The 10 most important things in the world right now

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know on Thursday.

1. Chancellor George Osborne pulled out plenty of surprises in his annual budget on Wednesday, against a backdrop of a worsening global economic outlook and slowing growth. Growth forecasts were cut across the board, with GDP the growth forecast to slow to 2% this year from 2.2% last year.

2. One of Osborne’s major announcements was the introduction of a sugar tax on soft drinks. The tax is expected to raise around £520 million in the first year, which the Chancellor said will be used to help fund sport in schools.

3. Frank Sinatra Jr., who carried on his famous father’s legacy with his own music career, died on Wednesday at the age of 72.The younger Sinatra died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida

4. The European Commission has asked tax authorities in Ireland for additional information on Apple’s tax affairs in the country, according to The Irish Times. The Commission is investigating Apple’s Irish tax arrangements amid concerns the company may have received preferential treatment from the government.

5. President Barack Obama on Wednesday selected Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.Obama announced Garland, 63, as his pick to take late Justice Antonin Scalia’s spot on the court, noting Garland’s respect from politicians across the political spectrum.

6. Leaders of the European Union meet in Brussels on Thursday to agree on a deal to offer Turkey which would secure Ankara’s commitment to a scheme intended to halt migrant flows to the Greek islands.

7. Four suspected jihadists were arrested Wednesday in the Paris region including one who was thought to be planning “violent acts,”Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

8. Australia’s parliament began an acrimonious final sitting day before a May budget on Thursday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull considering dissolving both houses of parliament and calling an early election to end a hostile Senate.

9. A video surfaced on Thursday appearing to show a missing Japanese journalist, reportedly held by an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria,reading a message to his family and country.

10. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff named her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as her chief of staff on Wednesday,sparing him possible arrest for corruption as she seeks to fend off a damaging crisis.

And finally … Something weird is driving inequality in the UK and economists don’t understand why it’s happening.

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