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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

US wants Africa to isolate Russia but won’t force its decision – Secretary Blinken

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Despite having seek support from the continent’s 54 countries in efforts to isolate Russia over its Ukraine invasion, the United States says it will not dictate Africa’s choices.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said on Monday, while presenting a new strategy document for sub-Saharan Africa at the University of Pretoria in South Africa’s capital.

The presentation is part of a continental tour that will also take him to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

“Too often, African nations have been treated as instruments of other nations’ progress, rather than the authors of their own,” said Blinken. “They have been told to pick a side in great power contests that feel far removed from daily struggles of their people.”

The strategy document stressed the threats posed by China and Russia to the United States’ interest in this increasingly important region.

Africa has been at the centre of the Russian/Ukraine war, with the two European countries being power houses in the supply of grains and other staple, the war has lunched in an era of high food cost in developing countries, largely African countries.

The continent has had a contingent of international guest lately. Recall  that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavlov and French President Emmanuel Macron’s travel recently visited. Ukraine also announced that its Foreign minister will soon be visiting in a yet to be announced that.

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Musings From Abroad

Ukraine foreign minister to tour African states. Here’s why

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Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday revealed that its foreign minister will make a tour of African states this autumn.

The president’s office quoted Zelenskiy as saying at an online news conference for African media.

“I can’t do it now because of the war. I planned before the war, and I am sure that after the war I will do it,” The presidency said.

Africa has been at the centre of the Russian/Ukraine war, with the two European countries being power houses in the supply of grains and other staple, the war has lunched in an era of high food cost in developing countries, largely African countries.

The Ukrainian foreign minister’s visit will be the fourth in the series of strategic diplomatic visits to the continent in recent month by international leaders.

News broke on Monday that The United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blnken, is scheduled to tour Africa at a later date this month. That is shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavlov and French President Emmanuel Macron’s travel to three west African states where the European Union pledged to make Africa its focal point.

Despite the geographical distance, there are important ties between Ukraine and Africa, including more than 8,000 Moroccans and 4,000 Nigerians studying in Ukraine and over $4 billion in exports from Ukraine to Africa.

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