10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty ImagesAustralian captain Steven Smith during the third Test between South Africa and Australia on March 25, 2018 in Cape Town.

Good morning.

1. A national shame. Steve Smith’s involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa has left the nation reeling in shock, drawing condemnation from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and it seems everyone else. Smith and David Warner agreed to step out of their leadership roles, and Smith has been suspended from the fourth Test in Johannesburg after the ICC fined him 100% of his match fee. He will have four demerit points on his record. Meanwhile, he was booed off the field at Newlands after he was dismissed by Morne Morkel.

2. Cricket legends from around the world have come out swinging against the team. Former Test keeper Adam Gilchrist said Australian cricket had become the “laughing stock of the world”. And here’s former English Test cricketer Graeme Swann:

They’ve set themselves as this higher than high, this pious team who look down at everyone and set the benchmark for what is right and what is wrong in cricket, when everyone who’s played against them knows that’s an absolute joke.

The hypocrisy theme is strong in the commentary on the Aussies. Take this, from November 2016, where Warner spoke about how appalled he’d be if an Australian was caught ball-tampering after South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was found guilty by the ICC of the same offence:

Ugh.

3. To markets, and Aussie stocks are also in danger of getting roughed up at the open this morning.

Ongoing concerns about a potential trade war erupting between China and the US are weighing on stocks and commodity prices, and help to explain the Aussie’s recent underperformance. The Australian dollar opened the new trading week just above the 77 cent level.

4. That’s all folks. No headline markets events are scheduled for the week, with local data led by February updates for private sector credit growth (RBA, 11:30am AEDT) and job vacancy figures (ABS, 11:30am AEDT). Both will be released on Thursday and are unlikely to be market-movers. On the other side of the Easter holiday, key events will be led by the RBA’s monthly interest rate announcement on Tuesday April 3, followed by March retail sales data on Wednesday.

5. Is it too late now to say sorry? Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken out a full-page newspaper ad to apologise for the data breach scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. “We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it,” says the ad, which ran in papers including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. See it here:

6. To old London Town. Qantas launched its first non-stop route from Australia to the UK over the weekend. The Aussie airline is using a fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for its nonstop service from Perth, Western Australia, to London. It’s the first new aircraft type introduced to the Qantas fleet in a decade, and will allow the airline to offer a range of destinations it hasn’t previously been able to travel before. We tested it out between Everett, Washington and Honolulu, Hawaii as it made its way from the factory to Australia. Here’s what we thought.

7. Company taxes. Turnbull has spent the weekend in negotiations with key crossbenchers as part of a last-ditch effort to swing Parliament behind a cut to company taxes. The government is two votes short of securing a victory in the Senate.

8. Another one bites the dust. Chrissy Teigen, a model and host of “Lip Sync Battle”, has quit Snapchat. It comes after one of the brand’s biggest influencers, Kylie Jenner, also stopped using the social media platform in February. Teigen says it’s because of the app redesign, and a controversial ad on Snapchat that made light of the assault on Rihanna by Chris Brown. This is bad news for Evan Spiegel.

9. It’s not over yet. Residents in far north Queensland are bracing for more heavy rainfall today after ex-Tropical Cyclone Nora drenched the region over the weekend, with emergency services inundated with calls for help. Severe weather warnings for heavy rainfall are still in place for the north tropical coast, Tablelands and the Gulf country. Meanwhile, we hope you have a plan B for that Easter BBQ because showers and below average temperatures are expected for residents of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart over the weekend.

10. Well, that’s awkward. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne over the weekend. But the form guide wasn’t the only thing Vettel upset when he scored his third victory at Albert Park. His Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who came in third, gave Vettel an icy reception as he celebrated his win with a bottle of champagne. But the Finn was having none of it.

BONUS ITEM: It’s not often you get to see a full-size T-Rex on fire:

Have a great week.

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