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Ukrainian Police Claim To Have Uncovered "Torture Chamber"; Russian Defense Ministry Shows Map Confirming Ukraine's Gains; Pyongyang Steps Up Missile Testing In Recent Weeks; Football Association: Security Failed To Unlock In Time; Liz Truss Hopes Speech Can Rebuild Confidence Among Tories; U.S. Says It's Helping Iranians Navigate Internet Blackout; U.S. Stocks Post Big Back-To-Back Gains. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 05, 2022 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM.
Coming up this hour, Russian retreat. Ukrainian forces retaking occupied territory now on two fronts. But in many parts, they're liberating land without people, only destruction.
Also ahead, a day after a North Korean missile flew over Japan. The South Korean response falls flat, quite literally with a homegrown missile that failed on launch.
Once bitten, twice shy, Twitter seems less than enthusiastic over Elon Musk's sudden reversal to put his original $44 billion offer back on the table.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.
VAUSE: What started as a lightning fast counter offensive in northern Ukraine just weeks ago, now includes a second front in the South. Described as a fast and powerful advance. Ukrainian forces appear to inflict some heavy losses on the Russians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his troops are now advancing even further towards the Russian occupied city of Kherson.
This as Ukrainian forces raised the nation's flag over more liberated towns. One official says troops are breaking through Russian defenses in the Kherson region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Ukrainian army is quite rapidly and powerfully advancing in the south of our country as part of the current defense operation.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: In past, the Ukrainians are liberating land without people, everywhere there is devastation. And in one town, in Kharkiv region, Ukrainian soldiers say they have uncovered what appears to be a torture chamber.
According to local police, among the grim discoveries here, a container filled with gold fillings from extracted teeth. Local residents say there was a constant sound of screaming from the building.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh following developments and has more now reporting in from southern Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Days of bad news keep piling up for Russia here. We've just come from the east where they have just over the weekend lost control of a strategic hub for Russia's occupying forces in Ukraine Lyman, that fell after weeks of pressure of Ukrainian forces moving south from their recent success in the north. And it's having a knock on effect in the east of Russia's areas that it now claims under these processes being rubber stamped in Russian parliament to be Russian territory.
But the bad news in the south is potentially more significant. Near where I'm standing, we've seen an extraordinary advances by Ukrainian forces and just the last days to possibly even just this day, even confirmed by the Russian Ministry of defense's own maps, they released a map on Monday, but the updated version this day showed about a quarter or a third, potentially, of the territory that Russia used to say it controlled on the western bank of a key river that splits the southern areas it wants to try and control, Dnieper River.
Well, they now admit that that's fallen to Ukraine in just the last 24 hours. That's utterly startling, because there have been repeated concerns expressed by pro-Russian advocates and military analysts to that essentially the forces on that western bank in the Kherson region, vital strategically for Russia's bid to control Ukraine's access to Black Sea.
The Russian forces, they're reinforced as they were recently are actually increasingly poorly supplied and cut off from the rest of Russian forces in the more easterly part of Ukraine.
There was concerns that if Ukraine continued to put pressure on certain parts, that Russian forces there could begin to collapse. Well, that appears to be happening at a rate which I think frankly outstrips even the most pessimistic predictions of observers.
So, we're seeing this loss of territory in the southern areas to the possibility that it could continue to grow over the days ahead.
Bad news in the East as well, after weeks of bad news in the northeast around Kharkiv too but still, in Moscow, they persist with what's only fair to call a charade of declaring these areas to actually be Russian territory proper, even though they're losing parts of them. And even the Kremlin just 24 hours ago, accepting that they didn't
actually know where the boundaries in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, two of the areas they now say Russia, where those boundaries began and ended and so they continue to consult with the local population.
So, a very surreal series of messages coming from the Russian government, with a very clear admission from their military that they're losing fast on the western side of the river in Kherson region and continued startling advances from Ukrainian military that just appear to be had nothing but momentum on their side.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: To Brisbane, Australia now. Malcolm Davis, a military analyst and senior analyst of defense strategy and capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Malcolm, welcome back.
MALCOLM DAVIS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST (on camera): Thank you very much for having me.
