10 things you need to know in Australia this morning

(Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images for Qantas)

Good morning. As always, a hearty TGIF to you and yours.

1. Qantas has confirmed it found cracks in three Boeing 737s following an audit this week. In a statement, Qantas said, “Of the 33 of Qantas’ 737 aircraft that required inspection, three were found to have a hairline crack in the pickle fork structure.” More than 50 planes have now been grounded over the cracking issue.

2. Less than a week after the raid which killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terror group has announced his successor. The man in question is Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi. Researchers say that name isn’t familiar to them, but say it could refer to a known senior leader named Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal Rahman al-Mawla, who goes under multiple names. One assumes he’s probably not a nice guy.

3. More on the ‘Facebook being prickly’ front. After “The Social Network” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin published a letter in The New York Times criticising Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO came back at Sorkin with a snarky quote from one of his own movies. The whole rigamarole continues to be about Facebook’s policy of allowing untruthful political ads to be bought on its platform.

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, 31 October 2019

4. Investors are ditching the property market at an historic rate, as Australians begin to actually start paying down their debt. Lending to property investors contracted for the third consecutive month in September, the first time it’s happened since record-keeping began and the largest fall since 1991. Meanwhile, personal credit has fallen by 4.4% over the last 12 months, meaning the RBA’s interest rate cuts might be working as intended.

5. Also on the housing front: though prices in Australia are soaring again, some analysts assert affordability is the best it’s been in a decade. This is largely thanks to low interest rates keeping the cost of money low. That being said, it looks unlikely to get any more affordable in the absence of any other action.

6. It may or may not shock you to learn we are a nation of snitches and dirty rats. In this case, the cause could be worthwhile. According to the ATO, Australians are ratting out their fellow citizens in record numbers this year for tax rorts – including possible cases of wage theft. The tax office has received a record 15,000 tip offs in just three months, largely for underreporting sales and income, and illegitimate uses of cash.

7. Huawei told the Australian government in a submission that we risk being “left behind” in the global tech arms race unless the ban on the Chinese company is lifted. “Australia is being left behind in the global race to roll-out 5G, the consequences for Australia’s competitiveness and future prosperity are enormous,” the submission said. Huawei was banned from supplying parts for Australia’s 5G network back in 2018 on national security grounds.

8. Apple, which has been deeply affected by the US trade war with China, thinks things are looking up. CEO Tim Cook said he was optimistic about the situation during the company’s earnings call. “My view is very positive in terms of how things are going,” he told analysts. The iPhone maker pays tariffs on several products including AirPods and the Apple Watch.

9. Instagram has done its first trend study in Australia, identifying some of the more interesting currents on the social network. Everything from ‘avocado art’ to ‘zodiac memes’ got a shoutout. Makes my relatively pedestrian posts seem quite frankly pathetic by comparison.

10. House Democrats over in the US have formalised impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. This is after weeks of Republicans complaining that the closed-door hearings were violating due process, even though they weren’t technically illegal. Now it’s out in the open, Trump and his lawyers will be able to cross-examine witnesses.

BONUS ITEM
A startup from Melbourne wants to map the sea floor with an army of autonomous submarine drones. Sounds like the setup for a lesser Pierce Brosnan-era Bond movie, but we promise they’re doing it for the right reasons.

(Photo: Supplied)

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