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Assange looking at a year in embassy, says father

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s father said Saturday that his son thought he could spend as long as a year held up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, but was prepared for his “long meditation”.

John Shipton, Assange’s biological father, said he spoke frequently with the 41-year-old who won asylum from Ecuador to escape extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations.

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“He’s in a small room… and in that he has a treadmill and a sunlamp,” he told AFP in Sydney’s Redfern where he had accepted an Aboriginal Nations passport, for use when travelling within Australia, on behalf of his son.

“But he faces his future with equanimity. He says he may have to spend 12 months in this situation. I think that he’s prepared himself for his long meditation.”

Shipton, 68, said his son was still pressing ahead with his plans to run for the Australian Senate in the national election due next year, and had asked his father to write the constitution for his yet-to-be founded political party.

Sydney-based Shipton said he felt Australians were “genuinely concerned and moved” by the plight of Assange and the work of WikiLeaks, which has published hundreds of thousands of documents online, including confidential United States State Department emails.

He said he had spoken to Assange about the Aboriginal Nationals passport — used for travel through Aboriginal lands in the country.

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“This occasion is a further opportunity to generate support for Julian’s situation,” he said.

“The irony is it’s a great help to bring to notice to people that the situation is well, very questionable, morally very questionable.

“The (Australian) foreign minister could do a little more. Although he says he has done a lot, he won’t speak to me.”

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Shipton, who said he had always kept in touch with Assange’s mother but had little contact with his son from when he was three until his twenties, spoke of his pride in Assange, a former computer hacker.

“I am astounded, absolutely astounded. And each day more impressed,” he said.

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“He seems as though he handles himself at those rarefied atmospheres really quite well.

“It must have taken a great deal of suffering to have learned so quickly how to move amongst those people… and not display fear when the whole American empire wishes to crush you.”

But Shipton won’t be watching a new movie about Assange’s earlier life called “Underground: The Julian Assange Story” which is set to screen on Australian television early next month. He doesn’t have a television.

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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