The 10 most important things in the world right now

Campaigners protest outside the Scottish Parliament on February 1, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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

1. Rick Gates, one of Paul Manafort’s longtime associates, may be seeking a plea deal. Lawyers representing Gates, who is facing money laundering charges in the United States amid the country’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, have quit the case. The development could signal that Gates may seek a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

2. Brexit Minister Steve Baker will apologise for suggesting civil servants may be conspiring against the government.Baker had claimed that the civil service may be secretly working to keep Britain in the customs union after Brexit.

3. The UK is reportedly considering a Customs Union with the EU after Brexit. The union could help maintain trade with Europe but also damage the UK’s global deal-making and enrage Brexiteers.

4. At least 18 people were injured after a vehicle drove into a crowd of pedestrians in Shanghai. Police say they believe it was an accident and not an attack.

5. North Korea warned against US military-South Korea military drills after the Olympics. The US last month said its drills would resume after the Paralmypics.

6. The US says Syria may be developing new types of chemical weapons. Senior US officials said President Donald Trump is may consider further military action if necessary to deter chemical attacks.

7. Apple sold fewer iPhones than expected during the holiday quarter, according to its December quarter earnings. However, Apple beat Wall Street expectations for both revenue and earnings per share.

8. Fidel Castro’s eldest son died of an apparent suicide at age 68. Castro Diaz-Balart had previously been hospitalized for depression.

9. Elon Musk’s Boring Company sold out if its $US500 flamethrowers. The company also sold Boring Company hats for $US20 to bring in revenue.

10. Google parent Alphabet missed revenue targets and its shares fell on Thursday. Alphabet also announced an $US8.6 billion share buyback and a new board chairman during its fourth-quarter earnings report.

And finally …

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