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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

A hearty TGIF to you and yours.

1. Li Wenliang, the doctor who originally sounded the alarm about coronavirus, has died. Li was reprimanded by Wuhan police after he first spread the warning about the SARS-like virus, and was required to sign a letter acknowledging he was “making false comments.” Li caught the coronavirus himself after treating infected patients. Wuhan Central Hospital reported at 3 a.m. local time on February 7 that he died after “efforts to save him were ineffective.”

2. Some welcome reprieve for New South Wales after months of heat and catastrophic bushfire conditions. A severe weather warning has been issued for Sydney and a good chunk of coastal NSW, with a large amount of rain being dumped on the state by an intense trough. Now we've got flash flooding to deal with. Always something going on!

3. Almost half of Australian employees will ask for a pay rise this year – and they probably won't get one. New research suggests 45% of Australians consider getting a pay bump their biggest professional goal in 2020, but stagnant wage growth puts that out of reach for many. Funnily enough, it's those in healthcare – the industry with the strongest wage growth – who are least likely to ask.

4. Virgin Australia is ending its flights between Australia and Hong Kong amid continuing civil unrest and the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak. The service will end on March 2, 2020. Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer, John MacLeod said in a statement that Hong Kong had “continued to be a challenging market”.

5. Uber will trial its Jump e-bikes in Melbourne from March. The e-bike roll-out is part of the rideshare company’s broader plan to give people more options for getting around the city without a car. Uber absolutely has a leg-up by virtue of the fact most people already have the app – but we've also seen the fate of other, similar attempts in Australian cities. It leaves to be seen whether we'll be fishing Jump bikes out of the Yarra come April.

6. Speaking of Uber – it has released its fourth quarter results. The losses were smaller than expected, which is what good news looks like when you're talking about Uber. It ended up losing about $US615 million versus an expected $US713 million, so that's nice. “2019 was a transformational year for Uber and I’m gratified by our progress, steadily delivering against the commitments we’ve made to our shareholders on our path to profitability,” chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a press release.

7. Let's turn to the Democratic primaries over in the US a moment. The end is (possibly) in sight for the Iowa caucus debacle, as Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders claimed victory. There's still some number wrangling to do – only 97% of the count has been released – but Sanders is claiming victory on the basis he leads his nearest competitor Pete Buttigieg by 5,954 votes in the first alignment, and 2,518 votes in the second.

8. An interesting little fact for you: Apple sold about 10 million more watches than the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019. A report by UK management consulting firm Strategy Analytics estimated that the US tech giant shipped 31 million watches last year. That compares with the estimated 21.1 million shipped by the Swiss watch industry.

9. Microsoft's Xbox boss says he doesn't consider Sony's PlayStation or Nintendo's Switch their real competitor anymore. "When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward," Phil Spencer said in a recent interview with Protocol. It's an interesting portent for the future of home entertainment.

10. I consider this among the 10 things everyone must know today, so you're going to have to deal with it: Netflix has finally given subscribers a way to turn off auto-previews. You know, the mini-trailer which plays at volume when you linger on a selection for longer than 0.0001 seconds. Big moment. You can find out how to turn it off here, if you're so inclined.

You gotta watch this.