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Published on: Thursday, April 12, 2018

  • Trump the tweeter is at it again, overnight issuing the following missive. “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t  be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
    In response, Russia's ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, told Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, "If there is a strike by the Americans, then we refer to the statements of President [Vladimir] Putin and the chief of staff that the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” according to NBC News.
  • Malcolm Turnbull is creating the option of an early federal election by ordering the state Liberal Party divisions to hurry up and finalise their preselections, the AFR reports this morning. The Prime Minister has requested all preselections be finalised by June at the latest.
  • Rio Tinto has deflected cricticism on its executive salary policy after proxy adviser Glass Lewis criticised the firm for paying out bonuses in 2017, a year when two employees died at work. Glass Lewis said any payout in a year when employees had died - one in Australia and one in the United States - was "considered a serious breach of moral and ethical code by many investors".
  • A Beijing-funded wharf in Vanuatu, that is big enough to allow powerful warships to dock alongside it, is raising fears it could be converted into some kind of Chinese naval installation. Fairfax Media inspected the $114 million Luganville wharf on Wednesday and was told US coastguard officials and Marines recently visited the sprawling facility and took a keen interest in its specifications. The wharf is now the largest in the South Pacific.
  • In the third statement from the company since a fatal crash involving a Model X, Tesla again placed blame on the driver, shortly after the man's family hired a firm to explore legal options."The only way for this accident to have occurred is if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road, despite the car providing multiple warnings to do so," the company said in a statement.
  • The number of dwelling starts fell by 5% in the December quarter, dragged lower by a 11.7% fall in apartments. However across Australia, 218,842 homes are being built, down just 2.4% on the 224,314 record set in September quarter 2016.
  • At 7.10 am the US Dow Jones -0.9% at 24,189, S&P 500 -0.6% at 2,642, and Nasdaq -0.4% at 7,069. In Europe, the FTSE -0.1% at 7,257, DAX -0.8% at 12,294, and Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5% at 3,420.

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