10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister and former Sydney economics academic. Image: Getty Images

Good morning. Here’s what’s happened so far.

1. The Greek Finance Minister is playing a good game, but no one’s convinced it will work. Grexit is on everyone’s minds and knocking euro exchanges everywhere. Locally, the impact has been limited on the ASX March futures overnight, with a fall of just 8 points to 5748 following yesterday’s 5-point fall. BHP and Rio were both sharply higher in London trade which has insulated the ASX from the sharp fall into the close being experienced in the US this morning.

2. In Asia yesterday, Shanghai recouped some of its losses Friday and showed the downside break of the 3,095 level wasn’t the technical trigger for massive selling it could have been. The Shanghai composite rallied back 19 points to close at 3,095. In Hong Kong, stocks dipped 0.64% after seeing the trade data, while in Tokyo the Nikkei was up 0.36%.

3. Most of the major currencies were up, including the Aussie, which is back above 78 cents at 0.7807 from yesterday’s lows of 0.7745. On the data front, we get the release of the most important economic release each month – the NAB’s monthly business confidence and conditions survey. House prices in Australia are also out but the big Asian data point will be Chinese CPI.

4. Coal is on a massive tear – look:

Newcastle Coal Futures – ICE March 2015 (barchart.com)

The black diamond is following crude’s rally, rising another $1.75 overnight to haul it from a low of $56.20 less than a month ago to $66.70 a tonne. That’s an 18.6% lift so far in 2015. For traders, the big news in all that is both the short-term and one-year downtrends have been broken.

5. It was a big day in Canberra yesterday as Tony Abbott fought off a move to have him replaced as PM. Bill Shorten had a field day reminding Abbott of his own query of Julia Gillard in 2012 that she couldn’t claim to have a mandate to continue as PM, having fought off a similar challenge 71-31 in the ballot. Abbott won 61-39. Here’s a bunch of big, beautiful photos of all that went down yesterday.

6. So, yeah, about China. For a couple of decades late last century, Michael Pillsbury helped the White House help China out of its technological and military funk. He was part of a thinktank at the top that felt being generous toward China would see it repay the favour by becoming a democratic and peaceful power without ambitions of regional or even global dominance. Now, as a top defence policy advisor and director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Chinese Strategy, he’s not so sure it’s worked. In fact:

“Every one of the assumptions behind that belief was wrong — dangerously so.”

7. What are your kids eating at school? A jam sandwich, most likely. Or a pie. But in the US, 30 million kids get this:

And that’s a problem: It’s been found that students who eat school lunches are at a higher risk for being an unhealthy weight. So here’s what kids in eight other countries get from their cafeterias, and most of them look absolutely delicious.

8. Journey to the centre of the Earth. A research team at the University of Illinois and at Nanjing University in China have examined seismic waves from earthquakes to see what’s inside the “solid ball of iron” which forms the planet’s core. They found… another inner core. But this one’s different – here’s why.

9. Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea ordered a pizza from US chain Papa John’s. Then this happened:

Papa John’s replied with an apology and a plea for Azalea to not “bounce” them, but she went to war with the chain on Twitter instead before heading off to the Grammys.

10. Australia beats the Poms, again. Aussie F1 star Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t care less about not being world champion – he’s the fastest “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car”. The Top Gear weekly challenge sees celebrities and sports stars flog a Suzuki Liana around their track and for two years, no one has been able to get close to Brit champion Lewis Hamilton’s 1min and 42.9secs. The 25-year-old Ricciardo chopped a whopping 0.7secs off it. “Staggering, absolutely staggering,” host Jeremy Clarkson said. “How did you do that?”

BONUS ITEM: Here’s a McDonald’s worker having a total meltdown and throwing and breaking things while using some NSFW language. Hey, everyone has bad days.

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