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Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom appears in New Zealand court to fight US extradition

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Flamboyant German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom appeared in a New Zealand court on Monday, after nearly four years of legal wrangling, at a hearing to determine whether he will face copyright infringement and other charges in the United States.

The case will decide whether Dotcom, the founder of file-sharing website Megaupload, and three other executives can be extradited to the United States. Other charges include racketeering and money laundering.

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“This case is not just about me. This case is about how much control we allow US corporations and the US government to have over the Internet,” Dotcom said on Twitter before the hearing began.

Dotcom entered the courtroom wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap, his Mercedes SUV with the number plate “KIM.COM” parked outside.

Dozens of black-clad police, working in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, rappelled into Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion in 2012. Years of legal wrangling ensued.

U.S. authorities say Dotcom and the three other Megaupload executives cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material, such as movies and TV shows.

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Dotcom greeted supporters in the gallery but sat apart from the other accused men in a black leather arm chair brought to the court from his mansion. He told New Zealand radio last week he needed a special chair because of back problems.

The case is being watched closely by the media industry and developers in the file-sharing business for signs of how far Washington is willing to go to protect U.S. copyright holders.

The hearing is scheduled to take two weeks. Monday’s session was largely procedural and the case will resume on Thursday.

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Dem senator accuses the FBI of a carrying out a ‘cover-up’ for Brett Kavanaugh — and calls for an investigation

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angry Brett Kavanaugh

Old wounds were reopened this week when a New York Times article, written by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, focused on Deborah Ramirez — one of the women who, in 2018, accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, in a USA Today op-ed published on Friday, argued that Kavanaugh wasn’t adequately vetted as he should have been.

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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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