Good morning – and welcome to Tuesday.
Here’s what you need to know.
- The latest figure being put on Qantas job cuts, set to be outlined this Thursday, is for a total of 5000, with 1000 to go in the first year. The airline said this morning saying it was not in a position to comment on the speculation, but reiterating that it needs to find $2 billion in savings. The Australian, meanwhile, reports the airline will speed up the retirement of some parts of its fleet. Treasurer Joe Hockey has said Qantas passes three of four tests he’s using to determine if the government can provide some form of support for the airline – the last one being whether the company is doing all it can to reform itself. We find out the details Thursday.
- Labor has an election-winning lead in the latest Newspoll, leading the Coalition 54-46 – the mirror opposite of the election result last year. This is a surprising turnaround and possibly linked to the challenging time the government is facing with unemployment and border protection.
- Tony Abbott said last night that he would be taking spending cuts in health and education to the next election. There will be some details in the May budget, with the reforms starting to bite if the Coalition is re-elected in 2016.
- Samsung launched the Galaxy S5 in Barcelona overnight – here are big, beautiful photos. It has a slightly larger screen than the S4, has an improved camera and is waterproof. BI’s Jay Yarow says the best thing Samsung has unveiled might be the Gear Fit, a fitness tracking gadget.
- Also in Barcelona overnight, Chua Sock Koong, the CEO of SingTel, which owns Optus, called on regulators to allow telcos to charge customers for using messaging services like WhatsApp and Skype.
- It’s a terrible week for Bitcoin. MtGox, once the king of all Bitcoin exchanges, has resigned from the Bitcoin foundation after users were unable to make withdrawals, crushing the price for customers. And now cyber-criminals have infected hundreds of thousands of computers with a virus that allows them to steal the cryptocurrency.
- Joe Hockey says the tax status of multinationals will be taken into account when the government is looking at foreign investment decisions. It follows an announcement at the G20 finance ministers’ meeting that Australia will start sharing tax data with the US, a move widely seen as targeting tech giants like Google and Apple.
- Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is urging the federal government to review the penalty rates system, which he says is hurting businesses and preventing hospitality operators from opening on public holidays.
- Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, has a new job. He’s off to be CFO at the Vatican.
- Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is out, and the master outlines five principles of investing in this year’s missive. The wisdom includes: “Games are won by players who focus on the playing field — not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard.” We’ve got a summary here.
Bonus item: Check out these photos of the ridiculously opulent homes of Ukrainian politicians. Here’s a sample:
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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