Good morning, and welcome to Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Bad weather hampered the search last night for the objects spotted by satellite that investigators believe could be debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines passenger jet. They’ll be going back out there today, and a Norwegian merchant ship arrived in the area last night. The area being searched is an uncanny fit with the theory that the plane flew a straight southerly course as far as it could before running out of fuel. Even if the objects spotted are from the missing jet, the search for where the it actually went down could still go on for weeks, with drift of debris over the period involved being extraordinarily difficult to predict.
- Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine project in WA has secured $7.2 billion in loans, including from the major Australian banks. It’s reportedly the largest sum ever raised for a mining project. Some $700 million is from the US Export-Import Bank, and is contingent on the purchase of plant for the operation from American companies.
- A lot of Australian companies, particularly farmers and manufacturers who sell a lot of product to China, will be watching the shifts in the Chinese Yuan very carefully. While the Yuan has weakened against the US dollar, the Australian dollar is strengthening against it and is up more than 7% since February. Further increases could start to erode the competitiveness of Australian non-mining goods to our biggest trading partner. Greg McKenna takes a closer look this morning here.
- Staying with China, respected analyst Patrick Chovanec thinks the country’s debt-fuelled growth means its leaders are “riding a runaway train that they don’t quite know how to stop. And they’re running out of track.” Business Insider’s Mamta Badkar takes a look at why, and how most people think there’s pain coming for China no matter what, here.
- Austrade is supporting calls from the hospitality industry for more flexibility in staff working arrangements, including on pay and conditions. The Productivity Commission is looking at labour force mobility at the moment and any changes to wage floors for 457 visa workers could have sweeping effects on Australia’s hotels, restaurants and cafes by making it easier for owners to hire staff from overseas and attract workers to regional tourist hubs.
- Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Shiller says the amazing mobile devices created by entrepreneurs are awakening deep fears within people: dread of being overtaken on the global economic latter by someone in a faraway country. Shiller doesn’t shoot from the hip.
- Arthur Sinodinos was warned about cash flow at AWH before he became chairman, by one of the company’s investors. With the questions around Sinodinos centring on diligence and judgment – nothing corrupt – this at least shows that issues with the company were flagged for him as his involvement increased.
- Twitter is looking at phasing out the @ symbol and the hashtag – the company’s head of news says they’re becoming “arcane”. Some users are already seeing the @ disappear from their streams – the company thinks it might be turning away new users.
- What’s the most beautiful word in the English language? The British Council decided on “mother”, but there are other contenders: the phrase “cellar door”, or “tremulous”, depending on the criteria you use. There are more contenders here.
- The Commonwealth Bank predicts wallets could be phased out within a decade, as people move to electronic payments with their phones, according to a report in the AFR. (Great, but what happens if you lose your phone? No mobile and no cash = screwed.)
Bonus item: Do yourself a favour and find five minutes to read this account of how a comedian’s article about fighting Presidents landed him in front of the US Secret Service. Funniest thing you’ll read all week.
Have a great weekend. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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