Musk says he has $46.5b to buy Twitter

Elon Musk has secured $US46.5 billion ($A62.5 billion) in funding to buy Twitter Inc and is considering a tender offer for its shares, a filing with US regulators shows.

Musk himself has committed to put up $US33.5 billion, which will include $US21 billion of equity and $US12.5 billion of margin loans, to finance the transaction.

Banks, including Morgan Stanley, have agreed to provide another $US13 billion in debt secured against Twitter itself, according to the filing.

Twitter was not immediately available for comment.

Musk “is seeking to negotiate a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Twitter… and is prepared to begin such negotiations immediately,” the documents say.

Musk’s latest move comes after Twitter failed to respond to his offer and adopted a “poison pill” to thwart the billionaire’s effort to buy the social media platform for $US43 billion.

Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” has said the social media company needs to be taken private to grow and become a platform for free speech.

The offer from Musk, who is the second-largest shareholder of Twitter, has drawn private equity interest in participating in a deal for Twitter, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apollo Global Management Inc is considering ways it can provide financing to any deal and is open to working with Musk or any other bidder while Thoma Bravo has informed Twitter that it is exploring the possibility of putting together a bid.

Musk, an active Twitter user with more than 80 million followers on the platform, has made of number of announcements on the platform including some that have landed him in hot water with US regulators.

In 2018, Musk tweeted he had “funding secured” to take Tesla Inc private for $US420 per share – a move that led to millions of dollars in fines and him being forced to step down as chairman of the electric car company to resolve claims from the US securities regulator that he defrauded investors.

with AP

© RAW 2022

Baldwin movie co fined for safety failures

New Mexico workplace safety regulators have issued the maximum possible fine of nearly $US137,000 against a film production company for firearms safety failures on the set of Rust where a cinematographer was fatally shot in October by actor and producer Alec Baldwin.

New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau on Wednesday said Rust Movie Productions must pay $US136,793 ($A184,159) and distributed a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set prior to the fatal shooting.

The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.

“What we had, based on our investigators’ findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management’s failure to act upon those obvious hazards,” Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety, told the Associated Press.

At a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021, Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins inside a small church during set-up for the filming of a scene when it went off, killing Hutchins and wounding the director, Joel Souza.

Baldwin said in a December interview with US broadcaster ABC News that he was pointing the gun at Hutchins at her instruction on the New Mexico set of the Western film when it went off without his pulling the trigger.

The new occupational safety report confirms that a large-calibre revolver was handed to Baldwin by an assistant director, David Halls, without consulting with on-set weapons specialists during or after the gun was loaded.

Regulators note that Halls also served as safety co-ordinator and that he was present and witnessed two accidental discharges of rifles on set, and that he and other managers who knew of the misfires took no investigative, corrective or disciplinary action.

Crew members expressed surprise and discomfort.

“The Safety Coordinator was present on set and took no direct action to address safety concerns,” the report states.

“Management was provided with multiple opportunities to take corrective actions and chose not to do so. As a result of these failures, Director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were severely injured. Halyna Hutchins succumbed to her injuries.”

A spokesman for Rust Movie Productions did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

A lawyer for Baldwin was not immediately available.

James Kenney, secretary of the Environment Department that oversees occupational safety, said the agency dedicated 1500 staff hours to its investigation, examined hundreds of documents and conducted at least a dozen interviews with cast and crew members.

Investigators found production managers placed tight limits on resources for a small team that controlled weapons on set and failed to address concerns about a shotgun left unattended twice.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the daughter of a sharpshooter and consultant to film productions, was limited to eight paid days as an armourer to oversee weapons and training, and was assigned otherwise to lighter duties as a props assistant.

As her time as an armourer ran out, Gutierrez Reed warned a manager and was rebuffed.

Safety investigators also note that the production company did not develop a process to ensure live rounds of ammunition were not brought on set, in violation of industry safety protocols.

Safety meetings were conducted but not every day that weapons were used, as required.

Kenney said the separate investigations into possible criminal charges are still underway.

Johnny Depp

Depp testifies in US he never struck Heard

Actor Johnny Depp has testified that he never struck his ex-wife Amber Heard and is challenging her accusations in a $US50 million ($A68 million) defamation case in part to protect his children from false information about his behaviour.

Speaking softly and slowly, Depp said in a Virginia courtroom that it was a “complete shock” about six years ago when Heard “made some quite heinous and disturbing” allegations that he became violent during their relationship.

“Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any woman in my life,” said Depp, who wore a dark suit with his hair in a ponytail.

“I felt it my responsibility to stand up not only for myself in that instance but stand up for my children,” the Pirates of the Caribbean star said.

His two children from a previous relationship were in high school at the time, he said.

“It’s very strange when one day you’re Cinderella so to speak, and then in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo,” Depp added.

