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Need To Know.
British police arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange just minutes after he was ordered to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London yesterday, in response to a US extradition request. Assange sought refuge in the embassy nearly seven years ago, claiming asylum to avoid being arrested and returned to the US to face criminal charges. Assange's WikiLeaks - which publishes secret, often classified information, largely obtained through illegal hacking by third parties - has been implicated in high-profile leaks, including a hack of emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. Ecuador, who had long protected Assange, said it revoked his asylum because Assange had continued to facilitate the dissemination of leaked information from the Embassy (watch President Lenín Moreno's statement). Assange will now be returned to the US, where he will be tried on charges of conspiring with former intelligence officer Chelsea Manning to hack a classified computer.
The NBA playoffs get underway this weekend, with the defending champion Golden State Warriors (57-25 in the regular season) looking to win their fourth title in the past five years. This year the biggest roadblock for the Warriors looks to be the Milwaukee Bucks (60-22) and their star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference, and the Chris Paul and James Harden-led Houston Rockets (53-29) in the West. Assuming both teams win in the opening round, the Warriors will face the Rockets - who took them to a Game 7 in one of the best series in recent memory last year - in the second round. Regardless of who makes the championship game, a familiar face will be missing - after making the playoffs the past 13 years, including the past 8 finals, LeBron James will be staying home during the postseason in his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers. Vegas gives the Warriors 1/2 odds to win the championship, followed by the Bucks (6/1), Rockets (10/1), and Toronto Raptors (15/1).
Games start tomorrow with the Brooklyn Nets taking on the Philadelphia 76ers (2:30pm ET, ESPN) - see the full schedule here.
Coup in Sudan.
The Sudanese military ousted long-standing autocratic President Omar al-Bashir yesterday, following months of protests over a spiraling economic crisis. Bashir, who himself entered the office following a military coup 1989, had led the country for more than three decades. The country's economy, which historically been dependent on oil sales, lost 75% of its oil production when the southern part of the country seceded in 2011. The split left a large dent in the Sudanese economy that has contributed to 20% unemployment, with nearly 50% of the population living below the poverty line (see more stats). Following the removal, Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf declared that the country's constitution would be suspended, with the military leading the country for two years until a transitional election could be held - an announcement met with anger by protesters, who demanded a civilian council lead the government.
>Game of Thrones' 8th and final season premieres Sunday on HBO at 9 ET; here's everything you need to know (More)
> Rapper Nipsey Hussle's memorial service attended by former President Obama, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, and 21,000 others in Los Angeles; the slain rapper was shot and killed March 31 (More)
> Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival begins today; see preview (More) | Read full lineup of artists at 2019 Coachella (More)
Science & Technology.
> Landmark study using astronaut twins shows impact of long-term space flight on human body; researchers find space flight drives changes in gene expression (More) | Israeli space probe crashes into moon, failing to achieve first privately-funded moon landing (More)
> Department of Defense ends longstanding relationship with JASON, an independent group of technical experts who consult on nuclear threats (More)
Business & Markets.
> Rideshare giant Uber officially files for IPO with $11.3B in 2018 revenue; analysts project it could raise up to $10B at valuation approaching $100B (More)
> Americans filing for unemployment benefits drops to lowest level since 1969 (More)
> Disney unveils streaming service Disney+ - monthly price will start at $6.99 with plans to launch in November (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Michael Avenatti, lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in Trump lawsuit, indicted on 36 counts in California for misusing clients' funds; still faces charges in New York for alleged extortion scheme against Nike (More) | Gregory Craig, former Obama lawyer, indicted for making false statements related to Mueller probe (More)
> Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs bill banning abortion after first detectable fetal heartbeat is heard; sets up likely legal challenge (More)
> Record April snowstorm pummels US Midwest, dropping up to 18 inches of snow in the Dakotas and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights (More)
Dothraki Spoken Here.
Vox | Oriana Schwindt. In the past, creating a new language for a film or television show was rarely scrutinized, often resulting in uncomplicated and incomplete projects. But shows like Game of Thrones need to be so immersive, creating a constructed language - or conlang - becomes an intensely difficult process. (Read)
San Francisco’s Slow-Motion Suicide.
National Review | Michael Gibson. While the tsunami of tech company IPOs may bring in a wave of capital into the Bay Area, it's pushing out the creative class. Does the sound of champagne bottles popping signal a new era of growth, or the city's decline? (Read)
How to Take a Picture of a Black Hole.
TED | Katie Bouman. The algorithm that turned a bunch of data streams into the first-ever photo of a black hole was created by an MIT graduate student. Listen to Katie Bouman explain the importance behind the discovery. (Watch)
What’s Behind the Elective-Sobriety Trend.
Medium | Virginia Sole-Smith. As millennials drink more kombucha and less beer, sobriety is being completely rebranded. Here's what's behind the shift. (Read)
Historybook: RIP American Red Cross founder Clara Barton (1912); RIP Franklin D. Roosevelt (1945); HBD David Letterman (1947); Yuri Gagarin becomes first person to orbit Earth (1961); RIP boxing great Joe Louis (1981).
"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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