10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The world’s fifth-richest person, gutting a salmon, and thinking about how everyone should get a basic income. Photo: Facebook

Good morning – here’s some news:

1. Mark Zuckerberg is taken with the idea of a universal basic income. The Facebook founder, who some think may one day run for the US presidency, visited Alaska and saw how its oil wealth has helped to fund basic payments to citizens. “This is a novel approach to basic income in a few ways,” Zuckerberg said. “First, it’s funded by natural resources rather than raising taxes. Second, it comes from conservative principles of smaller government, rather than progressive principles of a larger safety net. This shows basic income is a bipartisan idea.”

2. Volvo will stop producing conventionally powered cars in just two years. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. Every car the company sells from 2019 will be a hybrid.

3. Who’s the whale? Someone did quite an afternoon’s work yesterday, buying $800 million in Australian government bonds in a single trade.

4. To markets, and it’s another one of those increasingly common periods where not much is happening. Wall Street was back from the Independence Day break and the Dow finished up just 0.38 points for a percentage change of 0.0%. Check out this scoreboard:

  • Dow: 21,478.17 -1.10 (-0.01%)
  • S&P 500: 2,432.54 3.53 (+0.15%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7604 +0.0001 (+0.01%)
  • ASX200 SPI futures (Sept contracts): 5,726 (+21)
  • Iron ore benchmark 62% fines: $US63.28 (+0.08%)


5. If you’re confused by Coke’s ‘No Sugar’ brand, you’re not alone. You’re just like Woolworths, which is refusing to stock the new product because they believe people already have enough choice. Over at Coles, the stuff’s going for half price.

6. Sex robots are real — and far more common than people realise. The robots present a range of ethical challenges, however, because they’re increasingly being designed to cater to a spectrum of sexual tastes. The thought-provoking details are here.

7. Today’s Amazon Alexa update. Amazon’s voice-powered computing platform — which allows you to do things like shop and book flights just by speaking out loud in your kitchen — now has 15,000 “skills”, or basic capabilities given to it by third-party apps. Here’s the growth over time.

Amazon is looking at Alexa for its Australian rollout. Coming soon to a kitchen very near you.

8. Arsenal broke the EPL transfer record overnight, signing Alexandre Lacazette from Olympique Lyonnais for £52 million, or $88 million.

9. Twitter let a celebrity with 7 million followers post revenge porn for 30 minutes before taking it down. Rob Kardashian posted nude photos of Blac Chyna on the platform after first posting them on Instagram, where his account was suspended. It’s yet another instance of Twitter appearing sluggish to deal with patently offensive content and having a fairly weak response.

10. Back in 1999, Bill Gates made 15 predictions that included mobile devices, price comparison sites, online hiring, project management software, and smart advertising. Spooky.

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