10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Touchdown! Maybe. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. It’s bitcoin’s day of reckoning. Cboe Global Markets will today launch bitcoin futures. That means all the naysayers and the evangelists can now put their money where their mouth is and bet on the future price of bitcoin. It kicks off at 10am and if you want to know how it all works, we’re here for you. As for what it means for bitcoin’s future, Grey Dwyer, BitMEX head of business development, says stability, for one, and maybe a rise in price to as much as $US50,000.

2. Low volatility, high profits for HODLers sounds like a win-win for everyone involved. But here’s Jim Edwards on why bitcoin futures means there is now a way for contagion from a bitcoin price collapse to flow into the rest of the markets.

3. To non-crypto markets, where the S&P500 is finishing the year in typically 2017 record-breaking style, closing at an all-time high Friday after jobs smashed expectations in the US. That has ASX200 Futures traders in a good mood for today’s open, but the Aussie dollar hit a 6-month low and is holding just above US75 cents. Iron ore markets remain wild.

4. It’s a big week for interest-rate watchers, with central banks in the US, Europe and the UK all scheduled to make announcements. The UK and US will also release inflation data on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with the big moment in data this week, when the US Fed drops a 0.25% rate rise that’s already fully priced in. Back home, the RBA governor Philip Lowe has a speech at the Australian Payment Summit with the interesting title of “An eAUD?”. Sam Jacobs has those, and all the other things, in his weekly diary right here.

5. The biggest military story of the year in the UK is this:

An aerial view of HMS Queen Elizabeth on December 7, 2017. Picture: Crown Copyright

It’s the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which formally joined the Royal Navy last week. BI UK’s Kieran Corcoran got a sneak preview, even before Her Maj did, and while he didn’t get to wander the enormous flight deck, he did see where the F-35s will go when they start arriving (aaaany minute now), and found out what the Queen had for lunch onboard when she launched the ship. Here are all the pics.

6. At least 15 boats have washed up along Japan’s west coast since November. Inside them, up to 40 corpses, in groups of between two and eight. Japanese authorities have very few clues as to who they are and where they are from, but there are no prizes for guessing the corpses are starving families fleeing North Korea. Sadly, it’s not a new phenomenon.

7. One more time:

Picture: The Sun

The man behind one of the greatest tabloid headlines of all-time, Max Clifford, died of a heart attack on Thursday at the age of 74. In jail, where he was serving an eight-year sentence for sex offences.

8. US senators are calling on Donald Trump to resign over his alleged history of sexual misconduct, just like Al Franken did. Of course, they are Democrat senators, and the call is being led by Bernie Sanders. The US President, meanwhile, was far too busy for misconduct of any kind, drinking 12 cans of Diet Coke and watching eight hours of TV per day.

9. Winter in America is cold. So cold you have to offer football fans $11 an hour and a free ticket if they can snow shovel the field:


That’s the Bills-Colts game in Buffalo. Bring your thermos.

10. In a very Australian weekend, film maker Dave Riggs sent his drone out over the water at Esperance, WA, and caught this shot of a great white shark making the crew on-board an 8.5m patrol boat nervous. And at Kewarra, in the Far North, a crowd on the beach was rumbled by a two-metre croc which calmly strolled out of the surf.

BONUS ITEM: And don’t say we didn’t warn you:

Have a great day.

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