The 10 most important things in the world right now

Demonstrators set fire to a National Guard riot control vehicle in Caracas during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

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

1. Senate Republicans signal they plan to scrap the health bill the House just passed and write their own. After laws scrapping Obamacare finally passed on their second attempt, and Donald Trump rejoiced, Republican senators signaled they plan to almost completely gut the American Health Care Act and rewrite their own version.

2. Trump kept Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull waiting while he celebrated. The pair met in dinner suits for just 30 minutes aboard the USS Intrepid, which is now a museum, before they both spoke at a gala dinner to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle of the Coral Sea.

3. The Tories have the early lead in the UK’s council elections. Five weeks out from the general election, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is bracing itself for a bruising day.

4. North Korea is accusing China of being a US puppet. The state-run Korean Central News Agency criticized China directly for “reckless remarks” on the North’s nuclear program, saying China was testing its patience, which could trigger “grave” consequences.

5. Oil is being hammered. Prices slumped below $US45 a barrel to levels last seen in November 2016 when production was cut by OPEC amid soaring U.S. oil production, appear to have more than negated attempts to cut output by others in the first half of 2017.

6. Protests against Venezuela’s leftist president Nicolas Maduro had left 36 dead. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is in jail and Madura wants to change the constitution, increasing the level of protest amid a month of civil unrest.

7. British manufacturing is reporting rapid growth. Shaking off Brexit, the UK’s small and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers reported strong growth in orders in the three months to April with domestic orders up 19%, export orders up 20% and new orders at three-year high.

8. A World Trade Organisation fight over plain packaging for cigarettes appears to have gone Australia’s way. The WTO dispute-settlement panel appears to have sided with Australia over its right to use plain-packaging in an as yet unpublished decision that will cause global shockwaves for the $US770 billion sector.

9. US companies hold more than $US2 trillion in profits held abroad . With $124 billion, Microsoft had the most profits among S&P 500 companies kept outside the US last year.

10. French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is suing over ‘cyber misinformation’. While he seems a shoo-in for Sunday’s French run-off vote, Macron filed a lawsuit over rumours on social media that he had hidden wealth in offshore accounts, a claim far-right rival Marine Le Pen suggested during a live debate. Paris prosecutors say the case is not against Le Pen, but persons unknown.

And finally…

The incredible life of Prince Philip, who is retiring from public life at the age of 96

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