Hello! Here’s what you need to know on Thursday.
1. Hurricane Irma has lashed Caribbean islands as Florida braces to be hit next. At least four people have already been killed on four different islands as the Category 5 storm moves north-west.
2. The US wants to freeze North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s assets. It has proposed a range of new UN sanctions against the rogue state, including an oil ban.
3. South Korea has deployed the four remaining launchers of the US THAAD anti-missile system to defend itself from North Korea. Two launchers had already been deployed. Protesters clashed with thousands of police at a scene.
4. When it comes to North Korea, China is happy to make Trump squirm. While China’s leaders probably dislike Kim Jong-un as much as Americans and want an end to his reckless behavior, they are unlikely to heed Trump’s calls to help him bring the tyrant to his knees because it fears a premature reunification of the two Koreas under US influence.
5. Facebook says fake accounts linked to Russia bought thousands of ads during US election designed to amplify divisive political messages. It discovered roughly $US100,000 in ad buys between June 2015 and May 2017 connected to nearly 500 affiliated fake accounts.
6. Britain’s prime minister Theresa May has called on lawmakers to back a repeal bill to sever political, financial and legal ties with the EU. The legislation is critical to her government’s plan to exit the bloc in 2019.
7. EU defence ministers will hold cyber wargames on Thursday to test their ability to respond to a potential attack by computer hackers on one of the bloc’s military missions abroad. In the exercise each EU defense minister will try to contain the crisis over the course of 90 minutes. It is the first time the “EU CYBRID 2017” exercise has been conducted.
8. The parliament in Spain’s restive northeastern Catalonia region has approved an independence referendum for October 1, despite Madrid vowing to outlaw the vote.
9. US prosecutors have charged a former Turkish economy minister and a former general manager of a Turkish state bank with conspiring to evade US sanctions against Iran. The indictment broadens a case targeting Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab over sanctions evasion, which has fueled tension between the US and Turkey.
10. Australia will vote on same-sex marriage in a postal survey after the High Court of Australia dismissed two challenges to the vote. While the survey is a non-binding, non-compulsory vote, if a majority “Yes” result is delivered there will be a free vote in Parliament, which is expected to pass.
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