10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

CPL Nicci Freeman/Department of DefenceAn F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jet.

Good morning.

1. In markets this morning, US stocks initially fell more than 1% overnight, before a tech-led rally saw the market close back in positive territory. ASX futures are pointing higher after the local index slumped to a two-year low yesterday. In currencies, the UK pound fell sharply after Theresa May delayed the Brexit vote to avoid a huge defeat in UK parliament. The Indian rupee also fell sharply after the sudden resignation of India’s central bank governor. And Japan’s Softbank has announced its going public in a $US23 billion IPO — the largest in Japanese history. More from markets here.

2. The Aussie dollar is fighting hard against the weakness of the offshore traded yuan, the falling GBP and the US markets. The dollar has been resilient but ultimately has dipped below .7180 for now. David Scutt has more.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

3. The Brexit vote has been delayed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May amid speculation that the government could have lost by over 100 votes in the House of Commons – potentially the biggest parliamentary defeat since WWII. Following this news, the pound has fallen to the lowest level against the greenback since April 2017. May heads to the EU Summit later in the week.

4. Australian capital city home prices fell heavily in December, led again by an ugly decline in Sydney which has now officially “corrected” having falling 10% from the cyclical highs last year. The Sydney downturn is now the largest in nominal terms since reliable records began, surpassing the 9.6% fall seen in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That just happened to occur before Australia’s economy last fell into recession. Hmmm.

5. “A bunch of spineless weasels”. That’s what Australia’s tech industry had to say in an open letter to Labor for backing the government’s encryption bill last week. In a world first, the laws will allow local law enforcement to compel tech companies to provide access to encrypted messaging services.

6. More details have surfaced around the horrific death of Jamal Khashoggi. CNN has reported a translated transcript of Khashoggi’s final moments including gasping for air and repeating that he can’t breathe. Several senior Saudi officials have been identified in the audio by Turkish authorities.

7. “We won’t allow US warships to create disturbance.” A senior Chinese military officer Dai Xu has called for force to be used against US warships in the South China Sea. “One to stop it, another to ram it,” he has been reported as saying.

8. Samsung fans aren’t happy after the company was caught out (again) using DSLR camera photos to promote their smartphone camera features. While there are disclaimers on all the advertising, people have been less than impressed by the tactic as Samsung’s primary selling point is still its photo capabilities.

9. Beware of the rise of a new Australian species: the Mamil, otherwise known as middle aged men in lyrca. Science says the number of Mamils who cycle on weekends, considered by many to be a new sub-species of urban Australian dwellers, has doubled in recent years. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, maybe the study’s explanation of them will help: “He parades along promenades in his weekend peloton (indoor cycling) plumage, having rediscovered the bicycle.” Lol.

10. Check out the bad-ass F-35A Joint Strike Fighters that have finally landed on home soil.

The $100 million planes are part of Australia’s $17 billion fleet. Simon Thomsen has more.

BONUS ITEM: Spare a moment for poor retailers this Christmas as a trend of “fake stealing” is taking off online. Customers are pretending to run out of the store but stop at a mirror at the last second while someone films the reactions.

There are some pretty dedicated staff out there.

Have a great day.

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