Here’s a look at some of the trending topics from today, April 6.
The United States on Wednesday tightened the financial vise on Russia, announcing sanctions that target President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters and block two key Russian banks in retaliation for “war crimes” in Ukraine.
The latest sanctions underscore the economic pain that Russia faces, as evidence that its troops killed Ukrainian civilians leads to ever harsher penalties by the U.S. and its Western allies that erode Putin’s ability to fight. Get more info here:
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File
Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter and one of those closest to him during the insurrection at the Capitol, is testifying before the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, said Tuesday afternoon that she had been answering investigators’ questions on a video teleconference since the morning and was not “chatty” but had been helpful to the probe. Get the scoop here:
Larry Marano/Getty Images
Bobby Rydell, seen here performing in 2013, died on April 5 at age 79, according to his representatives.
Bobby Rydell, a teen idol from the ’60s known for songs like “Wild One” and his role as Hugo Peabody in the 1963 film “Bye Bye Birdie,” has died, according to a statement released by his representatives. He was 79.
Rydell died on April 5 in Abington, Pennsylvania, from pneumonia complications, which were unrelated to Covid-19, the statement said. Read more on his life here:
Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images
Paula Patton, here in 2021, is responding to criticism of her mom's fried chicken recipe.
It’s not that Paula Patton doesn’t give a cluck, she’s just taking getting roasted over her chicken frying skills in stride.
The actress caused quite a stir recently when she shared a video on Instagram in which she prepared her mother Joyce Patton’s “famous” fried chicken recipe.
In it, Patton says she’s frying 138 chicken wings for her son Julian’s school. (Patton shares Julian with her ex-husband singer Robin Thicke.) See why she caught flack here:
Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Disney
Benedict Cumberbatch appears as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
“Dr. Strange 2”
Covid is in a lull in the United States: Masks are often an afterthought, people are going out again and some of the worst-hit industries during the pandemic — like movie theaters — are starting to get back to normal.
That’s why so much is riding on one particular blockbuster: “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Tickets just went on sale for the May 6 opening, and the Marvel film may act as a bellwether of moviegoers’ demand for big-screen entertainment when the world looks much like it did before everything shut down in March 2020. Get more info on the movie here:
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Elon Musk and Twitter
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File
Indeed he does. Musk’s 80.5 million Twitter followers make him one of the most popular figures on the platform, rivaling pop stars like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. But his prolific tweeting sometimes gets him into trouble when, for instance, he uses it to promote his business ventures, rally Tesla loyalists, question pandemic measures and pick fights with those with whom he disagrees.
In one famous example, Musk apologized to a British cave explorer who alleged the Tesla CEO had branded him a pedophile by referring to him as “pedo guy” in an angry — and subsequently deleted — tweet. The explorer filed a defamation suit, although a Los Angeles jury later cleared Musk.
He's also been locked in a long-running dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over his Twitter activity. Musk and Tesla in 2018 agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines and for Musk to have his tweets approved by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted about having the money to take Tesla private at $420 per share — which didn't happen but caused Tesla's stock price to jump. His lawyer has contended that the SEC is infringing on Musk's free speech rights.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File
Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and has made clear that he doesn't think Twitter is living up to free speech principles — an opinion shared by followers of Donald Trump and several right-wing political figures who've had their accounts suspended for violating Twitter content rules.
But what's really driving Musk's Twitter involvement isn't clear. His preoccupations with the service include arguing to make Twitter’s algorithm viewable by the public, widening the availability of “verified” Twitter accounts, and blasting a profile photo initiative involving non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
Musk has also called “crypto spam bots,” which search tweets for cryptocurrency related keywords then pose as customer support to empty user crypto wallets, the “most annoying problem on twitter.”
“We don’t know what his goals are,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and an expert on social media. “Maybe Elon Musk secretly wants to blow (Twitter) up ... maybe he wants to destroy it.”
Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File
Musk's role as both a board member and Twitter's largest shareholder certainly gives him an outsized voice in the company's future. He's been publicly praised this week by the CEO and other board members, a sign that Twitter leadership is likely to take his ideas seriously.
But he's still just one member of a 12-person board that Twitter says has “an important advisory and feedback role” but no responsibility over day-to-day operations and decisions. That means Musk won't have the authority to add an “edit button” or to restore Donald Trump's suspended account.
“Our policy decisions are not determined by the board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions,” said Twitter spokesperson Adrian Zamora.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
Several Wall Street analysts said they were encouraged by Musk’s new role at Twitter. “This is a guy that does push for change, that does, I think, refuse to have failure on his resume. A perfect guy you need on the board of directors for them," said CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino. That's true, Zino said, even if ”what exactly his ideas are, who the heck knows.”
Other investors aren't so sure. Meredith Benton, founder of the investment consulting firm Whistle Stop Capital, has been pushing for shareholders at both Twitter and Tesla to back stronger policies affecting workplace harassment and discrimination. She describes Musk's new role as a concerning development for Twitter investors, especially given accusations by California regulators that Tesla has been discriminating against Black employees at its San Francisco Bay Area factory.
“Twitter’s greatest current challenge is to navigate successfully through the societal implications of its platform’s use,” Benton said. "Elon Musk with his air of reckless bravado presents a risk of undermining thoughtful and strategic management of these topics."
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File
There has been executive turnover since co-founder Jack Dorsey's (pictured) departure in November left Twitter with a new CEO, Parag Agrawal, whose initial actions have involved reorganizing divisions. Wall Street analysts had approved of the choice of Agrawal as the new leader, but there have been no major changes to the platform yet. The company has long lagged behind its social media rivals and boasts far fewer users.
The mere fact of linking Musk's high-profile name to Twitter could get people to spend more time on on the platform and help it make more money, Zino said, calling Musk “the most important individual” at Twitter.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File
You wouldn't know it from his prolific posts, but he does hold several big roles, including CEO and “Technoking" of electric car company Tesla and CEO of the rocket company SpaceX. He is also the founder of The Boring Company, an underground tunnel company, and Neuralink, which wants to plant computer chips in people's brains.