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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. Oil! Or, more precisely, petrol! It actually rose 2.1 cents last week in Australia to an average of 121.9 cents per litre. That’s despite oil falling to an 11-year low. And yes, the Aussie dollar dropped under 70 cents, but Tapis crude is still at GFC lows in this country. Simply put, retailers are sneaking up their margins because petrol is so cheap, motorists can’t be stuffed shopping around. According to CommSec chief economist Craig James, retailers are currently enjoying a profit margin which is a whopping 59% above the 5-year average.

2. So no prizes for guessing what their reaction will be the second prices go up again – because the wonderfully optimist chief executive of Shell says oil is coming back. But you’d say that too if you were trying to sell a huge oil merger.

3. We’re six sessions into 2016 and Australian stocks are yet to lift in any of them. The ASX 200 closed down 1.17% yesterday to stretch itself to the longest losing streak since July 2010. But a solid recovery in the US overnight and muted selling in Europe saw SPI200 futures sitting this morning at 4,880, up 14. Given how close they skirted an important trendline low, Greg McKenna reckons the buyers might be back today.

4. Somehow, David Bowie died. Fans of one of the greatest performance artists since, well, ever, were devastated and upset to learn that the Thin White Duke had been battling cancer for 18 months. Especially given he’d produced two cracking, typically relevant albums in those 18 months, at an age several years after the rest of us started collecting our pension cheques and finding conversations about the price of various cuts of steak interesting. Here’s the ultimate tribute GIF of all you need to know:

The only good news in all of this is we can expect an incredible Freddie Mercury-level tribute coming soon. Here’s the wrap so far:

And how many pop stars get thanked by Germany for helping bring down the Berlin Wall?

5. The Playboy Mansion is for sale. For $US200 million, you could walk in the footsteps of just about every major US pop culture icon, ever. Here’s what it’s like inside the legendary party house, in case you’re in the market. But there’s one other thing you need to know – it comes with a tenant. Yes, Hugh Hefner, all 89 years of him, wants to live there until he dies and promises not to bother you.

6. Speaking of parties, there was a decent one following yesterday’s Golden Globes. Here’s what it was like to hang out with Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling, watch Quentin Tarantino eat a dodgy burger and try to take selfies without that hilarious psycho from “The Hangover” bombing in. Leo DiCaprio had plenty to celebrate as he skirted Oscar glory once again but nobody cared because all everyone saw was Jack kissing Rose again for the first time in 18 years.


18 years.

7. The arrest of ‘El Chapo’ was actually more exciting than the interview with Sean Penn that led to it. One member of the raid party had his GoPro on and it was every bit like all your most intense “Call of Duty” moments. Including the bit with the grenade:


There’s a longer video here, but there are also some graphic moments, if you’re not into that sort of thing.

8. Facebook now has at least 1.5 billion users. The social network has always been a leading model for startups, including its habit of rejecting buyouts since 2004. Here’s 11 companies that tried to buy it, and failed.

9. Last week, we brought you all the incredible photos taken by US Army servicemen and women in 2015. Here’s the Air Force version, where you’ll see lots of madness such as this:

Picture: Getty Images

10. A man ordered a Kindle but received part of a human tumour. True story.

BONUS ITEM: This little bit of magic.

Have a great day. Put some Bowie on.

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