And so the world has spun right round (right round) another seven and a bit times. What’s been happening?
A tentative ceasefire between Israel and Hamas broke after it was believed a young Israeli soldier was kidnapped/captured (tomato/tomato), who has since been killed in action (though whether by Palestinian suicide bomber or in the assault meant to rescue him is unclear). Despite hopes that Israel might be planning on withdrawing ground troops now that it’s objectives are supposedly close to completion, and despite heavy international pressure (on both sides) for a diplomatic solution, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to talk tough, saying troops were being redeployed not withdrawn. Meanwhile confusing statements by the IDF and the collapse of a humanitarian ceasefire have left many Palestinian civilians stranded in live fire zones.
The bloodshed in Ukraine looks like it might finally be coming to a conclusion, with rebel strongholds Donetsk and Luhansk being brought under siege by government troops. They have a long way to go, since the rebels are still apparently receiving support from Russia (who just don’t know when to quit, do they?) but Kiev is confident of victory, or at least looks confident. Colonel General Valeriy Heletey, the Ukrainian Defence Minister has said that while they are close to the rebel controlled crash site they will not fight over the area until international forces have completed their search for remains and evidence. Dutch and Australian police have spent the last week combing the area for the remaining (up-to) 80 missing bodies.
In lighter news, the Aussie PM has apparently shelved his ridiculously unpopular Paid Parental Leave scheme until next year, rather than go through the embarrassment of having it voted down by members of his own party. It was unpopular with voters, unpopular with business (who were the ones who were going to pay for it) and it was unpopular with Coalition MPs and Senators, many of whom seem to be indicating it’s less breaking an election promise and more finally bloody pulling his fingers out of his ears and opening his bloody eyes.
In less lighter news Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is disputing claims by psychiatrist Dr Peter Young that the department specifically told International Health and Medical Services to not publish a report about the rates of mental illness amongst children in detention. True or not, a growing number of Christian leaders are calling upon Abbot and Morrison (who claim to men of faith, though I’m unconvinced it’s the Christian kind) to get these kids out of prison camps. What was that Jesus said about “As you do unto the least of these”?
God this is depressing.
Argentina has defaulted for the eighth time on July 30. There’s still a chance they can salvage the situation quickly enough to avoid serious damage to their economy (S&P reversing their downgrading of Argentine debt, for instance) if they can find a solution that both satisfies the so-called ‘vulture’ funds and doesn’t make the President and her government look stupid after all the time they’ve attacking said funds (and the New York judge, court appointed mediator and banks). I’ll admit I’m not feeling a lot of sympathy for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her economic ministers (not quite a SCHADENFREUDE! moment, but not far off). Could be I find it hard to feel sympathy for a government that believes populist name calling and political melodrama are viable alternatives for, ya know, a negotiated solution that minimises or negates economic impact. Or it could be I don’t like her hair and taste in clothing. Who knows?
The Commonwealth Games have come to a conclusion and Australia’s made it through with a solid medal tally. Massive props to all of those who wore the green and gold. I’m gonna miss all the ‘I shoulda won! The ref was corrupt!’ rants from the losing boxers.
And that was a bit of what happened last week.