10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning.

1. Samsung just announced a slew of new gadgets at its Unpacked event. We saw five (!) new phones: the Galaxy S10 “E,” the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy S10+, the Galaxy S10 5G, and Samsung’s foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. If you want a minute-by-minute breakdown of everything Samsung unveiled have a read through this. Here’s what’s new:

2. The Australian dollar continues to grind higher, helped by continued buying in the Chinese yuan and firmer commodity prices. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was trading at 0.7162.

Turning to the day ahead, Australia’s January jobs report will be released at 11.30am AEDT. Markets are looking for an increase in employment of 15,000 leaving the unemployment rate steady at 5%. Here’s a 10-second guide to get you up to speed.

3. ICYMI: Australia’s economic slowdown could be about to get even worse. “If prices were to fall much further, consumption could be weaker than forecast, which would result in lower GDP growth, higher unemployment and lower inflation than forecast,” the bank said earlier this month. Based on recent leading economic indicators, those downside risks appear to be already materialising.

4. Tensions are heating up in Russia. In a threatening state of the nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the possibility of targeting the US with new weapons if it puts missiles in Europe. One of those weapons includes the newly unveiled Zircon missile, a hypersonic weapon Putin says is able to fly at nine times the speed of sound and strike targets 1,000km away. Or perhaps “Poseidon” – a devastating, high-speed nuclear torpedo – which Russia released footage of in action for the first time on Wednesday.

5. Theresa May is headed for Brussels in last-ditch bid to save her Brexit deal. During the trip, May hopes to secure major concessions on the Irish backstop which would persuade Conservative MPs to back the deal. But the EU’s Claude Juncker has dismissed the likelihood of significant progress, saying: “There isn’t enough movement for me to be able to expect this to be a discussion with a concrete outcome.” Meanwhile, just when you thought British politics couldn’t get more complicated, eleven MPs have now quit the country’s two biggest parties to form a new independent grouping that is reshaping the Parliament.

6. Your Nest Secure has a microphone in it. (If you weren’t already aware of that, sorry to break it to you.) It was part of a revelation in February when Google announced that Assistant would work with its home security and alarm system. The only problem was that users didn’t know a microphone existed on their Nest security devices to begin with. Since then, Google has admitted: “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part.”

7. Warren Buffett’s annual letter is coming soon. Investors are eagerly awaiting the missive, which is expected to address Buffett’s outlook on topics that go beyond the company’s financials. Here’s what to expect.

8. It’s a real drag on the creative process when you have to worry about things like bird poo and dust. But it’s a serious concern for SpaceX and Elon Musk right now. The new rocket being developed to ship people to the moon and Mars is designed to have a heat shield that “bleeds” fuel during landing to protect itself from superheated plasma. However, aerospace experts say pores that ooze coolant might clog easily, compromising the vehicle and we all know that problems with space travel tend not to be minor.

9. So, Australia is letting people use emojis in their car license plates now. A choice of five emojis can be added to plates registered in Queensland from March 1, 2019 for a cost between $160 and $500.

Eye roll emoji.

10. There are more people older than 65 than younger than 5 for the first time – a dispersion that’s never occurred before, according to Deutsche Bank. Here’s how that’s changing the world.

BONUS ITEM: A Vietnamese barbershop near Trump and Kim Jong Un’s next summit is offering free Trump- and Kim-style haircuts. Here’s what they look like:

Have a great day.

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