Good morning. We’re covering the sinking of a Russian warship, Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter and the U.K.’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Russia’s flagship sinks
Ukraine said it was the result of a missile strike by its coastal defense force; Russia claimed that the damage to the ship, the Moskva, was caused by a fire. Later, Russia claimed it had sunk while being towed during a storm. Here are live updates.
The damage to the Moskva was a potent symbolic victory for the Ukrainian military and an embarrassment for Moscow. It may also be a demonstration of new weapons: Ukraine said it struck the vessel with Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles, which have never before been used in combat.
Background: Ships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet have been offshore since the start of the war, periodically launching rocket and missile attacks against targets inside Ukraine. The fleet has also cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, removing a key economic lifeline.
Musk makes a hostile bid for Twitter
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, offered to buy Twitter in a cash bid that values the social network at $43 billion.
Musk has used Twitter to insult critics, troll short-sellers and spread inaccurate information about the pandemic. He has also repeatedly criticized Twitter’s moderation policies, and floated the notion of radically shifting power toward Twitter users and enabling unfettered free speech.
What’s next: Twitter’s board said it would review Musk’s proposal to buy the company and take it private. If it turns down the offer, it will have to explain why, and potentially line up a white knight suitor to come up with a competing bid.
The U.K. plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda
The British government announced a plan to send some asylum seekers thousands of miles away to Rwanda for processing and resettlement, drawing immediate condemnation from rights groups and opposition leaders.
Rwanda — which has faced fierce criticism for its human rights record from many countries, including Britain — said it would receive about $157 million as part of the deal. It will offer the asylum seekers “legal pathways to residence” in Rwanda if their claims are successful.
Background: The British government has struggled to stop a small but steady flow of people making dangerous crossings across the English Channel from France.
What’s next: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said legislation to enable the deal was still going through Parliament. He conceded that the plan was likely to face legal challenges and “will not take effect overnight.”
The backlash: Yvette Cooper of the opposition Labour Party described the plan as “unworkable, unethical and extortionate.” It was, she wrote on Twitter, a “desperate and truly shameful announcement,” and “an attempt to distract from Boris Johnson’s lawbreaking,” following the decision by the police on Tuesday to fine the prime minister for breaking lockdown rules.
THE LATEST NEWS
More than 120 people have died in the central part of the Philippines after a tropical storm caused landslides and flooding.
At least 306 people died in Durban, South Africa, after several days of punishing rain.
A U.S. federal jury convicted a British militant accused of being a member of Islamic State in the abduction, abuse and deaths of four Americans.
Decades after independence from colonial rule, many African countries are increasingly troubled by France’s continuing economic and political influence.
Nearly 400 million people are estimated to be under some form of lockdown in China. Its economy is paying the price: Experts think its target of 5.5 percent economic growth for 2022 is now unrealistic.
Frightened by Shanghai’s food crisis, Beijing residents are now stockpiling supplies.
Hong Kong plans to ease its social-distancing measures next week as the wave abates, The Associated Press reports.
What Else Is Happening
A long-running Japanese reality TV show recently came to Netflix, where it is astonishing Western audiences. The premise? Toddlers running errands without adult supervision.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
A blow to Russian forces. The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet suffered catastrophic damage that forced the crew to abandon it. Russia said that a fire had caused the damage, though Ukraine claimed to have struck the vessel with missiles.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Tonga’s global shockwave
In mid-January, a massive underwater volcano erupted off the coast of Tonga, the Pacific island nation. It spawned a tsunami that devastated many of its islands and struck far-off shores across the ocean.
The huge explosion also generated something that scientists hadn’t seen in more than half a century: a planetary-scale pressure wave, or shockwave, in the atmosphere.
A new simulation gives a detailed look at a pressure wave, which took about 36 hours to circumnavigate the globe. It spread out in concentric rings that traveled at the speed of sound, interrupting air pressure and water vapor in the atmosphere. It’s sort of like an earth-wide sonic boom.
“It’s super spectacular,” a physicist at the University of Western Ontario said. “Everybody who studies atmospheric waves are all quite, I would say, awe-struck.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia
P.S. “When I can’t sleep, I’ve been doing Wordle,” Vice President Kamala Harris told Democratic donors last night, according to a CNN reporter.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on Elon Musk’s tangle with Twitter.
You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].