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Photo: Guy Smallman/Getty Images

England's High Court on Friday overturned a British judge's decision to block the extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S., dealing a major blow to the WikiLeaks founder in his decade-long fight to avoid prosecution by the U.S. government.

Why it matters: Assange, who was arrested in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2019 after its government revoked his asylum, is wanted in the U.S. on charges of violating the Espionage Act and hacking government computers.

  • The case has raised significant questions about First Amendment protections for publishers of classified information, as Assange argues he was acting as a journalist when he published leaked U.S. government documents on Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • The case is also politically charged: WikiLeaks was accused in 2016 of releasing Democratic emails hacked by Russian intelligence in order to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The charges he faces are not related to the 2016 election.

What to watch: Assange will likely appeal the ruling further.

Driving the news: A U.K. judge blocked Assange's extradition in January over concerns about his mental condition. The High Court said Friday that it had received appropriate assurances from the U.S. to meet the threshold for extradition, including:

  • Assange will not be subject to “special administrative measures” or be held in a notorious maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado.
  • Assange, if convicted, will be permitted to serve out his sentence in his native Australia.
  • Assange will receive appropriate clinical and psychological treatment in custody.

The big picture: Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison if found guilty of all charges in the 18-count indictment.

Go deeper

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.
Kate Marino, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views of their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of canceled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.