Rob Idol

About 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

Current Affairs Wrap: G20 kicks off, Musk freshens renewable energy, Mike Pence’s meme moment

Hooley Dooley, what a week. We’ve had awkward blind dates at the G20, Elon Musk flipping off the fossil fuel industry, and a man dressed as the Joker was shot at a sex party. Hey, Victorian police – why so serious?

 

Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve seen the most powerful leaders in the world converge in Hamburg, more sabre rattling from North Korea, a billionaire to the rescue in South Australia and a swingers party gone bad in Melbourne.

 

International

All eyes have been on Hamburg’s G20 summit this week, the setting for a meeting between the world’s 20 most powerful countries.

Violence has unfortunately marred the meeting with around 200 police injured in clashes with protestors, resulting in the temporary detaining of around 83 protesters and a further 19 taken into custody.

The protesters set fire to cars, looted stores, set off fireworks – they also blasted Jimi Hendrix to try and drown out the music from a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Elbphilarmonie concert hall.

While they managed to cause widespread damage, they thankfully represented only a handful of those protesting at the event, with German Authorities reporting that around 100,000 protesters in attendance.

While the protests rolled on, eyes were quickly on the most anticipated encounter of the summit, the first face-to-face meeting between US President Trump and Russian President Putin. Trump took the opportunity to use the high profile meeting to question Putin on the allegations of Russian interference in the election that saw him named Prez.

Putin denied involvement of course, in what was clearly a stunt to ensure the world knew that the topic had been broached by the leaders – with US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson describing Trump’s “confrontation” as a “robust and lengthy” discussion, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov reported that Trump had accepted Putin’s denial.

The internet was quick to point out the eerie similarities between a photo of the meeting of the two leaders and one of their fictional counterparts in the US hit show, House of Cards. Hardly a fair comparison and a downright insult to the far more layered and developed, albeit fictional, Francis Underwood.

It was the interaction between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, that really set the internet ablaze. Video has circulated of an interaction between the two which appears to show Merkel rolling her eyes at something Putin says to her during the conversation. In fairness, they could have just been swapping Trump stories.

 

One of the topics likely to feature prominently at the summit is the continued escalation of North Korea’s nuclear program which saw the rogue nation conduct what appears to be its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile earlier in the week.

The Pentagon initially reported the launch as a land-based, intermediate range missile, it was later updated to confirm an ICBM launch. The missile was fired with a steep trajectory, more than 1740 vertical miles up, however, if it had been flown in the usual way it would have comfortably travelled 4,000 miles. At that range, the US State of Alaska would potentially be at risk.

Whilst no evidence suggests that North Korea is capable of arming such a missile with a nuclear warhead, the successful launch is well ahead of where most analysts believed North Korea was in the expansion of their weapons program and certainly warrants concern.

 

Meanwhile, the US is planning to carry out a new test of its THAAD missile defence system…you know, just in case .

 

Domestic

It looks like billionaire Elon Musk is putting his money where his mouth is. After claiming that he could solve South Australia’s energy crisis within 100 days back in March, as well as promising to do it for free if he couldn’t, Tesla have won the contract with the South Australian Government to try and do exactly that.

The successful bid will see Tesla team up with French-based renewable energy company Neoen to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery by the end of the year. The battery will be connected to the Hornsdale wind farm with a view to providing much-needed battery backup and support to the State’s power grid during peak hours. Tesla have claimed that once completed, the plant will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes, coincidentally around the name number that lost power during the September 2016 South Australian blackout.

Musk also took the opportunity to take a well-directed shot at the coal industry, saying that “The writing is on the wall for the long-term future of coal which is that coal does not have a long-term future…..investors know that coal does not have a long-term future so that capital cost is incredibly high”. He also praised the South Australian government for having the “gumption” to commission the storage plant and for setting an example for the “rest of the world” on what needs to be done to support high renewable energy grids.

A swingers party in Melbourne attracted a little more action than they had bargained on this weekend following the shooting of two people by police at the event.

 

Police received multiple reports of a man being armed with a gun at the party in the upstairs room at the Inflation nightclub. Reports from the venue are also suggesting that the “gun” in question was a toy gun and nothing more than part of the man’s costume – the Joker from Batman.

Police have alleged that the man drew the weapon upon their arrival which caused them to fire, hitting him in the torso and hitting a female companion dressed as Harley Quinn in the leg.

Witnesses have also told the media that the couple were in the middle of a sex act in front of their fellow party-goers when the 40 police from the Critical Incident Response Team stormed into the club. Club owner Martha Tsamis, has also backed up this version of events suggesting that the man didn’t aim the gun at police officers due to being “in a compromising position with his female partner”.

Bar staff told the waiting media that “Two innocent people were shot, he had a toy gun which he declared to security”. Police Superintendent Lisa Hardeman has confirmed that security were aware that the gun was fake and the information was provided to police however not prior to their confrontation with the man.

Fingers crossed that “The Joker” will now use the pickup line ‘Do you want to know how I got these scars?’ at his next flesh party.

 

 

Wacky and Wonderful

There are some things in this life that we have all wanted to try, but would never have the courage to.

A man from Dakota County in Minnesota in the US is one of the rare few that possesses that courage. While in the process of being arrested on an outstanding warrant, the man presented police with a Monopoly “Get out of Jail Free Card”.

Hats off sir, hats off. Not just for the act, but for actually carrying the card around just in case the opportunity arose. Not all heroes wear capes…

Whilst her character on Game of Thrones is humourless and despised without exception, it turns out that actress Lena Heady is not without a sense of humour in real life…assuming there is morphine involved.

Heady’s character, Cersei Lannister, was subjected to a much publicised literal “walk of shame” during the fifth season of the show. The scene in question saw her walk the streets of Kings Landing in the nude whilst Septa Unella chanted the word “shame” at her over and over again.

Apparently fans frequently use this scene to tribute Heady when coming across her in real life, literally chanting “shame” at her as she walks by – presumably clothed. One fan, however, took the cake when she chose to do it when Heady was, let’s say, a little more vulnerable.

A nurse, who was helping Heady breastfeed her newborn daughter, decided it was the opportune time to show her appreciation for Heady’s performance, chanting “Shame!” at her whilst assisting with the breastfeed – or as Heady puts it,

“The story ends with the nurse, nipples in hand, chanting “Shame” as she’s milking me like a human cow…I was flying on morphine so it was sort of funny…Had I been vaguely in the world, I might have been more offended”.

If I was Iwan Rheon, who portrayed the deplorable Ramsay Bolton, I’d never leave the house….

Lastly, we cross to the President in waiting, VP Pence, had a meme worthy moment of his own when he was pictured touching the forward bay cover of the Orion spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida despite a rather clear “DO NOT TOUCH” sign being one inch above his hand.

You stick it to the man, Mike.

That’s it from me TBSers. Have a fantastic week!

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