Friday morning news: April 12, 2019

Julian Assange arrested in London, U.S. seeks extradition » British police have arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Officers escorted him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs Thursday.

And if U.S. authorities have their way, he’ll soon stand trial for publishing stolen Pentagon secrets. Assange’s attorney Jennifer Robinson told reporters…

ROBINSON: We’ve today received a warrant and a provisional extradition request from the United States alleging that he conspired with Chelsea Manning in relation to the materials that were published by WikiLeaks in 2010.

Robinson said Assange plans to fight extradition.

WikiLeak’s Editor-In-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson claimed Assange exposed war crimes by the U.S. and that is not a criminal act.

HRAFNSSON: This is journalism. It’s called conspiracy. It’s conspiracy to commit journalism.

The seven-page U.S. indictment against Assange was unsealed after his arrest. It states that Assange conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Defense Department computer network.

Police arrested Assange after Ecuador’s government decided to revoke the political asylum that had given him sanctuary for almost seven years. 

South Korean president talks denuclearization at White House » President Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the White House on Thursday. The top item on the agenda, once again, nuclear talks with North Korea.

President Trump said despite ending his last summit with Kim Jong Un early and without progress, he remains on good terms with Kim. 

TRUMP: A third summit could happen. And it’s step by step. It’s not a fast process. I never said it would be. It’s step by step. I enjoyed the summits. I enjoyed being with the chairman.

Moon, for his part, has called for an easing of sanctions, including those holding back joint economic projects between North and South Korea. But he praised Trump’s diplomatic inroads with Kim.

JAE-IN: Now we believe that you will be able to solve this problem through a dialogue. So I have to say that this dramatic turnaround that we have witnessed is solely down to your strong leadership. 

President Trump said the U.S. intends to keep economic sanctions in place but didn’t rule out taking steps to ease food or other shortages in North Korea. 

South Korean court ends abortion ban » Also on Thursday South Korea’s highest court overturned a 65-year-old law protecting unborn babies. In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the abortion ban and another law that subjected abortionists to criminal charges were unconstitutional. South Korea was one of the last few developed nations with broad legal protection for unborn babies though the law was rarely enforced. 

Ohio governor signs heartbeat bill » Meantime in Ohio, Republican Governor Mike DeWine on Thursday signed a bill into law that protects unborn babies from abortion from the moment they have a detectable heartbeat. That’s usually around six weeks of gestation. 

DEWINE: The signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life and the imperative to protect those who cannot protect themselves. 

State lawmakers have passed the pro-life legislation twice before, but then-Governor John Kasich, also a Republican, vetoed both.

Abortion rights groups have vowed to sue to stop the law. 

Joni Eareckson Tada recovering after hospital release » Joni Eareckson Tada is back home after spending two weeks in the hospital. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Christian author and advocate for people with disabilities, was hospitalized last month to treat breathing problems. In a statement, Eareckson said “Basically, over the many years, my chronic quadriplegia has put a strain on my heart and lungs.” But she added… “The good news is, doctors believe that with medication and with a more efficient way of breathing, my condition can be reversed.”

The 69-year-old became quadriplegic 51 years ago in a diving accident. Since then, she founded Joni and Friends, an international ministry to people with disabilities. Tada was WORLD’s Daniel of the Year in 2017.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Police arrest arson suspect in Louisiana church fires » Police have arrested a man suspected of burning down three African American churches in Louisiana. Holden Matthews, a 21-year-old caucasian man, faces three state charges of simple arson of a religious building.

Officials confirmed Matthews is the son of a sheriff’s deputy but added that his father knew nothing of his alleged crimes.

Federal investigators are looking into whether race played a role.

Governor John Bel Edwards called the arsons “evil acts.”

EDWARDS: It has been especially painful because it reminds us of a very dark past of intimidation and fear.

All of the churches burned were more than 100 years old.

Sudanese military seizes control of Sudan » Demonstrators celebrated in the streets of Sudan on Thursday after the Sudanese military seized control from President Omar al-Bashir. WORLD Africa reporter Onize Ohikere has that story. 

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Al-Bashir’s fall came amid increasingly bloody protests over his repressive 30-year rule and a crumbling economy.

But the cheers of many pro-democracy demonstrators quickly turned to anger when the defense minister addressed the Sudanese people. Dressed in military garb, Ibn Ouf said no presidential election is planned.

Instead, he said the military council will rule the country for the next two years before “free and fair elections” take place.

In the meantime, the military suspended the country’s constitution, closed its borders and airspace, and declared a three-month state of emergency.

Ibn Ouf also said the new government will free all political prisoners arrested since the protests began.

Al-Bashir seized power in a 1989 military coup. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses in Darfur.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham) Posters are displayed on the railings outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody Thursday April 11, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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