Good morning, and welcome to Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The government is set to give Qantas an interim debt guarantee as it prepares to remove the foreign ownership restrictions on the airline. (The share price will be worth watching at the open.) The assistance will inevitably be seen by many as Australian taxpayers effectively acting as guarantors for the airline while it gears up to be sold off to overseas investors. Everything now hangs on the company’s results announcement tomorrow morning.
- Less than two weeks after Tony Abbott took a tour of the bush with Barnaby Joyce to see the effects of the drought, the federal government is set to announce a relief package for farmerstotalling around $250 million today. It will increase access to interest-only loans and provide mental health support.
- Former Olympian Grant Hackett is going into rehab in the US to be treated for addiction to Stilnox.
- Almost 2000 Australians have admitted to voting more than once in last September’s federal election. It follows an investigation into 19,000 cases of multiple voting by the beleaguered AEC. One guy voted 15 times. You have to admire his enthusiasm.
- A Pew Research study has looked at how satisfied people around the world are with the direction of their country. Australia ranks extremely highly, with 49% of us thinking the country is going in the right direction. This compares with 31% for the US, which placed around the middle of the table.
- Staying with global comparisons, and The Economist’s Daily Chart looks at cocaine use around the world. Australia joins the UK, Italy, France and Spain as among the countries with the highest usage levels.
- Telstra is starting to expand the footprint of its 4G network and preparing for the availability of new spectrum that becomes available next year which will allow download speeds of 300 Mbps, twice as fast as its 4G now. Five devices which will be able to tap into the new speeds are also being launched.
- News Corp Australia reports people in rural Australia have been having trouble with their interim NBN satellite service, which hit capacity over the Christmas period. It means thousands of people in the bush have been unable to get a basic connection, which has led to kids not being able to do homework and farmers lacking weather information.
- Yesterday we reported on how the identity of the man behind the brilliant Goldman Sachs Elevator had been revealed. He’s John Lefevre, a bond trader, but he has never worked at Goldman Sachs. Today, here’s a picture.
- Israeli Prime Minister puts finger in front of German Chancellor’s nose. Unimaginably awkward photo ensues.
Bonus item: Taco Bell is going to start selling a burrito wrapped in a quesadilla based on a successful test in Oklahoma City. The company president has described it as a “killer product”. He’s got that right. Now what’s the best way to get to Oklahoma City?
Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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