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The Week in 5

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Julian Assange on May 19, 2017, in London. Ecuador granted citizenship to Assange as part of a failed attempt to transfer him to Russia as a diplomat. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Zuma Press/TNS)

By Jack Hervela

Indictment against WikiLeaks founder uncovered by Mueller probe

The Justice Department inadvertently revealed a prepared indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange late Thursday night by way of “an unrelated court filing.”

During the 2016 election, WikiLeaks published many emails obtained by Russian hackers, not far from the hackers under investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller.

According to a New York Times article published Nov. 16, “The disclosure came as the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is investigating links between President Trump’s associates and Russia’s 2016 election interference. WikiLeaks published thousands of emails that year from Democrats during the presidential race that were stolen by Russian intelligence officers.”

As with most Assange matters, a thin line between the compromising of valuable intel and a transparent press/government relation is being debated.

“An indictment centering on the publication of information of public interest — even if it was obtained from Russian government hackers — would create a precedent with profound implications for press freedoms,” stated the same New York Times article.

It is unclear whether the charges have been filed thus far.

Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee dies at 95

Stan Lee, figurehead of Marvel Comics and pop culture titan, died Monday, Nov. 12 at the age of 95.

Lee suffered a “medical emergency” before being rushed to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was pronounced dead soon after.

Successfully re-building Marvel alongside Jack Kirby, Lee invited readers to a more conscious and expressive comic while creating unparalleled worlds along with a signature persona.

While Lee left Marvel formally in the 1970s, his presence remained important through various mediums of Marvel, whether it was comics, movies or television.

He “transformed Marvel comics into a powerhouse, featuring socially relevant stories that spoke to young readers in a way the form hadn’t previously,” said Brian Lowry in a Nov. 12, Variety obituary.

Lee is survived by two daughters. His wife, Joan, died last year.

California fires leave hundreds missing, homeless

California’s Camp Fire, the largest wildfire to-date, becomes 40 percent contained as of Thursday night leaving 71 people dead and around 600 missing.

The Southern California Woolsey Fire has claimed three lives and 616 homes, yet is still burning and is 69 percent contained.

Last week, the fires sparked at each end of the state, ravaging over 9,700 homes and destroying 141,000 acres of land in Northern California.

If the fires themselves were not bad enough, CBS News reported, “Smoke from California’s wildfires caused northern parts of the state to record the worst levels of air quality in the world, according to Purple Air.”

While each fire is subsiding, hundreds are still missing and structures continue to crumble. Updates can be found in the aforementioned CBS article.

Betsy DeVos reveals Title IX revisions

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced plans Friday, Nov. 16 to change Obama-era campus sexual misconduct guidelines for universities nationwide.

The changes essentially allow college administrators more leeway in how they choose to handle each sexual assault case brought forth.

According to the Los Angeles Times the changes are, “including a tighter definition of sexual misconduct, reduced responsibility for colleges to investigate complaints, and the right for advisers on all sides to cross-examine those involved.

DeVos has supported her decisions amid sharply divided response saying, “Every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.”

This policy change comes at a polarizing time considering the #MeToo movement and reported saturation of sexual assault in current culture. For more on the policies and how they affect students, follow the link.  

Michigan recreational marijuana expected to take off soon

Proponents of Michigan’s newly passed Proposal 1 legalizing recreational marijuana are gearing up to their new rights beginning in early December.  

On Monday, Nov. 26, the Michigan Board of Canvassers is meeting to certify the vote. If it happens, it would put Proposal 1 into motion within 10 days.

Once the law takes effect, Michigan residents over 21 will be able to hold 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person, 10 ounces at home and grow 12 plants.

Those under 21 will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500, based on number of infractions.

For updates on the Board of Canvassers decision as well as comprehensive guidelines to the new laws, head to Wood TV8.

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