10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Now, that’s how you put out a fire. Screenshot/Twitter

Good morning.

1. It’s Black Friday! While the mega-sale event originated in the US following Thanksgiving, Australian retailers have jumped on the bandwagon and today released a bunch of deals. It’s the first year Amazon will participate locally. Check them out here. Other retailers went early this year, releasing their specials during the week. David Jones, for example, has deals on Dyson products. While Microsoft has specials on the Surface Pro line and more. See other tech and other categories with sales here.

2. The Australian dollar did very little on Thursday, trading in a thin range against the greenback. The GBP and EUR were boosted by an in principle agreement between the UK and EU for an “ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership” in the post-Brexit era. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was down 0.17% to 0.7249.

AUD/USD Hourly Chart Investing.com

3. Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest is throwing $20 million behind the CSIRO’s solution to one of the biggest problems holding back hydrogen-powered cars. The science and research organisation has developed membrane technology that makes it easy to transport as ammonia and convert. It comes as major car companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Mercedes and BMW are betting on the potential of hydrogen fuel cells as a future sustainable energy alternative to oil.

4. The ANZ Bank has abandoned its call for RBA rate hikes next year as the property downturn becomes longer and larger. It sees prices in Sydney and Melbourne falling 15% to 20% peak-to-trough, and expects property prices will stabilise by early 2020, allowing the RBA to begin normalising policy settings by August 2020. More here.

5. The UK and the European Union have agreed on an outline of their relationship after Brexit. The 26-page text, seen by Business Insider, states the shared aim of UK and the EU to negotiate on “an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership” once the UK has left the EU. British PM Theresa May is holding a Cabinet conference call Thursday morning to discuss the political declaration with ministers.

6. US President Donald Trump has doubled down on his defence of the Saudi crown prince in the murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, disputing the CIA’s reported assessment that the royals had ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Not only that, when asked by reporters who should be held responsible for Khashoggi’s death, Trump said “maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”

7. Auto executive Carlos Ghosn has been ousted from his chairmanship at Japanese automaker Nissan following a lengthy board meeting. Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo on Monday and faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of financial misconduct.

8. American tourist John Allen Chau was killed by an isolated tribe on the remote North Sentinel Island last week. Members of the Sentinelese tribe shot him with arrows and buried him on the beach. But because the island is so remote, even police don’t go there, and now they are now having trouble recovering his body.

9. The head of Russia’s GRU spy agency has died from “serious illness” after Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly berated him for botching an assassination in the UK. GRU agents are accused of going to England in March to kill former GRU double agent Sergei Skripal with nerve poison.

10. A Chinese recycling company spent $104 million on a Michelangelo masterpiece — and is selling shares in it for $14 a piece. The company has previously focused on recycling bricks and concrete. Well, that’s one way to diversify your investment portfolio.

BONUS ITEM: A 737 air tanker has been used to help firefighter extinguish a blaze in the Hunter region yesterday. It’s the first time such a plane has been used in this way. Check it out:

Have a great day.

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