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From a shooting in NZ to a seahorse release – here’s what happened around the world this week

Lyndsey Rodrigues

Lyndsey Rodrigues

Lyndsey Rodrigues has worked as a writer, producer, tv host and editor and is now serving as the Head of Content here at Kiindred. She has two sons - a human one named Kai and a fur one named Memphis...and she is thoroughly obsessed with them both. Before becoming a mum, Lyndsey spent over ten years living in New York City where her hobbies included live music, architecture,...
Created on Oct 30, 2023 · 11 mins read
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Okay did anyone else have a total blur of a week? If so, you probably didn’t get a chance to check the news, or maybe you only caught a glimpse of some headlines at brekkie before having to run off (and we know that those aren’t really reliable).

But don’t stress, we’ve got your back with our weekly news wrap-up. There’s plenty to fill you in on, so let’s just jump right to it.

This week’s news cycle saw Auckland reeling from a fatal shooting in the CBD, the rescue of an Aussie sailor and his dog after three months at sea, and the story of a retired dentist who’s started making his own jet planes. Major reforms for Indigenous uni students have been announced, but they come off the back of some damning new data about gaps in school funding. A world-record seahorse release has happened in Sydney Harbour in conservation efforts, and an intense heat wave is crippling the Northern Hemisphere with drastic impacts. Budgeting issues have provoked the Victorian government to withdraw from hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, causing a big stir among sport teams, politicians and the Aussie public (in other words, people aren’t happy.)

From politics, to science, to culture, and stories that make you go “WTF,” here’s what’s happened this week.

Auckland shooting leaves three dead, six injured

Only hours before the anticipated opening of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Auckland,  a shooting left three people dead and six people injured at a construction site in the CBD.

The gunman, who also died in the event, was a 24 year old employee of the building reportedly on home detention for family violence offenses. The motivation is believed to be drawn from indications of mental health history and links to his employment. Colleagues allegedly thought he was conducting a prank at first, until he opened fire.

Police were contacted soon after the first shots, with the perpetrator moving through the building until eventually being “located deceased a short time later,” according to police.

It’s currently being treated as an isolated incident with no security threat, though its timing just before the Women’s World Cup ceremony, where NZ was set to play Norway, did raise alarm bells internationally. The Norway team was staying at a hotel close to the shooting site, but the team captain declared her players “felt safe the whole time.”

Increased security measures and police presence were implemented around Auckland for public reassurance, but there was fortunately no ongoing threat. The World Cup ceremony went ahead as normal.

Victoria government pulls out of hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games

After some serious unravelling and strategy spiralling, the Victorian government has had to backflip on its plans to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The shocking cancellation announcement was made by Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday, and has caused a public and political outcry. Many feel it’s a global embarrassment and damaging to the proud sporting reputation of Victoria, which hosts the Australian Open, Formula One Grand Prix and AFL Grand Finals.

Citing financial problems, the government said that the projected costs of hosting the event had inflated from initial $2.6 billion to more than $6 billion. That’s a 25% increase in costs. There was also much public speculation about whether or not the infrastructure could even be built on time. Not a great look.

This comes as the state has a growing debt burden, partially due to long periods of lockdown during Covid. It’s predicted Victoria will be facing a net debt of $171 billion by 2027.

The cancellation is slightly softened by news that half of the original $2.6 billion budget promised by the government will instead go towards building 1,300 homes as part of the Regional Housing Fund. It also looks like the sporting facilities promised to regional areas are still set to be delivered by 2026, if all goes to plan.

The Commonwealth Games Federation is now scrambling for an alternative host or solution for the games, when it was already struggling before Victoria volunteered in April 2022. The only time the games have been completely cancelled was during World War II.

A breakthrough in the unsolved killing of Tupac Shakur

After twenty years of being shrouded in mystery and steeped in conspiracy, a new breakthrough might crack open the unsolved mystery of the 1996 shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur.

Las Vegas police have confirmed that a search warrant for the case was executed at a Nevada home on Monday (local time.) It’s unclear what they were looking for, but the scene was described as loud with police using bullhorns and lights. No arrests have been made yet, and the investigation is expected to go on for weeks to months.

The Grammy-winning rapper was gunned down in September 1996 whilst sitting in a black BMW at a red light, when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and fired several shots. Shakur died six days later. It came in the thick of his feud with rap rival the Notorious B.I.G, who was also fatally shot six months later.

It’s been a notoriously slippery case to catch, with crazy conspiracy theories, uncooperative witnesses and dodgy police investigations.

It’s believed that the investigation opened up after Netflix aired “Unsolved: the Tupac and Biggie Murders” in 2018, and a new book by alleged eyewitness Duane Keith Davis was released in 2019. Nevada doesn’t have a statute of limitations for prosecuting homicide cases, so if the trail stays warm, we could finally see answers for the tragedy.

After three months stuck at sea, an Aussie sailor and his dog are rescued

A very grateful Aussie sailor and his four-legged friend are back on land after being lost at sea for three months. Timothy Shaddock had set sail from the Mexican city of La Paz in April but hit trouble after only a few weeks. A storm damaged Shaddock’s boat and wiped out his communication system, stranding the intrepid duo.

They were forced to survive on a diet of raw fish and seawater, and Shaddock says he stayed positive by wading in the sea to “just enjoy being in the water.” Isn’t that amazing?

