Here are links to the biggest stories on the internet today.

Stephen Hawking, renowned scientist, dies at 76

Considered by many to be the world’s greatest living scientist, Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the landmark “A Brief History of Time,” which has sold more than 10 million copies.

Tributes flood in for Stephen Hawking

The academic, author and noted scientist brought his complex theories to a wide audience through his bestselling book, “A Brief History of Time.” “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” his three children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a joint statement.

Why Trump’s CIA pick could face bumpy confirmation

Several key Republican senators say Gina Haspel will have to answer for her role in the CIA’s interrogation and detention program before she can be confirmed as the next CIA director, a signal that she faces a bruising and potentially difficult confirmation battle ahead.

Tillerson’s dismissal rattles foreign nerves ahead of North Korea summit

Rex Tillerson may have spent the last 14 months being contradicted by his boss on all manner of foreign policy, but the now-fired Secretary of State was at least a known quantity for US allies during tense moments in 2017.

Philippines to withdraw from International Criminal Court

Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement Wednesday the country had given notice that it would withdraw from the treaty that established the court. Duterte has been accused of encouraging extrajudicial killings and other rights abuses in his bid to rid the country of drugs since his election in 2016.

What — and whom — Merkel’s outlasted during her 12 years in power

Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, entered parliament in 1990 as the Soviet Empire crumbled, rising quickly through the ranks in the newly unified German government led by the late Helmut Kohl.

Angela Merkel starts fourth term as German Chancellor

She will now begin a historic fourth term as Chancellor. The vote in parliament ended almost six months of political turmoil after a federal election saw millions of voters desert the two mainstream parties — Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) — turning instead to parties on the left and right.

Trevor Noah Diagnoses Trump With A New Xenophobic Condition

Trevor Noah thinks he’s pinpointed one of President Donald Trump’s conditions. In a behind-the-scenes clip published online by “The Daily Show” on Tuesday, the comedian lightheartedly suggested that Trump was suffering from “xenophobic FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out).

Seth Meyers Mocks Trump For The Cowardly Way He Fired Rex Tillerson

Seth Meyers took issue with the way President Donald Trump fired outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday’s broadcast of “Late Night.” Tillerson reportedly learned of his ousting from the White House after Trump tweeted the news.

Trump’s Visit To Wall Prototypes Shows The Hubris And Absurdity Of The Idea

SAN DIEGO ― It could have been a victory lap. On a foggy Tuesday, President Donald Trump traveled to the desert outside of San Diego to visit eight wall prototypes constructed in service of his signature policy goal: his “big, beautiful” southern border wall.

Hillary Clinton Says Trump Appealed To Racist, Sexist Voters

Hillary Clinton provoked ridicule and censure for tone-deaf comments at a conference in India about the differences between the states that voted for her during the 2016 presidential election and those that voted for Donald Trump.

UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats

The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on former spy in Salisbury, the PM says. Theresa May said the diplomats, who have a week to leave, were identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”.

Africa’s only female leader refuses to quit

Africa’s only female head of state, Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, is refusing to quit over an expense scandal, just days after it was announced she would resign. Ms Gurib-Fakim denies any misconduct after allegations emerged she made tens of thousands worth of personal purchases on a charity bank card.

Test election held for Pennsylvania seat

A Democrat and a Republican are neck-and-neck in a Pennsylvania special House election viewed as a test ahead of November’s mid-term polls. The solidly Republican 18th congressional district race pits Democrat Conor Lamb against Republican lawmaker Rick Saccone. The two are competing to replace Tim Murphy, who resigned last October.

Stephen Hawking: Reaction to his death

Tributes have been pouring in to the world renowned physicist, who defied motor neurone disease.

Sacked Tillerson issues Russia warning

Sacked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned of Russia’s “troubling behaviour and actions” in a parting statement after being fired by President Donald Trump. He pointedly failed to thank Mr Trump or praise his policies. The former ExxonMobil chief had a series of public rifts with the White House after being appointed last year.

Not just a brilliant scientist, Stephen Hawking was a pop culture juggernaut

Stephen Hawking got plenty right about the universe, and that even extended to his thoughts on pop culture. ” The Simpsons is the best thing on American television,” the late astrophysicist said on BBC’s The Culture Show, reflecting on his appearance on the hit animated series back in 1999.

Don’t believe the rumors: Instagram isn’t killing the algorithm

Hey, Instagram haters: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the company has no plans to change its algorithm-based photo feed, despite what you may have heard. Rumors began swirling late last week that the photo-sharing app had miraculously decided to reverse the two-year-old decision to implement an algorithmic feed.

Stephen Hawking had a brilliant response when asked if he had an equation for time travel

Twitter account ‘Letters of Note’ shared a letter sent by Stephen Hawking to a magazine who asked if he had an equation for time travel.

Stephen Hawking died on Einstein’s birthday because everything in the cosmos is connected

As the world reels from the death of Stephen Hawking, one of the great science minds in all of history, admirers are taking some solace in a few coincidences surrounding Hawking’s birthday and the date of his passing.

The world reacts to the death of the much-loved Stephen Hawking

It may be a cliché to describe someone as an inspiration, but there is no title more befitting for the late Stephen Hawking. The British theoretical physicist died early Wednesday morning aged 76, after a lifetime awing scientists and the public alike with his brilliance, wit, and his encouragement to investigate the universe around us.