The 10 most important things in the world right now

Residents of the Huachipa populous district, east of Lima, are helped by teams to cross over flash floods hitting their neighbourhood and isolating its residents. Photo: Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images)

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

1. Article 50, the formal notification of Britain’s intention to leave the EU, will be triggered on March 29. It will begin with British prime minister Theresa May notifying Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, with a letter. Downing Street then expects a response from the EU within 48 hours.

2. The French election is as much a “coin flip” as Brexit, according to respected analyst Ian Bremmer. A recent poll revealed centrist Emmanuel Macron as favourite to win the second round of the French presidential election. But as the US election and Brexit have shown, support for populist movements has been underestimated and polls have failed to reflect the true feelings of voters.

3. US president Donald Trump is not yet ready to withdraw accusations that former president Barack Obama wiretapped him during the election, despite the FBI and NSA publicly rebuking the president’s claims.

4. The US government has banned electronic devices larger than a cellphone on some flights to and from the Middle East and Africa. The changes are reportedly a result of a security concern related to passengers on non-stop flights from these countries.

5. Iraq’s prime minister has thanked Trump for removing Iraq from travel ban list. Haider al-Abadi also sought stronger cooperation in fighting Islamic State militants during a face-to-face meeting at the White House — the first time they’ve met since Trump took office.

6. South Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-hye has apologised as she undergoes questioning by prosecutors over the corruption scandal that led to her removal from office. In December, the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously to dismiss her as president over allegations she colluded with a confidante to extort money from businesses.

7. Mexican drug war investigators have unearthed 300 skulls in mass graves. The suspected victims of Mexico’s drug war were found in Veracruz, on Mexico’s Gulf coast. The region has long been a stomping ground for criminal gangs, who fight over lucrative drug and migrant smuggling routes.

8. Russia will soon block access to a public shrine to a murdered Putin critic. The memorial to Boris Nemtsov on a bridge opposite Moscow’s Red Square will be removed when parts of the bridge are closed for repairs, depriving the liberal opposition of its most visible political platform.

9. North Korea says it’s not afraid of US threats of military strikes to halt its nuclear and missile buildup. It also slammed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent talk of tougher sanctions, saying the North would not be deterred in its nuclear program.

10. El Niño-driven flooding has killed more than 70 people in Peru. Significant amounts of rain has fallen over relatively short period in some parts of the country, sending flash floods raging through city streets and across dry floodplains where people had built makeshift homes.

BONUS ITEM: A police department in the UK is launching a 24-hour “flying squad” of drones. The technology will help assist the Devon and Cornwall police, who are currently seeking a drone manager to lead the new robotic squadron.

And finally…

Stephen Hawking plans to ride to the edge of space inside Richard Branson’s ship

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