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Wikileaks’ Julian Assange says Ecuador seeking to end his asylum

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday that Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum in its London embassy and hand him over to the United States, citing a new set of rules governing his residence at the Andean nation’s diplomatic mission as evidence.

Assange spoke from the embassy via teleconference at the first hearing of a lawsuit in Quito that was initiated by his legal team against the Ecuadorean government. The lawsuit challenges the new rules, which require him to pay for medical bills, phone calls and clean up after his pet cat.

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During the hearing, Assange said the new rules were a sign Ecuador was trying to push him out, and said Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno had already decided to end his asylum but had not yet officially given the order.

His comments prompted the South American country’s top government attorney, Iñigo Salvador, to interrupt him and warn him not to make political statements during the proceedings.

Court officials told journalists they could not record any of the statements made during the hearing.

Salvador did not directly respond to Assange’s allegations, but he had told reporters last week Assange was welcome to stay in the embassy with the new rules. He also said the United Kingdom in August had assured Assange would not be extradited if he left the embassy, where he has lived since 2012.

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Assange took refuge in the embassy after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That case has been dropped, but supporters have said that Assange fears he could be extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy.

WikiLeaks, which published U.S. diplomatic and military secrets when Assange ran the operation, faces a U.S. grand jury investigation.

In a departure from its previous practice of maintaining dialogue with British authorities over Assange’s situation, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister José Valencia told Reuters last week that the government would no longer intervene on Assange’s behalf, adding that the government was “frustrated” by the lawsuit.

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Reporting by Alexandria Valencia; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa Shumaker


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Three judges suspended for drunken 3 AM fight at White Castle — that ended with two shot

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Three judges were suspended after engaging in a drunken shooting outside a White Castle.

"Three Indiana judges involved in a Downtown Indianapolis fight in May that ended with two of the judges shot have been suspended without pay after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they committed judicial misconduct," the Indianapolis Star reports. "In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said judges Bradley Jacobs, Andrew Adams and Sabrina Bell 'engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.'"

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What Zelensky knew: The devastating and darkly ironic impact of Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine

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In their effort to exculpate President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry, Republicans put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s denial that he ever felt pressure from the White House to open up investigations into Democrats at the center of their argument. A new GOP memo says that both leaders have acknowledged “there was no pressure” on the famous July 25 call that sparked the inquiry and thus argues that the allegations made by Democrats that Trump abused his power don’t hold.

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Greta Thunberg says ‘people must finally wake up’ to the fact Trump is ‘so extreme’ on climate change

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Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

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