1. A shot across the bow. The US has sent two warships into the South China Sea and it’s been perceived as a threat by Beijing. The US Navy stated that the exercise was targeted at challenging “excessive maritime claims”. The area was declared international waters by an international arbitration tribunal, but China has openly rejected the ruling and claims the territory as its own. Britain has also announced plans to move a HMS Queen Elizabeth, a large warship, into the same region.
2. Time’s running out — and that’s exactly May plans. The UK Labour party has accused Theresa May of purposefully “running down the clock” so that parliament is forced to vote for her deal or leave with nothing. With the looming economic threat in a no-deal scenario, May is playing her trump card here. The UK has to approve a deal before the end of March.
3. The US dollar climbed to its highest point all year in dollar index terms (DXY), while the Aussie dollar sunk to its lowest against the greenback. Here are some key economics reports being released today.
Iron ore continues to surge after a superficial boost at the start of the year following the collapse at a Brazilian mine. Spot markets currently sit at multi-year highs.
4. 17 Australians have reportedly been detained while visiting family in China as part of a widespread crackdown on the Uighur, a Muslim ethnic minority. The detained are reportedly sent to detention centres and forced to renounce their faith and be “re-educated”.
5. Cuts for Tesla. Tesla largest institutional holder divested half its stake in the company. T. Rowe, the largest stakeholder apart from Musk cut its stake from 10.12% down to 5.2% in December. Despite this, Tesla is up 3.1% this year.
6. The Bezos affair continues. Senior Saudi officials have had to weigh in on Jeff Bezos’ love affair after the Amazon CEO flung accusation at the Saudi government in a scathing blog post last week. Reports have pointed towards Lauren Sanchez’s brother as the leak. The Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubier called it a “soap opera”.
7. Folded, unpacked. Samsung has hinted that it’s new foldable phone will be launched at the Unpacked event on February 20. The foldable phone has been a long-awaited feature of the smartphone.
Samsung will also be launching the new Galaxy S10 at this event. Here are all the rumours about their new model.
8. “The bigger mystery is why anyone trusted Quadriga in the first place.” ICYMI, the CEO of a crypto exchange in India died suddenly at the age of 30 from complications related to Crohn’s disease. The exec was the only person with the passwords to access about $AU266 million worth of deposits held by customers. Now the story is getting even stranger. The sheer amount of missing funds, as well as several odd circumstances surrounding the man’s death, have led to theories he faked his death in an elaborate scam to rob his customers. Read more here.
9. The art of financial planning. A financial strategist suggests that building your financial picture is the first step, but how you frame it matters too. Justin Hooper talks about the important things to watch out for in financial decision-making.
10. Tesla is rolling out dog mode. The original idea came from a tweet suggesting that your beloved pooch can sit in the car with the AC on and play its favourite tunes with a message saying “I’m fine my owner will be right back”. The details for the final version haven’t been released.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 20, 2018
Meanwhile, Musk says he’s “confident” people could afford to “sell their home on Earth” and move to Mars on a SpaceX rocket. Hmmm.
BONUS ITEM: This eerie photo from an abandoned wildlife park in Melbourne is doing the rounds. The shark was not abandoned alive, but was a preserved exhibit back when the park was open. Many redditors are comparing it to a famous artwork by Damien Hirst.
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