Australian PM won’t assist Assange, Juneteenth closures: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Australian PM refuses to intervene for Julian Assange

The WikiLeaks founder faces extradition to the United States on spying charges. Plus, reporter Elizabeth Weise tells us about massive solar batteries, jurors have to redeliberate in a Bill Cosby sex abuse trial, travel reporter Eve Chen considers whether travel insurance is worth it and lots of government offices are closed for Juneteenth.

Podcasts:True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below.This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Monday, the 20th of June, 2022. Today Assange’s extradition, plus a step to corral climate change and more.

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. Gustavo Petro has won Columbia’s presidential runoff. The economist and former rebel beat out real estate millionaire, Rodolfo Hernández, yesterday to become the country’s first leftist president.
  2. Firefighters in Spain and Germany continue to battle wildfires. An unusual heatwave is baking parts of Europe.
  3. And Matt Fitzpatrick won golf’s U.S. Open yesterday. It’s the Englishman’s first career major win.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier today rejected calls for him to publicly demand that the U.S. drop its prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen, Julian Assange. The British government last week ordered Assange’s extradition to the U.S. on spying charges. American prosecutors say he helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later published, though Manning’s sentence was commuted in 2017. Assange’s supporters and lawyers say his actions were protected by the U.S. Constitution. On Friday, Assange’s family rallied in New York, including his father, John Shipton.

John Shipton:

Australian friends find it extraordinary that the country that gave the world freedom of the press, enshrined in its Constitution in the First Amendment, today brought that freedom to an end. It’s over. All it will take is a simple telephone call from Attorney General Merrick Garland to the Home Secretary in the United Kingdom to drop these charges. That’s all it will take. It’s not complex. The complexity only arises from the continuous persecution. It can end with a phone call.

Taylor Wilson:

Assange’s lawyers are appealing the extradition, a process that may add months or even years.

There may be a new step to try and fight climate change. Batteries the size of shipping containers store cheap solar energy during the day, making it available at night when supplies lag and prices rise. Reporter Elizabeth Weise explains.

Elizabeth Weise:

So kind of exciting, and it’s actually pretty hopeful, frankly. There are increasingly, when you have renewable energy, wind or especially solar, so much solar is coming into an electric grid during the day that you may not be able to use it all, but the time you really need it is at night. The sun goes down, but everybody comes home from work. They all turn on their air conditioners and fire up the stove and they use a lot of power, and that’s exactly when you’re losing all the solar power of the day. And so the way that utilities have tended to deal with that is they have what are called peaker plants. They’re usually natural gas. There used to be coal, but not so much anymore. It’s a power plant that you only turn on at peak hours when you need an extra oomph of power, like that four hour window between, say, 5:00 and 9:00, or 6:00 and 10:00.

Source: GANNETT Syndication Service

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