AllAboutLaw blog: the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus, the WikiLeaks trial and more

This week’s edition of the AllAboutLaw blog addresses the wider implications of the coronavirus, the hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and a potential return to classical architecture.

  • Last updated Feb 26, 2020 10:55:04 AM
  • Tuula Petersen

Coronavirus: economic strain starts to show 


Fears about the Coronavirus have grown with Italy placing 11 towns in the northern region of Lombardy under lockdown due to the rising number of recorded cases. 

While the health implications of contracting the coronavirus are a significant cause for concern, the impact of the outbreak is having far-reaching effects on the economy. 

The most immediate consequence has been a drop in tourism, with France reporting a 30-40% decrease in tourists as a result of the coronavirus. Other industries starting to notice the effects of the coronavirus are high street retailers and fashion brands in Europe. Due to the closure of Chinese factories as a means to control the outbreak, retailers such as Halfords, Primark and Asos are bracing for stock shortages since many of their products are sourced from China.

HSBC is also feeling the effects of coronavirus. Last week, the bank announced plans to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide as part of its significant restructuring to deal with a large drop in its profits. Ewen Stevenson, the group chief financial officer of the bank, announced: “We expect to take additional loan loss provisions as a result of the coronavirus and the weakened outlook for the Hong Kong economy”.

As the immediate economic impact of the virus is becoming apparent at all levels of society, analysists have warned of its potential diplomatic impact concerning dilemmas of repatriation and isolation, as well as discrimination.



The court cannot just sit idly by and say ‘that’s just Roger being Roger’... the dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party”

Judge Amy Berman Jackson delivering the 40-month prison sentence to Roger Stone for lying to Congress and threatening a witness.



Firm news

Hogan Lovells has revealed its strongest financial performance since its international merger a decade ago, with turnover rising 6%.

Greenberg Traurig has expanded its global disputes group in London with the hire of two former Mishcon de Reya partners.

Dechert pursues the expansion of its financial restructuring team with a second Shearman hire this month.

King & Wood Mallesons has taken the New York team of Mischon de Reya following its closure earlier this month.



Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, on trial

Ahead of Julian Assange’s first hearing on Monday, protesters are demanding his release on the grounds of freedom of speech. The hearing is to determine whether the Wikileaks founder should be extradited to the United States where he is likely to face charges such as conspiring to hack government computer networks. It was reported President Trump had offered to pardon Assange if he made a statement that Russia was not implicated in the WikiLeaks publication of a Democratic Party email in 2016. The case is significant because there is more at stake than one anti-secrecy advocate’s freedom.



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Trump: Make federal buildings beautiful again?

A leaked new proposal launched by the Trump administration called “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” aims to ensure all federal buildings adhere to a “classical architectural style”. The draft executive order would mean that all government buildings with budgets greater than $50 million would be designed according to Greek and Roman architecture. Such a mandate would overturn the 1962 Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture which states “an official style must be avoided”. While the plans have yet to be confirmed by the Trump administration, the leaked documents are causing an uproar in architectural circles and beyond.



Recommended Reading

The Appalachian Trail—a 2,200-mile hiking trail famed for its beauty—is at the centre of a legal conflict that has risen to the US Supreme Court.

Following massive street protests last year, the targeted killing of an Iranian military commander and shooting down of a Ukrainian jet by Iran’s military, Friday’s parliamentary elections were watched closely as a demonstration of the population’s sentiment. 

Kellogs has agreed to remove unsustainable palm oil from its product as a result of a petition created by two young sisters from Bedfordshire.

What was expected to be a landmark verdict in a Human Rights case in Turkey seemed short-lived as the nine acquitted people accused of trying to overthrow its President were promptly re-arrested.

Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape and other sexual assaults in a landmark trial, and now faces up to 25 years in prison. 


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