The 10 Most Important Things In The World Right Now

James Webb TelescopeNASA Webb TelescopeNASA’s view of the honeycomb-shaped James Webb telescope.

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know for Friday.

1. A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 passengers exploded and crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing everyone on board. The flight headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, is believed to have been shot down by pro-Russian separatists, although there are “strong indications that those responsible may have errantly downed what they had thought was a military aircraft only to discover, to their shock, that they had struck a civilian airliner, The New York Times reports.

2. Some of the world’s top aid experts, headed for an international conference in Melbourne, Australia, were passengers on the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed over Ukraine. It’s believed that the former president of the International AIDS Society, Joep Lange, was among those killed, Xinhuanet reports.

3. The Israeli military launched a large-scale ground invasion in the Gaza strip after Hama militants rejected a truce brokered by Egypt. The goal of the new phase after 10 days of fighting is to “target Hamas’ tunnels that enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks,” The Israeli Defence Force tweeted. “This requires precise operations,” they added.

4. The massive layoffs at Microsoft on Thursday mark one of the highest workforce cuts in the company’s nearly 40-year history. Microsoft CEO Satay Nadella said the company would cut 18,000 jobs — 14% of the workforce — over the next year.

5. Google revenue jumped 22% in the second quarter to nearly $US16 billion, which was better than the expected $US15.6 billion. During the call, chief business officer Nikesh Arora also announced that he will be leaving the company to join SoftBank.

6. New York City transit authorities said they reached a tentative deal with labour unions from the Long Island Rail Road, dodging a transit strike that would have stranded thousands of passengers over the weekend. According to Reuters, the contact provides a 17% raise over the next 6.5 years, but workers must pay healthcare benefits for the first time.

7. Bloomberg reported on a Russian-led cyber attack on NASDAQ’s central servers that took place in 2010. The hack represents “the only time a digital weapon has been planted inside a critical U.S. system,” the Daily Beast reports. The hack, while intercepted, was an attempt to steal information for Russia’s owns stock exchanges.

8. Many flights have been cancelled in Libya as air controllers go on strike after the terminal of Tripoli’s main airport was hit by shells of a rival militant group.

9. German World Cup midfielder Mesut Özil has donated nearly $US600,000 of his personal winnings to more than two dozen surgeries for sick children in Brazil. Özil considers the contribution “a personal thank-you for the [country’s] hospitality,” The Telegraph said.

10. Broadway icon Elaine Stritch died at the age of 89 at her home in Michigan. Stritch appeared in movies and T.V. shows but was best known for on stage performances, winning five Tony awards and three Emmys in her lifetime.

And finally…

Scientists say they expect to find alien life on another planet in the coming decades, aided by the launch of NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope.

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