10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Kylie Minogue has a new song out with a stunningly raunchy video clip that will have people talking. Getty / File

Good morning, and welcome to Thursday.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Arthur Sinodinos will take a $112,000 a year pay cut and remove himself from the government’s expenditure review committee as a result of his decision to step down as Assistant Treasurer while the ICAC investigation into Australian Water Holdings proceeds in Sydney. There is no allegation of corruption against him, but the questions are about judgement and diligence. If he didn’t know about the Obeids’ financial links to AWH, should he have? And should he have known that AWH, where he was on the board, was donating to the Liberal Party, where he was NSW Treasurer – potentially with taxpayers’ funds? He insists he will be vindicated, senior Liberals have been staunch in their support for him and the PM says he looks forward to his return to the ministry. As Sinodinos would say himself, watch this space.
  2. Nathan Tinkler’s ownership of the Newcastle Knights is looking shaky after Westpac appointed administrators to two of his companies over the past 24 hours. He needs to come up with $10.5 million by the end of the month, according to a report on the ABC this morning. But not to worry, Knights prop Willie Mason says it will all be OK.
  3. The US Fed announced a further $10 billion reduction in its bond-buying program as expected overnight but the big surprise was the news that interest rate increases could come sooner than expected. Fed chair Janet Yellen said rate increases could be in “something in the order of six months” – that’s closer than many were expecting. Treasuries surged and the main stock indices finished about 0.5% off for the day; the Australian dollar fell sharply on the news.
  4. A 777 pilot has given a detailed rebuttal of the theory around the MH370 disappearance that everyone’s been talking about this week: that a fire, with resulting smoke in the cockpit knocking out the pilots, was responsible. He says he can think of no plausible reason for the pilots to not contact air traffic control if there was a fire. Meanwhile, it emerged last night that the pilot had cleared logs from his home flight simulator.
  5. Kylie Minogue has a new song out, Sexercise, with an eye-poppingly raunchy video clip that we can be sure will set off some debate this week. You can watch it here – mildly NSFW.
  6. The big tech IPO of the year will be Alibaba and there are many reasons it’s the most-anticipated tech float since Facebook. For example on China’s equivalent of Black Friday the company processed $US5.75 billion in sales – more than three times what Americans spent online on Black Friday. It’s also on track to crack $1 trillion in annual sales. More here.
  7. There was some refreshing openness at the Intralinks Dealmakers ANZ event in Sydney yesterday, with PwC’s head of M&A revealing his “sneaky” tricks for drumming up interest from buyers. His standout tip was turning on the out-of-office autoreply for a few days to make it look like you’re out of town talking to competitors.
  8. Larry Page has been speaking at TED and had this to say about why companies fail: they miss the future. He admitted feeling odd about buying Android and guilty about working on it but, he says, “it was smart. It was the future.”
  9. Fund managers are still using this strategy from the 1930s to manipulate stock prices, putting stock in “weak hands” at a target top price and then going short.
  10. The apparent depiction of a sulphur-crested cockatoo – which are native to Australia and New Guinea – in an Italian painting from 1496 has raised new questions about when precisely trade routes between Europe and Australia were established.

Bonus item: Meet the fighting chicken from hell, a newly-discovered dinosaur.

Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo

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