10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

AmazonThe new Echo Dot

Good morning.

1. The Australian dollar hits a 3-week high, gaining against the greenback, yen and Canadian dollar but falling back against the Kiwi, pound and euro. More broadly, sentiment was helped by renewed US dollar weakness and signs that China could lower trade barriers for most of its major trading partners in October. At 7am AEST, it was up 0.39% to 0.7291.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

2. The US has hit China with sanctions for Beijing’s dealings with Russian weapons makers. The move is related to Beijing’s purchase of advanced aircraft and anti-aircraft systems. It’s the first time the US has imposed sanctions under a law meant to punish Russia for its actions abroad, including interference in the US 2016 election, and comes amid a growing trade war between the two countries.

3. Amazon just introduced a brand-new Echo Dot. The new speaker looks a bit different, and costs the same as the previous model, but produces much louder sound. Along with that, the company announced it’s making a smart plug that can make almost anything in your house “smart”.

4. Units in Australia are now selling for a loss at twice the rate of houses. Here’s a look:

CoreLogic

CoreLogic says unit underperformance is due to oversupply, underlying land values, and investor behaviour. And with around 68% of units being investor-owned, compared to just 22% for houses, it looks like investors are willing to take the hit.

5. Prime Minister Scott Morrison could legislate the fast-tracking of small business company tax cuts before the federal election to increase the pressure on Labor going into the campaign. The AFR has more.

6. This photo represents the latest sign peace talks between North and South Korea are making progress:

Getty ImagesNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center left) holds hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in (center right) atop Mt. Paektu. They are flanked by their respective wives, Ri Sol-Ju (left) and Kim Jung-sook (right).

It shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un standing hand-in-hand at the peak of to Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s tallest mountain and what is considered as the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people. It comes after the two countries this week agreed to several joint efforts, including launching a joint bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

7. Two people have been mauled by sharks in 24 hours while swimming in the Whitsundays in Queensland. In two separate instances a woman and child were attacked in Cid Harbour. The 46-year-old woman, Justine Barwick from Tasmania, was bitten on her leg and torso but is now in a stable condition in Mackay hospital, and the 12-year-old girl who was bitten on the thigh is also in hospital in a critical but stable condition. Experts say the attacks are “very unlucky and extremely unfortunate”.

8. An Australian football club has issued a grovelling apology after three of its players were photographed in blackface. The athletes, from the Tasmanian town of Penguin, were dressed as tennis champions Serena Williams and Venus Williams and Kenyan-born football player Aliir Aliir. The incident has attracted global headlines following the controversy surrounding The Herald Sun’s cartoon of Serena Williams after her outburst at the 2018 US Open final. Here’s the photo that landed the idiots club in hot water:

9. Scientists want to create a giant artificial wall propped up under Antarctica’s ice sheets. It follows concerns that if the glaciers currently holding back ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland were to collapse, subsequent rising seas levels would render many coastal cities around the world uninhabitable. If the scientists’ geoengineering plan was successful, it would be the biggest civil engineering project in human history.

10. Hackers stole $60 million from a crypto exchange in Japan’s second major bitcoin heist this year. Tech Bureau Corp, the Osaka based company that owns the exchange, said hackers gained access for a timeframe of over two hours on September 14 and stole money from Zaif’s ‘hot wallet’ where Bitcoin and other digital currencies are stored. More here.

Have a great day.

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