10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Happy Monday!

1. Donald Trump announced in a press conference the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi following a raid by US forces in Syria. In a particularly Trumpian presser, the president offered a graphic account of the events, saying al-Baghdadi ignited a suicide vest causing an explosion, which also killed three children. “He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place. God bless America,” Trump said. Also, inexplicably, the president went on to claim that he actually called for the assassination of Osama bin Laden all the way back in 2000, which by all accounts he did not.

2. The peak body for Australian airports has accused the “cosy duopoly” of Qantas and Virgin of over-inflating airfares on flights between Sydney and Melbourne. The Australian Airports Association’s analysis shows average cheapest return airfare between Sydney and Melbourne has increased from $79 in December 2010 to $164 this month – an increase of 73% considering inflation. Sydney to Melbourne is the world’s second-busiest air route, and among the most lucrative.

3. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is the first foldable phone coming to Australia, and it’ll set you back a cool $2,999. The phone has had a long and storied journey to market, after journos noticed review units experiencing a number of issues around its trademark foldable screen. According to the company, those problems have been ironed out, and its ready for primetime – assuming, of course, you actually want a phone that folds. It’s landing on October 30.

4. Over the weekend, Donald Trump turned his sights on something extraordinarily important: the removal of the iPhone’s home button. Despite the fact the iPhone lost the button with the iPhone X in 2017, Trump is only just wrapping his head around the significance of that design decision. Maybe he just updated his contract.

5. Ubisoft, one of the world’s biggest video game companies, has dramatically slashed its earnings forecast after delaying the release of 3 major titles. The French company cut its operating profits forecast by more than a third, blaming it on lower than expected sales for “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” and “The Division 2.” The company has delayed three titles into the next financial year: “Gods & Monsters,” “Rainbow Six Quarantine,” and “Watch Dogs: Legion”. Predictably, stock has plunged on the announcement.

6. Boris Johnson intends to hold a snap election in the UK before Christmas, but many people – including people in his own party – think it could backfire on him. There’s a growing sentiment that positive early polls could sour quickly, with anti-Brexit voters turning on the prime minister and possibly installing Jeremy Corbyn in the top job.

7. Facebook’s News tab is already copping heat for some of its editorial decisions, after including the far-right US site Breitbart News in its ‘high quality’ section. The site has often faced criticism for platforming anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric. In response, Mark Zuckerberg says the News platform needs to support a “diversity” of views in order to be considered a trusted source. Translation: “We are very, very afraid of conservative lawmakers putting the boot into Facebook.”

8. Our writer over in the US has been using the new Google Pixel 4 for a week now, and has some thoughts. The phone’s camera, slick software, and the lightning speed of its face unlock are clear winners, but the battery life isn’t quite where it needs to be. Overall, it feels like an experiment into a future where “smartphones are much more intelligent and proactive on our behalf.”

9. If you’re hungering for a cosmic-scale existential crisis this morning, do I have the news for you: scientists have determined the universe is expanding much faster than previously thought. One astrophysicist says the revelation has caused a “crisis in cosmology” as theoretical models no longer line up with the reality of the data. It could mean we need a “new physics” to understand the universe. Lucky for those of us who never understood the old physics anyway.

10. While we’re talking space, here’s some more: NASA is sending a rover to the moon’s south pole to sample water ice. Mapping the moon’s water ice is crucial if the space agency intends to set up a lunar base for possible missions to Mars. If successful, the machine will be the first ever to land on the moon’s south pole without crashing.

BONUS ITEM

In proof that some people have far too much walking around money, Kurt Cobain’s unwashed cardigan from his MTV Unplugged performance sold at auction for A$489,000. Fantastic stuff.

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