Bill Gates and Melinda Gates splitting after 27 years marriage

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates splitting after 27 years marriage
Billionaire Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft Corp., and his wife Melinda attend the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 04 May 2021

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates splitting after 27 years marriage

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates splitting after 27 years marriage
  • Launched in 2000, the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one world's biggest, with net assets of $43.3 billion at the end of in 2019

SEATTLE: Billionaire benefactors Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of one of the world's largest private charitable foundations, filed for divorce on Monday after 27 years of marriage, saying they had reached an agreement on how to divide their assets.
In a joint petition for dissolution of marriage filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, the couple stated: "The marriage is irretrievably broken."
But the foundation said Bill Gates, 65, who co-founded Microsoft Corp, and Melinda Gates would continue to work together in their existing roles as co-chairs and trustees of the organization.
The divorce filing, which states that the couple have no minor children, comes after the youngest of their three children is believed to have recently turned 18. The spouses asked the court to approve their agreement on division of assets but did not disclose details.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the two said in a statement posted on each of their individual Twitter accounts.
"We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life," they said.
Launched in 2000, the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one world's biggest, with net assets of $43.3 billion at the end of in 2019, according to the latest full-year financials shown on its website.
From 1994 through 2018 Gates and his wife, who is 56, have provided gifts of more than $36 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.
Last year, investor Warren Buffett reported donating more than $2 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.
The Gates Foundation has focused on public health, education and climate. Its initiatives include supporting development of coronavirus vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical treatments as well as support for public radio and the manufacture of solar-powered toilets.

JOINT FOUNDATION WORK TO CONTINUE
The pair "will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues and set the organization’s overall direction," the Gates Foundation said in a statement.
The split comes two years after another leading American billionaire and philanthropist, Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos, said that he and his then-wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.
Gates dropped out of Harvard University to start Microsoft with school chum Paul Allen in 1975. Gates owned 49% of Microsoft at its initial public offering in 1986, which made him an instant multimillionaire. With Microsoft's explosive growth, he soon became one of the world's wealthiest individuals.
After an executive tenure in which he helped transform the company into one of the world's leading technology firms, Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in 2000 to focus on philanthropy. He remained chairman until 2014 and left the company's board in March 2020.
Known in the technology industry as an acerbic and ruthless competitor, Gates drew the ire of rivals and eventually the U.S. government for Microsoft's business practices.
The software giant was convicted of antitrust violations in the late 1990s. But the verdict was overturned on appeal, and the company then settled the case out of court.
Gates' public persona softened into an avuncular elder statesman as he turned his attention to philanthropy, and he has largely steered clear of the many controversies currently roiling the technology business.
Gates' spouse, who recently began referring to herself as Melinda French Gates on most websites and social media, was raised in Dallas and studied computer science and economics at Duke University. She later joined Microsoft, where she met her future husband.
In 2015 she founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment company focused on women, and in 2019 published a book, "The Moment of Lift", centered on female empowerment.

 


Dubai warns residents over ‘big cat’ on the loose

Dubai warns residents over ‘big cat’ on the loose
Updated 19 May 2021

Dubai warns residents over ‘big cat’ on the loose

Dubai warns residents over ‘big cat’ on the loose
  • The creature has been prowling one of the Springs 3 community

DUBAI: Dubai Police and Municipality officials were attempting to capture a “wild animal” on the loose since Tuesday morning.

The creature, described by residents as a black big cat, has been prowling one of the city’s gated communities.

Dubai Media Office tweeted saying Dubai Police had reassured the community that it is taking all measures to minimize any potential danger to people from a wild animal that was spotted in The Springs 3 area.

Trained professionals are currently conducting an extensive search to locate and capture the animal.

However, authorities advised members of The Springs community to exercise all necessary caution.

Dubai Police cautioned the public saying “bringing out any kind of wild animal into a public environment is strictly prohibited under the emirate’s laws.” Violators can face a jail term of up to six months in addition to severe financial penalties.


Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Co. rescues, rehabilitates 2 endangered turtles

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Co. rescues, rehabilitates 2 endangered turtles
The Red Sea Development Co., as part of its initiative to protect rare turtle species, released two endangered Hawksbill sea turtles into their natural habitat near Al-Waqadi Island. (SPA)
Updated 7 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Co. rescues, rehabilitates 2 endangered turtles

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Co. rescues, rehabilitates 2 endangered turtles
  • Hawksbill turtles named Amal and Hayaat — meaning “hope” and “life” — were discovered in two separate incidents by TRSDC contractors
  • TRSDC, in cooperation with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, spent weeks rehabilitating the reptiles at a specialized center in Jeddah

RIYADH: Two of the world’s rarest turtles were returned to a natural habitat in Saudi Arabia after being rescued and nursed back to health.

