Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Smriti Arora
The end of Twitter
The company no longer exists and has become part of a newly created shell company called X Corp. The fact emerged in a document filed by the company in a lawsuit—where it stated that Twitter “no longer exists.” Does this make any difference to the platform? Here is Quartz’s best guess:
Although it’s unclear what X Corp might entail, there’s probably a connection with Musk’s plan to create an “everything app” called X. He envisions transforming Twitter from a social media platform into an app for everything from booking tickets to sending messages to making mobile payments.
Twitter, the Frankenstein reboot! (Quartz)
Also saying goodbye: Tupperware—and this isn’t just a name change. The maker of the best known food storage containers announced that it is on the brink of collapse—and has "substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.” (BBC News)
Speaking of Twitter lawsuits: Former CEO Parag Agarwal along with Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde and CFO Ned Segal are suing Twitter for failing to reimburse their legal expenses. These were incurred by them while defending the company from all the lawsuits filed against Twitter. Round and round we go. (TechCrunch)
As for free speech on Twitter: For the very first time, the platform withheld a tweet globally by a user in response to a “legal demand” in India. The tweet shared by RTI activist Saurav Das referenced an apparent quote from Home Minister Amit Shah: "We are keeping a close watch on the developments. We shall see how things move. We hope that everyone, including the judiciary, works within their remit." Why this matters:
This is significant as Twitter has usually restricted access to posts following government requests only in the territory where such content is demanded to be blocked. The only instances where content has also been taken down globally is when it also violates Twitter’s own Terms of Service.
First death from bird flu
A woman in southern China died after testing positive for H3N8—aka bird flu. It marks the first human death from this strain—and the third known human infection. She was exposed to the virus at a wet market selling poultry—but not any kind of exotic meat—which was the likely source in the case of Covid. (Mint)
The Karnataka election: A very milky mahayudh
With elections slated for May, the political battle in the state is expectedly heating up—though around the most unexpected issue: dairy brands. Amit Shah triggered the initial hue and cry in December—when he suggested a possible collaboration between the Gujarat-based Amul and Nandini—controlled by the state cooperative in Karnataka. Then Amul announced plans to sell milk in Karnataka—where it already sells cheese, butter etc. This has the opposition parties and dairy farmers up in arms. And angry protests are being staged across the state.
Why this matters: India has 22 state milk cooperatives—of which Amul is the largest dairy followed by the Karnataka Milk Federation. These cooperatives are run by the states and not the union government—as per the constitution. But Shah may want to change the status quo:
Ever since the Union government set up a new ministry — Ministry of Cooperation — in July 2021 and made Amit Shah its minister, concerns have been raised about the move being aimed at bypassing the powers of the state government and setting up multi-state cooperative societies. Opposition parties have alleged that merging Amul with KMF will amount to the state losing control over its dairy cooperative.
A diplomatic pickle for New Delhi?
Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister appears determined to stir up as much trouble as possible. First, she invited PM Modi to visit Kyiv. Now, she has declared that President Volodymyr Zelensky will be happy to address the upcoming G20 summit to be held in New Delhi in September. Why this is hard for New Delhi: India voted in favour of allowing Zelensky to address the UN—despite Russia’s objections. As a member of the G20, Moscow is hardly going to be pleased with Zelensky swanning around in Delhi—especially since President Putin could attend the summit in person. Last time, a potential face off was averted when Zelensky addressed the G20 via video-conference in Bali. (Indian Express)
Bad news for personal computers
Global shipments of PCs fell by 29% in the first quarter of this year. The worst hit: Apple—whose shipments dropped 40.5%. This is the biggest decline since 2000 for the company. But no PC brand has been spared—even Dell and Lenovo dropped by 30%.
Speaking of Apple: As you may know, the company is opening its first flagship store in India—located in the Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio World Drive Mall in Mumbai. The terms of its lease have leaked—and are quite extraordinary. The company has stipulated that 22 brands should be banned from an “exclusive zone” around its store. They cannot put up hoardings or open a store. The banned brands listed in the lease include Amazon, Facebook, Google, LG, Microsoft, Sony and Twitter. Of course, Apple is paying a hefty rent of Rs 42 lakh per month—with an annual escalation of 15%—for the privilege. (Economic Times)
Three things to see
One: Kuwait News now has an AI news anchor named Fedha. She will read news bulletins on the outlet’s Twitter account. In this demo clip, she says: “I'm Fedha, the first presenter in Kuwait who works with artificial intelligence at Kuwait News. What kind of news do you prefer? Let's hear your opinions". (Al Jazeera)
Two: You may have been following the saga of the Sarus crane in Uttar Pradesh—and the man who rescued the bird. After clips of them went viral, authorities seized the crane—tried to relocate it to a sanctuary—failed—and then sent it to a Kanpur zoo. And they booked the farmer—Mohammed Arif—under the Wildlife Protection Act. Undeterred, Arif made the trip to Kanpur to meet his lost buddy. The scene is both sad and very sweet. FYI: these birds “are easily reared by hand, and become very tame and attached to the person who feeds them, following him like a dog.”
Three: Back in 2013, memes comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh–—as he walked next to President Obama— went viral. And it has become a running joke ever since. Now, the Taiwanese are rushing to buy patches—worn by air force pilots—that depict a Formosan black bear punching the Pooh bear. They are being flaunted as a symbol of resistance to Beijing—which recently staged scary military exercises around the island. (Reuters)
Four: The trailer for the next Salman Khan flick is here. ‘Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan’ looks excruciatingly—or entertainingly—bad. But this is true of all Bhaijaan movies.