The 10 most important things in the world right now

Lemurs enjoy their food treats for Christmas at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. Photo: James D. Morgan/ Getty Images.

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

1. ISIS has claimed credit for the Christmas market attack in Berlin. The terrorist group had their claim published by Amaq News Agency, the unofficial propaganda news arm of ISIS. The attack killed 12 people and wounded at least 48 others.

2. Dozens of cities across China have issued pollution “red alerts” as smog shuts down schools, stops flights, closes roads. In Shijiazhuang, the capital of northern Hebei province, air quality readings of PM2.5 fine particulate matter soared beyond 1000 micrograms per cubic metre on Monday night — more than 100 times the level recommended by the WHO.

3. 29 people are dead after explosions at a fireworks market in Mexico. Federal police believed a further 70 people have been wounded in the incident. The cause of the explosions was still under investigation.

4. The World Bank will loan Iraq almost US$1.5 billion to lessen the impact of low oil prices on its economy and shoulder the cost of the war on IS.

5. The US Congress will now require the Pentagon to reveal the true cost of war. The requirement comes as president-elect Donald Trump has begun scrutinising the Defense Budget and voicing complaints about excessive spending and over-the-top contracts.

6. US president Barack Obama has permanently banned offshore oil drilling in the “vast majority” of US-owned northern waters. The White House cited the “vulnerability” of the region to oil spills as its motivation. It comes as Obama prepares to leave office January.

7. Belgium has opened the world’s first beer pipeline that pumps 1,000 gallons per hour every day. The innovative pipeline transports beer from the main brewery facility to the bottling facility two miles away.

8. India is trying to solve its cash crisis with a massive lottery of electronic money. Beginning on Christmas Day, the Indian government will hold a daily lottery for anyone who buys into a new system of electronic payments. The prize amounts vary from roughly $15 to $1,500, culminating in an April 14 draw for more than $1.5 million.

9. Venezuela has reopened its border with Colombia, eight days after president Nicolas Maduro closed it in order to combat smuggling. It came at the same time he announced the withdrawal of the country’s highest denomination bank note.

10. Anti-terrorism police in Indonesia have killed three suspects after bomb was found during a house raid. The raid followed the interrogation of 14 suspects after a series of arrests relating to planned suicide attacks in the capital, Jakarta.

And finally…

‘The internet will shut down for 24 hours next year’

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