Amazon’s Jeff Bezos commits $2 bln to help homeless, pre-schools

Jeff Bezos made a $2 billion commitment to helping homeless families. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos commits $2 bln to help homeless, pre-schools

  • The announcement marks a deeper foray into philanthropy for Bezos
  • Bezos solicited ideas on Twitter last year for ways to donate some of his wealth

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Inc’s founder and the world’s richest person, said on Thursday he will commit $2 billion to helping homeless families and starting pre-schools for low-income communities.
The announcement marks a deeper foray into philanthropy for Bezos, whose fortune has soared to more than $160 billion thanks to his stake in Amazon. Dominance in e-commerce and the nascent field of cloud computing has made Amazon the world’s second-most valuable public company.
Bezos solicited ideas on Twitter last year for ways to donate some of his wealth. While he has financially supported cancer research and scholarships for immigrants, among other causes, Bezos has primarily devoted his fortune to his Blue Origin rocket company, which he described on Thursday as an “investment in the future of our planet through the development of foundational space infrastructure.”
His private ownership of The Washington Post, which has published articles critical of the White House, has also put him at odds with US President Donald Trump.
The new philanthropic effort is called the Bezos Day One Fund, a nod to the executive’s management philosophy that organizations must view every day with the fervor of a new start, or face stagnation and decline.
Within this, the “Day 1 Families Fund” will support existing non-profit organizations that offer shelter and food to young homeless families.
The “Day 1 Academies Fund” will start an organization to operate a new network of full-scholarship pre-schools for low-income communities. Citing the Amazon mantra of customer obsession, Bezos said in a tweet : “The child will be the customer.”
Bezos said in remarks to the Economic Club of Washington that it is “really really hard” for a child to catch up if they fall behind in their early years. The money will pay “gigantic dividends for decades.”
He said he did not know how much money he would eventually give away.
Bezos has yet to join “The Giving Pledge” created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to give more than half of their fortunes to philanthropy.
The Amazon chief’s wealth has become problematic for some.
Earlier this month, US Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, proposed a bill in Congress called the “Stop BEZOS” Act, which would make large corporations pay workers more or pay for public assistance programs like Medicaid. Amazon has said Sanders’ statements about the company were “inaccurate and misleading.” 


‘No-deal’ Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

Updated 25 September 2018
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‘No-deal’ Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

  • Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement
  • Without a deal, the UK would move to customs arrangements set by the WTO for external states with no preferential deals

LONDON: Leaving the European Union without a proper divorce deal could ground airlines, stop hauliers from lugging goods to the world’s biggest trading bloc and even make headaches for pet owners who want to take their dogs on holiday, according to government documents.
With just six months to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that negotiations are at an impasse and that the EU must come up with new proposals on how to craft a divorce settlement.
Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement, thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.
Britain, which has warned it could leave without a deal, published 25 technical notices on Monday covering everything from commercial road haulage and buying timber to airline regulations and taking pets abroad.
“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,” the government said.
Overall, the government has published more than 65 such notices giving a glimpse of what a no-deal Brexit — the nightmare scenario for chief executives of most multinationals operating in Britain — would look like.
Amid warnings that trucks could stack up on both sides of the English Channel in the confusion of a no deal, Britain said it would seek to strike bilateral agreements with European countries to ensure hauliers would retain access.
The notices covered a vast swathe of the British economy, warning, for example, that labels on packaged food would have to be changed.
“Use of the term ‘EU’ in origin labelling would no longer be correct for food or ingredients from the UK,” the government said.
Honey producers would have to change their labels while EU countries might not accept British mineral water, the government said.
In the worse case scenario for pet owners, dogs, cats and even ferrets might need health certificates and rabies jabs. Travel plans would have to be discussed with a vet at least four months in advance before traveling to the EU.
That would mean someone wanting to take their pet to the EU on March 30, 2019, the day after Britain leaves the bloc, would have to discuss the trip with a vet before the end of November.
Without a deal, the UK would move from seamless trade with the rest of the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states with no preferential deals.
Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say the government is trying to scare voters about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Britain, many Brexiteers say, will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.