A week in which mankind, or ‘Peoplekind’ as Canada’s Prime Minister would call us – pushed a millimeter out into infinity, and pushed a new kind of advertising a million miles.
Elon Musk launched his SpaceX rocket. It’s capable of carrying a heavier cargo than any other rocket currently in use. 2 of the 3 boosters successfully landed back on earth to be re-used, this was a stunning 21st century example of a private company being ahead of government.
Musk even sent up one of his Tesla cars, complete with dummy astronaut named Starman. Bowies ‘Life on Mars’ played on the stereo, the dashboard screen featured the words ‘Don’t panic’ from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Musk’s dream is for humans to colonize the Red Planet. As an idea – its out there. As ‘free’ advertising – the car idea was a masterstroke.
Back to earth, sadly with a bump and a lot of bangs, More rockets – in Syria.
The American led SDF coalition killed at least 100 troops allied with Syria’s President Assad in the east of country. Officials said the combined air and artillery strikes was retaliation after up to 30 artillery rounds landed near the SDF headquarters which houses US Special Forces in Deir Ezzor province.
The US strikes took place on the same day Israeli jets hit the Jemraya research centre near Damascus. The Syrian government claimed its air defence units “destroyed most of” the Israeli missiles
Kurdish forces captured two British ISIL fighters believed to be the last surviving members of a four-man gang nicknamed ‘The Beatles’ because of their English accents. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were allegedly involved in the beheadings of at least 27 hostages. They may be able to help answer the question – where have the thousands of foreign jihadists gone following the fall of ISIL’s so-called caliphate? Another question –what happens to the two men? Guantanamo?
The Turkish invasion of northern Syria advanced a few miles further in. The Turks are now past Afrin and only a few miles from Aleppo. Intentions? Unclear. Syrian government forces appeared to respond not so much by engaging the Turkish military, but on repositioning to better defend Aleppo in case it is attacked. The Iranians are upset that the Turks are coming so close to Syrian forces with which they are allied. The Russians, also allied with Syria’s government, were noticeably quieter. They can accept a Turkish advance into territory in which rebel fighters hold sway – but only up to a certain point. Besides, it has long term problems with both Turkey and Iran, and so if they fall out over something in northern Syria – Russia can live with that…
Down south there were reports that Assad’s forces had resumed chemical attacks against opposition areas near the capital – worse affected was Eastern Ghouta where dozens of civilians were affected by what appeared to be chlorine gas bombs.
In Germany the seemingly never-ending talks – ended. The SDP agreed to go into coalition with Angela Merkel’s CDU, Martin Schultz will stand down as leader of the SDP, and at first was to become foreign minister but on Friday appeared to stand down from that position before he’d even taken it up
The Winter Olympics are a stage, so of course North Korea tried to upstage them. Pyongyang held a massive military parade the day before the opening of the games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang. The opening ceremony followed, with fewer long-range missiles on show. The American Vice President, Mike Pence was in South Korea… a reminder that all this talk of Olympian détente may not last long past the closing ceremony.
But listen up People – kind… Canada’s Justin Trudeau interrupted a woman who’d used the term ‘mankind’, saying ‘people kind’ was more inclusive.
As Elon Musk ‘Starman’ wouldn’t say… ‘One small step for Peoplekind’.