From more drama in the Musk-Twitter saga to the leaked Uber files – Here’s your July 11 news briefing

From more drama in the Musk-Twitter saga to the leaked Uber files – Here’s your July 11 news briefing
FILE PHOTO: An image of Elon Musk is seen on a smartphone placed on printed Twitter logos in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

To start off, we’re looking into:

An update in the Musk-Twitter saga

Twitter was already struggling to meet lofty growth targets before Elon Musk arrived at its front door with a US$44 billion offer. After months of back and forth that divided the company, Musk has pulled out of the US$44 billion Twitter deal, with his representatives saying: “Twitter has not complied with its contractual obligations. For nearly two months, Mr. Musk has sought the data and information necessary to ‘make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform.’” The statement added, “Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information.”

Within minutes, Twitter vowed to take Musk to court and is committed to closing the transaction. Some experts are saying that this is just a negotiating ploy, and scholars are saying that the Delaware court, which historically isn’t a fan of scrapping merger deals, will still make Musk honor the agreement, perhaps just with different terms that could make the head of Twitter perhaps an unsatisfied buyer.

Sri Lanka’s president resigns

Sri Lanka
People visit the President’s house on the following day after demonstrators entered the building, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled, amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka July 10, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Sri Lanka’s economy is in serious trouble, with inflation soaring and officials struggling to import fuel, food and medicine. The country is in the middle of negotiations with the IMF for an emergency loan, but the talks are a bit complicated because Sri Lanka is officially a bankrupt country. The government points to COVID as to why the country is in its current situation; however, Sri Lankans blame it on bad government management.

A man stands in the swimming pool as people visit the President’s house on the day after demonstrators entered the building, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled, amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka July 10, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

This situation has led to intense protests, with protesters demanding President Rajapaksa step down. On Saturday, a bunch of violent protests led to protestors breaking into Rajapaksa’s residence and setting Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s house on fire. While neither was at home, both have agreed to step down on July 13 “to ensure a peaceful handover of power.”

A new report shows Uber broke laws during its growth

the Uber files
An Uber office is shown in Redondo Beach, California, U.S., March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake

According to more than 124,000 confidential documents leaked to The Guardian – known as the Uber files – tech giant Uber broke the law, tricked law enforcement, secretly lobbied governments around the world and even put its drivers in danger for the sake of its own corporate growth.

The files reveal a lot, and it’s worth checking out the full report, but here are some of the wildest things that the investigation shows:

  1. Uber executives met with and secretly lobbied now US President Joe Biden, now French President Emmanuel Macron, former Irish PM Enda Kenny, former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and former UK Chancellor George Osborne.
  2. Uber frequently broke laws and regulations to get the platform into cities around the world, which often led to backlash from local cab industries.
  3. Uber’s CEO at the time, Travis Kalanick, was in favor of sending Uber drivers to counterprotest taxi driver demonstrations despite the risk of violence, saying that “violence guarantee[s] success.”
  4. Those same executives acknowledged that they were doing illegal things, with one executive calling themselves “pirates.”

The files span from 2013 to 2017, and the company says they don’t represent where Uber is now.

To end, we’ll look into:

What does gender have to do with crypto? More than you’d think.

simp DAOs
FILE PHOTO: Attendees walk past a Twitch logo painted on stairs during opening day of E3, the annual video games expo revealing the latest in gaming software and hardware in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Since the dawn of the internet, anonymity has allowed users to experiment with who they are online, most notably when those online personas are different from how a person behaves and presents themselves in real life. Crypto, it turns out, has added another layer to that, and people have been finding ways to use crypto and blockchain tech to mess around with their identity.

One of these examples is something called a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which is best thought of as a mix between a company and a club. These DAOs pool money (in the form of crypto), time and skills toward a common goal, like buying a copy of the US constitution or buying land in Wyoming. Or, in the case of something called “simp DAO’s,” that money and effort goes toward a female idol, usually an influencer or content creator. The term “simp” is internet slang to define super-fans, typically male fans who tend to idolize female influencers.

Sometimes these can involve creators just looking to interact with their fans in a more intimate setting. Other times, though, these can be cis men (or cisgender, meaning a person whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth) looking to bend their identity online. For Eric Wall, someone who had been an adviser on a DAO for Instagram influencer Irene Zhao, starting a simp DAO for his female persona came more as a joke than anything else.

“I got a group of followers that liked the girl version of me, and it gave them an outlet to be my fans in a more playful, romantic way,” explained Wall.

See, people had been making photoshopped pictures of him as a woman for a while, and he decided to lean into the joke. Now Wall’s DAO wasn’t for his own profit – he set any extra money to go to charitable causes. But it raises the question of what gender really means online.

Part of the problem, too, is that for many people in the trans community, the online space was the first one where they could safely experiment with their gender identity. For other actors in the space, it’s coming from a much more cynical place, and gender-bending is intended purely to make a quick buck.

This whole idea raises a lot of big questions. And look, we don’t have the answers. But we can add it to the list of things we probably need to figure out before we make the global shift to crypto that enthusiasts swear is on the horizon.

In other news …

👮‍♂️Abe’s shooting: Local Japanese media have reported that the suspect behind former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination is 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, who spent months plotting the attack with a homemade gun and believed that Abe was linked to a religious group that financially ruined his mother. Meanwhile, an election was held on Sunday, with Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party winning the majority in an upper house.

📉China’s GDP numbers: China is revealing its latest GDP figures on July 15, with some speculating that the economy shrank in the second quarter. Talking about the mainland, Hong Kong’s financial secretary said on Saturday, “In a complex and cloudy global economic environment, the situation in the mainland is relatively good."

📷G20: G20 leaders met in Indonesia on Friday, with Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov reportedly spending more time outside the meeting rooms than inside and Western leaders refusing a photo with him. Lavrov said, “If the West doesn’t want talks to take place but wishes for Ukraine to defeat Russia on the battlefield – because both views have been expressed – then perhaps there is nothing to talk about with the West."

🥼Macau’s COVID situation: Macau is seeing a COVID outbreak, reporting 93 new cases on Saturday. So, with that, the government has said that starting Monday, while essential services will stay open, most other business premises will close for one week, like casinos. Pre-COVID and regulatory crackdown, gaming was 70-80% of Macau’s GDP.

📢Roe v. Wade protests persist: A reported 10,000 people protested outside the White House from all across the US on Saturday, marching in the rain against the Roe v. Wade ruling. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in vasectomy procedures, with some couples having to plan how to safeguard against unwanted pregnancies.

🥇Djokovic’s Wimbledon victory: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic beat Australia’s Nick Kyrgios to win the Wimbledon title after losing the first set. The victory means he has 21 men’s majors, with only Rafael Nadal having more at 22. Kyrgios congratulated Djokovic, saying, “He’s a bit of a god, I’m not going to lie. I thought I played well."

Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Christine Dulion and Krystal Lai