WikiLeaks' Julian Assange faces U.S. extradition judgment day By Reuters

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange faces U.S. extradition judgment day By Reuters



By Michael Holden and Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) – A British court could give a final decision on Monday on whether WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States over the mass leak of secret U.S. documents, the culmination of 13 years of legal battles and detentions.

Two judges at the High Court in London are set to rule on whether the court is satisfied by U.S. assurances that Assange, 52, would not face the death penalty and could rely on the First Amendment right to free speech if he faced a U.S. trial for spying.

Assange’s legal team say he could be on a plane across the Atlantic within 24 hours of the decision, could be released from jail, or his case could yet again be bogged down in months of legal battles.

“I have the sense that anything could happen at this stage,” his wife Stella said last week. “Julian could be extradited, or he could be freed.”

She said her husband hoped to be in court for the crucial hearing.

WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military documents on Washington’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – the largest security breaches of their kind in U.S. military history – along with swathes of diplomatic cables.

In April 2010 it published a classified video showing a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.

The U.S. authorities want to put the Australian-born Assange on trial over 18 charges, nearly all under the Espionage Act, saying his actions with WikiLeaks were reckless, damaged national security, and endangered the lives of agents.

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His many global supporters call the prosecution a travesty, an assault on journalism and free speech, and revenge for causing embarrassment. Calls for the case to be dropped have ranged from human rights groups and some media bodies, to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and other political leaders.

DETAINED SINCE 2010

Assange was first arrested in Britain in 2010 on a Swedish warrant over sex crime allegations that were later dropped. Since then he has been variously under house arrest, holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London for seven years, and held since 2019 in Belmarsh top security jail, latterly while he waited a ruling on his extradition.

“Every day since the seventh of December 2010 he has been in one form of detention or another,” said Stella Assange, who was originally part of his legal team and married him in Belmarsh in 2022.

If the High Court rules the extradition can go ahead, Assange’s legal avenues in Britain are exhausted, and his lawyers will immediately turn to the European Court of Human Rights to seek an emergency injunction blocking deportation pending a full hearing by that court into his case at a later date.

On the other hand, if the judges reject the U.S. submissions, then he will have permission to appeal his extradition case on three grounds, and that might not be heard until next year.

It is also possible the judges could decide that Monday’s hearing should consider not just whether he can appeal but also the substance of that appeal. If they find in his favour in those circumstances, he could be released.

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Stella Assange said that whatever the outcome she would continue to fight for his liberty. If he is freed she plans to follow him to Australia or wherever he was safe. If he is extradited, she said all the psychiatric evidence presented at court had concluded he was at very serious risk of suicide.

“We live from day to day, from week to week, from decision to decision. This is a way that we’ve been living for years and years,” she told Reuters.

“This is just not a way to live – it’s so cruel. And I can’t prepare for his extradition – how could I? But if he’s extradited, then I’ll do whatever I can, and our family is going to fight for him until he’s free.”





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5 big analyst AI moves: Baidu, Accenture downgraded to Hold By Investing.com

5 big analyst AI moves: Baidu, Accenture downgraded to Hold By Investing.com


Investing.com — Here are the biggest analyst moves in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) for this week.

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RBC lifts Microsoft price target as AI remains one of key drivers

Analysts at the investment bank RBC Capital Markets raised their target price on Microsoft (NASDAQ:) stock from $450 to $500 on Friday, citing positive feedback from their recent investor meetings with Microsoft’s Directors of Investor Relations.

RBC stressed that AI remains a key growth driver for Microsoft, highlighting that the tech giant continues to make substantial investments in this rapidly developing sector.

“While CapEx will likely continue to ramp and impact margins, Microsoft is following demand signals and is simultaneously focused on bringing the cost curve down,” analysts said in the note.

“Advances like GPT-4o, which is more efficient, and Maia (custom AI silicon) will help drive down the cost curve,” they added.

RBC also emphasized Microsoft’s expertise in cloud services as a major advantage, providing a unified architecture for all AI workloads.

Moreover, RBC noted that while Microsoft’s core cloud business is still in its early stages, there is a clear trend of companies moving more workloads to the cloud.

Azure’s growth, excluding AI, has accelerated in the fiscal Q2, they noted.

“Importantly, core Azure is benefiting from the broader AI roadmap, as one-third of the 50K+ Azure AI customers are net new to Azure,” analysts noted.

MS: Dell remains best way to play building AI server momentum

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During the week, Morgan Stanley analysts reiterated Dell Technologies (NYSE:) as their Top Pick and upped the 12-month price objective on the tech stock to $152 from $128.

“Even after a >100% move in the T12M, DELL trades at just 13x our new FY26 EPS of $10.12 (18% above Street) & remains the best way to play 1) building AI server momentum, 2) inflecting storage demand, and 3) an improving PC mkt,” analysts said.

In their note, analysts have highlighted a significant uptick in momentum at Dell over the past four weeks, a surge they attributed to competitive wins in Tier 2 Cloud Service Provider (CSP) AI server contracts, additional enterprise AI server orders, and heightened storage demand.

As a result, the tech company now boasts the strongest forward spending intentions in over six years.

“We believe the big tier 2 CSP win referenced above could equate to a $2B order this quarter, which means AI backlog at the end of the April quarter would be just under $4B, and potentially higher taking into account smaller enterprise wins, barring any material changes in rev rec in the April quarter,” they added.

