10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning.

1. A positive update on the fire situation in eastern Australia. As of just past 8am, no fires are burning at emergency level in New South Wales, and no deaths were reported over night, which is great news. But fire danger remains very high today, and some fear the worst could be yet to come. A reminder that it’s still November. Meanwhile, politicians argue over whether climate change plays a part – though scientists say the matter is settled.

2. Speculation is rife that the RBA is planning for unconventional policy measures, after it was confirmed governor Philip Lowe will speak on quantitative easing (QE) later this month.The speech, titled ‘Unconventional Monetary Policy: Some Lessons from Overseas’, will be delivered at the annual Australian Business Economists (ABE) dinner in Sydney on 26 November. Of course, he could just be nerding out on matters of monetary policy, as is his wont, but chances are there could be something to it. After all, he’s spent the last few months talking about QE and negative interest rates as distinct possibilities.

3. Uber has launched its loyalty program, Uber Rewards, in Australia. We’re the third market to get access. Have a read of our explainer to find out what’s included. The general gist is that regular power users of Uber and Uber Eats will quickly start accruing rewards which will incentivise them to continue being power users, but the average person isn’t going to find much there to encourage them to pick up the spend. In other words, it’s a well-targeted loyalty program.

4. US food delivery company DoorDash is continuing its Australian expansion with a rollout in Sydney. You might remember DoorDash for the press it received at its Melbourne rollout when it delivered food for restaurants which never signed up. But there you go: another delivery option for Sydneysiders.

5. Disney’s streaming service, Disney Plus, has launched in the United States. Here’s what it looks like. As you may expect for a launch of a product of this scale, it’s having some technical difficulties. Hopefully they’re ironed out by the time it lands in Australia next week.

6. It’s pretty obvious the most highly anticipated of the new Disney Plus shows is “The Mandalorian”, the first live-action “Star Wars” series. You can read our reporter’s impressions here. Again, Aussies are going to have to wait a week to see it. You can sit there and watch the countdown over at the website, if you feel so inclined.

7. Facebook has launched a payment service in the United States which works across its main apps, Instagram, and WhatsApp. No, it isn’t its fabled currency project Libra. It’s their version of quick payment apps like Venmo, basically, allowing people to ping money to their mates through the company’s various messaging services. Whether or not it’ll come to Australia is an open question. But it’s another example of Facebook muscling out key players in other markets in order to be part of every aspect of human life.

8. Also on Facebook: its news project is in a bit of hot water this morning after it was revealed its boss cofounded a website critical of presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships, started the website The 74, which is focused on issues around the US public education system. A Facebook spokesperson said Brown had “been transparent about her role” with The 74 “for many years.” With all the political implications of Facebook and its news arm, perhaps not a great look.

9. Elon Musk’s spacefaring startup Space X successfully launched 60 Starlink satellites into orbit (say that ten times fast) on Monday. And now there’s video! More than happy to facilitate some hump day procrastination by giving you some rockets to watch.

10. Can the Labour Party over in the UK beat expectations and win a surprise election? The polls right now point to a clear Conservative victory, but there has been a shift in voter intention over the past year or so. Recall that in the 2017 election, leader Jeremy Corbyn managed to overturn poll leads of up to 25 points to come within striking distance of victory. Either way, it’ll be an interesting clash.

BONUS ITEM

If you’re in the business of salivating over timepieces you do not have the money to afford, then do I have the article for you. Here are the watches worn by some of the world’s top CEOs. Lots of Apple Watches in there, which are maybe more achievable.

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