What happened in the news last week? (21/07/14)

Alright, so I haven’t written anything in two weeks. Nobody’s read anything so it doesn’t matter too much. Still trying to figure out my voice and all that. We’re getting there though.

Anyway. The big story was obviously the loss of 298 lives when MH17 was shot down over pro-Russian rebel territory in the Ukraine. The west, including the USA and Australia have made clear their belief that Russia was involved in some way, though Mr Putin and the Russian media seem to be of the opinion that it was Kiev and Ukrainian state military forces that did the deed. The weight of evidence, even if it is largely circumstantial, seems to be against Russia in this case. The real question is a matter of degrees: just how involved was Russia? Did they supply the missiles or just teach their local proxies how to use launchers captured from the Ukrainian military? Will they merely hinder investigative efforts or go for a full-blown cover-up? I will say I’m liking PM Tony Abbot’s plan to bring a resolution before the UN Security Council demanding an independent investigation (how will China vote I wonder), and I’m a little disappointed by the lack of noise coming from Europe beyond the half-hearted groaning that allowed Ukraine to get this bad in the first place.

In Australia the Carbon Tax has been repealed. It’s definitely a victory for the Coalition, but a bitter one. I’m sure that Labor are enjoying the irony of the PM and Cabinet being forced to kowtow to Clive Palmer and his PUP after all the flak Julia Gillard had to cop for her alliance with the Greens (SCHADENFREUDE!). Repealing the Carbon Tax hasn’t helped Mr Abbot in the polls either, where anger over the budget and an unrepentant Treasurer continues to dominate hearts and minds.

Israel has invaded Gaza, and isn’t that just depressing as hell. You’d think that both sides would be bored of this by now, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world is. As always it’s the innocent bystanders who seem to be suffering the worst of it, not the blokes lobbing the rockets (and that counts for both sides of the border). ISIS (or is it ISIL? IS? ISI?) are still sitting quite happily in Iraq, but it looks like the Kurds will soon be raising a flag over an independent Kurdistan (or Republic of Kurdistan, or whatever else they wanna call it). This could have both a stabilising and destabilising effect on the region since Kurds are a substantial minority in four countries. I hope it works for them, it’d be nice to read about some good news coming from the Mid East.

Rupert Murdoch tried to buy Time Warner for 80 billion dollars. They said no, concerned that it was too little for the risks involved (basically that regulating bodies would say no). Here’s hoping they continue to say no, since I can’t see how giving Mr Murdoch control over CNN and HBO could possibly help competition, but the man who would be television news king is not the type to back off easily.

Ian Thorpe’s come out of the closet in one of those moments when the content is less surprising than the announcement. To join the bandwagon (yes, late I know but better than never), good for him and here’s hoping he finds some peace and happiness with himself now he doesn’t have to hide such a fundamental part of his identity.

In pop culture the big news is that (in the main comic book universe) the mantle of Captain America is being taken up from a de-powered Steve Rogers by black character Sam Wilson (formerly The Falcon), and the current/old Thor is being replaced with a new Thor who is similarly tall and blonde but with the key difference of being a woman (with a uterus and everything), adding some fantastic diversity to the Avengers roster. Along with this is the somewhat spoiled announcement about the upcoming death of Archie, who is apparently gonna go down taking a bullet for his gay, pro-gun control, politically active friend. Almost makes me wish I actually read comics.

Finally, after a tweet or two by screenwriter Gary Whitta, Mark Ruffalo (who bears a striking resemblance to the late great Peter Falk) has confirmed that he has been approached about a possible modern remake of one of my personal favourite detective shows, Columbo. While I’m not normally one to get excited about modern remakes and reboots, ahem, OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! COLUMBO! SOMEONE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

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