Last week’s news (28/7/14)

Another week goes by, papers are printed, sites are updated (cough) and networks try to make horrible tragedy as engaging and entertaining as possible.

To start with are the aeronautical disasters of the TransAsia flight brought down by stormy weather and low visibility over Taiwan on Wednesday, resulting in 38 dead including the 4 crew (though thankfully 10 survivors managed to crawl from the wreckage), and the Air Algerie flight that crashed over Africa on Thursday, killing all 110 passengers and 6 crew. I don’t want to say any more than that it’s shocking that such disasters should occur so close together and so soon after what happened to MH17, and that it’s good that at least some survivors made it out of the TransAsia flight.

The announcement that Australian Federal Police (supported by members of the Australian Defence Force) would be heading to the Ukraine to join and assist the force of Dutch officers in securing the MH17 crash site was met with some criticism this week. Some of this criticism was that the Australian government was overplaying its hand. Others thought that the deal signed between Australia and Ukraine that included ‘contingencies’ allowing AFP and ADF personnel to be armed was ‘nuts,’ fearing that having armed Aussies around might provoke the pro-Russian separatists or something. Given that the AFP and ADF have more than a little experience in conflict zones (such as the Solomon Islands, Fiji, East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Somalia and the list goes on) you’d think that they might just know what they’re doing. Interestingly enough, while the current force active in Ukraine are unarmed (something Deputy Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin has expressed concerns about), the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said that the Dutch will be signing a similar agreement with the government in Kiev allowing for armed ‘contingencies’.

San Diego Comic Con happened this weekend, where people were disappointed by the lack of big announcements or reveals from Marvel, we got our first look at Wonder Woman from DC (my brain says the costume’s pretty badarse but my heart just isn’t feeling it), and a 64 year old woman was hit by a car trying to escape marauding zombies. I shit you not. Anyway, the first trailer for Mad Max Fury Road was shown and it was… good? I think it was good. A lot happened that looked pretty cool but… yeah. Check it out. I’m a little concerned that with a bigger budget it might have lost a bit of charm. But hey, let’s see where this angry street takes us.

In NSW an unfortunate drama started to come to a conclusion yesterday when Mr Vic Alhadeff, a Jewish community leader (chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies no less) resigned from his government appointed position as chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission. Mr Alhadeff came under fire after he sent out an email (to members of the Jewish community) a couple of weeks ago titled ‘Israel under fire’ that condemned Hamas while glossing over Israel’s role in the violence, angering Muslim leaders across the state. His apology (for the outrage, not the commentary) didn’t help and quite a few prominent Islamic leaders boycotted an iftar dinner held as NSW state parliament house to mark Ramadan that Mr Alhadeff attended. Despite having the continued support of Premier Mike Baird, many claimed Mr Alhadeff’s position as CRC chair had become untenable and apparently he finally agreed (though it seems he still stands by the comments).

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