10 things you need to know this morning in Australia


Good morning.

1. A trade war between the US and China is looming as the Trump administration begins preparing new tariffs and trade restrictions on China. The restrictions would be part of an investigation into intellectual property theft by Chinese firms. It comes after Trump announced the US would impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium. The latest move is another step toward the more protectionist trade policies the US President promised.

2. US secretary of state Rex Tillerson is out. Trump unexpectedly ousted Tillerson, announcing the change in an early morning tweet, and replaced him with CIA director Mike Pompeo in a highly unusual shakeup. Tillerson was informed of his firing by the tweet and was “unaware of the reason” and had not discussed it with Trump. The decision appears to have left investors confused about the state of the West Wing as the Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 200 points Tuesday, ending the day at 25,007.


3. Global markets are undergoing a major change that’s left investors at serious risk, according to Goldman Sachs. Whether you’ve been a staunch bull or skeptical bear over the past few years, there have always been places to hide if you want to get away from it all. Treasuries, gold, and safe haven currencies like the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc have been reliable hedges of sorts, providing needed fallback returns during risk-off environments. But that’s no longer the case, and it has left traders with “no places to hide”, says Goldman.

4. Cryptos. Central banks issuing their own cryptocurrencies could threaten the stability of the global financial system, the Bank for International Settlements said in a recent report. “The introduction of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would raise fundamental issues that go far beyond payment systems and monetary policy transmission and implementation,” the BIS said. It’s not the first time the BIS has issued such a warning. In September last year, when the BIS made its first public comments about cryptocurrencies, it said that central banks must think seriously about their approach to the space.

5. The “Satan 2”. That’s the name given to Russia’s new powerful nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile by NATO. The Russian military has announced it will conduct a second test of the RS-28, which can carry as many as 16 nuclear warheads. Earlier in the month president Vladimir Putin talked up the new system and said it could not be stopped by ballistic missile defences. Russia and NATO are at an extremely tense moment as the UK has said it’s “highly likely” that Russia tried to kill a former spy in a restaurant with a chemical weapon.

6. Britain’s Brexit bill won’t be paid until 2064. The UK government has agreed to pay £37.1 billion ($65.9 billion) to the European Union as part of its departure from the bloc, however it will pay off its Brexit divorce settlement via staggered contributions lasting 46 years. Here’s how that looks:

Brexit bill

7. Apple’s next big event starts on June 4. Apple has announced the dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which will take place from June 4 to June 8, 2018. The event covers everything Apple has planned for its big yearly software updates for iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. Among some of this year’s announcements, we’re expecting details and features about iOS 12, a new version of macOS, and possibly a new MacBook Air.

8. Google cofounder Larry Page has been secretly testing flying taxis in New Zealand. The startup, Kitty Hawk, which envisages that flying cars will be the new norm, unveiled the prototype Cora airtaxi on Tuesday. It can fly up to 175km/h, and uses 12 rotor blades to take off and land vertically. The startup is financed by Page and led by ex-Google scientist Sebastian Thrun. Here it is in action here.

9. Don’t Xanax and fly. A fly-in-fly-out worker has been fined more then $25,000 after a drunken outburst at cabin crew onboard a Qantas flight. The passenger had been drinking beer and had taken a Xanax before boarding, and had brought his own flask of bourbon on-board the flight. He later attempted to punch a male flight attendant and tried to bite an Australian Federal Police officer. He has since been charged with assault and has been banned from flying with Qantas.

10. A geomagnetic storm is set to hit Earth tomorrow. It has been caused by an explosion in the Sun’s atmosphere known as a solar flare. The storm’s arrival coincides with the formation of “equinox cracks” in the Earth’s magnetic field, which form around the equinoxes on March 20 and September 23 every year. The storm is being described as “minor” by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which issued a warning via Twitter.

Have a great day.

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