10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning and TGIF.

1. The Australian government’s $1.2 billion tourism rescue package has been met with a decidedly mixed reception, with some industries frustrated that the aviation sector has received so much support. While Qantas CEO Alan Joyce proclaimed the stimulus package “ticks all the boxes”, some accomodation, tourism and hospitality operators say there’s little in it for them. Faced with the imminent termination of JobKeeper, the sectors are calling for more support beyond shoring up domestic tourism in regional areas.

2. Sydney, the country’s most expensive property market, has set new price records, according to new CoreLogic data. The median house now sells for over $1.06 million while the median dwelling price has hit almost $900,000. It follows a 5.7% surge since October, with head of research Tim Lawless noting price growth “highlights the challenges for non-home owners looking to participate in the housing market as values rise faster than incomes.”

3. Australian social media meme titans Brown Cardigan and self-proclaimed ‘meme artist’ Lushsux say they’ve profited by selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Both have sold purely digital artwork as NFTs, with the value of some pieces spiking in price on the second-hand market, with Lushsux in particular claiming to have made half a million dollars. But their presence in the potentially lucrative NFT scene may not be in line with the beliefs of some fervent crypto-believers, who say they want to spark a revolution in art and commerce.

4. While we’re on NFTs, here’s some even more mind-boggling figures for you. Digital artist Mike Winkelmann – known online as Beeple – has smashed crypto-art records yet again with a nearly $US70 million sale. It was the first NFT to be sold by a historic auction house. In the past month alone, top NFT platforms have sold nearly $US500 million in digital assets, according to CryptoSlam.

5. Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun is the mystery buyer of that NFT, it turns out. You might remember him as the guy who rose to fame after paying $US4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett. He is also the founder of cryptocurrency companies Tron and Rainberry.

6. Australian publishers are worried about Facebook removing news for Australian users for a second time as negotiations with the tech company falter. When the news media bargaining code was passed, Facebook hinted at forthcoming agreements. However, in the three weeks since, none of Australia’s major publishers have signed notices of intent and fear that they’ve reached an impasse in discussions, according to reports.

7. Menulog reported a global revenue increase of 54% in 2020. The over 10% boost in global delivery orders was attributed to the strong growth of orders in Australia. The company says it added an additional 3,000 regional restaurants last year, and wants to focus on expanding outside major cities into 2021.

8. Americans will receive $US1,400 stimulus checks “as early as this weekend,” the White House said. President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus package into law on Thursday. Payments will continue for weeks, said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.

9. Denmark, Norway, and Iceland on Thursday suspended use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. Several cases of blood clots were found among vaccinated people, health authorities in the countries said. However, European regulators said it wasn’t clear whether the blood clots were linked to the vaccine.

10. Been sharing your Netflix password with friends and family? These halcyon days might be coming to a bitter end. The streaming platform is testing a crackdown on sharing passwords with those outside your household. The practice is already technically forbidden, but Netflix hasn’t enforced it in the past.

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Damn. Now this is gloating over a kill.