VAUSE: OK, so Western military officials say the Ukrainians are now dictating the operational tempo on the battlefield.
In other words, they're making decisions and moving faster than the Russians are. And they're allowing their troops in the field to take the initiative. Isn't that essentially how wars are won? Are we at close to that moment now?
DAVIS: I think we are, I think we're getting very close to the point whereby the entire Russian occupation of Ukraine could collapse very quickly, before the northern winter sets in.
That would be a huge blow to the credibility of the Russians. You know, having supposedly a next to these territories in the sham referenda to then lose them to Ukrainian offensives would be -- well, it would end any suggestion that the Russians could win this war on the ground in Ukraine.
So, we have -- the Russians are staring defeat in the face. And the interesting question is, what do they do next?
VAUSE: And as far as winter is concerned, historically, that's been quite good for the Russians when it comes to defense. But now, with this attack on Ukraine, it can work in the opposite direction.
DAVIS: Well, certainly, I mean, I think that you will see the Russians advance. Any advance will be slowed down by these Ukrainian counter offensives. They don't have the combat power to really turn the tide here.
So, I think that there's no way out for the Russians, at least in the conventional military sense. They can't win this fight. Now, the interesting question, of course, is that they -- if they
retreat, if they accept surrender, if they accept defeat, that's the end of line for Putin.
And I don't think Putin is going to accept that. So, we once again, are back into the issue of what is concerning everyone, which is what does Putin do next in terms of escalation?
VAUSE: In the meantime, we want to take a look at the map. Ukrainian forces have literally redrawn the map when it comes to Russian occupied territory. And that's what this -- that's what it looks like.
Starting from the day of the Russian invasion, areas in red are under Russian control, initially increased in size, but by April, Russian forces retreat after they attempt to take the capital had failed.
For a time, neither side sort of moved much. So there were no big gains. That was a stencil until the end of August, so we get to this stage right now, the beginning of September with this Ukrainian counter-offensive.
This has been a spectacular turnaround for the Ukrainians. I guess. At any point, though, could it still go wrong?
DAVIS: The only way it could go wrong would be if the Russians did use tactical nuclear weapons to shatter the Ukrainian momentum and inflict devastating losses on Ukrainian fighting clauses.
And I think that that's a possibility that everyone is concerned about. But we can't -- excuse me, I'm in a -- in a conference, so I'm getting people walking behind me.
We can't really sort of do anything about that short of deterrence -- strengthening deterrence against Moscow to do that.
And I'm not sure there's any good solutions here to prevent that sort of use of tactical nuclear weapons, short of strengthening deterrence and making it very clear to the Russians, that if they do that, there will be catastrophic consequences for the Russians.
Will they listen, is another question.
VAUSE: Yes, good point. Here's the Russian defense minister with the latest on that partial mobilization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): As of today, more than 200,000 persons have joined the Russian Armed Forces. I have ordered that they all be provided with the necessary uniforms and other equipment and be appointed to military positions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And with that in mind, here's a little touch of reality from a Russian recruit, listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were officially told that there would be no training before being sent to the combat zone, this recruit says. We had no shooting, no tactical training, no theoretical training, nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The Russian security service, the FSB says more than 250,000 men and military aid have fled the country since the call up began. That's almost doubled the 130,000 troops in the initial invasion.
How many thousands of men are dodging the draft? It's got a big impact on ultimately who goes to the front lines and how this all plays out.
DAVIS: Well, what we're going to get at the front line from the Russians is poorly trained, poorly equipped conscripts that lack the will to fight. They're not motivated in any way, shape or form.
I think what will happen is a lot of them will try and desert or surrender in the first heat of battle. You may have some little fight but most will not.
So, this mass mobilization is going to fail completely for the Russians. And it's just going to -- to put it bluntly, add meat to the meat grinder for the Russians.
And you know, it's a tragic step that the Russians have taken in this regard. But it's all down to the determination of one individual Putin to try and achieve his personal goals at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives.
VAUSE: The hubris is incredible. Malcolm, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
DAVIS: Thank you.
VAUSE: A day after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan, the U.S. and South Korea test fired four missiles off the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.
In a separate exercise, South Korea says one of its two locally made missiles crashed due to an abnormal flight path. And that crash is now under investigation.
