Morning! While you were sleeping (or staying up to binge-watch Friends for the tenth time, or pulling an all-nighter in the library), a few things went down that you’ll probably want to know about. So grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and get scrolling.
What in the World
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by authorities Thursday in the United Kingdom at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has lived for the past seven years, and was indicted on computer hacking by the United States.
According to a newly unsealed indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice, which was filed last year in the Eastern District of Virginia, Assange was indicted in March 2018 on a federal charge of conspiracy “to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.” The indictment alleges that Assange conspired with former military intelligence agent Chelsea Manning.
This is the moment a disheveled-looking Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder had been living in the embassy for seven years and was detained for “failing to surrender to the court” over a warrant issued in 2012. The Australian whistleblower can be seen holding a book and shouting before being bundled into a police van. Assange has feared US extradition due to his work with WikiLeaks -- an organization that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
According to ABC News, prosecutors wrote that the WikiLeaks founder was arrested in pursuant to a U.S.-U.K. treaty. Assange’s attorney, Jennifer Robinson, said her team will fight Assange’s extradition to the United States, arguing that it would set a “dangerous precedent” for journalists who publish “truthful information about the United States,”BBC Newsreported.
“During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange,” prosecutors said in a press release.
“The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience,” the release said.
Assange’s arrest played out Thursday morning as Metropolitan Police executed a warrant for his arrest on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court after the Ecuadorian Embassy terminated the computer programmer’s asylum status.
In a video, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno explained why Ecuador decided to terminate Assange’s asylum status, saying, “Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially, the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.” He added that Assange had been behaving badly, interfering with building security and attempting to access security files.
Video footage showed a ragged Assange struggling against British police as they escorted him to a van.
According to HuffPost, Assange pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance to charges of having breached his bail in a now-closed rape case in Sweden that had been active over the past seven years. Swedish prosecutors dropped the case since they could not gain access to Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy, but investigators announced their intentions to re-open the case Thursday.
In court, however, Assange failed to produce evidence for while he failed to surrender to custody, and the judge, who described Assange as “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests,” found him guilty.
Meanwhile, government officials applauded Assange’s arrest.
U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that he was “pleased” with Thursday’s outcome.
In a statement, Sir Alan Duncan, the British government’s Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, said it was “absolutely right that Assange will face justice.”
The U.K.’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, wrote in a tweet that “Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law.”
Rumor Has It
Kim Kardashian West has definitely taken an active interest in criminal justice over the past year. And now it looks like the beauty mogul’s passion for prison reform has spurred her to pursue a law degree.
In an interview with Vogue, Kardashian revealed that she has embarked on a four-year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm, and aims to take the California bar in 2022.
California is one of a few states that allow individuals to take the bar through a process called “reading the law,” in which they apprentice under the supervision of a practicing attorney. Kardashian will have to work under a lawyer at least 18 hours a week, as well as take monthly tests, so it’s still a lot of hard work.
“I had to think long and hard about this,” she told Vogue. “The White House called me to advise to help change the system of clemency, and I’m sitting in the Roosevelt Room with, like, a judge who had sentenced criminals and a lot of really powerful people and I just sat there, like, Oh, sh*t. I need to know more.”
@KimKardashian is used to being underestimated. If the media mogul/beauty entrepreneur/soon-to-be mother of four’s next act—studying law—seems unlikely, perhaps it shouldn’t. "This is the daughter of an accomplished attorney and the mother of three black kids who is using her full power to make a difference on a tough issue and is shockingly good at it," says @CNN commentator and activist @vanjones68. Jones brings up the Elle Woods character from @legallyblondemovies as perhaps the only archetype we have in the culture through which to understand such an unlikely turn of events. “But she’s so much deeper than that,” he says, “because the gravity of the issues she’s taking on is so tragic and all-pervasive. I think she’s going to be a singular person in American life.” In many demonstrable ways—for better or worse—@KimKardashian already is. But if she were to pass the bar, it would be the most surprising rebranding since @Barbie got woke, a case to be studied at @harvardhbs for years to come. (Indeed, she has been invited to speak at Harvard later this year “on branding and media.”) “I love to be put in a situation where I can have a conversation with someone who might not be inclined to think much of me, because I can guarantee they will have a different opinion and understand what’s important to me after they’ve met me,” @KimKardashian says. Tap the link in our bio to read the full May cover story. Photographed by @mikaeljansson, styled by @tonnegood, written by @jonathanvanmeter, Vogue, May 2019.
