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Well, what a week it was. The lunch date between Donald and Kim was called off, justice was finally served and one adult had to move out of home.
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had tables being turned in the world of international diplomacy, an end to the great UK sausage sizzle experiment, overdue justice back home and a victory for parents everywhere.
The world at large has learned this week that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. US President Donald Trump has sensationally pulled out of the historic summit with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, which was scheduled for next month.
Trump supporters have been more vocal than usual over the past month or so following the announcement that North Korea were willing to sit down with the US and their South Korean neighbours and hopefully put an end to the nuclear dick measuring contest that has threatened the area, and indeed the world. Their dream of seeing Trump win a Nobel Peace Prize now seems to have been ripped away in this unexpected development.
Trump’s withdrawal has been largely prompted by suggestions by North Korea that they would withdraw from the summit in response to rhetoric coming out of the White House, in particular, comments from US Vice President Mike Pence who effectively suggested that North Korea would be treated in the same way that Libya was if they backed out now. The US and NATO intervened in the Libyan civil war in 2011 which assisted in the capture of then leader, Muammar Gaddafi, before he was executed by local militia.
North Korea have responded to Trump’s announcement by declaring that they are still willing to talk to the US and resolve things diplomatically. North Korean Vice Foreign Minister, Kim Kye-gwan, described Trump’s decision as “unexpected” and “regrettable” before saying “We again state to the US our willingness to sit face-to-face at any time in any form to resolve the problem.” Just prior to Trump’s announcement, North Korea also announced that they had “completely” dismantled their nuclear test site as promised.
It appears that Trump also didn’t give his South Korean allies a heads up, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in describing the move as “shocking and very regrettable”.
As many international diplomacy experts predicted, Trump played right into Kim Jong-un’s hands. Not only has he allowed North Korea to come out looking like the reasonable party but he’s also pissed off his most important ally related to the matter. Perhaps now he might understand that there is a world of difference between real estate negotiation and international diplomacy.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Current Affairs Wrap: Korea’s squandered peace, The Gap claims another, revenge a dish best served with Mariachi
There are myriad things that make Australia great. Some of those things have been successfully exported overseas to the delight of the rest of the world. Some attempts to export things ingrained in our culture have been dismal failures. For every Chris Hemsworth there’s ten Kath and Kim’s. Unfortunately for Wesfarmers, it looks like Bunnings has fallen into the latter category.
Wesfarmers announced this week that their failed attempt to expand the Bunnings brand into the UK and Ireland was over, with the business being sold to Hilco Capital for a single British pound.
In addition to the 24 pilot Bunnings stores that Wesfarmers had opened in the UK and Ireland, the sale also included the Homebase chain it purchased for $705 million in 2016. According to Wesfarmers, they are expected to lose between $325 million and $375 million in their full year results.
The rest of the world just doesn’t understand the sausage sizzle.
Justice has been served for 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer who was murdered by her foster father, Rick Thorburn, two years ago. This week, Thorburn was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 20 years before parole will be considered.
Justice David Boddice, the sentencing judge, described Thorburn’s actions as “cold, calculating and callous” before describing his conduct as “appalling”. Justice Boddice continued, “You murdered this defenceless child who relied on you for protection.”
Tiahleigh mother, Cindy Palmer, spoke to the media outside the Brisbane Supreme Court after sentencing, saying “Today’s outcome marks the end of a long and painful fight for Tiahleigh but as her mother, no sentence will ever be enough. Tiahleigh was a beautiful girl who had her entire life to look forward to. Rick Thorburn took that away from me, from our family and most importantly, from Tiahleigh.”
The court heard that Thorburn had murdered Tiahleigh in order to protect his son who he feared had impregnated the 12-year-old. Thorbun’s son, Trent, was sentenced to four years jail for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice before being released in late January 2018 after serving 16 months. Thorburn’s wife Julene and other son Joshua were also arrested and found guilty of perjury in 2016.
Whilst nothing can bring Tiahleigh back, the sentence along with a host of new policies and protocols that were enacted after her death in Queensland mean that hopefully future victims can be avoided.
Also on The Big Smoke
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was found guilty of concealing child sexual abuse allegations this week in Newcastle. The historic hearing saw Wilson become the most senior Catholic cleric to be charged with failing to report child sexual abuse to police and now the most senior to be found guilty.
Wilson was specifically accused of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Father Jim Fletcher against a number of victims including former altar boy, Peter Creigh, who was ten years old at the time of the abuse.
Wilson’s legal team had been working furiously to have the case thrown out including using Wilson’s early stage Alzheimer’s diagnosis to preclude him from trial. Wilson now faces a maximum of two years in jail however it’s expected he will attempt to appeal the verdict.
Whilst many have called for his resignation, Wilson has so far refused, agreeing only to step aside for the time being. A statement from the Catholic Church released on Wednesday said “If at any point in time it becomes necessary or appropriate for me to take more formal steps, including by resigning as Archbishop, then I will do so.”
Determined to continue to protest his innocence, Wilson also sent out a letter to all members of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, which included the distribution of the letter to students and parents at Catholic schools across the state. The letter told the recipients that he was standing aside whilst the legal process continues to run its course and finished by asking members of the community to pray for him. No request for anyone to pray for the actual victims was included.
The letter has sparked further controversy with parents none too happy about the letter being sent home with primary school children and even less happy with the lack of remorse or empathy for the victims displayed in the letter.
For the church, the letter is the least of their worries with the judgement expected to open the legal floodgates. Some of the victims in the case have already indicated they intend to take legal action in the civil court system against the Catholic Church. Even those that had already received some type of settlement are indicating that further action could be on the cards as the settlements were “on the basis that the church knew nothing.”
Hopefully this verdict, and future verdicts that may now be forthcoming, can help bring some peace to the victims and the families of these monstrous crimes.
Wacky and wonderful
When I was a teenager, I wanted to move out of home. Not because my home environment wasn’t fantastic (it was), but because I didn’t realise how fantastic it was. I eventually did when I was about 21 and quickly learned just how good I had it. I moved out and back in to my parents house several times in my twenties before eventually working out how to adult on my own.
Michael Rotondo, a 30 year old from New York, clearly had the same idea. He moved back in with his parents, Christina and Mark, when he was 22 after losing his job, and he never left. All attempts to get Mark to move out failed, leaving his frustrated parents with no option but to take him to court which is exactly what they did this week.
Michael’s parents had offered him money to help facilitate a move away from the nest as well as providing advice and support to help him find a job (despite his poor work history). Michael, however, didn’t heed and ignored the request again.
When the court date came around, Michael argued that his parents were required to give him six months more time before kicking him to the curb; an argument that was quickly thrown out and rightly described as “outrageous” by the judge. The judge then proceeded to ask his parents to produce an eviction notice to be signed in court immediately, giving Michael reasonable notice to get off his ass and move out.
If the whole escapade hadn’t been embarrassing enough, Michael told the media outside the court that he intended to appeal the verdict before heading back to Mum and Dad’s.
That’s it from me, TBSers. Have a cracking week!