10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

This guy. Picture: Getty Images

1. Look kids, Santa Claus is here:

  • Dow: 17,881, +167.43 (+0.95%)
  • S&P 500: 2,100.68, +20.27 (+0.97%)
  • SPI200 Futures: 5,200, -2 (+0.08%)
  • AUDUSD: 0.7329 +0.0103 (+1.44%)

Stocks roared despite disappointing manufacturing data, causing NYSE floor governor to call it the first day of the Santa Claus rally. Even BHP was up locally yesterday, so expect a cheery day all round again today. According to Chris Weston, IG’s chief market strategist, we still need 150 points to break even for the year. Futures have the market opening just above flat.

2. Also here – Mark Zuckerberg. He’s just announced he’ll give away 99 per cent of his Facebook shares to charity during his lifetime. Currently, that’s worth $US45 billion. The CEO made the announcement in a letter to his newborn daughter, Max, and it went something like this:

Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.

Nice. Here’s what they hope to achieve with all that cash.

And here’s the kind of Likes you’ll never get when announcing your new baby:

3. The once universally loathed Aussie dollar is roaring back to near-October highs and causing the RBA to mop its forehead a little. There was talk of 60 cents just two months ago. But Greg McKenna reckons this has been one of the easiest trades of the year. It’s at 0.7333.

Picture: Nut Brother/Sina

4. Orange alert. Beijing suffered its worst air pollution of the year on Monday, and issued the rare health warning, closing schools as air pollution climbed to 35 times recommended levels. It also happened to be the day Chinses performance artist “Nut Brother” finished his project of dragging a vacuum cleaner pointed skyward through Beijing streets for 100 days, then collecting the dust and having it fired into a “smog brick”. Worse, it’s even putting pressure on the iron ore price.

5. First impressions. Everyone wants to be liked, if not loved, and when you’re facing a new workplace full of suspicious, curious strangers, you won’t surprise anyone if you’re not acting like your regular self. But there are still some things you should never say on your first day on the job. 14 things, to be precise, and workplace expert J.T. O’Donnell has them all here so you don’t say them again, including that one about bagging out your old boss.

6. Everyone hates ads, but they’re great for making other things free, like football on the telly, Escape to the Country and Business Insider. And they’re not all awful. In fact, here’s our choice of the best 10 from 2015 that are better than the products wrapped around them. (Except Business Insider.)

7. This guy tried to go to the toilet during a tornado:

Except not really. Yes, he sat on a toilet while a storm bore down on him, but hightailed it out of there and featured in this stunning series of pics by Benjamin Von Wong which send a message about climate change waiting for no one.

8. It was World AIDS Day yesterday. It’s been 34 years since it was first clinically observed in the US and times have changed enough so that there is still no cure, but an infection no longer means a death sentence. A good thing, too, because those 600 cases in the US have now become around 37 million living with the HIV globally. But here’s a stunning example of how unaware authorities in 1982 were of what was coming. It’s a transcript of the first time AIDS was mentioned in a White House press briefing in which senior politicians can’t stop laughing about who’s got “the gay plague”.

9. Who’s back? This guy is back:

John Rambo, green beret. A Vietnam vet who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and Medal of Honour, the unlikely poster boy for PTSD is coming to the small screen. Sly Stallone confirmed this morning that the drama series will focus on the relationship between Rambo and his son, an ex-Navy SEAL.

10. You might know a few good Uber drivers. The rating system is good for that. But it also rates you back, and here’s how to find out if you’re a good Uber passenger.

BONUS ITEM: Today’s wingsuit hero – Brandon Mikesell. These people get crazier, and thankfully, send back more incredible videos of themselves getting crazier, every day:

Have a great day.

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