10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

AP Photo/Mark SchiefelbeinHong Kong is no longer a fan of the NBA great.

Welcome to Thursday, where the week is just heating up.

1. One of the biggest sporting names in the world, LeBron James, is under fire, quite literally. Fans in Hong Kong have taken to burning his jersey in response to his comments regarding the NBA-China controversy. LeBron appeared to kow-tow to China this week, after he claimed the NBA’s general manager Daryl Morey “wasn’t educated” when he tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protests. Morey’s comments sparked a huge backlash in China, and now LeBron’s threaten one in Hong Kong. Basketball fans in Asia right now should probably leave their jerseys at home.

2. US President Donald Trump may have committed financial fraud after it was revealed that he kept “two sets of books”, a new report by ProPublica claims. One version, provided to lenders, provided a sunnier view of his assets, while those provided to tax authorities downplayed their value. At least one filing was made after he took office. That could spell trouble for the President, with two courts ruling he must turn over documents to Congress and prosecutors. Could this be the house of cards finally slipping?

3. That brings us to Elon Musk who is reportedly in financial trouble of his own. A legal filing indicates that Musk testified to a court that he is “financially illiquid” — AKA as cash broke, according to a report by Bloomberg. Musk made the admission as he fights defamation charges against British diver Vernon Unsworth, who he infamously called “pedo guy”. But could Musk actually be broke? Well, he’s valued at $US23.6 billion, but much of that is tied up in Tesla and SpaceX stock, meaning he might not be able to access a lot of that money very quickly. Given humanity’s future on Mars could be tied up with him, we’re hoping Musk doesn’t crash and burn like one of his early rockets.

4. You might want to put the vape down. A new study shows that smoking that thing for only a month can cause lung inflammation, even if you’re healthy and have never smoked before. It’s the latest alarm ringing for the industry after 26 deaths and almost 1,300 cases of serious lung disease were linked to vaping in the US. So much for being safer than the old cancer sticks.

5. It’s not only the health risks that continue to scandalise vaping either. It comes at the same time that companies like Juul are under investigation for allegedly using bots to promote vaping via social media. The researchers behind the discovery found there were hundreds of thousands of pro-vape messages being spammed across platforms, with some suspecting it was a move to reach kids. Now, that’s sickening.

6. Supermarket giant Aldi is also in the spotlight after workers protested in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, accusing the chain of forcing them to drive with fatigue and work in unsafe conditions. According to the Transport Workers Union (TWU), those who raise concerns are “ignored and even ridiculed”. Aldi however wholly refutes the claims, and has hit back claiming it’s all a pack of “lies”. It won’t be the last we hear about it, given it’s now launched proceedings in the Federal Court against the union.

7. The NSW coroner is set to officially recommend pill testing be implemented in the state to stop young people dying at music festivals but the government isn’t having any of it. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has slammed the policy, saying it “sends the wrong message”. Other recommendations from the coroner included getting rid of sniffer dogs and police searches at festivals, suggesting they do more harm than good, but the government looks ready to ignore them entirely.

8. Forget the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, the fastest-growing travel destination in Australia turns out to be good old Canberra. Despite cutting its tourism spend, our Bush Capital is being overrun by visitors both from within Australia and abroad. Expect a line next time you visit Questacon.

9. Met with relief by millions, the UK has scrapped its controversial plan to block access to porn sites. Boris Johnson’s government was set to introduce measures to force Britons to verify their age to view pornographic material by uploading selfies or even purchasing a so-called “porn pass”. The idea, legislated in 2017, now appears to have finally been tossed.

10. North Korea has released new photos of Kim Jong-Un riding a white horse through the snow. As bizarre as it sounds, experts say it’s a sign that Kim is done trying to seek relief from sanctions. The official story from the regime? “Having witnessed the great moments of his thinking atop Mt Paektu, all the officials accompanying him were convinced with overflowing emotion and joy that there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and make a step forward in the Korean revolution.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Bonus item

Ever wondered what would happen if the Earth stopped spinning? Me neither. But it turns out, a lot of weird and wacky stuff would transpire if it did. See our educational video below.

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