LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange was careful to ensure that the names of informants in hundreds of thousands of leaked secret U.S. government documents were never published, his London extradition hearing was told on Wednesday.
Australian-born Assange, 49, is fighting against being sent to the United States, where he is charged with conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law over the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.
A lawyer for the United States told the court last week that it was requesting Assange’s extradition over the publication of informants’ names, and not for handling leaked documents.
John Goetz, an investigative reporter who worked for Germany’s Spiegel magazine on the first publication of the documents, said the U.S. State Department had been involved in a conference call suggesting redactions, and WikiLeaks had agreed to hold back about 15,000 documents for publication.
“There was sensitivity and it was one of the things that was talked about all the time,” Goetz told the court. Assange was concerned that the media should take measures “so no one would be harmed”, he said.
Goetz said WikiLeaks was later frustrated when a password that allowed access to the full, unredacted material was published in a book by Guardian reporters in February 2011.
Assange made international headlines in 2010 when WikiLeaks published a U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
Assange’s lawyers argue that he would not receive a fair trial in the United States and that the charges are politically motivated. They have also said he would be a suicide risk if sent to the United States, where they say he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.
In 2012, Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was accused of sex crimes, which he denied and which were later dropped.
After seven years, he was dragged from the embassy in 2019 and then jailed for skipping bail. He has remained in prison ever since, after the United States made its extradition request.
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones are on sale at Amazon
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If you haven’t experienced the pure joy that comes with using wireless noise-canceling headphones, now’s your chance to save big on one of the best pairs available—ahead of Prime Day.
Right now, Amazon has these Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise-Canceling On-Ear Headphones on sale for $200, or $100 off. That’s the lowest price we’ve ever seen on these guys! They’re so popular that more than 1,300 reviewers gave them a perfect five-star rating.
Rich audio and long battery life
The Beats Solo Pro Headphones sync to just about any smartphone or laptop via Bluetooth, delivering rich audio and heart-thumping bass. Super sleek, the pro-level headphones come in Light Blue and Dark Blue. They’re noise-canceling, so you can block out just about all background and ambient noise to enjoy your favorite music and podcasts.
“These are the best Beats so far. They sound very good and less bass heavy than previous models. Sound is really crisp,” wrote a delighted five-star reviewer. “Very worth it. The Noise Canceling feature is so good. You basically cannot hear anything around you!”
The Beats have up to a whopping 40 hours of battery life per charge, which means you don’t have to be tethered to a wall outlet all day long. In fact, they pump out a solid stream of music with top-notch audio for nearly two days. This is pretty impressive, considering that most wireless headphones tap out after about 30 hours.
If you’re an iPhone user, you can pair your iOS device automatically with the tech giant’s built-in H1 technology for instant sync. This is the same technology that instantly syncs AirPods to mobile devices. And Apple’s voice assistant Siri is included with these noise-canceling babies!
“Siri works really well,” shared a satisfied shopper. “Saying ‘Hey Siri’ will immediately lower the volume (so you know the command was heard) and within a second Siri will answer or execute a command, then the music will resume at normal volume.”
An adjustable fit and cushioned ear cups make these premium wireless headphones comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Plus, they come with a Lightning to USB-A charging cable and handy carrying case, so your headphones won’t get scratched or damaged when not in use.
Not convinced? Perhaps this five-star reviewer put it best: “The Beats Solo Pro are absolutely phenomenal!”
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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Trump admin's Operation Warp Speed is proving to be 'extraordinarily effective': Fmr. FDA & CDC adviser
Dr. Roger Klein, Fmr. Adviser to the FDA & CDC joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss the latest coronavirus developments, as Moderna shares climb on positive vaccine news.
Senate to vote on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown with just hours to spare
WASHINGTON – The Senate is preparing Wednesday to vote on a spending measure to keep federal agencies running just hours before the government is set to shut down.
The legislation, which is expected to pass in a largely bipartisan vote, wouldthen go to President Donald Trump, who is expected to give final approval to the bill. The federal annual spending bill expires at midnight, meaning Congress has to act Wednesday in order keep the government open.
A government shutdown in the midst of a global pandemic could be devastating as many Americans struggling financially because of COVID-19 are more reliant on the federal government.
The bill will extend current government funding levels until Dec. 11 – a month after the election.
Lawmakers added last-minute pandemic relief funding before the bill was approved in the House Sept. 22, which gave it bipartisan support. The bill includes billions for a farm bailout program pushed by Republicans as farmers continue to be affected by Trump’s trade policies and the pandemic’s impact on agriculture. Democrats were able to get more money – $8 billion – for pandemic food assistance programs for families.
More: House OKs spending bill, sending legislation to Senate just days before government set to shutdown
More: White House and Congress reach informal deal to avert government shutdown at end of month
More: The battle in Congress to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dashing hopes for a COVID-19 stimulus package
The two additions marked the only pandemic-related relief in the bill. While pressure has mounted for Congress to pass more COVID-19 relief, lawmakers have been at an impasse for months over the size and scope of a stimulus bill. Negotiations appeared all but dead earlier this month, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have restarted talks.
House Democrats introduced another coronavirus stimulus bill proposal on Monday with a $2 trillion price tag. It is not expected to be considered by the Republican-controlled Senate.
The last government shutdown from Dec. 2018 to Jan. 2019 was the longest on record, at 35 days long. Stemming from a standoff between Congress and the White House over funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border, it forced about 800,000 federal government workers to take furloughs or go without pay.
But a shutdown this year would have come as the nation wrestles with a deadly pandemic, which has already taken 200,000 American lives.
Sarah Binder, professor of political science at George Washington University and a Brookings Institution senior fellow, said it would be a “catastrophic blow” to have a shutdown in the middle of the pandemic, especially if workers at agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health were furloughed.
But “nobody really wants to be blamed for the government shutdown,” especially so close to an election, she said.
Contributing: Nicholas Wu
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Senate set to approve bill just hours before government will shut down
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