This post has been migrated from our original Medium page and was first published on 15/11/19.

Welcome back to this week’s installment of the all-new What Just Happened?!, a semi-comical weekly digest of the most important news from the UK, US and the World from Will Marshall, and Alistair Simmonds-Yoo. Look out for us every Friday, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The UK

Oh, Lordy

Election mania has once again seized the UK (remember Brenda from Bristol?). The promises are coming thick and fast as, unusually, both Tories and Labour alike attempt to bribe voters with colossal spending promises. Free broadband for everybody is the latest from Labour, which seems a tad pointless as by the time it would be rolled out, we will likely be using mobile connections for the vast majority of internet use.

In a rather alarming move, Downing Street has allegedly been offering jobs and peerages to Brexit Party parliamentary candidates to convince them not to split the vote (although Farage denies that the offer of a peerage for himself, days before he announced he wouldn’t run, had anything to do with the decision). Oh and of course, Boris tried and failed to use a mop.

Repeat Offender

It’s becoming a habit now for Boris to break the law, so it should come as no surprise that the European Commission is taking legal action against the UK for it’s failure to nominate a delegate.

Needing Urgent Care

Accident & Emergency (ER) waiting times have hit their worst levels on record in England, with only 74.5% of patients being seen within 4 hours, well below the 95% target. Senior medical figures claim the NHS is “desperately struggling to stay afloat”. Boris reckons he can sort it though, despite these figures having plummeted during throughout the Conservative party’s governance.

The US

Gangster Tweeting

Extraordinary events occur during the fourth set of formal impeachment procedures in U.S. history; In a prime example of how an innocent human behaves while someone ‘talks shit’ about them, watch the President of the United States intimidate a witness during the hearing here (via Twitter no less — yeah, sure, Jack, this isn’t a ‘Political Advertisement’… good luck defining that rule!).

Meanwhile, the 6th criminal conviction is brought against the Trump team following Mueller’s investigation. Roger Stone wanted to learn when exactly Wikileaks would be sullying the then democratic presidential hopeful… surely for innocent reasons? Anyhow, he also lied to congress about it. All super duper kosher. Additionally, these tools are also using the language of Godfather movies to describe behaviour like lying to the democratically accountable institutions of the state:

“When Credico later testified to US lawmakers, he said Stone had advised him to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’” — referring to a character in the Godfather movies who lies to Congress.”

Obviously none of them have read the book, which is magnificent by the way. Mario Puzo raises fascinating questions about the transfer of moral frames from one societal context to another; specifically, the bonds of intimacy and familiarity in the face of routinely oppressive, brutal and mercenary governments on the Sicilian Isle leading to challenges in more contemporary and international society…

The World

As Hong Kong cruises towards having been in full protest mode for the best part of a year, it’s easy to forget the macro-picture of what’s going on here. From a particularly salient analysis of what is motivating the young people there, this particular quote stands out:

“China may have wanted to make an example out of the region, but the lesson Hong Kongers took was in the other direction — resist with all your might, because if you lose once, there will be a catastrophe for your people, and the world will ignore it.

This comes as President Xi Jinping speaks at the BRICS conference about how seriously the one-state, two systems approach is being tested. A gnarly omen for the young democrats of Hong Kong as shit appears to be hitting the fan in almost biblical proportions… or, well, medieval (I enjoyed many moments of righteous indignation during my university days but non quite sufficient to fetch a bow , flaming arrows and have it out with the police — these kids are not going down without a fight). Inappropriate and unhelpful cynicism aside, it is of absolutely paramount importance that the international community support Hong Kong. However difficult it might be to send a message… creative routes exist.

Also, there exists this deeply disturbing clip (from 2 minutes in) of a Hong Kong policeman shooting pissed off young people in the street…

Cracking Logic

We all know how responsible world Superpowers have been over the last few hundred years right? Well during a particularly golden moment of the 1946 to 1958 period, the US decided to test its nuclear arsenal by dropping them on an atoll in the Marshall Islands, then topped them off with a few biological weapons, just for good luck. In a rare stroke of self-awareness, the US decided to do something about it, so scraped all the soil into one of the giant craters they had created (and imported a cheeky bit from Nevada) and popped a bit of concrete over the top. Birth defects as a result of the radiation have ravaged the islands ever since, and now climate change is breaking down the concrete case, causing plutonium to leak into the ocean. The US claims it has no responsibility for the issues….

Cut Throat Pricing

Remember the absurdly popular Motorola Razr? I ‘member. Well now it’s back, it’s smart and it’s $1500. ‘Nuff said.


Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next week, get in touch with the authors Will Marshall and Alistair Simmonds on Twitter and let us know what you did and didn’t like.

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