Vox Sentences: A government secret Julian Assange wants no part of

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The Department of Justice will likely prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; North Korea’s leader supervises the testing of an ultramodern tactical weapon.


A leaked unsealed document suggests Assange will be prosecuted

 Jack Taylor/Getty Images
  • Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has been hiding out in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition, is likely to face federal charges in the US — if he hasn’t been secretly charged already. [WSJ / Aruna Viswanatha and Ryan Dube]
  • This news leaked in an unusual way: An unsealed court filing in an unrelated case contained the phrase “Assange has already been charged” — suggesting that a copy-and-paste gone awry might have given away the contents of a secret indictment. [US District Court for Eastern District of Virginia]
  • US authorities have been trying to charge Assange since 2010, after the first “dump” of confidential government documents on WikiLeaks, a nonprofit website that publishes classified media and secret information provided by anonymous sources. [YouTube / CNN]
  • Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy since 2012, where officials have granted him political asylum. If he ends up being charged by US prosecutors, though, he would have to be arrested and extradited — a complicated diplomatic and legal process. [NYT / Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Michael S. Schmidt]
  • We don’t yet know what the charges are — and their content is very important. As noted by the Intercept, the notion that Assange could be prosecuted for publishing confidential documents was regarded as extreme and dangerous during the Obama era due to its implications for freedom of the press. [The Intercept / Glenn Greenwald]
  • Serious diplomatic issues aside, the Ecuadorean Embassy might not be terribly sad to see Assange go — he is reportedly an awful houseguest. [Wired / Virginia Heffernan]

Kim Jong Un attends another missile test

  • North Korea is claiming to have a new, “ultramodern tactical weapon,” but it’s not saying what the weapon is just yet. [NYT / Choe Sang-Hun]
  • A South Korean government source told CNN the weapon was a “newly developed” piece of long-range artillery that is “likely to be a multiple rocket launcher.” [CNN / Yoonjung Seo and Ben Westcott]
  • The move comes amid deteriorating relations between North Korea and the US. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said the US will not provide North Korea with a full list of nuclear and missile sites before a second meeting between President Trump and Kim is arranged. [CNN / Yoonjung Seo and Ben Westcott]
  • In response to a previous Times story saying North Korea is developing missile bases, President Trump tweeted that nothing is “happening out of the normal … I will be the first to let you know if things go bad.” [Twitter / Donald J. Trump]
  • In the meantime, North Korea announced it will release an American the regime detained last month – a gesture of goodwill despite the weapons test. [CBS News via AP]

Miscellaneous

  • A group of Purchase College students discovered a shrine to Danny DeVito hidden behind a school restroom’s paper towel dispenser. [Fox News / Ryan Gaydos]
  • Yet another recent art auction commanded record prices, with British artist David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist selling for $90.3 million at Christie’s in New York. [Twitter / Kelly Crow]
  • Firefighters in Northamptonshire, England, were called to a house after the owner thought he’d heard the fire alarm go off. They soon discovered it was his parrot who sparked the call after impersonating the fire alarm sound. [BBC]
  • A lost 1920s Walt Disney cartoon titled Neck ‘n’ Neck and featuring a character many think is a precursor to Mickey Mouse was found in Japan in the possession of an 84-year-old man who’d bought the film as a teenager. [THR / Gavin J. Blair]

Verbatim

“Some may believe that we’re chasing shadows, but our efforts are meant not just to perform due diligence, but to be a warning to other fugitives, that U.S. Marshals don’t give up because of the passing of time.” [The FBI has created replicas of decoy heads that Alcatraz inmates used to escape the notorious prison / AP]


Watch this: The Kamasutra is not (just) about sex

Here’s what the Kamasutra really says. [YouTube / Ranjani Chakraborty]


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