Well, it’s fair to say that COVID-19 has dominated both the headlines and our sense of logic, but it’s not all bad, surely?
Hello and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had the entire world focused on COVID-19 as it’s elevated to pandemic status, a horrific attack in Melbourne and a local PD with a sense of humor amongst the mania.
Not sure if you guys have heard but there’s a little virus going by the name COVID-19 that’s dominating pretty much every bit of news across the planet right now. There’s far more to cover than would be possible in the usual weekly wrap but here is a quick breakdown of some of the bigger stories related to it.
Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire, has now tested positive for COVI-19. Trudeau himself is asymptomatic at this stage however is remaining in isolation for at least 14 days due to the high likelihood that he’ll contract the virus from his wife. Make no mistake, this is a cruel cruel virus – isolating Trudeau instead of Trump is criminal.
Closer to home, our own Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton has also tested positive for COVID-19 which he confirmed on Friday.. Suggestions that he should spend some time in quarantine on Christmas Island has not only been warranted but seriously underdone. Can someone call the Governor-General, please?
Hollywood megastar, Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have both tested positive for COVID-19 whilst visiting Australia. Both are being treated in hospital on the Gold Coast and are expected to remain in isolation for at least 14 days.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced plans late in the week to lock down the country’s capital, Manila and it’s 12 million residents in an attempt to contain the virus.
Italy’s COVID-19 death toll officially passed the 1000 mark late in the week after the country went into complete lockdown a few days earlier. Whilst numbers continue to decrease in China, Italy has become the new epicentre of the outbreak which has now spread throughout most of Europe.
The US has finally woken up and started taking action with President Trump announcing a complete travel ban to and from Europe effective as of Friday. The ban, for some strange reason, doesn’t include the UK despite it having one of the higher numbers of reported cases in the European regions – perhaps Trump really didn’t understand what Brexit was.
EU leaders condemned the move, likening it to “kicking a man while he’s down” – they’ve got a point; we know it’s the only way Trump would ever win a physical fight with someone.
There may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon with a Canadian biopharmaceutical company in Quebec announced late in the week that they’ve found a cure and potential vaccine for the virus. The veracity of the claim is yet to be known but even a best-case scenario wouldn’t see any of the alleged cure being available to the public until at least November.
While the federal government continues to bury their heads in the sand back home, major event organisers are scrambling following the cancellation of the F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne this week and also in light of the suspension of major sporting tournaments around the world including the Serie A in Italy and La Liga in Spain.
The Australian Government have also suggested that all gatherings over 500 people (with the exception of schools and universities) should be cancelled – but not until Monday so PM Scott Morrison can attend the football and a big convention for his beloved Hillsong Church…I seriously wish I was making this up.
The eastern suburbs of Melbourne were plunged into chaos earlier in the week as a man embarked on a stabbing rampage that saw two people killed, another in critical condition and the perpetrator dead.
A 34-year-old man by the name of Mohammed Ibrahim began his fatal rampage at around 10:40pm on Wednesday night. He was armed with a small switchblade and two larger kitchen knives when he began his rampage by slashing a PSO at Jolimont train station near the MCG – the PSO received non-life-threatening injuries.
He then proceeded to stab two women in their car outside their home in the affluent suburb of Hawthorn; a 30 year old woman was killed and her 31-year-old friend is fighting for her life in hospital.
Ibrahim then proceeded to stab a 59-year-old man at a tram station in Kew. In a heroic show of bravery, the man phoned police to advise them of Ibrahim’s location before succumbing to his injuries. Victoria Police Commissioner, Graham Ashton, described the man’s actions as “a very brave act”, saying, “It’s a very brave act, frankly. He’s made that call because obviously he’s worried about the community more than himself. He’s worried about what else this guy’s going to do and who else he might harm”
Police found and confronted Ibrahim, attempting non-lethal techniques to subdue him before being left with no choice but to shoot him which resulted in his death.
Commissioner Ashton also indicated that Ibrahim had no links to terror organisations, and have described the rampage as a “random act of senseless violence”. They pointed to his history of mental health issues as well as his relationship with his estranged partner and child and possible contributing factors. Both his estranged partner and child are thankfully safe.
The man responsible for the brutal murder of Eurydice Dixon, Jaymes Todd, has lost his appeal against his life sentence.
Todd was given a life sentence back in September 2019 for what the court described as an “unspeakably loathsome and cruel” crime. The sentence indicated a minimum period of 35 years before being eligible for parole.
Todd’s lawyers had argued that the sentence was disproportionate to the crime; an argument that was thrown out by the Court of Appeal with its judges confirming that the sentencing judge had “carefully weighed all relevant mitigating factors”.
Justice Ferguson continued, “A woman should be able to walk home after a night out without any fear of being harmed. She should not have to be looking over her shoulder to see if anyone is following her…her heart should not have to skip a beat when she hears approaching steps from behind”.
Daniel Gurvich QC, who was representing Jaymes in his appeal, did acknowledge that the crime was “heinous” but also argued that the sentence was “manifestly too long” due to Todd’s young age, his early guilty plea, his expression of remorse, his Asperger’s diagnosis, his disadvantaged background and his need for protective custody.
Cry me a river. There is no sentence “manifestly too long” for a man who terrorised and then violently raped and strangled to death a young woman who had committed no crime other than trying to get home.
Wacky and Wonderful
Amongst the panic, the fear and the craziness of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important we don’t lose our sense of humor.
Thankfully, the Tavares Police Department in Florida hadn’t lost theirs when they made a post to their Facebook page related to COVID-19. It said, “With the rising health concerns associated with the Coronavirus we are offering free testing of your drugs…being that a large amount of narcotics come from outside the US, we want you safe. Bring it by our station and we will test your batch within minutes!
No word yet on whether anyone took them up on their generous offer; but it’s the US so there’s every chance. More importantly, it’s Florida so it’s all but a guarantee.
That’s it from me TBSers. Wash your hands, use your common sense and stay safe out there!