Good morning. Here’s the Tuesday headstart you were looking for.
1. Queenslanders will go to the polls, and soon. Premier Campbell Newman is back off his Christmas hols today and there’s speculation his first job will be to announce a January 31 election. Newman’s government holds a huge 73-9 majority, but incredibly, indications are Queenslanders will give Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk a solid chance at toppling him. Newman’s own seat is in danger, where he’s running against former Labor minister Kate Jones. Pauline Hanson will once again throw her hat in the ring and Clive Palmer’s PUP will no doubt grab some headlines once again. Newman is expected to make the announcement later this morning.
2. To the markets, where stocks in the US were clobbered overnight, with the Dow down 1.8%. Energy stocks led the fall after the Brent crude price fell through the $US50 a barrel landmark. Concerns about the future of the Eurozone have also switched investors to risk-off. It points to a potentially ugly day ahead for the resource-heavy ASX, with the March futures contract down 87 points to 5719 this morning. A stock of note was Apple, down around 3%. It’s now down more than 11% since the start of December.
3. Across Asia yesterday, it was a mixed bag: Shanghai was on a veritable tear, rising more than 3.5% to its highest close in more than five years. Coal companies ripped higher on plans for cutting national coal taxes, and property shares were up as well after Beijing lifted the cap on housing loans. The Nikkei was down 0.24% and the Hang Seng fell 0.6%.
4. The Australian dollar touched five-and-a-half year lows yesterday, falling below 0.8050 briefly, but it has rebounded a bit and this morning was sitting at 0.8090 after touching on 81c.
5. The woman claiming to be Prince Andrew’s “sex slave” says she met the Queen. Buckingham Palace was quick to deny the claim made by the father of erotic masseuse Virginia Roberts, who was born in the US but fled to the NSW coast more than 10 years ago and married an Australian. Roberts’s dad said she was “so excited about meeting the Queen” in 2001. He claims she was flown to London by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, for whom she worked as a teenager. Epstein was jailed for 18 months on a single charge of sex with a minor, but Roberts is part of a group of women suing the US Government, claiming they were shut out of a legal deal with Epstein. She claims Prince Andrew was a client who paid Epstein to use her as a sex slave.
6. Tech showcase extravaganza CES is on again in Las Vegas, and LG is stealing the show on several fronts. It’s revealed a new model of the popular G Flex phone, which is actually smaller than last year’s launch model. It still has the curved screen and, according to LG, has even better “self-healing” abilities that see scratches disappear quicker. The electronics giant’s new HD OLED TV, at 77-inches, transforms from curved to straight at the touch of a button. And a washing machine that does two separate loads is, according to BI’s Caroline Moss, “the most exciting thing to happen to laundry in years”. Here’s why:
7. Maybe your first look at Apple’s jumbo iPad.. Pics have been posted by a French blogger who’s pretty reliable and you can see volume buttons on the side and possible speaker holes near the power button. There’s reportedly going to be four speakers on the 12-plus inch device, which could be set for a late 2015 release. Excited? Everyone in the tablet biz hopes so, because it’s not been in great shape lately.
8. Tony Robbins just won’t go away. You might remember the uber-friendly life coach to the stars from those ads in the late 90s where he’s bouncing around the stage wearing a headset and telling everybody to empower themselves to richness. Or as the guy who hypnotised Jack Black into falling in love with a morbidly obese Gwyneth Paltrow. Regardless, he has a new book, “Money: Master the Game” and by all accounts, it’s good. Here’s three steps from it which Robbins says will put you on the path to the life you really want.
9. Mark Zuckerberg is reading a book a week as his 2015 New Year’s Resolution. More than 160,000 people are already following his quest on Facebook, which started this week with “The End of Power”, a book about how leadership and family has changed over the last century. And, boom – it’s already sold out on Amazon. Here’s Zuck’s A Year of Books page if you want to watch how he goes and join in the book club discussion.
10. Then Serena Williams got really weird. The 18-time Grand Slam tournament winner was 5-0 down in the first set against Italian Flavia Pennetta in her Hopman Cup tie in Perth yesterday. So she called the ball girl over and asked if she would mind bringing her… an espresso? “I am a coffee drinker,” she explained later. “I didn’t have mine this morning and I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me.” And yes, Williams won the match after dropping the first set 6-0. She also made sure it was legal first, and will no doubt be looking forward to Melbourne’s brown beans when chasing her sixth Australian Open title.
BONUS ITEM: When Ted Turner founded CNN 34 years ago, he thought it would last forever. “Barring satellite problems, we won’t be signing off until the world ends,” he said. And finally, here’s the proof he meant it – a video found on CNN’s Newsource archive system prepped for play only on the day the world ends, when no doubt the entire human race will be watching nothing else but CNN.
Thanks for reading. I’m on Twitter @FarkersFarkers.
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