10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Worth a look. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning, and here is the news. I’m Peter Farquhar.

1. Locally, after a stellar day yesterday where the ASX surged to a firm close, March SPI 200 futures traders are down just 3 points at 5,871.

2. In Asia yesterday, it was largely just the Nikkei, given Chinese New Year celebrations across the region. The Nikkei celebrated by making a fresh eight-year high. It closed up 1.2% at 18,199, the highest close since July 2007 when the GFC first stirred.

3. The Aussie sits at 0.7817 after a quick foray down to 0.7770 and the USDJPY is at 118.7. Sterling is up and away at 1.5438 as the standout amongst the majors. The US dollar strengthened early with the euro hitting a low of 1.1335, but it is back at 1.1395 now.

4. When Hockey met Uber. The Productivity Commission wants to get a proper handle on these new wave of disruptive businesses in the digital age, so there’s a special hoe-down starting in Melbourne today where they’ll meet reps from troublesome start-ups like Uber and AirBnB and try to smooth out the process by which they enter traditional markets. There’s a whole bunch of businesses ready to roll in Oz that people clearly want – and want to work for – but regulators aren’t so hot about, so this is kind of a big deal.

5. Our tycoons are doing it tough and they’re not happy about it. Particularly Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, who, according to a report in yesterday’s Financial Times, has seen his roughly 33% stake in the company fall to A$2.65 billion in value from A$6.2 billion a year ago. He’s now the 10th richest Aussie, down from 5th just a year ago, mainly due to the fact iron ore prices have tumbled since then by 70%. Twiggy’s blaming it on an huge overreaction by shortsellers who, by the way, can be mentioned in the same sentence as drug-dealers:

“Equity markets are short-term things so when the iron ore price crashes the stock market is fit to write us off. Short-sellers are only slightly above marijuana peddlers and they spread vicious rumours about the company.”

6. In 50 Shades of Grey news, Sarah Kimmorley had $20 to burn and she did something tragic with it on Valentine’s Day by sitting through the embarrassingly awful film. But amongst the bad jokes and underwhelming “porn”, she found entertainment – in watching everyone else in the cinema. Her advice is to wait for the rental or watch Girls. Or if you really want something sexy and funny, check out indie release “The Duke of Burgundy” instead.

7. Beyoncé has inadvertantly joined the “real skin, real beauty” cause which took off yesterday when Cindy Crawford’s untouched photo shoot went viral on the interwebs. But Team Bey wasn’t happy with the unedited pics of their superstar, and wants them taken down. In the meantime, Helena Bonham Carter got nude with a tuna:

Helena Bonham Carter and friend. Picture: John Swannell/Fish Love

8. Tasmanian spirits are high after another world-beating effort, this time from a small farm distillery in the state’s highlands. Nant Distilling Company was born just seven years ago on a historic property which, along with its water-driven mill, was restored to working order in 2005. Lasy night, it took out two medals in the World Spirit Awards, announced in Europe – gold for its 43% single malt whisky matured in American oak sherry wood, and silver for a whisky matured in French oak pinot noir casks. Last year, another Tasmanian distillery, Sullivan’s Cove, was named the world’s best at that World Whisky Awards.

9. Patty Hearst’s new syndrome. In 1974 (no, stay with me kids) the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. She kind of fell in love with them, robbed a bank, served a couple of years in prison and was pardoned after it was deemed she suffered from Stockholm syndrome, an affliction which sees hostages sympathising with their captors. These days, she’s one of three owners of a shih tzu named GCH Hallmark Jolei Rocket Power. And yesterday it won the toy dog category Monday at the 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

10. Scientists have extensively researched why you get the munchies after using marijuana. Remember to thank them for it one day, as soon as you’ve finished doing that other thing you need to get around to doing.

BONUS ITEM: “Onion rings are vegetable donuts.” And it just gets better from there as Cookie Monster takes us through his contemplative Simply Delicious Shower Thoughts:

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