Meantime, U.S. President Joe Biden and the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida discussed Pyongyang's missile launch. They're about to strengthen their joint deterrence and response capabilities. Working towards the denuclearization of the North Korean -- of North Korea rather.
Here's more now from John Kirby of the Pentagon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, PRESS SECRETARY, PENTAGON: We -- and this is not the first time we've done this in response to provocations by the North and make sure that we can demonstrate our own capabilities bilaterally with the South Koreans and with the Japanese and trilateral between all three countries to make sure that we have the military capabilities at the ready to respond to provocations by the North if it comes to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: After unprecedented number of missile launches by the North Koreans, some are now calling for an end to the policy of denuclearization and move towards risk reduction. CNN's Will Ripley explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Across Japan, a chilling and familiar sound. From Hokkaido and the north, to the streets of central Tokyo, Tuesday began with an ominous emergency message, an incoming missile from North Korea minutes away.
Many heard a similar warning five years ago. In 2017, the last time North Korea launched a missile over Japan. This time, it flew more than 20 minutes passing Japanese airspace at 17 times the speed of sound. The missile traveled more than 2800 miles farther than any of this year's 23 missile tests. Japan calls it an act of violence.
JEFFREY LEWIS, DIR. EAST ASIA NONPROLIFERATION PROGRAM, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF INTL. STUDIES: I think what it tells us is the North Koreans are in no mood to talk, they're in the mood of testing and blowing things up.
RIPLEY (on camera): Why?
LEWIS: Well, I think the North Koreans tried their hand at diplomacy in the Trump administration. They didn't get what they wanted.
RIPLEY (voice over): Now, in unprecedented testing binge accelerating ever since U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited the heavily armed DMZ, dividing North and South Korea.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the north, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability.
RIPLEY (on camera): Kamala Harris at the DMZ said we call for complete denuclearization from this brutal dictatorship. It sounds like the same language they've been using for years.
ANKIT PANDA, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Absolutely, denuclearization is now I think in the dustbin of history as a failed policy. There's simply no practical plan at this point, especially in the short term to bring North Korea to the negotiating table and to pursue denuclearization. RIPLEY: A crisis that just got even more real. Last week, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan held anti-submarine exercises, the first of their kind in five years. Hours after Tuesday's launch, the U.S. and South Korea stage of precision bombing exercise, a cycle analysts say will likely escalate in the coming months.
What can we expect between now on that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there's a lot of things that North Korea is going to do I think in the next few months. We are probably going to see a nuclear weapons test.
RIPLEY: Experts say, instead of calling for denuclearization, the focus now should be on risk reduction, preventing a crisis from spiraling out of control.
Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The governing body of football in Indonesia says it appears a security official in charge of gates at the stadium where more than 130 were killed over the weekend, failed to open and fast enough for fans to escape.
Violence broke out at the end of the match on Saturday, police fired tear gas into the crowds causing a deadly rush for the exits.
Live to Hong Kong, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has the very latest developments, Kristie.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): On the hunt for answers in the wake of Indonesia's deadly football stadium disaster continues and what we're learning now is this, Indonesian authorities are now saying that delays and unlocking the gates contributed to the disaster which ultimately took the lives of at least 131 people.
We also learned that two Indonesian football officials have been banned for life, including the security coordinator of the team that hosted the match over the weekend.
We had this statement for you from the chairman of the Indonesian FAS Disciplinary Committee. Erwin Tobing says this, "Then, there is the security officer, the person who regulates the entry and exit of the audience of the door. He is responsible for several points that must be implemented, but are not implemented properly. He should not be active in the football environment for life".
Now, the team was also fined around $16,000.
Over the weekend, violence and chaos erupted at this Indonesian league football match that took place in the province of East Java. The match was took place between two very fierce rivals ended in a stampede which became one of the world's deadliest stadium disasters. The incident has triggered an outpouring of outrage and grief across Indonesia and around the world, including this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON MCMENEMY, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, BHAYANGKARA FC: People have to be able to go home from football. And then secondly, you know, the police's reaction to it. How can we make stadiums safer? How can the police have protocol which doesn't incite the scenes that we saw the other night?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Indonesian authorities have pledged to investigate the locked gates as well as the use of tear gas.
