Hello and welcome to Monday.
1. Australian authorities are investigating claims a Chinese espionage ring attempted to install an agent in Parliament. It follows reports in the Nine papers over the weekend that Chinese intelligence sought to pay for the political campaign of Liberal Party member and Melbourne luxury car dealer Bo “Nick” Zhao, 32, to run for a seat in the city's eastern suburbs. "Australians can be reassured that ASIO was previously aware of matters that have been reported today, and has been actively investigating them," said the agency's director-general of security Mike Burgess in a statement.
2. Billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced he's in the running for the Democratic nomination for US president. “I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” he said in a statement. “We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions." It's a fairly late entry compared to the rest of the pack, but he obviously has the means to unleash significant ad spend very, very quickly – I'll let you decide whether that's good for democracy or not. One interesting thing: Bloomberg News is now in a mighty tough spot, and it has issued a statement confirming it will not investigate any of the Democratic field as a result.
3. Despite its mildly botched announcement, Tesla's Cybertruck is tracking well – according to Elon Musk, at least. The Tesla CEO says the bulky, angular electric vehicle has received 146,000 orders. One fairly significant caveat: that number represents deposits, which are completely refundable and may never convert into actual sales. Nice figure, though!
4. Take note, those who tried to hack Jack Dorsey's Twitter account. A member of the "Chuckling Squad", the group allegedly responsible for taking over the Twitter CEO's account using a SIM-swapping technique, has reportedly been arrested. The hackers used their opportunity back in August to post a slew of racial slurs and bomb threats.
5. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges at the end of last week, and James Packer is involved. The billionaire was alleged to have offered various gifts to Netanyahu and his family over several years. However, police did not allege any benefits given to Packer by Netanyahu in exchange for these gifts.
6. If you're low on capital but high on green (sorry), Australian medicinal cannabis company Greenfield MC Global has opened up an equity crowdfunding round. This means investors are able to buy a stake in the company for as little as $242. The company hopes to raise between $500,000 and $1.5 million in this round, which has just under three weeks left to run.
7. Record voter turnout at Hong Kong's district council elections has delivered a swathe of seats to pro-democracy activists, in what is seen as a rebuke of Beijing. It's being seen as a "de facto referendum" despite the fact the councils are largely advisory in their role. By 3am, 177 pro-democracy candidates had picked up seats out of a total 452 seats, as compared to 17 pro-establishment candidates.
8. Onto the impeachment hearings front over in the US: a pattern is emerging where moderate Republicans are piling in on Trump's defence. This isn't good news for the Democrats, who have little chance of actually securing an impeachment unless they manage to land the support of skittish Republicans. The spectacle rolls on.
9. Following news Victoria's Secret is ditching its famous fashion show, the company's CFO says it didn't actually do much for sales in the first place. On an investor call, Stuart Burgdoerfer said in recent years the company had not seen a “material impact on short term sales" in the days following its extravagant outings. Of course, that doesn't account for what the show contributed in a broader branding sense.
10. NASA is currently testing an alien-hunting, upside-down underwater rover in Antarctica. The robot, called the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration (BRUIE), is built for the hidden subsurface seas of distant ice worlds like Europa – rolling along under the ice scoping out possible little green men. Or whatever else might be living in the vast oceans below the icy surface. Pretty cool.
Because we were all genuinely wondering.