Good morning! It’s Thursday already. Let’s get going.
1. Phil Hughes remains in a critical condition this morning. He’s still in an induced coma, being treated by doctors at St. Vincent’s Hospital’s intensive care unit, with his family by his side. Cricket Australia has called off the remaining Sheffield Shield matches in Brisbane and Melbourne, saying “it’s just not the day to be playing cricket”. Hughes’ 26th birthday is on Sunday. People from all walks of life have rallied behind the popular batsman, sharing messages, encouragement and support.
2. It’s champagne time in the RBA Boardroom . The Aussie dollar dropped below 85c last night, hitting 84.77, so all that jawboning has paid off. The NAB downgraded its forecast to 80 cents, BoAML thinks 78 cents a good bet, and Credit Suisse says the RBA is going to cut rates to 1.50% and the Aussie will be crushed, so sellers are lining up. Glenn Stevens will be hoping the animal spirits dance now.
3. On Asian markets yesterday China ripped higher on hopes that the stimulus will add to growth in 2015. Shanghai 3000 looks a real chance as each new high begets more buying. In Tokyo the Nikkei fought back after an ugly start but dipped to close down 0.14% at 17,384, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng enjoyed a huge rally into the close to end up 1.12% at 24,112. Shanghai was up for the second day in a row after lunch, finishing 1.42% higher at 2,604.
4. Tony Abbott’s having a spring clean. With Summer days away and the treasurer Joe Hockey’s MYEFO statement looming, the PM says he’s knocking “one or two barnacles off the ship” and looking at cutting the budget deadwood and despite it being a cornerstone, the $7 GP co-payment is set to be scrapped and even the Coalition’s election signature piece, $5.5 billion paid parental leave scheme, is under consideration. The realpolitik of Abbott’s biggest barnacle, the Senate, seems to be hitting home. And one or two ministers are looking a bit crusty too, so can a major scrub of the Ministry hull be far off?
5. Watch out Apple, Android is coming for you. . Yes, Android is playing catch up, but the gap is closing rapidly, with just US$9 separating the rivals in average order value, while Android is rising faster than competitors as a driver of mobile revenue, including ad revenue.
6. One of the world’s biggest cruise ships Voyager of the Seas, sails into Sydney next week after a major refit. Cruising in Australia is going gangbusters, generating $1.7 billion in economic activity and Sydney takes a $1 billion slice of that action. Australia was the worldwide leader for industry market growth and penetration, but in the meantime, check out the cool new additions to Voyager of the Seas, including a surf wave on the top deck.
7. Bogus bling. . What’s the word for a watch nerd? There’s an Instagram account, @fakewatchbusta, which calls out rappers wearing fake watches. You’d think that amid the misogyny, drugs and other stuff, that’s the least of rap’s problems, but hey, they got Al Capone for tax evasion.
8. Don’t tell Jetstar or they’ll make us do it too, but after a plane got stuck at a Siberian airport, the passengers jumped out in -52°C snow and ice, put their hands on the wing and pushed the plane back several metres to the taxiway and then they took off. Yay team!
9. The Black Death lives! . Madagascar is currently experiencing an outbreak of bubonic plague. The first case was reported in August. As of November 19, there have been 119 cases and 40 deaths – and 500 in the last five years. Apparently it’s all over the place, even the US, and still kills thousands every year, making ebola look like a try hard.
10. If you think only your dog understands you, you’re probably right. . A study by UK scientists found that puppies understand what we say, how we say it and who is saying it. It’s just that like most kids, they then chose to ignore what their parents are saying.
BONUS ITEM Like most workplaces, we can’t help sharing YouTube videos that tickle our fancy with colleagues. Guess what happens when you combine Taylor Swift with the 1989 Aerobics championships? Solid gold. And thanks Sarah.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @simonthomsen
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