FirstFT: Musk says he would reverse Trump’s ‘senseless’ and ‘morally wrong’ Twitter ban

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Elon Musk has said he will reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter ban, accusing the social media company of leftist bias that has deepened political divisions in the United States.

“I think it was a morally wrong and insane decision in the extreme,” Musk said of Trump’s lifetime ban, which was imposed shortly after a mob stormed the building. US Capitol on January 6 last year.

“I would reverse the permaban [on Trump]Musk added. “Obviously I don’t own Twitter yet, so it’s not something that’s definitely going to happen.”

The comments, made at the FT’s Future of the Car conference and Musk’s first interview since he struck a deal to buy Twitter for around $44 billion two weeks ago, marked a sharp escalation in his attacks on the social media company’s attempts to eliminate hate speech and misinformation.

“Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice,” Musk said. “It will amplify it on the right. That’s why it’s morally wrong and downright stupid.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of the news from the day — George

The news of the war in Ukraine

  • Rebuilding Ukraine: Western nations are beginning to weigh the costs and planning required for post-war reconstruction, which will rival anything since World War II.

  • Russia: The United States believes that Vladimir Putin is “preparing for a protracted conflict” in Ukraine and that his focus on the southeastern Donbass region is an attempt “to regain the initiative”.

  • Opinion: According to former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, NATO’s ninth enlargement will be seen as Vladimir Putin’s enlargement. This would not have happened without Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

There’s no hiding the devastation in Borodyanka, the most badly damaged of the towns northwest of kyiv, which bore the brunt of Moscow’s failed attempt to take the capital © Oleksii Karpovych/FT

1. Johnson signals he’s ready to drop Northern Ireland deal Boris Johnson’s government is on a collision course with the EU after signaling plans to tear up post-Brexit trade deals for Northern Ireland. The British Prime Minister told his Irish counterpart Micheál Martin yesterday that the deal was “not viable in its current form”.

2. The EU will relax green standards The EU is preparing to ease environmental regulations as it seeks to replace Russian fossil fuels with renewables, according to draft proposals seen by the Financial Times. Companies would be allowed to build wind and solar projects without environmental impact assessment in designated areas.

3. Activist calls for reshuffle at Saint-Gobain in France Activist investor Bluebell Capital is calling on Saint-Gobain, one of France’s oldest industrial companies, to reshape the company and replace its chairman after a “disappointing performance”. Last year, Bluebell’s campaign led to a leadership overhaul at Danone.

4. CVC pushes back on IPO plans CVC Capital Partners, Europe’s largest private equity group, has postponed its IPO plans to fall or early 2023 from June as market turmoil, high inflation , rising interest rates and slowing growth hamper multi-billion IPOs. .

5. Sunak calls for more oil and gas investment in the UK Rishi Sunak has called on North Sea oil and gas companies to increase their energy investments in the UK to avoid a windfall tax. The Chancellor has warned a tax would discourage investment, but has come under pressure from MPs to help households struggling with energy bills.

The day ahead

Economic data Germany publishes its April consumer price index and its producer price index. Last month, German inflation hit its highest rate in 40 years. The United States is also releasing April CPI data, which is expected to have slowed slightly from 8.5% in March, its fastest pace since 1981.

Earnings Compass, ITV, Panasonic, Suzuki Motor, Takeda, Thyssenkrupp, Toyota and Tui are among the companies reporting results today. Walt Disney’s earnings will indicate whether the company’s streaming service continued its strong growth in the first quarter or suffered a Netflix-like meltdown.

Events A three-day conference, Europe as a leader in disruptive innovation, starts today in Paris and combines Printemps Paris-Saclay and the Week of Innovative Regions of Europe. The general assembly of the Anti-Money Laundering Network meets in Lyon.

What else we read

French bibliophiles are alarmed by the takeover of Vivendi In France, literature is not supposed to be a vulgar trade like any other, but rather an art to be protected. The impending acquisition of France’s biggest publisher Hachette by billionaire raider Vincent Bolloré has the local literary world on edge.

Egyptian media exiles under pressure from Erdoğan reset Struggling with a weak economy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sought to rebuild relations across the Arab world in a bid to boost trade and investment. This has had consequences for the opposition Egyptian television channels which have taken up residence in Turkey.

The race to extract lithium in America’s backyard China dominates the supply chain for lithium battery manufacturing, including mineral processing. But as the United States tries to get ahead in the global race to build green batteries, Washington is encouraging mining projects, even amid criticism from environmentalists.

Montage of a rock containing lithium and a Tesla car

Piedmont Lithium found no difficulty in promising future sales to Tesla, the US flagship electric car company © FT montage; NASA/GSFC/Meti/ERSDAC/Jaros/Bloomberg/Géry Parent/Wikicommons

Drought threatens hopes French wheat could ease shortages France’s rich wheat fields seemed an obvious partial solution to the grain shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the traditional “breadbasket” of Europe. But the EU’s biggest wheat exporter faces its own challenges: poor rainfall this year has raised the threat of drought.

Clues but few answers in the mystery of childhood hepatitis Scientists are mystified by a new form of hepatitis, which is thought to affect more than 300 children worldwide and could cause a wider, undetected wave of milder liver damage. Lockdowns, adenoviruses, Covid-19 and exposure to dogs have all been implicated.

What to do in Tokyo

Japan has eight winners of the Pritzker Prize, the highest widely regarded architectural honour. No country has more. Explore 12 highlights of Tokyo’s constellation of starchitecture with FT Globetrotter.

People walk past Tadao Ando's 'underground spaceship', an egg-shaped structure with an oval atrium

Tadao Ando’s ‘underground spaceship’ features an egg-shaped structure with an oval atrium © James Hand-Cukierman

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