“I didn’t deserve that, nor did my children, nor did the people who believed in me for all these years,” he added.

Depp, 58, alleges Heard, 35, defamed him when she penned a December 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse.

He filed a $US50 million lawsuit against Heard in 2018.

The article never mentioned Depp by name but Depp lawyer Benjamin Chew told jurors a week ago that it was clear Heard was referencing the Hollywood leading man.

Lawyers for Heard have argued she told the truth and that her opinion was protected as free speech under the US constitution’s first amendment.

A state court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, is overseeing the trial, which is in its second week and is expected to last for six weeks.

Witnesses called by Depp’s lawyers have included friends of the actor and a doctor and a nurse who said they treated him for substance abuse.

The witnesses testified that they were aware of arguments between the couple but had not witnessed physical abuse by Depp toward Heard.

Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that labelled him a “wife beater”.

A London High Court judge ruled he had repeatedly assaulted Heard and put her in fear for her life.

In the US case, Depp and Heard both submitted long lists of potential witnesses they could put on the stand.

Heard’s list includes her ex-boyfriend and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, with whom she texted about Depp.

Also on the list of potential witnesses is actor James Franco.

The Washington Post is not a defendant in the case.

Depp’s lawyers have said they filed the case in Fairfax County, outside the District of Columbia, because the newspaper is printed at a facility there.

The United States is a difficult forum for libel plaintiffs, especially public figures like Depp, who must prove by clear and convincing evidence that Heard knowingly made false claims.

Depp and Heard met while making 2011 film The Rum Diary and married four years later.

Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse after filing for divorce in 2016.

Heard, known for roles in Aquaman and Justice League, has brought her own libel claim against Depp, saying he smeared her by calling her a liar.

Heard’s counterclaim will be decided as part of the trial.

Heard is seeking $US100 million in damages from Depp, according to court papers.

Following the November 2020 ruling in the London libel trial, Depp was replaced with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen in the third film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a spin-off from the Harry Potter books and films.

Cristiano Ronaldo announces death of newborn son

Cristiano Ronaldo and partner Georgina Rodríguez have announced the tragic death of one of their newborn twins.

The Manchester United star confirmed the sad news in a post on social media a short time ago.

“It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away,” the statement read.

“It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel.”

The 37-year-old continued by thanking the doctors and nurses who tried to save his son’s life.

“We are all devastated at this loss and we kindly ask for privacy at this very difficult time,” Ronaldo said.

“Our baby boy, you are our angel. We will always love you.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

Ronaldo and Rodriguez first announced in October that they were expecting twins.

The pair also share a five-year-old daughter together, while Ronaldo has three other children born through surrogate mothers.

Man arrested over Brooklyn subway attack

A man who posted numerous social media videos decrying the US as a racist place awash in violence and recounting his struggle with mental illness has been arrested, a day after an attack on a subway train in Brooklyn left 10 people wounded by gunfire.

Frank R James, 62, was taken into custody in Manhattan’s East Village neighbourhood, law enforcement officials who weren’t authorised to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Further details weren’t immediately available.

Police had initially said on Tuesday that James was being sought for questioning because he had rented a van possibly connected to the attack, but weren’t sure whether he was responsible for the shooting.

Mayor Eric Adams said in a series of media interviews Wednesday morning that investigators had upgraded James to a suspect, but did not offer details beyond citing “new information that became available to the team.”

The gunman sent off smoke grenades in a crowded subway car and then fired at least 33 shots with a 9mm handgun, police said. Five gunshot victims were in critical condition but all 10 wounded in the shooting were expected to survive. At least a dozen others who escaped gunshot wounds were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

The shooter escaped in the chaos, but left behind numerous clues, including the gun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, smoke grenades, petrol and the key to a U-Haul van.

That key led investigators to James, a New York City-area native who had more recent addresses in Philadelphia and Wisconsin.

His van was found, unoccupied, near a station where investigators determined the gunman had entered the subway system.

Investigators believe James drove up from Philadelphia on Monday and have reviewed surveillance video showing a man matching his physical description coming out of the van early Tuesday morning, the official said. Other video shows James entering a subway station in Brooklyn with a large bag, the official said.

In addition to analysing financial and telephone records connected to James, investigators were reviewing hours of rambling, profanity-filled videos James posted on YouTube and other social media platforms.

In one video, posted a day before the attack, James criticises crime against Black people and says drastic action is needed.

“You got kids going in here now taking machine guns and mowing down innocent people,” James says. “It’s not going to get better until we make it better,” he said, adding that he thought things would only change if certain people were “stomped, kicked and tortured” out of their “comfort zone.”

In another video he says, “this nation was born in violence, it’s kept alive by violence or the threat thereof and it’s going to die a violent death. There’s nothing going to stop that.”

© AP 2022