10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

NRL got real. Picture: Getty Images

Good day.

First, the important stuff:

1. State of Origin! It’s back, tonight, and for the first times in many, many moons, NSW is defending the shield. It’s all about the injuries in Game 1, with the Maroons losing Dale Cherry-Evans and Billy Slater prepping for the Blues players to “test out” the shoulder injury which saw him miss the first four games of the NRL season. Justin Hodges cut his foot wearing flip-flops and even Greg Inglis had to be quarantined with tonsilitis. Let’s call it… Blues. By a comfortable dozen. (SportsBet says get on the Maroons.)

To the markets:

2. There might be some grumpy traders on the ASX today. It depends on whether the local market can defy the negativity and the futures lead overnight. Greg McKenna notes a beautiful ‘W’ bottoming pattern and a break back inside the old trading range, meaning a bunch of technical traders would have been dragged into long positions. It was only a marginal break on the physical and the overnight move has reversed, so if it ends up as a failed break, things could get ugly.

3. In Asia yesterday, the big news was the aggressive tone of the Chinese Military White Paper. It had a strong warning for the US, Japan and China’s neighbours and sets up a transition of the Chinese military complex from defence to the projection of Chinese military might outward. That didn’t trouble Shanghai though, which continues to bathe in the afterglow of the 1,000 projects announced Monday.

4. That afterglow has the Shanghai Composite Index headed for 5000. Year-to-date it has gained 51.8% and in the past year, that increases to 114.5%. Mindboggling:

David Scutt has more crazy numbers here.

5. The Aussie dollar got hammered overnight after the US dollar surged on the back of stronger than expected data and expectations the Fed will hike rates. It’s trading down near the 77 cent level this morning, for a fall of more than 5% from its highs earlier this month when the RBA dropped its explicit easing bias in the governor’s post-easing statement.

6. Feed your family for $50 a week. Aussie mum Jody Allen does – she had to, after getting laid off in 2011 while pregnant with her second child. She started by simplifying her grocery list:

Image: StayAtHomeMum.com

Then began sharing her household saving tips on her website, Stay at Home Mum. Now she’s so successful she’s got 40 employees – and still feeds her family on $50 a week.

7. Everyone loves cheap flights. Skypicker is a Czech flight-booking app that blew our minds when Business Insider discovered it on a visit to Prague last week. It finds hundreds of cheap – as in, 50-90% off – “hidden” flights that airlines don’t show to consumers. It’s all about using cheap connected flights to replace one single expensive flight and Jim Edwards has the rundown on how it all works here.

8. No one likes dodgy flights. Especially those ones where all the engines cut out in bad weather, like what happened on Singapore Airlines Flight 836 flying from Singapore to Shanghai on the weekend. It dropped from 39,000 feet to 26,000 feet before the crew could get it restarted. The plane is just two months old and operators haven’t figured out what went wrong yet.

9. Russian soldiers are being cremated on the battlefield? That’s the extraordinary claim being reported by Bloomberg this morning, although keep in mind it comes Ukraine’s security service chief. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko reckons Putin is trying to hide the vast number of casualties in eastern Ukraine, mainly because Russia denies it’s fighting there at all. So it’s allegedly using mobile crematoriums to burn “8-10 bodies per day”.

10. All your biggest questions answered. Instantly, by IBM’s supercomputer Watson, which has now “ingested” 2000 talks by TED experts and can rifle through them in a fraction of a second. Ask about the secret to happines and you’ll get a short grab from Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert and cues for more insights from other experts. It will be ready for testing in a couple of months and you can sign up to try it on watson.ted.com. And yes, you’ll get an answer to “What is the meaning of life?”

BONUS ITEM: The world has a new largest photo. It’s of Mount Blanc, it’s made of 70,000 pictures and it weighs in at an enourmous 365 gigapixels. Gizmodo has the GIF:

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