The 10 most important things in the world right now

Two Russian Su-24M attack jets made extremely close passes on a the HNLMS Evertsen, a Dutch air defence frigate, this week, according to the Dutch navy. The Russian jets got within 200 meters of the ship. Watch it happen here. Photo: Marineschepen/ YouTube.

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

1. The US Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to oversee the Trump-Russia investigation. Former FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee investigations into potential ties between associates of the US president and Russian operatives. Mueller’s appointment was hailed by Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as the national-security community. Here’s more on how the special counsel will work.

2. People are ramping up wagers over whether Trump will serve out a full term as US president, following the controversies surrounding the dismissal of Comey.

3. Trump is reportedly working toward “peace through engagement” to solve North Korean nuclear crisis. While Trump said “a major, major conflict” with the North was possible, he wanted to resolve the crisis diplomatically using economic sanctions.

4. Russia’s surprising reaction to North Korea’s missile test may reveal its intentions for the region. Russian president Vladimir Putin was the only world leader to speak up for Pyongyang, warning the international community to exercise caution and patience – and stop intimidating the state and its ruler.

5. Britain’s national security is no safer in the hands of Theresa May than it is in Jeremy Corbyn’s, according to Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham. He says May’s backing of Trump, following the Russia controversies, and her handling of the NHS cyber attack, have been “totally inadequate.”

6. Australia has been hit with its biggest ever tax fraud . Australian Federal Police allege it is from a company called Plutus Payroll, which a criminal syndicate used to siphon off $A165 million in tax due from payrolls. A deputy commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office, Michael Cranston, will face a charge of alleged abuse of his position as a public official, while his son and daughter have been arrested and are among six people charged with conspiracy to defraud.

7. India is scanning people’s fingerprints and eyeballs to make a database of every citizen. And if people don’t comply, they will risk losing the ability to pay taxes, collect welfare, and access other government assistance programs.

8. Japan’s princess Mako is set to lose her royal status by marrying commoner. The eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito is set to wed a former university classmate. Japan’s imperial law requires a princess to leave the royal family after marrying outsiders.

9. There will not be a laptop ban on flights from the US to Europe. After a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, officials rejected the measures.

10. Google kicked off it annual conference for developers on Wednesday. Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other company execs took revealed product updates to Android, Google Home, Google Assistant and Google Lens. At also announced that there are officially more than 2 billion devices running Android.

And finally…

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