10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty ImagesIndonesian soldiers looking for victims trapped at a collapsed mosque following an earthquake in Lombok.

Good morning.

1. The death toll in Indonesia following the Lombok earthquake continues to rise. Government-run Antara news agency reports the figure to be as high as 347 but disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the information from those sources was incomplete and hadn’t been cross-checked for duplication. He has, however, said several times that the number of deaths will continue to increase as rescuers reach isolated areas of the island.

2. US stocks were mixed Wednesday despite a recent wave of upbeat corporate earnings as a new round of tariffs between the US and China dragged energy companies lower. Meanwhile economists warn that a prolonged trade war between the two countries could end up increasing prices for American consumers and hurting US businesses. But given the lack of talks and Trump’s unclear goals, the trade war doesn’t appear to be close to a resolution.

3. Saudi Arabia vs. Canada. Saudi Arabia’s central bank ordered its fund managers to dump Canadian bonds, stocks and cash. The move came after Canada’s foreign ministry criticised Saudi Arabia for its arrests of prominent human-rights activists and called for their release.

4. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into Tesla after Musk revealed his plan to take the company private on Twitter. The agency is making inquiries into whether the tweet was truthful, why Musk’s first statement about the potential to take Tesla private was made on Twitter instead of in a regulatory filing, and whether the company believes Musk’s tweet follows SEC rules about protecting investors.

5. Bitcoin is lower again this morning after sliding back towards $US6,000 overnight, following sharp declines yesterday in Asian trade.

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6. North Korea is reportedly refusing to turn over its nuclear weapons, despite repeated requests from US officials. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is struggling to get North Korea to even disclose the size of its nuclear arsenal. It’s yet another sign that North Korea may actually be moving away from denuclearisation.

7. Three stateless boys from the soccer team that was rescued from a Thai cave last month have been granted citizenship, along with their 25-year-old coach. On Wednesday, local authorities approved their requests for Thai citizenship and granted them Thai national identification cards. According to the ABC, there are many stateless people in Thailand thanks to national border changes and remote areas with limited access to nationality procedures.

8. Australian scientists may have solved one of the biggest problems holding back hydrogen-powered cars by developing membrane technology to refuel using ammonia. With some of the world’s biggest car companies, including Toyota, Hyundai and BMW betting on hydrogen as a future fuel source, it could be a watershed moment for the industry. More here.

9. Huawei’s new smartphone has four cameras. Yes, four. The nova 3i smartphone, which launches in Australia on August 23, will also be bundled with 128GB of built-in memory. And one of the largest batteries in its class, at 3340mAh, sits just shy of the capacity of Samsung’s S9 battery. Here’s how much that will set you back.

10. Podcast time. There’s a lot of momentum behind Bill Shorten after the Super Saturday by-elections, particularly after the result in the Queensland seat of Longman which saw a collapse in the Coalition primary vote. This has focused minds on the prospect of Labor being in power next year. For an insight into what’s beneath the shifting political landscape we’re joined on the Devils and Details podcast this week by Hawker Britton director Eamonn Fitzpatrick, a former adviser to two Labor PMs and one of the most senior ALP political strategists in the country. He talks about populism, popularity, policy and negative gearing in a wide-ranging chat packed with insights. You can find it on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts under “Devils and Details”, or tune in below.

Have a great day.

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