Now, tear gas as a crowd control mechanism is prohibited by FIFA, the world's football governing body. And yet, eye witnesses, people who were there were stating that it was in use and they have many questions about its use, including a spectator or survivor, an individual who lost his wife and two daughters to the stadium disaster. We have his testimony to share for you.
And this is what Andi Hariyanto shared with CNN. Again, he lost his wife and two daughters to the stadium disaster. He says this "I still don't understand. Why did the police shoot us in the stadium seats with tear gas? Don't they know that many children and women are watching the match in the stands? Why? What did we do in the stadium seats? Why did they shoot us?"
Now, the investigation is ongoing. Indonesia, meanwhile, is suspending all football matches until each and every team prepares and submits an updated security plan all the way to the top, to the president of Indonesia. Joko Widodo.
Back to you, John.
VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout there with the very latest from Hong Kong. We appreciate that. Thank you.
When we come back, the speech of a lifetime for British Prime Minister Liz Truss, how she plans to save her economic agenda, maybe even her political career.
Also ahead, as Iran's government crackdown on protesters, and more troubling, the internet there essentially has gone dark.
VAUSE: The British Prime Minister will address the conservative conference in Birmingham later on Tuesday. A speech which will be crucial for Liz Truss to win back the party's confidence, as well as uniting members behind her economic agenda.
On Monday, government was forced to abandon her plan cut on taxes for the wealthiest, while much of the country is struggling with the cost of living crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER: So, I took the decision very rapidly on the 45p rate that it was becoming a distraction from the core policies we were delivering, core policies on the energy price guarantee on keeping taxes low during the economic slowdown. Those were the priorities.
Frankly, the 45p wasn't a priority policy. And I listened to people I think there's absolutely no shame Beth in a leader listening to people and responding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Bianca Nobilo is in Birmingham with what more we can expect from Liz Truss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The pressure is on for when Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses Conservative Party Conference in her keynote speech on Wednesday. Conference has been deeply damaging for the Prime Minister beginning with a screeching You-turn on a key economic policy, showing weakness, deepening divisions and eroding faith confidence and trust in her leadership.
Party discipline now appears to be in tatters. So, she must deliver. The prime minister is expected to say that she will create a new Brit for a new era, acknowledging the challenges that the country is faced with the COVID pandemic and now, war on the European continent.
She'll underscore the importance of growing the economy, saying that for too long, Britain's economy hasn't grown as fast as it should. And that focus has been on redistributing small economic pie. Rather than growing the size of that pie and giving everyone a bigger slice.
The prime minister is expected to address the concerns of some conservatives that the party has now undermined its economic credibility by saying that she will commit to fiscal responsibility, value for money for the taxpayer and creating a leaner state.
She'll say that she wants to unleash the talent within the country and just try and strike a positive chord to end conference on a higher note.
But will it be enough to offset the damage that the prime minister has done and silence her douses? She'll certainly be hoping that at the very least, it buys her some more time.
Bianca Nobilo, CNN, Birmingham,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: U.S. is expected to impose new sanctions this week on Iranian law enforcement officials. Sources tell CNN that includes those directly involved in a violent crackdown on protesters.
Demonstrators have been holding antigovernment rallies in dozens of Iranian cities for more than two weeks over the death of a young woman arrested by the morality police for wearing her hijab incorrectly.
The E.U. is also considering sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: Together with a member of state, we will continue to consider all the options at our disposal, including restrictive measures to address the killing of Mahsa Amini and the way Iranian security forces have been responding to the demonstration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Iranian officials say 22-year-old Amini died from a heart attack while in a coma. Her family says that's a lie.
Meantime, key social media platforms have been shut down in Iran. The U.S. says it's trying to help Iranians communicate through the blackout but actually say those efforts are just not enough.
CNN's Katie Polglase explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCHER (voice-over): As protesters took to the streets of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, video clips of this uprising began to flood the internet, making sure the world saw and heard the desire for change.
But then it went dark.
ALP TOKER, DIRECTOR, NETBLOCKS: Starting with Instagram, then WhatsApp and LinkedIn.
