1. The US led an attack on Syrian chemical weapons facilities over the weekend. The coordinated strike with the UK and France saw more than 100 weapons used, including Tomahawk missiles. The action prompted a harsh response from Russia’s ambassador to the US who said his country is being “threatened” and warned “such actions will not be left without consequences.” Meanwhile, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, announced on Sunday that the US will impose a new rounds of sanctions on Russia.
2. Trump and the TPP. Trump has made a habit of reversing some of his more extreme positions on trade over the several weeks. The latest looks to be getting the US back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The uncertainty has real consequences for the US economy and global markets, with analysts attributing a significant part of the recent stock market slump to Trump’s back-and-forth behaviour. “Further uncertainty could affect companies’ decisions such as global supply chains location, which in turn would affect investment and future export growth,” Moody’s Analytics said in recent analysis. US stocks edged lower in a cautious session on Friday night, although the S&P500 finished 2% higher for the week.
3. Data to drop this week includes the release of minutes from the RBA’s monthly rates meeting tomorrow (11:30am AEDT). Analysts will scope the minutes for any further clues on the bank’s outlook, after it kept rates on hold for the 18th consecutive time on April 3. That’s followed by monthly jobs data for March on Thursday (11:30am AEDT), with economists forecasting the economy will addanother 20,000 jobs. That will bring the current streak to 18 straight month of net jobs growth, although the unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 5.5% as more people look for work. More here.
4. A “huge argument” within Theresa May’s government is delaying her decision on post-Brexit immigration for the UK. The row over how Britain should tackle immigration in negotiations with the European Union comes after UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said her office didn’t have a position on post-Brexit immigration, astonishing Members of Parliament who accused the British government of being unprepared for exit day.
5. Sydney bushfires. A severe bushfire in Sydney’s south-west, which has burnt more than 2,400 hectares and damaged some properties, has eased overnight, but firefighters are concerned conditions may deteriorate this afternoon with as 35 kilometre per hour winds are predicted. Residents in Holsworthy, Sandy Point, Pleasure Point, Voyager Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Illawong, Menai and Bangor are being advised to monitor the situation and act if conditions change.
6. People are still buying Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency bounced off its recent lows late last week and climbed back above $US8,000 over the weekend. Here’s a summary of the latest price-action among the world’s top five cryptos:
7. Closing Ceremony catastrophe. Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Chairman Peter Beattie has admitted organisers “got it wrong” when they ditched the tradition of athletes marching into the stadium as part of the closing ceremony. The move provoked broadcast partner Channel 7 to launch a massive spray at the end of the night, while fans departed the two-hour ceremony early. Basil Zempilas and Johanna Griggs defended their station from accusations that it was to blame, saying they were just as disappointed with the games organisers for wrecking tradition. “I’m furious, actually wrecking a tradition that is so important,” Griggs said. “You want to see the athletes come in. You want to see them jumping in front of camera. You want to see them celebrating 11 days of great sport. We missed out on all of that.”
8. It wasn’t the only shock at the end of the Games. Both the Australian netball team, and women’s sevens team — world champions in their sport — were denied gold medals. England sunk a penalty shot on the buzzer to give the UK a 52-51 win against the Diamonds, becoming the first nation other than Australia or New Zealand to win the Commonwealth title. Meanwhile, a runaway try in extra time from New Zealand in the women’s rugby sevens saw them claim a 17-12 victory over Australia.
9. Hackers stole a casino’s high-roller database through a thermometer in the lobby fish tank. It sounds like a play out of an Oceans film but it’s just one incident of an increasing number of crimes whereby hackers targeting unprotected “internet of things” devices to get into corporate networks. Here’s what two experts have to say about it.
10. “I don’t seem to win boring races,” said Daniel Ricciardo after he pulled off a “absolutely clinical” drive to win the Chinese Grand Prix after starting the race from sixth on the grid. That’s his sixth win in Formula 1, each time starting outside a top three grid position. It’s that type of performance and his daring moves on the track that has earned him the reputation as one of the most exciting drivers in the sport. And, of course, he had a shoey to celebrate.
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 15, 2018
BONUS ITEM: Someone has been defacing a highway sign 13km out from Avoca in Central Victoria. 10/10.
Someone has been defacing vicroad’s highway signage precisely 13 km from the township of Avoca in Central Victoria. And, no, it wasn’t me. But I must say I very much admire their handiwork. #smashedavocado #avocado #smashedavo pic.twitter.com/klZOLRS0YM
— Bernard Salt AM (@BernardSalt) April 15, 2018
Have a great day.
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