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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Sharon Masige

Good morning!

1. Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has died in jail by apparent suicide. The former Wall Street fund manager with links to many famous people including US President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew was being held without bail at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking. A trove of salacious documents has now been released relating to charges against him, including by a former Australian employee Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was being groomed as a sex slave by Epstein and his socialite accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell.

2. Hong Kong protests enter 10th consecutive week. Police fired teargas at protesters across the city as mass protests calling for democracy continued over the weekend, the Guardian reported. Riot police reportedly fired teargas into a railway station on Sunday night to disperse crowds and also beat protesters with batons.

3. Interest rates headed to 0%. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe appeared before a parliamentary hearing in Canberra on Friday and said the bank might be willing to do "unconventional things" like slashing the cash rate to zero and engaging in the controversial practice of 'quantitative easing' if the global economy doesn't smooth out soon.

4. Russia accuses YouTube of interfering in politics. The country has accused the Google-owned platform of spreading information on opposition protests, describing recent push notifications from YouTube interference in Russia’s sovereign affairs, according to the Guardian.

5. Serena Williams forced to retire during the Rogers Cup final. Williams played four games before succumbing to back spasms, which saw 19-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu win the trophy.

6. British pound could reach parity with the US dollar. The former head of the UK civil service Lord Kerslake told Business Insider the pound could hit parity with the dollar in the event of a no-deal Brexit. If the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal, he said “you could reasonably expect that it will carry on falling.”

7. US President Donald Trump plans to regulate Facebook and Twitter over alleged political bias. According to a report from CNN on Friday, the White House is drafting an order that would give the Federal Communications Commission responsibility for overseeing how tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest keep their services clear of unwanted content. Trump believes the platforms have a bias against conservative commentators and users.

8. Australia is preparing to join US and UK military operations against Iran. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed he is in conversations with both his US and the UK counterparts about Australia beginning military patrols in the Gulf of Oman. It comes as tensions with Iran endanger the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic shipping route that is important in the global supply of oil.

9. Typhoon Lekima strikes China. China was struck by the third-largest typhoon in its history on the morning of August 10. The incident triggered widespread blackouts, flight cancellations and evacuations across major cities, but the most devastating effect was a landslide that killed at least 18 people and left 14 missing.

10. WeWork to potentially unveil IPO this week. The coworking space startup could unveil its IPO filing as soon as this, according to a Bloomberg report on Friday. According to the report, WeWork is planning to raise more than $US3.5 billion in its IPO, which, if it comes to fruition, would make it the second largest IPO in the United States this year.

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