The 10 most important things in the world right now

TOPSHOT – A man dressed as Santa Claus somersaults during a charity event for socially disadvantaged children at the Fitnesscenter Meridian gym in Hamburg, northern Germany, on December 20, 2017. Photo: DANIEL REINHARDT/AFP/Getty Images

Hello! Here’s what’s happening on Thursday.

1. US Congress passed the Republican tax bill. The nearly $US1.5 trillion tax cut is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.

2. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has given an end date for Britain’s Brexit transition. The transition should begin in April 2019, and Michael Barnier said it will end by December 31, 2020.

3. Another North Korean soldier defected to South Korea. Last month, a North Korean soldier dramatically defected amid heavy gunfire causing soldiers to violate an armistice agreement.

4. Catalonia is voting in regional elections on Thursday. The vote comes after a controversial independence referendum that led to the regional government being completely dismissed.

5. Apple admitted it has been slowing down older iPhones. Critics have accused the company in the past of purposely slowing phones to compel users to upgrade to its latest model.

6. South Korea is developing large-scale drone swarms for military use. The news follows South Korea’s plans for a “decapitation unit” using suicide drones to kill North Korean leaders.

7. Trump threatened to cut aid to UN members who vote against his Jerusalem decision. The UN General Assembly will meet on Thursday to vote on a draft calling for Trump to withdraw his decision to consider Jerusalem Israel’s capital.

8. Europe’s top court just dealt a blow to Uber. The European Court of Justice ruled Uber a transport service meaning EU governments could regulate it more or even ban the service.

9. NASA picked two finalists for its $US1 billion space mission.The teams have one year to finalise their concept before a winner is picked in 2019.

10. A Japanese robot company is trying to get Elon Musk to send their robot to Mars. The founder of the project put up a billboard next to the Los Angeles SpaceX office to get Musk’s attention.

And finally …

Trump’s tax plan could bring $250 billion into the US — here are the companies set to benefit most.

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