The 10 most important things in the world right now

Steeple Chase race in Huntingdon, UK. (Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

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

1. US-backed forces have reclaimed the Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS. After a four month offensive, Syrian Democratic Forces recaptured the ISIS stronghold, however the path to peace is not yet clear.

2. China’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party is underway. The five-yearly meeting selects the party’s top leadership and sets forth the economic policies and plans for the future. Already, President Xi Jinping has announced China’s intention to be a “leading power” by 2050.

3. A US federal judge has blocked President Trump’s third travel ban. The judge in Hawaii placed a nationwide, temporary suspension on the travel ban just hours before it was going to take effect. For now, travellers from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and Libya can still enter the US.

4. US senators have reached a deal to save the Obamacare payments Trump recently tried to kill. Two Republican and Democrat senators have come together to create a deal that will offset the cost of health insurers providing plans to poorer Americans.

5. North Korea has told the UN it plans to launch more satellites in the next few years. Pyonyang is a party to a number of space treaties that state “space is a common asset to humankind”, but is aggravated by attempts from the US to stop it launching satellites.

6. Estimates now say an oil spill last week was the largest in the US since Deepwater Horizon in 2010. A federal agency investigation began on Monday into the LLOG Exploration Co spill of around 8,000 oil barrels off the coast of Louisiana.

7. At least 40 people have died as wildfires in Spain and Portugal are finally brought under control. Rain and lower temperatures have enabled firefighters to control the blazes thought to be set by arsonists. Portugal is currently observing three days of national mourning.

8. The former boss of the world’s second largest mining company, Rio Tinto, has been charged with fraud in the US. The Securities and Exchange Commission allege executives inflated the value of coal assets it bought and sold, and the company faces penalties and the return of “ill-gotten gains”.

9. Polls indicate the billionaire deputy prime minister could win the Czech Republic’s elections this week. Nicknamed the “Czech Trump”, Andrej Babi┼í is an anti-immigrant candidate who is facing fraud charges but still expected to win the most votes.

10. Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros has donated $US18 billion ($AU22 billion) to promote democracy. Soros made the donation over the last few years to Open Society Foundation, making it the second largest philanthropic organisation in the US behind the Bil and Melinda Gates Foundation.

And finally…

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