Amazon CEO’s wealth soars to new heights while Trump’s sinks

In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. (AP)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Amazon CEO’s wealth soars to new heights while Trump’s sinks

SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has become the first $100 billion mogul to top Forbes' annual rankings of the world's richest people. But President Donald Trump's fortune sank during his first year in office despite a surging stock market.
The Bezos milestone, revealed in Tuesday's release of Forbes' closely watched list , underscores the growing clout of both Bezos and the company that he founded in 1994 as an online bookstore. Forbes' breakdown provided further evidence that serving as president isn't the most lucrative job, even when most of the rich are getting richer.
All told, the world now holds more than 2,200 billionaires with a combined fortune of $9.1 trillion, up 18 percent from ago, according to Forbes' calculations.
Although Trump is part of that elite group, he saw his fortune sink by about $400 million to $3.1 billion during his first year in office. The decline left him as the world's 766th richest person, more than 200 places lower than his 544th spot on last year's Forbes list.
Bezos seized the top ranking for the first time and has the added the distinction of becoming the first person to break the $100 billion barrier since Forbes began compiling its list in 1987. As of Feb. 9, Bezos' wealth stood at $112 billion as of Feb. 9, up from about $73 billion last year, according to Forbes.
Most of Bezos' fortune is tied up in Amazon stock, which soared 59 percent during the period tracked by Forbes.
Bezos has used a sliver of his wealth to buy The Washington Post — a target in Trump's fusillades against the media — and to finance Blue Origin, a maker of rockets that aim to sell flights into space.
Meanwhile, Amazon has expanded beyond its bookselling origin to become a retailer of almost everything imaginable . It now even sells groceries in brick-and-mortar stores after its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Markets last year.
Amazon also has built a network of data centers that hosts the online services of other companies, and produces award-winning shows that compete against traditional TV networks. More recently, it branched into health care in a partnership involving Berkshire Hathaway and its CEO, Warren Buffett, whose $84 billion fortune ranks third on the Forbes list.
Bill Gates, Microsoft's co-founder and an occasional bridge partner of Buffett's, ranks second on the Forbes list with wealth of $90 billion.
Both Gates, 62, and Buffett, 87, have committed to giving away most of their wealth while Bezos, 54, hasn't said much about his philanthropic plans.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.