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Bill and Melinda Gates divorce after 27 years of marriage

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Bill and Melinda Gates announced on Monday they were ending their 27-year marriage.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a joint statement. “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.”

The statement added that they no longer “believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

The couple in 2000 founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a private philanthropic organization which funds research and advocacy work across the globe, including in some of the world’s most impoverished nations.

The foundation has given billions to support issues like global health, development and education, as well as combating climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and served as its chief executive until 2000, stepped down from the company’s board last year and has since focused the majority of his efforts on philanthropy.

He still owns roughly 1.3% of Microsoft shares. His net worth is roughly $130 billion, according to Forbes, making him the fourth-richest person in the world. It’s unknown how assets will be handled in the divorce.

The Gates Foundation’s assets are nearly $50 billion, according to its financial statements, and it’s been considered the world’s largest private philanthropic organization for the past 20 years. It issued about $5 billion in grants annually during 2018 and 2019.

The announcement sent shockwaves through the philanthropic industry where the foundation holds such sway.

“Bill and Melinda Gates really pioneered a new form of large-scale philanthropy,” said David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, a digital site that covers the world of philanthropy and fundraising. “They are probably the most consequential figures in philanthropy in recent history, if not ever.”

That also means that the large-scale giving, toward the public good, becomes shaped by private moments.

In contrast to previous mega-donors of early generations, such as the Carnegies and Rockefellers, the Gates helped pioneer the new tradition of “living donors” who make the majority of their wealth in their early or mid-career, said Benjamin Soskis, a historian of philanthropy, a senior researcher at the Urban Institute — a progressive think tank that conducts social policy and economic research — and himself a Gates Foundation grantee.

“This is a moment of discomfort that we all have in scrutinizing this private moment of a single couple … really just an exaggerated reminder of how uncomfortable the whole arrangement is where individuals can have so much power,” said Soskis.

“This is a moment when that collision becomes especially uncomfortable and public and visible,” he said.

In their statement announcing the separation, the couple — who are co-chairs of the foundation — said they would continue to work together in the philanthropic mission.

The question is whether they would go on to create their own separate philanthropic efforts outside the foundation they founded together.

“There’s a lot of money waiting in the wings,” said Callahan, depending on whether there was a prenuptial agreement and what the terms were. “Were Melinda to get some portion of that money it would be enough to fund her as a separate philanthropist at a large scale.”

The foundation in recent months gave $1.75 billion in grants toward accelerating development and distribution of Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

That included a $4.9 million grant in November to German biotech company BioNTech, which with Pfizer created the first authorized mRNA vaccine for the treatment of Covid-19.

For decades, one of Bill Gates’ objectives has been to give away the majority of his wealth in his lifetime. In 2010, he and fellow billionaire Warren Buffet created “The Giving Pledge,” where wealthy people commit to donating their assets.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced they were signing The Giving Pledge at the birth of their daughter, itself made as a Facebook post to their daughter. MacKenzie Scott became a major player in the world of philanthropy after the announcement of her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

“Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity — the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires,” Gates told in 1999 profile of his foundation’s investment strategies.

In February 2021, Gates published “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” laying out his findings and argument for addressing climate change by achieving net-zero carbon emissions. In it, he took the long view.

“If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at Covid-19 and then imagine spreading the pain out over a much longer period of time,” he wrote. “By 2100 it could be five times as deadly.”

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Sixth-grader shoots classmates in US; 3 people were injured

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Three people, including two students, were shot Thursday at an Idaho middle school, according to officials.

At a press conference, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said the suspect is a sixth-grade girl from Idaho Falls who is a student at Rigby Middle School, where the shooting took place. Initial reports had incorrectly identified the suspect as male.

Anderson said the unnamed student allegedly drew a handgun from her backpack and shot three people — one inside and two outside — before a teacher disarmed her.

The suspect is in custody at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and may be charged with attempted murder pending results of the investigation, according to Mark Taylor the county’s prosecuting attorney.

The shooting victims were struck in their extremities and are expected to survive, but may require surgery, officials said

Three ambulances initially responded to Rigby Middle School after authorities learned of the shooting about 9:15 a.m. MT, Idaho Falls Fire Department spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said.

Authorities took the injured to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where they were listed as stable.

“Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter. We had a school shooting here at Rigby Middle School,” Jefferson School District Superintendent Chad Martin said in a statement. “What we know so far is the shooter has been apprehended. There is no further threat to the students.”

“I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little tweeted. “Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident. I am staying updated on the situation.”

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Nine babies in a single birth, this miracle of the extreme

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Bamako: A mother who miraculously gave birth to nine children in a single delivery to the scientific world Halima Sisse, 25, gave birth to nine children. A native of Mali, an African country, she gave birth to nine babies by caesarean section. Rarely, nine babies are born in a single birth.

Even with so many babies in the womb, it is common for many babies to die before they are fully grown. A scan of Halima’s pregnancy revealed that she had seven babies in her womb. Doctors said special care was needed as this was a rarity. Halima was then flown to Morocco.

However, Halima gave birth to 9 children, including 2 babies who were not even seen on the scans, even when doctors gave birth. Halima gave birth to five girls and four boys, all of whom are healthy, Malian Health Minister Fanta Cibi said.
He added that the girl and children would be returned only after a few weeks.

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