1. The Australian dollar continued to slide on Monday, coming within a whisker of falling to a fresh one-year low against the greenback. Ongoing trade tensions between the Unite States and China, along with divergent monetary policy outlooks from major central banks, were cited as the main catalysts behind the Aussie’s weakness. At 7am in Sydney, the AUD/USD was down 0.24% to 0.7422.
2. Labor will decide on whether to back more of the federal government’s $144 billion income tax cut today. However, it’s unlikely to accept the third and final stage of the government plan, which costs $42 billion over 10 years and gives some of the biggest benefits to workers on the highest incomes. Meanwhile the government has declared it will not accept any amendments in the Senate and will ask for the package to be passed in full.
3. The SBS will screen World Cup games after Optus failed to provide a decent service. SBS will manage the coverage for two days as the telco scrambles to resolve ongoing streaming glitches that have left soccer fans disappointed and even prompted questioning from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
4. Amazon Prime is now available in Australia, and at half the price of membership in the UK. Just four days after the launch of eBay’s $29 introductory offer for free delivery and returns from eBay Plus, Amazon Australia is offering Prime for $4.99 a month. That gets you free two-day delivery on eligible products and access to videos, e-books and gaming. The offer is open until January 31, 2019, and will rise to $6.99 a month after that. More here.
5. Financial markets aren’t convinced the RBA will hike rates until November next year. Some think it could even be 2020 before the RBA begins to lift official interest rates. The Reserve Bank has kept Australia’s cash rate unchanged for 20 consecutive meetings, the longest stretch without a movement in either direction on record.
6. Australia’s top 20% richest households own 80 times more than its bottom 20%, according to new analysis from McCrindle Research. The average household pre-tax income in Australia currently sits at just under $110,000 per annum. Average household wealth also stands at $929,400. Despite the yawning gap between the top and bottom quintiles, McCrindle says the level of income inequality in Australia has actually improved marginally from two years earlier, partially reversing the trend seen in recent decades.
7. One Nation may be in breach of electoral laws after using a structure that runs state branches by “remote control” from Queensland. An explosive letter, cited by the SMH, reveals One Nation wrote to the NSW Electoral Commission 10 days ago to admit doubts over the registration of the party branch in NSW because it did not have local balance sheets and reports to satisfy state disclosure laws.
8. The CEO of Audi, Rupert Stadler, has been arrested in connection to the company’s use of illegal software to cheat carbon-emissions tests. It comes after Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to using software to artificially lower its vehicles’ emissions levels. And so far, the US has led the most substantial investigation into the company, which has had to pay tens of billions of dollars in fines and settlements. Several executives have also been arrested or sentenced to prison in the US. Here’s why it’s such a big deal.
9. The US Border Patrol is separating migrant families, keeping hundreds children in cages as part of the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy. On Sunday, the facility was holding 751 family members and 258 youths. A number of disturbing stories have emerged from the facility such as a 16-year-old girl who for three days had been taking care of a young girl who was separated from her mother. The 16-year-old said she had to teach other children in the cell to change her nappy.
10. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is in full swing. Here are some of the most interesting stories around right now:
- Brazil’s talisman striker was fouled more times than any World Cup player in 20 years in their first match
- Mexican World Cup fans may have sparked an ‘earthquake’ celebrating their team’s winning goal over Germany
- South Korea’s World Cup team tried to confuse Sweden’s spies by swapping jerseys so their opponent couldn’t tell them apart
- Nigeria soccer fans are banned from taking their lucky chickens into World Cup matches
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