POLGLASE: NetBlocks is one of the global leaders on internet monitoring. They quickly observed alarming activity in Iran.
TOKER: What's been astounding is the variety of internet restrictions and disruptions that have been put in place.
POLGLASE: Users inside Iran confirmed the shutdown, sending CNN screenshots of the sites they couldn't access.
The Iranian government has a long history of restricting the internet. Protests in 2019 prompted the most severe shutdown to date, an attempt to hide from the world of violent crackdown on dissent.
But the Iranian people have become experts at finding workarounds. A young tech-savvy population, vast numbers of them use VPNs, virtual private networks. Now even this might be difficult. This teenager told us via text from inside Iran that the government is disabling VPNs one by one. However, the obstacles Iranians face have come not just from their own
government but also from the international community.
For the last decade, U.S. sanctions led many major tech companies to withdraw from Iran completely.
Mahsa Alimardani is an internet researcher focusing on freedom of expression online in Iran.
MAHSA ALIMARDANI, INTERNET RESEARCHER: There is a massive, you know, a population of Iranian technologists, Iranian developers, who rely on certain services like Google Cloud platform or Google app engine. So, this has been basically blocked from the U.S. side because of sanctions. And it has had a detrimental impact.
POLGLASE: Activists say that removing alternatives for Iranian users has actually bolstered the Iranian government's efforts to set up a national internet.
ALIMARDANI: Infrastructure stays local; the data stays local; the ability for the authorities to censor and control, what's going on on the internet remains centralized into their hands.
POLGLASE: Following the latest protest, the U.S. Treasury finally announced updates to their sanctions in order to encourage tech companies to operate in Iran.
ALIMARDANI: It has been almost 10 years that Iranians have had to wait for this update in the license. And while better late than never, it has been a belated action by the U.S. government. And so, there has been a lot of harm done in the interim.
POLGLASE: The onus is now on tech companies to act. Many large tech firms including Google and Meta say they plan to open up new services to Iran after the U.S. announcement. But activists say they're doing a fraction of what is possible.
AMIR RASHIDI, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL RIGHTS AND SECURITY, MIAAN GROUP: Iran is kind of isolated. So, we need to break that isolation. So we need to see more help coming from other big tech companies like Google.
ALIMARDANI: The crucial services really have not been worked on yet. So, there is a lot to be desired.
POLGLASE: Google told CNN, ongoing legal or technical barriers may block the provision of certain services but we are exploring whether additional products might be made available.
Meanwhile, those inside Iran remained frustrated at the inaction. This young Iranian told CNN, tech companies were restricting them and not the government.
Katie Polglase, CNN, London. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN has contacted the U.S. and Iranian governments for comment but yet received a response.
Still ahead, second thoughts from Elon Musk over Twitter. Turns out the world's richest person really does want one of his very own, (INAUDIBLE) Twitter that is.
VAUSE: Well, cheers and probably some relief too on Wall Street. The Dow rallied strongly Tuesday for a second straight day, surging 825 points. Dow has gone up more than 1500 points this week, no longer in dreaded bear market.
The S&P 500 and NASDAQ were also up but still in bear territory, more than 20 percent off their all-time highs.
Let's take a look at how Wednesday is shaping up in the U.S., the Dow Futures down by almost half a percent. NASDAQ Futures down by about the same, also S&P 500 Futures also down by half the one percent.
For months now, Elon Musk has been trying to back out of buying Twitter, but now a surprising turnaround. He's put his original offer of $4 billion back on the table. But there's a catch.
In return, Musk wants Twitter to drop a lawsuit the company filed for his attempt to renege on the deal. In June, Musk claimed he was misled over the number of fake accounts.
CNN's Matt Egan has details now from New York.
MATT EGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an amazing plot twist. There have been a lot of corporate battles over the years, but we've never seen anything quite like this. Only Elon Musk could deliver it.
So Twitter shares rising sharply on reports that Elon Musk is going to reverse himself and try to get this deal closed at the originally proposed $54.20.
And then, we got confirmation: Elon Musk representatives said in a letter yesterday that was made public, that Musk does plan to go forward with this deal at the originally proposed terms.
And then Twitter put out a statement saying they received a letter from Musk representatives, and they also intend to close the deal at $54.20.
