10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Cynthia Nixon (L) in Sex in the City 2, the movie. IMDb

Good morning.

1. Dow down thanks to Facebook breach. Global stock markets saw deep losses on Monday in the wake of a report over the weekend that Facebook suffered a massive data breach. Facebook’s loss of as much as 8.1% — the biggest intraday decline since August 2015 — spurred a decline of 1.8% in the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index, while the benchmark S&P 500 slid 1.4% and the Dow Jones industrial average also decreased more than 300 points.

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2. But what is Cambridge Analytica?If you’re still not clear on what the Facebook data breach is all about, here’s what you need to know. Basically, Facebook and a Trump-linked data firm have been implicated in a massive data breach putting the personal data from 50 million profiles at stake. Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform but is under huge political pressure to explain how it can stop third parties from abusing its massive data trove. The news has seen Facebook’s value drop almost $40 billion.

3. But this is the key story: The CEO of Cambridge Analytica was secretly filmed offering to entrap politicians with bribes and sex workers. The bombshell investigation also shows Cambridge Analytica’s executives acknowledging that it discreetly seeded compromising videos of politicians on the internet and helped them go viral. The political-research company has pushed back on allegations that it uses entrapment tactics.

4. We have a deal! The UK and EU have reached an agreement on a Brexit transition deal, in which the UK has agreed to a “backstop solution” which would keep Northern Ireland signed up to EU rules in order to avoid a hard border with the Irish Republic. Britain will stay in the single market and customs union for 20 months after it leaves the EU in March 2019, and will be able to sign new free trade deals during the transition – but they won’t come into effect until after the period has ended. Here’s what we learned from the process.

5. The British pound jumped more than 1% after the Brexit transition deal was announced, climbing to a high of $US1.4089, a level not seen since mid-February. It later pulled back slightly, but was still up by around 0.85% to trade at $US1.4069, as the chart below illustrates:

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6. Tragedy. A woman in Arizona has died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber in what is believed to be the first time a pedestrian has been killed by an autonomous vehicle. Uber says it is cooperating with authorities. The victim has not yet been named by police. The incident is sure to ignite debate about the ethics, safety, and legal culpability of the technology.

7. A house price “correction” is coming in Sydney. According to Moody’s Analytics, Sydney house prices will fall 4.2% in 2018 with the largest declines expected to be seen in inner-city regions. Prices in Australia’s largest and most expensive housing market have already fallen 1.7% this year, continuing the modest reversal that began in the final parts of 2017. Moody’s also tips that apartment prices will remain positive both this year and next.

8. “Sex and the City” could take over New York, or at least Miranda could. One of the stars of the popular TV show, Cynthia Nixon, has announced her run for New York governor. She is challenging Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking a third term this year and stands as one of the more popular governors in the US. Her first campaign ad focused on the growing problem of economic inequality and criticised politicians “who care more about headlines and power than they do about us”.

9. Which generation are you? The Pew Research Center has established an official cutoff point for the end of the millennial generation, formally designating millennials as people born between 1981 and 1996. Defining generations helps researchers see how coming of age during certain historical events and technological changes influence the way people see the world. Here’s how Pew officially categorises the generations by birth year at this point in time:


10. Warnie hits a hole-in-one at the home of the US Masters. His cricket days might be behind him but Australian sporting legend Shane Warne could be on to a good thing with golf. The retired Test cricketer claims he hit a hole-in-one – his first ever – on the iconic 16th hole at August National. Not even Tiger Woods has achieved this.

Have a great day.

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