Good morning. Let’s get to it…
1. Stock markets were off a little in the US and a lot in some European markets as the geopolitical risk surrounding the increased pressure on Russia over Ukraine was top of mind for traders across many markets overnight. So at the close, the Dow was down 48 points for a loss of 0.28% to 17,052, the Nasdaq was 0.16% lower at 4,425 and the S&P 500 lost just 4 points after being down 12 at one stage to end 0.21% lower at 1,974.
2. In Asia yesterday, with Japan out there was mild disquiet with the geopolitical tensions and stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai traded lower. The Hang Seng closed down 0.29% to 15,216 while stocks in Shanghai were 0.25% lower at 2,054. Locally, the ASX looks set to open lower and even though September SPI 200 Futures were only off 4 points at 5,495, the risk is of further selling of the miners and the banks today.
3. The sex lives of Australians. The results from The Great Australian Sex Census are in and they’re every bit as revealing as you’d expect. More than 17,000 Australians happily discussed things such as whether they had ever made a sex tape. Incredibly (and I may be giving away too much in saying that) almost a third of men and women (29.6 per cent) have starred in their own sex tape. Western Aussies are our kinkiest; Canberrans are our most prudish.
4. How keeping Russia out of the G20 might work. Australia has a number of options if it really wanted to stop Vladimir Putin from attending the G20 summit in Brisbane in November, from the immigration route to various measures that come with the G20 chairmanship, experts told Business Insider. All urged caution, however, in taking too strident on a position on the matter without support of other member countries, with one saying explaining it would be detrimental to the G20 enough to “f**k it” for the future.
5. Was MH17 under military escort? David Cenciotti of The Aviationist reports that the jet, according to a reliable source, would have been under escort by two Su-27 Flanker fighters from the Ukranian air force – something that had become standard in recent weeks, particularly over disputed territory. Perversely, this measure, intended for security and safety, might have made the Malaysian Airlines jet look from the ground like a valuable Ukranian military aircraft.
6. No public holiday for Anzac Day. Wait, what? Australians will get an extra public holiday on December 28 because Boxing Day falls on a Saturday. So does Anzac Day, but no additional day is granted for it in NSW under the Public Holidays Act and no proposal has been recived. Only Western Australians will be playing two-up in 2015 instead of working.
7. Scientists reached the hole in Siberia. Remember, this one:
The spectacular aerial shots went viral last week and sparked a slew of dodgy alien and environmental conspiracy theories, given it was found on the Yamal Peninisula. “Yamal” translates as “end of the world”. Andrey Plekhanov, senior researcher at the State Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, was part of a team that has reached the hole and sent the first report back. (Hint: it has something to do with Champagne corks.)
8. Government subsidies for nannies. Australia’s Productivity Commission has been looking at child care benefits and is recommending payments to help cover the cost of nannies means- and activity-tested, paid directly to child care providers and cover up to 100 hours a fortnight. The PC believes this is important for getting more hours worked in the economy, but brace yourself for another bit of old-fashioned Australian class warfare and talk about whether the age of entitlement is really at an end.
9. The New Yorker’s archives are open and free. For a limited time, so get in quick and browse one of the internet’s (and journalism’s) most preeminent collections. It’s all in aid of celebrating the relaunch of The New Yorker’s website today with a complete makeover, signaling the first step in the magazine’s new focus on the web. Here’s eight incredible articles to get you started.
10. Anja Nissen is The Voice 2014. After an interminably long finale, the judges of The Voice Australia crowned their winner. Well, the people of Australia did – it was the first series to be decided by popular vote. Nissen’s journey began when Channel 9 scouts plucked her from last year’s Schools Spectacular, she found herself picked by coach will.i.am – whose music label gets to sign the winner – and was surprisingly saved in last week’s final elimination. Make of that what you will.
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