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Elon Musk suspends $44bn Twitter deal over fake accounts

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Billionaire owner of electric car company, Tesla, Elon Musk, has suspended his $44 billion purchase of social media giant, following the emergence of spam and fake account data on the microblogging site.

The world’s richest man tweeted on Friday that the deal to buy “Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) was temporarily on hold” was he waits for the company to provide data on the proportion of its fake accounts.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk told his more than 92 million Twitter followers.

As a result of the sudden turn of events barely a month after the owners of Twitter agreed the deal to sell the company, Twitter shares drop more than 20% in premarket trading.

The shares were down 10% to $40.50 in morning trading on Friday, a steep discount to the $54.20 per share acquisition price.

However, a second tweet by the SpaceX CEO later in the day saying that he still remained committed to the deal, the shares regained some ground.

Before deciding to purchase Twitter, Musk had often complained about spam and fake accounts which are designed to manipulate or artificially boost activity on services like Twitter.

According to a regulatory filings from Twitter, the estimated number of spam accounts on the microblogging site has held steady below 5% since 2013, prompting some analysts to question why Musk was raising it now.

“This 5% metric has been out for some time. He clearly would have already seen it… So it may well be more part of the strategy to lower the price,” Susannah Streeter, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

However, the terms of the Twitter deal agreement does not allow Musk to walk away because of a deteriorating business environment, such as a drop in demand for advertising or because Twitter’s shares have plunged.

He is contractually obligated to pay Twitter a $1 billion break-up fee if he does not complete the deal, and the language in the deal contract appears to cap any damages that Twitter can seek from Musk to that level.

Musings From Abroad

Despite heavy security presence, Libyan protesters step up campaign, vow to continue demonstrations

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Libyan protesters have vowed to step up its campaign and continue with their demonstrations until all the ruling elites quit power and pave way for elections.

The protests which began on Friday, saw the burning of the country’s parliament building in Tobruk when a large crowd broke through the security and set the building on fire.

The incident prompted the government to release thousands of security personnel into the streets but the demonstrators were not deterred as they defied the presence of the forces on Saturday and Sunday by holding rallies in Tripoli, Tobruk, and Benghazi, and other major cities in the North African country.

While addressing the protesters, leaders of the movement said they would step up its campaign from Sunday, urging demonstrators to set up tents in city squares and practise civil disobedience until they achieve their goal of ousting political institutions and holding new elections.

Libyan Observer reports that the protesters held their biggest rally in Tripoli for years, chanting slogans against the feuding political elites, as demonstrators blocked off roads in Benghazi and Misrata and set fire to government buildings in Sebha and Qarabuli.

The media also reported that despite pleas by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the demonstrators are bent on going on with their daily protests until they force the ruling elites out.

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Musings From Abroad

US commends Kenya’s effort at resolving Rwanda/Congo tension

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The US has praised Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta for his effort at resolving tensions between East African neighbour, DR Congo and Rwanda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with President Kenyatta in a phone call on Thursday describes Kenya’s move as the best approach to end armed conflict in the troubled east of the country.

The US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said of the phone call, that “Secretary Blinken expressed his appreciation for the Nairobi process, which has brought together the leadership of the DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania.

“The Secretary noted these heads of state meetings are instrumental for facilitating the de-escalation of regional tensions, and in particular between the DR Congo and Rwanda.”

The acrimony between the countries was pronounced last month when Rwandan military authorities accused the armed forces of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo of cross-border attacks.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, last week called on the East African regional bloc to deploy East African force to the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to restore security following renewed fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels which has seen thousands killed and displaced since the resumption of hostilities.

Although the move to deploy the forces has been commended by the US, United Nations and the African Union, Congolese politicians and the public have expressed reservations about the proposed deployment of peace troops. They said the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) would be duplicating roles of the UN Mission (Monusco) as well as other existing interventions currently on the ground.

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