10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Newly crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn with the Queen (Photo by Jes Aznar, Getty Images)

Happy Tuesday — we hope it’s royal.

1. There may have been something of a coup plotted in Thailand by one of the King’s closest allies. That news comes as the King has suddenly stripped his 34-year-old consort of all her royal titles after she was accused of plotting how to take the Queen’s place. Someone’s clearly been watching too much Game of Thrones.

2. Meanwhile in the US, there’s something more akin to House of Cards going on. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have reportedly been privately recommending who Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg should hire for his campaign team. It comes as Zuck is under fire by Buttigieg’s competitors, some of whom want to break up his company. It’s a little on the nose really.

3. The price of petrol has soared in some Australian cities, with Sydney and Melbourne drivers shelling out as much as 173 cents a litre for unleaded. Looking at what’s driving the surge however it becomes evident that there’s not really any good reason behind it. It’s not economics, it’s not last month’s Saudi strikes and it’s not a rocketing oil price. Instead, Australia inexplicably is the only country in the world that has petrol cycles and no one knows why.

4. The plant-based meat sector is about to face its largest challenge yet, when those who bought into Beyond Meat’s highly successful public float become able to sell their stocks from next week. Will investors cash in on its 340% price surge or will they stay the course? Stay tuned.

5. Speaking of going meat-free, Domino’s has continued its push in the Australian market, adding meat-free Hawaiian, supreme and pepperoni pizzas to its range. Other chains could soon follow, with dozens of fast-food franchises in the US already leading the way. But will consumers bite here?

6. US Secretary of State has signalled Trump is ‘fully prepared’ to strike against its ally Turkey if necessary, a move that would almost certainly shatter its European alliance NATO to pieces. The comment came a little over two weeks after Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw US troops from northeast Syria, which paved the way for Turkey to invade. Now it appears Pompeo and the US administration are scrambling over what to do next. Just the day before he had suggested that both the US and Turkey are committed to peace.

7. The Turkish President is, of course, Recept Tayin Erdogan, a political strongman who rose to power a few short years ago. Given he’s bound to remain a central figure in the Middle East we did a deep dive on exactly who is the man behind the moustache — a facial feature that once cost him his job when he refused to shave it off.

8. Afterpay has had to defend its business yet again, after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced a review of buy now, pay later platforms. The review will examine the condition that merchants can’t pass on Afterpay’s fees to customers. If that were to be revoked, it could see customers go elsewhere, leading Afterpay’s stock to plummet late last week. Maybe the time has finally come for Afterpay to pay for its early success?

9. Game developer Blizzard is still trying to dig itself out of the China-Hong Kong furore, denying reports that it has banned chat supported Hong Kong on streaming site Twitch. Viewers have complained that they had received 24-hour bans from the “Play Hearthstone” Twitch channel after typing “Free Hong Kong”, but Blizzard maintains it is being identified as spam because that message keeps getting posted. It’s clearly not getting through.

10. After the longest flight in history landed in Sydney on Sunday, details have been trickling in on the 20-hour leg to New York could work. Our reporter David Slotnick has revealed how Qantas plans on keeping pilots well-rested on the marathon flight, using specialised secret break areas where staff can sleep. It’s a literal peek behind the curtain if you will.

Bonus item

Amazon founder and the world’s richest person Jeff Bezos recently dropped by an American high school to visit one of the computer classes his company is funding. It must have been humbling then to see those high school kids completely unimpressed with his visit. “Who’s Jeff Bezos?” one asks. Watch the video below.

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