10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Cher, Gladys Berejiklian and his wife Lucy. Twitter

Good morning.

1. “This is not going to end well”: US President Donald Trump has become increasingly emotionally unstable in recent weeks, and his friends are worried he’s spiraling out of control. “The more pressure put on him and the more isolated he becomes, I think, his ability to do harm is going to increase,” one person said. His demeanour was reflected in freewheeling policy decisions and his behaviour this week.

2. Trade war. One of those decisions Trump made was changing the tariffs on steel and aluminium, and that he won’t be giving special treatment to any country. Key trading partners, including the European Union and Canada, have already condemned the move and threatened to retaliate with taxes on American products. The impact on Australia is likely to be limited for now — it’s the unpredictable escalation and our trade exposures in the process that yes, we should be absolutely worried about.

3. The Australian dollar remains under pressure following Trump’s trade war announcement. The AUD opened the new trading week mixed, rising modestly against the US dollar but losing ground against most of the major crosses. It was sitting at 0.7766 at 7.35am AEDT. NAB says the mixed performance reflects the view that heightened trade tensions will not benefit the commodity-linked Australian dollar over the longer-term, and that “a full-scale trade war is not good for global growth and risk sentiment”.

AUD/USD Hourly Chart

4. “Grey area”
. That’s what former Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has to say about the paternity of Vikki Campion’s baby. Joyce, who resigned as leader of the Nationals and deputy PM after his relationship with Campion, a former staffer, was revealed, says he isn’t certain he’s the father of Campion’s baby but he will raise the baby as “mine”.

5. It’s Oscars day! The 90th Academy Awards airs today at 12pm AEDT on Channel 9, but you can stream the ceremony on the 9Now streaming service with the red carpet show starting at 10.30am. Jimmy Kimmel will return as the ceremony’s host after a backstage envelope mix-up last year saw the top prize briefly being awarded to the wrong recipient. He jokes the incident put him in therapy, and was surprised the Awards wanted him back for a second year.


6. Millennials are disrupting another industry, this time with their eating habits. Millennials, the largest living generation, have a strong preference for convenience, and eat at restaurants more than any other generation — and the food industry has to face urgent consequences. That could explain why you’re seeing more prepared meals in the grocery aisle of your local Woolies.

7. Watch your back. It may have just sent a Tesla into outer space but SpaceX isn’t the only company doing some moving and shaking in the rocket industry. Musk and SpaceX increasingly face competition from a number of companies, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, that are developing reusable, next-generation rocket engines and boosters. Business Insider has pulled together everything we know about the companies in the industry to see how the competition stacks up. Here’s what we found.

8. Cher has left Turnbull and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian slightly starstruck after the Sydney Mardi Gras over the weekend. The superstar appeared and performed at the 40th anniversary of the festival on Saturday evening. Turnbull briefly spoke with the “If I Could Turn Back Time” singer before taking a selfie with Cher, his wife Lucy and Berejiklian.

9. Stuck in Sydney traffic? That might have something to do with the major changes to southbound lanes on the Sydney Harbour Bridge that have been introduced. The Daily Telegraph this morning was reporting that at 7.30am today, a long line of vehicles were banked up entering the city. An upgrade of the southern toll plaza, including the removal of toll booths and reconfiguring the intersection of York and Grosvenor streets, is currently taking place. Make sure you allow extra travel time for the next week or so.

10. In South Africa, the home side gave its supporters something to cheer about when opener Aiden Markram and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock put on 147 for the sixth wicket in an improbable run chase of 417 to win the First Test. Things got wobbly for the Aussies but Mitchell Starc struck back with three wickets in a single over. The only thing that saved the Saffas was Starc wasn’t allowed to bowl the last 25 minutes of the game due to bad light.

Have a great day.

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