10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Who needs enemies? Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The Aussie dollar is in a bit of a purple patch, trading strongly against all major currencies to close at just under US79 cents. It can thank whiffy US inflation figures for that. But US stocks maintained their ascent to even more record highs, and even the ASX200 finally broke back through 5800 on Friday. Futures traders are loving that.

2. Finance ministers, central bank heads and commercial bankers gathered in Washington for the G20 and IMF meetings. Australia’s treasurer Scott Morrison sat in private meetings with US Fed chair Janet Yellen, New York Fed president William Dudley among others. But his most interesting conversation was with Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein, who told Morrison he’s “baffled” by global politics right now. Here’s why.

3. Data diary. It’s a big week in China, with the 19th national congress of the ruling Communist Party — held every five years — starting on Wednesday, bookended by inflation data today and GDP Thursday. We’ll also see inflation data for New Zealand, the UK and Canada this week and also on Thursday, the Beige Book drops in the US and the EU Summit kicks off in Brussels. Back here in Australia, Thursday is jobs day. Here’s your week in data at a glance, courtesy of Sam Jacobs’ diary.

4. Whether you know her as Dr Fowler from The Big Bang Theory or Blossom, Mayim Bialik is today known on Twitter as the actress who dared to choose to not “act flirtatiously with men as a policy”. Bialik was commenting on the Harvey Weinsten scandal in a New York Times op-ed, and not surprisingly, hit a nerve:


Weinstein is now being investigated by London police over four rape allegations. And once again, to prove Hollywood knew exactly what was going on, here’s Courtney Love 12 years ago:

5. Love once had a taste of Hollywood herself in the role of a stripper and Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt’s inspiration in The People vs Larry Flynt. Flynt today is also in the new after running this full-page ad in The Washington Post:


He’s done it before with US political figures, and it’s worked before.

6. Back in August, Trump’s campaign CEO and alt-right media darling Steve Bannon left his team, vowing to continue helping Trump the best way he can. He just told Fox News how he plans to do that – by putting forth candidates to challenge six of the seven incumbent GOP senators in 2018. But who is he really helping when all of the incumbents have voted with Trump at least 90% of the time?

7. There’s no mystery about who North Korea wants to go to war with, and it includes anyone who sides with the US. Here’s a message from the Hermit Kingdom’s state-run media circus KCNA on the weekend:

“Should Australia continue to follow the US in imposing military, economic and diplomatic pressure upon the DPRK despite our repeated warnings, they will not be able to avoid a disaster.”

8. You might have watched “Treehouse Masters”. You might have even blanked its annoying host Pete Nelson long enough to have seen some of the amazing creations his team turns out. But if you land a job at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington campus, you might be thanking that manchild’s imagination for this lofty, carefree workspace:

Microsoft tree houseMicrosoftOne of the new tree houses.

Appreciate it – Nelson apparently “connected with the trees for hours” before starting work.

9. As Bitcoin continue to soar, putting on $US1,500 in the past week, Australia’s fintechs have just unveiled their secret plan to push the government to launch its own cryptocurrency. Here’s FinTech Australia plan for a new Digital Australian Dollar – the DAD – which would be pegged to the physical Australian dollar and compete against the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. And a Perth-based solar energy trader has launched Australia’s first Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Power Ledger, which uses blockchain technology for households to trade surplus solar power, last month produced 1 billion POWR tokens and offered a third of them for public auction. They raised $34 million. The end of the age of the VC has begun.

10. Just don’t expect to have a lot of surplus energy if you’re planning to mine any cryptocurrency. An ING senior economist has just reminded everyone that the electricity required for a single Bitcoin trade could power a house for a whole month.

BONUS ITEM: Fidget spinners in space. You would if you could:

Have a great week.

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