10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

George Papadopolis, the good American version. Picture: ABC

Good morning.

1. We’re at the juicy end of the Russia-US election meddling investigation, and it claimed three victims overnight. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates turned themselves in to the FBI, and we learnt Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty earlier this month. Manafort was charged with “conspiracy against the United States”. But Trump haters can’t party yet. Manafort only worked for him barely three months before he was sacked, and the conspiracy charge has no connection to that work.


We’ll see. That argument probably won’t pan out the way Trump would like. Papadopoulos, on the other hand, is more closely tied with the emails side of things. We now know the Trump campaign had evidence of dirt on Clinton in the form of emails as early as April 2016, and Papadopoulos told Manafort in May 2016 that “Russia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time”. Manafort forwarded that email to another official and wrote:

“We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

2. But here’s another player – Tony Podesta, the head of Podesta Group, which helped Manafort lobby for the pro-Russia party of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. If Podesta is a familiar name to you, it’s probably because Tony’s brother John was Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman who caused her a lot of heartache, as it was his leaked emails about risotto recipes that the Trump campaign enjoyed jumping on most in 2016. We here at “right-wing” BI even got a shout out:

Picture: Wikileaks

So a business associate of the guy trying to leak emails on Clinton and hook Trump up with the Russians was the Clinton’s campaign chairman’s brother, working on a PR campaign for a pro-Russian former Ukrainian president.

3. While we’re in full conspiracy mode, two US Navy SEALs have been placed on leave and are under investigation after a Green Beret was murdered at a hotel in Mali on July 4. The SEALs were members of SEAL Team 6, the same unit that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. The Green Beret belonged to the same unit which recently lost four more soldiers in an ambush in Niger.

4. And in the UK, nearly 40 MPs in Theresa May’s Tory party have been accused of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment. 40. And it’s not just the guys. In the US, actor Kevin Spacey addressed an accusation of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old boy by apologising, then announcing to the world that he is gay. The attempted deflection failed:


Season 6 will be the final season of “House of Cards”.

5. On markets, iron ore has crashed to below $60 a ton for the first time since June, and the Aussie had a mixed night, gaining against a weaker US dollar but getting knocked down by the pound, euro and Japanese yen. Spanish equities led Euro stocks up after political developments on the weekend, and US stocks were down on the political developments overnight. Today in Australia, new home sales will be watched closely.

7. The price of Bitcoin exploded – again. It blew past the $8000 mark overnight, and is still hovering just shy of it this morning. Royal Yacht Brokers, an agency based in Monaco, now accepts BTC as a valid payment. It claims it will help attract “more wealthy clients”.

8. Some boring transport news from Elon Musk – a picture of his secret 170-metre long tunnel under LA:


It could stretch 3km within four months, Musk said. In exciting transport news, we have pics of Ferrari’s hypercar which is so hyper you’re not even allowed to drive it.

Nope. Picture: Ferrari

6. You’re not imagining it – the price of butter is exploding. Especially in Europe, where it’s up around 50% this year. Globally, the price-per-tonne has tripled since 2016. Things to blame include general resurgence as a “healthy, good fat food”, poor crops for dairy cows, low exports from New Zealand, and demand in China.

9. You might remember last week when the iPhone 8 Plus beat the Google Pixel 2 XL in a timed speed test, but both of them lost out to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8. If that really mattered to you, here’s the model from the fledgling smartphone maker that leaves all of them in the dust.

10. Fact of the Day. Only 97 of New York City’s 25,000 clubs and bars have a licence that allows their customers to dance on the premises.

BONUS ITEM: In-law relations hit a new low:

Have a great day.

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