1. Good morning and Arise, Sir Prince Philip. A day after Australia Day and the entire nation is still not sure if Tony Abbott knighting the Queen’s hubby is a joke or not. The Prime Minister revived knighthoods last year and recommends them directly to the Queen. This year, Defence Force chief Angus Houston got a gong, so no problem there. But there’s barely anyone brave enough to support the PM handing out the rare honour on Australia Day to someone who’s not even an Australian (and has quite enough titles as it is). Here’s Abbott’s justification:
“He’s (Prince Philip) the patron of hundreds of organisations. He’s the inspiration and wellspring of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards which have provided leadership training for tens if not hundreds of thousands of Australians over the years.”
2. All of which sadly took the spotlight away from the day’s real winners – a group of brave and inspiring women who cleaned up the honours list. Rosie Batty, a relentless campaigner against family violence after her son became a victim, was named Australian of the Year. NSW author Jackie French is Senior Australian of the Year; 21-year-old Drisana Levitzke-Gray from WA, who was born deaf, is the Young Australian of the Year and Juliette Wright, the founder of GIVIT, to ensure quality goods get to where they are most needed, is Australia’s Local Hero.
3. To the markets, and it looks like another bad day’s trade for Australia’s iron ore miners. While the nation partied yesterday, its champion commodity slid another 6% down on Friday’s CFR China futures close. It’s now at $61.73 a tonne and showing no signs of finding a base – but still above Joe Hockey’s $60 a tonne assumption from the Government’s MYEFO forecasts. ASX futures for March are up 8 points to 5,453 suggesting it should be a better day for the rest.
4. In Asia yesterday, the Nikkei dipped 0.24% for what appears no good reason really, although some reports claim that it was because of the Syriza victory in Greece. But 0.24% down to 17,469 is just noise. It was a different story in Shanghai though, with the SHCOMP hitting a 5-year high of 3,383, up 0.93% or 31 points. Bloomberg reports the catalyst was expectation that tech companies will benefit from government spending on defence. In Hong Kong, stocks rose 0.24%, 60 points to 24,910.
5. Data and the dollar. The Aussie is at 0.7920, euro is at 1.1242 while GBP is back up at 1.5088. Today’s releases see the NAB business survey landing and the ANZ’s weekly consumer confidence survey later this morning.
6. Nobody seems to care that Greece has a new government and to make it an even worse day for the struggling nation, iconic crooner Demis Roussos went and died. You’d have to be a 70s child to know what that means, but we still exist and the Kaftan King was a beloved international star guest on daytime telly here. He also sang on the soundtrack to Bladerunner and won an Oscar for writing the iconic Chariots of Fire theme, as well as being one of 153 hostages in the 1985 Boeing hijack. The Shiite Muslims who took over the plane gave him cake for his 39th birthday during the crisis.
7. Chet Faker won Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown with his single “Talk is Cheap”. Taylor Swift didn’t even make it, with the ABC instead deciding to spend a heap of time a) raking in free publicity by not announcing she’d been banned until the broadcast started and b) making a cringeworthy Buzzfeed “parody” post on why she didn’t. Much wince.
8. KFC doubles down on disgusting. So this is now a thing:
— Kim Bhasin (@KimBhasin) January 26, 2015
It was spotted not too far from our shores and is a very limited offer, but it’s generating enough publicity that it wouldn’t be surprising to see it turn up here. And belive it or not, there’s even a health trend behind this horrible fast food freak.
9. The best beer in the world is brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium, and they’re not exactly thrilled at all the attention it gets. The monks at The Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren found fame when they topped RateBeer’s Best Brewer list in 2002. Almost overnight, the hard-to-find monastery went from serving 20 people a day to managing a huge line of cars and fistfights. Now they get around 85,000 calls an hour, but refuse to up production. BI’s Melissa Stanger found the brewery, and tasted their champion dark, quadrupel-style 12.
10. Drones. Once cool, they’re looking more and more like 2015’s favourite hate target. The biggest concerns are over privacy, but safety is an issue too – and CASA’s keeping watch. One Queensland pilot received a phone call and this notice from a CASA investigator who’d seen his drone videos on YouTube and, as a result, fined him $850 for multiple breaches. And CASA says it could have hit him with that amount for each breach, but chose to play nice instead.
BONUS ITEM: Schoolboy sprint sensation Jack Hale ran against the men in his first open age 100m. It looked like a good warm-up for the Tassie 16-year-old’s first big stage even next week in the Hunter Track Classic.
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