The Northern Territory news Sat 16 Apr 2022
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50 WORLD Saturday April 16 2022 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 R1 NEW YORK: Elon Musk says taking Twitter private isnt for the money but the future of the civilisation and that if his hostile takeover bid fails he has a plan B line of attack. The billionaire sent shockwaves around the world after he launched a hostile bid to take Twitter private to turn it into a platform for free speech. In his first interview since making the offer, Mr Musk said at the Ted2022 conference in Vancouver that Twitters algorithm should be made public and that any grey area speech should be allowed to exist on the platform and any censorship should match the laws of the country. This is not a way to sort of make money. My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important, Mr Musk (pictured) said. So is the future of civilisation, but you dont care about the economics at all. Asked by interviewer Chris Anderson if he had a plan B if his offer is rejected, Mr Musk said he does, but that its for another time. He added that the algorithm be made public on a platform such as Github to allow the public to understand how it works rather than tweets being mysteriously promoted and demoted. This can be quite dangerous, he said. Its very important that the algorithms be open-sourced and any manual adjustments be identified, he added. I wouldnt personally be in there editing tweets. Twitter, meanwhile, hit back at the hostile bid to take the company private, holding a crisis board meeting while one of the companys major shareholders rejected the bid. Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal said on Twitter he would reject Mr Musks offer to buy the company because the offer was too low. In his SEC filing, Mr Musk said he told Twitter the company should be private to go through the changes that need to be made. Ill save the world by buying Twitter Justin Vallejo Loser Putin may go nuclear, CIA warns Washington: Russias setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine could lead President Vladimir Putin to resort to using a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon, CIA director William Burns has warned. Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks they have faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons, Mr Burns said. The Kremlin said it placed Russian nuclear forces on high alert shortly after the assault began on February 24. We are obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which nuclear conflict becomes possible. Russian military doctrine features a principle called escalate to de-escalate, which would involve launching a first-strike nuclear weapon of low yield to regain the initiative if things go badly in a conventional conflict. But under this hypothesis, NATO would intervene militarily on the ground in Ukraine in the course of this conflict, and thats not something, as President Biden has made very clear, thats in the cards, Mr Burns added. It comes as Russias Black Sea flagship sank after an ex plosion and fire that Ukraine claimed was a successful missile strike and the Kremlin has accused Kyiv of targeting its citizens in sorties across the border. The guided missile cruiser Moskva had been leading Russias naval effort against its neighbour in the sevenweek conflict, in which civilian killings have sparked accusations of genocide. Russias defence ministry said the blast on the vessel was the result of exploding ammunition and added that the resulting damage had caused it to lose its balance as it was being towed to port. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank, the Russian state news agency TASS quoted the ministry as saying. On the Ukrainian side, Odesa military spokesman Sergey Bratchuk said the ship had been hit by Ukrainian Neptune cruise missiles. In Washington, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he was unable to verify either version, but stressed the sinking of the Moskva dealt a big blow to the Black Sea fleet. The development came after the US unveiled a new $US800m ($1bn) military aid package that includes heavy equipment specifically tailored to help Ukraine repel the Russians in the east, from howitzers to heavy personnel carriers and helicopters. Ukrainian troops also said they had destroyed a bridge in Kharkiv while Russian troops were crossing it, taking out an entire column of invading forces that were heading towards the city of Izyum. Pictures of the aftermath of the ambush showed a scene of devastation after carefully positioned explosives were detonated beneath the wheels of Russian Tigr, Kamaz and Ural military vehicles. The attack came as Ukraines defence ministry said Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka were Russias next targets as Putin concentrates his forces in the east. Almost 20,000 Russian soldiers have lost their lives, according to Ukraine, which also claims to have destroyed more than 750 enemy tanks. A policeman walks in the rubble of a house in Bohdanivka; Ukraine citizens train with guns; the Russian flagship Moskva, which has sunk. Pictures: AFP Inflation slams bidens poll numbers Washington: President Joe Bidens approval rating has returned to its lowest level of 33 per cent as he struggles to overcome soaring inflation. The poll put approval for the way Joe Biden is handling his job at 26 per cent among key independent voters, an ominous sign for the Democrats who are bracing themselves for heavy losses in the midterm elections this year. Approval among Democrat voters was 76 per cent and among Republicans 3 per cent, showing the persistence of deep polarisation that Mr Biden had hoped to reverse. The President also hit this low point in polling by Quinnipiac University in January, although his disapproval rating is one percentage point higher now, at 54 per cent. The Quinnipiac survey is an outlier because Mr Bidens average approval rating across all polls is 41.5 per cent, slightly above Donald Trumps at this stage of his presidency. He was on 40.6 per cent, the lowest of any postwar president, according to an aggregator website. Despite his popular handling of the Ukraine war, Mr Bidens ratings have never recovered from the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last August, when his popularity took a nosedive. No sooner was that crisis over than inflation began to rise, hitting 8.5 per cent in March, the highest since 1981. Durban: The death toll from the unprecedented floods in South Africa has climbed to 341 as helicopters fanned out across the southeastern city of Durban in an increasingly desperate search for survivors. With roads and bridges washed away by freak rainfall this week, rescuers battled to deliver supplies across the city, where some residents have been without power or water since Monday. The level of devastation of human life, infrastructure and service delivery network in the province is unprecedented, said Sihle Zikalala, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal province. At a small airport north of Durban, helicopters carried rescuers in and out. The air support was pulled from the military and police, but also a fleet of volunteers, private contractors and schools. One day after the rains finally subsided, fewer survivors were being found, said Travis Trower, a director for the volunteer-run organisation Rescue South Africa. From 85 calls, his teams had found only corpses. We do the best we can for as many people as we can, he said. The government has not said how many people are missing, and Mr Zikalala said the damage bill would be hundreds of millions of dollars. Floods death toll surges to 341