Now, this is a shocker, because this battle was set to go to trial in just under two weeks in Delaware. The problem for Elon Musk was that he was seen widely as the underdog in this battle. You know, he wanted to walk away from the deal. He said he had concerns about bots on Twitter.
But he had a signed contract, and you just can't rip that up. And so maybe Elon Musk decided he saw the writing on the wall, and he wanted to try to end this on his own terms.
I think what's puzzling is that he did try to get a discount here. I mean, $54.20 a share was viewed as very rich three months ago. We've only seen markets come down sharply since then, including tech companies.
So you've got to wonder why he didn't try to negotiate to get a discount here.
Things could move very quickly from here. It appears that Twitter is taking this at face value. If they end up dropping this lawsuit, they could end up getting this cleared very quickly.
And they may want to move fast, because they don't know if Elon Musk is going to change his mind again. Regulators have already signed off. Shareholders have already signed off. This was the last obstacle, albeit a big one.
So it's possible we could see this deal get wrapped up in just days, which would mean that we'd have a situation where the world's richest person is going to control one of the most influential social media platforms. And that, of course, raises so many questions about freedom of speech and misinformation.
Back to you, guys.
VAUSE: Josh Constine is a partner at the venture capital fund Signifier. He joins me now from San Francisco.
Josh, it's been a while. Welcome back.
JOSH CONSTINE, PARTNER, SIGNIFIER: Thank you so much for having me.
VAUSE: OK, so here's Twitter's very brief response to Musk's offer, saying the "intention of the company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share."
That's a pretty good deal for Twitter, considering, you know, before word of this new offer came through, we look at the stock price at midday. It was around 42 bucks, which is, you know, a lot lower than 54.
At the same time, Twitter has not agreed to drop the lawsuit. It seems to be sort of dragging its heels a bit. Apparently, there's some concern among those at Twitter that this could be a legal point. So what do you make of all this? What's happening here?
CONSTINE: Elon Musk could smell the sour stench of defeat in the court battle he was facing, and he would honestly just rather pay $10 billion over the normal price of Twitter, just to avoid losing at anything.
And I think he knew that this was going to be a huge balm for him, and even his dirty laundry could be aired if he had to go into this court battle.
You already saw his text messages with other big wigs in tech, begging him to get to be part of that deal, come out last week. And I think he realized that he was going to end up having to do this anyways.
And if he got dragged into the deal, forced by the court to make this acquisition, it would probably spook Twitter's shareholders, as well as its team (ph). So this is the better outcome, knowing it was somewhat inevitable.
VAUSE: Explain to me how a company that has not turned a profit in eight of the last ten years is worth $34 billion, let alone $44 billion?
CONSTINE: Twitter is a fundamental communications utility. Celebrities and world leaders around the world all use it to be able to get the word out to their followers about major happenings on the planet.
Meanwhile, jokes, so much of Internet culture is birthed there, and it's a place for the average kind of person to experience news in real time. There's an incredible -- incredibly deep value to this product.
It's not going anywhere. There's nothing -- there's nothing like it in the world. And so there's no true competition.
So the only thing really holding Twitter back is Twitter itself. So sure, maybe an experienced business person like Elon could come in and help, you know, make the company a little bit better, make its business better.
But at the same time, you know, Elon is going to realize that human beings are a lot more complex than electrical circuits. And all of his scientific knowledge is not going to help him make sense of Twitter's moderation policy concerns.
So I think it would -- he's not the best person to be running this company, to be frank.
VAUSE: Well, possibly an indication of that is that he said back, what, in May that he would reverse Twitter's lifetime ban on former President Donald Trump. So is there any indication he may not follow through on that?
CONSTINE: No. It's hard to say what he'll do once he gets power. You know, he's very fickle.
But, you know, his perspective has largely been that Twitter needs to be this bastion of free speech. He essentially wants to turn it into a gladiator's coliseum of hate speech, where the loudest person wins. Most everyone else in the world wants Twitter to stay Twitter. And so
there's a huge disconnect, especially given Twitter spent the last 10 years, trying to solve the safety and trust issues on the platform, deal with its hate speech and harassment and bullying problems.
