10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty ImagesMeghan Markle and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Good morning.

1. Could this be the start of a trade war? US President Donald Trump announced the US will impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium. The move is a concrete step toward the more protectionist trade policies Trump has promised. The decision will most likely prompt retaliation from other countries, including China. It is still unclear if Australian companies might secure an exemption from any tariff.

2. Stocks sold off after the US tax announcement, with the major indexes falling as much as 2%. Domestic metal producers soared on the news with US steel rising more than 9%. The Dow clawed back some gains later in the session, but it’s looking like an ugly day ahead for the ASX.

3. We need to talk about Michaelia Cash. This week Australia’s Employment Minister threatened to name “every young woman” in Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s office “over which rumours in this place abound”. The comments were made during a testy exchange with Labor’s Doug Cameron during the Senate Estimates. While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defended Cash saying she was “bullied and provoked”, her critics noted how she was formerly the Minister for Women. It’s all a bit much considering former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce only just resigned after his private matters were made public fodder. Cash now seemingly doesn’t want to talk about it and literally put a barrier between her and the media after the incident. Yes, an actual barrier:

4. “I would steer very clear of bonds”: Paul Tudor Jones has doubled down on his warnings of impending doom in the bond market. Jones predicts the 10-year could reach 3.75% this year. It recently hit a four-year high of 2.95%. It comes just weeks after he voiced similar fears in a letter to investors of his $US7 billion hedge fund.

5. Spotify filed Wednesday in advance of becoming a public company. Despite dominating the subscription music market, the company generates relatively little money per user, has to give away nearly all the money it generates to the big recording companies, and continues to rack up losses. In short, Spotify just proved that the streaming music business is a bit like a black hole – and investors might not see it until it’s too late.

6. Yikes. Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to confirm the existence of a long-feared Russian doomsday device. During his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted about the country’s nuclear might, alluding to a torpedo that has been reported to carry a nuclear warhead. Radiation from the weapon could render large swaths of Earth uninhabitable for years. Here’s more on what you need to know about the doomsday device.

7. The NBA just witnessed a move that will be talked about for years. James Harden proved once again why he’s one of the most dangerous players in the NBA during the Rockets game against the Clippers on Wednesday night. At the end of the first quarter Harden hit Wesley Johnson with a crossover so nasty it sent the Los Angeles Clippers defender to the floor. Harden took a beat to stare down Johnson as he sat on the ground, defeated and then pulled up calmly for his shot, and predictably, drilled it. Even after the game, Harden couldn’t stop himself from laughing when asked about the play.

Fans on social media have had a field day.

8. Samsung takes the crown back from Apple as a new report claims the new Galaxy S9 display is better than the iPhone X. DisplayMate reviewed the phone’s display, declaring it’s the best display they have ever tested – and not just in smartphones. Samsung launched the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ flagship smartphones at Mobile World Congress on Sunday.

9. Facebook banned a user from posting a photo of a 30,000-year-old statue of a naked woman. The prehistoric figurine is considered one of the world’s earliest depictions of female fertility. The photo was banned because it violated the company’s nudity policies. Facebook claims this was all a misunderstanding and has apologised for the error.

10. Meghan Markle vs Kate Middleton. A body language expert analysed the relationship between future royal sisters-in-laws and found that there was “team member” respect for one another but no “overt displays of sisterly friendship”. It’s still early days – we’ll have to wait to see how Markle finds her place in the royal family following her May wedding to Harry.

BONUS ITEM: Think Sydney property is crazy? Check out this tiny London flat that used to be a broom cupboard. The 11.6 square metre apartment costs $400,000. That’s more than $34,000 per square metre.

Have a great weekend.

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