Bill Gates’ non-profit group Breakthrough Energy announced Monday that it has raised more than $1 billion from seven major companies, including ArcelorMittal and General Motors, to fund clean energy development.
Early participants in the initiative, dubbed “Catalyst,” also include American Airlines, Bank of America, BlackRock, Boston Consulting Group, and Microsoft.
The amount raised so far tops $1 billion and has been given in the form of grants, shares, and commitments to acquire the technologies developed, a spokesman for the organisation told AFP.
Launched in June, Catalyst has already forged partnerships with the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, and the US Department of Energy.
The idea is to support the development of new energy solutions to combat climate change by bringing together the public and private sectors and funding the steps to commercialization. Other companies are expected to join the initiative.
The project will initially focus on accelerating the deployment of four technologies: direct carbon capture, green hydrogen, long-term energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuels.
But it also plans to look at other innovations, to reduce the carbon impact of steel and cement, for example.
“Avoiding a climate disaster will require a new industrial revolution. Half the technology needed to get to zero emissions either doesn’t exist yet or is too expensive for much of the world to afford,” Gates said in a statement.
“Catalyst is designed to change that and provide an effective way to invest in our clean technology future,” added the Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist.
Several of the companies involved specified in separate releases the amounts contributed. The foundation of the investment company BlackRock and Microsoft have each donated $100 million.
American Airlines has pledged $100 million to the program, while ArcelorMittal has committed $100 million over the next five years through its XCarb Innovation Fund.
Epstein was a multi-million-dollar hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities over the years, including former president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew. Epstein was 66 years old when he died in 2019.
Gates and his wife, who co-founded their charity two decades ago to battle global poverty and disease, announced their divorce on May 3 after 27 years of marriage.
The divorce being finalized is a “very sad milestone,” Gates said during the interview.
“Melinda is a great person, and that partnership we had coming to an end is a source of great personal sadness,” he said, adding that they hope to keep working together at the philanthropy.
Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975, stepped down as the company’s CEO in 2000, saying he wanted to focus on his foundation.
He left his full-time role at Microsoft in 2008.
His seat as board director, which he left in March 2020, was the last position that officially linked him to the company.
American business magnate Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are divorcing after almost three decades of marriage.
The pair announced the decision to end their marriage in a statement jointly signed by them on Monday.
In the statement posted on the verified Twitter handle of the Microsoft founder-turned philanthropist, the pair explained that they decided to settle for the option of a divorce after “a great deal of thoughts and a lot of work” on their relationship.
While they have decided to end their 27-year-old union, Bill and Melinda said they would continue to work together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The statement read, “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” it added.
Bill, rated by Forbes as the fourth wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $124 billion, made his money through Microsoft – the world’s biggest software firm – which was founded in the 1970s.
He later met Melinda in 1987 at Microsoft while he was the Chief Executive Officer at the time, and they both got married in Hawaii in 1994.
In 2000, the pair founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has since spent about $53.8 billion on a wide range of programmes related to global health and poverty alleviation among other initiatives.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the Gates have been involved in efforts aimed at fighting the virus, as well as developing and distributing vaccines around the world.
Bill Gates set out to heal the world. His Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought sports teams. Ted Turner raced yachts. And Donald Trump went into politics.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, plans to build rockets and save the planet.
Bezos, 57, is the latest in a line of corporate titans who have stepped away from their day jobs to devote themselves to other activities.
Bezos, whose net worth is $197 billion according to Forbes magazine, announced on Tuesday he was resigning as chief executive officer of the online retail giant he launched 27 years ago.
He said he would remain executive chairman of Amazon but would devote more time to “passions” such as his private space firm Blue Origin and the Bezos Earth Fund, to which he made a $10 billion donation last year.
In stepping away from the executive suite, Bezos is following in the footsteps of other tycoons who temporarily — and in some cases permanently — walked away from running the businesses that made them rich.
Gates, 65, and Allen, who died of cancer in 2018 at the age of 65, founded Microsoft in 1975 and built it into the world’s leading computer software company.
Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000 and with his wife launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is devoted to improving global health.
Gates, the world’s fourth-richest man according to Forbes, resigned as Microsoft’s chairman in 2014 and left the board in March of last year.
Allen, whose fortune was estimated at $20 billion by Forbes when he died, left Microsoft in 1983 when he suffered a first bout with cancer but remained on the board until 2000.
After leaving the company, Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association and Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League.
He was also an active philanthropist, giving away billions of dollars for medical research and other worthy causes.
– Sights on space – Turner, 82, turned his father’s advertising company into a multi-billion dollar business, launching Cable News Network (CNN) and also buying sports teams — Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA.
But his real passion was sailing.
As the skipper of the yacht “Courageous,” he successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1977 against the Australian challenger.
