10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Ugh. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The Chosun Ilbo is reporting South Korea’s Defense Ministry is “drafting a new plan to thwart a full-fledged North Korean military offensive and occupy Pyongyang within weeks“. Apparently, it won’t wait for the US either, and could utilise the so-called “decapitation force” to take out Kim Jong Un. US President Donald Trump released a statement saying: “All options are on the table.”

2. And here’s the spookiest way anyone can be woken up:


“Missile launch. Missile launch. North Korea appears to have fired a missile. Take refuge in a solid building or underground”

Guam citizens take note. North Korea is now claiming the missile it fired is the same one it would use if it decided to aim at the US territory.

3. The US dollar fell to its lowest level since January 2015 and the Aussie climbed to an overnight high of 0.7983. But it was generally a positive note on US markets overnight, while European stocks staged a late rally. SPI futures traders are hoping for better from the ASX200 this morning after it went into negative territory for 2017 yesterday. The ABS has building approvals for July at 11.30am AEST, and iron ore is slumping.

4. Aussie mum and dad investors love an interest-only loan nearly as much as banks do, despite the fact that interest rates are at barely-there levels. APRA, Australia’s banking regulator, doesn’t love interest-only loans, and in March announced tighter restrictions on Australian home loan lenders to curb the growing use of them. It’s working:

Source: JP Morgan

And data later this week looks like it will show a sharp slump in house price growth across Australia’s capital cities in the past three months.

5. Beyoncé and Jay Z aren’t scared of a bit of principal payment. Their mortgage sits at $US52.8 million with Goldman Sachs on their $US88 million Bel Air estate, even though they could probably have paid cash for it. Here’s why that might be a smart business decision.

6. Trump wasted no time getting to Texas, offering all the help that’s needed, and said “we’ll congratulate each other when we’re all finished“. That will take some time. As Hurricane Harvey prepares for a “second landfall”, forecasters are talking about how much more rain is to come in terms of feet, not inches. One reservoir in downtown Houston began spilling over for the first time since it was built to hold back a 1-in-500-year flood.

7. Texas televangelist Joel Osteen tweeted prayers for Harvey victims but when they knocked on the door of his 16,000 seat Lakewood megachurch, kept sending them elsewhere. On its Facebook page, Lakewood said it was “inaccessible due to severe flooding!” but Twitter users nearby weren’t convinced:

And Best Buy said sorry for trying to charge $US42 for a box of water.

8. Elon Musk has already dug a 50m test tunnel with his boring machine, and installed a “skate” which will rocket cars under cities at speeds up to 210km/h. It’s so far, so good that the local city council has given him the green light to extend the tunnel by 3.2km.

9. Here are all the selfies British bartender Oliver Regis took after paying $2500 for a crappy seat at the Mayweather-McGregor fight, and deciding to pose as a security guard so he could sit ringside with celebs instead:

A post shared by Oliver Regis (@ojentertainment) on

JLo. Thor. Mike Tyson. UFC president Dana White. Legend.

10. Fitbit just unveiled its answer to the Apple Watch. It’s called the Fitbit Ionic and it costs… a lot. But you also get a lot – here’s our first look.

BONUS ITEM: Ousmane Dembélé cost FC Barcelona a club record €105 million:

Have a great day, non-Barcelona FC fans.

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