It’s been an awful week. Awful because peace was so close, yet eluded our grasp. Be it the Korean peninsula, the cliffs of Western Australia or the streets of New York. Oh, well.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had some plot thickening on the Korean peninsula, more volcanic activity in Hawaii, tragedy in WA and some bigotry getting its just desserts in New York.
US President Donald Trump might have to wait a little longer to start polishing his Nobel Peace Prize following a threat from North Korea this week to pull out of the upcoming historical summit involving both nations.
A statement, attributed to North Korean first vice foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan, said “if the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue…In that case, Pyongyang would have to reconsider its participation at next month’s summit in Singapore.”
North Korea have also taken aim at their neighbours, South Korea, with the chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country, Ri Son-gwon, describing the South Korean government as “ignorant and incompetent” while denouncing ongoing joint US-South Korean air combat drills in the region.
Whilst Trump may be surprised by the new development, most experts have been predicting a less than smooth path to the peace table. Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, has described the move as “brinkmanship to change the US position…it looked like Kim Jong-un was pushed into accepting US demands for ‘denuclearisation first’ but is now trying to change its position after normalising North Korea-China relations and securing economic assistance. The classic North Korean tightrope diplomacy between the US and China has begun.”
China have urged all parties to continue down a diplomatic path and have defended North Korea, calling for acknowledgment of the measures the rogue state have taken to ease tension. Trump, who, as we know, doesn’t know much about easing tension, has suggested that China themselves might be behind the quick shift in position from North Korea.
Either way, it’s fair to say that some very delicate and expert diplomacy will be necessary to see this through. Not exactly something that the Trump White House is known for…
Also on The Big Smoke
- While you were asleep: North Korea calls off peace, Tom Wolfe dies, Mr Markle decides to attend wedding (sort of)
This week has seen “Royal Wedding” excitement hit fever pitch… No…I can’t…I just can’t. Moving on…
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has experienced another major eruption late this week with an ash plume launching around 9,100 metres in the air. The eruption only lasted a few minutes but was the most powerful that the volcano has experienced since it’s activity significantly began escalating a couple of weeks ago.
Residents as far away as 48km from Kilauea have reported laboured breathing, itchy and watery eyes as well as skin irritation from the ash now descending on the big island. The US National Weather Service also instigated an ash advisory which included the closure of several schools due to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.
Associated earthquakes and underground magma movement has also seen roads and highways torn up near the National Park that surrounds Kilauea. “Ballistic blocks” the size of microwave ovens were also launched during the eruption, according to Mike Poland from the US Geological Survey. Some scientists have noted that boulders as large as refrigerators may be expelled during eruptions due to a drop in the lava lake at the summit.
Scary times for the locals. Hopefully everyone stays safe and sound.
An international student in his twenties has tragically fallen to his death at the popular Western Australian tourist spot, “The Gap”.
According to reports, he was “mucking around” with his mates before falling off the edge and plunging 40 metres on to the rocks below at which point he was swept out to sea. A friend of the deceased man, Sahil Khenchi, told reporters “We were new here, we don’t know about that, they had just gone taking pictures. We just can’t explain, he was one of our friends. We were studying in the same college. He was a very good man.”
A witness to the accident called emergency services immediately, reporting that the man was unconscious on the rocks. However, within minutes his body was swept out to the ocean. Emergency Services arrived soon after to commence their search with an RAC rescue helicopter and a local SES crew retrieving the body just before 4pm on Friday. District Superintendent for the Great Southern region of WA, Dominic Wood, said “A young male has gone into the water, and sadly lost their life. This is such a tragic event. It was a surprise to get a call such as this.”
Further information has not been released as yet, while officials contact the victim’s family.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Current Affairs Wrap: Malaysia sees change, Australia’s worst shooting since Port Arthur, the continent that doesn’t exist
A 25-year old man, Shai Jevan Lewis, is behind bars following a shocking rampage in Randwick on Thursday night. The attacks appeared to target people of Asian appearance and included the punching and kicking of a number of victims including women and a 70-year old man.
One of the victims told the media that she noticed Lewis arguing with an Asian couple while she was waiting for the bus. When the couple fled, Lewis allegedly turned his sights on another man of Asian appearance before beginning to approach her. She said “Because I’m a girl, I really didn’t think he would attack me”; unfortunately she was wrong, with Lewis allegedly hitting her from behind as she fled, knocking her to the ground, before proceeding to kick her.
Police have indicated that four victims have been identified but they believe there are at least another three who have not come forward. Lewis was restrained by a group of workmen until police arrived, with Inspector Aaron Wunderlich from the NSW Police saying he was “extremely proud” of their actions.
Lewis faced Waverley Local Court the next day, did not enter a plea and has been ordered to undergo a mental health assessment.
Wacky and wonderful
Another week, another video of some f***tard launching into a racist rant against innocent hardworking people. The latest came from a man now identified as attorney Aaron Schlossberg, who verbally berated the staff at a Manhattan restaurant for speaking Spanish.
The disgusting rant has spread like wildfire with the majority of the world chastising him for his ridiculous actions.
The Internet, it seems, is gleefully taking it’s revenge. It started with a large number of people tracking down his law firm on review service “Yelp” and destroying their star rating with unfavourable reviews. Others have started online petitions which call for his disbarment and for further disciplinary action from the State Bar Association.
My favourite, however, is a GoFundMe that has been started to raise $500 in order to hire a mariachi band to play La Cucaracha at his law offices to “cheer up the staff and attorneys at The Law Office of Aaron M. Schlossberg Esq. P.L.L.C after a difficult day.” Unsurprisingly, the $500 goal was reached and doubled very quickly with organisers confirming that not only has the band been booked but they will also be sending a Taco Truck. Another local NYC mariachi band has volunteered their services for free.
The best part is his identity was discovered after an activist by the name of Shaun King was contacted by some of Schlossberg’s college classmates reporting that it was him and that they “aren’t surprised”.
We may not be able to rely on our politicians to make the world a fairer place, but Internet-based Vigilante justice does a better job than they ever could.
That’s it from me, TBSers, have a cracking week!