(Bloomberg) --

Hello Australia, it’s Jackie here and this is what’s happening around our region this morning:

Great Debate: Political corruption, domestic manufacturing of green energy and support for nurses were among the most fraught issues in last night’s election debate between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese. A snap poll showed Albanese had the edge in what’s been a tight race so far.

Khaki Election: The debate also grew heated once the Solomon Islands’ security pact was brought up. It’s emerged as a hot issue as the prime minister burnishes his record on national security ahead of the election. Still, there’s evidence the focus on defence may not give him much of an advantage as polling shows voters are more interested in household issues.

Crypto Frenzy: The Bitcoin ETF bandwagon is coming to Australia. Cosmos and 21Shares-ETF Securities both aim to debut funds next week as regulators finalise approvals for products with direct exposure to digital assets. Some analysts say Australia could be the Asia-Pacific’s gateway to crypto ETFs.

Travel Perks: If you’re flying over the long weekend ahead, there are even more ways to travel in style. Virgin Australia opened three small airport lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in a bid to rival Qantas’s VIP treatment. The lounges are accessed through unmarked doors and feature freebies such as meals and drinks, including a 23-year-old rum. Unfortunately, they are invite-only.

Climate Watch: A Glencore climate plan is facing greater scrutiny following a report that the company is understating methane emissions from some of its Australian coal mines. The releases were so significant they caused the commodities trader to underestimate its global operational emissions by 11% to 24% between 2018 and 2021, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility said in a report.

What Happened Overnight

Putin Warning: Russia said it test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile, upping the ante in the Ukraine war. "This unique weapon will strengthen the military potential of our armed forces, will reliably guarantee Russia’s security against outside threats and force those, who in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric try to threaten our country, to think again," Vladimir Putin said on state TV. Separately, a small but increasing number of senior Kremlin insiders are quietly expressing alarm over Putin's decision to go to war in Ukraine.

French Polls: France is also gearing up for a vote, and President Emmanuel Macron and nationalist leader Marine le Pen just debated live on television, clashing over Russian oil and security. All the polls indicate Macron is likely to win a second term Sunday. But from Citigroup to asset manager Amundi, warnings are piling up that markets are underestimating the risk of a surprise, like Brexit.

Tesla Surge: Tesla stock rose as much as 5.1% in after-hours trading following better-than-expected earnings. The first major American automaker to report its first-quarter results, Elon Musk's company warned of supply-chain constraints and lower factory output, especially as Shanghai's Covid lockdown crimps production in China.

More Musk: Meanwhile, the Tesla CEO still has his eye on Twitter. Sources say Musk has started looking for financing for his $43 billion bid to buy Twitter. The social network is hoping a poison pill will ward him off — here what that means and other terms you should know to understand his takeover fight.

Propaganda Boost: North Korean propaganda is getting slicker, thanks to Kim Jung Un's Hollywood makeover. He's boosting the country's image with drones, graphics and even rocket-mounted cameras.

What to Watch

  • BHP releases its quarterly production report
  • Zip, Stockland and Challenger are among companies scheduled to issue updates

One More Thing…

Making New Friends: McDonald's got a boost from an unlikely source. In March, longtime adversary PETA bought the fast-food chain's McPlant burgers (sans cheese and mayo) in bulk for a giveaway, and the marketing stunt lifted short-term sales of the plant-based burger. It's part of a shift in strategy from the nonprofit to help promote new vegan offerings and reduce demand for signature menu items.

And with that, have a great day.

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