10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The world has been stunned by the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left the editor and 11 others dead. It’s a horrifying reprisal for a publication determined to ensure religious extremists of all persuasions are treated equally. As well as Islamic extremists, Charlie Hebdo also mocked the Catholic Church and Jewish faith in a mission to stop them from declaring themselves above scrutiny. “Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we cannot accept,” Laurent Léger, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo, told CNN in 2012.
Here’s the latest details in our coverage:

To the markets.

2. Deflation has arrived. Official EU data confirmed overnight what everyone had been worried about: consumer prices fell 0.2% in the year to December. The worry now is that, spurred on by the falls in oil prices, Europe could enter a deflationary spiral, in which consumers and investors hoard cash because it increases in value over time as prices fall – but of course this further reduces demand and therefore growth.

3. On the markets overnight, WTI crude made a brief rally of around 2% before giving up those gains and falling back below $US48. But US stocks rallied after the release of the December FOMC meeting, which showed the Fed isn’t likely to raise rates until its April meeting. The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each added a little over 1%.

4. In Asia yesterday, the Hang Seng was the biggest mover, gaining 0.8%. Of note in HK was that internet company Tencent was up more than 3.5% there on reports that is likely to try an online private bank. The Nikkei was flat, as was the ASX yesterday, where iron stocks were among the strongest performers on some tentative signs that the iron ore price has found a floor. Trade on the currency markets is thinning out ahead of the release of the US jobs report on Friday, and the Aussie dollar was at 0.8069 this morning.

5. China’s absurd growth. According to GQ, which analysed the Hurun list of Chinese billionaires, there were three billionaires in China in 2004. By 2014, there were 354. That’s an 11,700% increase.

That is all.

6. Aussie gold. Listed gold miners have been coming out of the shadows this year, posting some decent gains of the ASX as their oil counterparts get crushed. Gold has climbed 7.9% from a four-year low in November, with the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Gold Index rising about a third to 2239.8. Over the same period, oil prices have almost halved to $US49 a barrel. One Australian miner enjoying the break up is Newcrest Mining, posting a 35% gain from about $9.18 to today’s trading price of $11.69. Yesterday, in the 24 hours to 8am Sydney time, nine of Morgan Stanley’s top 10 positive price movers were gold companies.

7. The world’s safest airline has been fined for selling dangerous toys. Qantas was yesterday named the safest airline in the world for 2015, but on the same day, the Herald Sun found out it was selling Nano Magnetics Nanodots in its on-board, duty-free program. The dots can be swallowed by kids, causing serious internal damage, and have been banned in Australia since 2012. Qantas was hit with a $200,000 fine, recalled the 223 items already sold and has since implemented a duty-free product safety compliance program.

8. Nicole Kidman’s failed date with Jimmy Fallon. The Aussie star appeared on Fallon’s Tonight Show yesterday in the US and surprised him with an awkward revelation. Around the time she was filming Bewitched, she was hanging with Fallon’s friend Rick. Rick rang Fallon saying Kidman wanted to meet him, and brought her around to his apartment. Fallon last night revealed he thought Kidman wanted him to “be in Bewitched or something like that”. It turns out Kidman, single at the time, was up for a date. She then went on to remind Fallon he was mostly silent and – wait for it – played video games instead of chatting. Here’s the fantastic moment Fallon realises he missed his chance to be Nicole Kidman’s boyfriend:

9. The cricket. Australia’s newest captain Steve Smith pushed a few records yesterday with his fourth century in four Tests. He’s just the third batsmen to make them consectively in the same series (joining Don Bradman and Jacques Kallis). The fourth batsmen to make four successive centuries in the first innings of a Test. The fifth Australian to make four centuries in four Tests. He’s nine runs shorts of Ricky Ponting record for most runs in a four-Test series, 16 short of Kallis’s all-time record. And on their way to declaring at 7-572, it was the first time the top six Aussies have passed 50 runs apiece in any Test innings.

10. Marry me, Maria. A Brisbane fan’s heart missed a beat when he asked Maria Sharapova to marry him and she said yes – to giving him an autograph. 29-year-old Damien Torrie yelled out “Marry me, Maria Sharapova!” during her Brisbane International match last night, adding “I bought a Jeep” for comic effect. She noticed, because at the end of the match, she signed his poster with the same request written on it, gave him a selfie, and said “Thank you for your support”. One to tell the grandkids.

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