10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Chris PashInside the new Melbourne Qantas lounge.

Welcome to Thursday.

1. The US midterms. The result was pretty much as expected – the Democrats now have control of the lower house, Republicans kept control of the Senate. It’s wasn’t the “blue wave” the Dems hoped for as a “referendum” on the US President. In fact, Trump performed better than Barack Obama did in his first midterms. There were records smashed. Nancy Pelosi, likely to become the next House leader, flagged what’s coming now the Dems have control. Trump essentially called a black reporter racist for a question about nationalists, as he lashed out on several fronts following the result, while nonetheless bragging about his success. The good news is scandal doesn’t stop you getting re-elected in the US, and Obamacare now looks safe, but how’s this for the perfect Don’s Party – Trump watched election results with Republican donors while eating pizza and french fries.

2. US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions was fired by Trump. Sessions, long under pressure for not doing more to block investigations into his boss, handed in his undated resignation following the midterms, saying he was doing it at the President’s request.

3. The Aussie dollar is back. The AUD hit its highest level against the US dollar in six weeks, climbing as high as .7299 in European trade, to break above its 100-day moving average against the greenback. Meanwhile, US stocks rose by more than 2% overnight following the midterm elections. ASX futures are pointing higher, and New Zealand’s central bank kept its outlook for interest rates unchanged this morning, despite some strong economic data in recent weeks. Looking ahead, Chinese trade figures will headline today’s calendar in Asian trade, before the US Federal Reserve meeting tonight.

4. The New Zealand economy is booming, but not enough to push up interest rates. GDP growth is strong, unemployment is low, inflation is picking up and there was growing speculation of an upwards move in rates. But when the Kiwi central bank met to look at its next move, it concluded mid-2020 is the earliest likelihood as it chalked up two years since the last move.

5. Boeing has issued a warning about “erroneous readings” in the cockpit of its 737 Max 8 aircraft . The alert is based preliminary findings from the Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia, which is believed to have also had a faulty air speed indicator. Readings of angle and attack sensors could potentially cause the plane to aggressively dive. More than 200 of the jets are already in the air.

6. The biggest housing downturn in 40 years? Macquarie Bank is getting increasingly pessimistic about Sydney property, and thinks things could get even worse, forecasting a national price decline of 10% led by Sydney and Melbourne, with declines of between 15% to 20%. Meanwhile, property listings business realestate.com.au released its quarterly results saying there was an 8% drop in Sydney listings for the three months to September, which accelerated to 12% in October.

7. Is age the new gender fluid? A 69-year-old entrepreneur in the Netherlands wants to legally change his age to 49 so he can go back to work and meet more women on Tinder. Why can’t he just lie about his age like everyone else on the app?

8. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is launching satellites that will spy on pirates and smugglers. The mission, called SSO-A, will spit 71 small satellites into orbit. Several of the more interesting ones belong to HawkEye 360, a startup that aims to “see” radio-wave emissions and track “dark vessels” that may be trying to hide illegal activities such as illegal fishing, smuggling, drug trafficking, and piracy.

9. Qantas has a new lounge at Melbourne Airport. Chris Pash swung by to check out the new Woods Bagot design, which splits the Qantas Club and Business Lounge, and has room for 130 more frequent flyers, taking the total to 900. There are plenty of pictures here.

10. Here’s another Kiwi Australia needs to adopt. The NZ Black Caps are doing far better against Pakistan in the UAE after Australia was wiped in the ODIs. Trent Boult, returning to the side from parental leave, claimed New Zealand’s first ODI hat-trick in nearly 12 years to help deliver his side a 47-run win.

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