Good morning, and welcome to Monday.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Terrorism is a hard line of inquiry on the Malaysia Air jet that disappeared over the weekend with 239 people on board including six Australians. The FBI is involved, two are passengers confirmed as having boarded using stolen passports – and there are reports this morning that there may have been more passengers aboard on fake documents. The New York Times reported overnight that the two men who travelled on the stolen passports had bought one-way tickets shortly before the flight. The jet involved, a 777, is hugely reliable but several years ago it was discovered to have a troubling autopilot software problem that could cause the plane to veer wildly in mid-flight without warning, potentially inducing a stall. However, the defect was fixed across all jets in service.
- It’s looking increasingly likely that there will be a significant relaxation of media ownership laws based on the noises from Malcolm Turnbull, who sees the the internet as having become “the super-platform”. Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network has taken a cautious position, however, saying the influence of the major players in media markets means the government needs to be “extremely careful”.
- Two giant data points over the weekend will be driving the market at the start of the week: US non-farm payrolls printed 175,000, crushing the 149,000 market consensus but Chinese trade data had a shocker, swinging to a surprise deficit. This week in Australia we have the NAB business survey and Westpac Consumer sentiment followed by unemployment on Thursday with the market median expectation being 15,000 jobs added for the month. Here’s the summary for the week ahead and Greg McKenna has the usual quick run-down on trader buzz here.
- New HD video available from space satellites is not just impressive technology with obvious espionage and military applications – it could also come in hugely useful for investors and hedge funds. Some hedge funds already use the technology for monitoring, for example, how full a car park is on a major shopping day; other potential uses are for monitoring mining activity and shipping activity.
- The army officer in charge of Operation Sovereign Borders, Lt Gen Angus Campbell, is tipped to be the next Chief of Army. Lt Gen Campbell has been at the centre of a Canberra furore after Stephen Conroy accused him of being complicit in a cover-up.
- Tropical Cyclone Gillian has been slowly building strength in the Gulf of Carpentaria and is expected to move south over the Cape York Peninsula over the coming days, possibly building into a Category 3 storm by the time it approaches the bottom of the Gulf. There’s another low developing over the Coral Sea and it’s expected to develop into a cyclone too, heading towards Townsville.
- The federal government is considering expanding the significant investor visa program, which is currently open to foreign nationals willing to tip $5 million into government bonds or commercial property funds. It could potentially be opened to offer permanent residency instead of four-year visas and also allow investment in venture capital or start-ups.
- Crazy story from the weekend papers: the IRA plotted to kill Prince Philip on a visit to Sydney in 1973.
- The Australian reports Bill Shorten has hired former Rudd and Gillard advisor Eamonn Fitzpatrick to help him with strategy, which has been visibly lacking from the opposition leader in recent weeks. Fitzpatrick joins at the end of the month.
- WA Treasurer Troy Buswell was reportedly involved in some kind of minor car accident outside his house just before he took extended leave recently.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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