1. US stocks got a boost as the Republican tax-cut bill passed through the lower house, and European stocks ended a seven-day losing streak. That has ASX200 futures traders eyeing a positive open today. The US dollar caught a bid, but the AUD remains stuck just below US76 cents – still battling Wednesday’s soft wages growth report. Bitcoin is back pushing $10,000.
2. The defector who was shot five times trying to cross from North to South Korea had a parasite in his body doctors had never seen before. He survived, but the parasites are causing “tremendous complications”. And by firing AK-47s into the Demilitarized Zone, North Korea may have violated the armistice with the US and South Korea. But no one really knows what to do about that.
3. All through his 12-day Asia trip, Donald Trump has talked up how he and China’s president Xi Jingping had agreed they would “not accept a so-called freeze-for-freeze agreement” with North Korea. That is, North Korea freezes its nuclear programme in exchange for the US freezing military drills with South Korea. But now Trump has gone home, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says a freeze-for-freeze agreement is the “most feasible, fair and sensible plan in the present situation”. The US president is officially easy-pleasey.
4. Here’s a sad video of a bird that was killed by American Airlines Flight 1498 to Miami. But at least the bird got a great hit in first:
— ABC News (@ABC) November 16, 2017
5. In a great week for Australia – what with the marriage survey result and the Socceroos getting through to the World Cup – there was one big blot: the data on wages, which was once again very weak and reflects the tough position Australian households are in at the moment. That’s the starting point for this week’s episode of Devils and Details, featuring Jordan Eliseo from ABC Bullion, who has been doing some deep research on cryptocurrencies and the threat they may pose to money as we understand it today. The show’s on iTunes, or you can listen in below.
6. The biggest problem facing anyone holding Bitcoin right now is when to sell it. That probably doesn’t matter if you paid $100 for a couple of thousand BTC in 2010, but the world’s leading cryptocurrency isn’t something you buy into lightly these days. But a recent survey of investors show just 32% have ever sold any of their Bitcoin. And the average investor doens’t plan to give up any until its hits $US196,165.
7. Back in 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas in Florida for 10,000 Bitcoin – about $100 million worth of hurt today for Laszlo. But a better investment was made five years before that by a consortium of art dealers who bought this painting for $13,200:
It turned out to be an authentic da Vinci and yesterday sold for $593 million.
8. Christopher Pyne’s Twitter account stuck a Like on some seriously hardcore gay porn at 2am yesterday. Pyne played it cool:
I was hacked overnight! I was ???? at 2am. Someone tried to hack my social media yesterday. Maybe they are making mischief over the plebiscite?
— Christopher Pyne (@cpyne) November 15, 2017
But the Opposition wants an investigation into how someone could so easily hack Pyne’s personal account – especially given he’s the defence minister.
9. Oh no. The Australian selectors are at it again, trying to lose the Ashes. It’s only a likely squad, but reports are that Cameron Bancroft will get his first baggy green, Tim Paine will keep wicket ahead of both Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill, and unfortunately, it looks like Shaun Marsh will get yet another extension on his outrageously unjustified lifeline as an Australian Test cricketer.
10. Elon Musk’s extraordinary life takes another turn at 3pm AEST today:
Tesla Semi Truck unveil to be webcast live on Thursday at 8pm! This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension. Just need to find my portal gun …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 12, 2017
Here’s how to watch the event live. And here’s a $US300 billion reason why every automaker should be seriously looking into self-driving trucks.
BONUS ITEM: Jimmy Fallon had a crack at Barnsey for being part of this worst song, and Barnsey Jr shot back. But Fallon was right:
Have a great weekend.