1. There’s now a “substantial chance” that Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un won’t happen. On Tuesday, the US President said: “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later.” It seems Trump may be getting cold feet about the summit with Kim because his administration is not confident that North Korea will actually agree to full denuclearisation.
2. Mark Zuckerberg just testified before the European Parliament following months of scandals that have beset the social network – from the spread of fake news to Cambridge Analytica harvesting up to 87 million users’ data. But European lawmakers were left frustrated when the Facebook CEO used the flawed format of the hearing to dodge questions and frame his response carefully. Some have since said it was a “missed opportunity for proper scrutiny”. Read the full text of Zuckerberg’s big “sorry” speech to Europe here.
3. China is making it clear it has a big problem with Australia, publicly accusing the Australian government of being responsible for a deterioration in relations between the two countries. Beijing says diplomatic relations had “faced difficulties” which had “dampened our exchanges and cooperation”. As a result, Chinese state media suggests Beijing could cut imports of wine and beef up to a value of $US10 billion.
4. A Chinese-Australian billionaire funded UN bribes investigated by the FBI. Political donor Chau Chak Wing allegedly funded a $US200,000 bribe to a former president of the UN General Assembly, according to Andrew Hastie, the chair of Australia’s intelligence and security committee. Hastie said he “confirmed” the identity of the alleged co-conspirator from US authorities. Business Insider’s Tara Francis-Chan has more.
5. There’s a smattering of local economic data scheduled today, starting with the release of Q1 construction work at 11.30am AEST, providing a snapshot of residential, non-residential and engineering construction activity in the three months to March. While not traditionally a market-mover, parts of the report will feed into next month’s Australian Q1 GDP release. And this evening, RBA governor Philip Lowe will also deliver a speech on “Australia’s Deepening Economic Relationship with China: Opportunities and Risks” at the Australia-China Relations Institute in Sydney from 6.05pm AEST. More on those releases here.
6. Sydney and Melbourne property prices will continue to fall, according to the CBA, Australia’s biggest home loan lender. The bank is forecasting further price declines over the next 18 months as auction clearance rates hit the lowest level in years, and home loan lending slows.
7. Bitcoin may be down 40% this year but that doesn’t mean developers with expertise in the technology powering the crypto aren’t making money hand-over-fist. A Wall Street Journal report found that companies are willing to pay a lot to lure crypto talent. Some are even offering new hires $US1 million dollar signing bonuses, according to Dave Schwartz, the chief cryptographer at Ripple, who told The Journal pay packages “have gotten insane”.
8. Google is investigating autocomplete predictions that identify victims in sexual assault cases. The flaw in the company’s autocomplete and related search features means typing a defendant’s name, plus some common search terms, into Google’s search bar also showed the accuser’s name on autocomplete or related search. Read more here about how Google is co-operating with courts to stop it.
9. Covfefe. Trump’s staff ghostwrites some of his tweets and intentionally insert grammatical errors, seeking to mimic his characteristic style, according to the Boston Globe. Some staffers reportedly even enjoy the criticism the White House receives over @realDonaldTrump’s unconventional language and syntax. In fact, the President’s aides have become so adept at replicating Trump’s Twitter language that algorithms are having difficulty differentiating between authentic and staff-written messages.
10. Ben Simmons has earned himself a unanimous selection to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. The Australian point guard received a perfect 100 First Team votes — a feat also accomplished by Utah Jazz starlet, Donovan Mitchell — with the pair being the only two undisputed selections to the group. It comes as the announcement of the Rookie of the Year award edges closer.
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