10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Jonathan Olley – © Copyright:2010 Universal Studios via IMDbMatt Damon in Green Zone

Good morning.

1. Will the Queen step in to save Brexit from being stopped? The British monarch has the power to prevent bills passed by the Houses of Parliament from becoming law, and Conservative MPs want her Majesty to use these powers to ensure Britain leaves the EU on March 29. The thing is, the power has not been used for over 300 years and would trigger a major constitutional crisis.

2. The Australian dollar was hosed on Thursday, falling heavily against all of the major crosses. Increased speculation about an RBA rate cut, weak economic data from Europe and a rebound in the greenback all contributed to the Aussie’s weakness. At 7.50am AEDT, the Aussies was down 0.70% to 0.7091.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Charts

3. US President Donald Trump says he will recognise Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate head of state — and it appears to have inspired fresh hopes among investors.

4. US-China tensions continue. US warships have sailed through the closely-watched Taiwan Strait for the fourth time in the past year. The latest transit comes at a sensitive time in US-China relations and may draw criticism from Beijing, which has previously bristled at US military activity in the region. Meanwhile, one of Trump’s top trade advisers says the US and China are “miles and miles” away from a deal to end the trade war. Here’s what no trade deal could mean for the US and China.

5. Westpac, one of Australia’s best inflation forecasters, says a big downside miss is coming next week, moving both headline and underlying inflation further away from the RBA’s 2-3% target. It also expects Australia’s unemployment rate will rise this year while GDP growth will slow. More here.

6. ICYMI: NAB has joined Australia’s other major banks in hiking variable mortgage rates independent of the RBA. David Scutt has more.

7. Here’s your AO update: Rafael Nadal is through to the 25th Grand Slam final of his career after defeating 20-year-old Greek opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0. It was an emotional moment for the champ who was filmed breaking down in tears as he made his way out of the Rod Laver Arena. He will either take on his old adversary Novak Djokovic or first-time semi-finalist Lucas Pouille in the final on Sunday. Meanwhile, Japan’s Naomi Osaka is through to the Australian Open final after defeating Karolina Pliskova in three sets. She’ll take on fourth seed Petra Kvitová on Saturday in the finals where one of them will take the title and claim world No. 1 ranking at the same time.

8. The smartphone of the future has arrived. The Meizu Zero is the world’s first “true non-porous wireless smartphone,” with no ports, holes, or wires. Meizu is the 11th biggest smartphone-maker in the world and one of the most popular consumer tech brands in China. Check it out:


9. Even Matt Damon deals with lost luggage when he flies. The US actor revealed he had to borrow his Water.org cofounder’s suit before his appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday because his airline had lost his bag. “The relationship has developed to the point where I’m wearing Gary’s clothes right now, because Swiss Air lost my bag,” he said.

10. Looking to lose those Christmas kilos you put on last month? We’re here to help. Here are 10 weight-loss tips you can follow, even at the office. And while you’re at it, stop taking your phone to the gym. Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers says it could be ruining your workout. Here’s why.

BONUS ITEM: A video of a Chinese school principal performing a shuffle dance with his students has gone viral, and he does it with them every day to keep them active.

Have a great long weekend.

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