The 10 most important things in the world right now

From one captain to another. Former Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore (L) chats with current captain Michael Hooper (R) during a practice run in Sydney before the team takes on Scotland on the weekend. Photo: William West/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Hello! Here’s what you need to know on Friday.

1. Brexit talks will begin on Monday despite Britain’s political chaos. Last week’s shock general election outcome cast doubt over whether negotiations would go ahead, but the UK government’s Brexit Secretary, David Davis, and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, have agreed that official divorce talks will begin on June 19.

2. UK Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity has hit an all-time high. Meanwhile prime minister Theresa May’s downward spiral is showing no signs of ending anytime soon.

3. Britain will stop giving politicians early access to financial data. The move follows fears that sensitive information is being leaked to the market ahead of its official publication, allowing traders to profit from inside information.

4. There will be an inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire in London. “We need to know what happened. We need to have an explanation for this. We owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived,” May said. “People deserve answers, the inquiry will give them.”

5. US president Donald Trump proved former FBI director James Comey right on a major part of their dispute. By obsessing over clearing his name in the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, Trump may have made the issue a whole lot worse for himself. Meanwhile vice president Mike Pence has hired outside legal counsel to help with questions from investigators on the issue.

6. Jared Kushner’s finances and business dealings are now a focus of the Trump-Russia investigation. Kushner, an adviser and son-in-law of Trump, met separately with the Russian ambassador to the US and a Russian businessman in December — interactions that were already under scrutiny as part of the FBI probe.

7. The US student detained by North Korea likely suffered a severe neurological injury just after his trial. Doctors caring for Otto Warmbier say the 22-year-old is in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness”, a condition which they’re suggesting was caused by extensive brain damage. Some say tragedies like Otto Warmbier’s are the real threat from North Korea, not nuclear war.

8. Nearly 4,000 more US troops will be deployed to Afghanistan. The Trump administration hopes the troops will help to break a stalemate in a war which has now passed to a third US commander in chief.

9. The US Senate has approved new sanctions on Iran and Russia. The bill includes an array of penalties aimed at choking off the vast financial networks that US lawmakers say Moscow and Tehran need to sustain their destabilising behavior.

10. Thousands of travelers were forced to fly without their luggage after Heathrow’s baggage system failed. The two terminals involved are primarily used by British Airways and American Airlines.

BONUS ITEM: Someone just paid over $AU875,000 for a parking spot in Hong Kong. Yes. And in case you’re wondering that’s $HK5.18 million.

And finally…

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