Hello all. TGIF.
1. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says intelligence indicates an Iranian missile shot down the Ukrainian Airlines flight earlier this week, which crashed with 63 Canadians on board. In total, all 176 people aboard the flight were killed in the crash. Media reports indicated Thursday that an Iranian surface-to-air missile likely downed the plane by accident. Trudeau wouldn't be drawn on whether he blamed Trump for escalating tensions with the initial strike against Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
2. A video, which has been verified by the New York Times, seems to show a missile striking the plane. The plane, which was bound for Kyiv, crashed minutes after taking off early Wednesday, shortly after Iran fired a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq. US officials have said they think the plane was shot down by mistake, as Iranian defence systems were likely active at the time.
3. Mining billionaire Twiggy Forrest announced a $70 million donation to bushfire relief, with $50 million earmarked for preventative efforts and research. Lovely! Well, almost as soon as it was announced, Twiggy announced he believed arson was responsible for the bushfires and appeared to downplay the effects of climate change. Hours later, he made another statement, saying he "unequivocally" believes in climate change, and believes it is a primary cause of this terrible bushfire season. Above anything else, it must be nice to be rich enough to not be across the brief of your own $70 million donation.
4. Obviously, everyone is talking about Harry and Meghan right now. Now they've made their exit from the royal family and plan to become "financially independent" – whatever that means when you're a literal scion of the monarchy – attention turns to what they'll be getting up to. Here's a roundup of what the evidence points to as their next step. Here's a hint: whatever path they take, it certainly involves trading on their massive brand.
5. New South Wales isn't building nearly enough houses for the future – and it means prices can only keep soaring. Sydney, for example, is building 10,000 homes less per year than it needs to, according to targets set out by the Greater Sydney Commission.
6. One of Australia's oldest family-owned winemakers, McWilliam's, has entered administration. The company has called in administrators from KPMG to seek new capital or a buyout after a decline in financial performance. McWilliam’s Wines Group is an unlisted publicly-owned company which has been operating for over 141 years across six generations of family ownership. You may know them as purveyors of cheap plonk – which, to my mind, is a crucial part of Australia's wine culture and economy.
7. Here's something nice: an Aussie website which lets you buy 'virtual products' from small businesses impacted by the bushfires in East Gippsland. On the site, you can choose to buy a variety of virtual items like coffee, beer, clothes, dinner or even accommodation, with all the proceeds being donated to the respective businesses. The East Gippsland is dotted with towns reliant on strong tourist income through the summer months.
8. Boris Johnson's Brexit bill, passed 330 votes to 231.. This was a shoe-in, considering the scale of Johnson's win in the election last year. It marks a historic moment in the Brexit process ahead of the UK's scheduled departure from the EU on March 31. Former prime minister Theresa May, by contrast, repeatedly failed to get her own bill across the line. Looks like Brexit quite possibly means Brexit.
9. If you haven't been keeping an eye on all the gadgetry announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, you're in luck. Here's Business Insider's wrap of the best in show – including an extraordinarily pricey electric toothbrush. You know, if you're in the market for one of those, which I'm sure you are.
10. Tesla's market value is now more than Ford and GM combined. Make of that what you will. Tesla gained nearly 5% on Wednesday, bringing its market capitalisation to roughly $US89 billion at the end of trading. Earlier this week, Tesla officially became the highest-valued automaker of all time, surpassing Ford’s 1999 record of $US80.8 billion market value.
What do you reckon about the new Subaru Forester's acronym?