10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

CONFIRMED: Trump hasn’t been inaugurated. This is US Army Sgt. Maj. Gregory Lowery pretending to be Trump at rehearsals. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. Uber will map your ride. Starting this week on the Gold Coast, Uber cars will be fitted with mapping devices as the company embarks on its mission to end reliance on Google Maps. Uber Maps head of product Manik Gupta said no one needs to have any privacy concerns, as the devices “do not retain any imagery at or around your initial pick-up or final drop-off locations”.

2. 2017 is already the Year of Unverified Reports as journalists give up trying to confirm stuff. Today we hear Donald Trump “agreed to sideline” the issue of Russian in Ukraine in exchange for emails being sent to WikiLeaks (unconfirmed) and Putin will meet Trump within weeks of Trump becoming president (unconfirmed). It’s all very alarming if true, but remember, nobody has confirmed this isn’t a giant Crab God sentinel on Mars yet, either.

3. What is true is that we’re heading into a turbulent year of general elections in Europe. And while everyone talks about the “politics of rage” and dark horse far-right bolters, a team from Barclays says we’re all missing the point. This is what it calls “Balkanisation”:

It’s why far-right leaders don’t have to win elections to destabilise the EU.

4. To markets, and the Aussie dollar is under pressure in early trade, thanks to some risk aversion in markets amid increasing signs that British PM Theresa may will pursue a so-called “hard Brexit”. The Aussie is off a little but the British pound is getting smashed, falling below 1.20 against the US dollar. In stocks, there remains a “waiting for Trump” holding pattern ahead of his inauguration later this week. The Dow closed marginally (0.03%) down on Friday while the broader S&P 500 was up 0.18%. Small biccies. SPI futures suggest a fall at the start of trade in Australia, trading 27 points or 0.47% weaker ahead of the open. Chinese commodity futures are a bit of an eyebrow-raiser: the iron ore spot price pulled back to $US80.54 (down 0.56%) but futures ripped higher, rising almost 5% late in the day.

5. You’re not imagining it: prices are ticking up at Australia’s major supermarkets, especially for fresh fruit and vegetables. Research from Deutsche Bank showed fresh fruit and vegetable prices surged more than 7% in the December quarter:

The price rises were much more pronounced at Coles.

6. This week in data. The IMF today releases its latest World Economic Update. A key speech from UK prime minister Theresa May on Tuesday is expected to outline further details on the UK exit from the European Union. Markets will hear from US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen twice — Wednesday and Thursday — while on Friday, China will release a swathe of key economic reports, including Q4 GDP. Donald Trump will also be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday.

In Australia, most attention will fall on the release of Australia’s December jobs report on Thursday. A small increase in employment of 10,000 is expected, leaving the unemployment rate steady at 5.7%.

7. We found 5 things Google’s Pixel phone can do that the iPhone can’t, just as Apple releases the first ad for its wireless earbuds. It’s a bit of a stroll down memory lane for really old people who remember the iPod ads from 2004:

8. And another reminder that touchscreens didn’t arrive with the iPhone. In 1989, General Motors equipped its Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo with a touchscreen system called the Visual Information Center (VIC). It was a $US1300 option, included a GPS and in-car telephone, and we’ve found a video review of it.

9. Speaking of Trump’s inauguration, here are eight artists who have turned down invites to perform at it. (Unconfirmed).

10. Facebook and Alphabet’s dreams of internet drones are crashing into a turbulent reality. Literally, crashing, when we’re talking about Facebook, and collapsing at Google. It told us (confirmed) last week that project Titan, its solar-powered, autonomous drone that was to beam high-speed internet all over the world, is dead.

BONUS ITEM: Scottish newspaper the Sunday Herald likens Trump’s inauguration to “The Twilight Zone” in TV listing:

Have a great day.

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