Her interest in pursuing a law degree came after she successfully lobbied President Donald Trump in May for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, 63, who had served more than 21 years in prison for nonviolent charges related to drug possession and money laundering.
According to TODAY, Kardashian’s passion for prison reform also led her to pay five years’ worth of rent for former inmate Matthew Charles, who was struggling to find housing. Charles was released under the First Step Act, which Trump signed in December after meeting with Kardashian at the White House, where she championed the law.
“I would say what I had to say, about the human side and why this is so unfair. But I had attorneys with me who could back that up with all the facts of the case,” Kardashian told Vogue. “It’s never one person who gets things done; it’s always a collective of people, and I’ve always known my role, but I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society. I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.”
Kardashian knows what it takes to be a lawyer, though, as she is the daughter of the late Robert Kardashian, who was part of the legal team that helped get O.J. Simpson acquitted of murder charges in his criminal trial.
“On the weekends they used our home as an office, with Johnnie Cochran and Bob Shapiro,” she told Vogue. “My dad had a library, and when you pushed on this wall there was this whole hidden closet room, with all of his O.J. evidence books. On weekends I would always snoop and look through. I was really nosy about the forensics.”
For now, though, Kardashian is studying all the subjects a first-year law student would typically study.
“First year of law school,” she said, “you have to cover three subjects: criminal law, torts, and contracts. To me, torts is the most confusing, contracts the most boring, and crim law I can do in my sleep. Took my first test, I got a 100. Super easy for me. The reading is what really gets me. It’s so time-consuming. The concepts I grasp in two seconds.”
But Kardashian’s immediate hurdle is the “baby bar,” which she will have to take this summer to determine if she will be permitted to continue her studies to prepare for the bar exam, Hello Giggles reports.
Then This Happened
The future (of science) is female! For the first time in history, people around the world Wednesday got to see what a black hole looks like from 50 million light-years away, and it’s partly thanks to a female postdoctoral fellow.
As the photo of the astronomical image went viral across the internet, so did a photo of Katherine “Katie” Bouman, the 29-year-old who is partly responsible for producing the incredible image.
MIT grad student Katie Bouman developed a crucial imaging algorithm that helped capture the first-of-its-kind image of a supermassive black hole and its shadow. Black holes are extremely far away and compact, so taking a photo of one is no easy task. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ➡️ Swipe to see the first image of a black hole 👀Click the link in the bio to learn how she did it ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (📸: Katie Bouman and National Science Foundation)
In the photo, Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), braces herself as the algorithm she created stitched together the data from a global network of satellites, creating the groundbreaking image.
“Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed,” she captioned her photo on Facebook.
The EHT project used radio dishes scattered around the world to create a large, Earth-sized telescope, ABC News reports. The result was an otherworldly image of an amber-colored ring.
“The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun,” the EHT team tweeted Wednesday.
Black holes are so massive that they warp time and space so much that not even light can escape them. They are directly visible, but dust and gas swirl around it as it velocities near the speed of light, causing a detectable emission of radiation.
Bouman is a junior member of EHT, made significant contributions to the project.
“(Bouman) was a major part of one of the imaging subteams,” Vincent Fish, a research scientist at MIT's Haystack Observatory, told CNN.
“One of the insights Katie brought to our imaging group is that there are natural images,” Fish said. “Just think about the photos you take with your camera phone — they have certain properties. ... If you know what one pixel is, you have a good guess as to what the pixel is next to it.”
In aninterview withThe Washington Post, Bouman said that she didn’t know “anything about black holes” when she first started working on the project.
“I’ve been working on this project for almost six years now, and for the last year, we’ve basically had to have our lips sealed about this exact imaging process,” she said, describing the process behind the algorithms that led to the image.
“Even my family, I haven’t been able to tell them yet,” she added. “But it’s so amazing to be able to finally tell the world.”
Bouman will be joining California Institute of Technology as an assistant professor at in the fall, CNN reports.
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