10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Peter Dutton – who will he be today? Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. Politics. Will we have a new PM today?

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We’ll live blog it from here on, just in case, because Peter Dutton just told us he had called Malcolm Turnbull and “asked him to convene a meeting of the Liberal Party at which I would challenge for the leadership of the parliamentary Liberal Party”. The new PM, when Turnbull’s demise inevitably comes, might not be Peter Dutton though. In news overnight, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath formally resigned. And Dutton took a small hit, circulating a petition to call a meeting of the parliamentary Liberal party last night but it failed. Even the Russian Twitter trolls got involved. Whichever way it turns, the Liberal Party is a mess and here’s why changing leaders won’t solve any of its underlying problems.

2. Has the noose tightened? Anti-Trumpers, having been left hanging so many times before, are hoping his former lawyer Michael Cohen may be about to tell special counsel Robert Mueller all he knows about a conspiracy between the US President and Russia. Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to committing campaign finance violations and said he did so at the direction of Trump. Trump immediately told Fox News no, “they came from me”. Josh Barro has this excellent piece about why it’s no surprise Cohen joined the conga-line of criminals who are attracted to Trump.

3. Here’s how Republicans will reportedly now try to spin the convictions. For his part, Trump chimed in by advising nobody hires Michael Cohen as their lawyer. Jim Carrey drew a really good cartoon of “The Great Spewdini”:


And here’s a GoFundMe campaign to “help Cohen tell the truth” which has raised US$60,000 in less than a day.

4. It was a big day for US markets as the S&P500 hit its 3,453rd day without a major correction. That’s the longest bull market in history. But Trump uncertainty dragged down earnings, and Washington and Beijing are back at the negotiating table for the first time since June. The Aussie lost ground as Canberra fumbled through the day, but ASX futures traders have marked the local index higher after a strong night for global miners. Oil prices rallied to a two-week high.

5. Lightning is deadly. Well, it was for these 300 or so reindeer that were in the wrong place at the wrong time in Norway two years ago:

Some of the more than 300 wild reindeer that were killed by lightning in Hardangervidda in central Norway. Picture: Norway EPA

But it turns out lightning is also a life-giver. Because scientists only cut off all the reindeers’ heads (!) the carcasses that were left drew wolverines, golden eagles, foxes and crows. And while they feasted, they dropped seed-filled faeces, which looks like it has resulted in a surprising boom in plant diversity in the region.

6. This week’s Devils and Details podcast features Con Michalakis, the chief investment officer at Statewide Super, where he oversees $8 billion in assets. He talks about his strategies for managing money in volatile times, how political turmoil can affect both business investment and portfolio positioning, and his outlook for a range of different assets. He’s a bit of a rock connoisseur, too, so there’s some chat about playlists. It’s on iTunes here or you can search “Devils and Details” on your podcasting platform. Or listen in below.

7. Hollywood’s richest female earner in 2017-18 was Scarlett Johansson, who took home $US40.5 million. Meanwhile, George Clooney earned $US325 million and didn’t star in a single movie. Here’s how he did it.

8. Prince Charles has none of the obvious attributes going for him that George Clooney does, but he’s still worth up to $US400 million. As the eldest son, he inherited the Duchy of Cornwall, and it puts his personal access to a life of luxury on a whole other level compared to what his siblings can hope for. For starters, if you die in the Duchy of Cornwall and don’t leave a will, Charles gets your property. Fact.

9. Crypto hearts fluttered briefly as Bitcoin spiked $US300 in a minute yesterday, but it’s been widely attributed to a big trading platform going offline for maintenance. But here’s one way you can rack it up for free. Add the Lolli extension to your browser and buy stuff through Lolli’s online partners. The discounts they give you for doing that get paid back to your account in Bitcoin. Genius.

10. Here’s the future laid out for retailers 24 years ago:

A couple of things to note in Jeff Bezos’ first call for help building Amazon – “Your compensation will include meaningful equity ownership”, which could be worth billions today; and “you should be able to do so in about one-third the time that most competent people think possible”. Meanwhile, Target’s CEO just signalled the end of the retail apocalypse as the company just reported its strongest same-store sales numbers in the US in 13 years.

BONUS ITEM: Take a trip into a hurricane, where it’s… quiet:

Have a great day.

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