Morning Brief: Assange loses in UK court; stock markets edgy as oil prices rise on Libyan turmoil
Unless he can win his appeal, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is to be extradited to Sweden, ruled a court in London this morning.
In his summary the judge (chief magistrate Howard Riddle) also accused Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, of making a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. He added that Assange had clearly attempted to avoid the Swedish justice system before he left the country, saying, “it would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden”.
Stock futures fell this morning as oil prices continued to rise, at least partially due to the apparent civil war conditions in Libya.
U.S. crude oil futures soared 3.6 percent a barrel to above $101 on mounting fears the unrest in Libya that has cut more than one-quarter of the OPEC-member’s crude output could spread to other major producers in the region, including top exporter Saudi Arabia.
As for Libya, things are going from bad to worse.
Army units and militiamen loyal to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi struck back against protesters who have risen up in cities close to the capital Thursday, attacking a mosque where many had taken refuge and opening fire on others protecting a local airport.
Opposition activists are increasing their hold on Muammar Gaddafi’s ailing regime, by shutting down oil exports and mobilising rebel groups in the west of the country as the revolution rapidly spreads.
By late this morning, Gaddafi’s hold on power appeared confined to parts of Tripoli and perhaps several regions in the centre of the country. Towns to the west of the capital have fallen and all of eastern Libya is now firmly in opposition hands.