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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Sharon Masige

Good morning!

1. Hong Kong International Airport cancels flights as protests continue. Hong Kong authorities cancelled all flights into and out of the city’s major international airport on Monday as protesters occupied the arrival and departure halls for the fourth consecutive day. About 200 flights were canceled, including the rest of the day’s departures and arriving flights not already in the air. Take a look at images of thousands of protesters flooding the airport here.

2. Stocks slide on Hong Kong fears. Major US stockmarkets all slid overnight, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones all falling by 1.23%, 1.49% and 1.20% respectively. Continued unrest in Hong Kong was a key factor in the rattled investor sentiment. Meanwhile, back in Asia, shares in Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific fell 4.9% on Monday, hitting decade lows after China demanded that the airline prevent protesting employees from flying to the mainland.

3. Australians are expected to lose more than $532 million in scams by the end of 2019, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The figure comes amid National Scam Awareness Week this week - set to surpass half a billion dollars for the first time.

4. Senior executives from major Australian media companies are set to front a parliamentary inquiry into press freedom and national security on Tuesday, SBS reported. It comes after the Australian Federal Police raids at the ABC Sydney office and at the home of a journalist in Canberra in June.

5. Qantas and Australia Post sign a $1 billion deal to deliver parcels by air. The seven-year deal will see Australia Post use Qantas domestic flights to move freight around the country, commandeering in the process three Airbuses exclusive for freight delivery. The deal is being seen as a major boon for Amazon's ambitions in Australia.

6. The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating subway following allegations of underpayment and bullying. However, a Subway spokesperson told Business Insider Australia that franchisees are responsible for their own compliance standards. The spokesperson added that the company makes “no apology” for implementing changes aimed at helping franchisees become more profitable.

7. The Reserve Bank of Australia considers “unconventional” methods of getting the Australian economy back on track. After slashing the official interest rate to 1% — its lowest level in Australian history — RBA governor Phillip Lowe told an economic parliamentary hearing last week that it could cut interest rates to zero or below if the economy doesn’t improve. These negative interest rates have previously only been implemented overseas. Here's what that would mean for you.

8. Europe's mission to prevent Australian cheesemakers from using protected cheese names continues. Feta, gorgonzola and gruyere are among the list of names Europe wants Aussie cheesemakers to stop using, the ABC reported. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is set to release a list of 236 products the European Union wants protected under regulations that let farmers and producers protect names based on a location if they can prove its significance.

9. Russia's nuclear ambitions. Five scientists were killed last week in an explosion at a Russian military base in the Arctic, the BBC has reported. Russia has said the scientists were testing "new technologies", but there are fears the accident may have been part of a failed attempt to test a nuclear-powered engine.

10. Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's death prompts accusers to call for criminal charges against his accomplices. While Epstein's death means he cannot be prosecuted in criminal court over sex trafficking allegations, his actions could still result in criminal punishment if prosecutors bring charges against his associates. In an interview broadcast on Monday, attorney Gloria Allred - who represents several accusers - said she supports bringing criminal charges against co-conspirators.

Check out these kangaroos frolicking in the snow:

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