A tuna boat’s helicopter spotted the boat about 2000km from land, when the pilot tossed Shaddock a drink and flew away before returning with a speedboat. Amazingly, both are happy and healthy. However due to Australia’s strict laws in bringing animals over, Shaddock and his dog Bella have had to part ways before he heads home.

The pair met in the middle of Mexico, and Bella wouldn’t leave him alone. “I tried to find a home for her three times and she just kept following me into the water. She’s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure,” he said. Even now that they’re having to part ways, Shaddock reckons that Bella was the reason he managed to pull through. Now that’s a bond distance can’t break.

Major reforms for Indigenous students announced in the wake of school funding bias revelations  

The rate of Indigenous university students is expected to double in the next decade with newly announced reforms launched by the federal government. These promise that all indigenous students will be guaranteed a Commonwealth-supported spot at their university of choice. This is currently only available to Indigenous students in regional areas, but will now be extended regardless of location. It coincides with the interim report from a panel of experts focused on transforming Australia’s universities.

The announcement comes after new figures cut open the chasmic disparity in government funding between schools. Funding to private schools has increased almost twice as much as funding to public schools in the past decade, and remote schools with large Indigenous populations are bearing the brunt of this gap. School funding in the Northern Territory, for instance, has dropped by almost 8% per student. We know these are schools with big Indigenous communities, so the racial divide caused by unequal funding is clear as day.

So whilst we’re seeing positive changes in the university sector, the weighty gap between private and public school funding is still having a detrimental impact on opportunities for Indigenous students.

The world’s biggest release of seahorses has happened in Sydney Harbour 

There’s a world record for just about everything these days, and now Sydney has joined the list with the world’s biggest release of seahorses (it’s a bit niche, but still very cool).

In the hopes of boosting the population of the endangered White’s seahorse in Sydney Harbour, a group of Marine scientists dropped 380 baby seahorses into the water. They were bred in captivity by the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, who are super happy with how the seahorse’s are looking.

“[They were] nice and healthy and large, ready to go out in the world and hopefully contribute to restocking those wild populations,” says scientist Mitch Brennan.

To help their survival, they’ve been released into swimming nets and artificial habitats called “seahorse hotels,” which is seriously cute.

These little creatures were declared endangered in 2020, mostly due to loss of sea grasses, soft corals and algae that make their native habitat. Flooding over the last few years has also led to mass die offs of this species. So there’s been a huge focus on nurturing this seahorse population back to healthy numbers, and the next step after the release is to track their survival, with some of them having microscopic tags to identify them. There are more plans for future releases, plus replanting habitats in the harbour to replenish their home.

It’s a great win for the marine world, and hopefully the start of replenishing the harbour’s sealife.

Extreme heat takes its toll on the northern hemisphere

It feels like everyone down under is getting ready for their European summer, but extreme weather might mean Aussies need to be extra careful up there.

Intense heat waves are building blistering conditions for people across North America, Europe and Asia this summer as record temperatures topple.

Canada has faced their worst wildfire season in history, and wildfires are also blazing through Greece, Spain and Switzerland. California’s Death Valley has seen some of the highest temperatures ever recorded on earth, reaching 53 degrees celsius on Sunday at the aptly named Furnace Creek. China’s also recording temperatures up to 52 degrees celsius, and Japan has had to treat 60 people for heatstroke as they nudge 40 degrees. Over in Italy, citizens have been issued a red alert for one of the most intense heat waves ever, and Rome has been setting up “heat help points” to support people struggling with the heat.

The UN has warned that the Southern Europe heatwave could stretch into August.

The director general of the world Health Organisation made a stark warning to leaders on Monday, writing on Twitter, “In many parts of the world, today is predicted to be the hottest day on record. And these records have already been broken a few times this year. Heatwaves put our health and lives at risk. The #ClimateCrisis is not a warning. It’s happening. I urge world leaders to act now.”

It’s a sharp reminder of the climate crisis we’re facing, a warning for our own upcoming summer, and a nudge for everyone to always slip, slop, slap.

Retired Aussie dentist builds DIY jet to tour Australia

Whilst it’s totally normal for retirees to spend their days travelling and ticking off their bucket list, it’s a bit less normal to build your own jet to do it. This week’s WTF story is bringing you the scoop on the retired Aussie dentist who also happens to be a homemade aircraft maker, Dr Andre Viljoan.

In an interview with ABC news, the aircraft enthusiast explained that although he tinkered with model aeroplanes as a teen, he always dreamt for more (a lot more apparently). After discovering that you can, in fact, make your own aircraft from homemade kits, Dr Viljoen set his dream in stone.

He’s now built 5 of these DIY aircrafts, and spends his days deciding whether to go to Alice Springs, the Kimberleys or fly along the coastline. Much of Australia is uncontrolled airspace, so you don’t need much clearance to get a bird’s eye view of the sunburnt country. It was a fair investment though, as these kits cost around $230,000 each and take Dr Viljoan about 3000 hours to make. An expensive hobby to say the least.

We should also say that each of his aircraft are registered and safe, with the Sports Aircraft Association of Australia saying these kits are “very exact and foolproof.” So nothing too dodgy is happening here.

And according to Dr Viljoan, “It’s really not that difficult. If you can open a can of beer, you can build a plane.”

Yeah, sure thing Doctor.

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