A number of tycoons have put aside business for politics, most recently former president Trump, a global real estate magnate, and Michael Bloomberg.
Trump, 74, ran for the White House in 2016 while Bloomberg, founder of the financial news company that bears his name, was elected mayor of New York City in 2001.
Bloomberg, 78, was re-elected mayor of the Big Apple in 2005 and in 2009 and made an ill-fated bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Bezos, who founded his space company Blue Origin in 2000, is not the only tycoon who has expanded his sights beyond Earth’s orbit.
Richard Branson, 70, founder of the Virgin Group, also has a spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, and is seeking to make space tourism affordable.
Both Bezos and Branson, however, have been left in the dust when it comes to space by another billionaire — South African-born Elon Musk, the world’s second-richest man.
Musk, 49, made his first major fortune when PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002 and has gone on to launch electric car company Tesla and solar power company SolarCity.
In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX.
It has since become the world’s leading private rocket launch company, sending commercial satellites into space and delivering cargo to the International Space Station.
SpaceX became the first private company to launch humans into space last year when it sent two astronauts to the ISS.
“But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world,” he said.
Funding is one of the biggest hurdles for Africa, home to some of the world’s poorest countries.
The World Health Organization has identified the goal of vaccinating three percent of Africans by March 2021 and 20 percent by the end of next year.
But it said only around a quarter of 47 countries on the continent have enough plans for resources and financing.
Coordinator for the Gates Foundation’s Covid-19 response in Africa, Solomon Zewdu said part of the funding announced Thursday would help ensure that vaccines reach some 780 million people on the continent.
It is critical to make sure the vaccines “are effectively financed to find their way onto the continent and the least appreciated corners of Africa,” Zewdu told AFP in a virtual interview.
“The focus right now is to say …how do we get those vaccines beyond the tarmacs of particular airports like, you know Addis Ababa airport, Kinshasa, Lagos into communities and immunise people. Unless that’s done then we haven’t done the work.”
WHO estimates that getting the vaccine to “priority” population sectors in Africa will require $5.7 billion, plus 15-20 percent for delivery, syringes and other injection material.
Africa has recorded more than 2.3 million cases, of which 54,800 have been fatal.
South Africa, which with more than 828,000 cases is the continent’s worst-hit country, on Wednesday said it had now entered a second wave of the pandemic.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk’s climb along the world’s richest men ladder continues with him now in second place ahead of the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.
According to the Blomberg Billionaire Index, Elon’s net worth hit a high on Monday as share prices continued its surge from $7.2 billion to $127.9 billion and with the company’s inclusion in the S&P 500 index raising stock value close to $500Billion.Meanwhile, Gates stocks also moved from $67.3 billion to $127.7 billion which puts him in the third spot.
Musk re-emphasized back in 2006 that his goal was to;
”Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options.”
He also predicted that self-driving Tesla s, which are still a work in progress would be a game-changer in the automaker industry, and in July of 2020, his company’s market capitalization surpassed Toyota’s for the first time.
Gates on the other hand has given as much as $45.5 billion to charitable causes, including the eponymously named Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which would have made him an even bigger billionaire.
Musk and Gates have had a somewhat chaotic year with the business magnates having differing views on important issues. Gates in early August referred to electric cars in a blog post as “never be a practical solution” for replacing trucks and long-haul vehicles, while Musk’s replied to him via his Twitter handle saying that “he has no clue” about electric trucks. Musk has further gone on to call Gates a “knucklehead” for criticizing his efforts on conducting coronavirus antibody studies.
Musk’s net worth is not solely down to a large stake in Tesla, but also to his other companies, space exploration group SpaceX, and infrastructure and construction firm The Boring Company.
Bill Gates has described his late father, William Gates who passed away on Monday as a huge influence in his life, saying he will miss him “every day.”
“We will miss him more than we can express right now. We are feeling grief but also gratitude,” Bill wrote in a lengthy tribute to his dad whose death – aged 94 – was announced by the family on Tuesday.
In the tribute captioned Remembering My Father, Gates said his dad’s influence transcended his immediate family, counting himself and his siblings lucky to have had him as a parent.
“They gave us constant encouragement and were always patient with us. I knew their love and support were unconditional, even when we clashed in my teenage years,” the American business magnate added.
“I am sure that’s one of the reasons why I felt comfortable taking some big risks when I was young, like leaving college to start Microsoft with Paul Allen. I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed.”
While describing his late father as a philanthropist and a man with great work ethic, Gates credited him to have been instrumental in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad. More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation,” he said. “He was collaborative, judicious, and serious about learning.”
As a father, and husband, Bill said William Gates had a “profoundly positive influence on my most important roles,” teaching him how to respect women and treat children with love and respect.
Recalling a letter his late father wrote to him during his 50th birthday, the philanthropist admitted that Gates Snr urged him to stay curious.
