10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesLeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers

Good morning.

1. The Australian dollar is getting hosed ahead of the RBA’s latest quarterly growth projections this morning (11:30am AEST). The Aussie tumbled back below US74c in overnight trade on continued strength in the US dollar, during a busy session on currency markets. Around 7am AEST the Aussie fell as low as 0.7372, its lowest point for the week and 0.7% down for the session.


2. The US SEC has upped the ante in its investigation of Tesla. It comes after founder Elon Musk tweeted about his plans to take the company private. According to Bloomberg, the agency had already been gathering information about statements Tesla has made regarding sales and manufacturing targets before launching an investigation into the tweet. Tesla’s board may reportedly tell Musk he has to recuse himself from the situation while they meet with financial advisors to determine how it will explore the idea of converting Tesla into a private company. While shares in the company surged more than 10% Tuesday after Musk shared his plans, a lack of more information and a reported investigation by federal regulators have wiped out the gains and it’s now worth less than it was before.

3. “The situation is extremely serious.” That’s according to the man in charge of overseeing global trade World Trade Organisation Director General Roberto Azevêdo. He says “the first shots have been fired” in a trade war, and that current trade tensions risk hurting the world economy and undermining the post-World War II trading order. Its claims come as economists predict the lingering threat could spell trouble for US stocks, and businesses around the US could resort to layoffs.

4. Another major earthquake hit Indonesia, just days after a bigger one killed 347 people. According to Indonesia’s meteorological agency, Thursday’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake originated several kilometres northwest of Lombok. On Sunday, a powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake devastated the tourist island and killed at least 347. Thursday’s quake is the third to hit the island in under two weeks.

5. The EU is preparing to offer a major Brexit concession to Theresa May. The deal will allow Britain to remain in the single market for goods. However, member states would demand that the UK replicate all environmental, social, and customs rules in return. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has previously ruled out such a deal, and the UK parliament would be likely to reject it on the grounds it would keep Britain too closely linked to the EU and limit the country’s ability to strike new free trade deals.

6. NAB has no idea how many super fund members were wrongly charged fees for services they didn’t get, the financial services royal commission heard yesterday. Following the series of questions by Michael Hodge, senior counsel assisting the commission, of Nicole Smith, the former chair of NULIS, the NAB’s superannuation trustee, about whether fees charged was for access to advice and not for actually delivering that financial advice, NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn says the bank did not act honourably but was not guilty of criminal acts in its wealth and superannuation arms.

7. Samsung just announced the Galaxy Note 9. The phone comes with high-end specs and design, as well as the Note line’s signature S Pen stylus. Samsung added new features to the S Pen stylus, like remote camera control. The 128GB model will cost you $1,499, similar to the iPhone X’s price tag. Here’s a look:

Galaxy note 9Samsung

And here are all the other cool things that Samsung just announced, including the Galaxy Watch, Fortnite, and more.

8. France has launched a new MH370 probe, after the official report failed to work out what really happened. According to French newspaper Le Parisian, the branch of French police that deals with airport security and aircraft terrorism will start a probe to look at the satellite data. Meanwhile the French government has not formally announced an investigation.

9. #MeToo. Tracy Spicer says corporate Australia has “only seen the tip of the iceberg”, with more sexual scandals set to emerge from the financial services, media, health, sport, real estate and hospitality sectors this year. The AFR has more here.

10. NASA is about to “touch” a star for the first time. The US space agency’s Parker Solar Probe, scheduled to launch Saturday, August 11 around 2:33 pm AEDT, will “touch” the sun and study its weather. Temperatures will reach a searing 1,371 degrees Celsius when the spacecraft zooms through the star’s atmosphere at 692,000km/h. More here.

BONUS ITEM: Does LeBron in Lakers colours look weird, or is it just us?

Have a great day.

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