10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Picture: Paramount Pictures

Good morning.

1. When the US and South Korea get together for some military drills at this year’s Foal Eagle exercise, it will bring along Navy SEAL Team 6. You might know them from such hits as that one on Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Cue speculation that this year’s drills will include a simulation of a “decapitation attack” to remove North Korea’s leadership.

2. Scotland’s First Minister will give her people another shot at independence from England. Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement this morning after saying Scotland’s request relating to Britain’s exit from the EU had hit a brick wall. Jim Edwards reckons that suddenly, Scotland’s case looks incredibly strong, and Lianna Brinded walks us through why an independent Scotland post-Brexit will lead to economic devastation.

3. Markets! All the important bits of Australia were on a public holiday yesterday, so the ASX went on a bit of a downer. But shareholders are flush with cash after a record $22 billion has now been pegged for payouts. While bond yields in the US rise ahead of the Fed’s expected rate rise, SPI Futures are pointing to a solid opening on the ASX today. Iron ore has bounced back spectacularly and the Aussie dollar has found some friends.

4. Australia has some two million small businesses keeping its lifeblood pumping, most of which were started on credit cards, loans and the odd lotto windfall. Compare that to 635 startups which eat up all the media space as they jostle for the golden VC ticket, such as Billy Tucker’s OneFlare, which last year pulled a $15 million investment from online classifieds site Domain. But Tucker’s startup also connects 61,000 customers with 92,000 of those SMBs every month, so everyone kicks a goal. And here’s why he says his fellow startups get too much attention for the results they produce.

5. Today in weather, 100km/h winds sent riders’ bikes flying into the air during a race in South Africa:


And an approaching blizzard could be the biggest March snowstorm New York has seen in 129 years. Meanwhile, Greenpeace is currently waiting outside CommBank’s HQ in Sydney to corner its board and CEO and ask them about why it’s a terrible funder of renewable energy.

6. South Australian brewer Coopers might be paying the price for its light beer featuring in a Bible Society video featuring two Liberal MPs discussing gay marriage. Right now, Coopers is saying it “did not give permission” for its beer to appear in the video. A couple of months down the track, when Coopers Premium Light sales are heading upwards quite nicely, Coopers will most likely realise that “social media outrage” is not something to be concerned about. At all.

7. Social media can however, have disastrous consequences of you are, say, a high-level member of Italy’s Camorra mafia on the run for 22 years and you decide to start hanging out a bit more on Facey.

8. Did Bill Gates copy Steve Jobs or did Steve Jobs copy Bill Gates? That’s a question Gates will probably be asked until the end of his incredible life. He answered it decades ago for Jobs, when Jobs yelled at him in a conference room at Apple. And in a recent Reddit AMA, Gates gave the refined 2017 answer:

“The main “copying” that went on relative to Steve and me is that we both benefited from the work that Xerox Parc did in creating graphical interface — it wasn’t just them, but they did the best work. Steve hired Bob Belville, I hired Charles Simonyi. We didn’t violate any IP rights Xerox had, but their work showed the way that led to the Mac and Windows.”

9. And the man who boosted both their multibillionaire stocks by giving them the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has written an open letter outlining why he has 3 big fears for the internet’s future.

10. SocGen’s black swans are out for the quarter. Here are six events you otherwise probably wouldn’t have seen coming that could rock global markets. And here are 10 classic signs show that the US stock market is “bubbly”, according to Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg.

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