“He said some very touching things about how much he loved being a father to my sisters and me,” he disclosed, adding that “he was everything I try to be. I will miss him every day.”
The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others were hijacked on Wednesday by scammers trying to dupe people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin, in a massive hack.
The list of accounts commandeered grew rapidly to include Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bitcoin specialty firms and many others.
“Tough day for us at Twitter,” chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a tweet.
“We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”
The Biden campaign told AFP that Twitter locked down the hacked account quickly and removed the bogus tweet.
Twitter disabled the ability to tweet from validated accounts, those with the official blue checkmarks, for about two hours while working on a fix.
“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again,” the Twitter support team said in an evening update of the situation.
“As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
The duplicitous posts, which were largely deleted, were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in bitcoin in order to be sent back twice as much.
“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned from his official account on Twitter.
“This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!”
BitTorrent chief executive Justin Sun is offering a $1 million reward for finding the Twitter hackers and bringing them to justice, according to media reports.
-‘Giving back’- The site Blockchain.com, which monitors transactions made in cryptocurrencies, said a total of 12.58 bitcoins, worth almost $116,000, had been sent to the email addresses mentioned in the fraudulent tweets.
The tweet that appeared on Musk’s Twitter feed said, “Happy Wednesday! I am giving back Bitcoin to all of my followers. I am doubling all payments sent to the Bitcoin address below. You send 0.1 BTC, I send 0.2 BTC back!”
It added that the offer was “only going on for 30 minutes.”
The fake messages that appeared on the accounts of other famous personalities made similar promises of instant riches.
The account of US President Donald Trump, which has more than 83 million followers, was not among those hacked.
“Given the accounts that got hacked more recently (Apple, Uber, Gates, Musk, etc), I am now leaning towards this being an internal compromise of a Twitter system, not an API attack from a social aggregator service,” bitcoin authority and author Andreas Antonopoulos said in a tweet from his @aantonop account.
Rachel Tobac of cyber-security firm SocialProof Security theorized that hackers got control of a Twitter employee’s administrative access to “take over a prominent account and tweet on their behalf.”
As evening arrived on Twitter home turf in San Francisco, the company continued to investigate what happened.
A version of the scam invited people to click on a link at which they would be exploited.
“All major crypto Twitter accounts have been compromised,” Winklevoss warned in a tweet.
Among the hacked accounts was @gemini, used by the crypto-exchange, according to his twin brother and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss.
Twitter has been targeted by hackers in the past.
In March 2017, the accounts of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers believed to have been loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last August, a series of insulting or racist messages were posted on the personal account of Twitter founder Dorsey without his knowledge.
As the novel coronavirus wreaks global havoc, Bill Gates is the new bete noire for conspiracy theorists worldwide including in Africa where a Kenyan politician’s false online post has added major fuel to the spread of misinformation.
While Gates’s vaccine programmes on the continent have long provided ample fodder for speculation, the bogus claims have gained new traction amid the pandemic.
On March 15, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko published an old video of Gates warning about the consequences of a future pandemic, with the caption “Bill Gates told us about the coronavirus 2015 (sic)”.
While the clip shows the philanthropist telling an audience that the world was unprepared for global outbreaks in his TED talk five years ago, he made no mention of the coronavirus.
Sonko’s post generated so many interactions among his two-million plus Facebook followers that it remains the most prolific global post about Gates in the COVID-19 era, according to social media analysis tool CrowdTangle.
So far, it has been shared more than one million times and has garnered 38 million views on social media.
The post highlights the role played by local public figures in spreading false or misleading claims in different parts of the world, according to the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), which studies disinformation globally.
“They typically travel beyond… niche communities when an influencer, such as a prominent celebrity, or even mainstream media source, amplifies them,” DFRLab’s Zarine Kharazian told AFP.
“Once they’ve achieved this level of spread, they migrate across languages.”
– ‘All-powerful elites’ –
Rumours about links between Gates and the current pandemic have enjoyed particularly broad appeal among different conspiracy communities worldwide since the virus erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
Since January, more than 683,000 posts globally from public Facebook pages and groups mentioned Gates, producing nearly 53 million likes, shares and views.
“One commonality of conspiracy theories that seems to span borders, languages, and cultures is a mistrust in ‘all-powerful elites’ and institutions,” Kharazian said.
“Gates’s prominent profile, outspokenness and active engagement in international public health work has made him a prime target for this particular strain of conspiracy.”
Among the most popular claims in Africa is the idea that Gates wants to control mankind with the use of microchip implants or digital tattoos.
Conspiracy theorists have also alleged that Gates stands to profit handsomely from an eventual vaccine and that his foundation patented a treatment years ago before unleashing the novel coronavirus.
Others again believe he created the virus for population control — a sensitive point in Africa where much of the visible push-back online has focused on the issue of a COVID-19 vaccine and experimental trials on local test subjects.
