10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Hulk smashed. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. To the local markets, where there was a lot of head-scratching over yesterday’s performance which went against the grain of Asian trade and the lead from futures on Saturday. So what happens today? Can the local market buck the offshore trend or does the ASX 200 play catch up and drop heavily? Greg McKenna sees futures traders having a bet each way. They’ve knocked just 43 points off the September futures – but that’s still higher than Saturday morning’s SPI 200 close.

2. In Asia, it’s all about Shanghai. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index was crushed yesterday, falling 8.48%, or 345 points. Here’s what one of the largest single-day declines on record looks like:

From Thursday’s close, the index has now lost close to 10%. Energy, industrials, materials, healthcare, technology and telecommunications – you name the sector, it got hammered by more than 8%. Good luck picking what could happen today.

3. Killer robots aren’t coming. They’re here. And Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak and a whole bunch of tech and science celebrity geniuses are now starting to get scared. They just signed and delivered an open letter urging the United Nations to support a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Here’s part of their argument:

If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.

You can read the rest of it here.

4. Earth 2.0. There’s no new details this week about NASA’s historic discovery last week of Kepler-452b, a planet 60 per cent bigger than Earth which is capable of supporting life as we know it. But they have released this animation of what it might look like:

Image: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle.

5. Putin fired more than 100,000 people. Russia’s economy has been knocked about by tumbling oil prices and Western sanctions in the past year, so its president is slashing and burning, starting from the top. It’s emerged that two weeks ago, Putin signed a decree to reduce the number of full-timers in his Interior Ministry by about 10% – and it has more than a million staff.

6. Earlier this month, Westpac hired someone from Disney to its executive board. Not to be outdone, ANZ announced last night that it has hired an exec from Macca’s to be head of retail distribution. Interesting times.

7. When the CEO of Airbnb visits Australia, here’s where he stays:

Image: Great Ocean Road Real Estate Holidays.

The iconic Great Ocean Road Pole House isn’t exactly the mouldy couch in the bedsit Brian Chesky’s business built itself on. Actually, it’s not even listed on Airbnb. And Chesky is afraid of heights – something someone forgot to tell the unfortunate employee who booked it for him.

8. Donald Trump, unsurprisingly, has his own private plane in which to hit the skies as he drums up support for becoming the next US president. Best bit – he calls it “Trump Force One”. And we’ve got an inside tour, where even the seatbelt buckles are gold-plated.

9. You can be thrown in jail for life in Australia if you’re caught leaving the country to fight for ISIS. You might already know that. But you can also cop the same penalty for leaving to fight against ISIS. This Melbourne man learnt that one today.

10. Hulk Hogan is in a world of trouble over a racist rant he went on eight years ago. He’s apologised, but the legendary wrestler’s “all-American hero” image won’t survive the hit. Still, his daughter Brooke did her best to save him by writing this poem on Facebook about him.

BONUS ITEM: The most nausea-inducing landing of a plane you’ll see today. Royal Dutch praised its pilots and told CNBC “safety had not been compromised”.

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