10 things you need to know in Australia this morning

(Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

G’day. Welcome to Wednesday.

1. The Reserve Bank has sent its strongest indication yet it is considering radical policy options like quantitative easing and negative interest rates. In a new report, RBA governor Philip Lowe endorsed the unconventional tactics, but said he’d be reluctant to deploy them unless the government matched the effort by boosting spending. Considering the generation of a surplus seems to be the only thing the government cares about right now – the rest of the economy be damned – we might be holding our breath for some time. It follows a Harvard report accusing Australia of having a one-track, ‘dumb’ economy deeply unsuited for the challenges ahead.

2. Some global corporates with lucrative businesses in China are having a real tough time negotiating the whole Hong Kong situation. Today’s example is gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment, which banned a pro esports player and confiscated his money after he shouted, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” on an official livestream. It follows an earlier imbroglio with the NBA, which issued a grovelling response to Beijing after Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey went off-book about the protests.

3. On the protests: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told a news conference she would not rule out Chinese military intervention if unrest continued. “If the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out,” she told reporters. Lam would not be drawn on precisely what situation would lead her to roll in the tanks. The protests have been ongoing for 17 weeks now.

4. Brexit talks with the European Union seem to have collapsed, surprising absolutely no one. Donald Tusk, the European Council’s president, shot off an exasperated tweet complaining Boris Johnson didn’t “want a deal”, while the UK government seems to have fully accepted no deal will be possible. I’m no foreign policy expert, but I think this means Great Britain will now be returned to the ocean, and we don’t need to talk or think about it any more.

5. Sony has officially announced the PlayStation 5, confirming it will launch in the 2020 holiday season. Jim Ryan, the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, made the announcement Tuesday via the PlayStation blog. Though this is the ‘official’ announcement, Sony has actually peppered details about the upcoming console through the media over the past year, eschewing the big surprises which usually typify consumer tech announcements.

6. The White House says it will not cooperate with the “partisan and unconstitutional” impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. Not that anyone was expecting it to. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the House Democrats spearheading the probe describing it as constitutionally invalid. It’s sad to hear Trump won’t be actively participating in the effort to boot him from office.

7. Elon Musk admitted in private correspondence he was a “fucking idiot” for calling a British cave diver a “pedo” without evidence. Elon, we simply have to agree with you on that one. The defamation lawsuit against Musk does not seem to be going well for the Tesla CEO, as it is revealed he was likely bamboozled by a serial fraudster and convicted felon purporting to be a private investigator. Lesson: baselessly accusing people who annoy you of being pedophiles often does not pay dividends.

8. Uber Eats drivers marched on NSW Parliament yesterday arvo, protesting what they say is an algorithm change they say has slashed their income. According to the drivers, the Uber Eats app favours cyclists and scooters at their expense, meaning they get less work and therefore less money. Uber denies it has made any changes to how drivers are paid.

9. Big news if you’re partial to Sydney fine dining, which I’m sure you all are: Merivale stalwart Est. is shutting its doors after 19 years. But fear not – something else will be opening in the space after renovations, though the company says it isn’t certain what the new concept will be.

10. Virgin says it is ditching its in-flight messaging system after a woman said she was sexually harassed. A number of airlines carry some form of rudimentary passenger-to-passenger messaging systems in the in-flight entertainment screens, and quite frankly I can only think of one or two non-weird reasons to use it.

I’m not posting this because I’m sleep-deprived, but I’m also not not posting it for that precise reason.

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