10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning.

1. Things are not looking great today in Australia’s east. Parts of New South Wales, including Sydney, are bracing for unprecedented and catastrophic bushfire danger, with fires in the state already claiming the lives of three people and destroying more than 150 homes. In Victoria, the government is preparing for a “very extreme” heatwave – worse than 2009’s Black Saturday – which has the potential to kill hundreds. Basically, we’re facing the worse fire season in many, many years. Grim.

2. Qantas has announced it intends to slash its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. It’s an ambitious goal considering the emissions your average flight pumps into the atmosphere, but CEO Alan Joyce says it is “achievable”. Qantas had signed onto the industry’s plan to halve emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels, but this plan obviously goes quite a bit further. The airline claims it already operates the biggest carbon offset program in the industry.

3. Speaking of Qantas, I know everyone is weirdly fascinated by the non-stop Sydney to New York flight, which seems like both a spectacular advance in human capability and (possibly) absolute hell. Well, allow me to indulge that fascination. Our reporter who was on the maiden voyage has an excruciatingly detailed run-through of what you can expect from every type of seat on the flight. Interesting read.

4. In a secret employee meeting in October, Apple reportedly unveiled the devices it expects will eventually replace the iPhone. Two devices were apparently shown, according to The Information, including a virtual reality headset somewhat akin to the Oculus Rift – expected in 2022 – and a second product which looks like a thick pair of sunglasses. It’s been reported before that Apple has been working on some kind of augmented eyewear since 2015. Apparently, Apple execs see these new product categories replacing the iPhone “in roughly a decade”. Big call.

5. Digital bank 86 400 is the first neobank in the country to offer home loans – without the paperwork. The company says customers won’t have to submit any physical documents, and will be able to verify their financial situation with a few clicks. But don’t expect an entirely frictionless experience here: you still have to go through a mortgage broker.“Given home loans are such a big decision, customers like that face-to-face element. We’re also a new brand so to have someone recommend us as a lender helps,” lending lead Melissa Christy told Business Insider Australia.

6. The Australian government says it will compel internet service providers to block illegal offshore gambling websites, which it says cost Australians $400 million per year. It’ll be the first deployment of new ACMA powers, which were introduced after a 2015 review. “Too often these offshore operators are defrauding Australians – and their websites typically provide very few, if any, harm minimisation controls,” communications minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

7. WeWork is on the lookout for a new CEO, and one of the candidates is reportedly T-Mobile chief John Legere, who is known for his eccentric personality. Under Legere’s stewardship, T-Mobile has become a significantly more valuable company, and is currently undergoing a merger with fellow telco Sprint. According to the report, Legere is one of several candidates currently being considered.

8. The Tories in the UK were just handed a significant boost in their election chances, after Brexit kingpin Nigel Farage announced his party won’t run in any of the 317 Conservative-controlled seats. He also revealed Boris Johnson and friends offered him a lordship in order to seal the deal, but he turned it down as he can’t be bought. But he and his Brexit Party agreed to the pact anyway, in order to prevent a Remain-led alliance nudging its way into power.

9. If you’re feeling somewhat lost trying to get your head around the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump – and I don’t blame you, it’s a mess – then help is here. We’ve got a helpful summary of everything which has been revealed thus far for you to peruse at your leisure. What we can’t do, though, is tell you how all of this is going to end up. We’ll leave you to your own baseless speculation on that one.

10. An analyst believes Tesla is set up for a return to growth in 2020. Philippe Houchois, an analyst at Jefferies, raised its price target for the electric-car company to $A579 from $A437 Monday and reaffirmed its “buy” rating. Jefferies increased its price target because it expects higher earnings and an improved balance sheet from the company going forward.

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