- Richard Pusey, a 42-year-old Australian man, was sentenced to 10 months in jail Wednesday for “outraging public decency” after filming and taunting four dying Victoria police officers.
- Pusey was pulled over for speeding down a highway in his Porsche last April, and as officers prepared his arrest, the driver of a semi-trailer swerved out of its lane and struck all of them.
- Pusey reportedly avoided injury because he had been urinating behind roadside bushes at the time, but he made no attempts to assist the officers. In profanity-ridden video he took, he zoomed in on their injuries and made remarks like, “absolutely amazing” and “beautiful.”
- While many called his punishment too lenient, a court reporter for the Herald Sun explained the sentencing and noted that “being a downright despicable scumbag devoid of any redeeming features unfortunately isn’t an offence.”
“Most Hated Man in Australia” Gets 10 Month Sentence
Several people across Australia have expressed outrage over the recent sentencing of 42-year-old Richard Pusey, who is often referred to by local media as the “most hated man in Australia.”
Pusey was sentenced to 10 months in jail Wednesday for “outraging public decency” after filming and taunting four dying Victoria police officers.
He was reportedly pulled over for speeding down a highway in his Porsche last April.
As four Victoria police officers prepared his arrest, the driver of a semi-trailer swerved out of its lane and struck all of them.
According to The New York Times, Pusey avoided injury because he had been urinating behind roadside bushes at the time. However, he remained on the scene of the accident for several minutes to film the officers who had been hit.
All four officers were killed, though experts believe one, who was pinned under the semi-trailer, was likely still alive as Pusey began filming.
For around three minutes, he wound his way through the crash, zoomed in on injuries, and mocked the officers on video. His commentary included profanity and remarks like “he’s smashed,” “justice,” “absolutely amazing,” and “beautiful.”
When a bystander came to aid the officers and asked Pusey to help, he replied, “They’re dead,” and continued filming.
He reportedly made no attempts to assist them, then left the scene and drove home.
After his arrest, police discovered the footage on his phone and learned that he had shared it with other people.
Pusey later pled guilty to the outraging public decency charge, along with drug possession and a speeding offense. On top of his 10-month sentenced, he was also ordered to pay $1,000 fine and had his driver’s license suspended for two years.
Responses To Sentencing
Pusey’s conviction is fairly interesting because it marks the first time an outraging public decency charge has been prosecuted in the state since 1963.
The sentencing judge, Trevor Wraight, said his conduct was “heartless, cruel and disgraceful,” though he noted that Pusey had a personality disorder, which might explain some of his behavior.
Pusey had already spent nearly 300 days behind bars when the sentence was ordered, but The New York Times claims he is likely to remain in custody for unrelated matters.
Still, families of the slain officers, and much of the general public, were furious over the sentencing, with many on social media calling it too lenient.
Chief of the Victoria Police Association Wayne Gatt even said Pusey “is a worthless individual that lacks any human trait.”
“Each and every one of us will face our mortality one day. When his day comes, I hope that he faces the same coldness and the same callousness which he provided my members when they faced theirs,” he added.
Others, however, pointed to a piece by Rebekah Cavanagh, a court reporter for the Herald Sun, which explained the sentencing and noted that “being a downright despicable scumbag devoid of any redeeming features unfortunately isn’t an offence.”
As far as the driver of the truck, Mohinder Singh, he had allegedly been impaired by drugs and sleep-deprived when his vehicle hit the officers. He was sentenced to 22-years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of culpable driving causing death, three charges of drug trafficking, and one count of possessing illicit drugs.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (BBC) (The Daily Dot)
Tunisian President Fires Prime Minister, Suspends Parliament Over Deadlock and COVID-19 Response
President Kais Saied claims his actions are constitutional and have the support of the military, which has already blocked off government buildings. His opponents, however, call the move little more than a coup.
President Makes Massive Changes to Government
Tunisia’s government received a major shakeup after President Kais Saied fired the Prime Minister and froze parliament late Sunday.
The move, according to Saied, was meant to break years of parliamentary deadlock between Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and various political parties that have sturggled to find common ground. However, the timing comes just after a massive protest over how the government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic turned violent earlier on Sunday.
Either way, the move risks sparking a confrontation between Saied —who is backed by the army — and various political parties that view his actions as a coup.
The President’s actions have proven cotnroversial. Despite that, he has widepsread support after being elected in 2019 on a platform to fight corrupt politicians.
After the announcement, tens of thousands have taken to the streets in support of his decision to dismiss the Prime Minister and parliament, with many cheering as he appeared among the crowd Sunday night.
In recent months, anger at the ruling government has only increased as many feel the ruling coalition, largely made up of the Islamist Ennahda (“Renaissance”) party, have been ineffective.
It’s a common belief in Tunisia that Ennahda’s rule, alongside its tenuous coalition, helped exacerbate problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the economy shrinking by 8% as tourism plummeted.
One of the President’s supporters told Reuters and other outlets during Sunday’s demonstration, “We are here to protect Tunisia. We have seen all the tragedies under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood, which had a strong presence in Egpyt after the Arab Spring, becuase Ennahda has longstanding relationship with the group, although it has sought to distance itself as a more moderate political group over the last few years.
