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Photo: Sergei Konkov\TASS via Getty Images

Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan appears to be leaning toward extraditing Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to the United States rather than Russia, after telling parliament he will base his decision on where the most severe crimes were committed and which side requested his extradition first. Both criteria point to the U.S.

Why it matters: Nikulin is the centre of a tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia after he was picked up by the Czech authorities in Prague in October 2016 on an international arrest warrant tied to the hacking of social networks including LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring. However, the U.S. authorities believe he may also have information about Russian state-sponsored cyber activities — a view politicians and analysts say is supported by Russia’s desperate attempts to have him sent back home.

The Latest

  • Pelikan has the final say on Nikulin’s extradition. Russia also wants Nikulin extradited, nominally for the theft of $1,955 via Webmoney in 2009.
  • Pelikan also confirmed to MPs that pro-Russian President Milos Zeman had asked him to extradite Nikulin to Russia. “He asked me repeatedly and vehemently. I listened to it and presented my stance to the president, which I am not going to interpret here,” Pelikan told parliament.
  • MP Miroslava Nemcova, who asked Pelikan questions in parliament, said of Russia’s attempts to have Nikulin sent to Moscow: “They want to get him in Russia because I think they are rightly afraid that the Americans would get him and ask him things that would not be good for Russia.”

Nikulin faces a maximum 30 years in prison and up to $1m in fines if convicted on charges listed in an indictment from a federal court in Oakland, California, which include computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy, damaging computers and trafficking in illegal access devices.

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From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.