– Past controversies fuel suspicion –
A history of Western medical abuses in Africa explains some of the backlash, said Sara Cooper, senior scientist at the South African Medical Research Council’s Cochrane Centre.
“Over the last few decades, there have been various incidents of medical research conducted in Africa which have involved gross human rights abuses,” she told AFP.
They range from forced sterilisation experiments carried out in Namibia when it was part of Germany’s colonies in the late 1800s, to controversial drug trials conducted by Western pharmaceutical giants in various African nations in the 1990s.
The distrust of Western vaccines was evidenced by a recent viral post, which claimed that French maverick scientist Didier Raoult had warned Africans against using “the Bill Gates vaccine” because it contained “poison”.
AFP Fact Check debunked the claim — Raoult never made the comments and a vaccine does not yet exist.
But it struck a chord: the French version of the post was shared more than 47,000 times before it was taken down.
Politicians in Nigeria have also pushed similar narratives including Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister notorious for sharing misinformation along political and religious lines.
Fani-Kayode, who has a strong following among Christians from southern Nigeria, has shared multiple posts claiming Gates was part of a secretive power elite, which wanted to achieve world domination using the coronavirus and 5G technology among other things.
– WHO fights back –
As the virus numbers and rumours spiralled, agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) raced to stem the spread of misinformation by running online campaigns and helping governments to set up dedicated web portals.
The WHO also held a workshop with more than 50 journalists in Nigeria in February.
“Journalists and media are critical to getting the right messages to the community,” emergency officer Dhamari Naidoo said.
“We want you to transmit the right information to the people, and to contribute in stopping the spread of rumours.”
American business tycoon, Bill Gates, has described President Donald Trump’s halting of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as “dangerous as it sounds.”
President Trump had on Tuesday said he was instructing his administration to halt funding while “a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
Trump explained that the US will now “discuss what to do with all that money that goes to the WHO.”
Gates in a tweet on his handle, however, faulted Trump’s decision at a time the world is fighting a pandemic.
“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” the businessman said.
The world, more than ever, needs the WHO which is helping to slow down the spread of COVID-19, according to Gates.
He said: “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”
The WHO had in January declared coronavirus a public health emergency of global concern with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledging about $100m to help in the fight against the pandemic.
According to the foundation, the money will be deployed to help find a vaccine for the pandemic
Microsoft on Friday announced that co-founder Bill Gates has left its board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy.
The 64-year-old stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade ago, turning his attention to the foundation he launched with his wife, Melinda.
Gates served as chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors until early in 2014 and has now stepped away entirely, according to the Redmond-based technology giant.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” Microsoft chief executive and company veteran Satya Nadella said in a release.
“Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges; and Microsoft and the world are better for it.”
Nadella said Microsoft would continue to benefit from Gates’ “technical passion and advice” in his continuing role as a technical advisor.
“I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him,” Nadella said.
Computing and compassion
Gates left his CEO position in 2000, handing the company reins to Steve Ballmer to devote more time to his charitable foundation.
He gave up the role of chairman at the same time Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014.
Regularly listed among the world’s richest people, William H. Gates was a geeky-looking young man when he and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975.
Gates grew up in Seattle with two sisters. His father William was an attorney and his late mother Mary was a schoolteacher and chairwoman of United Way International.
He began programming computers as a 13-year-old student, and fell in love with the machines.
Among the tales told about Gates is that while working on school computers, he tinkered with programming to put himself in classes made up mostly of girls.
With his parents’ blessing, Gates dropped out of Harvard to start “Micro-soft” with his late childhood friend Allen.
A key move was to focus on licensing software to computer makers in numerous “partnerships” that resulted in affordable machines being available to the masses.
As the personal computer market grew, Microsoft became the world’s top software company. Its virtual monopoly led to a much-publicized antitrust trial, in which the company managed to avert a break-up but had to endure years of government monitoring.
Gates went on to turn his attention from software to fighting disease and other humanitarian challenges with his wife, under the auspices of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This move is not surprising to the Street as Gates has continued to focus more on his myriad of philanthropies across the globe over the past decade,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note to investors.
“Gates is a historic figure in the technology world and his legacy at Microsoft will be felt in Redmond for decades to come.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday pledges to commit up to $100 million for the global response to the novel coronavirus epidemic that has claimed nearly 500 lives.
The funding will be used to strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts, the foundation said, including protecting at-risk populations and developing vaccines and diagnostics.
“Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.
The amount includes $10 million previously pledged in late January.
The foundation said it would direct $20 million to organizations like the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the National Health Commission of China and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A further $20 million would be allocated to help public health authorities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, regions which have been disproportionately affected by recent epidemics like the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic of 2009.
The foundation also pledged up to $60 million to accelerate the discovery, development and testing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for the virus.