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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Sharon Masige

Image: Bill Gates Foundation/ Supplied

Good morning!

1. Bill Gates tied to Jeffrey Epstein. The former world's richest man is the latest high-profile figure to become embroiled in the scandal surrounding disgraced wealth manager Jeffrey Epstein, who died on Saturday in an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on sex crime charges. A report by CNBC alleges Gates met with the former Wall Street high-flyer to discuss philanthropy, even after he had served jail time.

2. Former foreign minister Julie Bishop calls out toxic masculinity in politics. In her appearance on Channel 7’s program, Interview, Bishop labelled the phrase "gender deafness", the challenge women face of being heard when they are the only ones in the room. "I love men and I think they have a wonderful contribution to make to humanity. But if you’re the only female voice in the room, they just don’t seem to hear you. It’s as if they’re not attuned to it,” she said.

3. Hong Kong protesters continue in the fight to uphold democracy. A video posted on social media by pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong showed protesters gathered in the Hong Kong International airport, singing one of the most recognisable songs from the Broadway musical “Les Misérables” titled “Do You Hear The People Sing?” which was a call for revolution. One protest leader has warned the situation could become the next Tiananmen Square.

4. Meat prices could go up thanks to new taxes. A new report from research firm Fitch Solutions has concluded that “sin taxes” — levies on products deemed undesirable like tobacco and sugary food and drinks — could soon be applied to meat. “The global rise of sugar taxes makes it easy to envisage a similar wave of regulatory measures targeting the meat industry,” Fitch said in a note supplied to Business Insider Australia.

5. Australian company SafetyCulture invests another $4.25 million into learning platform Ed App. EdApp is a pioneer in smartphone-based education and training, counting Pandora, Mercedes-Benz, the Commonwealth Bank, Mars and Shell among its customers. It has secured a $4.25 million investment from SafetyCulture, which previously invested $4 million in the learning platform’s initial capital raise in 2018.

6. YouTube is being sued by LGBTQ content creators for discrimination. LGBTQ creators are suing YouTube and its parent company, Google, alleging the video platform discriminated against them by unfairly applying its policies in a way that restricts queer content from making money and being seen by a wide audience. The class-action lawsuit accuses YouTube of unfairly applying its policies in a way that deems queer content as “shocking” and “sexually explicit” while letting hate speech thrive.

7. WeWork files for its IPO. The co-working space business publicly released its paperwork for its initial public offering on Wednesday, posting a net loss of US$1.6 billion in 2018 on revenue of $US1.8 billion. The company also revealed a list of risk factors investors should be aware of. Meanwhile critics on Twitter mocked some of the language used in WeWork's filing, particularly the company's dedication to "the energy of we".

8. Amazon, Facebook and Google hit back against tax reforms in France. The French government last month passed plans to clobber tech companies with a 3% levy on their revenue, in addition to the more traditional method of taxing profit. The so-called digital services tax is set to increase the tech giant's tax bills by millions of dollars. The firms have submitted written evidence to a US government investigation into France’s tax, in which they said the plans are “unjustifiable.”

9. University of Technology Sydney (UTS) looks at incorporating cannabis into anti-ageing cream. UTS partnered with ASX-listed medicinal marijuana company Bod Australia for research into an anti-ageing cream that incorporates cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in cannabis.

10. The Trump administration admits the cost of the trade war on US consumers. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross explained the administration’s decision to delay a portion of the planned tariffs until December 15 on CNBC on Wednesday, citing a desire to protect shoppers from adverse effects during the holiday season. It was a tacit, yet remarkable admission that the ongoing trade war with China is threatening the pockets of American consumers.

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