10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Fanfare for the common batsman. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Good morning. Just 3 weeks to Christmas.

1. It’s the start of a new month which means a huge week of domestic data releases ahead, starting this morning with CoreLogic weekly house prices. There’s also data from the ABS on company profits and inventory levels — key indicators ahead of Wednesday’s Q3 GDP report. And keep an eye out on Tuesday for the RBA’s interest rate announcement, along with retail sales data. Global markets will be focused on political developments in the US as well as ongoing Brexit negotiations, before the release of US employment figures on Friday. It’s all here in Sam Jacobs’ weekly diary.

2. The Presidential Twitter account launched a new barrage against former FBI Director James Comey. Trump accused Comey of lying about a conversation they had about Michael Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser in February because he didn’t disclose contacts with Russia. Last Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to investigators and pledged to cooperate.

3. Taxing times in the US. Australian politicians please take note – when you sit until 2am on Saturdays, you get things done. The US Senate passed a massive tax reform bill that would cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% in 2019. In all, the cuts total a little less than $US1.5 trillion in revenue over 10 years, which makes the Turnbull’s $50 billion company tax cut look like petty cash. It now has to pass the US House of Reps. Here’s everything in the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act .

4. Australia’s House of Reps returns to work after the PM gave everyone last week off. They’re expected to hand in their homework on whether they’re a dual national tomorrow, Barnaby Joyce got his old job back on Saturday after a resounding win in the New England by election, and marriage equality’s up for debate. There’s more good news for Malcolm Turnbull, with a Fairfax Poll finding 71% of voters wanting leaders to go full term, and Newspoll finding Turnbull increased his lead as preferred PM to 39% over Shorten’s 33%.

5. The deal of the year just landed. The long-rumour acquisition of US insurer Aetna by pharmacy giant CVS Health for $90 billion ($US69 bn) has just been announced in a merger that could reshape the American health care system, multiple sources told media outlets on Sunday.

6. Horizontal is the new vertical. Google’s proposed new London HQ has been dubbed a “landscraper”. It’s going to look like this:

Google’s new London digs. Source: Hayes Davidson.

It’s (330m) 1,082 feet long, which if you put the city’s tallest building, The Shard, on its side, would make it 68 ft longer. Since skyscrapers were designed as a solution to soaring land prices, sprawl is probably the new status symbol.

7. There was a “flash crash” on Bitfinex, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, last Wednesday that cut the prices of cryptocurrencies NEO, OMG, and ETP by as much as 90% in minutes. They recovered, but the price drop triggered the exchange to liquidate plenty of leveraged positions — the people who lost a shedload are pretty peeved and now want their money back. Probably to invest in Bitcoin, which is now about $12,000.

8. The Ashes. Day 3 of Adelaide’s pink ball test gets underway this afternoon with England at 1-29, just 413 behind after their cunning plan to put Australia in to bat paid off when the home side were forced to declare at 8-442. Shaun Marsh staggered to just 126 not out, Mitchell Starc steamed in at 150.5kmh and wasted one of England’s DRS calls with this delivery:

And we know everyone has a favourite Stuart Broad moment, but this one is ours:

9. Did you get the washing done? Most importantly, the bed sheets? First thing we did after reading this advice from a microbiologist on how often you should wash your sheets is strip the bed. Fun fact of the day: we produce roughly 83 litres of sweat in bed annually. But we may sleep standing up from now on after discovering pillows between 1.5 and 20 years old can contain between four and 17 different species of fungus.

10. “Kwaussie” is Australia’s word of the year. Apparently it was first used to describe Russell Crowe 15 years ago, and more recently, Barnaby Joyce. And if you’re saying wha…? Never heard of it, you’re not alone.

Have a great week.

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