The 10 most important things in the world right now

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson once told Business Insider the story behind his famous kitesurfing photos. See what he had to say here. Photo: Business Insider.

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

1. The UK government has a plan to fix its “broken” housing market: It wants to build 250,000 new homes annually to ensure that “a whole generation” is not “left behind”.

2. Paris wants to be the new heart of European finance. The city is aggressively lobbying British-based banks, financial services institutions, and investors to move to the French capital following Brexit.

3. US Homeland Security chief John Kelly has taken the blame for president Donald Trump’s immigration ban. He said he should have delayed it in order to inform members of Congress before it was announced late on Jan. 27.

4. US Homeland Security expects Trump’s border wall to be “well under way” in two years. But it will include some fencing and may not cover the whole border.

5. ISIS is optimistic about a Trump presidency. While the terrorism group has weakened in recent months by battlefield defeats, the jihadists celebrated Trump’s election, calling it “a blessing from Allah”.

6. The Syrian government reportedly killed 13,000 people, and carried out systematic torture at a military jail near Damascus, according to Amnesty International.

7. China may be preparing for a crippling missile strike on the US in the Pacific. That means if China thinks it is facing a foe that actively challenges its territorial cohesiveness or sovereignty, it will engage.

8. And Beijing will miss out on making the country Asia’s superpower in 2040. A controversial forecast by Geopolitical Futures suggests that China will face serious problems in coming years and Japan will swoop in to take the crown.

9. Solar storms could be driving hundreds of whales to strand themselves in global die-off events, according to NASA which is investigating why these animals are beaching themselves in large groups.

10. Obama challenged Richard Branson to a kitesurfing contest. The former US president has been holidaying at Branson’s private estate in the British Virgin Islands.

And finally…

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