10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty ImagesCate Blanchett

Good morning.

1. The US Federal Reserve has left interest rates unchanged. It confirmed that inflation has risen to almost hit its 2% target, saying next year it should “run near” that level. The next interest rate hike is expected in June. That sent US stocks lower with the Dow Jones industrial average shedding more than 150 points. The 10-year Treasury yield held below 3%.

2. The CBA lost almost 20 million customer bank account records. The bank admitted it lost historical bank statements belonging to almost 20 million personal accounts in a 2016 incident it chose not to make public. Two magnetic tapes that contained customer statements due to be destroyed disappeared and were never recovered. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is looking into the case.

3. Cambridge Analytica is shutting down. The firm at the centre of Facebook’s data privacy scandal announced the news, along with its plans to declare bankruptcy, on Wednesday. In the wake of the Facebook controversy, the firm has been losing clients and facing mounting legal fees, according to the Wall Street Journal. CEO Alexander Nix was suspended in March after an undercover video appeared to show him offering to bribe and entrap politicians.

4. The pressure of politics. Bill Shorten will be forced to fight a by-election in a marginal seat after a star MP resigned yesterday over family pressures. Perth MP Tim Hammond, the ALP’s shadow minister for consumer affairs and assistant spokesperson on resources, flagged his intention to resign as soon as practical, saying he’d been unable to reconcile the role with looking after his three children, aged six, two-and-a-half and seven months. Hammond said he had “privately agonised” over the decision, but it was apparent the demands of politics were taking a toll on his family life.

5. Trade talks between the US and China start this week. Chinese President Xi’s economic adviser will meet with members of the Trump administration in Beijing on Thursday and Friday. According to reports, the US won’t be taking any new goals with them, and the ones they have are non-starters for the Chinese. This means it’s likely nothing will come from the negotiations, but nothing is still an increasingly nasty situation for these countries and the global economy.

6. Cate Blanchett has accused Harvey Weinstein of behaving inappropriately towards her. Her allegations of sexual misconduct against the producer follow claims by Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie and others. Blanchett told Variety, that Weinstein would often say to her, “We’re not friends.” When asked what he meant by that, Blanchett said: “Well, I wouldn’t do what he was asking me to do,” but declined to specify further.

7. Another Southwest plane made an emergency landing after a window broke during a flight. This time the plane, a Boeing 737-700, the same model of the flight that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia last month, was traveling from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, when it was forced to land in Cleveland because of a broken window. While Southwest told Business Insider the broken window was not the result of an engine failure, it would not release details about what might have cracked the window. People on Twitter posted photos of the broken window after the incident.


8. Nothing’s impossible. Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, thinks it’s possible to blow through his $175 billion fortune — and he has one big purchase he plans to spend it on. The founder of Amazon and Blue Origin aims to send people to space and eventually, have human settlements beyond Earth. “I am liquidating about $US1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin. And I plan to continue to do that for a long time,” he said.

9. Justin Langer is the new Australian men’s cricket coach. The West Australian coach and former Test batsman Justin Langer will replace Darren Lehmann, who resigned following a ball-tampering scandal. Langer will take over on May 22, on a four-year term. There was no hard feelings between the two coaches, with Lehmann congratulating Langer on his new position via Twitter.

10. Don’t feed the roos. A rural site north of Sydney has become an unofficial tourism attraction because people can interact with and feed kangaroos. But the feeding has begun to change the animals’ behaviour and some are becoming aggressive, to the point that one man was almost disemboweled by a kangaroo that left a deep gouge in his stomach. Another man required 17 stitches in his face. More here. WARNING: The images are graphic.

BONUS ITEM: Imagine such strict beauty standards that you couldn’t wear glasses to work. For the first time, a South Korean female presenter for a major TV network challenged her country’s beauty norms by appearing on air with glasses. Here’s the before and after.

MBC News/YouTube/Business InsiderSouth Korean Lim Hyeon-ju in full makeup and contact lenses, and in her glasses.

Have a great day.

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