More in Banking stuff-ups

The revelations keep coming. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks talking about big banks as they’ve rolled through a Royal Commission. This week it was revealed that the Commonwealth Bank lost the financial records of 12 million customers and didn’t tell them. The bank is defending itself by assuring everyone they’re sure the statements didn’t end up in anyone’s hands – they were just accidentally destroyed.

The other big loser from the inquiry, AMP, is in crisis mode. Its chairwoman, Catherine Brenner, resigned with immediate effect this week. The CEO also quit last week.

Expect the poop to keep hitting the fan.

Biloela Asylum Seekers

Residents of Biloela, a small regional town in Queensland, flew to Melbourne this week to protest the federal court. They want to hang on to a Sri Lankan family who are facing deportation. The family was in the process of having their visa extended when their home was invaded at dawn. They out-stayed their current visa by just one day. The family were apparently given just ten minutes to pack for themselves and their two Australian born daughters. The court is making its decision.

Dutton. Again.

Peter Dutton is in the news again.

In October of last year, the Council of Aussie Governments got on board to give police real-time access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver’s licence images for criminal investigations, providing a huge boost to facial recognition technology. Then in February, a federal bill was introduced that would allow the home affairs department to collect, use and disclose information from all of that gathered data. The Victorian government has threatened to pull out of the original deal, because it fears the February bill gives the home affairs department way too much power.

In the same week, Dutton went against the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, by saying that expanding the power of the Australian Signals Directorate – the Aussie electronic spy agency – might be a good idea. He suggested there was need to keep an eye on domestic cyber-threats, and he used the example of child exploitation to justify the ASD spying on Aussies at home, which it’s currently not allowed to do. The ASD isn’t allowed to produce intelligence on Aussie citizens. That’s the job of ASIO – the domestic spy agency – and the Australian Federal police. They both require warrants before they spy on Aussie citizens.

Cardinal Pell

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-in-charge, will stand trial on several counts of sexual abuse. After many months of deliberations, a Melbourne court found that there was enough evidence to warrant a full trial. The majority of the original charges, however, have been withdrawn or dismissed, including some of the more serious claims, including allegations that abuse took place in a playground or on an altar.

Great Barrier Reef

Early in the week the government announced a plan to try to rescue the Great Barrier Reef by investing $500 million dollars in continued research and conservation methods. Environmentalists reckon it’s not nearly enough – the reef is in real trouble. A big chunk of it is now dead. A bunch of scientists have said the damage is irreversible. The hope appears to be that this new influx of cash will stop the bleeding.

Ipswich Council Sacked

All of Ipswich City Council (a city west of Brisbane) will be sacked, and administrators will be appointed. 12 people in the council are facing 66 charges of misconduct. The mayor, who was only elected last year, is facing seven counts of fraud for allegedly using council money to buy items from charitable organisations. The Queensland Local Government Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, is sacking everyone, unless they are able to show cause why they should hold onto their jobs.

Israel is now quicker to go to war

We did a deep dive on Tuesday into the intricacies of Iranian politics. Israel has spent a week being particularly pissed at Iran. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, delivered a dramatic PowerPoint presentation on Monday, claiming that Iran has continually lied and cheated on the deal designed to halt their ability to develop nuclear weapons. The Trump White House sided with Israel. This was in contrast to Europe, who say that Israel’s ‘evidence’ wasn’t anything new, and it didn’t point to anything particularly nefarious.

In the same week, the Israel Parliament passed a new law which made it quicker for them to go to war. The Prime Minister and Defence Minister can now take Israel to war without consulting the Parliament.

Everyone’s concerned about the Middle East gearing up to war. No one’s actually talking about the bigger mystery: how the hell did Netanyahu manage to make a PowerPoint presentation interesting?

Cambridge Analytica to close

Surprise. Cambridge Analytica is closing down. We did a deep dive into the dirty data deal between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The organisation is filing for bankruptcy, but still leaving some questions open: like who owns the company’s intellectual property.

China doesn’t like Peppa Pig

30,000 videos of Peppa pig disappeared from a popular Chinese video app this week, and no one knows why. The viral success of Peppa Pig across China has been troubling for some, like ‘The People’s Daily’:

“These are elements that are not conducive to the healthy development of cultural industries and we must be vigilant. After all, no matter how gangster Peppa Pig is, it cannot be allowed to destroy children’s youth and go beyond the rules and the bottom line.”

Peppa Pig. Gangster.


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Photo at the top courtesy of the Guardian.

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