The hawksbill turtles named Amal and Hayaat — meaning “hope” and “life” — were discovered in two separate incidents by contractors for the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC).

TRSDC, in cooperation with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), spent weeks rehabilitating the reptiles at a specialized center in Jeddah as a part of its initiative to protect endangered sea turtles.

Both turtles were unable to dive when they were discovered so the National Center for Wildlife Development delivered the turtles to Fakieh Aquarium in Jeddah for treatment.

Hawksbill turtles have a beak-like mouth, span 65-90 centimeters and weigh between 45-70 kilograms. They can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, along with the Red Sea.

TRSDC put out a video titled “Journey of Hope” documenting the turtles’ release. The Red Sea environmental sustainability team chose to release the rare turtles at Waqadi Island, as it served as a primary nesting ground for them. The island provided the necessary environment to grow their species and live peacefully without any threats of overfishing, pollution, boat traffic or industrial development.

Waqadi Island will remain untouched and undeveloped as one of the protected areas by the TRSDC, which has developed 22 islands for tourism. It will ensure that 75 percent of the area will remain untouched to ensure the purest levels of environmental sustainability for species like the hawksbill turtles.

The TRSDC aims to enact special laws for the development and preservation of the environment and targets an increase of biodiversity in the area by 30 percent over the next 20 years.

The TRSDC and KAUST will continue to grow the turtle tracking program to support the enactment of new standards for sustainable development in an initiative that includes 10 other hawksbill turtles. The studies will lay the foundation for sustainability in future development plans.


‘This needs to stop!’: Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton expresses support for Palestine

‘This needs to stop!’: Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton expresses support for Palestine
Updated 17 May 2021

‘This needs to stop!’: Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton expresses support for Palestine

‘This needs to stop!’: Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton expresses support for Palestine
  • ‘This is so heartbreaking. This needs to stop! #SavePalestine #GazaUnderAttack #stopthegenocide’

DUBAI: Socialite Paris Hilton has expressed support for Palestine and the Palestinian people as Israel continued its heavy bombardment of the occupied territories in an escalating conflict with Hamas militants.

The celebrity personality, who built her way from being a pampered hotel scion to a successful entrepreneur with a billion-dollar global brand, called for a halt in Israeli attacks against Gaza and a stop to the ‘genocide.’

““This is so heartbreaking. This needs to stop! #SavePalestine #GazaUnderAttack #stopthegenocide”,” Paris tweeted in an accompanying article from The Guardian where Israel claimed attacks in Gaza would continue until there is ‘complete quiet.’

Israeli air strikes killed 33 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst reported daily death toll yet in the almost week-long clashes.

 


The heaviest fighting since 2014, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, saw Hamas and Israel again trade heavy fire, with the death toll rising to 181 in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza since Monday and at 10 in Israel, according to authorities on either side.

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation opened an emergency meeting Sunday over the heavy fighting, the first major move among Middle East nations still grappling with how to address the conflict.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki of the Palestinian Authority, which administers autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, decried what he called Israel’s “cowardly attacks” at the start of the meeting.

Israel said Sunday morning its “continuing wave of strikes” had in the past 24 hours struck over 90 targets across Gaza, where the destruction of a building housing news media organizations sparked an international outcry.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “dismayed” by civilian casualties in Gaza and “deeply disturbed” by Israel’s strike on Saturday on the tower housing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera bureaus, a spokesperson said.

Israel’s army said Sunday that about 3,000 rockets had been fired from the coastal strip towards Israel, the highest rate ever recorded, of which about 450 failed launches fell in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted over a thousand rockets, the army said, in almost a week during which Israeli residential buildings have been hit, with over 500 people wounded.