And Elon basically said he wants to reverse all of that. So he immediately saw Twitter employees who are part of those teams start heading for the exits.
I had several sources contact me, saying, I don't even know if my product is going to exist once Elon takes power, so I'm leaving the company.
So I think there's a huge problem, not only for Twitter as a company, but as -- for the public at large. You know, we can't be giving fascists and bullies this massive algorithmic amplification. And that's kind of what Elon want to do here.
So I think it would be bad for the world, honestly, if he takes control of this app.
VAUSE: Yes. Twitter is a nasty place as it is already. So I mean, if it's going to get worse, then it's going to be a lot worse.
But anyway, here's the first tweet from Musk since word broke of this new deal: "Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app."
What is X? And why do we want to accelerate it?
CONSTINE: So X is Elon Musk's idea for a super app, something that would contain the functionality of most of the most popular other products in America.
It's -- the idea is modeled after WeChat, the most popular app in China, which contains, you know, features that approximate Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, PayPal, and even the Apple app store.
And Elon thinks that the same thing could work here. But Americans have never showed interest in these monolithic apps that give so much power to a single company. People are already worried about how much power Facebook has, and it only owns a chunk of that functionality.
So I don't think that his idea for a super app would actually succeed here. And chasing those other pieces of functionality, trying to become like WeChat, trying to become like TikTok, would derail Twitter from its true purpose and utility as a microblogging service, where everyone in the world gets a voice.
VAUSE: And they get to yell at each other. Josh, thank you --
CONSTINE: And they get to yell at each other. Sorry.
VAUSE: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it. Take care.
CONSTINE: Thanks so much for having me. VAUSE: Well, the E.U. may soon have one charger to rule them all. New
rules approved by the European Parliament would force all iPhone (ph) makers to use UCB -- USB-C chargers for small and medium devices, starting late 2024.
Larger devices would follow two years after that.
The measure would most affect companies like Apple, which uses its own unique chargers for iPhones and tablets, which is really annoying.
Apple argues the move (ph) would render as many as a billion devices and accessories useless. Hmm.
The proposal now heads to the European Council for final approval.
Still to come, Barbie explores the final frontier. The iconic toy heads into space on a mission to get young girls interested in becoming astronauts and scientists. How sweet.
VAUSE: Well, a former Lebanese ambassador held a sit-in at his bank outside Beirut, his wife saying he is refusing to leave her until he gets his money.
His branch is one of four across Lebanon, like this one, that were held up by depositors, demanding their savings back.
Bank accounts in Lebanon have been frozen for more than two years, a reflection on dire living -- living conditions in the country, amid a financial meltdown.
It's World Space Week, and to try and make girls interested in careers in science, Europe's first female commander on the International Space Station answered questions from a number of young girls on Tuesday.
Playing alongside her was a lookalike Barbie astronaut. Here's Isa Soares.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Barbie girl to Barbie astronaut. The famous stories reaching new heights, traveling all the way into space to inspire young girls to consider careers in science.
This Barbie is modeled on astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, Europe's first female commander of the International Space Station and the first Italian woman in space.
To mark the start of World Space Week, Samantha beamed into Earth along with her lookalike, to answer questions from young girls across Europe. And they were very curious about her job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you want to become an astronaut?
SAMANTHA CRISTOFORETTI, ITALIAN ASTRONAUT (through translator): Growing up, I was fascinated by the night sky. And the idea of flying to space and the sense of adventure, and exploration.
SOARES (voice-over): But they also had some more practical concerns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Can you eat pizza on board?
CRISTOFORETTI (through translator): Unfortunately, a proper pizza needs to be prepared in a proper oven, and we don't have that on board. We have only an electric oven to heat up food bags. Sometime ago, though, we found a way to eat something similar to pizza, which wasn't bad at all.
SOARES (voice-over): Samantha's Barbie astronaut first hit the shops in 2021, with some of the profits going to the charity Women in Aerospace Europe.
She'll soon return to Earth, along with Samantha, where she'll put on display at the European Space Station, embodying Barbie's motto for girls all over the world, that you can be anything.
Isa Soares, CNN.
VAUSE: How about that?
I'm John Vause. I'll be back of the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. But first, WORLD SPORT starts after the break. We'll see you soon.