Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Australian dollar is on an epic winning streak. Aided by strengthening investor sentiment and further short covering, the Australian dollar continued its good form overnight, rising to a high of .7234 before easing to trade at .7200 as of 8.30am AEDT.
To say the Aussie has enjoyed a decent run of late is an understatement – the AUD/USD has now rallied for six consecutive sessions, the longest stretch of gains seen since October 2013.
2. Australian engineers could be onto a new generation of super-fast computers. A team of scientists at the The University of New South Wales in Sydney and Keio University in Japan have just made a significant breakthrough in the field using a special material: silicon.
By modifying a standard silicon transistor — the backbone of all modern-day electronic devices — the scientists have performed the world’s first calculation with what are called quantum bits, instead of classical bits, with a silicon-based material. Never before has anyone managed to get two of them to communicate using silicon. Thanks, science! (There’s just, er, one problem. Computers this powerful would render current encryption methods obsolete.)
3. Looks like it will be a good day on the ASX. Greg McKenna has tipped another good day of trade on the ASX today. The December SPI 200 futures contract rose 32 points last night to 5,221 after the 0.6% rally on the physical yesterday. BHP and Rio (+7.5%!) both did well again in London trade and even though crude reversed a little from its highs the energy complex is still strong relative to the lows and a week ago. But don’t expect any major economic data to be released from Australia today — it’s slow on the data front Down Under.
4. The effect of the Volkswagen scandal in Australia . The local arm of the car manufacturer has admitted that 90,000 diesel VWs, Skodas and Audis sold in Australia were fitted with the software that masked the true emissions levels on the vehicles. The admission will see 54,745 VW cars and 17,256 vans, plus 5148 Skoda models, as well as 14,028 Audis, built between 2009 to 2015, recalled. Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, is investigating the issue and may launch legal action costing the automaker tens of millions of dollars in fines for making misleading claims.
5. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is out — for 90 days at least. The international football federation’s ethics committee has “provisionally suspended” Blatter and the suspension is “pending further investigation by Swiss prosecutors”, according to Sky News reports. The temporary dismissal follows allegations that Blatter paid UEFA president Michel Platini two million francs ($2.85 million) before Platini announced he would not run against Blatter in the 2011 FIFA presidential election.
Last month, the Swiss attorney general announced that Blatter will face charges of “criminal mismanagement” and “misappropriation.”
6. Hillary Clinton will not support the TPP trade deal. The US Democratic presidential contender has opposed the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying there are too many “unanswered questions” about the trade deal.
“What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favour” of TPP, she said during an interview with American PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, adding that “it’s going to meet the high bar I have set”.
This could mean that the TPP would be, at least, set for significant revisions if Clinton was to win the White House.
7. As if flying isn’t annoying enough, here’s the latest ridiculous plan from Airbus for fitting more people into a plane:
8. Terrorists love a Hilux. The truck has been popping up in a number of ISIS videos prompting US authorities to asked Toyota to investigate. Some experts say it’s because the Hilux is “the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47”. Apparently the truck is very durable and therefore has proven useful for terrorists’ lightly armed special forces. There you go.
The truck is “fast, manoeuvrable, and packs a big punch [when it’s mounted with] a 50-calibre [machine gun] that easily defeats body armour on soldiers and penetrates lightly armoured vehicles as well,” Alastair Finlan, who specialises in strategic studies at Aberystwyth University in the UK, told Newsweek.
9. Looking for a leadership mentor? Hit the history books. Business Insider has compiled a list of 23 of the most ruthless leaders of all time. Men and women who acted mercilessly to achieve their political and military agendas. However no matter how a historian tries to spin it, ordering a tower to be constructed out of live men stacked and cemented together with bricks and mortar is pretty brutal. Maybe think twice before idolising these guys.
10. Chanel just created the swankiest airport we’ve ever seen. Luxury, high-fashion travel. Sounds like a dream right? Well for its Spring/Summer 2016 show, Chanel has done just that. The brand turned its runway into a completely customised airport filled with tons of branded eccentricities, mostly focusing on “Chanel Airlines” signs and memorabilia. From a Departures and Arrivals board, airport seats, trolleys and gate signs, they had it all and it looks amazing.
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