The 10 most important things in the world right now

At least 10 people have died in wildfires spreading across California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hello! Here’s what’s happening on Tuesday.

1. .The leader of Catalonia is expected to address the regional parliament on Tuesday afternoon and declare independence. Regional leader Carles Puigdemont is coming under pressure to move away from any such declaration, with businesses beginning to announce they’re moving out of the region and the Spanish government saying it would respond to an independence announcement immediately.

2. Military eyes were on North Korea today after US President Trump hinted at war. On Monday, Trump tweeted that “policy didn’t work” in dealing with North Korea, a day before North Korea’s Party Foundation Day on Tuesday, which analysts predicted could see a potential missile launch from Pyongyang, although that idea may have been postponed due to rain.

3. Confusion is reigning over discussions between the EU and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Speaking to parliament on Monday, May said she hoped the EU would put forward new proposals in a new round of Brexit talks, saying the “ball is in their court”. However an EU spokesperson essentially said the same thing saying “the ball is entirely in the UK court for the rest to happen”.

4. Trump’s popularity is slipping in rural areas of the US. A Reuters/Ipsos poll of 15,000 people in non-metro areas found that his overall support has dropped. Trump has also lost favour with men, whites and people who never went to college, with the popularity drop largely in part due to the President’s current track record on immigration.

5. ISIS has been cornered in Raqqa by US-backed forces with a final showdown imminent. The city was a Syrian cornerstone of their self-proclaimed caliphate since they took control in 2014. ISIS fighters in Raqqa are now surrounded after months of fighting with the US-backed Syrian Defense Forces, who are now preparing for a last big showdown between the two sides.

6. At least 12 Rohingya Muslims, many of them children, have died after a boat headed for Bangladesh capsized. While counts vary as to the number of people on board – some reports say up to 100 – a rescue mission is underway to find many of those still missing. Fleeing violence in Myanmar, Rohingya Muslims have been seeking asylum in Bangladesh via land borders, but some have tried to cross the sea in fishing boats.

7. ‘Russian agents’ reportedly spent tens of thousands on Google ads during the 2016 election. The misinformation ads were intended to affect the 2016 US election and appeared on Google search pages, Gmail and YouTube. Recently Facebook disclosed that its platform was also used by fake accounts linked to Russia to spread thousands of ads during the election.

8. Iraq’s Vice President has warned that civil war could occur over the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk. VP Ayad Allawi has called for a resolution in talks between Iraqi Kurds and the government, urging the sides to not take aggressive measures. The oil-rich city has been held by Kurds since the government fled from ISIS in 2014.

9. A report co-authored by a People’s Bank of China researcher says China’s economy is about to hit a wall. Put out by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and PBoC researcher, the paper says, “Our analysis indicates that the momentum of Chinese growth is likely to slow in the near term.”

10. You can now buy full citizenship of Vanuatu for less than 44 bitcoin. The South Pacific nation’s citizenship can be bought for $US200,000 ($AU257,000) and offers visa-free travel to 113 countries. Investment migration, where governments offer visas and citizenship in return for local investment, is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

And finally…

Iceland has the fastest growing ‘national brand’ in the world thanks to ‘Game of Thrones.

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