10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Cooper Hefner reckons he’s had a great life so far. Picture: Getty Images

1. The Aussie dollar is at a four-year low. A combination of a strong US dollar, a weak AiG services index release and a bearish report from Morgan Stanley downgrading the outlook for the economy sent the dollar tumbling to 0.8561, its lowest level since July 2010. First support now is 84 cents, which is the bottom of the downtrend the Aussie has been in since the highs in 2011.

2. In Asia yesterday, Chinese services PMI and the composite index combining services with manufacturing disappointed and point to slower growth in the Chinese economy. Shanghai was down from the open and ended the day off 12 points or 0.48% at 2,419. Not too much to be made of that really, given recent strength. In Japan, services PMI was also weak and comments from BoJ Kuroda and one of his colleagues during the day reflected an enduring desire to get inflation entrenched, which means as much QE and yen weakness as it takes. So the Nikkei rose 0.44% to close at 16, 937.

3. There was plenty going on in the US, where the GOP took control of the Senate, and Europe, where data was weak but the bourses couldn’t care less. Locally, the impact has been a 12-point rally on the SPI 200 December futures overnight. But while the offshore moves set up for a good day, the fact that Morgan Stanley was so bearish yesterday in looking for the ASX to end 2015 below its current level, and iron ore and coal were smashed again suggests that the headwinds for the local market remain in place.

4. Housing price growth rate is through the roof. That won’t come as any surprise to Australians trying to enter the housing market any time in the past decade or so, but a new CBRE Global Living report shows just how frantic it’s been. In 30 years, Aussie home values have grown by a whopping 221.4%, mainly due to underbuilding and population growth. In the world, only the UK has recorded higher growth, at 231.9%. And yes, it can go backwards – Japan and Germany both recorded negative growth.

5. Flightmare. A passenger on board a Vietnam Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Sydney tried to open an emergency exit door… while everyone was sleeping. Fortunately, a couple weren’t and their screams woke Kiwi Mark Ansley, who sounds just like the man for the job.

“Luckily three lads held him down while I stunned him with head shots then cable tied him,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Ansley said the man claimed he had been kidnapped and drugged and people in Sydney were waiting to kill him.

6. It’s a miner’s life for me. Chevron’s cranking up its $US54 billion Gorgon gas project on Barrow Island off WA and needs to find accommodation for an extra 1200 workers. Solution – borrow a 202-metre cruise ferry from Europe. The Silja Europa is equipped with recreational facilities including a gym, reading room and restaurant and each contractor is allocated their own room with a television. It will house the workers for 12 weeks as Chevron tries to get production on track for a start sometime mid next year.

7. Growing up in the Playboy Mansion. Hugh Hefner has been the star of his own show for all of his life, but there are actually kids involved. His youngest son, Cooper, is just 23, and has grown up surrounded by scantily clad ladies and decadence. It sounds dodgy, but he loved it, especially because he also had a zoo, amazing swimming pools and an entire redwood forest to play hide-and-seek in with his siblings. Here’s what he had to say about it all.

8. Surface Pro fail. Microsoft cut a deal recently to get CNN’s anchors to use their Surface Pro 3 tablets. And they did during last night’s US election coverage – as handy tools to prop up their iPads with.

An insider fessed up though, saying CNN aren’t actually forced to use the Surface, but they’re on desks to ensure anchors get ongoing coverage while they’re reporting. But it’s still funny.

9. This man wants to be eaten by a giant snake. Naturalist and wildlife filmmaker Paul Rosolie has built himself a snake-proof suit so he can wear it while being swallowed by an anaconda. It’s for a Discovery special Eaten Alive, which airs on December 7. It seems most people are more worried about the snake’s health, but Rosolie says it will be fine.

10. Last night’s T20 had it all. Shane Watson made an impressive return from injury. All the ridiculous twee “sideshows”. South African Wayne Parnell’s ridiculous hair. And a flamethrower which nearly fried Australian captain Aaron Finch.

But the biggest losers of all were the Aussies, who somehow fail to grasp what every other team in the world knows – bowl the ball somewhere on the pitch where it’s hard to hit it over the fence.

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