10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

‘Murica: Making Water Great Again. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. It’s on. The US President has gone easy on his former chief strategist Steve Bannon since Bannon left the White House back in August. But now Guardian columnist Michael Wolff has a book out, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, and Bannon has been squawking. Among the allegations he’s made:

Trump responded with a withering statement. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said. “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”

2. The White House has also denied another claim in Wolff’s book that Trump’s wife Melania “cried in despair once it became clear he would win”. But the highlight of the book so far is an anecdote about how Rupert Murdoch reportedly called Trump a ‘f…ing idiot’ after trying to explain to him how Silicon Valley worked.

3. To markets, and the Australian dollar continues to rally despite a rebound in the greenback. Iron ore is having a strong start to the year. And Ripple had a strong night, shooting up 18% to take its rise for the week up to 134%. Cautious investors meanwhile should take note of Bank of America’s prediction that US stocks could surge 19% this year – because investors are the right kind of cautious.

4. Here are some thoughts to ponder in these days of #MeToo and modernity:

Toby Young tweetTwitter/@toadmeister
Tong Young tweet 5Twitter/@toadmeister
Toby Young tweet 7Twitter/@toadmeister


Who’s Toby Young? He’s Theresa May’s new appointment to the board of the newly-established Office for Students. He also once described a gay celebrity as looking “queer as a coot” and said wheelchair ramps being installed in British schools were a symptom of “ghastly inclusivity”. Boris Johnson thinks he’s hilarious.

5. The biggest story yesterday was Silicon Valley’s new obsession with paying $4 a litre for “raw water” – basically, water simply scooped out of a river somewhere. The coverage everywhere came with real science warnings about why humans started treating water in the first place; namely, because even Bear Grylls says stream water can kill you. Result? “Raw water” sold out everywhere, and the price has doubled overnight.

6. And a gym chain launched a naked workout class in New York. That sounds…awkward, especially if you’re anywhere but the front row. But apparently there are benefits in training in nothing but God’s Furry Suit.

7. “Almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water,” food poisoning expert Bill Marler told us. It’s top of his list of eight things he refuses to eat. And food poisoning also gets a moment in Wolffe’s book. Apparently Trump eats so much McDonald’s purely on the basis that he has a “longtime fear” of being poisoned and considers Macca’s kitchens to be the cleanest.

8. We all hate budget airlines. But not as much as this guy hates Ryanair:

He couldn’t wait 30 minutes on the tarmac in Spain, and preferred to get arrested.

9. “The US President lost the nuclear codes” would be quite a headline right now. But back in 2000, it didn’t register, because no one knew. Here’s the alarming story of how only a “comedy of errors” kept anyone from finding out that for months, Bill Clinton had no idea where the codes to launch a nuclear attack were. And that claim by Trump that he has a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jong Un? Bollocks.

10. Meanwhile, North Korea is reopening a vital communication hotline with South Korea. And Kim Jong Un’s attire for his New Year’s Day address suggests he’s more open to change than we probably thought. At least someone’s trying.

BONUS ITEM: Sorry, guy. That answer is too white:

Have a great day.

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