The 10 most important things in the world right now

While tennis players competing in the Sydney International struggle to play as a heatwave sweeps across the east coast of Australia, Andy Murray is just warming up ahead of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 16. And when he finally takes the court Channel Seven commentators will refer to the three-time grand slam champion by his new official title, Sir Andy Murray, after he was knighted in December. Photo: Michael Dodge/ Getty Images.

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

1. US president-elect Donald Trump finally concedes Russia is responsible for election-related hacking. At his first press conference as president-elect he publicly acknowledged that Russia was behind the hacking and release of emails from within the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair.

2. He then went on to blast BuzzFeed for its decision to publish a memo containing unverified claims that Trump both was compromised by and collaborated with Russian intelligence agents, describing the publisher as a “failing pile of garbage”.

3. And belittle a CNN reporter. “Since you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a question?” the reporter asked. “I’m not going to give you a question. You’re fake news,” Trump said.

4. The intelligence community “is not in the business of reporting vague rumors” to the president, a former CIA operatives later told Business Insider.

5. And we finally know who wrote the memos about Trump and Russia. It was a former officer in the British intelligence agency MI6, Christopher Steele.

6. In other news, you can now fly from the US to Europe for $94. WOW Air has launched a limited time offer whereby passengers can fly from the West Coast of the United States to Europe for as low as US$69.99.

7. British companies could be charged $1,636 for every EU worker they hire after Brexit. The £1,000-a-year “immigration skills levy” is already being introduced for staff from the rest of the world — and it could be extended to the EU.

8. The Taliban has released video of captured US and Australian soldiers asking Trump to negotiate their release. The disturbing footage shows the hostages pleading with the US government, saying that unless a prisoner exchange was agreed they would be killed.

9. Rio’s Olympic stadium is reportedly abandoned and plagued by looters. Maracanã Stadium held the opening and closing ceremonies and several of the Rio Olympics’ biggest events. But now it is almost unrecognisable.

10. China will merge five state media outlets in a bid to increase the government’s influence in economic and financial news coverage. The new organisation will be known as the China Fortune Media Corporation Group.

BONUS ITEM: Members of the European Parliament will vote on whether robots should have legal status as “electronic persons”. It will become the first comprehensive set of rules for how humans will interact with artificial intelligence and robots.

And finally…

A video from remote Australia shows how modern roads are built – and it’s gone viral

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