Now, for their part, the ruling coalition has argued that Saied’s move is clearly unconstitutional. Rached Ghannouchi, leade of Ennahda and Parliamentary Speaker, said that he is “against gathering all powers in the hands of one person.” His position isn’t without supporters eithers. Both sides have already gathered throughout the capital and have thrown rocks at each other.
Legalities of Article 80
The question across many minds is whether or not Saied’s actions are actually constitutional.
He claims that under Article 80 of the constitution, he can fire the Prime Minister, suspend parliament for 30 days, and appoint a premier to rule — all of which is true.
However, in order to do that, the Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Speaker need to be consulted; something Parliamentary Speaker Ghannouchi said was never done. It’s unclear what Mechichi’s position is as he’s stayed inside his home all day, though the army says he is not under any kind of arrest.
In addition to those requirements, a Constitutional Court needs to approve the move, and one hasn’t been set up. As the German Foregin Office put it on Monday morning, it seems like Saied is relying on “a rather broad interpretation of the constitution.”
International observers hope a solution will soon be made to keep what seems to be the last functional democracy to come from the Arab Spring from devolving into civil war or dictatorship.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Reuters) (BBC)
South Korean President Makes BTS Official Presidential Envoys
The position is largely ceremonial but will be used by the government to help give a friendly and popular face to national and international initiatives spearheaded by Seoul.
The K-pop band BTS will be adding to its list of global impacts this year after South Korean President Moon Jae-in appointed its members as Presidential Envoys on Wednesday.
The role will include attending international conferences such as the United Nations General Assembly in September.
At these events, BTS will perform “various activities to promote international cooperation in solving global challenges, such as improving the environment, eliminating poverty and inequality, and respecting diversity,” according to Park Kyung-mee, a Blue House spokesperson.
The band has already appeared at U.N. conferences multiple times over the last few years.
Just last year, the group gave a message of hope and reassurance through the U.N. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior appearances at the U.N. have been either as part of U.N. organizations or as private citizens.
Wednesday’s appointment will make them official representatives of South Korea, although they won’t actually engage in any direct diplomacy and instead will be used to promote the country’s ongoing efforts in youth-related projects.
BTS’ success, alongside prior and current K-pop groups, has remained a masterclass of soft diplomacy by the Korean government. For decades, the Korean government has cultivated promoting cultural aspects abroad in the hopes of generating more interest in the country. There are hopes that such efforts will encourage more tourism as well as an elevated image when consumers consider Korean-made products.
Such efforts, beyond cultivating K-pop and raising its stars as semi-official government symbols, also include helping fund Korean restaurants abroad as well as free Korean-language classes taught by Professors of some of Korea’s most prestigious schools.
The news comes as BTS’ newest single, “Permission to Dance,” quickly took the #1 spot on the Billboard top 100. BTS is also partnering with YouTube to promote a Permission to Dance challenge on YouTube Shorts that will begin tomorrow and end on August 4.
Fans will be encouraged to replicate dance moves from the music video, and the group’s favorite clips will be put into a compilation made by them.
See what others are saying: (Yonhap News) (The Korea Times) (All Kpop)
Over 1 Million Chinese Displaced After Record Rainfall
The rain has created waist-high waters throughout the capital of China’s Henan province, drastically affecting the lives of its over 10 million inhabitants.
Trapped in a Flood
The Henan province of central China experienced severe rainfall over the last week that has left at least 25 dead and displaced more than 1.2 million people due to severe flooding, according to figures released by Chinese authorities Wednesday.
Meteorologists claim that the sudden, severe rainfall is caused by Typhoon In-Fa colliding with a high-pressure system over Henan province.
The floods have forced people to wade through waist-high water throughout Zhengzhou, the region’s capital. In one tragic incident Monday, 12 people died after they were trapped in the subway amid rising waters. A similar situation occurred Tuesday, causing multiple lines to be trapped in chest-high water for up to three hours before rescue workers managed to save them. Since then, metro authorities have shut down many of Zhengzhou’s rail lines.
Between Monday and Tuesday alone, Zhengzhou was hit with an estimated 25 inches of rain, equating to about 87% of its average annual rainfall. At one point, seven inches of rain occurred in less than an hour.
In an effort to alleviate rising waters, authorities breached a nearby dam to release floodwaters on Tuesday, although it’s unclear how much that helped as many dams and rivers in the region have overflowed for days.
Elsewhere in Henan, villages have been cut off by landslides and flooding, killing at least four others and leaving some areas without power for more than 24 hours.
Long Recovery Ahead
The region was finally able to begin recovery efforts Wednesday as conditions have begun to die down.
Despite reduced rainfall, the situation has still proven to be dire, leading President Xi Jinping to issue a statement through state media ordering authorities to give top priority to people’s safety and property.
In total, more than 17,000 firefighters have been mobilized for rescue efforts, as well as local volunteers and other rescue crews from other provinces.
Chinese companies have rushed to donate money to help the affected communities, and so far over $300 million has been donated.
It’s likely that for some time, hundreds of thousands in the region will be left without homes as authorities begin the work of ensuring that buildings are safe to return to.