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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced at a news conference Monday that prosecutors would reopen an inquiry into a rape allegation against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.

Details: Persson said in her decision the Swedish courts have considered the preliminary investigation case several times since Assange entered London's Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face the claim. On each occasion, they found there existed "probable cause" to suspect him of the 2010 allegation, the decision says.

The big picture: The U.S. is seeking to extradite the 47-year-old Australian. A U.K. court sentenced Assange to 50 weeks in jail this month for skipping bail by seeking asylum in the embassy.

What's next? Persson said in the event of a conflict between a European arrest warrant and a U.S. request for extradition, "U.K. authorities will decide on the order of priority." She intends to seek another interview with Assange.

What they're saying: WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said in a statement the reopening of the inquiry would give Assange "a chance to clear his name," according to Reuters.

"Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case."
— WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson

Go deeper: Timeline: Julian Assange's 9-year legal limbo reaches its climax

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
23 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
1 hour ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.