10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

A Zara store in the Xidan district of Beijing. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd / Corbis via Getty Images)

Happy hump day!

1. A retail protest. Spanish fashion retailer Zara has been accused of quietly showing support for Hong Kong protesters by closing its stores in the city during one of the more well-attended recent protests. Chinese state media The Global Times slammed the outlet, saying “One cannot help but conclude that the management of Zara Hong Kong … is willing to echo the three strikes. They are even willing to make a special show of it.” The fashion chain has denied the charge.

2. More Brexit bedlam. In dramatic scenes from Westminster, Conservative MP Phillip Lee officially crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats, leaving Boris Johnson’s government without a majority in Parliament. Anti-Brexit MPs watched quietly before erupting in cheers as Lee took his new seat.

3. A brash new market entrant. US food delivery app DoorDash will officially launch in Australia on Wednesday, available to customers in inner-city Melbourne before rolling out to the outer suburbs and – possibly – the rest of the country. The platform claims to be America’s “largest” on-demand delivery app, but declined to give its total number of users when asked by Business Insider Australia.

4. Cash rate on hold. The Reserve Bank of Australia decided to keep interest rates on hold at 1% due to lower than expected economic growth. But economists reckon the clock is ticking and the RBA will likely have to cut rates further in the next few months.

The official interest rate in Australia (source: RBA)

5. Google’s legal troubles. As many as half of the states in the US are planning to join together in a massive anti-competition lawsuit against Google, according to the Washington Post, which could be filed any day now. The revelation comes as a number of current and former senior executives at the tech giant face sexual misconduct claims.

6. Disappointing retail sales figures. Discretionary spending in Australia — spending on non-essential items — fell by 0.3% in July, while non-discretionary tellingly grew 0.1%, as cost of living pressure grows, newly released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show. Eating out also took a dive.

7. The social giants may be killing off the popularity metrics they invented. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider it is considering experimenting with the removal of public likes, following a similar trial on its Instagram platform. YouTube is also playing with subduing the prominence of subscriber counts. The changes come as several high-profile tech industry figures say they regret the mental health fallout from the previous focus on popularity metrics.

8. Star wars. The European Space Agency says it had to dodge one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellites because the company wouldn’t move it out of the way. But the near-collision may have been due to a software bug.

9. Lookalike litigation. Entrepreneurial popstar Ariana Grande is suing retailer Forever 21 over an advertising campaign she says features a doppelganger model sporting Grande’s trademark hairdo. She is seeking US$10 million in damages.

10. New defence for climate activists . Three Brisbane environmentalists will be pleading not guilty to traffic offences laid against them during a climate change protest, relying on an old legal defence that says you can break the law in an “extraordinary emergency”, the ABC has reported. The accused say climate change is precisely that and, if accepted by the magistrate, the case could set a game-changing legal precedent for activists.


A postcard from 70-year-old billionaire investment manager Ray Dalio at Burning Man in a technicolour dream coat: