne Airport not long after takeoff with fellow passengers telling the media that they saw the man behaving “erratically” and threatening to “blow the plane up” before other passengers intervened and pinned him to the ground. Malaysia Airlines officials have reported that the man was not holding an explosive device but rather, a power bank or mobile charger.
Once the plane touched back down in Melbourne, heavily armed security personnel boarded the plane and apprehended the suspect. Former AFL player, Andrew Leoncelli, was a passenger on the plane seated close to the cockpit. When the man ignored instructions from staff to return to his seat, Leoncelli stood up and confronted the man, standing “eyeball-to-eyeball” with him as he told him he was going to blow the plane up. According to Leoncelli, the man then lost his nerve and ran towards the back of the plane where two young Australian male passengers “went to work on him and got him in the shackles good and proper.” Leoncelli described the men as “heroes”.
Leoncelli and other passengers also reported that there was a delay of 90 minutes between landing and police boarding the plane, which Victorian Police Superintendent Tony Langdon described as falling in the category of “specific operational matters”.
Also on The Big Smoke
- The western condition: Not terrorism? I’ll be on my way then
- The covfefe problem: Why the joke is on us
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Mabo High Court ruling with celebrations and commemorations happening in various parts of the country. Eddie Mabo’s family joined thousands of revellers in Townsville at the annual Mabo Festival to mark the anniversary which includes a concert featuring John Butler, Neil Murray and Shane Howard.
Eddie Mabo sadly died five months before the historic ruling that he dedicated his life to winning – a fight to win the land rights to his and his ancestors’ Murray Island home. On June 3, 1992, the Australian High Court handed down a decision that overturned 200 years of the common law assumption of “terra nullius” – a concept which stated that Australia belonged to no-one when European settlers arrived.
Torres Strait Islander hip-hop artist, Patrick Mau, has released a song in honour of the anniversary, called “Koiki”, based on a song Eddie Mabo’s daughter, Gail, wrote as an ode to her father. Mau also called for Mabo Day to be made a national holiday, saying that “on the 25th anniversary, we feel we have waited long enough.”
Wacky and wonderful
The ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo has been home to a monogamous couple of male griffon vultures for years who live and nest together. Much like their human counterparts, the griffons have sadly never been able to have their own family – until now.
Job van Tol, a zookeeper at the zoo, unusually came across an abandoned vulture egg on the floor of the aviary which was quickly shifted to an incubator in the hope that it might be fertile against the odds. The zoo decided to choose the same sex griffons as adopted parents in the hope that they might be able to hatch and raise a chick of their own. Van Tol says that the male couple are quite strong, describing the same-sex couple situation as quite common in the bird world.
For years, the zoo had provided the couple with a fake egg during nesting season to determine whether they would attempt to nurture and care for an egg. The training appears to have paid off, with the couple successfully hatching the abandoned egg and taking on parental duties. Van Tol has reported the chick is doing “fantastically” as the zoo celebrates their world first little family.
Also on The Big Smoke
A Southern Californian man has fulfilled the lifetime dream of many ’80s children, myself included, with his purchase of a DeLorean. Not content with just owning the car made famous by the movie Back to the Future, Spencer White decided to test whether time-travel was indeed possible by getting the iconic car up to 88 miles per hour on the highway.
Despite the move bringing a smile to the face of the highway patrolman that busted him for speeding, he did indeed receive a citation for the move. The trooper asked White how fast he was going after pulling him over as is procedure. White responded “exactly 88 miles per hour” which understandably had the trooper “busted up laughing”. Proving he really was a good sport, the trooper then asked White whether he had a “flux capacitor”, which he unfortunately didn’t.
Totally worth it.
That’s it from me, TBSers. Have a cracking week!