5 things to know for April 12: Assange, immigration, abortion, Sudan, reparations

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The late-season blizzard that's dumping feet of snow across the northern Plains and Midwest will wind down on Friday. The next storm system is right on its heels with a significant severe weather outbreak developing for the southern US this weekend.

Posted: Apr 12, 2019 12:50 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2019 12:50 PM

You haven't seen the wildflower super bloom in California yet? Well, you better hurry. It's almost over. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Julian Assange

For the first time in seven years, Julian Assange woke up somewhere other than the Ecuadorian Embassy. The WikiLeaks founder is in jail after his dramatic arrest yesterday. The US Justice Department indicted him on a charge of conspiring to steal military secrets with Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who supplied thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Assange denies wrongdoing and will fight extradition to the US, meaning a long and tortured legal battle awaits. Most US politicians celebrated the news of his arrest. President Trump, when asked about it, said he knew "nothing about WikiLeaks," though he'd said in 2016 he loved the organization.

2. Immigration

The Trump administration wanted to release immigrants detained at the US-Mexico border into so-called sanctuary cities to retaliate against Democrats who opposed the President's border wall plans, a source told CNN. Trump urged then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to do it, but she resisted. Lawyers at the department pointed out that the whole thing was legally shaky, and the plan was eventually dropped. "These are human beings, not game pieces," a Homeland Security official said. The proposal is another example of Trump's willingness to enact hard-line immigration policies to deliver on border security, a key issue for his political base.

3. Sudan

The joy that filled the streets of Sudan at news of President Omar al-Bashir's ouster has been replaced by trepidation and fear. That's because the military figures who engineered the coup against Bashir seem set on hanging on to power for awhile. The military dissolved the government, suspended Sudan's constitution and declared a three-month state of emergency. The military says it will also run the country for at least two years to oversee a "transition of power." Protesters have already turned from yelling anti-Bashir slogans to chanting against the defense minister who now heads the military transitional council.

4. Abortion

Ohio's so-called heartbeat bill is now law. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the controversial bill into law yesterday. It bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could come as early as six weeks into pregnancy. That's before many women even know they're pregnant. Opponents of the law promise a court challenge, and that's just fine with many of the law's proponents, who hope it ends up at the Supreme Court. They hope it could be the case that overturns Roe v. Wade. Other states have passed heartbeat bills that were later declared unconstitutional. Meantime, Mississippi's Republican governor signed a similar bill in March. And Georgia passed its own version, which the state's GOP governor is expected to sign.

5. Slavery reparations

Student at Georgetown voted to establish a reparations fund for the descendants of slaves whose sale saved the school almost 200 years ago. The measure calls for creation of a $27.20 fee per semester that every undergraduate would pay into the fund. The plan, which would generate an estimated $400,000 a year, still needs to be OK'd by the Catholic school's board of trustees because it would change tuition. Georgetown sold 272 slaves in 1838, at a time when the university was struggling with debt. Georgetown has offered a formal apology to the slaves' descendants and renamed two buildings in their honor. Reparations for slavery has been a hot topic on the campaign trail this year for Democratic presidential candidates.


World domination

Don't know anything about BTS? That's about to change. The Korean boy band's new album drops today, just ahead of its "SNL" appearance.

Grab a stick

Lacrosse isn't just a sport for wealthy elites. Writings in an Alabama cave suggest Cherokee tribes played a form of the game in the 1800s.

Air emergency

Let's visit the California city where your 911 call just might be answered by a drone.

Favorite Son

South Korean soccer player Son Heung-Min is tearing up the Champions League, and Korean communities in the UK are beaming with pride.


Quiz time

This US city declared a public emergency after it received reports of at least 285 measles cases since October.

A. Portland

B. Orlando

C. New York City

D. Pittsburgh

Play "Total Recall: The CNN news quiz" to see if you got the right answer.



The estimated value of the nearly 154-year-old telegram that announced President Lincoln's death to the nation. It goes up for sale on Monday.


"Grief is the final act of love."

Actress and model Lauren London, eulogizing boyfriend Nipsey Hussle during his star-studded memorial service at Staples Center in Los Angeles



Daytime drama

Did you know there was a thing called "daytime" fireworks? We didn't either. But the Slo Mo Guys filmed them (in 4K!), so enjoy! (Click to view.)

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