Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Wednesday, December 20. It’s going to be a hot day, with a chance of a possible thunderstorm. Temperatures are expected to hit 36 in the city and up to 42 in the west. Enjoy your day!
Temperatures to top 42 degrees in Sydney's west before southerly arrives
Sydney will sweat through a scorching day on Wednesday, with parts of the city to exceed 40 degrees as firefighters warn of "very high" fire danger for the region.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the inner city will reach 36 degrees, while Bondi will have a top of 34, Penrith and Richmond will have a maximum of 42. Campbelltown and Liverpool will reach 38 degrees.
Angus McLean-Smith, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said the hottest temperatures are expected in the late morning, driven by north-westerly winds. Read more.
Banks overhaul code of conduct in bid to rebuild trust
Banks have vowed to make it easier for customers to cancel their credit cards, they will stop charging statement fees, and borrowers will be alerted when their interest-free period is about to end, as part of a new code of conduct.
The Australian Bankers' Association will on Wednesday unveil a swag of changes intended to put a greater focus on ethical behaviour in an industry that has copped a backlash from government. Read more.
New fuel efficiency standard 'would reduce carbon and save billions'
Motorists will save more than $500 a year on fuel if the federal government acts on a proposal to introduce a new fuel efficiency standard.
The finding, contained within the Turnbull government's long-awaited review of climate change policies, projects economic benefits of up to $14 billion if the new standard is fully implemented by 2025.
Savings would be made to household budgets through all new small cars being required to run on cheaper, more efficient fuel, while the economy would pocket $50 per tonne of carbon not released into the atmosphere. Read more.
Future of NSW public pools under threat
A report by the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia has found the average visit to a public pool leads to health benefits worth nearly $27.
The Economic Benefits of Australia's Public Aquatic Facilities also found that public swimming pools produce $2.8 billion in health benefits each year in addition to their value as places of recreation, community and aquatic education.
Almost 40 per cent of Australians are classed as "physically inactive", meaning they do less than 60 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Read more.
NAB refunds $1.7 million for overcharging interest on home loans
National Australia Bank has refunded $1.7 million to 966 home loan customers after incorrectly setting up some mortgage offset accounts over a seven-year period.
NAB started an internal review in February after a number of complaints from customers who were overpaying interest on their home loans. Read more.
Australian Tax Office cuts 4600 jobs in four years
A cut to the Australian Taxation Office's headcount reaching 4600 in four years has left remaining staff struggling and the agency under-resourced, Labor says.
Agency annual reports show the magnitude of its recent downsizing under Coalition efforts to reduce the number of public servants.
Labor's acting shadow Assistant Treasurer Matt Thistlethwaite said the cuts had made life for the office's remaining staff harder. Read more.
Semi-trailer destroyed by fire following Hume Highway truck crash
A police investigation is underway following a two-truck crash on the Hume Highway on Tuesday.
At about 11.35am, a truck carrying a skip bin and a semi-trailer, carrying gravel, collided on the Hume Highway near the Glenlee Road overpass.
As a result of the incident, the semi-trailer caught fire. The fire was extinguished by Fire and Rescue personnel, but the semi-trailer was destroyed by the blaze. Read more.
Sydney man charged with 'foreign incursion' after raid at Mount Lewis
A man from Sydney's west has been charged with foreign incursion offences after police raided a home near Bankstown on Tuesday morning.
Belal Betka, 25, from Mount Lewis, allegedly travelled to the conflict zone in Syria in March 2015 before returning to Australia seven months later. Read more.
Recall notice for 59,000 Ford Rangers in Australia
More than 59,000 Ford vehicles across Australia are being recalled after a defect was discovered that could lead to smoke or even fire.
Ford Rangers that were available for sale between July 12, 2016 and December 7, 2017 are affected by the recall.
The recall has been made because of a defect that can cause vegetation to become stuck under the vehicle near the exhaust system, when it is driven over long grass. Read more.
Ange Postecoglou confirms Japan coaching gig
Europe was calling but outgoing Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou's next coaching job will be in Japan.
The Asian Cup winner has accepted the job in charge of City Football Group (CFG)-aligned J.League club Yokohama F. Marinos and will take up the reins in the new year.
"I am excited to be moving to Japan and returning to club football," Postecoglou said. Read more.
Video referee spoils A-League emotion: Alex Brosque
For many critics, the A-League's video assistant referee (VAR) intervenes too frequently, gets calls wrong and takes too long.
For Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque, the much-maligned technology also erodes one of football's fundamental joys; goal celebrations.
Brosque has joined the chorus condemning the current use of the VAR, after a slew of controversial incidents prompted Football Federation Australia to overhaul the system in time for the next round. Read more.
Thunder steal dramatic final-ball win in smashing Sydney derby
The Sydney Thunder stole a dramatic final-ball win over the cross-town Sixers, completing a superb comeback after needing 15 runs off Sean Abbott's last over of the match.
Arjun Nair hit the last ball into the covers and sprinted through for a diving single as the 21,589 fans on hand at Spotless Stadium exploded into life after what had shaped as a relatively dull opening to the tournament before the last five overs. Read more.
Heat on Cook, Broad after England's meek surrender
England's hierarchy are backing underperforming senior pair Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad to bounce back from their Ashes failures after the visitors surrendered the urn on Monday.
A match the English described as the "biggest game of our lives" ended in embarrassing fashion when Joe Root's men succumbed by an innings and 41 runs in Perth.
The loss of star all-rounder Ben Stokes crippled England's campaign but nor were they helped by some substandard performances from their most experienced players. Read more.