10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Proper respect. We love you, Harry. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning, and welcome to the end of your working week.

1. US stocks got a John McCain-shaped rocket put under them after the senator said he’d vote for the Republican tax plan. The Dow hit 24,000 for the first time, which all but guarantees a higher open for the ASX today. Happy Friday. Even iron ore is at a 10-week high. And it was a wild end to November for the Aussie dollar.

2. The CEOs and chairmen of Australia’s big four banks wrote to the PM and treasurer yesterday calling for an inquiry. Malcolm Turnbull gave them a Royal Commission. Or rather, was forced into the $75 million, 12-month inquiry by Labor with the support of the Greens and rebel National MPs. But now Labor has to deal with scrutiny of industry superannuation funds and their union-dominated boards as part of the deal. Turnbull and Co snuck that one into the terms of reference for a little bit of payback.

3. The Australian government has formally offered to host Prince Harry’s stag do, which currently has about 37,000 people interested. Tourism minister Steve Ciobo, obviously unaware of how these kind of Facebook parties unpack, said he “told Prince Harry Tourism Australia stands ready to work with him and Ms Markle to design an itinerary to their tastes”. Also, the rules of what constitutes a “stag do” have obviously changed while we weren’t looking.

4. Everyone these days can be decent photographer, thanks to the magic of computers. But properly great photographers still rise above software and filters to produce images like this:

Harry Cory Wright’s photograph of artist Maggi Hambling will hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London until February 8 after it was one of 59 images recognised for excellence in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. You can see another 20 here, including the winner.

5. What will it take for someone to rid the world of this turbulent North Korean leader? A nuclear detonation over the Pacific, that’s what. Maybe. We could find out soon, anyway, because it’s all Kim Jong Un has left to perfect, and his underground test lab collapsed after the last attempt, leaking radiation all over the shop.

6. Now a Big Four accounting firm has decided it will accept Bitcoin payments. PwC has jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. BTC traded down as low as $US9,465 this morning as exchanges melted under the increased trading volumes. And Paul Donovan, the global chief economist at UBS’s wealth management arm, says cryptos will “never” be real currencies, and then consigned himself to becoming That Guy Who Said they will never be “a widely used medium of exchange”.

7. Theresa Scrivener, a 41-year-old woman who lives in Bognor on the south coast of England, had seven Twitter followers yesterday. Today, it’s 1233 followers after she was publicly lambasted by the Leader of the Free World.:

Yep, he got the wrong Theresa. As Ms Scrivener put it:

“She runs the country, I’m a mum from Bognor.”

8. Tiger Woods is finally pain-free after back surgery, and he’s tied for seventh place on the first day of play in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Here’s something we haven’t seen for years – the fist-pump.

Meanwhile, on the court, the Washington Wizards almost beat the 76ers by fouling Ben Simmons and sending him to the free throw line 24 times in the final quarter, hoping he’ll miss most of them. Hey Wizards:

9. The Bosnian War general who drank poison at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague and died a few hours later wasn’t always a soldier. Slobodan Praljak was once a theatre director and electrical engineer. He’d fought on both sides of the war, and had even served two-thirds of his 20-year sentence before his ultimate protest at the conviction. This is his story, and like everything to do with politics in that region, it’s complicated.

10. Are you a germophobe? Like eating at schmancy restaurants? Here’s today’s bad new to end the week for you – the bacteria count at a fine diner can have 135 times the bacteria count of a fast-food restaurant.

BONUS ITEM: Swimming in liquid sand is fun; trapping the kids in it is best:

Have a great day.

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