10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Steve Smith with all his medals at the Allan Border Medal ceremony. Photo: Getty Images

Good morning!

1. Backdown in Hong Kong. The city’s chief executive Carrie Lam officially announced her government would withdraw the controversial bill that sparked months of protests. If passed, the law would have seen some Hong Kong citzens on trial extradited to mainland China. Hong Kong’s stock exchange surged as a result, with the Hang Seng closing 3.8% up.

2. Another day, another big blow for Boris’s Brexit. The UK House of Commons passed a motion to delay Brexit and avoid a no-deal crash out of the EU in October in an embarrassing turn of events for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The legislation will now go to the House of Lords, where pro-Brexit politicians hope to block it.

3. Don’t have a cow, man. A new report conducted by Deloitte Access Economics on behalf of a food industry lobbyist has projected that annual spending on plant-based food products in Australia will go from $150 million to $4.6 billion by 2030. Two in three Aussies still haven’t tried a plant-based meat alternative, the report also found.

4. An anaemic economy. Australia’s GDP grew at just 1.5% over the past year, dragged down by sluggish growth in the June quarter of just 0.5%. It’s the lowest growth rate since the Global Financial Crisis was still in full force back in September 2009.

5. The latest unicorn . Australian-born HR technology company Culture Amp completed a $120 million capital raise from big name investors around the world, taking its valuation to an estimated $1.04 billion. Culture Amp has been a beneficiary of the growing obsession with workplace culture and employee engagement, which was very much on display at its ‘Culture First’ party/conference for hardcore fans in August.

6. Tesla meets its match. Porsche has unveiled the production versions of its first fully electric sports cars, the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S, which retail from US$153,510. The verdict? Stunning!

7. The LinkedIn list. Microsoft-owned recruitment and professional networking platform LinkedIn released its list of the best 25 Australian startups to work for. Three so-called neobanks were included among the top five, indicating the ascendancy of challengers in the banking space.

8. Fresh Ashes opener. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne were once again Australia’s rocks overnight on Day 1 of the fourth test of the Ashes cricket series at Old Trafford in Manchester. Labuschagne was bowled for 67 while Smith finished the innings at 60 not out, the Sydney Morning Herald reports from the UK.

9. Buy an island for less than US$1 million. Willow Island, just 100 kilometres from Manhattan, is on the market for US$850,000 — which is just slightly more than the median house price in Sydney. The island comes with a four-bedroom house and solar-powered boat.

10. Back to the future at Apple. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, is developing a new version of its low-cost iPhone SE to be released next year. The new model will reportedly feature a 4.7-inch screen like the iPhone 8 but will include the same internal components as Apple’s next flagship iPhones. Launching a new, cheap iPhone could be crucial for Apple to compete with rivals like Huawei and Samsung.

BONUS ITEM

Pineapple on a pizza might be divisive, but surely everyone can get behind this Hawaiian monstrosity.