4.26.2022

Musk Buys Twitter, Kennedy v. Bremerton, and a Vault Toilet Rescue Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 26, and we're covering a new owner at Twitter, a major religious freedom court case, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

Musk Agrees to Buy Twitter

Twitter has agreed to an all-cash offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company at $54.20 per share and take it private. The deal, announced yesterday, is valued at $44B and comes less than two weeks after Musk offered his unsolicited buyout plan, following a disclosure of his 9.2% stake in the company. Twitter's shares closed up 5.6% yesterday. 

 

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, last week said he secured $46.5B in financing, comprising $21B of equity and $25.5B of debt. The 50-year-old entrepreneur previously criticized Twitter for restricting free speech and undermining democracy. Musk said he plans to introduce new features and make the platform's algorithms open source. See his proposed changes here.

 

Twitter's board at first had enacted an anti-takeover measure known as a poison pill to fend off Musk's bid, but later opened negotiations when concrete details of his financing package emerged.

Ukraine Ambassador Nominated

President Joe Biden yesterday nominated Bridget Brink, the current ambassador to Slovakia, as the next ambassador to Ukraine. Brink, who must be confirmed by the Senate, would fill a post that has remained vacant since 2019.

 

Brink's posting comes amid a full-scale assault by Russia on Ukraine's eastern Donbas region. British military intelligence reported Russia has failed to make significant inroads in the area to date, beyond cities already controlled by pro-Russian separatists. See background on the Donbas region here.  

 

In related news, sources suggest Finland and Sweden will apply for NATO membership as early as mid-May. The international coalition was established following World War II and served as a bulwark against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Some analysts say the possibility of Ukraine's membership precipitated the current crisis. 

 

See updates on the war here, along with photos from the ground

Kennedy v. Bremerton

The Supreme Court appeared open to oral arguments yesterday from Joseph Kennedy, a former Washington state high school football coach who was fired after defying directives to stop praying on the field after games. Kennedy sued the school district in 2016, arguing his dismissal violated his rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. The district contends he was an agent of the state and players felt pressured to join the prayers.

 

Kennedy lost twice in the lower courts before the court agreed to hear the case in September. Dozens of briefs have been filed on both sides, with some advocates citing players kneeling to protest racial injustice; others, in support of the school, have warned the case blurs the line between church and state.

 

The court has a history of rejecting prayer in public schools, but the current conservative majority has tended to expand religious protections. A decision is expected in the summer.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CARIUMA

> Jon Stewart honored as 23rd recipient of prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at Washington's Kennedy Center (More)

 

> World's oldest person Kane Tanaka dies in Japan at 119 (More) | Jim Hartz, longtime NBC News correspondent and former "Today" cohost, dies at 82 (More)

 

> UK government to establish independent regulator for English soccer with power to sanction clubs who break financial and other rules (More)

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Science & Technology

> Archaeologists unearth ruins of a temple for Zeus in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula; the Tell el-Farma archaeological site was part of the ancient Greek Empire more than 2,000 years ago (More)

 

> Cancer cells survive attacks from immune system T cells by self-repairing holes in the cell membrane, new study shows (More)

 

> Scientists model how the terrain of Saturn's moon Titan evolved over time; study finds Titan, which has liquid methane rivers and a nitrogen-heavy atmosphere, to be more Earth-like than previously believed (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets reverse to close up (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +1.3%) while Chinese markets and oil fall (More)

 

> Blackstone to acquire real estate operator PS Business Parks for $7.6B (More)

 

> General Motors to produce electrified Corvette next year; plans to develop all-electric vehicle in the future (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Former President Donald Trump held in contempt of court for failure to provide documents in New York state civil financial probe; Trump to be fined $10K per day until documents are provided (More) | Louisiana judge temporarily blocks Biden administration's planned end to Title 42 restrictions at the US-Mexico border (More)

 

> Texas grants execution stay for Melissa Lucio amid scrutiny over her conviction of child abuse that led to the death of her 2-year-old daughter in 2008 (More) | Case has received international attention; see overview (More)

 

> Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala sentenced to life in prison on charges that include sedition; human rights groups have criticized the high-profile case as a crackdown on opposition figures by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Simpsons Forever

GQ | MH Miller. Inside the minds of the creators of "The Simpsons" and the enduring power of America's most influential sitcom. (Read)

Gen Z Doesn't Dream of Labor

Vox | Terry Nguyen. Many of America's youngest workers are rejecting the concept of work as we know it—how will that unfold in real life? (Read)

WORDS TO INVEST BY

 

In partnership with The Motley Fool

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ETCETERA

 

Visualizing how big tech giants make their billions

 

Former special agent breaks down counterfeit money

 

Is time travel really possible in our universe

 

Live giant squid washes ashore in Japan. (w/video)

 

Judy Garland's "Wizard of Oz" dress is up for sale

 

Traveler uses AirTags and PowerPoint to ask airline for lost bags.

 

Toy company breaks world record for elephant's toothpaste. (w/video)

 

Researchers develop a bear-dar.

 

Clickbait: When you fall headfirst into a toilet.

 

Historybook: John Wilkes Booth killed 12 days after assassinating President Lincoln (1865); HBD former first lady Melania Trump (1970); RIP Lucille Ball (1989); Deadliest tornado in history kills 1,300 in Bangladesh (1989).

 

"In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by."

- Lucille Ball

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