Investors more hesitant to own AMD stock, says Mizuho analyst

Investors are growing increasingly hesitant to own AMD (NASDAQ:) stock, a Mizuho desk analyst pointed out in a new note.

“Why add AMD if I own NVDA and AVGO here that are cheaper and feel much lower risk?” appears to be the key pushback among market participants, the analyst said.

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Earlier in the week, the company’s shares surged to a new intraday high of $168, however, there were no specific company-relate events that can be attributed to the uptick. According to the analyst, it seemed like a short squeeze was affecting much of the tech market.

Meanwhile, AMD, which became one of the AI darlings over the past year or so thanks to its powerful AI-oriented GPUs, remains a significant short position for many East Coast hedge funds, with numerous long-only (LO) investors steering clear of it ahead of Nvidia’s Blackwell launch later this year, Mizuho said.

“Stock feels like a plane crash survivor on a life raft in middle of a massive ocean just looking for land,” the analyst wrote.

“I remain a bull and love the risk reward if you have patience and duration (think 6-9 months). But I get the worry, hesitancy and concerns amongst investors.”

Baidu downgraded at Morgan Stanley amid slower-than-expected AI monetization

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley analysts downgraded Baidu (NASDAQ:) stock this week as they predict a challenging outlook for the Chinese internet firm’s advertising revenues, while monetization of its AI ventures is expected to take time.

For that reason, the Wall Street giant cut Baidu’s US-listed stock to Equal Weight from Overweight, while also slashing its price target to $125 from $140.

The downward revision follows Baidu’s softer earnings for the first quarter, impacted by weak Chinese economic conditions that weighed on its core advertising revenues.

The firm, which is China’s biggest internet search engine, saw some boosts to revenue from its AI initiatives—specifically its ChatGPT-like Ernie bot and from AI-driven demand for its cloud services. However, this was offset by much higher expenses on Baidu’s AI development, Morgan Stanley analysts explained.

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They believe that weakness in Baidu’s ads division is set to continue, and the transformation of its traditional businesses into AI offerings is “slow and lagged on user retention.”

Deutsche Bank cuts Accenture to Hold, doesn’t see GenAI as growth catalyst

Similarly, shares of Ireland-based IT services provider Accenture (NYSE:) also received a downgrade.

Specifically, a Deutsche Bank analyst cut the rating on the stock from Buy to Hold, and reduced the 12-month price objective to $295 from $409.

According to the analyst, after Accenture’s organic revenues contracted by an estimated -2.5% cc in Q2 2024, the company appears to have shifted from being a consistent market share gainer, especially over the past two years, to now losing market share to its peers in a pressured IT Services industry.

“ACN’s outlook continues to be fundamentally weak with further potential downward revisions to Street estimates possible, in our view,” the analyst wrote.

“Our channel checks suggest that Gen AI will not be a catalyst for outsized revenue growth for ACN over the near/medium-term and is causing disruption to existing pricing structures,” they added.

The debate on whether Gen AI could negatively impact IT Services vendors is expected to continue weighing on industry multiples, potentially pushing Accenture’s valuation back towards a lower, more normalized historical NTM P/E multiple, the investment bank said.





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How a rightwing smear campaign against NPR and its CEO Katherine Maher, who is on Signal Foundation's board, led Elon Musk to malign Signal (Renee DiResta/The Guardian)

How a rightwing smear campaign against NPR and its CEO Katherine Maher, who is on Signal Foundation's board, led Elon Musk to malign Signal (Renee DiResta/The Guardian)




Renee DiResta / The Guardian:

How a rightwing smear campaign against NPR and its CEO Katherine Maher, who is on Signal Foundation’s board, led Elon Musk to malign Signal  —  Rightwing media personalities on X transmuted a screed against NPR’s CEO into a fight over encryption via the Transitive Property of Bad People





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Musk arrives in Indonesia's Bali for planned Starlink launch By Reuters

Musk arrives in Indonesia's Bali for planned Starlink launch By Reuters



JAKARTA (Reuters) -Tycoon Elon Musk arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali on Sunday ahead of the planned launch of SpaceX’s Starlink internet service, which the Indonesian government hopes will boost internet penetration and health services in remote parts of the sprawling archipelago.

Chief investment minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan greeted Musk’s arrival by private jet at Bali’s airport on Sunday morning, saying the two would discuss several important collaborations, including the inauguration of Starlink, according to a post on his Instagram page.

Equal internet access across Southeast Asia’s largest economy, home to more than 270 million people living in three time zones, would enable people in remote areas to enjoy the same fast internet as those in urban areas, he said.

Musk, the billionaire head of SpaceX and Tesla (NASDAQ:) , will launch Starlink with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a community health centre in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, on Sunday afternoon, he said.

The satellite unit of Musk’s SpaceX has already secured a permit to operate in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, Communications Minister Budi Arie Setiadi told Reuters last week.

Starlink obtained a permit to operate as an internet service provider for retail consumers and had been given the go-ahead to provide networks, having received a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) permit, the minister said in an interview.

Indonesia is the third country in Southeast Asia where Starlink will operate. Malaysia issued the firm a license to provide internet services last year and a Philippine-based firm signed a deal with SpaceX in 2022.

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Starlink is also used extensively in Ukraine, where it is employed by the military, hospitals, businesses and aid organisations.

This February, the country also urged SpaceX to act to prevent Russia from using its Starlink terminals for communications in areas occupied by Moscow’s troops.





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