The 10 most important things in the world right now

Cyclone Debbie left a trail of destruction over far north Queensland.
Photo: SBS News/ Facebook.

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

1. Article 50 will be triggered in the UK today. Britain’s two-year exit process from the EU will begin on Wednesday when the UK’s permanent representative to the EU, Tim Barrow, hands over a letter signed by British prime minister Theresa May to the European Council, formally requesting Britain’s exit from the union.

2. Scottish parliament has voted 69-59 in favour of a second independence referendum. Although the UK government has reiterated that it will not be entering negotiations with the Scottish government over a referendum before Brexit is completed.

3. US president Donald Trump has taken an axe to former president Barack Obama’s climate legacy. On Tuesday he signed an executive order that will set the EPA on course to scrap the Clean Power Plan, and begin dismantling many of the federal government’s other policies for addressing climate change.

4. Trump is pushing China and Europe together. European diplomats say that China has launched a charm offensive with the European Union since Trump took office, shifting its stance on trade negotiations and signaling closer cooperation on a range of other issues.

5. China is building a new base in Africa that creates “significant operational security” issues for the US military. China’s new “logistical support” facilities will be next door to the US’ Camp Lemonnier, a special-operations outpost in Djibouti.

6. The US “probably had a role” in the Mosul strike that may have killed hundreds of civilians, said a top US commander in Iraq. While an investigation is still underway, he said that IS may also be to blame.

7. The proposed UN ban on nuclear weapons is unrealistic in today’s high-threat environment, according to the US commander of NATO forces. He says North Korea’s nuclear provocations and Russia’s aggressive military modernisation are examples as to why a nuclear ban would not work.

8. Young, vocal Russians are the biggest threat to the Putin administration. More than 90 separate demonstrations protesting government corruption have taken place throughout the country this week led by popular opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

9. The endangered Indochinese tiger may be making a comeback in Thailand. Conservationists on Tuesday hailed the discovery of a new breeding population as a “miraculous” victory for a sub-species nearly wiped out by poaching.

10. A 16-year-old Taekwondo champion headbutted 111 concrete blocks while doing somersaults to break a World Record. Kerim Ahmetspahic broke the previous record of 65 blocks, set by Oliver Gimsehl in 2016, in just 35 seconds.

And finally…

Kid races bike on sidewalk next to world-class pro for a few glorious seconds

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