10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

There’s something not quite right about these trains? Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

Good morning.

1. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, says he is willing to talk to the US about dismantling his country’s nuclear program in what looks like a huge concession to mounting international pressure — but it could be a trap. While Trump has hailed it “possible progress”, it’s important to remember that the North has entered similar talks before, only to back out and cash in on warmed relations during the talks.

2. It’s GDP day: Q4 GDP is the Australian data highlight today, and David Scutt’s 10-second guide has everything you need to know. The forecast is for growth of 0.5% in the December quarter, leaving the annual rate at 2.5% after Q3 results missed slightly due to weaker consumption.

3. Australia and Timor-Leste will sign a historic maritime deal today to officially mark the border at the median line between the two countries – in line with international law – and not at the edge of Australia’s continental shelf. Under the arrangement, Timor-Leste will gain 80% of the Greater Sunrise gas field, which is estimated to be worth about $53 billion. The two governments have previously disagreed over an oil and gas treaty established in 2002. The Timorese have fought to have the treaty declared invalid, after Australia was allegedly found to have spied on the country while negotiations were taking place for ownership of the site.

4. ICYMI: The NSW government ordered $2.3 billion worth of new trains from South Korea and has just realised they are too wide to go through existing tunnels. The current trains are 2.9m wide, while the new trains are 3.1m across. Transport for NSW has come up with a solution though: relax current safety standards, and partially modify some tunnels to allow the new trains to run. Um, OK.

5. A Microsoft co-founder located a famous WWII aircraft carrier 3km deep in the Coral Sea north of Australia. Paul Allen ran and financed a project which found the wreckage from the USS Lexington 500 nautical miles from Australia. The ship took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 — the first carrier versus carrier battle in history. It was hit by multiple torpedoes and bombs and became the first aircraft carrier casualty in history. See the footage here:

6. A prestigious boys’ school in Queensland has been shut down following an outbreak of Norovirus in a bid to prevent the illness spreading further in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games. The school needs to be sanitised ahead of it being used by athletes as a training and residential venue. As many as 400 students and teachers have so far fallen ill. The Games kicks off next month. The highly-contagious stomach virus recently swept through the Winter Olympics in South Korea, with more than 260 confirmed cases.

7. The ex-Kremlin spy apparently poisoned in Britain has links to the man who wrote the explosive Trump-Russia dossier. Sergei Skripal, 66, who is critically ill in hospital after being exposed to a mystery substance, turned double agent in 1995 when he was recruited by the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. The prime theory is that it was an assassination attempt carried out on the orders of the Russian government. If true, it would not be the first time Russia has conducted assassinations on British soil.

8. First look: Japanese luxury car brand Lexus has premiered its major play for 2018, an urban crossover, the UX, at the Geneva international motor show. The 4.5-metre long compact four-door, due in Australia in early 2019, will feature a new 2lt petrol engine, as well as a self-charging hybrid system, the 250h, combined with a new direct-shift continuously variable transmission. New Australian chief executive Scott Thompson said the company expects the UX to be its biggest sales driver since the release of the NX nearly four years ago, as the company pushes towards annual sales of 10,000. And boy, does it look schmick:

The interior of the Lexus UX. Supplied

9. Miles Franklin’s secret diary has been found. A small red journal that recorded the last year of renowned Australian author Stella Maria Miles Franklin’s life has been found in an old suitcase passed down through three generations of Franklin’s extended family. The discovery was made in 2015 by distant relatives. This week the diary will be given to the State Library of NSW, adding a 47th volume to the diaries of the author and feminist’s record of Australian literary and domestic life from 1909.

10. Gimme a Guinness. The Game Of Thrones cast were spotted enjoying a few pints in a traditional pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) were among the crew seen enjoying chilled drinks after filming at the weekend. The pub is apparently just around the corner from the King’s Landing set at Titanic Studios. But don’t get too excited, GoT fans still have to wait until 2019 for the eighth and final season.

BONUS ITEM: Did I leave the oven on? People on social media are having a field day, guessing what realisation Jennifer Garner may have come after she was caught on camera with a bewildered expression at the Academy Awards on Monday. The moment has been interpreted in a number of ways, with some some people are simply taking comfort in the fact that celebrities are humans too. Here’s her reaction:
And here are some of the responses:

Have a great day.

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