Kazakhstan says 350 rare antelopes killed by lightning

Kazakhstan says 350 rare antelopes killed by lightning
Updated 14 May 2021

Kazakhstan says 350 rare antelopes killed by lightning

Kazakhstan says 350 rare antelopes killed by lightning
  • Discovery came during calving season for the Saiga, which is known for its distinctive bulbous nose
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Saiga among five critically endangered antelopes

Almaty: Kazakhstan said Friday that around 350 critically endangered Saiga antelopes had been killed, probably by lightning, after villagers found their bodies in steppe land in the west of the country.
The discovery came during calving season for the Saiga, which is known for its distinctive bulbous nose.
The Kazakh ecological ministry said in a statement that lightning was the probable cause of their deaths “as there are traces of lightning strikes on the carcasses.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whose “Red List” is the scientific reference for threatened wildlife, lists the Saiga as among five critically endangered antelope species, with a population of around 124,000 adults.
Kazakhstan is home to the vast majority of the animals, with Russia’s Kalmykia region and Mongolia hosting much smaller populations.
In 2015, around 200,000 of the antelopes — well over half the total global population at the time — were wiped out by what scientists later determined was a nasal bacterium that spread in unusually warm and humid conditions.
In an aerial survey in 2019, Kazakhstan said its Saiga population was estimated at more than 330,000 individuals.
Poaching is a persistent threat, fueled by demand for horn in traditional Chinese medicine. Kazakhstan’s leaders pledged to crack down on the crime after two state rangers were killed by poachers in 2019.


As poverty bites, Lebanese give up their pets

As poverty bites, Lebanese give up their pets
Updated 14 May 2021

As poverty bites, Lebanese give up their pets

As poverty bites, Lebanese give up their pets
BEIRUT: Ibrahim Al-Dika had raised his Belgian shepherd Lexi since she was a tiny pup, but then Lebanon’s economic crisis made him jobless and he had to sell her to repay a bank loan.
“It got to the point where I was no longer able to feed her, the bank was pressuring me, and I hit a wall,” said the 26-year-old, devastated beside her empty kennel outside his Beirut home.
“I didn’t sell a car or a telephone. I sold a soul. I sold a part of me.”
Can you afford to keep your pet? Animal activists say this is a dilemma a growing number of Lebanese owners are facing as their purchasing power nosedives.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese have lost their jobs or seen their income reduced to a pittance due to Lebanon’s worst economic crisis in decades.
As many families struggle to stay afloat, activists say increasingly more pet owners are asking for help to feed or re-home their animals, selling them, or in the worst cases abandoning them.
Dika, after losing his father to illness, was laid off last year when his employer, a fashion retailer, closed shop, affecting his ability to support his mother and brother.
He had spent around a year caring for Lexi, and training her to sit, heel, give him the paw, and play dead.
But when the bank started calling, he saw no option other than to sell her.
He drove over a few days later to check in on her, and Lexi thought he had come to take her home.
“She leapt straight into my car,” he said. “She broke my heart the way she looked at me.”
With more than half of Lebanon’s population now living in poverty, many Lebanese have to depend on non-governmental organizations to get by — even to feed their pets.
Amal Ramadan, 39, said she used to make donations to animal charity PAW. But these days it is her receiving free bags of food from them for her pit bull and bichon, Nelly and Fluffy.
Her monthly salary working in car rental, once equivalent to $1,000, is now worth just $120 because of the Lebanese currency’s sharp devaluation.
“I don’t have enough income to feed my pets,” said the widowed mother of two, who has taken on extra work to make ends meet.
Ramadan said she would rather starve than give up Nelly and Fluffy.
But as the price of imported pet food, meat and veterinary care soars, activists said some other animals have not been so lucky.
At the Woof N’ Wags dog shelter in southern Lebanon, volunteer Ghada Al-Khateeb watched a female dog lying on her side, breathing weakly under a grubby white coat, after she was rescued from the local trash dump.
She said pet abandonments were on the rise.
“Nobody can afford to feed their dogs anymore,” said the 32-year-old hairdresser and divorced mother of twins.
“When they come to hand them over, they tell us: ‘our children are our priority’.”
The shelter’s founder, 28-year-old Joe Okdjian, said he was in desperate need of more donations.
“Sometimes they go a day or two without food,” he said of the 90 dogs already in his care.
As Lebanon’s economy crumbles, people’s fates are mirrored in those of their pets.
In the capital, rescuer Soraya Mouawad said two or three people a week were asking her to re-home their animal.
They say they are emigrating, moving into a smaller home, or can no longer look after them “for personal reasons,” said the founder of Animals Pride and Freedom.
Many young professionals have fled Lebanon since 2019, especially after a massive explosion in Beirut last summer killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of the city.
Dedicated activists are working to ensure dozens of pets can also emigrate.
In one room at the Animals Lebanon shelter in Beirut, two cats lay in their beds.
One of them, Hips, was hit by a car in February and is paralyzed below the waist. The other, Edward, was dumped in a box in the street in November and appears to suffer from an allergy.
Soon, the charity said, Hips and Edward are set to travel to a new life in the United States.