1. For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse cut the US in half. We have some amazing pics here, but the win goes to NASA, which managed to set up for the moment the International Space Station passed in front of the sun:
Also amazing was the fact that, despite months of warnings, the US president still tried to watch the event without the naked eye, until an aide shouted at him. Other celebrities risking their eyesight included footballer Odell Beckham Jr. and Elon Musk:
Watching eclipse with sunglasses on through the Model S glass roof. Wow!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 21, 2017
2. The Big Australian is back in the black, with a full year profit of $US5.9 billion. But that was still below expectations. And with iron ore on a three-day stampede, it should get things off to a solid start on the ASX200 today. There wasn’t a lot of action on US markets overnight, and the Aussie dollar ticked higher against the USD, but lost ground against most major currencies. Also, FYI, here’s how stocks perform after a solar eclipse.
3. Bridgewater Associates founder and co-CIO Ray Dalio thinks that democracy is being threatened. That’s because, he says, we’re at a critical point when “divided people are more inclined to fight than work to resolve their differences“. JPMorgan is even donating $US1 million to “confront hate, intolerance and discrimination“. And Lloyd Blankfein used the eclipse to segue into the chorus online, but his tweet got mangled:
Wish the moon wasn't the only thing casting a shadow across the country. We got through one, we'll get through the other. #SolarEclipse2017
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) August 21, 2017
4. What’s Steve Bannon going to do now that he’s out of the White House? Set up a righter-wing version of Fox, for starters. And go after Donald’s Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to Vanity Fair. The pair have bristled at the sight of each other since day one of the presidency, and Vanity Fair reckons Bannon is pushing former chief of staff Rince Priebus to testify that Kushner was behind the dismissal of former FBI director James Comey in May.
5. The right-wing site Bannon helped found, Breitbart News, recently ran a photo of soccer star Lukas Podolski on a jet ski on a story about a gang ferrying immigrants in Morocco to Spain via jet skis. Now, the story carries this apology for the ages:
There is no evidence Mr. Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked. We wish Mr. Podolski well in his recently announced international retirement.
Here’s a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research which shows how welcoming refugees brings unexpected economic benefits.
6. Labor leader Bill Shorten is fending off the “nut jobs” and birthers. He said he won’t produce evidence to show he renounced his UK citizenship in 2006, because, as Obama conspiracy theorists had shown, “some people are never going to be satisfied”.
7. Beric lit up his flaming sword in last night’s episode of Game of Thrones. But unlike last time, he didn’t seem to cut his hand to get it blazing, so what’s it all about? Gendry isn’t impressed with the “trick”. Meanwhile, Tormund and The Hound are falling in bro-love, and it’s a rare moment of entertainment in an uneven, inconsistent and corny series with more holes in it than an unpopular Night’s Watch commander, like this:
George R.R. Martin – help.
8. Spanish police shot dead the main suspect in the Barcelona attack, who they believe drove the deadly van into crowds last week. Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, appeared to be wearing an explosive belt when he was killed. Police say they are also zeroing in on the imam suspected of radicalising the suspects. Meanwhile, more than $85,500 has been raised for the Cadman family after their seven-year-old son died in the attack.
9. North Korea says Australia joining the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise staged regularly by US and South Korean military forces is “a suicidal act of inviting disaster”. South Korean officials have said this year’s exercises, now under way, will include “a nuclear war game for the first time”.
10. “The moon blew up with no warning and with no apparent reason.” That’s the opening line in Neal Stephenson’s 2015 novel Seveneves, and it’s kind of an interesting thing to think about, if you’re looking. Some physicists have, and here’s what they think would happen.
BONUS ITEM: Here’s another thing you’d shouldn’t be looking at right now – your phone:
That’s a sinkhole opening up in China. The full video, including the bystander’s casual DGAF, is here.
Have a great day.
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